Friday, 4 May 2007


April disappeared in a complete whirlwind, and with it I am not sure how many miles or kilometres. Then I blinked and May is disappearing too. So sit tight while I put it all together ………………………..

The southernmost tip of India is Cape Comorin at Kanyakumari and is renown as the point where three oceans meet – the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. At this spot crowds gather every year in to greet the monsoon as it reaches India. It is also a part of the coast where the tsunami struck really badly, particularly from Kanyakumari along the southern coast up towards Trivandrum.

My trip to KK (as it is called) started with a dash to the train station to catch the evening train from Chennai. Evening starts quite early here and I have even heard 4 pm called evening. My train was at a respectable 5.25 pm and as I settled into my berth I phoned my colleagues who had left the evening before, to confirm I was on my way. I had that comfortable feeling you have when you know you are getting off at the final stop so no worries about delays and recognising the right station. Until I was told that I had to alight half an hour before KK town itself at a place called something I couldn’t make out. Finally we worked out that it was Nagercoil and that I would reach around 6 the following morning. Just as well I had phoned!

The journey was pleasant – particularly as I was reading a book set on the Bangalore express to Kanyakumari, and also because the TT (Ticket T-something) official told me I could sleep in the lower berth – seeming because of my age – well thank you anyway! Rather more comfortable!

We rolled into a station just before 6 in the morning, and my anxiety started me thinking this was my stop, even though it was well before the due time. It was still dark, but within a few minutes the sky was becoming lighter and turning pink. I could make out hills which rather surprised me, and a forest of windmills – of all different sizes. The landscape really surprised me – I had expected flat land and this was lush paddy, palm trees and the lower part of the Easter Ghats range.

Our work took us to many of the tsunami affected villages over the following two days, but the context was very different to Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

My colleagues returned to Chennai and I stayed on for further discussions, returning back via Trivandrum a day later. On the way back we stopped off at Kovalam Beach and I was treated to
one of my favourite sights in India – swimming and paddling fully clad. It is lovely to watch people having such fun in the water, and of course modesty is totally maintained for the Indian context.

Then back to Chennai to sit my wee suitcase in the corner of the bedroom for two days before it headed off again………..

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