The Love Trip – Part 5: I started falling for him. And the universe conspired, he fell for me too...
We left Kumarakom for Munnar, very much in love. Yes, we had fallen hard and we were scared and we were happy. And although we were happy about ‘what next’ with our travel, we didn’t dare to even think `what next’ with our relationship. He was 25, never had a steady girlfriend, only wanted to travel and work and chill. I was 30, and my karmic pattern had been married men. I needed someone to stay. Oh, and we lived continents apart.
We decided to shove our fears under the carpet. No better way to deal with a potential problem than procrastinate, right?
On the way to Munnar, just as we were just about to board the bus, I got a text from his mum. We had been trading messages on social media for a while now. He wasn't surprised that his mum and I were more chatty than he was.
“She thinks you're the one. But don't worry, I've assured her this is just a travel romance.”
I laughed, nodding in agreement, dying on the inside – just a travel romance...
To say the ride to Munnar was scenic, is an understatement. It was the best view ever. It was like I was stoned – the changing scenery had a way of calming my otherwise noisy mind. Now, this was the first 'body roll' route we were on. We were doing the twist, all the way to the top. And these turns were really doing a number on Aidy. His motion sickness was at an all time high. While I was enjoying the view from one window, he was at another leaving trails of vomit along the side of the bus. I helped him cosy his head in my lap, and patted him to sleep.
Flying in the fog
It was peak season in Munnar, so we couldn't really find a great place to stay. Not-so-amazing, with a somewhat okay view was what we had to settle for. The manager kept bothering us though, for passports, IDs, signatures and that got Aidy irritable. So much so that he started transferring his irritation on to me. One snap was understandable, two, was a bit much, but the third time he snapped, I just couldn't take it. He asked me to 'fuck off' about a nothing issue, and I did just that. I fucked off without saying word. I went to the nearby market, but it was a little too crowded. Then I decided I'd trek up this little hill nearby, and get some quiet and distance from the path nobody seemed to be taking. After an hour of climbing, I reached the top and saw a barrage of Aidy's messages.
Can I come see you?
Where are you?
I'm getting worried. Are you okay?
Please don't be upset because of me.
My phone, however, was drained. It died before I could respond. Anyway, serves him right. Let him suffer a little bit more.
I must have spent an hour chilling up there, breathing the fresh Munnar air. Everybody below looked like ants. I couldn't even see the other hills next to me because of the fog. The temperature suddenly dropped, and the sun started to set faster than I could say ‘Aidy come get me’. I panicked. In the dark, I could hear cat calls from the local teenage boys. I was scared, but finally made it back to the market.
As soon as Aidy saw me, he came and hugged me. He was about to go to the police. He told me I meant a lot to him and that he was just in a bad mood earlier. He asked me if I was fine.
“Yeah sure, it's just another holiday romance, right? I'm fine.”
I wasn’t silly to think this might turn into something serious, but his words were bothering me. He leaned in, came very close, kissed me gently on my lips and said he panicked because he was falling for me. More than that, he didn't know how he'd do 'life' alone, now that he had met me.
The next morning we hired an auto rickshaw and went to all the touristy points. It wasn’t a lot of fun till Aidy took over the wheels. We almost got killed but thankfully the auto broke down and we went on foot the rest of the way.
My hot rickshaw driver
While figuring our next destination, I told Aidy about mushrooms and Kodai. He was fascinated. Kodai was a four hour bus ride away. I asked him if he thought it was worth the motion sickness. “Sure, why not?” I really wish men didn't have to act so brave all the time.
Our research was wrong though – Kodai was not four hours away. It took us two bus rides, both five hours long each. Aidy was dehydrated from vomiting.
Kodai was disappointing. It was season time and super crowded. We didn’t like it much but consuming some shrooms made up for it. We were flying in the fog and we lost count of the hours we made love. We have absolutely no memory of the two days. Only a few pictures.
Somehow we made it to Pondicherry, where we were to meet Aidy’s Indian friend from University in London. Our trip was coming to a close, and both of us were showing signs of separation anxiety.
How was I going to say goodbye?
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of 101India.com.
By Meetali Meshram
Photographs by Meetali Meshram