This is my second trip to Kanyakumari. Our start of the journey from Salem could not be considered highly auspicious, although there was no mishap except that I personally had to dispense with sleep for the night. The bus was good but fell short of the type with facilities like sleeping berths, as we were told. Yet the seats were better than the ones we were allotted in the Spicejet aircraft from Kolkata to Bangalore. By the time the bus reached Rameswaram, dawn was breaking with the eastern horizon indicating a faint orange glow. Here was a short break for emergency toilet, brushing of teeth or light breakfast or just a cup of tea/coffee. But the facilities for all such morning must do's were inadequate. But on journeys one has to make do with such inadequacies. This time we have no car with us and do not have the luxury of taking time according to our requirement.
We were now passing through a semi-arid area -or at least it seemed so because there was no crop in the field but some artificially created patches of forests. Strangely enough, there was a large car showroom in that apparently uninhabited place. The huge arms of wind turbines rotating slowly presented a spectacle unlike anything in our experience. Where the line of these huge devices ended in the distant horizon could not be seen.
By this time the sun was up and gradually the bus was making its way through markets, small villages, wholesale centres where farm produces are stored in huge piles. One unique pattern was the leafy surrounding of such stores of tremendous height where perishable produces could be stored. As the bus neared our destination, the topography changed over time. There were water bodies with lilies and lotuses. Strangely, hyacinths which have concentration in profusion in our part were hardly to come by in water bodies.
As we approached nearer, I became aware of the thrill and a sense of self-discovery I experienced when I first set foot on the southernmost tip of the landmass called the Indian subcontinent in 1996. Will my son and daughter feel the same way? I pondered. But by this time we were dead tired and our biological need was overpowering. Gnawing hunger, sleeplessness and time lapse took over our mortal selves. It was 9:40 am when we reached the bus station from where, we were told, we have to travel another 20 or so kilometres to look for our accommodation at the Vivekananda Centre. But the drive seemed to be unending and although the drive was on a narrow road winding through corn fields in pleasant weather, we were in no mood to enjoy the drive. Moreover, we had no prior reservation for rooms and therefore were not free from anxiety. If there was no room available at this time of summer school vacation in India! Language barrier almost cost our car facility we were entitled to with the bus tickets. We were actually bargaining for the bus company's car that was supposed to take us to Kanyakumari, forgetting that our driver repeatedly reminded us not to pay for the car ride. But for the bus driver's timely intervention, we were saved from the extra hassle. They asked Tk 700.00 for taking us to our resort but now could ride without paying a single rupee.
Fortunately for us we got two rooms of moderate facilities. But the rooms were on the ground floor and they had no shower but at that moment we were not in a state of mind to complain. We got ourselves ready for lunch because we had to skip our breakfast, the time of which was over there. We had no energy left and time to go out and have breakfast outside of the centre. But the environment was soothing. There were neem trees all around. The calm, quiet and peaceful place immediately started acting as a healing influence on our minds. The day is reserved for rest. Yet we wanted to the sea front where piles of rocks have been serving as a bridge and quay there. But time has changed. In 1996, there was no restriction to a walk to that point but now only in the early morning access to the spot is allowed for viewing the sunrise. We are ready to wait for the morning next.