Communism, Asian Novels, & the Peaceful Shores of Kerala

We made our way down to the backwaters of Kerala and have spent the past couple days in Cochin. As were the mountains in North India, so the beaches in South are a welcome reprieve from the dry heat, crowds and unforgiving cuisine of the Northern cities. Electricity and internet are inconsistent and virtually unavailable, respectively, though we are roughing it (Josh calls it 5-star camping) in the boonies. And the procurement of alcohol has become even more difficult.

But this state, which boasts 100% literacy (we are curious what the operational definition of literacy is …) and has been alternately governed by a communist (Left Democratic Front) and a democratic (United Democratic Front) party since late 1970s,  is stunningly clean, with impeccably swept streets and lacking the piles of rubble and incomplete edifices that pervade the other 5 states we’ve visited. Communism sure seems appealing …

Josh discovered an Indian best seller in the airport – The Shiva Trilogy – and has sped through the first two books in our lazy couple days of reading by the seaside. The trilogy gives a fantastical glimpse into the world of the greatest Hindu Gods, (we’ve heard there are somewhere between 3 and 33 million) as they grew from heroic humans to gain God status on Earth. Josh says their a good mix of Conan and the Hobbit, albeit on Hinduism.

I have finally had the time to indulge in some novels about Muslim culture, including Growing Up bin Laden, Osama bin Laden’s wife’s autobiography; Taliban Escape! One Woman’s Journey Out of Hell, as intense a depiction of the horror side of being a Muslim woman as one could hope to find; and Love in a Headscarf, which so far seems like a depiction of the wonderful side of being a modern Muslim woman, with the peace and strength that Islam offers its believers, and the security that the family and societal structure offer. The main character anticipates the interviews with families of potential husbands as a young girl might anticipate a Quincinera. Unfortunately, I only have the sample on my kindle, and it is uncertain when we will have internet access …

Peace from the peaceful shores of Cochin-j&d



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