Pausing the Russia travelogue to talk about an old trip
Having posted 25 stories over past 19 weeks talking exclusively about my trip to Russia, I thought of taking a healthy break and doing something else. Since I am terribly busy these days doing this and that, I have decided to take up a small project that was long overdue. In the next 5 posts (this one included), I will post about my 5-day trip to Kerala.
Kerala is a little communist state in South India that is well known for ayurvedic medicine, tourism and export of human capital. “God’s own country” is the slogan used by Kerala tourism board, and it sounded silly. But when I went there, I thought that claim to be true…
I hope you enjoy it. 🙂
Kerala travelogue: Day 1 of 5: From Mumbai to Kerala
Eventful departure… almost
I reached Mumbai airport directly from office and was relaxing in the waiting area comforted by air conditioning escaping the unrelenting monsoon rains outside. Suddenly a battery of police officers and airport authorities appeared and started evacuating passengers from inside the terminal. Apparently someone had placed a call warning about a bomb and one unidentified bag was spotted near the entrance gate. Bomb disposal squads were called to inspect the baggage while we waited outside the cordoned area. It turned out to be hoax, but during those ten minutes, the crowd was tense and I’m sure many were praying. There were some large cameras pointing at the glass windows trying to capture whatever they could. Media, sigh! I was imagining the news channels screaming ‘Breaking news‘ (they do this even if a cat is stuck on a tree).
Consequently our flight was delayed. Add to that the overcrowding at the security terminals. We managed to somehow scrape through and probably were the last ones to board the aircraft… cautiously evading evil looks from fellow passengers!
Welcome to Kerala
We landed at Trivandrum airport after a brief halt at Cochin (Kochi). The ground was damp, the sky was cloudy and the midnight air was fresh 🙂 Welcome to Kerala!
Thiruvananthapuram central rail station
A friendly pre-paid taxi took us to the town center where the railway station and bus station are situated. He did not ask for any extra money (!). We made some general enquiries about buses and chatted with some bystanders trying find a place to stay. It was well past midnight and the city was sleeping peacefully. We got into a lodge on MG road, negotiated the rent and finally booked the room to stay.
Feels like a different country
I am always fascinated by how India is like a country of countries. Just a few hours from Mumbai, crossing two states, and suddenly I am in a land of people of a different race (Dravidians), speaking a completely different language (Malayalam, it’s not even in the Indo-European family), very different food (called ‘south’ Indian – they ferment their grains instead of grinding and roasting them) and let me not get started on the cultural and religious practises (Hindus here eat beef and their Jesus Christ sits in a yogic posture… what???).