There is a sense of progress in the campus. The fields (that were sown a couple of months earlier) around the campus have eaten up the last crest of uneven land, they have grown so tall that all around us, there is evenness. The campus is besieged with the green fields for as far as the eye can see; at night sitting in hidden crevices, between the tall plants, away from the chilling winds and the sway of the tips, near the roots, over the wet mounds, where no man can enter, frogs and crickets are conspiring to invade the campus.
Perhaps the invasion is inevitable, today on our island that sits belittled by the beauty of the nature around us, conspirers from the sea attacked by pulling few of the inhabitants of the island onto their side. These hapless islanders (under the false pretenses of celebrating ‘kerala food festival’) have erected flag posts of the green sea creatures all over the island. The invasion has happened. We are now at the mercy of the green sea.
The whole campus is decorated with coconut tree leaves, banana trunks and beautiful flowers. The infamous canopy that connects the academic block to the hostel is totally transformed; the pillars that withhold the canopy are draped with banana leaves, as one walks through the pathway, the length of leaves covering the pillars with every step one takes towards the hostel makes one wonder if the leaves are attempting to crawl up and coexist with the pale brown, straw hat canopy.
The canteen’s entrance with banana leaves and flowers suspended from above, the inviting menu and the delicious food (Avail,Elesheeri, Payasam, Kalan, Papaddam, Kondattam, Ada Pradhaman) apprehended our senses. With the succulence of the authentic mallu food suffused through the nerves, with the fragrance of flowers leaving no room to breathe, with the ubiquity of leaves around (banana leaf in the plate, banana leaf on the chair, coconuts hanging from the roof), we were left with no room to feel anything but keralites.
The giant lamp (velakku) before the entrance beckoned us all to embrace the grandeur, the caterers dressed up in dhoti admirable, food delicious and the campus atmospheric. It is as if sky has lifted kerala up by its roots and dropped it here inside the campus. The fecundity of kerala is in the food, atmosphere in the leaves and flowers, the munificence in the lamp and authenticity in the men that made this event possible.
Now the birds are singing as if it is ‘spring time’ already, the drizzle this morning wetted the leaves leaving us vacant in our hearts, for we were still in our beds while the sky descended in curiosity to witness the festival on our island.
The old lady from the green sea came out of her home this morning to beat her door mat against the wall, but she paused gaping astonishingly at the campus. With the raised mat in mid air she watched as the festival progressed. Earth paused in its orbit, just for a fleeting second to acknowledge the invasion of the island.