When we stayed in army quarters, we had a Keralite neighbour who would describe Kerala like how it really is – God’s own country and often compared it to Shillong, the place that we were previously posted and which was and still is very close to our heart. To this day, Shillong is my dream destination for various reasons and will always be. I will dedicate another post for Shillong 🙂 and dedicate this one only for Kochi.
I always wanted to visit Kerala and made several plans but they all went kaput. Probably, you are destined to travel at a certain time and my time came during Easter. Kerala being predominantly a Christian population, I was hoping to catch the festivities in this place just like I had done in Melaka, Malaysia. I had loved the experience there and was looking for something similar here.
The train journey
I decided to travel by train to get the beautiful view of the countryside. Moreover, it was long since I traveled by train and totally loved the experience of meeting strangers, buying stuff from train vendors and staring into oblivion from the window seat. I think my love for trains and travel started from childhood when we traveled from one posted location to another and my dad reading out every station name. The closer we reached our destination, the more excited I got. When we traveled from Shillong to Hyderabad, it took us 3 days and countless caves and rivers to reach. When the train finally halted at the station, my sister read out the station name before I could and it upset me for a very long time. Talk about being competitive and sibling rivalry. But having just passed out 1st standard, it wasn’t really easy to read out Secunderabad fast 😄.
I witnessed the usual scenes of emotional send offs, porters carrying heavy luggage, vendors selling and customers bargaining and some passengers making their last minute purchases. Saw some young girls come to see off their friends – all malayalis and nurses at big corporate hospitals. It was a smooth journey as they were extremely nice and friendly. This set my expectations for all malayalis that I would meet in Kochi. Being summer, I stocked up many bottles of cold water and ordered food from the railway pantry. The food was decent and much above my expectation. Come evening, you are served samosa, cutlet and piping hot tea or coffee. What amazed me is how the railways keeps track of the order and delivers to the dot without making a mistake in the order. They take the money just before few stations from our destination. How efficient is the process? It’s all on paper!
Reached Kochi and took an Uber to our hotel. The hotel owner greeted and gave the keys to the room, which was pretty spacious. The window opened to a big bungalow and I remembered what my Keralite friend had said about Keralites having huge houses. What I noticed was most houses were white with brown windows and had almost the same pattern. How I wished I had a similar house in Kochi. I got ready quickly to explore Kochi on foot. I must say Kochi does come close to Shillong with all the greenery, churches and English speaking literate population.
To see what I did in Kochi, see my next post https://ataleofmillioncities.wordpress.com/2019/04/29/places-to-see-in-kochi/.