On Tuesday, my old friends from Palakkad turned up at Alleppey. The last gathering with these guys, with whom I had studied in primary class in 1965- 67 at the Railway Primary School in Olavakkode was earlier this year, when we went to Nelliampathy; before that at Malampuzha. The reunion of classmates after 45 plus years was a memorable event. Abe, who is a doctor in the US, had made a short visit home and the old gang quickly got together and went for a day's cruise in the backwaters of Alleppey.
The cruise started only at 1100 hrs. We had hired a 3-bedroom houseboat through my friend Pradeep's contacts; There were about 14 of us. I was more interested in chatting up with the guys and the drinks than taking photographs. Daytime with its bright light is not much good either.
The package included a sumptous lunch, evening snacks, in- between Chicken Fry-s and Prawn Fry-s, dinner and breakfast. The houseboats are large, bulky. They lumber up and down the backwater lakes, ply till 1800 hrs and then drops anchor off some isolated strip. You are dropped back at Alleppey in the morning. With air-conditioning and luxurious beds, one can get a good sleep too. Otherwise the mosquitoes and other flying insects would smother you.
All of us are in our mid-fifties. Daughters have been married off, one guy already a grandfather. Many of us show the diminishments of age; BP, Diabetis, heart. One who was with us in the last reunion passed away a few months ago. Those in Govt. service have started retiring. Long ago we sat together in a classroom as little kids. Time, that eternal long-distance runner, took us through the years, how swiftly it all became past!
There is an old adage among my friends who dabble in photography as either serious amateurs or professionals - Do not mix photography with trekking or pleasure trips; photography should be done in a trip with its sole purpose as photography. So, these pictures are just a record of events. For those who want to capture the serene beauty of the backwaters, they should go to more scenic spots in the region, and that too in the early mornings and late evenings.
I had taken along my old Nikon manual system, but there were too many distractions to focus on shooting pictures. Anyway, the idea was to meet the old boys once again.
Balachandran V, Alappuzha, 11.11.2011