Early Morning Boat Ride

One of the must do’s while you’re relaxing in the backwaters is waking up before dawn to take a boat ride across the backwaters before the sun reaches its apex.

For someone like me, who absolutely loves sleeping in, this was quite the task. I woke up groaning and despite all my feeble attempts at backing out, muffled by the duvet I was hiding under so snugly, I found myself dragging my feet towards the dock with puffy, sleep laden eyes.

The ride begins gently but slowly floating past the infamous floating cottages. As one floats by them, one also gets to witness the idol of Mother Mary and the Cross built on a rock. It is a unique experience to see the hues on the idol come to life as the rays of the sun bask upon it, inch by inch. In much the same manner, the water too turns a different shade, seemingly dark maroon or purple, a trick of nature on the irises.

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Once past the floating cottages, the boat heads deeper into the groves where one gets to witness, thanks to the sharp eye of the guide and skipper, birds of different hues and species. Hidden behind heavy sets of leaves and often camouflaged, naive eyes would never notice the birds if it weren’t for the experienced skippers whose very livelihood depends on showing tourists around and impressing them with their keen eye for discovering, what otherwise would be very hard to detect, birds and animals.

One also gets to see houses hidden within the groves, with people waking up and doing their morning chores or getting ready to head out to earn their daily wages. Boats tied here and there indicated fishermen around as well.

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Somewhere between the purr of the motor from the boat and the echoes of birds chirping, an eerie comfort somehow settled upon us as the boat sailed around. Slipping in and out of little streams, created by cutting down hundreds of coconut tress, passing through nooks and crannies, arches made out of trees bent with age, we got to witness flora at its prime, wild in its beauty. From time to time, the skipper chipped in, informing the passengers of fruits that seemed deceivingly normal but were incredibly poisonous and flowers that seemed to be withering but were actually in full bloom and were used to medicate cuts and wounds.

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The entire boat ride was about an hour and a half long. The ride ended just as the sun was about to rise to its zenith. We stepped out and onto the dock feeling energised and awakened, the impression of such tranquil beauty leaving quite a deep impression on the mind and soul.


Experiencing the Backwaters

It has been quite some time since I have woken up, feeling refreshed and well rested, rather than cranky and groggy. The sun was beaming and there was a slight breeze, whistling as it brushed through the trees and bushes surrounding us.

As I had an appointment with the Spa in a couple of hours, my parents sun bathed beside the pool while I decided on a nice, sunny swim.

I hate gymming. Gymming and running, to be precise. It makes it difficult for me, therefore, to maintain a healthy regime. As a teenager, I was an exuberant participant in multiple sports. Basketball, badminton, swimming, horse-riding, I loved them all. Needless to say, I was toned and extremely fit. University and work ruined all of it. Swimming during this vacation, was not just an enjoyable excuse but also a welcome exercise. I did not realise just how much I had missed swimming until I dipped my toes and broke the surface of the cold water.

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Fun fact regarding my swimming costume while I am at it. Only after the vacation did I realise that I could sport the bikini top two-ways. I could either choose to don it as a halter or remove the straps and sport a cute and well fitted strapless top! Also, the neon print isn’t just for show. It glows in the dark, as I had noticed, the day before, when I had my evening swim.

Soon after, I headed for my spa appointment.(There will be a blog post about it in the coming week, so stay tuned!)

Post my spa treatment, my muscles so relaxed, I could barely move, I somehow dragged myself out of Jiva (the spa centre). Smelling heavily of scented oils, I decided on wearing something light and loose since I wasn’t allowed to bathe for the next hour or so.

Quick tip: Take a shower or bath after the hour is up. The scent becomes quite strong, the more it stays on and makes you feel quite queasy by the end, if you have it on longer than 60 minutes.

I suffered and learnt this bitter truth since we we had a 40 minute journey ahead of us, followed by checking into our resort at Poovar and then being reallocated. All in all, I ended up washing up about two hours later than instructed!

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Having arrived, we hopped onto a little boat, ferrying us across the backwaters to the resort. For all those who are unaware, the backwaters are a part of the river, untouched by the current. Hence, the waters are extremely still.

On our way to ‘Poovar Island Resort’, we saw multiple floating restaurants on one side and an expanse of sand on the other. The sand was a makeshift beach of sorts, barricading the sea. The sea in this part was in a constant state of high tide and the beach was quite unsafe, with various places marked dangerous since it was surrounded by quick sand.

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Beyond the conch lay vast acres of greenery. Flowers in full bloom, coconut trees looming everywhere and small paths weaving in and out, with hammocks in full use, welcomed us as we walked inside the resort.

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From the entrance, one could see tiny cottages popping up here and there with a swimming pool built right in the centre of the entire resort. Once check-in had been done, we were escorted to our floating cottage. Unfortunately, our first and last impression of the floating cottage wasn’t the best. It was dingy and somehow, just didn’t seem appeasing.

For the first time ever, I feel, I put my foot down. My parents had headed for lunch while I decided to wash off the oils from the spa treatment I had done before. Turns out, there was no water! Shocked, upset and taken aback, I stormed out and refused to enter the cottage until we were relocated to a better accommodation.

Thankfully, post lunch, we were housed in one of the newer accommodations which had a wonderful view of the entire resort with the sea visible in the far distance and a jacuzzi installed in the walk-in bathroom!

Come evening, we had a small tour of everything the resort had to offer. We soon realised, this part of the backwaters was best suited for a weekend getaway rather than a long vacation. So we decided to shorten our stay at Poovar and head back to Kovalam after two days rather than three.

Also, it seemed Poovar Island Resort hosted day trips and the like, since the resort seemed to be bustling with people throughout our time there. It was a surprising change from the quiet and calm of Kovalam where people were in their own space and silence was a calming blanket. It doesn’t imply that it was disturbing! The experience was simply different.

We were also informed of the Ayurvedic Village (a must do for everyone, I would say!), located in a small corner of the resort, tucked away from all the cacophony and bustle of tourists making the most of their vacation. Excited, we made ourselves a few appointments, deciding on giving our muscles as good a pamper session as our skin.

Stay tuned for more updates!


First Impression of Kovalam

I am not one to lose my calm when I am around my parents. Why? Because they’re capable of doing it without my help. They lose their marbles at the drop of a hat which is why, even if I want to, I can’t. But, they know, that if I start to panic, there really is something to worry about.

Headed to Kovalam had me worried. We had a super early flight and somehow, we were extremely close to missing it. We made it inside the airport with minutes to spare and my bad choices had me swearing under my breath, incessantly. The one time I should have worn sneakers, so that I could do all the running around with ease, I decided on 6 inch heels.

Poor judgement aside, we boarded our flight without much of a delay.

A stop over later, we had landed in Trivandrum.  After a fifteen odd minute drive , we were pulling into the breathtakingly beautiful resort, Vivanta by Taj. Beautifully structured and designed around waterfalls and forestry, the resort oozed serenity and calm. Welcomed with shell garlands, we settled down to cool ourselves, sipping on some refreshing coconut water while our backs were taken to our room.

Having toured all that we could of the resort while the receptionist was confirming the details of our check-in, we decided to stop by the sea. It gave us time to have a quick trip down to the beach, something, all of us were quite eager to visit.

The sun was at its peak, there was salt in the air and the waves were crashing relentlessly on the rocks.

Yes, my vacation had indeed begun.

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We then headed back to the resort where our lovely concierge Roshin surprised us by upgrading us to the Premium Deluxe Suite. Let me just say, the room was spectacular. With a gorgeous sea view, a panoramic view of the resort, two balconies and a walk in bathroom, I was all but ready to kick my heels off and collapse into the relaxing environment that was beckoning me, enticing me never to return to reality.

Having not had lunch, I decided on treating myself to Roasted chicken breast with rosemary, potato mash, mushroom jus and sautéed vegetables.

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I got quite obsessed with mushroom jus by the end of it, my father being witness to it. He actually caught me with my finger dipped deep in the jus, unabashedly treating it like a jar of nutella.


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On our way to the sea in the evening, we got to see more of the resort, landscape and design of the resort and everything it had to offer as we bumped along on the cute buggy that was driving us there.

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The water was so still, everything was a mirror reflection on its surface. On our way back, once the boat had turned around, we got to witness the sun setting. Shades of pink, purple and orange kissed the skies and watching it, had my heart fluttering at its beauty.

With our feet back on solid ground, we relaxed some more on the beach.  Eager to let loose the water soul I host, we headed back. The swimming pool in the resort was beautiful to say the least and I really wanted to dip my toes in and swim, something I hadn’t done in ages!

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The design of the swimming pool mimicked the infinity pools that have become so famous, with one side of the pool not walled, instead, ending in a steep drop. The view on the unwalled side of the pool was basically, a never ending view of the sea and the sky meeting, two distinct shades of blue, shaking hands.

Dad decided to give me company while I swum. Having not swum in ages, I decided to really push myself. By the end of it, my muscles were on fire, something I actually enjoyed. While I headed back for an extremely relaxing and LONG bubble bath, my parents headed for their spa appointments.

I think I dozed off in the bath. The warm water and the heady scent of lotus from the bubbles had me relaxed and I lost track of time. When I got out, I felt so sleepy. It was a good kind of exhaustion, not the kinds where you are weary and want to curl up and cry. Donning a bathrobe, I collapsed on the couch, all set with my book. Soon, my parents returned from their spa appointments, smelling of oils and looking, well…sticky.

Dinner was as succulent as lunch. I treated myself to Garlic butter prawns for an entrée and Pesto pasta for my main course. For dessert, I chose Tiramisu with shaved coffee flavoured chocolate.

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Well fed, relaxed to the point that our limbs were almost jelly-like, we hit the bed. For the first time, in what seems like forever, I fell asleep immediately. Actually, I didn’t even realise I had fallen asleep. Middle of the night, when I awoke, parched and in search of a water bottle, did I realise that I had fallen asleep and had been tucked into my bed by my Dad. Slightly embarrassing but adorable too, I’d say.

My first day in Kerala was perfect in every way!


Sunny Brighton

Before I start gushing about the amazing time I had in Brighton, let me just put it out there that my travel buddy and I are starting to make a habit out of cutting it very close when it comes to boarding trains. As exciting as it is, to race against time and make it to the station with minutes to spare, I’m really hoping, this trend of ours, ends soon.

Unsurprisingly, Arv and I made it just in the nick of time when it came to boarding the train. An empty carriage and hushed conversations helped calm our pounding heartbeats as we sat down, sweaty and out of breath. Time passed peacefully and within an hour, our train was pulling into Brighton station. From there, a quick two minute journey had us arriving at Hove where Arv’s absolutely adorable grandmother was kind enough to be our host during our time there.

Being utterly oblivious at times, I was so busy pushing my ticket into the machine to get the doors to open, that I did not notice Helen waiting for us until I saw Arv hunched over, enveloping her in his arms. Not having met Helen before didn’t seem at all awkward or weird, she made me feel so welcome, I couldn’t stop smiling!

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Arv, who sort of looks like Wolverine here and his Nana, Helen.

She was such a bundle of positivity, energy and love, I felt at home immediately. She drove us to her place where we had amazingly healthy food along with delicious Camomile tea although we had been warned beforehand by her that cooking food was not her forte and she did not enjoy it one bit!

One of the many things I enjoyed about my time with Helen included listening to her life travels and her interactions with people. Besides this, her house finally fulfilled and brought to life, my long harboured imagination of what a proper British house looked like, thanks to the countless books I read, written by Enid Blyton. She is also one of the coolest women I have ever come across. I absolutely adored her joie de vivre when we decided on a selfie. To be perfectly honest, she looked the most glamorous out of all of us in it!

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With the sun beaming down on us, my friend and I headed out to Brighton Pier having said goodbye to Helen and having planned a quick meet up before our train back to London. Before all this happened though, I got to witness Arv and Helen scrutinising maps of Brighton. This was because despite living in a world of gizmos and gadgets, ours failed us. Between Arv and me, we had three mobiles, all of which refused to function and decided to die due to lack of battery.

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While walking along the beach, I got to witness buskers of immense talent entertaining the multitudes of people who had stepped out of their houses to enjoy the sun and take a dip in the sea. With the sea water glimmering, ice cream cones everywhere and squeals of delight echoing from all sides, we approached Brighton Pier with a lot of excitement.

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Street buskers; Three men sitting absolutely still, balanced on soft balls held in one hand.

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As Meredith Grey once said, ‘The carousel never stops turning.’

Having entered Brighton Pier, the competitive gamers in my friend and me awakened and we headed to the arcade with steely determination. Maybe it was because I was still exhausted from work or it just wasn’t my day, I lost every single game to my friend. For someone as competitive as me, this was quite a heavy blow and my friend didn’t make things easier. It took all my will power not to push him over the railing of the pier as punishment for reminding me of my defeat, every single chance he got.

We took a break from the games from time to time, stepping out to enjoy the salty air and the sound of crashing waves, drowned by the laughter that flooded me from everywhere.

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We then headed to Palm Court for lunch since Arv was in the mood for Fish and Chips. For someone as healthy as him, it was quite a surprise for me to witness him cleaning up a gigantic plate of deep fried fish and fries or as the British like to call it, chips. I decided on Mashed Potatoes with a Pie made out of mackerel, shrimps, peas and salmon. It was delicious but for someone like me who is very picky about her sea food, it was quite…fishy.

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We then walked around the Pavilion, deciding against entering it, wishing to enjoy the weather rather than feeling jealous strolling through the pleasure palace for George IV. The pavilion was beautiful though. With a wonderful combination of Indian and Oriental architecture and a very picturesque location, the pavilion is something everyone headed to Brighton must visit even if, like us, you decide against entering it.

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With time running out, we decided to walk towards the station and enjoy whatever Brighton had to offer on our way to it. Our walk was quite the enjoyable one with a sea gull almost raking Arv and my skulls as it flew over our heads. We also walked through a vintage market that had a concert/gathering going on. The heady scent of incense sticks and vintage collections on display in the market, made for quite a fun experience.

Just when I was about to point out to my friend that I had not come across any street art, walls upon walls of street art appeared before us. Here are my favourites!

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It seemed our competitive nature had not yet been satiated since Arv decided to race me up the stairs to the platform. He duped me though! While I raced up, he casually set his pace, climbing the stairs one at a time. Just when I thought he wasn’t actually racing and stopped sprinting, he made a sudden dash for it and won.

No worries though my lovely Mavericks, I got my revenge later on.

Soon, we reached the station where we met Helen. She handed us a bag full of goodies for our journey back home which was so incredibly sweet of her! Having said our final goodbyes, we boarded an extremely crowded train and spent most of the journey, standing or rather dozing off, leaning on each other, the heat and exhaustion from our long walk, finally getting to us.

Coming back to my Brighton tale, remember when I said, I got my revenge on Arv? Well, my friend, who refused to adhere to the phrase, ‘Let the girl win’ got a taste of his own medicine when we decided to race from the tube station back home. From the minute we got off the tube, the race began. The first to touch the door of the house would be the ultimate champion and I can proudly say, it was yours truly despite Arv downing a double espresso for the sole purpose of winning the race.

The victory was made sweeter by the fact that my friend is actually a runner, who participates in marathons while I shamelessly give him the most judgemental looks for participating in them.

Anyway, that my lovely Mavericks, brings this travelogue to a close. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed reliving it while penning down this fond memory.