It had rained heavy all night and the morning was not letting up.
It was Sunday and ordinarily we would have been resting but Bobby’s earlier foot sprain meant we had lost a day earlier in the week and he had decided we would have to walk every Sunday up to reaching Chennai.
Bobby headed out into the cold wet darkness with me in tow. We’d had rain before and in a way it was welcome. It cooled us down, gave us a break from the thick humidity and left us feeling refreshed. This rain was a bit different. It was heavy, relentless, cold and very, very wet. The day became a ritual of walking with the rain getting into your eyes and blurring your vision. Stopping for a break after wringing our clothes out and changing into dry ones. Lying down to dry our skin out. Getting up to put still wet clothes back on. Walking again.
At the end of the night it took a good couple of hours for our saturated skin to dry out and that was after changing and towel drying.
Luckily Govindrajan and Raman from Saksham were making arrangements for us to freshen up for the night in Nagapattinam. When we arrived at the Ashram it was already 7pm. Bobby and I decided to have a shower before eating.
Although we had been rained on for the best part of the day and the water was very cold, we savoured the chance to have a proper shower. The staff ordered chapattis and food for us from outside which Bobby and I relished.
The Ashram was home to 30 girls whose age ranged from 4 years old to college age. These girls were not orphans but their families had been displaced by the terrible tsunami. They were needs and education were catered for by the Ashram which was set up by Narendra Modi before he became Prime Minister of India. Once the young women have studied they are helped to find work close to their families and by then, they are self sufficient.
At the end of the evening, the girls got together and sang to Bobby. The Ashram had provided a place for us both to sleep but the solid floor would have aggravated Bobby’s leg and back pain. We decided to sleep in the Walkmobile which stayed parked outside the Ashram for the night. Before we went to sleep, Bobby and I calculated he would need to cover 23.5km per day (including Sunday) in order to get to Chennai by the evening of 27th Nov. I went to sleep with less worries in my mind knowing that this was tight but achievable provided Bobby’s foot sprain improved.