A 7 years old school kid does not dream much about travels. If you think so, you need to change your thoughts. I was only 7 years old when I enjoyed a short trip to Alleppey or Alappuzha with my father. I must tell you one thing, that was a real vintage trip to Alleppey. Since then, I cherished my dreams and fueled my passion to see the world alone or with someone so close to me.
Summer vacations during the mid 1880s in Kerala were not at all digital. They were colorful with red muddy roads, green grassy pastures, and bright sunny sky. Time that we spent outdoors, playing in soil and dirt, were at least more than our active hours at home. The absence of video games and digital media allowed us to breathe fresh air and play actively in the fields. On such a bright day, my father received a petition from my mother -‘See your son. He spends whole day in mud and dirt. Not even coming for lunch’. That was about me, and my father decided to bring some changes to my usual lifestyle.
The day was bright and I was beginning to start my vintage trip to Alleppey. He held a briefcase in one of his hands and my hand in the other. I carried a school bag on my back and we pushed in through the crowd. The crowd was on a bus run by Kerala State Government, plying from Changanassey to somewhere – of course somewhere on the way to Alappuzha.
Summers of Kerala are unpredictable. A sudden pour changed the color and odor of our travel. The wide opened windows were quickly covered with thick brown clothes. Three feeble indoor lamps were insufficient to suppress the grip of darkness inside that old bus. Smell of sweat and moisture filled in the stagnant air.
The distance between the two towns was less than 30 kilometers and it has not changed even today. The changes are on the roads; the construction of bridges over the lakes, rivers and interconnecting canals facilitates uninterrupted journeys today. Then we had to avail the help of country boats at three places, to cross the interconnecting canals. My first sail on a country boat was not so thrilling. I am sure that I was scared, but my fear did not last for long. In less than 3 hours we sailed through three wide canals, and my fear changed into thrill and anticipation. But the third canal was the last canal to sail on our onward trip.
We got down from the bus, a few kilometers before Alappuzha town, and started walking on a grassy ridge through the middle of a paddy field. The walk was not less than any of the famed village walks sold in the tourism industry today. The green paddy fields spread wide across the land until the reach of horizons. Our steps were stern and steady even when we stepped on to a wooden bridge that helped us crossing a small canal. A few ducklings played with their mother duck in the canal while a calf sucked milk from the nipple of her mamma under a coconut tree besides the canal.
The narrow ridge continued after the canal and still holding the fingers of my father, I walked ahead. Another five minutes and we walked into the open yard of a small house. In fact, it was not a house; it was an office, a government office. My vintage trip to Alleppey is not finishing here. I spent more than 5 hours in and around that office that day. Want to read how I spent the next 5 hours in that countryside government office? Please read it here.
Author: E Jey
Just a passionate traveler who loves scribbling his expeditions @ www.jauntmonkey.com, www.outonroads.com, and www.blogthatall.com