Having heard and read about “things to do in Alleppey” to its saturation point, the apprehension of illustrious backwaters of Kerala and the houseboats that ply on them, I simply couldn’t wait to hop into one once I reached Alleppey, the Venice of the East. Having secured lodging and boarding at one of the best hostels in Alleppey, I booked a houseboat with the help of the hotel’s staff without losing any time further. Soon I was on board, a houseboat that exceeded all my expectations by a margin of the length of the backwater itself! Having ample time on hand, I had chosen one of the longest routes available for such houseboat cruises: Alleppey to Kochi that measured up more than 60 kilometres, I was informed thus by the driver of my houseboat who introduced himself and welcomed me aboard. I was shortly introduced with the cook who was to accompany us for the entire cruise and asked what I would like to have for lunch. When I asked what my options were, he reeled off such a lengthy menu that I couldn’t help but marvel at his versatility. However, nothing could charm me more than the temptation of tasting the freshly caught and readily cooked seafood. It seemed to be the cook’s expertise as he seemed to be especially delighted at my choice.
After having got introduced to the crew of my vessel (believe me it does give you the unmistakable feeling that you are some royalty once you are aboard a houseboat for a cruise), I decided to get familiar with the boat itself and was really content to see all the amenities provided therein. The bathroom and toilet were sparklingly clean, the furniture was aesthetically made, and the linen had nothing to complain of: everything seemed so perfect. By this time, the driver had already set our boat in the direction of Kochi and so I came out and reclined comfortably on the sofa laid out exactly for that purpose to take in as much view of the landscape as possible. It did not take us much time to leave the town behind and soon I could see small hutments dotting either bank, though few and far between. What accompanied us all along the journey, were the coconut trees leaning onto the water as to marvel at their own reflections in the simmering water.
Yet another recurring sight was that of the fishermen and fisherwomen using imaginative means to lure and trap the catch. It was from one of such fisherman’s family that my cook purchased fish and prawns for my lunch. And I would say that it was indeed a great catch at a reasonable price as I could infer form the haggling that went between the fisher folks and the cook. Soon the meal was ready and I can wager that the meal tasted none like I had anywhere anytime. It was full of grandeur equalling only with the grandeur of the landscape that my eyes couldn’t stop feasting on. All that I recollect from that cruise is how content all my senses were as long as the cruise lasted!