I’m reminiscing about the winter of 2007, that I spent traversing the famous backwaters of Kerala and discovering the ways of southern India. Through my rusty memory, I remember the tranquility of the waters, the countless coconut trees along the coast, and a beautiful evening sky.
It’s hard to describe how a mountain child like me can be so fascinated by a water-logged channel in the backyard of Cochin. Think: a vast expanse of greenish-blue water, where the only ripples are those created by fish and ducks, and by the house boat on the deck of which you’re royally seated, greeted every now and then by a salty breeze. The palms occasionally give way to little coastal villages (the kind that usually feature in Kerala tour packages), one of which we stop at to watch elderly women weave ropes in their primitive ways.
The landscape barely changes for hours, and yet my eyes remain fixated on the water and the horizon beyond. An aura of serenity establishes itself on the boat; no chatter, no movement, just a silent rowing to no destination.
As the sun spots dissolve on the deck, I watch the sun tease the sky with its colors, before rapidly sinking into the horizon. I have seen mountain sunsets, but watching the sun sink low enough to prove that the earth is round, is something else.
At the first sign of darkness, stars fill the sky with their twinkling selves, and home-bound fishermen fill the backwaters with little boats and kayaks. Four years on, I can still reconstruct my memory of their darkened faces, their bright smiles, and their enthusiastic waves to us – travelers curiously discovering their