Alleppy Trip

I’d been to Alleppy, 55 km due south of Kochi (previously Cochin) with my relatives. It was a trip for one night. On our way, we watched houseboats which could go out in hundreds all across the river canals. There were lines of boats docked. There were those which stood still in mid-water as well. Sometimes there would be columns of two or three together where boats parked along bay.

Houseboat

We reached our destination at eleven in the morning. The muddy road we took after we left our cab, was damp with puddles of water stocked everywhere. Smaller wooden boards were placed over larger ones to make way across. There were places where grounds misaligned and we had to jump. Within minutes we saw our houseboat, placed almost at the edge of the pile of all parked boats. It wasn’t big and consisted of a single room in which the three of us stayed for our 21-hour journey. Our destination was unknown to the three of us. There was no destination set. It was a round trip. And our entire trip on the boat was ecstatic.

We left within fifteen minutes of placing foot on the boat. We met the captain and his team. The churning of the engines began in silent whirring, the sideways movements of the boat slowly picked up and balanced out once we were clear and making our way through the canal. Other boats passed us, a few of them were small boats as well carrying flowers, vegetables, fruits, and other local products.

Palm TreesWe soon happened to make our way clear of other boats. We watched rice fields and palm trees everywhere. They surrounded us. And coconuts hanged by every tree as we passed them.

We made our way through the canals deeper and deeper into territory unknown to the three of us. When it was two, we reached an open water territory or lake. We had our lunch after our boat parked. The stillness of the calm waters consistently persisted through the blood in my veins. I felt my blood purified by nature’s existence all around us. There was no civilisation seen anywhere. No people around, except a couple of other houseboats. The only sounds that came were that of the ship’s crew and the people who fed over their food. The sounds of spoons and forks over plates came around us over the silent wavelets of water banging on the sail.

We departed again and made our way along the curve of the lake, passing more rice paddy fields and palm trees. Open spaces lay in front of us most of the time. The houseboat passed through different sets of canals and made its way towards a long and wide canal where it finally came to another halt. The captain informed us we’d halt at this place for the night. It was about half past five and we started watching out for birds flying here and there. There were others who sat over the wires, and those who’d built their nests on trees almost everywhere. We were shocked to know there were weaver bird’s nests inside the boat where we’d feasted during lunch.

MistThe mist made way across the canals and swallowed everything in its path. The tree-lines, rice fields, houseboats, the canal waters and the skies above were gobbled into it within minutes. The visibility came to no more than twenty feet and the darkness closed in as well. The silence all around converted to terror as my imagination struck with creatures that loom in the dark and the mist that surrounded us. I liked the fear creeping deep within my bones. I felt the chill crawl through my spine working towards my brain. Although I didn’t sweat, fear had a good grip over me. But with the call of captain to have early dinner, all the imaginative fear I’d grown up inside me melted away within seconds.

With the lights on around our dinner tables, we had delicious food. When we started watching television, which I didn’t like at all, my sight never stood anywhere near the television. Instead, it was an experience where insects of all kinds invaded our boat. Cockroaches, various flying insects, beetles, and fireflies, big mosquitoes, praying mantis, and some finger-sized bugs unknown to me crashed over our dinner party. Fortunate for us, we’d finished it and the plates had lied on to the table. The crew cleaned it up and went on to hang the nets. When the invasion of our friendly creepy creatures became intolerable, we went inside our room and locked to make sure none of those creepy friends came in with us.

When I woke up in the morning, it was almost seven. The boat had left already and we had our breakfast. We crossed another lake through its centre and returned to our first place. We’d reached by nine where we met our cab driver to take us to Cochin airport.

[Photos by Shlomo Reuben]

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10 thoughts on “Alleppy Trip

  1. Pingback: rain [a small collection of haikus] | Ramisa the Authoress

  2. It’s very interesting that both of our posts on this challenge featured a boat trip. Although the view and the vegetations look quite different. Great pictures, by the way. I have been thinking about visiting Kerala since my supervisor (in graduate school) bragged about his trip there – maybe it’s that time to revisit my thoughts on visiting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kerala Backwaters have good vegetation all around. March doesn’t have rainfall and there was floating vegetation at places where our boat parked. If you’re a nature lover, you’ll love it. And there’s the Himalayas in the north as well. These trips are breathtaking, and you’ll never forget them.

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