My first thought fart from Cochin should probably be about fishing, the sea, the sea and segues into observations about wide eyed tourists. Instead, I will just go for the other cliche, the blooming monsoon.
Through the summer months in Kerala, I sweated out litres of fluids and wondered if I'd imagined all the memorable monsoons I'd spent here. One in particular stands out - 1994 or '95 when I read One Hundred Years of Solitude and it was raining non-stop in the book and it rained non-stop for two weeks outside, in the real world. The pond near our house flooded its banks, our little residential cul-de-sac had fish swimming on the asphalt and between the mango trees in the garden. I remember looking out of the kitchen window and yelling at my mother to NOT GO OUT - we couldn't see where the well was. It was a flood of water everywhere.
So after gasping through three months of unprecedented levels of humidity and heat - cows dropped dead, farmers just downed tools and decided to sleep through it all and beer ran out in the state - we are back in familiar territory.
The bus drivers this morning glowered more than usual and the place I am staying at right now has a garden filled with mushy, rotting mangoes, dead things in various stages of putrefaction, mosquitoes (my god, these Cochin mosquitoes) and frogspawn. And frogspawn means snakes can't be far behind.
Yesterday, at home in Thrissur, I took a walk in the garden and found that mushrooms had sprouted overnight - gloriously skinny, bowler hatted mushrooms in various shades of grey, absorbing and pouring out the colours of the gravel and cement they were growing in.
Yes, we are back to something we know and despite all the grumbling, deeply love.