Near, Yet Far

An acquaintance once mentioned casually, “Trivandrum and Bombay are along the coast. So the places are not really that far.” I had to agree to that statement, after taking a quick look at the map of India.

And then thinking caught me on, “the two cities can be perceived as near” but the perception changes when one decides to travel , for “it is almost a two day travel by train, about 25 hours by road, and around 2 hours by flight!” They are hours apart.

Interestingly, both the cities are state capitals : Trivandrum (Kerala State) and Bombay (Maharashtra Sate). They are cosmopolitan in their outlook, though Trivandrum is still budding; and both these cities have been renamed to Thiruvananthapuram and Mumbai respectively.

However, most of us continue to refer to these cities by their earlier names.

Apparently, each state is unique in its own terms with an array of hills, valleys and coastal connects. They are also uniquely different when it comes to their language, food, customs and traditions. Furthermore, each sub-division within the state has a flavour of its own. For example, the north and south of Kerala is different when it comes to climate, food habits and even language. So are the places within Maharashtra.

It is even more interesting, when we delve a little into History to realize the essence of the two states merged in trade, some Jewish connections, and the familiar Portuguese influence. Of course, the coast has been a source of interest from time immemorial.

However, every Indian state has a rich tradition, a valuable history, strong culture, customs and practices, and fascinating folklore. In spite of having lived in different parts of India, I feel I have not seen her enough to claim “I know her really well”. Then what do I say about a non-Indian who has known the country through maps and writings.

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