It’s a book for people who want to go places, who want to meet people, who want to live and breathe a life of adventure, romance, tragedies , experiences, discoveries, anything and everything and more! From the true believers and practitioners of aforementioned bullshit, we present to you… ta ta da-daaaaaa!!! – The Novella
[All characters are bloody freaking real much to our happiness and often annoyance too. We do not apologise for anything as all of the narrated incidents related are absolutely true and untarnished.]
The post will contain extracts from the original Novella, which will soon be available at a bookstore near you… 🙂 (Not really… :P)
CHAPPIE 1: Sunrise on the Hills
I’m gonna start off by quoting some famous cuckoo person, “What humbugs we are, who pretend to live for Beauty, and never see the Dawn!”, I live in an apartment where it’s purrrrrfectly possible for me to wake up at dawn and see the hues of amethyst and the world waking up to the chirping of the birds, but I never do coz I’m a humbug who can’t wake up for that simple pleasure, instead I go looking about for June lilies and hummingbirds and unreachable things…and Ashik claims he can see the sun rise from his apartment too but I don’t really know if that’s true, he thinks his apartment is better than mine…pffftt!
Anyways, I’ve only heard about beautiful sunrises, romantic ones, serene ones… even my mom brags about the sunrises she’s seen from our balcony, so me and that bum decided to get some bragging rights for ourselves so we made our way to Ramakalmedu, a hamlet in the Idukki district of Kerala, the first of many stops, all packed for what was to be the longest trip ever!! Blankies and warm clothes and tents and whatnot had been stuffed into the boot .
What followed was hours and hours of yawning and navigating and driving and getting hopelessly lost and being swamped by dangerously blinding fog,[Advise: Get your fog lights done up people because squinting that long ain’t a joyride!!] It was really tiring to drive so far…phew!![okay, I didn’t drive but co-pilots are under a lot of stress too, they need to make playlists and munch on cookies and pretend to look at directions and stuff].We reached by about six-ish..morning breath and rumpled clothes, stretching …and realising that we are on the wrong hill, there is no huuuuge statue of Kuruvan and Kuruthy…
Ain’t it pretty??? Colours changing, red shining out bright, golden hues and amethyst ones and clear blue skies and fresh greens…
My measly words can never ever capture the whole essence of a sunrise, so I’m going to steal Longfellow’s Sunrise on the hills…
I stood upon the hills, when heaven’s wide arch
Was glorious with the sun’s returning march,
And woods were brightened, and soft gales
Went forth to kiss the sun-clad vales.
The clouds were far beneath me; bathed in light,
They gathered midway round the wooded height,
And, in their fading glory, shone
Like hosts in battle overthrown…
Sunrises… poetry… if only I had some hot chocolate and if only Ashik would have taken a bath then maybe the winds wouldn’t be so toxic…
***A shout-out to you guys*** [I’ll be doing this occasionally so you guys actually get some sort of relevant info apart from all the blathering on and on about inconsequential things…]
Before you go-go: Okay you guys, now for some real advice, keep phones charged at all times, Google maps is the way to go, even if she tells you to turn your car into a floatation device and drive into the river, you’d probably have to do it, coz you have no other option at 2 a.m. when the only people you see on the road are the kind you shouldn’t be seeing(the undead, spirits, Taylor Lautner-esque mythical creatures…in which case you might want to stop…yada yada…) and yes, you have to reach by six because it’s all about sunrises and windiness and lesser tourists swarming all over the place. Early mornings bring with them a lot of fog, and the unforgiving hairpins might be teensy bit dangerous so get those lights fixed!!Also once you reach the village, ASK for directions to the Kuruvan and Kuruthy hill which was where we originally intended to go.
CHAPPIE 2: The Wrath of the Anemoi
Early morning, full of sparkle we zoop zoop zooped up the first hill, and then we stopped, the view!! Unending stretches of land, woah!!
Don’t believe me?? Watch the sad demise of flight number X6660…
That my lovelies was us against the Anemoi… their wrath will blow away your glasses , will lift up your skirts, make your eyes water and you’ll feel scared of standing on ledges lest you be blown away…
Basking in the sun, dangling feet off of the literal border between two states…woohoo!! The third hill of the day! Woot woot!! Off to see the statue…
It’s huuuugeee….and it’s still super windyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy….
The wind’s doing awesome things for HIS hair and horrible things for mine….
Looks heavenly don’t it?
***a shout-out to you guys***
Before you go-go: Take something warm, like seriously!![Unless you’re like a grizzly bear and are naturally blessed with a coat of fur].Always make sure you don’t get blown away, hold on to the nearest branch or even Ashik. Find out the story behind the statue and tell me coz I forgot to ask.[Eeeeeee!] . Also leave early before the tourists come because then it’s just a bunch of screaming kids and people making noise and it ruins the whole experience.We were lucky though, we got there at six and left by the time tourist started trickling in.
CHAPPIE 3: Capering about in the Moonlight
We kept driving, on and on, to see the sunset at Varkala beach, stopping for only for pee breaks and for the occasional demented walk in the rain, random waterfalls, tea estates, sips of cool spring water and other what nots.
We reached like almost a six or seven hours later [thanks to the stooopid SNDP people who kept holding up traffic at every junction], dirty and smelling like yesterday’s laundry, forcing our numb selves out of the car, and dragging our feet towards the edge of the cliff..
As we stepped out of the car we were mesmerised, the vast seemingly unending sea, the clear skies and the wind carrying smells of the sea, thoughts of seashells and mermaids, of pirates and other droll things floated through our minds, one of the best beachy feelings ever. The humid day soon started to turn into a cool silvery dusk, presaging a moonlit sky, we stood there on the cliff overlooking the sea at Varkala, in the hopes of watching the sunset. But the clouds deceived us, but we didn’t care much about it, we were smitten by the romance of the sea…
As dusk turned into night we realised that Varkala was like a tiny little world away from reality, filled with magic and moonshine and fairy lights and the friendliest people you’ll ever meet in Kerala, a long string of curio shops and quirky cafes, antiques shops adorn the seemingly unending cliff. We kept walking past each one again and again and again…talking about the most silliest things and looking out for the perfect place to grab a bite…
Darjeeling café, what we thought would be another overpriced menu and mediocre food ended up being a different experience altogether, not about the food we ate but of the sheer joy of sitting at a restaurant with old school music, the most friendly people that you’ll come across,the kind who smile at you because they felt like it, candlelit tables and wooden floors, moonlit nights and the breeze from the sea… Cowabunga!!, something I’d come back for time and again.
We walked out, giddy from being so happy and at peace, hand in hand, and sat on the edge of the cliff, the sea beckoning to us, our thoughts drowned by the sounds of the waves crashing against the rocks, the moonlight streaming in, the sounds of merry laughter streaming in from cafes nearby and we found a comfy spot by the edge where we sat for a very long time, twelve, past one, past two… time was no longer important, enveloped by laidback comfortable silences, sheer bliss… no one to tell us off, no mundane everyday things to worry about, nothing to fix…
***A shout-out to you guys***
Before you go-go: Well, you guys, honestly, I have nothing to say, this is one place with no restrictions, do what you want with no questions asked. Take clothes to change into if you plan to get into the water, there are plenty of surfers out there, they even have a whole para-gliding thing. Foodwise, it’s a notch on the expensive side, especially the flippy floppy fishy kind, pick places with loads of music and merriment..just for the heck of it. If your pockets are on the heavy side feel go ahead and splurge and get a few curios from the tiny shops after a lot of haggling of course.
P.S.: Summerland is where him and me wish to go all the time, a shack by the beach, with unending sunsets and music and laughter and all sorts of delights!!
CHAPPIE 4: Bloodsuckers worse than Edward Cullen
Campinggg!!nThere’s something about it, the starry skies, the sleeping bags, the campfires, the burnt smores, the pesky mosquitoes, the one person who farts in their sleep, I want it ALLLLL. We’ve never been camping before, the only wild that our tents have seen are our deep, dark and mysterious, stinky ,messy rooms. So were pretty psyched to actually go out into the great unknown and also to brag about it later on. Throughout the entire journey from Trivandrum to Braemore my face looked like this:
What was even more exciting was the whole possibility of camping near a waterfall under the threat of being attacked by leopards and mad elephants (no, not me!!).Though now that I think about it, maybe I should have been a little scared…hmmm…
Yay!!I’m gonna be a bear taco!![Is this why people don’t hang out with me?]
The only little problem was that camping would be only after trekking to Ponmudi, initially we were all in, trekking without a trail, the possibility of seeing wild animals…it would be a proper proper adventure. Our guide was a bit sceptical about us making it to the top, little did he know about our grit and determination and the fact that we were so hungry we couldn’t wait to get to the top and gorge on something yum.
The trek was all it was supposed to be, unseen birds shrilling and squawking, little creepy crawlies under each unturned leaf, the smell of the earth and the thrill of knowing that there are elephants and leopards out here in the wild, shying away. In the distance rose great cliffs, overlooking the forest, but we were a little worn out by all the travelling and sleeping in different alphabet shapes in the car and it no longer seemed like an adventure straight out of the The Jungle Book, it was turning into a sort of nightmare what with leeches creeping and crawling and latching themselves onto us, stuck with a guide who found the most annoying shortcuts, actually beheading plants and clearing a path. We were sweaty, drained, thirsty, hungry, we were grumbling….it was nottt fun, especially when the guy at Braemore totally ripped us off and our plans of camping crashed and burned. For the first time in our wanderings, we were unhappy and disgruntled and totally cheesed off and so we made a run for it, not even bothering to pay those dickheads anymore, yea, it was unethical and very wrong but we were devoured by leeches guys!! BIG BAD LEECHES!!
***A shout-out to you guys***
Before you go-go: Now that I think about it, we would have really enjoyed making our way through the forest and up a mountain, ending up at Ponmudi, with a really awesome view at the top, the weather always so pleasant and chilly the people quite friendly and chit chattable. So I’d say that you should go, Maybe you’ll stumble upon a Baloo or two, or even Dumbo, or Kaa. The trek starts from Braemore and can take up an entire day. Some advice though, wear shorts(I thought long pants was the way to go but leeches get into unspeakable nooks and crannies and you won’t even know, at least if you wear shorts your annoying friends would at least see it and if they’re nice then they might even tell you), take salt, it petrifies those suckers in a blink, wear shoes and carry some water (yea, instructions for dumb people but we sure wish we had someone to tell us all this stuff before we went).Prepare to be hustled though, it’s a bit on the expensive side, it’s 800 INR for the trek and then towards the end you’re kinda expected to give the guide a bakshish, almost 500 INR.
CHAPPIE 4: Vignesh, Our Wedding Planner
Surprise, surprise!! This shit just got real!!
Butttt, unlike the normal putting things off forever, we’re actually on it. Wedding planning!!! We’re ready for the battle! Me vs him for the rest of eternity, through days of diarrhoea, nagging to wash the dishes, changing diapers and being the boring strict parent, promising to update statuses from single and ready to mingle to stuff like ugh, I’m with someone(permanently), blah blah blah. Really!!I swearrr!! So here’s from us to you guys!!
Save the date!
Register your gifts at…
Whaaaaat??I reallllly needed to pee okay and after such a shitty day I wanted to pee like a princess, toilet paper and hot water faucets and all that shizz…No we aren’t getting married, yea..things got a little messed up since the grand escape from Braemore, and yea we lie a LOT!!After the whole camping plan went completely downhill, we were pissed, at the people who ripped us of, at the total lack of professionalism, the bloodsuckers the memory of which still make me feel icky and everything else that happened that day, we were hell bent on making the bonfire a possibility, and we thought, what better way than go to the nearest non-Indian populated beach, Kovalam. The one place we felt we’d be allowed to actually sit around a roaring fire and make pretend smores and fall asleep under the stars. But we were turned out from there too and the next available option was the private beach at The Leela, so we decided to wing it, we thought that maaaybe they’d let us do it out of the goodness of their hearts. But as soon as we got there looking like we tousled around in bed, we realised that valet parking and magnificent chandeliers automatically meant that we’d need to pay for it and we were on the verge of being completely broke and we couldn’t back out of this so we just went with some story which Vignesh fell for(yea, we’re that good).We of course made a run for it , for the second time that day, a bit relieved to be going back to homes with soft comfy beds and fluffy pillows.
***A shout-out to you guys***
Before you go-go: Kovalam beach is really nice, pretty clean, and the perfect sand for making sand castles. It’s a long stretch of beach on whose end there’s a cutesy lighthouse on the rocks. The bonfire thing can become a reality on idyllic evenings when it’s the “season”, around the beginning of the year. The beach does have timings though, no activities past nine and there’s strict patrolling which kind of gets on your nerves. There are a bunch of hotels and cafe’s by the beach and loads of souvenir shops too for the touristy kinds. It’s just a nice feeling walking down the beach, feet sinking into the sand, the breeze blowing your way…a pleasant way to spend an evening with friends or family.
CHAPPIE 5: Almost an Episode on Crime Patrol
A dark and misty night, bad moods and lack of sleep, annoying people, spoiled plans, everything was getting on my nerves, and it finally got to Ashik, who came down with one of his legendary headaches, which a that time was horrible timing coz he be the only one who can get us out of hell 101 and drive back home with our brains intact coz I might somehow manage to bring on the next apocalypse with my awesome ninja driving skills. So we did what we normally do, park the car in a secluded area and nod off to dreamland, but surprise surprise,there’s a knock on the window, a loud rat-a-tat-a-tat, which I plainly ignored, I’m of no use when I’m asleep, the knocks kept coming and finally woke him up. All I hear in my woolly state is ..I need a lift…yada yada…emergency…blah blah, and he refused, did a double flip onto the driver’s seat and revved up the engine, leaving me half sleepy and wondering as to what sort of a mean ass he is for not helping the poor lady and that is when we see a lot of flashing lights and then enter THE police…
ON A PERSONAL NOTE: WE ALMOST BECAME A BLOODY FREAKING CRIME STATISTIC!!MIND GOING ALL BLOWN TO SMITHEREENS AND LITTLE GIRL IN ME ROCKING IN THE CORNER!!!!
An artists impressions of what went down 😛 *When Death came knocking…*
CHAPPIE 6: Back home (alive – which I think is an added bonus) at last
The crazies are back…
We made it back, ALIVE!! Sunsets and sunrises and beaches and mountains and valleys and murderers … all wrapped up into three awesome days…Home at last … There’s something about home, that it feels so good to leave because the same old sambar and idli and the same old boring walls with the marks your mom made for each year you grew an inch (in Ashik’s case there are very few of those and he ain’t even that tall ), your dad nagging you for watching the same old cartoon shows in the morning and the same Sunday routines…ugh…familiar gets boring sometimes but it’s comfortable too and home feels even better to come back to after a long break..the familiar sounds and smells, soft beds and weatherworn bookshelves, your pick of cereal for breakfast and hugsy sissies..maybe we’re wanderers who love being home too…drinking hot chocolate from that mug , on that chair with that book next to that person.. sigh…
But then I love to feel lost in new places… I love to keep going places, cozy up in itchy sleeping bags and survive on greasy takeout food. I sound a bit bipolar don’t I? Maybe I am!!Home vs homelessness…hmmm…There’s so much out there waiting to be explored, there’s coffee shops in France and quaint secret beaches , carnivals at Rio De Janeiro, the hot springs at Reykjavik, the misty falls at Guangxi, the vast barren magnificent stretches of Ladakh and mysterious hidden temples and the deep dark forests of Amazon and so much much much more…and I can’t wait…..I don’t think I ever want to settle down..I don’t want to commit…I want to keep moving, meet kindred spirits, learn exotic languages, immerse myself in other cultures, climb up on the rooftops of foreign cities listening to my favourite songs under the light of those same familiar stars. The very thought tickles my gypsy spirit…
Maybe mom can just pack up a bunch of homey things like a lifetime supply of her yummy in the tummy cutlets and her to die for pickles, piles of my favourite books, my ratty pj’s and loads of love into a big box …it’ll be me lugging around bits and pieces of home while I go see places.But first I need like bucket loads of petty change for maybe hitching a ride on trains and buses and cars and cycles and village donkeys and Cinderella horses.I’ve never saved up so much in like ever, maybe for a burrito on Fridays? I’m trying though and still short on money…
When will I get there?? Maybe I’ll sell a kidney? Do I really need two?Before I digress horribly…toodles my sweetums!! Until next time!!