George Jacob

KOTTAYAM: It was in this obscure village that Ammu and Velutha realised their attraction for each other; it was here that Baby Kochamma fell in love with Fr. Mulligan. On the winding dirt roads you would come across a Comrade Pillai even today and might hear tales of KariSaipu.

Aymanam, or Ayemenem for most of the English language readers, is ‘Arundhati country’ as it was in this village on Vembanad Lake that the Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy based her novel ‘God of Small Things.’ Noted Malayalam short story writer Aymanam John too had told tales of this village.

While her sister village Kumarakom hogged all the limelight as one of the hottest tourism destinations in the world, Aymanam, which lies across the rivulet, had remained mostly in the fantasy world. Now the villagers want to tap its tourism potential.

Says K.K. Shajimon, the grama panchayat president, “This not just the fantasy land that comes alive in novels and short stories. There is much more to Aymanam village. In fact some of the more famous star hotels are situated in this panchayat though the credit goes to our more famous neighbour.”

The village has more than a kilometre of the lake shore, but the real scope for tourism lies in the scores of rivulets that pass through the village into the lake. According to him, with over 4,000 acres of paddy fields, the village can cater to farm tourism. Farming is vibrant in the village, once the hot bed of farm workers’ trade unionism and Communist struggles.