Sunday, April 27, 2008
House boat bliss
The last time I was in a houseboat staying for more than three days cruising in the languid waters of the famed Dal lake in Srinagar was in 1983 ,with my classmates in medical college .
Terrorism had effectively killed any future hope of doing the same with the family in tow .
With Kerala offering a similar fare these days we planned to do a houseboat this vacation .
The Muthoot group dream cruise was recommended by a close friend working in it and we took the offer never to regret .
We alighted into the spacious boat at Pallathuruthy just away from Allepey on way to Changanasserry after parking our car safely .
Welcomed with fresh wet towels and cool tender coconut water we got into our boat at 10am ,it had a portico with sofas ,table with a filled fruit bowl ,an AC bedroom ,a toilet fitted with a bathtub ,a small kitchen ,and upstairs two viewing balconies and a dining room .There were three staff to cater to our needs , the chef was in his uniform and a wide grin ,two others were drivers and helpers ,friendly and at the same time giving us our privacy they were the epitome of service .
As we chugged away into the backwaters the sun was at its zenith ,appetising aromas drifted from the kitchen where Jose the chef was at his best as he concoted a typical Kerala lunch of Karimeen polichatu ,chicken ,sambar ,cabbage thoran spicy piclkes and crispy paapads .these were served with elan in the dining room ,we gobbled them up as the boat swayed in the wake of the waters .
After a small post lunch siesta we woke up and found a native boat anchored to the side of our houseboat ,it had fresh prawns for sale and we bought some and Jose took it into the kitchen to do his magic on it in time for dinner .
we later went in a small canoe along with other houseboat inmates to the smaller canals of the backwaters ,filled with green floating weeds the canoe traversed through the maze hidden from the sun bya canopyof trees ,houses and shops lined the canal so close to us and we could see people moving around ,toddy shops ,small schools ,children playing ,men going about thier work ,women cooking washing clothes .
how does it feel like people staring at you all the time I asked an old lady she grinned and said we dont mind it has brought us life and money .
True tourism has changed the face of Kerala to a large extent ,if only the Government creates a better infrastructure ,it would be a win win situation ,private enterprises have been doing thier bit though some of them do give substandard fare .the natural resources of Kerala is unique and God given but it has not been genuinely utilised ,countries with nothing much to show have better facilities .
We returned back to our houseboat and clambered inside .
We moved on to a wide waterway and anchored for the night as houseboats are not allowed to cruise after dusk for fishermen cast thier nets at night .
As the sun set gloriously ,rain was announced by darkening clouds ,we sipped our tea to the sounds of pelting rain ,breezy winds swaying coconut tops ,and the backwaters in the horizon of the fading light was a sight not to be forgotten .
the rains stopped ,crickets chirped ,waters lapped our boatside as we all sat with our legs dangling dowm watching the blinking lights of the houses in the coast ,the air was soft and romantic occasionaly broken bye the hum of the rare mosquito .
Jose announced dinner we tropped up like a starving army ,scenery sure creates appetite specially for people who dont need much to create that .
Dinner was exotic in candle light served by a hovering three ,the fried tiger prawns were golden and gorgeous chappatis soft ,dhal delicate and chicken crunchy .
Music wafted from the banks from a distant radio as Yesudas belted a very apt song of
ayyiram padaswarangal aluvapuzha pineyum ozugi as a lullaby for us to drift off to a restful slumber .
Morning saw us climbing to the viewing balcony at top to watch a crimson sun starting its day .
A hearty breakfast of fluffy white appams ,and spicy egg curry mellowed our disappointement as we forged back to our starting place .
It was a 24 hour delight indeed thanks to Muthoot dream cruise .
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