India is not an easy place to get a grasp on in a few days. From the crowded southermost tip at Kanyakumari to the relatively chilled-out streets of Fort Cochin, it’s a puzzle and not a place I find easy to write about. And if the south is supposedly India’s laidback cousin, I can’t even imagine the crowds elsewhere.
But the jewel-greens are just as bright as promised and the backwaters shimmer under mellow sunsets. The knarled boulders of the far end of the Western Ghats are a welcome surprise along the road to the country’s end.
Sunday in Kanyakumari brings thousands of daytrippers and local families streaming down to the waterfront to catch a ferry over to two holy islands, which mark the southernmost tip of India. It’s not a quiet Sunday stroll.
A screaming women harangues the young mother who won’t buy any of her wooden beads. Black-robed pilgrims immerse themselves in the murky depths of the Indian Ocean, far from a picture-postcard turquoise here.
It’s like being thrown into icy water; a shock at first, but take a little time to acclimatise and everything starts to come back into focus.
It’s good to be moving again.