One week before Christmas I cashed in our skyward miles and flew to the Kerala city of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum to the thick tongued), and decamped at the Kempinski in Kovolam, taking two of my lovely female friends with me, and leaving all stresses, children and husband behind. Did I miss them? Is it bad to say that for 6 days I didn’t?
On the third morning I saunted down the hill from the Ayurvedic spa and my daily yoga session, and was shocked to find an elephant standing outside my room. Eleven feet high with a gold headdress and a look of mild annoyance.
She was soon joined by dozens of bedazzling men and women in silk and gold, and a band of smooth-skinned youths with percussion equipment. Within moments there was Bollywood at full tilt on my doorstep, and like most nosy westerners, I tagged along.
The band beat the drums with abandon, and skanked with tiny cymbals. Then the star of the show (the groom) arrived and mounted Elly. He started to do a couple of gentle screw-in-the-lightbulb moves, and in moments all the men sprang into action. They whooped and jiggled until the sweat poured off them, all the time moving towards the main street. When they got there they blocked traffic with pure arrogance and danced over the white lines for twenty minutes waiting for more of a crowd to gather.
I had a little idea where they might be headed, so I sneaked ahead into the beach restaurant, and sure enough I found it set for a wedding in white and pink. The wedding party soon arrived, and a few minutes after the groom dismounted the elephant and placed his handsome bottom on a silk cushion.
The bride arrived on a palanquin born by some strapping bare-chested locals, and I no longer felt worried for that gorgeous groom. She is one breathtaking woman.
I post this to remind myself that sometimes the unexpected on holidays can be a good thing. That it’s not all about missed trains, stolen laptops and non-refundable tickets. Sometimes it’s about love and dancing.