Clueless and restless, we met a couple of people telling us the route to Alleppey, Thaneermukkam, Kumarakom, Cherthala and Ernakulam Bus Jn.There were people stopping bus for us to hop on (which we didnt hop on), there were cab services asking us 1100 bucks for just 55kms, explaining us the rule of paying for the cab's return journey as well.Quite frankly, we found it simply FOOLISH!
Dismissing it all, I called Aravind and so there it was..he arranged a cab for us and his sweet little brother,Arun got us a cab at Woodland showroom.I had managed to charge my phone good enough to call Ilona resorts and Arun.And we thanked Gods for having a driver bhaiya who talked fluently in Hindi and so the 55kms journey to Kumarakom begun! Enjoying the view, chatting with the driver bhaiya, charging my phone, listening to Malayalam songs and munching on snacks, the weather was cloudy.
Place : Kumarakom - Ilona Lake Resort.What-a-room and what-a-balcony-view! EXOTIC!We were in literal HEAVEN.
Finally happy to find white sheets and a roof on our heads, four of us had to decide on our POA since it was raining outside and the houseboat was charging us way too much and that too just for an hour. Finally, I came up with the plan of hitting the beach that evening and doing the backwaters the following day! Alleppey beach in 30mins..(Man! everyone on that route has a big bungalow) and the warm sea breeze cheered all of us almost at once! It had even stopped raining and there were no harsh sun rays to bother us..sitting on the sand we chatted, made sand castles,clicked pictures,played music, called crows by our other friends's names, attended afew phone calls and walked on that clear sand. Life is happier with girlfriends and a happy sun going down the horizon. LUCKY!
Back to the resort and Swetha was soooper-hungry! "Whats the time Swetha?" 8.15PM! We were like WTF,its just 8.15PM! As the fate would have it, we got a call from Nidhi(Resort Mgr) to eat early since there was a huge group headed towards restaurant in an hour's time! So there we were, munching the first proper meal of the day. Day One was about to come to a closure but not before we watched Sholay,Rajneeti, Mission to end terror and Jab We Met! #3AM-time-to-sleep zzzZZZZZZ
"Eva! Uth ja!" .. I waited for my phone alarm.Swetha was already in the bath, Jahnavi with cam and Sharada on her phone.POA of the day was being worked upon..trying to get the best deal..challenge it was! And then Nidhi called on my phone telling me about one particular houseboat we could take from Alleppey finishing point.In another 15mins, it was decided...that was gonna be our Houseboat for the day!10.45 AM and we went to dining hall to have our breakfast! Chicken Sausages,Eggs and Pineapple juice made my tummy happy enough to start the day.
11.30AM and ready to check-out we requested Nidhi for a pic with us and bid GOODBYE to Ilona. Within.Within 45mins, there we were inside our houseboat with Saju at the steering wheel.My first experience of a houseboat was about to begin. With lime juice in one hand and my Nikon in other, the journey of these backwaters started. Peaceful water with houses on both the sides of water body, the quiteness around sunk in and it was a whole new ethereal world.It was a different HIGH, out of world experience. I was happy! I was content! I was not listening to music! I was myself!
Incredible landscapes followed just as the boat sailed. Then we received a brochure of an Ayurvedic Massage Centre where we were to stop during lunchtime and we could get a good spa done. Another thing to do checked off the list! 90mins we were at Kairali Spa Centre. RELAXED, we discovered the green fields on the other side of the center. Sharada and Jahnavi even went into the paddy fields. Starting again, soon enough it was time for LUNCH!
One word ~ most delicious FISH ever! Beautifully cut pineapples! Thick Kerala Rice! Spicy Tasty Chicken! Tzinga and Beer and Vodka! ..the spread all laid out in the middle of the boat...we were overjoyed.
This trip was truly becoming a mysterious adventure, too many good things at once made it all the more special.
It was time for us to get out of backwaters by evening and so we said we said our goodbyes to pier.Tipping our boat guides, we finished clicking pics and met the taxi guy who had brought her to Allupuzha (yes! we had learnt to speak local name of the place)...and vroom! we were again on the way to Cochin.The backwaters experience that I shared with my four girlfriends was our first all girls's trip and we talked of printing out shirts with a pic of all four of us when we would go out next..just the four of us :)
And so, with the next sunrise we were in the noisy Bangalore amidst morning office goers crowd.A new week had begun and thankfully we had so many stories to tell at home, at work, everywhere we went.Its trips like these which make you realise that this life is a beautiful place because of the close pals we have around..its all about the company, place doesnt matter that much.We were glad that we did it. Its nice to let go off every worry in the world and just stretch our legs in the jocund company of those who'd be with you irrespective of their own constraint. We come from a race who's ever running, a clan who like an idea so much to commit on a Monday and ditch the same plan on that very Friday..we believe in life where we dont have to move a limb, a comfortable life. But the real mantra lies in expanding those wings and stepping out of our comfort zone, meeting new people, learning new languages, and if time be,penning all of it down one day.
I'd recommend Alleppey and Kumarakom to anyone and everyone who wants to witness the real Kerala and its magic!