Before I get into my first travel experience all by myself, I would like to double-quote few lines “Living a routine life for 60+ years in this universe won’t even get closer to what you learn from 10+ years of adventures life”. “Life is exciting when you wake up everyday and see a new sky”.
When: September 2014
Yes, I am in my late twenties. What am going to say now, souls in their late twenties might agree. Suddenly everyone around cares about you so much and urges you to ‘marry!’. Well, my untold answer to them ‘no thanks!’.
A week before the trip, I was looking at my calendar and ‘Hey, I see an extended weekend, should I stay indoors like always..’. I decided, ‘No, not this time. I am going to step out’. I wanted to go to a place, which is not closer to city life, which is near to nature. Few small bumps, in the middle of ocean like a broken chain. Hilly as well as Coastal. Green as well as Clean. Yes, Andaman. A big thanks to whoever decided this beautiful place belongs to India though it is located around 1350 kms away from the boundary and just around 450 kms from Burma’s boundary. No visa required you see! Andaman and Nicobar contains group of 3000 islands, comprises of long range of hills with evergreen forests. And yes, many of them might not have seen a human foot print till now.
When you go alone, your attention is completely on the environment and your time is not wasted in chit-chats. You tend to talk to strangers. You get a lot of time in your clock, it ticks slower, giving all the possible seconds to spend just by yourself. My music player and a book was travelling along with me, the best companions, isn’t it?.
Boarded my flight at Chennai with a little excitement which grew along the journey. Have never been to an Island and never gone anywhere alone. Flying several miles on top of the planet, up above the clouds, a meager escape from gravity. All those white clouds, spread across like a huge cotton bed. After few minutes, able to see a bunch of small bumps, dense green dots, scattered across the ocean. Yeah, going to land now. Port Blair, the capital, a small town with a non luxury Airport, a small Harbor with some rusted Ships and Ferries, few Industries, one popular Bazaar and not to forget, nice People. I started rambling on the just-rained-wet streets, not looking for a destination, of-course. After a while, I stopped a rick, asked him to drop me at a good sea food restaurant to have my lunch, I hopped in,
‘Are you from Andaman?’
‘I was born here, but my actual origin is Pudhukottai, Tamilnadu’
‘Where are you from?’
‘It is very rare to see someone from Karur, they like to live in Karur and do business, Right?’
‘Exactly, most of them’
‘You came with your friends?’
‘No, I came alone’
‘Alone?! Ok, let me ask you this, why Andaman? and moreover alone, what pulled you here?’
‘Well, I have never been to an Island and I thought this place is definitely the best break free location’
‘Good, I always wanted to know, how people feels about the place I am living’
‘You are living in a Heaven, ok, don’t you worry! And nice to see you, your name?’
‘Take care Shankar, I might see you again in this little island’
Monsoons are good to ramble on, you won’t feel much tired. Some light showers on and off making the air humid. Standing in front of a war tanker which is inside a Park. The park name will remind you that you are still in India. Yes, Gandhi park. This park is just adjacent to the sea. This park, the roads, the beach, all of them are clean and well maintained. And for a change, I see traffic signals are strictly obeyed, there is a cab waiting for green on a completely empty road.
Morning came soon today. Andaman is following Indian Time Zone, but ultimately we need to think 1.5 hrs ahead in our clock. It gets damn bright at 5 in the morning and pitch dark at 6 in the evening. Started rambling on the streets before boarding the ferry. Lot of greasy work shops near the harbor. It gives you a rusty-oil-smell, you know what I mean. While waiting for the ferry, met three Europeans, they must have just crossed their teen-age. One from Spain and the other two from Germany. I like people from Europe for one reason, they follow pretty much the same culture as India in terms of languages. Europe is a continent with bunch of countries who speak different languages, India is a country with bunch of states who speak different languages. This is my point of view. Believe it or not, they came to India 3 months back for their studies, and this is their 3rd trip already. Not a surprise.
Here it is, the rusted-dusted ferry, waiting for us. This ferry got 2 decks with close to 140 seats and an open space at the top. Sitting inside the ferry, I know that am floating over water but cannot feel the actual move until I step-out to the open space in the ferry. Wow! This small ferry floating up and down over a clear bluish ocean, to the left I can see a long range of green forest covered with dark rain clouds, to the right a thin line where the sky meets the ocean. As the ferry moves, it is leaving behind a white bubble-road on top of the sea. After few hours, ferry reached Havelock. Havelock island is located 50 kms to the east from Port Blair. Asia’s second largest beach is here in this small island, its name is Radha-nagar beach.
This island, completely covered in green. People here, are living a peaceful life close to nature. A country side covered with agriculture lands, cattle farms, small tea/coffee huts and on the other side to attract tourists they got few dive-in beach resorts, multi-cuisine restaurants. Here I am, taking a two wheeler on rent, just started riding with some music on. In the middle of village, for its contrast, a completely wooden furnished restaurant and bar, stepping in now, they are playing some pretty old trance music trying to push away the calm atmosphere, Non-season, so no crowd.
Beaches in Havelock are so clean. Only amoeba shaped pebbles, unique colored shells and dry leaves spread all over the seashores. Grab a hand of beach sand, you feel like your hand just filled with air. So damn light. It is early morning, slight golden rays of sun trying to dry up the roads after a heavy rain last night, on my way to Kala-bantar beach, one side I can see the calm shore with coconut trees, other side bamboo trees and dense bushes. Bliss. Every place here is adorable. After 24 hours of Havelocking, I boarded a ferry back to Port Blair. Murmuring to myself, ‘I will come back here, another time, for a little longer stay, explore more than whatever I did this time’.
Visit http://www.andamans.gov.in/ to get a complete tourist guide. A must go!