Posts Tagged ‘backwaters’

Alambara again

Sun swims for our viewing pleasure
Sun swims for our viewing pleasure

Prepare and initiate

The preparation for the trip to Alambara backwaters was both necessary and perhaps a tad too long. At about 6 in the evening, Reuben, the HR guy whom insects and people disgust to no extent, and I started recording an Mp3 music compilation. We called it ‘Road Tripping’ and exchanged at least three high-fives before sobriety kicked in and so did the feeling that we were doing something lame.

I brought Iggy Pop, White Stripes, Meat Puppets, King Crimson and others. Reuben was armed and presumably dangerous with Megadeth, Alice In Chains, Pink Floyd, Skid Row and Pearl Jam. But the song, which was almost as crucial as the trip itself was ‘Lie Without A Lover’ by newcomer Robi Dracos Rosa. The guy looks like Ricky Martin and wrote lyrics that didn’t require too much assistance from the brain. The music however shone like a cracked mirror. It was an incredibly catchy pop song, sounding almost futuristic in its recognition of subtle harmonies.

Last week, an accidental viewing of VH1 introduced me to this song. And after the others heard it, it was settled that we needed to take that trip to Alambara.And the rest avoided history by being a culmination of awkward planning and wishful thinking. Yuvraj, the resident chink, was on his way down to our not-so-friendly neighbourhood reporter Gopu’s place and Deepu had already (gleefully too) started initiation of stage two.

Rinse and Repeat

Pass the smoke
Pass the smoke

Coffee was being served haphazardly and just the way we liked it. The apparatuses came out of hiding and so began our hazy journey into the long night. It was 9.30 pm, Yuvraj and Gopu were still missing and the three of us were halfway through the process of passing out of our collective senses.

Several hours later, the three of us moved farther from sobriety; latecomers Yuvraj and Gopu were drunk and excessively smiling respectively.

Kickstarting another memory

It was 3.15 am when we hit the road. We had to fill up petrol and check the air, both of which took more time than what was bearable. It was almost 4.20 am before the ECR highway greeted us with much kindness. The intro bass riffs of ‘Lie Without A Lover’ kickstarted a refreshing drive down memory lane. I previously had found the lyrics to be quite corny but all of sudden the words “Hey these nights are fashioned around you / I guess the path of love is no longer haunting you” seemed rather poignant. Art, I tell you.



I had been to Alambara twice this year. Gopu had accompanied me during the second visit. Yuvraj, Reuben and Deepu were as clueless as bats on sweltering afternoons. Now, where the hell was this place? Wait. Stop. Turn around, man. “Anna, where is Alambara?” “Oh ok, thanks anna”. Take this left. Let it rip, man. We are here!

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About 23 kilometers before the Pondicherry bus stop, paradise lies obscure and silent. The Alambara backwaters. Perfectly hidden inside a secluded village off the Mahaballipuram-Pondicherry highway, the backwaters is known to the locals as Frenchie Kotai Orru.

Apart from a grand blue ocean, this village is also home to a French fort, which doubled up as an erstwhile godown for packages that arrived from Ceylon during the late 60s.

Presumably in it’s death bed, this sprawling red fort sent many chilly sensations down our collective spines. There was a Muslim burial ground nearby, as though just to up the ante of creepiness.

Arriving there at 4.30 am, we walked just short of mile to reach the moon-lit backwaters.

It was a matter of minutes before each one of us found a nesting place. Some of us sat on wet rocks covered in barnacles while others stood around, casting their hazy glances at the orange sky.

Our senses danced like wild birds caught in forest fire.

One of us, the one who wore his beard and beads with effervescent pride, suddenly fell down without any specific reason.

“This is it”, he mumbled. “This is fucking it”

This place possessed a rare beauty. A sort of beauty which could make you trip over thin air.

And then just before the sun woke up from its slumber, something spectacular happened.

I stopped thinking.

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