Cochin, or Kochi; in God’s Own Country, and nothing less than the biggest city – what is to be expected?
Broadway Market is suggested as the first stop. A creaking ferry from a God-forsaken jetty, a brief waterside walk, and we reach our destination.
It is a low-key market, congested, crowded, getting ready for Christmas. But it’s a ‘poor state’ and you can give this much of leeway. You are back in the cottage and it’s the end of the day. The first tryst with Cochin is nothing to remember.
The morning sun changes all that. You wake up and you discover what bliss is. Now you don’t regret having spent so much on sea-side cottages; now you don’t berate yourself for having included Cochin in you six-day Kerela itinerary; now, you fall crazily in love with the view outside your window; now, you just want to sit and gaze tenderly at these backwaters that stretch before your eyes, and want to follow the lonesome ship till it disappears behind a distant island. Cochin makes you hear its silence.
As you get ready to leave your cottage, a half-buried memory resurfaces: a wooden cottage, out on the sea, white curtains, white sunshine… it’s not creaking under Blue Lagoon inspired adolescent fantasies of non-stop sex this time… and it makes you think of a different life.
You spend the rest of the day roaming about, ticking off a few boxes on you ‘To Visit’ list. You discover a number of things. Firstly, Cochin is not nearly as small as Broadway had suggested. Secondly, Fort Kochi is not really a fort at all. Thirdly, Jew Town is a beautiful place, especially if you happen to go into that shop near the Friday-closed synagogue where they’ll show you a wonderful chessboard with bronze pieces on one side and brass on the other, which, if you looked at it long enough, could have burnt a Rs. 7,500 hole in your pocket, which you might or might not have later regretted.