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Trailing a lost legend


HIS EVERY visit to the city with his mother was a rewarding experience; the lavish monsoons that lashed Kochi never failed to mesmerize him; the city's narrow by lanes where an assortment of communities went about doing their daily chores, co-existing with remarkable bonhomie. Anoop Skaria is older now but still carries childhood memories that are fresh and crisp. There's an instinctive reverence to Kochi and the land of his forefathers. And so the other day when he weaved a tale around an event from the city's life history, wife Dorrie Younger was enthused by the power of his imagination. The husband-wife team, who run Kashi Art Gallery, paired up to create a colourful legend where Dorrie retells the story in English.

The tale revolves around the South-West monsoon, known as `Kalavarsham' as it enticed the Periyar River to carry her fertile silt down the Mamala Mountains to the Arabian Sea. Over thousands of years these rich deposits of silt created a chain of peninsulas and islands at the Periyar's mouth. In A.D. 1344, the North-East monsoon or the `Thulavarsham' showed its fury and the port city of Cranganoor was no longer accessible. It separated the landmass (now known as Kochi Island) from Vypeen and created a new natural harbour.

Before long, Kochi escalated into prominence and earned the famed title of Queen of the Arabian Sea by the many travellers and visitors who were charmed by her natural beauty. Today, however, the scene is dismal. According to world meteorologists the city's future hangs in balance. Apparently the global warming conditions are causing low-lying areas to be engulfed by the sea.


Kochi is one amongst them. Having scripted and made a couple of documentaries, Anoop is a natural storyteller. In his fable, the reader encounters delightful nuggets of love and romance between the Monsoon King and the daughters of the Periyar.

To substantiate the text are a series of enchanting picture-paintings done by well-known artist, Babu Xavier. Xavier's strong sense of colouration wedded to simple yet strong drawings goes well with the theme of the book.

Still in the midst of publication and printing, Anoop and Dorrie hope to have the book out in the next two months.

SUNANDA KHANNA

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