Everything in Kerala’s backwaters is in some way linked to the water. Rivers substitute roads, school buses are school boats and even super markets float from village to village. That water is life becomes increasingly apparent while gliding down one of the many waterways. Every aspect of live here is connected to the canals. In many places the ever green paddy fields lining the canals are much lower than the canals water level and have to be pumped out almost trough out the year, turning life into an endless struggle with the elements. There are even barrages to control the water flow to stop the salt water of the sea from entering the fields. Traveling the backwaters comfortably on a boat, it seems that life is spread out like a story book.
There are the fisher men trying for their catch of the day, precariously balancing themselves on a dugout canoe. Coming closer to settlements homemaker’s are doing their laundry in the canal, occasionally raising their heads and smiling at the boats passing by. Further down a simple ferry criss crosses the larger canals, carrying shopping baskets, cycles and people on their way from one shore to the other. In the middle of a large canal, rice boats are moored to some poles. Beside one can see heads bopping in and out of the water.
Men in teams are diving for the precious clay and sand from the muddy ground that then is used for fixing leaking canals and all sorts of construction work. Close to a small village, boys and girls frolic in the water, playing games and diving for small items thrown in. A few older girls with their study books are sitting by the shore, feet dangling in the water, shy smiles lightening up their eyes as a boat floats by. Looking at this as a traveller from the outside, life here seems to be without aggression, almost a form of meditation. History tells me that here since Millennia people have diverted their minds to balanced living. Ayurveda, spices and simple greaseless food seems to have become their secret of life.