Late night call…
Friend: ‘What are you doing tomorrow morning?’
Me: “What to do. Nothing, just like that… like every day, free after holy mass by 7 am”.
Friend: “Come let’s go to fish market”.
Me: “WHAT! Sorry buddy…”
Friend: “No, this place is interesting. Carry some money also. Come to Champakkara fish market in Ernakulam by 07:30 I will be there.”
Alright! What else!
After mass, took car and went directly to the market. I have only heard about this. First visit! On the way to Tripunithura, the royal city, it says ‘Champakkara Market Complex’.
He came with his family. Well I came with mine too…or she will ask me… “Why did you buy this fish… you could buy other fish… ”
Parked car at the church compound next to the market… Waterfront church… Hmm!
Piled up plastic boxes, cycles and cane baskets. Can’t move around without hitting others…
I shifted my wallet to front pocket. Money is money.
Strong piercing smell of fish and meat… But the area is clean.
Ice crushing machine…Where are they taking this crushed ice?
Filling ice in the boxes packed with fish, tied on top of cycles and scooters
fishes still alive…struggling to breathe. Poor ones… Just like how we struggle under water.
We went inside.
There are some vegetable shops too. Like everywhere in the surrounding area, vegetables are always expensive here too.
Bought 2 kg tapioca, tomatoes and some vegetables… Rs.70… not bad!
Yummy tapioca and fish curry!
Some sad faces… some happy faces.
Walked along … beside butchers with pork, beef, mutton… still dripping blood.
Boiling and cleaning the intestines. It reminded me about sausages.
Memories went back to hotelier days when I used to gulp chicken sausages and bacon for breakfast.
Big fishes are sold as whole. But after buying, you can get it cut into pieces.
If two or three families go together, we can get those for cheap price as we share a big fish.
In one corner, they cut and clean fish.
Fish …fish… everywhere fish..
Crabs, even legs tried together, trying to crawl out to escape from the vessel. But another one pulls it back… should be a Malayalee crab.
Little portions of fish varieties and varieties of small fishes everywhere on the floor! Area is still neat.
People walking in between the portions to find the needed ones and for the best offers…
Maddening sounds of bargaining.
Rs. 20 – Rs.100 as per variety.
Where is my friend?
Walking around with the camera, I missed them. ( See the pics that I took here)
People looking me with suspicious eyes… newspaper? (Do I look like?)
No… Just like that.
Plenty of aunties sitting along the path selling fishes
my eyes stuck on piles and piles of prawns. Yummy
might be expensive.
Me: “etraya chechy?” (How much)
Chechy: “kilo nooru” (Rs.100 per kg)
What! My eyes bulge. Outside it is Rs.250 per kg starting…as big as pointing finger.
These ones are still jumping. Alive! Fresh!
Took a kilo of fresh prawns… Very happy, but did not show outside.
Inside it is still busy. Men filling their boxes in cycle and scooters with fish to be sold along houses
aunties filling their baskets for the same purposes… But showing eyes at men to bring the price down…hmm…
Scenic on the other side of the river… it should be the island; rowing boats still reach the jetty with loads of fishes.They start coming at 6 am. Fishes are cheaper that time. Good time for them as now no trolling by big boats or ships.
Bought varieties of fish!
Dividing the booty … just Rs.250 per family… Happy for a week! Will take some home for parents in the weekend, they will be happy too. These are less available at those places.
“Yeeeeewww…” She is screaming… two prawns… or one prawn? Jumped out!!
It took two hours to clean one kg prawns.
Very careful… fried prawns. I packed my lunch box
I have prawns today for lunch!!
Wish I’d get one piece… office buddies salivating!!
What drew my attention was an e-mail forward I got about a paper advertisement for coconut tree climbers for an Agri farm in Thrissur. The advertisement offered experienced coconut tree climbers a salary of RS: 7875 per month. This advertisement is said to be the first of its kind in the history of Kerala. It shows nothing else but the pitiful situation Kerala faces today in labour. People have started giving advertisements for labourers – same jobs that were considered menial.
Kerala has turned out into a state, where people are getting more self conscious by abandoning menial jobs for status-oriented ones outside. Keralites now more like to say they are engineers, doctors, Nurses, and doing the jobs that would give them some pride in telling others. The new generation don’t like to follow the footsteps of their parents or in other words, they don’t like doing the jobs their parents followed traditionally. The coconut tree climbers are the ones who are fast facing extinction on the job scene. Since the job requires some risk and is paid very less, the people who were traditional coconut tree climbers seemed to have withdrawn from the scene. In the same way many other jobs which are paid less and gives no pride as is perceived, are facing considerably less workforce.
The people in Kerala have changed a lot and so are their habits and lifestyles. People are lazy or find it too hard to do even the household work that were once never an issue. The household works like cooking, cleaning, washing and looking after kids all have turned to be a cumbersome tasks for the most today, in-spite of the assistance of all those home appliances. The Keralites who today gives advertisements for rubber tapping, baby sitting, housemaids and home nurses, in future may give ads for cutting and shaving or even to pick a leaf from the courtyard.
As Malayalies, each one of us may wonder at this situation. If we could change Kerala this much, we can also change ourselves to a hard-working generation by at least doing labour for our own households. What do you say?
Kochi will be the drop anchor spot of the reconstructed 9th century ship, “ The Jewel Of Muscat”, which is retracing a historic Voyage. It will be berthed at the BTB berth from March 10 for a month before it set sails to Singapore, where it will be made a museum.
The Jewel of Muscat is designed as per the blue print of a 9th century wreck of a ship that was carrying many priceless items like silver and gold artifacts, spices and Chinese ceramics, now known as the Tang Treasure. Its remnants were discovered in 1998 in the Indonesian waters. The Singapore government bought the Tang treasure in an auction to display it in a museum.
This 18M long ship built in Indian and Burmese teak and a unique tree, ‘Punna’, which is a native of Kerala, is a gift from the Government of Oman to the people of Singapore. The ship building team comprising mostly of Malayaless, made this sewn plank ship with wood and coconut fibre ropes without using even a nail or a screw- the ship making technology which is exclusive to Kerala . The 1300 year old method of dhow making which involves sewing the hull planks with hand made ropes make the ship extremely stable and resilient even in choppy waters. The ship is solely driven by the wind sails and has no modern gadgets except life jackets and navigational tools.
To celebrate the first stopover of the ship, the Oman Government is sending a cultural team to Kochi where a major event is planned. During its dry dock at Kochi, the technical crew, most of them from Kerala will carry out its maintenance . Following the old trading route, the ship will reach Singapore through the waters of Srilanka and Malaysia, five months later,where it will be made a museum in which the tang Treasure will be displayed . Though The Jewel of Muscat is a venture of Oman, the fact that the technology and the manpower behind this magnificent creation is from the distant land of Kerala, is indeed a matter of pride for all of us.