Skip to main content

Of Clichés and Brochures


Strike tourism: St Mark's Square, Venice: Striking Workers

The marked shift from picture postcard tourism to the participatory kind has given our perception of tourism new spectacles. To view from a distance and snap a picture “Wah Taj!” is considered the jaded route. Tourists have outgrown brochures and are experiencing the esoteric. “The elections in Kerala”, “Monsoon Tourism”, are the new packaged ideas that now draw tourists to this God forsaken destination. And it was the Minister for Home and Tourism of the State of Kerala, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who suggested that the striking trademark of communism as a marketable tourism commodity. Even in jest, his was the pitch of a true blue capitalist salesman. He said, “After Monsoon tourism, strike tourism seems to be the emerging trend in the state. There are tourists who visit the state to witness strikes.”

Political Tourists

Ahh! Even Working Communism with its practitioners has the potential to bring in the political tourists. After all, the world sees less of this ideology now, and before China markets it, Kerala should patent it.

Tragedy Tourists

This small strip of land boasts of learned men and writers but readers lament (barring O V Vijayan) that the nouveau writers lack depth and substance. Perhaps it is because we have not experienced the ravages of war or some other conflict that perfect the writer’s crucible. The never -ending wars that mark “One Hundred Years of Solitude” or the collective despair of Turkey in Pamuk’s “Snow” do not echo in our literature. Is there no great literature without the experience of the tragic? And perhaps it is for this reason, that writers here make the best tragedy tourists: rushing to regions where the earth has cleaved or the oceans have heaved, to borrow some sorrow, borrow some pain and to reproduce later as authentic experience, marketing it as literature. Remember Amitav Ghosh’ s literary essays on Tsunami. No, it was not the clinical, sterile report of a journalist covering a tragedy; it was literature scalloped with the writer’s sorrowful viewpoint.
I heard a writer once say at an event that he had rushed to Gujarat to see for himself the earthquake that shook the region
. Perhaps, to sift through emotions and glean something for the storehouse of his memory.

“Who are you to sit in judgment?” You may ask.

No one.” I reply. What I point out is that it is just another form of tourism my dear.

Sex and the City

Forget the much-advertised eco-tourism, home-culture tourism, agro-tourism etc. try some other stuff. Each city has its charm and you could thread cities together and compare notes and create a genre of tourism. For grass and sex toruism there is no other city that showcases it better than Amsterdam. Museums abound in the city. And in the famous Albert de Cuupy market, things can turn sweet and chocolaty.

For the sweet tooth.

Meela the Brave and Me the Cautious (What a pair!) checked into the first cheap hotel that we could set sight on in Amsterdam. We were on Damrak Street. We had no clue how the night in this fabulous city would unfold. Meela the Brave slept on while I sleeplessly peeped out of the window. The most beautiful women and burly men stalked the street all through the night-Shouting, screaming and hawking their wares. One night, two men growled and fought like animals till someone called the police. How did we do two nights there? Beats me.

Street Tourism


Is that Cleopatra? Yes it is. On Las Ramblas, Barcelona

On Las Ramblas in Barcelona, the most happening place in that city; in costumes and makeup these performers sit in perfect stillness.


Cyclists on Las Ramblas

Beggar Tourism is probably my most original idea. If some nut of a tour operator can market this concept, then Beggars can make a quick buck. Back home, the woeful tales of Indian beggars on the streets may make good oral literature. That is if you are into that sort of thing.

For mind blowing Fireworks

Before these too become clichés, grab a camera and journey into the unknown. By the way a certain guy named the Devil is starting a low cost airline to Hell. He promises mind blowing fireworks and a fiery experience that is beyond all superlatives.

The fine print: “You can check out any time you like. But you can never leave.”

Comments

Anonymous said…
Your website has a useful information for beginners like me.
»
Anonymous said…
Very pretty design! Keep up the good work. Thanks.
»
Anonymous said…
I like it! Keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing this wonderful site with us.
»

Popular posts from this blog

The Suryanelli Girl: Her Story

Suryanelli: The place of no sun. 
  Roofs weighed down by rock bags to keep the wind from blowing them away
Off the Kerala state highway that connect the small, brash towns giddy with foreign remittances, sits an unassuming, modest home that goes by the name: Lovedale. A septuagenarian couple, a retired postmaster and a retired nurse, live here with their younger daughter and, a ghoulish past that continues to taunt every waking moment of their lives. The 33-year-old daughter smiles shyly revealing an innocence frozen in time. 17 years ago, the daughter, then a 16-year-old girl, had left home wearing a skirt and a blouse to go to school and returned sexually violated and terribly traumatized: her transformation from a carefree school girl to a bloated individual was violently shocking. The girl had been kept captive, fed sedatives and alcohol, traded for sex and raped by 42 men in a span of 40 days in the months of January and February 1996. The family’s tryst with rapists, the police, …

Free Masons: All about them

Free masonry- the 'spiritual society' of sacred brotherhood with its origins in antiquity has always been shrouded in mystery. Their initiation rites, rituals, symbolisms, secret signs and code of conduct have further enhanced the aura of mysteriousness. Is Free Masonry a remnant of an ancient religion that worshipped the Sun or is it just an exclusive, elitist boy's club that indulges in secret charity missions?
In 1961 the Grand Lodge of India, which is an off -shoot of the Grand Lodges of Scotland, England and Ireland was constituted. The Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of India Mr.Arun Chintopanth was recently here in Kochi to preside over the meeting of the Regional Grand Lodge of Southern India. In an exclusive interview with the Grand Master sought to demystify the Masonic Lodge. Arun Chintopanth in full regalia. Dont miss the apron. What is Free Masonry? It is not a service organisation. It is not a religious group. It is not a mutual benefit society but it is a combi…

Kerala Murals: The Dancing Narrative

Detail of the mural in the Pathy home in Coimbatore
Kerala Murals, once exclusive to the royal and sacred walls, instantly command your awe and reverence. The mesmerized beholder is then impelled into the realm of silence- transfixed by the play of Gods and Goddesses on the earthly walls.It is perhaps to create a genuflecting atmosphere that temples, palaces and churches in Kerala decorated their walls with intricate chumarchitrangal (murals) that told stories from the Mahabaratha, Ramayana, Puranas and the Bible. One of the most fascinating works of mural art is on the walls of the MattancherryPalace at Kochi which was probably executed in the late sixteenth century. It’s the Ramayana epic that seamlessly unfolds in the palliyara (royal bed chamber) on the upper half of the walls while the border is covered with simple textile designs that mural artists call veeralli pattu.Murals in the Mattancherry PalaceHowever this highly stylized art went out of fashion for most part of the twenti…