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This travelogue was published in The Wise Owl, an international E-mag, in November, 2023.

As an avid traveller, I have, forever, been allured by the call of the mountains. Sea side trips have always been the last to figure in my list of must-visits, probably because the seas appear dark and ominous to me.

Our December visit to Poovar and Varkala last year, did well to spark a change of opinion. The seas there looked warm and inviting. But our recent trip to Kannur in Kerala, catalysed a new found chemistry between the sea and me. The infinite expanse of grey, teal and emerald staring at me, trying so hard to lure me with its eternal rhythm of rising and falling waves, was hard not to admire.

We booked a property overlooking the sea. This particular stretch of the Arabian Sea was flanked by low cliffs and large moss-slickened boulders. A cluster of towering coconut trees dotted the coastline at a distance. As the robust ridge of waves came rushing towards the shore, they crashed and broke on the boulders, sending out a spray of brine and froth. The sulphury smell of the water compounded by aquatic fauna, algae and weed, gleefully invaded our nostrils. The rolling waves, topped with white foamy crests, hit the shoreline with a fascinating urgency.


The seascape changed colour every now and then. While dawn broke in with shades of pink, mauve and peach, the setting sun left the horizon aglow with sheets of molten gold. In between, we witnessed the proverbial ‘fifty shades’ of blue with glistening sun sparks encrusted all over.


The morning hours saw a number of fishing boats spreading their colourful nets for a good catch. We caught a curious sight of some fishermen staying afloat mid-sea, with rubber tyres around their neck, scouring the waters to collect shellfish and crabs in little baskets tied to their waist. Our hearts went out to these poor men braving the cold water for hours, to make ends meet. Large birds hovered above these boats and swooped down at an opportune moment to scoop up a fish or two. What struck me was this endearing equation between the fishermen and the birds – it drove home the maxim that nature does not discriminate. And that, the sea is there to provide for everybody’s survival and subsistence.


This was our second visit to Kannur and hence, we preferred staying indoors. We spent most of our three days relaxing in our spacious L-shaped balcony offering a 270° view of the water and its nonpareil beauty. The only vehicular sound one could hear was the occasional whirring of the motorised fishing boats.


The neighbourhood housing our resort had a quaint, colonial charm to it. Most of the government offices, educational institutes, civilian club, military and civil hospitals, still bore the British name ‘Cannanore’. The tranquil cantonment setting with old world villas, bungalows, and abundant greenery made for a visual treat. The nearby Payyambalam beach presented a breathtaking canvas of sand, sun and surf. The sunset there was a sight to behold! We also visited the Muzzhappilanghad Beach and enjoyed its breezy drive-in experience, the longest in Asia.


What intrigued me the most in Kannur was the curious juxtaposition of the moving with the constant. While the rocks and boulders have remained transfixed at their place for centuries…while the waves come splashing with their unchanging pattern every single day… there is also the constant movement of water, of the ebb and flow of the waves, and the natural rhythm of high and low tides. And in this eternal, abiding romance between the sea and the land, I didn’t mind being the proverbial third wheel…the ‘insignificant other’ for just a few days!



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