This trip we went was during my school days. The age during which making friends and mingling with N number of people never actually bothered us. Everyone around us would be open to our pranks as naughty and cute childish behaviour.
The trip was organised as a part of my father’s office recreational activities. All of his colleagues along with their family were present for the travel and hence the importance of the age of mingling. The kiddo team soon formed even before the journey started. At that time, the island or the name of the destination never mattered to us. There were other things like the food, fun and the long hours of games that mattered. But, still I remember my father mention the island’s name as Koduva Islands (which I happen to find out now from my father is KURUVA ISLAND) in WAYANAD, KERALA. The trip still remains to be one of the best in my mind. We boarded our bus around 4pm and reached wayanad around midnight. The bus journey was so much fun with a lot of games and food stop overs as usual. The night view I caught in between all the fun is still etched into my mind. The huge canvas of inky blue and grey night dotted with the twinkling stars, drawn onto it in a pitch black shade were the rows and rows of palms, coconut trees and hillocks. From far i could even catch tiny flickers of yellow lights that streamed out through the half closed doors and glass windows. The wind that blew across my face was so cool and fresh unlike that I was used to in my city life. The moon played hide and seek with us all along the journey. I still hold on to the view as one among those most treasured in my mind.
Upon reaching Wayanad, we stayed at a hotel for the night. In the morning we were so excited that we were finally going to see the island. All that I expected was a well kept island where to we would be taken by a boat or speed boat. I presumed that all of us would still play a few more games on the grass park and that would be it. But what i experienced that day was noooottthhing like that. The island was full of forest with a small trekking path that was simply cleared off the trees and bushes. From the mainland I could simply make out the starting point of the path, the remaining of which was hidden behind the huge trees and tall bushes. The water that surrounded the island was not a deep clear water river that could even occupy a tiny self row boat. It was full of stones, rocks and under current. Water was not as pristine and clear but one that came as a mud mix. I was truly thrilled. All of us walked in a line over the rocks slowly to reach the island. The dreadful news of people loosing lives in such streams, being common, many of the parents were really careful in letting the children loose anymore. But that was not going to lower our spirits. After all, our first friends are always our parents..hehe..
When everyone reached the island, we started walking the path that was again muddy from a drizzle that the forest had the last day. There were many funny uncles who simply tried to make a fake roar to scare others. The trip seemed to promise a lot more than simple chats from then on. Now that i think about it, that must have been my first adventure trip. As we walked, we entered denser forests where even the sun light seemed scarce at mid day. It was cool and green. There were very tall trees, little monkeys and many butterflies. Soon as I began to wonder whether the adventure was all over and only the walk was left until we reached some clear spot, I heard a little stream gurgle somewhere not far off. I though it must have been the same muddy stream we just crossed only now that it must be just behind one of those thick undergrowths. But to my utter surprise- literally open mouthed amazement- we were standing in front of a stream…no..river..pregnant with huge rocks and overflowing with pristine water. The water sprayed over us as we neared the rocks. It was the coolest drops of water that has ever touched my skin. Now that I was already happy enough another big news came by and that was that we could take a long bath in the river for about 2 hours. Hoop-dap-a-dap. I doubted that any of the parents would allow though but they were so cool about it. So all of us took a royal dip in the water that gushed all around us. The spot where we halted was actually surrounded by the river on all 3 sides. There were tall trees, large rocks, clear water, blue sky, cool breeze, freedom and what else would any man ever need. We splashed,dipped,floated, swam and laughed all along. As the 2 hours started ticking away to it’s last few minutes all of us were sad to stop but yet, we had to. The eyes red from water sprayed into them, hair wet and dripping, body fresh ,soul happy all of us found their legs back on dry rocks. As we changed and was about to go, the smell of food, a tasty food for the voracious hunger that always finds it’s way to the tummy after a long river bath was ready. The exclusive kerala cuisine that consisted of kappa (tapioca),mulak (chilly and onion) and kattan kaapi (black coffee). We sat on the banks of the river and had as much as we could and proud to claim that we did it in a very environment friendly way. The food was eaten from a leaf and the cups of coffee were all collected and disposed on our way back in a waste bin.
Though all of us were sad to leave the beautiful and adventurous island, we had to. Soon, we were again in the bus. The return trip wasn’t as loud and fun since everyone was tired and the sadness of an ending trip had crept into all of us. Parents knew that the next day, they would again be in the same office with the routine works and the house chores to take care of. We children knew that we would again be loaded with the homeworks and projects though we had a little silver lining to it as we could still say this long Island Trip story to our friends and be heroes.