Maalaaga Trails by Sharon
Every traveller yearns to know more than what’s showcased on tourist maps. There is always an urge to know, what could be life in these parts? Both today and yesterday! A guided tour would show us anything and everything that’s listed in the itinerary and on the tourist map. Now that isn’t enough for the traveller me.
Maalaaga isn’t a guide; she is a curator, a destination curator to be precise. She bursts with stories passed down by generations. Being the Fourth generation Fort Cochinite, her tales are not just tell-tales but firsthand knowledge from great grandparents to her parents and the neighborhood she grew up in. These stories were lived through them and not the ones that evolved through many telltales and of course printed in many tour guides and itineraries.
The Colonial heritage of Fort Cochin has more to it than 15th century churches and 13th century Chinese fishing net legacy. Each street has a story, each quarters sing a different song, and each neighbourhood cook differently.
Maalaaga Trail takes you through the raw DNA of Fort Cochin. Her trail has stories hidden away or conveniently forgotten in the monotonous. Maalaaga is a local and she flaunts every element about Fort Cochin. May be she could show you something you haven’t seen before in Fort Cochin, or if you have already seen, you could see it again through a local’s perspective.
And, why is a local’s perspective significant to a traveller? Itineraries given to you by your tour operator or your hospitality provider could contain both unnecessary hyperbole and purposeful neglect of many features of the destination. A local’s perspective will always include those routes or spots which haven’t got enough world attention. A local may have more or a different story to add on to those spots which are already on the must see or do list. Locals will always have that list or choice of recipes or any nuances pertaining to the destination that was lost as it didn’t make it to the character or theme of the hotel or the promoter.
Walk the streets with Maalaaga for the legacy is rich, the vibe is contagious and the trail is incredibly universal. And find the answers to these: - What happened to Hortus Malabaricus? What is hidden in Bazaar road? What shocked the Portuguese Missionaries? Does Kappiri Muthappan still smoke cigars? Why is Papanji confined to flames?