A Glimmering Backwaters Memory

A Happy Memory from December’19

My standard recipe for a trip home with my family looks like this: Wake up at the crack of dawn (read 6:00 am)/ Sip on a cup of hot Bournvita while nibbling on a piece of bread slathered with a thick layer of homemade butter/ Shower and wear my most comfortable clothes (advice for any long drive on Kerala roads)/ Watch mum pack nibbles for the drive, which includes fruits, chocolates, snacks like murukku, unniyappam, ethakyappam, and cushions/ Watch dad clean the car, align the rear-view mirrors and check the tire pressure/ Open the gates wide, load our pet hatchback/ Hug grandparents and reassure them that we will be back soon! Get comfortable in the car, tune the radio and the air conditioner/ Make mandatory rest-stops at roadside KTDC or Indian Coffee House for the best masala dosa and filter coffee/ Take in as many shades of green I can on the way…..and we are home!

Phew! Quite the journey.

What made the trip in December of 2019 particularly memorable was the detour to the backwaters behind our house. We parked our car by a bridge and walked around, taking in the sights of life by the river. Lush green paddy fields flanked either side of the tributary, mothers bathed giggling children in the water, sinewy boatsmen steered snakeboats, flocks of ducks waded purposefully through the waters and, a sense of calm reverberated through the air. A little later, dad requested a boatsman to give us a tour of the backwaters, and just when I thought the day could not get any better, we had another hour of light-hearted conversations, brilliantly changing skies, and gentle gurgling of the water.

While in lockdown, I often go back to that time through my mind’s eye. This watercolor rendition of the most beautiful scene from that day is a product of my musings.

15 thoughts on “A Glimmering Backwaters Memory

  1. Dear Terry

    Congrats for becoming an author and posting your first painting. I could feel the quiet sound of the gentle water in your story. What a lovely story about a trip to the backwaters. Not many places have backwaters and hence it’s truly an experience.

    I hope you will post more of your paintings and stories. Thank you.


  2. Hi, I love your beautiful painting and your vivid and colourful description of the backwaters behind your house.

  3. How very nice to see a new painter posting on this site. And such a lovely painting too! I really enjoy the style of the painting and the tranquility it transmits. The story is also very touching and makes me reminisce about past trips that I have made as a child, especially trips to the beach – my father driving a VW beetle, my mom on the front passenger seat holding her small black and white TV on her lap, and my two brothers and I squeezed in the back seat with our dog alternating between our laps. Always A LOT of chatter on our way down as we were so very excited to be going to the beach. On the way back, same set-up, but NO chatter at all – we were all exhausted from all the fun we had in the sun :-).

  4. Thank you for sharing your memory, Allan! I can picture all of you 😊
    I’m happy you like my painting, I keep thinking I should have a lighter, more fluid touch, especially when painting the sky!

  5. Saw this painting and this write up . Brilliant work . 🙏. That painting with the beautiful, multi hued horizon is really “ dripping” of Kerala backwater …. In and out 💐.
    Excellent write up to accompany.

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