The next day was spent in preparation for the reception. My dad and I made our way to Jayalakshmi's which has all kinds of Indian clothes. My dad bought me a Kurta - it is navy blue with some work along the middle (where the buttons go). We got back home, dressed up, and made out way to the reception. The reception gave me a very good opportunity to meet all the other members of my family - all my aunts, uncles, grand-aunts, and grand-uncles. Since my leave was only 15 days, I didn't have enough time to see them all, so I was happy I was able to see them there. A note about Indian families - they are very large, and very tight-knit. I can't begin to count the number of cousins, second-cousins, aunts, uncles, grand-aunts, and grand-uncles I have. I have some from my dad's side of the family, and my mom's side (which alone has about 400-500 members) of the family. Then I have some from my uncle's (my dad's older sister's husband) side of the family - not related of course, but nonetheless, "cousins". I can go on and on. I guess some people might feel crowded, but I like it. The reception like I already said, was pretty awesome. The question on everyone's lips was "How is Iraq?". And I'd say "Just fine... can't wait to go home!" and maybe tell them a few stories or so. Everyone always ended with "Well, be safe! And don't do anything stupid!".
After the reception we made our way back home. For the next few days, I didn't do much other than just relax at home. Talking to my grand-dad, playing with our Samoyed, Chikoo. We used to have a German Shepherd, Jimmy, but he was put down a month before I arrived because of a pretty bad infection in his hind leg. He was in too much pain and my grandad said he had no choice but to euthanize him. He was just an overgrown puppy, that dog - and I missed having him come up and jump on me and lightly gnawing on my hand in that typical German Shepherd fashion. We made a few trips to Ernakulam and also spent a horrible three hours at Jayalakshmi's where my sister tried to decide which Saris she wanted to buy. But other than that, I didn't do much for a couple of days. Mainly I was just happy to sit down and relax - watch the world go by, instead of trying to outpace it. In Iraq it was always go-go-go... but here I got a chance to sit down, and unwind. Then of course, there's the fact that I'm able to sleep in - and it's not the harsh sound of an alarm that wakes me up, it's the sound of birds in the air. One of the most relaxing moments I had was sitting at the eretthu (patio) when it rained. There's nothing like the rain in Kerala - the sound of it, as it comes crashing down from the sky is quite soothing. Then there were also the hours spent watching Cricket with my dad, grand-dad and my cousin. It had been a while since I'd seen a good game of cricket. While all of this was going on, my dad and I were talking about getting another dog for the house. So him, my sister, and I made our way to Ernakulam to meet up with one of my uncles who knows all about the different breeders in the area. We went to this little house where this guy had a bunch of dogs. We settled on feistly little black lab. She's absolutely adorable - her coat is shiny black and she's full of energy. We took her back in a cardboard box lined with old newspapers. She kept trying to climb out and when it became apparent to her that we weren't going to let her, she took ripping apart the newspapers. The first time we introduced her to Chikoo, things didn't go too well. Chikoo gets a little jealous at times. I remember when I used to play with Jimmy, he'd jump in the middle and nip at Jimmy's ears and generally annoy him. Although he was about three times the size of Chikoo, he never did anything other smack him once with his paw. Well, anyway, at first Chikoo kept nipping at our new lab. And we had to keep smacking him to stop it. Soon the whole family was at the eretthu and we were all trying to think of a name for the puppy. If my grandma was still alive, she would have given the perfect name. That's a unique talent she had - she could always give an apt name to any dogs that we brought home. It actually took us about three or four days before we settled on a name. I wanted to call her Rani (Queen - we've had two other dogs named Rani but we haven't used the name in a while) or Jessie. She was Jessie for a few days and then for some reason everyone wanted to call her Honey, even though my dog back in the US has the same name. So Honey she was. Chikoo was still a little mean towards Honey and she'd try to hide from him but then eventually she started retaliating and would actually bark back at him, or even go looking for a fight! So after they built some sort of mutual respect, everything was ok.
19 thoughts on “The Worst Journey Ever. The Best Vacation Ever.”
Awesome post Viv. Awesome..
That was a nice vacation which you enjoyed. Your blog is quite interesting and informative. I appreciate your flair for writing as well.
Hey bro! lol jp my brother’s name is vivin too. that’s tight. he doesnt really like his name, tho.
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Was reading on the ancestry of the Nairs, when I got to see your website. How did you get all this material? Its wonderful. I am a Nair myself, have to check my Tharavad from my parents. Was born in North India so have very little idea of Nairs and their history. Parents are settled in Perumbavoor, so still do get to see Kerala once a year. Am based in Singapore now. Would be nice to keep in touch.
One thing i forgot to ask you. you made that article on nairs??? If so 2 points to note:
1.Nairs were never classified into kshatriyas, vaishyas and shudras.
2.Villakithala, velluthedathu and Chakkala nairs are not true nairs. No nair would knowingly prefer a marriage alliance with these castes.
Rest is in my posting in Discussion
No comments from yu about my posting in ‘Nairs’ in Discussion. Do you know anand Paliyath presently working as a scientist in NPOL
Sorry for the delay. Being in Iraq, my internet access is rather limited.
While it is true that I was the one who initially wrote the article, it has changed over time due to the fact that Wikipedia is a collaborative effort. A lot of people have made changes. Furthermore, I haven’t been monitoring the article lately, so I cannot tell you much about the new changes.
As far as your first point goes, I agree with you completely. The Kerala caste system was completely different from the rest of India. While the Nairs were the ruling class, the highly orthodox Namboothiris still considered them to be untouchable due to the fact that they considered anyone lower (according to them) than their caste, untouchable. In fact, even other Brahmins (Iyers, for example) were considered untouchable by the Namboothiris. In that sense, you are correct – the Nairs were never classified into Kshathriya, Vaishya, or Sudra. However, I was merely trying to show a comparative analysis.
As far as your second point, I am no authority on it, and therefore, cannot comment.
If it is the Anand Paliath I think you are talking about, then I haven’t met him in person, but we did talk online once. What is NPOL, by the way?
NPOL is National Physical Oceanographic Laboratory.
2.About my second point in my last mail, it is well known. You can ask anybody, anand for instance (No that he need be an expert. i just want to indicate that the idea is common place). You’ve been out of the country for long, I suppose. Then why are these castes (like Veluthedathu, Vellakithala, Chakkala Nairs etc.) not members of Nair Service Society (NSS), the premier organisation of the community?? On the other hand, they have their own associations like Villakkithala nair Samajam etc.NSS is in forefront in the criticism of the present reservation system of the government which it feels affects badly the members of the Nair community; these communities, meanwhile all belong to the Other Backward Category (OBC)enjoying the benefits of reservation system.
3.Parasurama may be a myth. But the very edifice of the caste structure and scriptures in every religion rests on mythological premises.So should you axe the Axe-Rama (Axe is Parasu in Sanskrit)? RAKS
Like I said, I do not know enough about that point to comment. I did not add that information. You may remove it if you wish, as long as you provide proper documentation and references to support the change.
I believe that the caste system originated as a system for the division of labour. The myths were most probably added later to give it religious legitimacy. No doubt, certain parties had vested interests. However, using a myth to explain the origin of the Nairs doesn’t really get us anywhere. You can add the information if you wish, but probably want to phrase in a way such that it is evident to the reader that the legend/myth of Nairs removing their poonollu to escape Parashurama is just that – a myth. It may or may not have happened. The real reason may be something else, and the myth may have been created over time to explain it. We do not know, and therefore you cannot state it as a “Theory of Origin”.
Please continue further discussion on my Talk Page at Wikipedia.
hai vivin we both have the same name . iam glad to; meet you please be in contact with me lets we rock and roll
check you e-mail!! I finally got some picture of you from our last trip to the pool. You almost killed me remember???? The worst driver ever!! Don;t take it hard, I still love you man.
I should be dropping by in BIAP shortly so I’ll definitely come visit you.
PS: did you get your movies back?
Happened to go through this post…..Have to say it was an absolute delight to read….Nice pics too….Looking forward to reading more in the future…..Keep up the good work….Cheers !!
WHATEVER DUDE! Ok, in all fairness, that was my first time driving from BIAP to the IZ and back! Hahaha! Hey, I got that picture of you in the gunner’s turret too. Yeah Ortiz has my movies – I just haven’t gotten them from him yet. Stay safe in Ramadi!
Glad you enjoyed the post – I try to update as often as I can. I’m working on one to put here within the next few days!
Hi again.I had posted a comment a few months back.I’m at university now-university of British Columbia in vancouver.Thankfully the experience is’nt too scary.I mean,the day before i got here,i was totally freaking out.The place is huge,but i’m settling down.I find your journal quite interesting.I was in India too in august before we moved to canada.
I’m doing Anthropology and lots of other courses here.According to my textbook,nairs are classified under Kshathriyas.I am a Nair and have often heard others classify it under shudhra. So,which is it?!! i have’nt located your article yet.
Anyway,your pictures and descriptions of kerala did make me feel a little home-sick.Kerala has to be one place that sucks you in with all it’s vigour and energy,and yet when you’re out,you’re so much more of yourself.Maybe it has to do with truly indentifying yourself and fitting in completely with the people. You should visit the Guruvayoor temple.Even with all the madness in the crowd,(some women can really push and squeeze through crowds!)it’s truly liberating to be so close to god.
juat saw you and raks talking about me.. i am anand. i work in npol. naval physical and oceanographic lab. juat wanted to say hai… happy holi and easter