Monthly Archives: August 2012

Goes to Cochin, with the most comfortable waiting room I’ve ever spent an hour and a half in.

I didn’t make up the tagline—the southwestern state of Kerala itself clams the divine’s exclusive favor, all over road signs and tourist materials. It’s actually somewhat apt, given the strength of four major religions here, and their relatively peaceful coexistence. Less literally, Kerala is quite the tropical paradise, and might rank second only to the Taj Majal in the number of visitors it attracts within India, both domestically and from abroad.

That’s partly why the state appears astonishingly prosperous, with a notable absence of slums in the urban cores and along the highways. It’s not the only reason, though. A lot of the money flowing through Kerala comes from overseas: Somewhere down the line, the state became a leader in the number of young folks it sends to the Gulf states, where they work on oil tankers or as domestic servants. It’s also got the highest literacy rate in the country, creating a strong educated class that contributes to the skilled Indian population in America and Europe. All the while, they’re sending money back, or coming home to retire (the banks have signs that say “welcome back NRIs!” or non-resident Indians). Read More