The reason this time around, to travel all the way down to the coast of British access once, could be as medieval as a friend’s wedding. A dear jolly friend marrying his long time sweet heart or the bachelors he had planned on the house boat of allapuzha, after yearlong religious bachelors every night were adding to the joy of travelling. Friends from all over the country were to be present for this disguised reunion and the very feeling of being together after years was making everyone take leaves from jobs, college, etc.
Four of us boarded a train to Kerala in two instalments, the ones who reached early and the other two who ran down the stairs while the train chugged out. The part of the country we were headed towards was new to me, apart from a million calendar-istic images and a clichéd old tagline I knew nothing about this place. The day passed by with ample food, invasive strangers, tea time, blogging and lot of philosophical discussions.
The next day brought Kerala into the journey with ferocious bushes barging in through the doors of the train, what we call the in-your-face-greenery. Yes! Kerala was strikingly a beautiful green kingdom with hidden homes under their confines to regular blushes of the backwaters had us pasted to four different windows without a word.
The party was scheduled for the next day so we were picked up by the father of a friend who was with us on the train to go to his village (Alway). Mind it! Villages in Kerala do not follow the code of 90% of the villages in India and are just small modern vicinities. His house was on the stretches of rubber plantations with a small canal flowing right across the front porch. It took us a good hour to venture about, freshen up and settle at the table for lunch. We were served boiled Tapioca with chicken and fish curry, steamed fat rice and prawn pickle.
The afternoon was a picnic of sorts as Uncle and aunty took us on the shores of Periyar Dam. They guided us along with stories of earlier camping escapades and the elephant menace in the area. Aunty found us a few red nutmeg seeds freshly fallen on the ground across the electric wires to keep the wild creatures at bay. Everyone in the village knew each other so any human presence meant a good catching up session, after which we headed home. We had ample time before dinner so we took the car to venture out in the dark by ourselves. As we parked at another close by canal to catch up on a day’s craving of smoke, we were ambushed by fog, conical roofs and palm trees from all sides were soothing every tired vein in my body.
The dawn of the next day was chaotic as getting at a common point to leave together for the backwaters proved too much of planning. All this lead to a heart warming moment when everyone came together wailing in tears of joy and to the amusement of locals who were amazed at our appearances. Johnny the private bus was boarded and took us straight to Allepey houseboat station. We were being welcomed with boards and signage that said, “Beware of Brokers”.
The inside of the boat was beautiful with wooden decks, flooring and other miscellaneous art work. Once we were on the top floor the boat took pace and drove us along a water highway with green patches on the sides and a fresh breeze to reckon with. The day ended with a lot of dancing catching up and being lost to the miracles of nature. We then drove to a resort closer to Athirapalli waterfalls as the next day was planned to be spent there. The roads were narrow with steep turns and an uphill drive, enough to cause nauseating interferences.
The next morning we headed straight to the waterfalls about 5 minutes drive from where we were put up. The bus parked outside, as we had to take a downhill trek to the foot of the water fall. Everyone just hurried down to catch a glimpse of this roaring beast that would break at a rock forming mist to dampen our faces seated on the rocks. Everyone watched the water performing the same old tricks, in trance and bewilderment at the same time.
The next destination was the home town of the groom until the wedding day which was a day after. The wedding was planned at the famous Guruvayur temple, good half hour drive from Thrissur. The temple still cajoles in the ancient rituals of religion with wooden structures and a million oil lamps. A thousand devotees queuing up to get into the main temple while hundreds of young couples queued to get married in the midst of wedding shenanigans. The wedding happened and we headed to the reception hall to bid a final good bye to this beautiful heaven on earth.