It’s 10:30 pm. And we are on a wooden porch overlooking a river that gently snakes along in the moonlight. On my phone the flashlight is on. Kaushiq has another one. In the darkness a yellow beacon comes on. And then off again. A mammoth vessel starts moving ominously towards us. The silhouette betrays something sleek and fast. And silence.
The coast guard vessel becomes visible only within 10 meters. And it is a beauty. On board the friendly policemen only call out when they’re secured to the fishing boat off of our porch. Kaushiq walks off the porch and down to greet them. You can hear the light hearted laughter and visualize some hand shakes. Having emboldened them with a bottle of the right stuff, we wave them off. A long night of patrolling the river awaits them. We return to wind down our own party.
Landed in Kerala yesterday with Gaurav Prabhu. Had a hilarious time on the plane.
Went straight to Jellyfish, still surprising ourselves at having woken up at 4:30, and making it here by 9:30. As always, it didn’t disappoint. The morning was open to taking a nap and walking down to the local parotha place. Chicken curry for breakfast and a bridge over a river for a view.
Gaurav Prabhu or JP(starbucks) and I took a walk off the trodden path, and found a fishing boat tied in the water. Climbed in and take in the noise of the bridge overhead with its BJP flags fluttering. Out here, we are inconspicuous in the open. Joys of kayaking. You’re in the middle of it all, but you can choose to escape it all.
By afternoon we are back at the club and Kaushiq has joined us. He brings out a fun toy he’s been hiding for a year. A topper sailing boat. We have our afternoon project. Rigging it up is fun ‘cos a bunch of lines are worn out and we’re using a nylon rope for the main sheet(rope).
An hour of running around and we are up. Three kayaks and a sail boat. It’s time to hit the water. Abhinash joins us later and all that’s left is the beauty of a backwater and river meeting. The water is green and the palms hang low. The afternoon has melted away and it’s a cool evening now. You round the island and the expanse of the Chaliyar hits you. Gaurav and Tarun are loving the freedom. Kaushiq is battling the shifty wind and we track back to catch him every now and then.
I guide Kaushiq across the river where the winds are better. And when we get a tad too close, I swap my kayak for the sail boat. It’s the first time in a topper, but it handles superbly. The wind picks up and I perch myself on port side and cruise.
That’s a first. Sailing up a river. And it’s a brilliant experience. A couple of maneuvers and I’ve got the boat in the quiet shade, gliding home. On the way back, some low hanging electrical wires scare the hell out of me. But it’s brilliant fun nonetheless. Turn the corner and we are parked.
And just as easy as that, a good day has ended at Chaliyar. Back at kaushiq’s house, we have an array of food. Fried fish, beef fry and chicken biryani. Throw in a singha and it’s the perfect way to wind down.
In the distance a coast guard boat keeps a vigil.
P. S. : I’ve arrived in Kerala. And the papers.