Kanyakumari passed by in a blur; a sort of introduction to the Indian west coast terrain. I spent a lot of time gawking at the ocean, at the massive skies and clicking pictures of coconut trees. The culture shock is immense. It challenged at least 4 of my 5 senses.
Today, Pabla and I leave, moving up the coast further towards Kerala.
On the last day in kanyakumari, Anburaja finally turned up.
I had discovered him through Couchsurfing back when I was still in Delhi. Anbu told me that even if he couldn't help me out with stay, he'd definitely show me around his hometown. The first time I met him was when the Thirukkural express pulled to a stop at the Nagercoil station for 20 minutes, before chugging away to Kanyakumari. Anbu had taken some time off a friend's wedding and had come to say hi
At the time it felt just right because the south with its breeziness and picnic perfect sunlight seemed like the best place for a vacation. Even Pabla is chilling here, and everyone on the train was returning home on vacation and even Anbu was in high spirits, all gleeful about the wedding. It felt as though all beach cities are simply meant for enjoying life. And I was quite bummed when he was stuck at work for the next few days. The idea of office so close to the ocean seemed unfair.
Today, he drove up in his white car (Swift, was it?) from Nagercoil, with his hand still wrapped in a plaster owing to a bike accident. He has bunked office to show me and Pabla around - true to his word, Anburaja Murugesan. He offered to drop us first all the way to Sangukara beach and then even to Muttom which is almost 60 kilometers away from Kanyakumari.
Anburaja played in the car from a hit Tamil film, Irudhi Suttru, which has also been dubbed in Hindi. Turned out I had heard it before. You can listen to the song along with our chatter here. Or can check out the kickass official video here. Or can get some giggles with this really cute remake.
The day was blessed with the comfort of a car and a host who spoke Tamil and knew the place only as a native can. This meant all the right spots, all the right snacks and even correct choice of chenthengu (coconut) water.
So, like all perfect days must begin, ours began with a belly filling brunch (of course at Pappu Tiffin Center) before pilling into Anbu's car. And then after a few minutes of confused driving around sunny, breezy, busy Kanyakumari, we were on the way to the Vattakottai Fort.
The Vattakottai (meaning Circular) Fort is an 18 th century coast defense structure and was part of the Travancore kingdom. Made of granite blocks, the fort has massive lawns with a profusion of water sprinklers and some water tanks with many hungry fishes that gather around every time you are close by, almost anticipating your fall. But they don't look so harmful.