Posted by: cochinblogger | April 4, 2011

Cosmopolitan Cochin

When I came to Cochin in 1991, it seemed like a temporary move. Little did I dream that I would make this town (coming from Calcutta, Cochin seemed little more than a small town) my home. Cochin grew on me gradually. Today, I cannot imagine living elsewhere.

I was reminded of this mental transition when I read the following in the book The Love Queen of Malabar by Merrily Weisbord (on her friendship with Kamala Das). How many inhabitants of Cochin are aware of the glorious past of the city they live in?

Chugging home on the ferry to Cochin, we pass barges, huge container ships, geared vessels with sculptural cranes, a police launch, and the giant metal chutes, conveyors, and loading booms that front the storage sheds along the shoreline of Willingdon Island. Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh is set in Cochin, one of the world’s oldest, most cosmopolitan trading centers, and Amitava Ghosh’s In an Antique Land evokes Cochin’s twelfth-century trading height at a time when Jews, Arabs, Hindus, and Muslims [Christians too] found modes of accommodation, and difference did not necessarily mean conflict. “Kerala was introduced to Europe from the first century AD,” Balan once reminded me, “so an international sensibility was part of Kamala’s inheritance.”

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Responses

  1. When I first came to Fort Cochin in 2006 it was for just 3 days: part of a 3 week tour of India.
    I fell in love with the place – and now I live here!


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