Onam, Kerala, 2016

img_5224-1Yesterday, the midday meal was a traditional one for this time of year. We have written about Onam festivities each of the years that we have been based in Kerala, since 2010. Now, during our seventh such celebration, we finally hosted an Onam feast in our own home. In order to be sure that the guests at our table would have the best of the traditional foods of the season we made the only sensible decision: we ordered the feast from a local kitchen we favor.

These dishes, which we have written about in previous years, tasted as if they were the best we have yet had. Maybe because it was all so easy and pleasant. Our guests, anyway, we knew to be not high maintenance. It was a cross section, functionally speaking, of La Paz Group’s Kerala team, including (from left going around the table in the picture below) engineering, finance, revenue management, reservations, sales, design, me, and front right is the man in charge of it all, who was also the photographer. Continue reading

The Second Annual Thevara Badminton Tournament


The 2014 edition of our neighborhood sporting event of the year officially kicked off this evening, with two Raxa Collective representatives sharing the stage with two politicians, a priest and the neighborhood association’s leadership (who graciously invited Raxa Collective to join in again) prior to the first match.  We look forward to announcing the champion on December 31. Continue reading

Thevara Badminton, Final Practice And Laying The Lines

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6pm this evening, our neighborhood will be the scene of intense competition. Yet, of course, friendly.  Raxa Collective, as sponsor, has a special seat of honor watching the event, so we will hope to photo/video-document the fun. Liveblogging, alas, is not going to happen this time. It is peak season here for lodging operations, and all hands are on deck elsewhere. The recap, we promise, will be worth a look.

Our Gang, Thevara, (Team Spirit)

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It is that time of the year. The place where the cow is often roaming, or otherwise is just pleasant open space, becomes energentic-kid-space about now. Soon it will be school break time and the kids are thinking about what they will do with all that free time. So today, as two of Raxa Collective’s team members were walking through the neighborhood the kids stopped them and asked: Want to be on our team?


Our Gang, Thevara (February Favorites)

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The passerby, known as a neighbor by now, aka something like “perambulating portrait person,” senses a few patterns: one youngster, perhaps four years old, is a gigglebox at all times; another, same age, is the village notification siren (SAIPE!); and a few always mix their moves like karate chop Bollywood extras. Continue reading

Evolved Cooperation

Any given morning in the neighborhood called Thevara, where we have some wonderful friends, the fishermen do their thing a few meters from the riverfront walkway.  To call that cooperation is like calling the kettle black.  But just as we found this explanation of man-animal cooperation fascinating, this morning’s mobile phone snapshots got interesting.

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Our Gang, Thevara (About The Clever One)

This young lady in the foreground of the photo above is special.  She has already broken an unspoken, unwritten, and increasingly irrelevant gender barrier in which girls play with girls and boys with boys: her brother has welcomed her into the fellowship that used to be strictly a fraternity.  It helps that she is clever.

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Our Gang, Thevara (#6)

The stance is familiar to anyone of North American, Cuban, Central American or Venezuelan heritage.  But it is not what it first might seem to anyone from those places.  An anglophile, indophile, or carribophile will immediately recognize the bat our neighborhood friend is gripping.  On any given day, on any given street in the country that currently holds the trophy as world champions in cricket, you are likely to see something like this. Continue reading

Kolbert, Kerala & Clouds

Reading this post from Elizabeth Kolbert, a familiar cloud of doom came over me.  Read almost anything she writes, and you will know what I mean.  She writes most frequently about seemingly intractable environmental problems, and those about climate change have the most intense effect on me.  But ignorance is not an option, so I read.  The cloud lasted about seven hours, and parted just now in a most interesting manner. As if my head were just lifted out of the sand.  First, the portion that stuck with me:

Since we can’t know the future, it is possible to imagine that, either through better technology or more creativity or sheer necessity, our children will be able to find a solution that currently eludes us. Somehow or other, they will figure out a way to avoid “a 4°C world.” But to suppose that an answer to global warming can be found by waiting is to misunderstand the nature of the problem.

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Onam Ice Melter

In our neighborhood of Cochin, called Thevara, we walk sometimes in the early morning or late afternoon—been doing this for over a year now.  Yesterday, some ice melted on our afternoon walk.  Our ice, well-melted by warm neighbors.  The ice I refer to is a cultural separator between the we that has been and the we that is and will be. Continue reading