Our houseboat swayed clumsily as waves passed by. The silence broken only by harsh rustle of leaves on coconut groves lining both the sides of the lagoon we had anchored in. I had hoped to be out on the deck and commit to the philosophical gaze at the moon and the stars. It was perfect for that. The dark water mirroring the perfect black sky above. For once you didn't have to look up to see the stars. The stars looked up to you. You have to go down to the southern-west edge of the country to see that.
Still I stayed in; (Horror stories get to me!) and clung on to the edge of the bed that all eleven of us were perched upon.
It was a good long night that was following what had been a good long day. First of the three that had been planned (and planned well by Rolly over a month earlier).
But what he hadn't planned was:
1. Idliappam: It was Chinese and it was south Indian at the same time. 'Persons' were also hungry at the same time. That helped.
2. Alleppey beach: The 4 hours between unboarding the train and boarding the houseboat were whiled away here. And whiled away well. All 'persons' taking to the water immediately. Highlight of the morning being beach kabaddi, followed by tug of war with thin people (read me) being used as the rope; with the game just being an excuse to roll in the sand.
The fun kept rolling on that moment onwards.
|Alleppey Beach - Rolly'in begins|
|Photobombing -'cause Dey wouldn't make time!|
|Tug - o - war|
Alleppey was quieter, smaller and simpler than I had anticipated. Or may be it was just the off-season.
The local beach being a five minutes walk away was the first stop. Next stop being the Alleppey Finishing point where the houseboat was ready for us and the cruise.
The interior of the boat could make you forget that you do not have solid land underneath. You need that occasional sideways sway to remind you that you are floating.
The better part of the day was taken up by the sights that crossed by. Smaller canals leading to bigger ones. Boats crossing by lazily. Thin strips of land running parallel, dividing the waters around. Light green paddy fields, dark green coconut groves and even darker green water - still and flowing at the same time.
Village after village floated by. In the evening, the boat stopped by one of them. It was another thin strip of land. No wider than any Bangalore road but snaked along for as long as we could see. It had small stores, restaurants, fisheries and trees. Some coconut trees only as tall as us but still laden with orange fruits. Tempting enough to reach out and pluck one off. But be warned against doing so. We had in our company, a person to hurl back a coconut when the need arose. (Thank you Lord Brahma!). You might not be so lucky.
|om nom nom morning|
|What Dey did best!|
It was Kovalam the next day. How the place had changed from what I remembered it from six months back. The sea even more ferocious, had taken up the beach land, with the waves reaching right upto the walk-way of those crescent beaches.
As per the season, the rain became a constant companion. We saw it coming from the horizon until we met it and got drenched to the bone that evening; and again enroute the Lighthouse the next day. Although running out of dry clothes, we entered the sea with the last of the sets we had and made the visit to Kovalam worth its while.
|At the LightHouse|
The return was the same way as we had arrived. Cooped in and chattering until we realised we have to let other people live.
Good times had rolled on.
Yet what stayed on was that sway of the boat, sand in my pockets and a skip in my step.
(And a video to be unbubblewrapped when laal becomes independent! :D)
Rights to exaggeration and bragging reserved.
Its not how it happened; its how you remember it.
No characterisation intended (esp the Minnie Mouse).
Data and information may have been skewed to suit the storyline.
Everything is relative to your perspective.