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Welcome to India Part V: The Jones Experience

Monday, January 14th, 2008

After another restless night spent on a sleeper train, I awake at dawn. Light is pouring onto my face from the windows freshly opened across the aisle. As my eyes slowly adjust to the drastic change in contrast, I begin to notice the incredible scenery passing outside. I leap up and run to the open door of the coach to stare at the impressive landscape of Tamil Nadu. Under a baby blue sky patched with soft-pink clouds lie plains of vibrant green rice paddies, sparse palm trees, cobalt lakes, wind-power generators and distant rock protrusions. Words cannot describe the richness of color extending in all directions. The spirit of life overwhelms me and I step out the open door. The great rush of wind tries to loosen my hands from their tight grip on the ladder outside the train. But I hang on, resolutely determined to enjoy this rush of adrenaline and refreshing wake up call.    [read on]

Welcome to India Part IV: The Serene

Friday, January 11th, 2008

Light jazz eases its way out of the speakers. Not that Kenny G smooth-jazz BS, but rather the sophisticated classic styles of Dave Brubek, Billie Holiday and Chet Baker. The large cruising boat, stylized like a traditional Kettuvallam rice barge on the outside and an elegant colonial resort on the interior, gently floats through the sublime backwaters. Other than the light purr of the motor lightly vibrating the vessel, the only sounds from the surroundings are the ripples of water in our wake and the intermittent relentless demand for “One Pen” by children we pass on the riverbanks. The soothing audio effectively compounds with the relaxed pace of Kerala to fulfill all of the grand predictions of the house-boat experience. This is the truly a perfect setting to lose troubles and thoughts of the outside world.    [read on]

Lazily seeping down into Kerala

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

One week into the New Year, I regretfully say farewell to Ratnadeep, his amazing family and the unprecedented hospitality they blessed me with. It has been a spectacular few weeks that will never fade from memory, but also a wake up call that life is meant to be lived. So without glancing back, I board another epic thirty-hour train bound for the southern state of Kerala.    [read on]