Laid-back Kerala!

Pizhichil-Large2

Laid-back Kerala indeed! Well, that’s how holidays should be.

But we often notice in Raheem Residency that hard-working guests often bring their age-old patterns of living with them.  Rushing there, arriving early, clock-watching. You know it. You’ve done it.

What a pity!

You don’t actually see a Keralan (Malayalee) rush.  You don’t see one run. And these aficionados of an easy-going life-style never panic.

Is there something worth copying here? There certainly is when it comes to holidaying.

It has been difficult to explain to local staff that if a guest books, say, an Ayurvedic massage for 2pm, then the therapist should be at her station by 1.45. Why? Well, it’s not just to prepare. It’s because invariably the western guest will NOT arrive on time. He/she will arrive early. A concept that nobody in laid-back Kerala can fathom!

Think about it. You’re on holiday. Relax. We want you to!

Relaxing Ayurveda

Indian Wisdom 4 u.

 

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Many of our guests have commented on the fact that India is a place of great spirituality. It is. And much more too, not all so wholesome. However your holiday can be what you wish it to be because there is great scope in India, and Kerala is no exception, for you to pick ‘n mix.

We particularly like some aspects of the first female Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. For all the talk about women’s rights in India and particularly the lack of them it is some how inspiring that her gender did not hold her back. There’s a lesson in that.

The word ‘duty’ in India is powerful. You may even hear it addressed to you as you holiday. If you give a hotel staff member a compliment for a job well done, the chances are you will be told that it is only his/her duty. The western world would re-act differently and perhaps say something like ‘Thank you for your kind words’. Duty is much stronger than a compliment. And therefore when you hear it, know that it is a gracious response.

How true the above quote is. It is a universal life-lesson, that we are much quicker to emphasise our human rights, our personal rights, than focus on our duties.

What a better world it would be, a fairer world, if we followed Indira Gandhi’s wisdom in the words above.

Come visit us and explore the strengths of Indian spirituality. And remember,  you can still have lots of fun!

 

Chats under the Coconut Trees No.3

 

RR Entrance

RR Entrance

Take Your Flipper to your ANTS

So the guest, a very shrewd psychologist, started talking about ants.

We were sitting under the coconut trees in the garden of Raheem Residency as usual. I said ‘We don’t have much of a problem with ants. Good hygiene in our hotel takes care of that.’

‘Not those kind of ants’, he replied. ‘I’m talking about ANTS – the ones that infest your brain. AUTOMATIC NEGATiVE THOUGHTS.’

Now he had my attention. This was either going to be a dose of New Age claptrap or, given the guest’s professional background, possibly a very useful life tool.

Mr Smith (not his real name) had studied how thoughts influence our energy, appearance, happiness, success at everything from diets to jobs and much more.

Say, for example, biscuits are your downfall when it comes to dieting. So you slip you hand surreptitiously into the tin and take out a bikkie. Not only does it taste good but now that little voice tells you may well as well give up the diet ‘until next Monday’ and in the meantime scoff the lot. Have you been there? Well, you are letting the ANTS in. This defeatist approach will cause you to give up far too easily.

Maybe you start an Evening Class in Computers and you fall behind. You ANT says to you ‘May as well give up now because I’ll never catch up.’ Your mind is a very powerful gadget. Send it the wrong message and it can start to make this outcome likely.

The tool you need in your armoury to erase your ANTS is what I would call a flipper. What’s a flipper? I’ve made it up. But it’s a brain gadget that is most useful in India if you have a western mind.

Indian thought is not as governed by logic as the west is. Try doing a practical job like running a hotel and you’ll find out quickly. In the absence of a logical approach to daily problem-solving I have frequently resorted to flipping my automatic answer to the solution and chances are that answer will be the perfect Indian solution. (That’s why we love India. It is so very different). Hence the creation of the flipper.

So Mr Smith is saying that we can really transform our lives through the simply matter of flipping the negative into the positive. And I’m saying that if you want to survive in India as a westerner frequently flip your western solution into its opposite number.

Here’s how you get going.

Do a rigorous scan of your thought patterns for half a day, Write down your ANTS. And then get out your flipper and flip away like mad for the rest of the day. Practice this daily and before too long you may just find yourself a happier, more confident, more energized – and maybe even a slimmer – person.

So said Mr Smith under the coconut trees in Raheem Residency. I think it’s worth a try. Do you?

 

 

Hurrying on Holiday

Impatience

‘We’re on holiday. We’re in a hurry,’ the guest said when the taxi arrived without seatbelts in the back which he had requested.

Someone in our office fell down on that one. The taxi SHOULD have had the unusual-in-India addition of back-seat seat belts because the guest had asked for it.

But when we duly sorted out the problem, offered profuse apologies, gave chilled cucumber sodas during the delay, it was the guest’ s statement above that divided the office.

Indians just can’t get their heads around why we time ourselves to the hilt even on HOLIDAY. A few minutes here or there are just not significant in the Indian psyche. Here in Kerala it’s dead casual and laid-back. You are the guest and God is in the guest. So we will cheerfully wait for you.

Try telling that to  westerner! It’s another east/west divide.

But as a westerner myself who has lived and worked in India for more than a decade I understand both points of view. Which one do I think is right? Which is wiser? Which is better for health and well-being? There I must bow my head in favour of the Indian battalion. Do fifteen minutes really matter when you’re on holiday?

They shouldn’t but it can make you mad as hell. I would proffer though that it was the negligence on our part that should have been the irritant. To endure an additional short wait in comfortable surroundings really shouldn’t merit the displeasure the guest felt.

He angered himself – never a nice emotion – and then accordingly our office staff too after his rant.

‘East is east and west is west and ne’er the twain shall meet’. The guy was right more than a century ago. And very often he’s still right today. Pity though.