I rotate the wheel towards the right, giving it several turns at one go. Joseph chuckles at my effort to maneuver between an approaching houseboat on the left and a long canoe on the right. I succeed, and a carpet of bright green leaves greets us as though to applaud me. The backwaters of Alleppey (Alappuzha) are as picture perfect as I remember them to be from the last time I was here. Only this time, Joseph, our boat driver, happily hands over the wheel to me.
I softly tread on the white sand, slippers in hand and jeans rolled up. The residual waves of the Arabian Sea caress my feet and playfully slip the sand from underneath my soles. I look at the chirpy turquoise blue waters before me, and at the only trail of footsteps I’ve created in the soft sand; in a country of 1.1 billion people, you have to be really lucky to find a sun-kissed beach with not another soul in sight.
If you’ve ever fantasized about living in a remote village in the high Himalayas, experiencing the colonial charm of a hill station minus the tourists, savoring the country hospitality of India’s most hospitable culture, waking up to birds chirping on a farm, or finding the beauty of Europe’s alpine countryside in India, this post is for you.