Nishi Malhotra

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Kerala Diaries 4/6: Art and Coffee in Trivandrum

  • Nishi Malhotra
  • Travel
  • July 9, 2020
  • (0)

Day 4: I went to the art gallery and art museum in Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) yesterday and completely fell in love with the works of Raja Ravi Varma. But the most incredible thing I saw was the ceiling of the Art Museum. It is exquisite and unique – completely different from anything I have seen in Europe, America or Northern India. I learnt that a visitor once told a curator of the museum: “I suggest you remove all the artefacts from this building. Because the building itself is an elegant object d’art and should be viewed singularly without any distractions.” The building is about 150 years old and was designed by the English architect Robert Chisholm who was sent to Trivandrum by Lord Napier, the Governor General of the then Madras Presidency. If you are ever in Trivandrum, please do not miss seeing the Napier Museum as it is known, and once inside don’t forget to look up!

The rest of the outing was spent picking up grocery provisions for M from different locations in the city. She was still under the weather and could not go out of the house to buy essentials like the fantastic Peaberry coffee that by now both of us were used to. Breakfast at the villa, which is included in my room charges, is either appams and stew, or toast with homemade jam. Both Indian and Continental breakfasts are however always accompanied by this aromatic coffee, served by Vasantha the cook, in her nightie.

Baijju could not find parking outside the tiny shop where they sell the coffee so he dropped me off at the entrance and began to circle the block in his car. Inside the shop I ran into a curmudgeonly Italian guy who said he is a friend of M’s. He kept shouting "Basta!" at the man behind the counter, which I later found out was not a cuss word but meant "enough" in Italian.

A bit of drama that happened in the morning before I left for the city was that the shower head in the bathroom just fell off on its own and almost brained me. The bathroom has a very interesting interior (yes, the bathroom!) but the antiquated fittings are not in good order. M had to call the plumber in and everything was a mess in my room. So make sure when staying in any place that is historic and old and pretty on the outside that at least the bathroom has been renovated and is modern.

More later...

(These Kerala diaries are from a trip I made to the Kovalam area in June 2017).

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