It was 7:30 pm and our train stopped at an unscheduled platform, just 2 hours before our destination in Kerala. My dad and I were standing outside the train, on the platform, waiting for the train to start moving, not as patiently as how the train was waiting for some other train to pass, for the past 10 minutes.
Usually at such times, I get down the train on the platform to feel better, to get some open air after hours of closed windows and air conditioning; however I doubted if I was feeling better. Though I continued to stand on the platform but I could not miss the eerie emptiness and gloom that surrounded us. It was not completely dark yet; we could still see things, but everything had a hue mixed with dark grey.
It must have been the uninhabited nature of the place that gave it this gloom. It was not morbid, no, it was like everything was looking at you. It was like if right now a group of humans, or something else, were to present themselves and do something bad to us, I would not be very shocked. The atmosphere was well suited for such an event to happen.
I missed the Mumbai streets which would still have had light and sounds of people and vehicles rushing through every serpentine road available. In Mumbai, the city that never sleeps, we sleep at usually around 12 or 1; that leaves only a couple of hours of the night uninhabited and hence the gloom I was experiencing here was something I would not have felt in Mumbai.
In the next two hours we reached my Uncle’s place and soon after, I was on the bed devouring a book, waiting for sleep to do the same to me. The day after, we had to set out for temples, at around 6 am. And that we did.
Kerala was still dark, as the sky was yet to completely welcome the sun, but everything was mixed with a hint of orange, including the sky. The air was scarcely filled with the smell of temples and their sounds, and on the streets were people, not a crowd, like how you would see in Mumbai. The people were happy to be awake and working, something that was worth watching. The entire place was pleasant. It was wonderful how Kerala changed so much overnight.
As the sun slowly showed itself, I enjoyed the ride, with some popular devotional songs playing in the car and the windows rolled down. I inhaled some deep breaths of Kerala before being cradled to a small nap, to compromise staying awake too long the previous night with the book.
My dad always used the words sun, light and energy a lot whenever he explains why the morning is something that should not be missed. I never actually cared much, I enjoyed both equally, but here in Kerala, I could see the difference, and it was not just about the sun, but the earth and the emotions on it changed too. The contrast here, between the day and the night was loud and evident; and leaves nothing to guesswork on why these people on the streets were so happy to be awake.