I have come to the end of the line of my journey in south India. I have travelled to the southernmost tip of mainland India and reached Kanyakumari.
It is a tiny place with a little less than 30.000 inhabitants. When I get off the train, the first thing I realise is that the tracks go no further – this is literally the end of the line. The second thing I realise is that this is one windy place! Kanyakumari is popularly believed to be the point of convergence of three seas: The Lakshadweep Sea, Bay of Bengal and The Indian Ocean, but apparently – technically it only borders the Lakshadweep Sea. None the less you feel the presence of powerful natural forces, the giant waves crashing agains the rocks at the beach, and at night in the hostel you hear windows and doors banging – falling pray to the forces of the wind.
My first day in Kanyakumari is not so good. As a photographer I am a slave to light, and the first day here everything is so grey, and I feel miserable. I don’t know what to do with myself. My feet are itching to hit the streets to photograph, but the light is simply just not there. Fortunately by day two it clears up a bit, and day three a little bit of magic shows it self, but not for long though, so I move quickly and try to capture the story of the place.
But where the weather is lacking in warmth, the people here more than make up for it. People seem so curious about me, and for the first time ever in India I have someone pay a photographer to take his portrait with me, so that he can get a print of him and the white boy(!!) I meat Gita, a mute woman, who proofs that you do not need to be able to talk in order to communicate. She has such a warm personality and lightens my mood every day when I run into her at the beach.
I visit the nearby fishing village, which I think is the very definition of colourful. It is an explosion of colours, almost too many colours to capture in photographs.
Finally my ice cream addiction is replaced with an addiction to coconuts and fried cauliflower. Oh my god the fried cauliflower is nothing short of amazing. I consume an inhumane amount of cauliflower, while waiting for those little rays of sunshine.
All in all I had a very good time in Kanyakumari. It is a special feeling reaching the tip of India, and it is such a joy to see people relax here, play and enjoy themselves. I think it is a universal human trait, the need for unwinding and playing. We all spend so much time being serious and working hard, so it is inevitable the need for some release of all the tention.
And I see a lot of playfulness here. In the children playing cricket in the streets, in the business man getting his feet soaked in the water. I see it in the teenagers playing on the rocks far out in the water trying to resist falling of the rocks when the giant waves hits them, in the families throwing water at each other, in Gita posing in my photographs making the Thiruvalluvar statue look like as if it fits into her hands, and in the little boy playing by himself at the beach with his pink bucket.
I leave Kanyakumari feeling refreshed, slightly sentimental, wanting to return one day again.