Mixed emotions in Varkala

We’ve been arguing a lot more recently.

Nothing too major but they still sting afterwards.

Maybe its the heat.  Maybe its the easy access to alcohol.  Maybe its the proximity.

Turning our previous charms into laborious annoyance.

Maybe not…

Birds of prey

Towards the southern end of the Varkala cliffs, past the sunbathers and Janardanaswamy Temple me and Hannah found the most beautiful spot for eagle watching.

Varkala is still a fishing town.  The tsunami in 2004 that tour up the fishing community in Kochi has seemingly left this part of the Indian Ocean in tact, and on a clear night you can see dozens of blinking lights dotting the horizon.

In the morning the boats come in and their catches are sent to restaurants and kitchens far and wide.


It’s the transportation of goods that attracts these huge birds to a potentially easy breakfast.  Arriving in their dozens.

You can stand in amongst them and watch as they scour the surface catching air pockets with skill and ease.

They duck and dive, brace and attack as the fishermen apathetically transfer their haul.

Soon the food is gone but the eagles remain and look to each other for entertainment.  They fight in mid-air like spitfires over enemy ground, occasionally turning their eyes to a group of unsuspecting civilian crows.

Me and Hannah are mesmerised and feel lucky to be so close to the action.  The fishermen look at us with confusion on their faces and then back to their work.


The Red Cliffs

We have no reason to be at each others throats.  Varkala is a place that you dream of.

A beautiful little town situated on a stretch of mars red cliffs in Trivandrum, Kerala’s state capital and the southern most district.

It’s similar to Goa in many ways.  Westernised and dominated by hotels, guest houses and Tibetan restaurants with Nepalese staff.  It feels more relaxed though, quieter with less glow sticks and poi.

A long path stretches across the cliff dominated by trinket stalls and Ayurvedic masseuses.  Sweaty europeans evade the sales pitches looking for somewhere to escape the heat.

The beach lies below.  Hot, golden sand stretching out underneath the red rock.  The sea is like a salty bath with waves the biggest we’ve seen.  We’re told to be mindful of the current as its powerful enough to have claimed a few lives in the past.


We’re here because Hannah has booked a month long yoga teacher training course at the Abhijna School of Yoga.

We have a full week before she packs her bags and we separate.  She’ll be living on site with the other yogis and I’ll…well I hadn’t quite figured that out yet.

The days go by quickly and in all honesty there isn’t much to write about.  We took a break from exploring cultural sites or “programming” as some call it here and just existed.

It was heaven at first.  Waking early to stretch on the beach, eating out every night, playing in the sea and meeting other travellers for drinks and dancing.

After a few days though the rows started.  We’d just erupt over the smallest thing and then silence and sulking.

Soon it was our last day together.

I had arranged to head north, back to the farm in Wayanad to work on a business idea for the duration of Hannah’s course.

We ate Thalis’ at Amantha’s, our favourite family restaurant and exchanged gifts.  A heartfelt note from Hannah and a wooden “Power Owl” from me. The darkness soon surrounded us and it was time to go.

Even as I write this my heart feels heavy.

We said goodbye and brushed the salt from our faces. We realised that this would be hard and that maybe this was the cause of our frustrations.  The inevitable separation causing us to push each other further away.

I sat alone in the Darjeeling Cafe and the reality hit me.  “Somebody to love” by Queen blasted out of the sound system and my lower lip quivered in melancholic appreciation.

I drank a beer and surveyed the blue, arching horizon for one last time before my sleeper bus arrived for the 12 hour journey north.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.



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