12th September 2014 – Cochin, India
He lay, waiting for the next coat of the pious green, And a shade of evil red, if he absolutely must. The colours say more about a person than ever, and sometimes, its not the face, its the paint that we trust.
I slept last night in a little-known town in Malapuram district, called Perinthalmanna. For a full room with an attached toilet, all of it costing me only 300 Rupees ($4.5). I might have spent more on electricity, if I was sleeping in my own house! I met with 2 college friends who lived in this area, and we joked about old times, and how I have barely changed.
Come morning, rode out to Guruvayoor, about 40 KMs away. Guruvayoor is one of the most famous temples of Kerala, and is renowned for its collection of elephants. They even hold an annual elephant run, like the famous bull-run of Pamplona. But I was mildly disappointed when I reached Guruvayoor around 11, for 2 reasons. For one, cameras were not allowed in the temple compound. And two, the elephants were not in their shed, probably taken for a walk or something.
With the temple episode not going too well, I rode another 110 KMs to Cochin. This old trade city, is still the most vibrant place in Kerala, and probably the hub of any tourist activity here. There are plenty of home stays in Fort Kochi, and really cheap. I settled into one, and left to see a Kathakali performance. Kathakali is a portmanteau word of Katha (story) and kali (play). It is a traditional dance-drama of Kerala, where stories from the Hindu epics are told in the midst of a lot of singing, dancing, and eye-brow movements. And with each character donning a heavy layer of make-up of 5 basic colours, each of which signifies a different character trait.
I was, somehow, more interested in the makeup session, than the actual dance.