When I sat waiting for my tea in a restaurant by the Kodaikanal lake, I didn’t know the lake staring at me was artificial.
I later learnt that most tourists assumed the lake was a natural phenomenon, when in fact, it was created during the British reign by the Collector of Kodaikkanal, Sir Vere Henry Levinge.
I’ve seen a lot of lakes since, larger and more natural lakes than that one, but the thought of it still amazes me. It was like Coleridge said,
“Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink.”
And just then, it started to rain. It was the monsoon season, and rain would come and go as she pleased. It was cold enough already, and the rain made me turn towards the kitchen to see if my tea was ready yet.
My tea and samosa arrived, and I welcomed the puff of steamy air that blurred my glasses. I sipped my tea and bit into the samosa. And some of the spiciest and heartening mashed potato masala landed in my mouth. I took a second sip of my tea and warmed up me from the inside as it trickled down my throat.
I looked at the lake, watching drops of water scattering ripples through the surface. It wasn’t a heavy rain, and I could see a few boats rippling through the lake.
Kodaikanal is a famous honeymoon spot, and sure enough, there were couples paddling away, while thousands of tiny fish surfaced for seaweed and breadcrumbs.
A few others – the restaurant folks, by the look of them — threw nets into the lake, trying to catch fish. The kitchens seemed to have run out of fish pretty fast.
I finished my snack and we retraced our way to the hotel. We had to drive around the lake for at least half hour. It was a centre hub, around which countless locals went about their chores while tourists shopped for fancy bead chains and souvenirs.
The lake spans 60 acres. As we drove on, we reached a part of the lake that seemed dented in one place. Somehow, the people who created the lake didn’t like flawless ovals.
The entire lake seemed like a giant’s idea of a puddle, and as if someone had made an awful lot of mess in one corner.
By the time I reached the hotel, I had been among such serenity that I felt satiated; eyes, soul, stomach, and all.