Cruising The Backwaters in Southern India
Can any form of therapy compete with the calming effect of spending a couple of days and nights gliding silently and aimlessly along the waterways of the Backwaters in a kettyvallam – a houseboat built from bamboo, jackwood, and coir [a fiber which is made into ropes] being waited on by an attentive crew of three? That’s just Bunch and me – and a crew of three unforgettable individuals, who nurtured us, fed us and spoiled us rotten. Kumar the captain, Jojo the chef who kept a steady stream of sumptuous dishes coming from his kitchen, and Thomas who quietly attended to every detail.
We passed rice paddies which resembled electric green, lush carpets swaying in the breeze; women doing their laundry on the banks of the river thwacking and slapping it against the smooth stones; hundreds of ducks swimming behind their master’s canoe like puppies, then waddling up the riverbank and fanning out into the rice fields to begin their day of work pecking at the algae and insects and fertilizing the plants with their poop. Young girls washed their long onyx black hair in the river; children took their evening baths; men shaved and washed; pink water lillies bobbed on the water’s surface; copper colored kingfishers with turquoise crowns sat on long bare stalks and surveyed the scene; long, narrow, single log canoes transporting a few tools or coconuts drifted by. We read – we stared –we ate – we went for walks into the little villages when Kumar tied up for a while – we slept like newborn babies. We learned the art of letting go and zoning out in our zen surroundings.
Our suite, which was air-conditioned at night had a compact bathroom, the queen size bed was dressed in crisp white linen and there was ample room for storing our luggage.
Most of our time on board was spent on the burnished wooden sundeck in comfy armchairs or on a raised platform, lounging against bolster cushions with a book in hand and a giant fresh coconut beside us.
The most perfect way to decompress after weeks of traveling through India.