Thoughts are the key to our soul. It is the biggest possession one can have. They leap from brain to brain and have the power to spread. They are ubiquitous enough to make us realize who share the similar brain pattern and who do not. Our evolution is an archetype of thoughts meandering through our astronomical complexities of diversification. One part of us is projected on a different paradigm and another is crossing from the other. This insatiable exploration of order became numb at the southern east edge of the Indian subcontinent. Although it might seem apocryphal but the blue archipelago with its minuscule geographies will make you fall in love again with radical openness which we all have shared among different individuals, impacting and influencing our lives on day to day basis. Andaman and Nicobar islands is a kind of place which everyone would have seen on the political map of India or must have remembered it as one out of the seven union territories of our state but no one ever thought of spending money to actually go and visit there. Ohh Andamans noooo, lets go to Maldives, or Phi Phi islands, no islands then lets go to Bangkok, Bali !!! or Malaysia. It is a daunting fact to people that it is sabotaging the opportunity to travel to international destinations(they all fantasize an international trip). But trust me if you do not go to the Andamans you are jeopardizing your opportunities to go beyond this world.
It is a place where you will be bewitched by luminous beaches, captivated by the surreal beauty and arrested by seamless horizons. Insatiable thirst to wander among the earthlings would be gratified and will dilute your personality in the continuous propagation of sounds of nature (like the rehash of waves). Well, my stay at Andaman and Nicobar Islands for five nights and six days was one of the most remarkable experience of my life and it was an indelible mark on my journey of transcendence. My first day of March began at Port Blair which is the capital of this union territory with the transfer of my luggage from a plane to the hotel. The hotel as you imagine the word to be luxurious was L shaped, corridors overlooking the rectangular courtyard having a mango shaped swimming pool in its center abut to behemoth trees, many swings tied to the thick branches and a nice, small wooden shed haven for a small bar.
After effacing the effects of a six hour journey from New Delhi to Port Blair via Kolkatta we guys (me and my parents) went to the Cellular Jail also known as Kala Pani (black water) which was a colonial prison back in the time when India was the golden goose for the Britishers to incarcerate the political dissidents who were heretical in their methods to fight for the Independence of India. It is a humongous structure morphed into a star. The heart of the star has a spiral staircase and is the only point to the entry and exit for the entire structure, from this three different arms are originating radially outwards where one side has a facade reflecting puce red color and the robustness of iron bars and the other side an impenetrable geometry with small punctures in it sufficing the need for ventilation in cells. The structure had three arms instead of six as the other three were destroyed just after India’s Independence. Each cell was facing the back side of the other arm so that they can not communicate with the other prisoners and in between there was a patch of a triangular landmass having a small area where they used to apply ligature to the neck. This was made intentionally in the center of the landmass so that the inmates can witness the deaths of their own eventually destroying their resilience. Enough about the architecture of the jail, oh I forgot to mention: the one point perspective which you can feel while standing at the heart of the star radially jutting out from every angle you can possibly turn your neck to. The terraces of the jail were long and you could see the northern part of the city and the top of the spiral staircase had an amazing panoramic view in which seventy percent of the view is water underscoring the vastness of the sea and the remaining thirty percent to our next destination: Ross Island
Ross Island was named after some British officer (whose name was Ross) and his entire family and small part of the British regiment inhabited this place. It was considered to be an epitomization of excellent planning during those days as most part of the islands were populated with the tribals. Although the major part of the North and South Andamans still have the descendants of the same tribal origin, only small patches of the island like Port Blair are urbanized. This island had a school, church, bakery shop, residences, hospital, barracks and a small graveyard which were all in dilapidated condition and the ruins were reminiscent of the British Regime.
Next day we guys proceeded to Havelock Islands to enjoy our stay for two nights and I was quite excited about it as I have read a lot about these islands. The place where we guys had our cottage had its own beach so I could listen to the repleting sound of waves continuously even if I was in my own room, the sound of the waves will find an infinitesimal hole in the wall and slashing its way it will delight your ears. It will stimulate your brain with peace and tranquility. Its a place where footwear has no use, sunglasses and sunscreen are your best buddies, white sand is such where the white color got its definition from, palm tress are inclined towards the beach and small swings tied to the branches. You can simply sit down and swing, at one extreme point of the trajectory you are above water and at the other point you are above sand. This place was Heavier than Heaven. In the night you can see the clear sky and most of the constellations which you must have read and a reflection of the same in the sea. The same exact thing you can see when you are looking at the horizon to all the way down to your feet as if the sky and the sea have merged and casting out an illusion that you are in space with the sound of the waves in background. Woooooaahhh …… you need anything else my friend ? besides this ….. Such were my evenings from 6 P.M sharp as the sun sets down by six till eleven o clock, just lying down in the sand, eating delicious food, drinking some fine cocktails and dreaming. During my afternoon, I used to go to the other beaches, swim, meet other people, share a simple laugh, drink some coconut water and travel back to resort to enjoy my evenings again.
Two days passed like this and I felt so depressed when my parents told me that we have to leave the place next morning, but before leaving the islands we had a session of water sports booked. A glass bottom boat ride, snorkeling and a walk on the sea bed. First was the snorkeling which my parents refused to go for it and take my chances as they thought it was dangerous but I really wanted to do it. The instructor gave me a few instructions and as soon as I put the diving mask on, started breathing through my mouth, started inflaming my lungs with unfiltered air I became cognizant about the entire breathing process as it was difficult to breathe through it and consciousness takes time to switch from the nose to the mouth and I wore those flaps which made me feel that my ordinary foot has been genetically modified into an amphibian limb. It was a whole new experience and to see the fishes, turtles, corals all together as a defined ecosystem, functioning as an entity was mesmerizing. They all were gulping down water continuously, moving here and there, doing their daily chores just like we do in the cities. I felt it was like taking acid in the sense that when you come back from the trip you are never the same (I am not recommending or suggesting to take acid or go and take lsd noooo trust me noo), but it takes a part of yourself and put backs something inside within you from the universe (not exaggerating at all).
Our last and the final day of the trip was in Neil Island. We visited a place which had the largest natural coral bridge and nearby to that were the nests of other aquatic animals. The different species make small nests in the hemispherical crevices of corals where the waves hit them only at the high tide ensuring the safety of the young ones and the easy access to the sea once they grow old. This island had a population of only two thousand people (which is quite less for such a huge island) and was very peaceful as its major landscape was dominated by vast old tress. The water was so blue that it made me visualize the blue color on every part of my tanned body, never seen such a shade of happiness in my life. Well this trip proved to be an odyssey in retrospection and functional catharsis was achieved. I would advice anyone and everyone to wander to this place who just wants to dilute his soul and propagate as an element of radical openness in such complexities of life.
This travelogue was first published by Evolthrutime .