Our guide leads us through Kochi’s Mattancherry Palace, a gift from the Portuguese to the Maharaja of Kochi in 1555. It is 36 degrees C indoors with 76% humidity, the air thick and spicy.
The colourful murals are teeming with many-armed torsos and jumbled faces. I glance at them only long enough to try to pick out the regular cabal of Hindu gods and goddesses, looking specifically for Krishna. The guide explains that these murals are a series depicting the Ramayana, the epic love story of Rama and Sita. At the end of the Ramayana, Rama ends up slaying Ravana and rescuing Sita, but there’s no sign of Krishna giving his eight ladies their due.
Alas, this particular scene is not part of the murals the guide has taken such pains to walk us through. Instead I keep thinking about marriage in India, about love, and how lucky I am to be travelling with someone I love–my first trip to India, years ago now, I came alone and (unbenownst to me at the time), was likely seeking to see if I could fall in love with myself. There’s a CNF piece in here somewhere, I know it. I must work on this. We head out on the Kerala Backwaters next. A place to float and think and write, I’m hoping.