Posted by: Pucadyil | June 2, 2010

Night boat to Cochin

As a recurring summer rite, there was nothing to beat
the vacation trip to Cochin, after the schools closed.
young and old, we all gather together at the jetty
waiting for the journey and a night of sheer delight
the boat, we joked, belonged to the ancient mariner
showing off our English skills to the less endowed
who were in fact many, with their pots and sacks;
merchants, we were told, in the Mattancherry shops
the boat surges and sways in baby steps
as the srank deftly maneuvers it back and forth
to lie by the jetty, urchins jump down to tie it to the post
the boat shall leave in half hour, some one said
a final siren and the srank climbs down
making his way to the toddy shop for a fix
an undefinable smell of kerosene fumes fill the air
and the stench of the backwaters through which it plies
unmindful of which we jump in and look for the best seat
An hour gone and we finally start the journey
the boat now full, pots and stacks dumped in place
faces pushed against the railing, we stare into the water
the jetty lights dissolved in the waves move apart and rejoin
we are now in the river and entering the backwaters
black ink shimmering against the distant palms
The conversations around us wax and wane
The elders slowly nod off to a tired sleep
We speak in hushed tones about the denizens of the deep
And the Yakshis who dwell on the tall trees on the shore
Satiated in dread, we too drop off to sleep
to dream of distant shores and the streets of Cochin

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