I sulkily stared out the back window of the air-conditioned car I had hired for the day to Kanyakumari (Southern most tip of India) from Kovalam. Because it was a day trip and I wanted to visit the Padmanabhapuram Palace on the way as well, taking public transport was unfeasible time-wise. I was disappointed at how uneventful that leg of the journey was. I mean I was on my way to the furtherest bottom end of India and considering all the past hurdles in getting to other destinations, this almost seemed too…easy. There was no sense of a challenge that I was triumphantly overcoming to get to the glorious end. I was so caught up in my brooding that I almost didn’t notice the driver doing a swift u-turn. I tentatively asked him what exactly was he doing? “…eerrrhhhh mardam…I…I thinking not right road. Another road going…” ”Are we lost?” “Noooooooo…only little.” There I had it. The hurdle. Never taunt easy. We arrived in Kanyakumari just to make the last ferry to Vivekananda Rock Memorial.
As I wearily took photos of the sea which apparently was the mixed waters of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, the magnitude of reaching the end slowly dawned on me as the sun got ready to set. And there was only one question – Now what? Great. I’d literally worked my way from top to the bottom; Kashmir to Kanyakumari. I was there and I’d been and done that. However instead of a serene, grateful sense of achievement, I had a restless, anxious feeling at the pit of my stomach. Like honestly – now what?
And as I stood staring that at the statue of Thiruvalluvar from the Triveni Sangam point, it finally hit home. Dear reader, that there is no such thing as the end of the road. Unless you’re dying and absolutely certain that they’ve come to take you – there is no option as the end. Life doesn’t give you the liberty to just slump and give out when you’ve reached the end of somewhere. Yes, it does allow you to rest for awhile but it never, never allows you to stay there. It always gives you 2 choices – either to look at it as a new beginning and continue on a new road or…turn back and retrace your footprints to the fork and take the road not traveled.
Something I’ve learnt this year – There are no ends. And it’s something we continually fail to understand. We keep trying to reach the end; racing each other, trying to outrun our own shadows – bypassing the very things we are chasing for, foolishly thinking it’s at the end. It never is. Never was. And happy are those – who stopped to smell the roses and the tortoise who took the nap!
As the sun set down the epic Indian horizon, I turned to make my way back. Back to Kovalam. Back to take the road not taken. Next stop – Alleppey, because there are no ends.
This post appears as At the End of the Road on my blog http://whereisshyamni.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/at-the-end-of-the-road/