My Travel Map

Sunday, September 18, 2005

My kerala trip part 3

Ahh...eventually i find some time out for my blog. First there were the godforsaken midterms (which, incidentally didn't go too bad, except for that course on data structures, which i'll have difficulty passing!!!) and then there was the world war!!! Hey relax guys u don't have to panic, this world war was restricted to the premises of IIMC alone and we warriors, after 3 days without sleep resembled zombies in action! I lost my voice...well ppl in war do tend to lose something, i sacrificed my vocal chords, nothing much. Then i was in kgp for my time after a long time with my u all, guys!!! Finally here goes the concluding part of the kerala trilogy...So from aleppey we went to kollam and this was one heck of an experience coz we covered some 35 kms on water on a rickety double decker boat through some of the most glorious countryside! It was Christmas Day and we started round 9 am and reached kollam around 5pm. Though my mom started off by falling off the stairs of the upper deck and landed into the arms of a bemused nipponese tourist, who was very apologetic about it all, the cruise remains the finest 8 hrs of the entire trip. The upper deck, barring me and my bro, was fully composed of foreigners of all shades and in varying degrees of undress (which prompted my mom to stay primarily below deck). One thing which disoriented me was the nonchalance with which these bloody tourists kept littering the deck and the backwaters with their banana skins and water bottles and what not, these same ppl would be so civic minded in their own countries! Anywayz the last phase of the cruise under the moonlit sky and the lights form the chinese fishing nets illuminating our way was breathtakingly beautiful!The next day (Boxing Day, 2004) we started off towards trivandrum on the last phase of our journey and stopped midway at a beach called Varkola. This is a little known beach, not on the usual itinery of Indian tourists, but nevertheless worthwhile as advised by the travel magazines we had referred to. The beach in itself, was quite a surprise since it was quite narrow and overlooked by a had to climb down stairs to reach it. Once we reached down, i was pleasantly surprised to discover that indian tourists were grossly outnumbered by the bikini toting populace. Indeed shocked would be the right was a scene straight out from california...never seen so many bikinis at one place! Suitably enthused, me and my bro took to the seas and my father followed soon after, though he hadnt planned on doing it and cosequently, was short of a bathing costume. However, true to kgpian tradition, agar tempo high hai, to kaun rokega...he goes into the water in his briefs and soon, we have to advice him to stick to being underwater!!! The waves were quite high at this time and we were having quite a whale of a mom was of course, suitably psyched out since she was having difficulty spotting us during the time we were ducking under the waves. However, even our bravado was cut out when a towering wave crashed down, flooding the whole beach upto the cliff face in its wake. The tourists sunning themselves, suddenly found themselves without an umbrella! Another one followed, and soon we were scampering to safer places...two blasts on the whistle by the guards and even the burliest of the white tourists had come out of the water. However, nothing followed and soon the bravest among us ventured out again and continued our games with the sea...only later were we to learn that about that exact time, tens of thousands of lives had been lost elsewhere on the planet...the thought really chills you to the core.We checked in to our hotel in trivandrum and only then, i received an sms from my aunt, vacationing in goa, asking whether we were all right. All right? What the heck? I switched on the TV and we were literally too shocked for words. The images will forever remain etched in my memory and the fact that we had been so far, yet so near to it all really hit hard. We thanked our lucky stars...i mean, we had been on a beach at precisely the time when the tsunami had struck! 50 kms due south at kanyakumari (last stop on our tour, dead and broken) the waves had claimed at least a thousand...50 kms due north, the waves had eaten up whole villages in alleppey and kottayam distrcits, places we had been to just the previous day...the whole thing was too unbelievable, it almost made me sick!!Nywayz our spirit of travelling remained indomitable and we chugged on towards Kanyakumari, our last halt, inspite of being warned that tourits were not being allowed entry. In the meantime, we had been to the hallowed beach of Kovalam but red flags littered the shoreline and no one was being allowed within 10 feet of the pristine alluring waters which had swallowed up so many just the previous day and yet, that day, looked so calm and innocent! Kanyakumari resembled a ghost town, with its shoreline properly devastated and the jetty broken and the boats all on the roads with their owners playing cards to while away time. A place usually thriving with more than a lakh of tourists on any given day had no more than a thousand tourists to boast of and it seemed the townsfolk were still to come to terms with nature's fury. Finally, we come to the end of the eventful trip...lots of memories, some i've managed to pen down, some remain confined to my grey short, NICE!!!

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