Nagercoil Diaries – Day 7

Today was a long day with a laundry list of stuff to do. We were supposed to leave home by 9 AM to head to the bride’s home so we could pick up her sister and visit her husband’s home. As usual we were late, we reached there only after 10 AM. The cab we had booked for today had a slow driver, he drove at snail’s pace! Over the journey I’m worried about how this is going to work out for all the stuff we have planned for today.

The drive was scenic. Everywhere I turned my head around, all I saw was greenery and water bodies. I was just immersing myself in this natural beauty, which I had never witnessed before. I am such a nature loving person, always looking for a natural spot to bask in, and for me, those views were like a dream come true.

After a 40 minutes drive we finally reached the young couple’s home. What a lovely location to have a home in. There were no other homes nearby. The home itself was on a huge plot. Loads of outdoor space, just the way me and my hubby love it. They have a few pets. They had loads before but couldn’t manage them. Their home was huge, with an elegant and beautiful stairway to one side of it, near which the sofas were placed. The home didn’t have too many furnitures, which made it appear neat and pleasant. We loved the look of it. The home was completely self-designed by this young girl’s husband. We sat and spoke for a while. I admire the demeanour of the guy’s mother. She was so humble and soft spoken and had accepted her daughter in law with no strings attached. Hence, I held her in very high esteem. I wish there were more women like these, who didn’t follow the crowds and their conventional ways and dared to be different, making the world a better place.

We ate some snacks and then headed upstairs to look around the home. Behind their home was vast, vacant, green land. Most of it belonged to them. The front balcony had a view to die for. It overlooked a mountain range and the greenery preceding it. The light misty appearance was extremely captivating. My heart was sold to this place. I wanted to live in a home with a similar view and surroundings. I’ve hated city life for as long as I can remember. Nagercoil will be one place that I won’t be letting go of easily. We clicked snaps and made memories and we invited them to make a trip to Dubai. We took leave.

We were back off to the bride’s home to drop her sister and from there we would be heading off to Kanyakumari. Many folks adviced us to visit the Eco Park on the way to Kanyakumari. But the rate at which this driver was driving, we’d be lucky if we even made it to Kanyakumari on time for the boating ride. Folks told us that the boating ticket counters closed by 3 PM. It was already past 12 PM as we started our ride to Kanyakumari. My MIL said it should take about 2 hours to reach. In my mind, I was wondering if we’d make it before 3 PM. By around 2 ish we crossed Eco Park. My heart broke for not being able to visit the place. We were rushing to Kanyakumari so that we wouldn’t miss the boating ride. We finally make it to the venue by 2:30 PM. It was scorching hot. To our dismay the ticket counters were overcrowded. It was so overwhelming especially with small kids. There was a VIP counter where each ticket cost 150 rupees more but saved us the hassle of having to wait in a queue to board the boat. But we opted out. We felt all the extra money wasn’t worth it. But boy were we mistaken! It was Sunday, it was vacation time and the queue to board the boat kept twisting and turning endlessly like a long snake basking in the sun. I am glad they had access to the restroom even in the middle of infinity queue, because my bladder would have popped if otherwise. One thing I hate is holding my pee while I go about doing other stuff, so I am relieved to have an empty tank. It eventually took us 2 hours to reach the end of the snake-like queue. The kids were absolutely fed up, we were exhausted and had depleted all our snacks (boiled eggs and chips) and drinks.

The way the whole boating scenario was being managed was nothing short of chaos. We were split into two groups of men and women. The waters were raging, so much so that the boat parked beside the platform we were standing on, was tossing up and down, and sent out a huge splash to greet us. When the doors of the boat opened, we ran like we would for our lives. The crowd was as boisterous as the sea. Everyone was running helter-skelter. There were no proper instructions, no people responsible to help put the futile life jackets on for kids and women with infants and yet there were men screaming loudly to grab one and put it on before jumping onto the rusty, old boat. The funny, shapeless jackets that seemed like mere props in a show really got me wondering what their safety standards were. Kids were running all around. I swear I felt scared at many points before boarding this aged vessel, wondering what would have happened if one of my kids got pushed into the sea or got lost in this maniac crowd. Thank God we were safe and we were seated. There was an unfortunate crowd that had to actually stand through this journey. I was not really enjoying the ride but I was trying to make the most of it. There was a strong wind and the seas were rough. It was a bit scary to ride on this vessel as it got tossed and turned with the boisterous waves. I finally got a feel of what it was like to be sea-sick because the way the vessel moved in water made me feel nauseous. It was a 5 minute ride. My husband was stuck somewhere behind us with one of our kids. We reached Vivekananda Rock. Getting off was another chaos and I was tense for my kids because there was so much commotion. Finally when we decided to go up and look around they asked us to pay again and we decided it wasn’t worth viewing for additional money, so we clicked a few snaps and because we turned around immediately we got into an express entry line for boarding the boat back. The view from that rock was amazing. I have never visited places like this. The sea was beautiful in all its glory. The wind, waves are all reminders of what a beautiful world, an amazing God created. We boarded the boat as soon as it arrived and we all sat together this time and I was finally able to take a video of all of us. We had a peaceful ride back. I did enjoy the ride on the vessel this time. I loved watching the aggressive sea. We reached our starting point and as we walked back we stopped at a few places to take a few pics.

We walked out slowly, we were knackered and also in intense hunger. As we were stepping out of the boating area entrance, we spotted a vendor selling sugar cane juice. It was very refreshing, we all had a glass. It was interesting to watch how the vendor made the juice using his machine. Along with the sugar cane he also pushed in some ginger and lemon which added a lovely taste. Then we got into the car and as we drove by we were looking for places where we could eat. We tried at one place that looked decent but there was no food available there. The driver then took us to a useless restaurant where there were no people and out of desperation we actually ended up eating there and deeply regretted for doing so. The dosas we had were made of stale batter and tasted crap. We consoled ourselves by deciding to have dinner at a good restaurant.

Our next destination was the sunset point in Kanyakumari. The car dropped us off somewhere on top and we had to walk downhill. The scenic walk was beautiful, with large boulders to the left and waves crashing against them. We kept walking downhill and reached the point where the sunset was clearly visible. There was a mob everywhere we turned and it was hard for us to find a place to perch and relax. We had to do a bit of walking to reach a spot with two big rocks and finally we sat down to enjoy the sunset.

The view wasn’t that great because of a few people and stalls obstructing our vision. But we were too tired to move around and find a spot. The kids were having fun running around and enjoying themselves. Me and my hubby were clicking pictures and enjoying the view. I felt elated to stand at the southern tip of India. As time went by and the sun was about to set, everyone’s focus fixated on the sun and its magnificence. The sky had a light orange tint as the sun was setting. The sunset wasn’t too clearly visible as there were some small clouds near the horizon, so we didn’t really catch the sun drop down all of a sudden, but witnessed a kind of slow fading. It was beautiful nonetheless. But as the sun set, it started getting dark and we made our way back up to the road and called up our driver to come pick us up.

It must have been around 6ish. The plan was to have dinner at a decent hotel before returning home. On the way, me and my husband tried to see if we could visit any other places since we’d come all the way and it would be a shame to waste the remaining time we had left in the evening. We stopped at a certain 3D show place and enquired about the tickets but the rates were too high and the place would close for the day in about an hour. We decided not to go. That’s when I remembered one of Raj’s cousins telling me to visit the wax museum near Kanyakumar railway station. We asked the driver to head there. We got the tickets and went it. We were greeted immediately by Mr. Amithab. I must say we had a lot of fun posing with wax statues of the great and famous like Albert Einstein, Shah Rukh, Mother Teresa, Mr. Modi, Arnold, etc. We did two rounds of clickng pictures with these folks since the first time around the photos didn’t turn out so great. A small boy from the museum assisted us the second time.

There was a room where we could click pictures against 3D paintings done on the walls and floors, which made it appear like we were within the scenery. It was amazing. The manager of the place had her kids around, and one of them came around and helped us click some of the pictures. There were a few lovely paintings too. We had a lot of fun there. We must have spent a good 1.5 hours there. We finally used their restrooms, said thank you, waved goodbye, and left.

We went out to eat dinner at a decent place and then headed home. We were knackered. But it was one of the best days of our trip! We did so much and really had fun doing all of it. We did skip visiting Ecopark which came by highly recommended, but that’s on our bucket list for next time, just like the loads of other stuff we’ve got on there.

I know that in the future, when my kids read this blog, they will reminisce these with a smile on their face. What a memorable day indeed! 💛


Nagercoil Diaries – Day 6

It was already day 6 and we had hardly visited the numerous placed we had planned to sightsee before getting to Nagercoil. We also had not visited one of my FIL’s siblings and my MIL was very worried because on multiple occassions she attempted to visit this aunt and for some reason she wouldn’t be able to make it. I assured her that this trip we will make it happen.

As usual mornings are a slow start for us with the kids. By the time we get ready it is almost always afternoon or evening. We decided to go visit this aunty by hook or crook today. It was quite a distant ride. On the way my MIL showed us a lot of the places she had known as a child. She spoke of how so much had changed since then. Change is the inevitable.

We reached that aunty’s home quite late in the evening around 7ish. Aunty and uncle were elated to see us after a long time. The last I saw them was at our wedding and here we were now with our kids and all. We spent some time chatting, ate some yummy snacks and had some lovely tea. Aunty kept insisting that next trip we must do a stay over at her place. She wanted to spend more time with the kids. We promised her that we’d make a longer trip next time and stay over at everyone’s home. All the old people had one common feeling and that was loneliness. Their kids were all away and busy and had very little time to spend with their parents. This left the aged people longing for company. It felt very upsetting indeed and I silently wished people didn’t have to be this busy.

We must have spent about 2 hours there and we finally took leave. It was quite late and the drive home was quite a long one and hence we decided to eat outside and head home. We came to Nagercoil city where my MIL recommended a nice restaurant where they had regularly dined in their earlier days. We went there and had some scrumptious food. The kids were also very hungry by the time we reached there. The food was very nice, only too spicy for me. As we left the restaurant one akka met us outside to drop off some stuff for her son who lives in Dubai. She also got us some traditional homemade snack. We tried it at home the next day and it was delicious. After this we headed home and retired for the day.


Nagercoil Diaries – Day 5

It was a lazy start to the morning but there was no time to rest. Today is my child’s birthday and that called for special food to be prepared. I decided to make biryani and my husband went out to buy all the necessaries. Once he came home and dropped those off, his cousin came and he left for some snack shopping. It was just me and a few others who helped prep for the biryani. It was my first time preparing biryani at someone else’s home so it was a bit difficult figuring out which vessels to use and which cups to use for measurement. Also, I was preparing a much larger quantity than usual. It was challenging. The quality of foodstuff in Nagercoil is amazing. The meat was fresh and tender, the veggies so fresh. Because of this the Biryani turned out delicious. I also made some raita to go along with it. However, I finished cooking only by 3 PM. Meanwhile my husband got a birthday cake which we would manage to cut only after 3 days.

We had another function to attend at the bride’s place. Initially I had decided not to go and told my MIL. But she suggested I come since I’ve not seen this function when I grew up. This time we were going to visit the groom’s family and have a look at their home and then attend the reception from their side. The function was supposed to start by 6 PM when the bride’s family was supposed to take a lot of snacks in big steel vessels to the groom’s home and also deliver furniture as gifts to the newly married couple. However we were so late, we reached the bride’s home very late, by 7 PM. There were huge steel vessels with lots of snacks, all ready and packed to send to the groom’s home. The bride’s father had gone out for some last minute purchase and hadn’t returned yet. We waited for a long time during which we ate, talked and did a whole lot of stuff. Finally the bride’s father came home and we all left for the function only by 9 PM. We went in our own hired car. The drive was quite some distance and we finally reached the groom’s home.

We entered the home to look around. This was part of a tradition in a Nagercoil Christian wedding. The home was nice and big and as soon as we entered we were given some “chukku kaaphi” (masala coffee) and some murukku. Then we were asked to move around the home and look at all the different rooms and spaces. The couples’ room upstairs felt very luxurious. The home itself was very simple and neat. There was a small lawn on the outside. Once we finished looking around we headed to the reception hall for the reception from the groom’s side.

When we reached the reception hall, at the entrance were a group of traditional drummers banging and making a terribly loud noise, such that one’s eardrums would burst. It was the worst possible noise one could hear. Since we were from the bride’s side they banged the drums even more harder once we reached there. I went upstairs to sit down in the hall just to avoid the noise. The rest of my family was downstairs doing random things. When they all came up, the drummers came along with them and me and my baby’s poor ears were wrecked. It was horrible and within the hall the sound was amplified 10 times more. We found no way to escape the noise. I tried walking far away from where the band was, but it was of no use. When the show finally ended the girl’s family folks had all arrived.

I joined them and went onto stage to meet the couple. We took some snaps and then headed off for dinner. The hall was non-AC and thankfully I didn’t come dressed up in fancy wear. I saved myself some real inconvenience that way. The food was actually good. We all ate and finally stepped out where the band put on their final show before they left. It was actually quite amusing to watch. Outdoors, their sounds didn’t kill our ears. They are professional drummers and sounded very nice. They seemed very passionate about drumming. It was a lovely performance indeed and I enjoyed it.

On our way out we met one of my husband’s cousin and his wife. They asked us to visit their home sometime. They requested us to stay longer for one more function that would take place shortly where the bride’s side would gift the groom and his siblings some gold. It was called “surul”. It was a traditional practice where they would all sit down together and do these things. I really wanted to stay and watch as this was my first time but my MIL said it would get too late for us to head home. Also, we were going to visit one of her sisters on the way back home as they lived very close to where the reception hall was located. So we took leave from everyone.

My MIL’s sister’s home was located in a place that looked so much like an adventure trail. A big trench in the centre of the path and two very narrow stretches on either side for vehicles to commute and then there were homes’ entrances lined up just after that. Beyond the narrow path no vehicles could move along. There was hardly any room for them to turn even. Some homes were way inside narrow pathways. We had to walk a similar route for about 3 minutes, in pitch dark with our phone torches on to reach this aunty’s home. The path was stony and we had to keep checking if everyone walking behind and ahead of us were okay. My hubby’s cousins guided us along the path. It all felt like we were reaching some enchanted home in the middle of a magical forest. It was a very queer experience indeed. I wonder what it would have felt like if we had made it to this place in broad daylight. The home was small but it felt like my dream home, planted in the middle of nowhere (well not actually) and surrounded by lush greenery (although we couldn’t enjoy it as it was pitch dark). They said that there was a huge variety of trees in their backyard. Our bladders were on the verge of explosion and so we all made a quick visit to the restroom which was actually outside the home in the backyard. Reminded me of my mom’s village and my experiences there. Scary ones! We sat for a while and chatted with everyone, aunty, uncle and their sons. It was nice to get acquainted with everyone. We took leave shortly as it was already very late and we still had to journey home. We had to walk back along the same narrow trail, making sure every one following us was alright. Once we managed to come out of the pitch dark trail, we were relieved. Personally, I was scared of thieves and snakes. Finally we got into our cars, waved goodbye and left back to our home. It was an unforgettable day indeed. We were so knackered we slept like logs.


Nagercoil Diaries – Day 4

We were so tired with the previous day’s adventure that we had a slow start to the day. But today is an important day. Today is the wedding. As usual we had our lunch and got ready. The humid weather did not favour the costumes we were in. We were sweating terribly.

The car came at around 3:30 PM. We headed straight to church. We reached there about 4 PM. The bride and groom had not yet arrived. In church, we found a place to sit beside some of my husband’s relatives, but my stay inside was hardly 15 minutes. The heat made the kids cranky and they weren’t amused with the size of the crowd either. The AC in the car saved the day! It was a long wait in the car for the wedding service to get over. It was a Catholic wedding so I wasn’t even familiar with whatever I was able to view from the car. It was Greek and Latin to me. Once the service got over, one of my hubby’s aunts came to meet us in our car. After that we left the church. Just as we were leaving, we caught a glimpse of the new BMW car that was being gifted to the groom, drive in. Weddings in India are still what it was a decade ago, when I got married – a massive financial transaction.

On the way I got extremely hungry, so we drove past the reception hall to a shop near the outskirts of the city where they were frying fresh banana chips. I’ve never eaten them freshly friend in coconut oil before. We got some murukku as well. The chips was delicious. So we temporarily filled up our stomach with these stuff. We entered the reception hall parking area. The hall was massive. I’ve never seen a reception hall this huge and well decorated. It was superior and of a different magnitude than what I had imagined. However the weather was stuffy and didn’t really help in keeping us presentable for pictures.

Outside, to the other side of the parking lot there were loads of stalls, servings a variety of stuff including pop corn, bajji, pakoras, juice, cotton candy, tandoori chicken, shawarma, etc. There were crowds of people stuck to the stalls resembling a swarm of bees buzzing around their honeycomb. But I think that’s where this wedding lost the charm of meeting and greeting with near and dear ones. The place was so huge and many were binging at the stalls while some had even gone to the dining hall and finished dinner. We hardly met all the people my mother in law had planned to introduce me to. We even missed her sister who had come for the reception, such was the size of the place. To be honest, despite the grandiosity of the place and the variety of items one could eat there, it lacked organization and a streamlined flow of events, one thing I had seen so consistently in the many, many weddings I had attended during my younger years with my grandparents. Everyone was doing something random and no one was focused on a single event at any given point in time. Half the people had finished dinner, met the couple and left by the time we even made an entry into the reception hall. This didn’t sit well with me. Anyway, I was tired managing my kids so it didn’t really bother me too much. We had some juice at the stalls, we ate some cotton candy and also tried some chicken tandoori. We didn’t find anything to be worthy of mention. The chicken wasn’t cooked properly, but people were thronging at the stall like they hadn’t seen food in ages, so one cannot blame the chefs. We bumped into a few known people and then headed into the reception hall. Since it was so crowded at the reception hall we decided to go finish dinner before going on stage to meet the couple and present their gift.

The dining hall was massive with multiple rows of seating. The food again was very average. The raw pineapple slice is what stood out amongst all the other dishes. The most sweetest ever. The biryani was extremely spicy so me and my kids took a pass. I ate the meat pieces alone. Once we were done with dinner, we came out and crossed the ice cream counter. My husband promised to buy the kids some nice ice cream outside and asked us to skip this one, which we did. We went into the reception hall to greet the couple and give them their present. The hall was empty because most people had left but the queue to access the stage was very long, it made my head spin. No one was present to assist in getting people with small kids to access the stage sooner. All this made me feel like the event wasn’t well planned and organized. Finally we waited more than 45 minutes to reach the stage. The air-conditioning system for such a massive wedding hall was terrible to say the least. With our heavy outfits and the stuffy weather, by the time we reached the stage, we looked like we had walked across the Sahara to get on. The photographers had so many drones flying but when we finally saw our picture after 2 months, we looked crap. They had clicked exactly when my eyes had gone half shut and my mother in law had turned to look at something else. Great photography skills! We met the bride and groom, I loved her saree the most. This was when I actually got to see her properly. A lovely, unique bluish-green and peach combination. She looked all pretty decked up. We gave her her gift, congratulated and blessed the couple and got down. The wedding reception was over and it was time to head home. I was glad, because my outfit was killing me.

On the way home we got some ibaco ice cream and thoroughly enjoyed it. We then headed home. I had some snacks to eat at home because I completely skipped the biryani. Then we all retired to bed. It was a very tiring day indeed and a very strangely memorable one.