No, I don’t wanna go! Why do you!
It’s awesome that I regretted these words the moment I stepped out of the Cochin International Airport in July 2016. I did not want to take a trip to Kerala. My husband did. There and then, I could see why.
Kerala’s beauty is a shade of green that Mumbaikars will never understand. The freshness of scenery which is not a cloud of carbon monoxide is refreshing. Don’t get me wrong. I love Mumbai to bits. It’s where my heart and soul belongs. But my mind was diverted to this new pleasantness.
As we stepped out of the airport, we asked for directions for a bus which would take us to Aluva. Having researched thoroughly on the internet, we knew better than to take an airport/tourist car which was a very expensive option (around 4k for an Indica). The security guard at the airport pointed us to a bus standing outside. We made it to the AC bus and took up a seat, bought our tickets. After munching on nuts, we asked the conductor where Aluva was. He helped us in the best English he could speak and guided us through the 20-minute journey. We saw the city of Cochin, alive and bustling. Green. We got lost in sight-seeing the city with our necks craning at every turn. Suddenly, the driver alerted us and asked us to get down , take another bus which was ahead and get down at Aluva. We picked up our (thankfully) limited luggage and ran to catch the other bus. We reached Aluva after 10 minutes, waited out for 30 mins. More snacking on Lays and nuts.
Finally a KSRTC bus came in. No glass on the windows. Crowded.
My heart almost skipped a beat as I looked at the bus. It was a Kerala state transport bus. I had imagined AC, and glass on the windows. Comfortable seats. This was shattering. I looked guiltily at my husband who had insisted on taking the comfortable and expensive Indica. There were early signs of grumpiness on his face. I assured him it would be alright.
We got in, bought tickets, stuffed our baggage and stood in the crowded bus. It was supposed to be a 4 hour journey to our destination –Munnar. The bus started and people tried helping us in whatsoever manner they could, giving us space to accommodating our baggage. Such signs of warmth were very surprising for an unplanned down-to-earth road trip that we were in. After an hour, I finally got to sit with my husband and between dozing off and getting up due to the motion of the bus on the crazily narrow lanes, we reached Munnar town after 4 hours.
We thought that Club Mahindra would be a stone’s throw away. And that now our journey which started at 5.30 am would end. It was 5.30 pm already.
But when we called Club Mahindra, we learned that it was a further 20kms away! We checked our transport options and finally settled on a Jeep which carried around 12 passengers! It was shocking how people squeezed in or how the driver was almost in the air while driving!
We booked the back of the Jeep on paying extra and braced ourselves for the ride. It was divine. Impromptu happiness on seeing the locals going about their lives, small villages, more and more tea estates, the sudden appearance and disappearance of rain clouds. It was exhilarating.