Life is tough. Admit it or not. And to get through some tough days (which mind you, life throws you plenty) you need some thick friends. Spending time with whom can get your head off all the clutter. Friends to whom letting everything off your chest can make you feel light. And friends, who remind you of your life back in hostel where you were a moron and how the current life was just karma being a bitch – making you chuckle. You need such friends.
But two things can make you instantly feel better. Period. One, when you share your problems with your friends and realise that your friends have bigger problems – You immediately console yourself and feel fine. Two, when you are sick and tired of dealing with your life shit – you plan a trip with your besties, and they immediately jump at the idea. Did I mention – leaving their 3 year olds at home. 🙂
After a lot of back and forth, we booked a lake view room overlooking the serene Vembanad Lake at Gokulam Grand Resort & Spa, Kumarakom. The price per night was Rs.10,000 inclusive of an extra bed + breakfast, which was a fair deal.
One Saturday morning, as I rose to my alarm blaring yet totally excited for the trip, my dad informs that the train is 2 hours late. The Nethravati Express that we were supposed to board at 8:10am was now only coming in at 10:10am. And Kumarakom was 5 hours from Calicut. Which meant it would get evening by the time we reached Kumarakom. But there was nothing much we could do.
So I called my girls – Veena and Sajini (Saju) home. I remember the moment they walked in, it was chaos. All of us were speaking at the same time. The excitement was palpable. It had been a really long time since all of us were in the same room.
After discussing various possible options of ditching the train and taking the bus, we eventually decided to stick to the same train. Now we had a lot of time at hand. And with time at hand, we swiftly dove into our memories from the past – the Holis we played, the umpteen theme restaurants we checked into, all the travelling we did, the bathroom singing, late night munching, encounters with cops, all the embarrassing stuff. It was a laughter riot.
After a quick time check, we finished our breakfast. Veena’s mom had packed some podinja podi idlis for us, that we relished bite by bite. And ended our breakfast with some boost, just like the old times. We then head to the railway station and prayed for the train to not get further late. Luckily it wasn’t. So we boarded the train at 10:10am.
The next few hours, we filled each other up with whatever was happening in our lives while munching on some gourmet popcorn as our life dramas unfolded. LOL. After what seemed like forever, we reached Cherthala station at 3:30PM. Veena’s work friend was there to pick us up and give us a ride to our resort, which was about a half hour drive. Starved, we stopped in between for lunch and head straight to the resort.
The resort was in one word just FANTABULOUS. A 5 star property overlooking the serene Vembanad Lake, we fell in love with the property at the first glance. There was a huge ship replica set up by the reception that looked absolutely stunning.
There were lake side villas on both sides of the reception surrounded by a lake built within the resort. The view was just spectacular. It sort of was a double bonanza!
As a hotel staff led us towards our room, we traversed through bridges set up over canals. It reminded of my trip to Amsterdam, from a few years ago. I smiled at all amazing memories that came flashing at once. We then checked in to our room and quick opened our balcony and literally jumped at the breathtaking view of the lake from the room!
We had only little time before the sun set for the day, so we quickly changed into new clothes and head out. Finding a cute spot, we sat by the lake and watched houseboats run past us one after the other while the sun changed it colours into all pretty shades of orange.
We then noticed a church just by the lake. We walked ourselves to the church mesmerised by its beauty. It shined bright in white and looked absolutely exquisite in the evening sun.
We then again head back to our initial spot and sat there watching the sun go down the horizon little by little, till it was gone and the left sky in all shades beautiful.
As the night set in, the lights came on and the entire property was a pretty spectacle to behold.
We got back to our rooms, changed into comfortable clothes, ordered in food from Swiggy and waited with bated breath for the food to arrive. We were famished.
The food soon arrived and we sat in the balcony of our room and enjoyed our scrumptious dinner while some soothing music played in the background.
For the rest of the night we re-looked at our pictures from the day and enjoyed a hearty laugh. We discussed life stories, Netflix shows and Malayalam movies and it was way past midnight before we hit the sack.
Next morning, we rose to the early sun. We were up by 6. I enjoyed some cycling after a really long time. I was initially sceptical after my recent fall and fracture from cycling, but I fought that fear and went for it anyways. While I enjoyed some cycling, the girls did some yoga.
Post my cycling session, I sat by the lake for the tranquil and watched the waves rush towards me and hit a dead end and splash every time in force as houseboats passed a few kilometres from me. It was calming hearing the sound of the waves. Despite repeated unsuccessful attempts from my family to get me to meditate, I did not pay heed. But the atmosphere at the resort was just ideal to meditate, and so I did.
Next up in the day was Kayaking. After my sunset kayaking experience in Allepey that I thoroughly enjoyed, I was really looking forward to kayak here. It had been really long. I did two rounds of the lake, one with Saju and one with Veena. It was a really fun experience.
We next head to the pool, and spent sometime running our legs through the water while taking in the beauty of the resort. (Yes, still totally regret never learning swimming). After a while, we head back to our room for a quick bath, got dressed and walked to the restaurant for breakfast.
The spread was huge. We took our leisurely time in enjoying the delectable spread of items with everything from Idly Vadas to banana cupcakes and pancakes.
On our way back, we stopped by the gym area and asked for the person in charge of the gym for fishing equipments. We then found our cute spot from yesterday again and seated ourselves by the lake as he left to fetch us the required equipment.
So he arrived soon and brought us two fishing wooden rods. The rods had thin transparent wires tied at one end of the rod with a tiny hook at the end. And in a tissue paper, he handed over to us some flour dough, which was the bait. So we got started and did as instructed. We took a very tiny portion of the dough, made it into a ball and sort of stuck it around the hook and then propelled the hook down into the lake. As the fishes approached and I felt a little pressure of the rod being pulled down, I immediately pulled up to realise the food was gone, and I had caught no fish. Fishes these days are smart 🙂
We repeated this exercise multiple times after our failed first attempt, but sadly caught no fish. Yet the experience was a first for all of us, and we had a great time.
Boating in the Vembanad Lake was next in our list for the day. We enquired at the reception about the availability of the boat, and they confirmed to arrange for one in 30 mins.
We quickly got back to our room and made some fun reels which unfortunately are censored and not available for public consumption. It was soon time for boating. There was a Shikara waiting for us to take us on a ride through the Vembanad Lake. An hour long ride, it was a serene experience savouring the views of various resorts by the lake on one side and the view of houseboats getting past us on the other.
Since we had checked in pretty late the previous day, we had asked for a late check out and they had agreed for it. So, after we got back, Veena had pictured us all in Veshti Mundus and so was really looking forward to some pictures of all the three in the traditional Mallu attire. She got dressed first and then helped us both with the draping. She was a master at it. For what it would take easily half hour, she draped us up in less than five mins.
We hurriedly clicked some pictures and made some fun reels (which I’m pretty sure few years down the line will make us crackle) to my favourite Malayalam song Pallivaalu Bhadravattakam feat Vidya Vox. It was 2:45PM and it was now time to check out. We changed into comfortable clothes and settled the bill at the reception and checked out. I had a last look at the resort and vowed to come back again. The place was worth every penny and we had a gala time.
A cab waiting for us at the reception to drive us to Kochi. Kochi was 1.5 hours from our resort. After a hectic morning with no rest, all our batteries had dried up. So we took the opportunity to get some good rest and enjoy a short nap. We reached Kochi at around 4:45PM. The driver as instructed dropped us just ahead of Kashi Art Cafe, one of the famous art cafes in Fort Kochi. We savoured some yummylicious cold coffees, hummus and pitas, a giant Veg burger and some brownie with ice-cream to pamper our hungry stomaches.
After filling our stomaches full, we walked to the Fort Kochi Beach which was less than 5 minutes walk from the cafe. On our way to the beach, we came across many amazing open to air cafes. The vibe of the entire area was just something else. We then stopped by a souvenir shop around the corner and purchased some Fort Kochi fridge magnets for our souvenir collection.
The girls then indulged in some beach side clothes shopping for their kids. Once done, we walked to the beach and discovered the famous Chinese nets. The beach was super crowded owing to a Sunday. We spent sometime by the nets – taking in the amazing breeze from the beach and views of massive ships cruising along the ocean.
Since there were too many people at the beach, we decided to make a move and took a rick to the Fort Kochi Ferry Port. We purchased our ferry tickets to Marine drive.
It was again time for sun to set for the day. The sky turned into all spectacular shades of pink and orange. The ferry was sort of crowded so we couldn’t find us window seats to capture the colours of the sky. But nevertheless, it was still a joy experiencing it far from the windows.
About half hour later, we got down at Marine drive. The time was 7:00PM. We had plenty of time at hand before our train back to Kozhikode, which was at 9:30PM. So we found a cute corner by the Marine Drive and got busy with our random conversation on life. After about a good 45minutes of heart to heart conversations, we took a rick to the railway station and boarded the train. We reached Kozhikode a little past midnight. It was a hard goodbye with mixed emotions.
It was an AMAZING trip overall. A day with my girls – just like the old times. We left with a promise to make one such trip every year.
Sending the energies to the universe to conspire to make it happen :).