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August 17th 2015
Published: September 11th 2015
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Out of the blue, Mayank sent out a mail saying Sharat approved a plan for a Kerala trip and cheap flight tickets were available for the same. As with most people by the time everyone was done adding people into the mail thread and looking at Rahu and Ketu Kala for deciding whether to go on the trip or not, the tickets disappeared and it was thought that the plan was cancelled. But due to persistence of a few, the sparks reignited and the plan was back on track. Sulbha had found Sonam to give her company and Anuvrat had also decided to join us for the trip. I, Abhishek, Mayank and Sharat made the rest of the trippers.

We reached Cochin by flight. With our Malayalam speaking Sharat leading the way, Sharat's family (that was what was written behind the Innova) got into our Innova after a long fight over who would take the back seats. It was time for lunch and we decided to stop at some hotel on the way before picking up from Anuvrat who was supposed to arrive in the city directly. Some of us had Kerala paratha and liked it while Sharat tried some fishy dish :P. Then we picked up Anuvrat and were on the way to Munnar. En route we stopped at an elephant camp for a ride. We needed 3 elephants with 2 on two of them and 3 of us on one. I was the lucky guy who sat near the tail of one of the elephants (3 of us were on this one). It was extremely comfortable except for me not able to grip anything easily, my legs cramping up, the huge jerks every time the elephant moved and the elephant whipping my leg by lashing its tail a few times.

The route to our lodge at Munnar was a treat to our eyes. Lush green tea gardens surrounded us on both sides of the road with the sunlight reflecting from the leaves. We stopped in between to enjoy the views and waded our way through the tea bushes taking in the fresh air. A photo session too ensued after which we moved on. All through the rides, we had music being played with Sharat taking up the position of Vehicle DJ. Abhishek kept showing us his Yo Yo craze by rapping his songs with perfect complete lyrics (If only I had the formula for doing the same for history in school). The hotel where we stayed was a pretty cool place with good facilities. After our dinner, we went out for a walk when we realized that the temperature stays pretty low during the night (Munnar being a hill station). But the best part was that there were barely any lights and thus, we could see the clear sky with starts twinkling brilliantly. It was a welcome change after barely being able to watch the stars in the cities. We had tea along the way and then made our way back. Before going to bed we realized that the wall with adjoining room was pretty thin like in the scene in FRIENDS. The girls had not been aware of this and we started knocking on the wall which spooked them. We had a good laugh about it and slowly one by one we went to sleep.

The next morning, we were up early and started out to the Munnar high tea estate. The route was very scenic up the hill and all of us were apprehensive of missing the sunrise as we had been a bit late to start. We reached the top of the hill and as soon as we got out of the jeep, the chill of the air hit us and I quickly scrambled to put on my jacket. The sunrise then started which was a sight to rejoice and we took a number of photos of the same. As the sun started coming up, the chill slowly subsided and we decided to move on to the estate. To reach the estate we had to trek down which was great fun as the whole hill was covered with green tea bushes all the way long. The view was very picturesque and the trek enjoyable and not very tiring. Once we reached the Kolukkumali tea estate, we were given a tour of the factory where the tea was made. We got to see the various machines involved in drying the tea leaves which included powerful dryers of different varieties and furnaces. It was a knowledgeable tour and it was good to listen to the process without requiring to byheart the same for exams. Once out of the factory, we had their special tea and breakfast. We also bought some packets of tea for distribution
Caw CawCaw CawCaw Caw

Alleppey beach
at our homes. Then we trekked back to the jeep and left to Alleppey. On the way we played some form of Antakshari which basically involved shouting songs at the top of our voice so as to compete with Sonam and Sulbha ( that basically made every song seem similar i.e. like a few donkeys braying). I and Abhishek were partly successful though we had to sacrifice our voice for the same. We reached our Munnar lodge and while we were checking out, realized that Abhishek had left his purse in the jeep. To retrieve that we had to perform a lot of antics but finally were successful. All the while we kept teasing Abhishek with imaginary scenarios on what he would do if he wasen't able to get his wallet back. Next stop was Alleppey and on the way there were a lot personal stories shared which involved love, heart breaks, future steps and some arrogance (you can guess whom the arrogance came from).

It was evening by the time we reached Alleppey and we directly went to one of its beaches to enjoy the sunset. The beach was decently crowded but with the cool breeze was a

No wonder its called Brahma's flower
good place to sit after the hot weather throughout the day. Sulbha and a few other went for a walk and came back freaked out seeing the crabs run on the beach. After spending some time there we went to find our hotel. The hotel there was really beautiful and was structured like a pagoda. The place was lavishly decorated. We had a good heavy dinner and then decided to play poker. But instead of chips we had bought chocolates for betting. There was eclairs (1 unit) and melody (2 units). I used to love melody and thus, started stacking them as much as possible sacrificing all eclairs. Sulbha being a newbie had the "first time lucky charm" and initially won a few games. Overall it was great fun and I got the answer for "Melody itna chocolaty kyun hai ?".

At every beach, one intends to play with the waves and enjoy in the water. We had not done that the previous day as it was pretty late and thus, left to do the same the next morning. The waves were fun and not very harsh which enabled us to take them head on. Sharat even poured some sand in Mayank's shirt to make sure he took a full dip in the water. Crabs were again running around which kept Sulbha and Sonam super scared for the initial half an hour at least. Then after a lot of assurances and dialogues like "Crabs are more afraid of you", "Crabs will not bite you" (which I honestly am not sure of) etc.. they pushed a part of their fear aside. Lots of fishing boats were also coming back after the day's fishing as a result of which we got to see some of the fish they had caught. It was then time to go back and get cleaned up.

We took our time in getting ready and checking out of the hotel. In the meanwhile I took some photographs of the beautiful garden. I got a photo of a pink lotus with yellow stamen which was by far one of the most beautiful flowers I had seen. The click of the same also turned out spectacular and one which I am extremely fond of even today. There were also some swans roaming around the garden which were fun to watch. From there, it was straight to

the popular boats of Kerala. We did not go in a houseboat as we had no plans of staying there for the night but took a pretty big covered one. The ride was for about 3 hours or so and covered the backwaters. The ride was very soothing and we got to see a number of birds, plants and islands. We also stopped in between for some sweet coconut water. The whole ride was a very beautiful experience one which all of us thoroughly enjoyed. We also got to see a lot of people actually traveling by boat from once place to another here which was pretty unique. By the time we reached our starting point again, it was evening and was time to ride back to the airport.

Kerala is an amazing state and they sure have maintained the place beautifully. Though Kerala looks like a small border to India at the South, it is the home of spectacular natural beauty. I have been to Kerala quite a few times now and still keep visiting new places every time. This whole trip was smooth sailing all thanks to Sharat. The lush green tea plantations, the orange-red sunrise near the tea estate and the blue backwaters at Alleppey covered all the primary colours in perfect proportions. The weather gods did not create any havoc fortunately and we enjoyed a perfect vacation weather (a bit hot but with visits to the beach and backwaters offset the heat). I felt this was a very good time to visit the above places as generally during monsoons, it rains heavily here. But whatever be the time of the year, Kerala will leave you spellbound 😊

Until next time and enjoy the photos 😊

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