They say, books wash away from soul, the dust of everyday life. But the routine of this everyday life, chock-a-bloc weekdays, planning and execution of all the weekend travel, the petty distractions, the beeping mobile, that 7 ways to clear clutter from your life kinda articles – come in between me and that elusive book. I have been so distracted of late with either work or scrolling down my news feed that I have missed the pleasure of immersing myself in a novel, a story and being lost there. I have missed disconnecting from everything else to connect with the characters. I have truly missed a ripple-free state of mind.
And then Lakshadweep happened.
Every evening, I would sit by the sea with my book and a cup of tea for company, and sometimes Jeevan by my side with his book. We’d watch boats sail past every now and then, a few tourists trying to capture their best shots. With its blue lagoons Lakshadweep gave me a view of the ocean without the sound of waves, with its sand soft like butter, it gave me a comfortable state of cocoon to dig my feet into, with its slow pace of life, it got me to slow down and just breathe. With nothing much to do, it got me to reflect on life, on where I have reached and the direction I probably should steer it in. The setting sun created the perfect lighting for me to blissfully immerse in the beautiful love story of Louisa and Will (Me Before You), of Garrett and Theresa (Message in a Bottle) and smile that I finally got to do this.
Lakshadweep also gave me a lot of quiet time. In the walks around the small uninhabited islands, I started finding an outlet for some unresolved emotions. The sound of water tried hard to drown these distracting thoughts and my thoughts fought back saying you’d have to try harder. The erosion of soil around the root of coconut trees felt unfair yet inevitable. The tree however, chose to stand strong and become a beautiful hurdle to cross when it falls.
One full circle of Tinakara island would last less than an hour by foot but the underwater exploration in front of this island could last a lifetime, making me think life can be as small or big as I want it to be. The beauty of what lies deeper in the ocean is camouflaged by the rough waves on top warning me to stay away. But when I fight my fears and get in, 1 metre at a time, I experience the deep waters and the calmness that can be felt only when you breathe one slow breath after another.
All about perception!
Heart to heart with Buddha 🙂
Swimming with a school of fish, watching a lazy eel wake up to see who this stranger is only to go back to sleep without moving an inch, going through a cave of corals amidst blue waters, watching Nemo and Dory playing around me, the sound of bubbles every time I exhale, I float and think, all this was right here, right under my nose (As Louisa says in Me Before You) and I dived just once. Why didn’t we do more I wonder. I look at Jeevan after the dive and I can see he has similar thoughts. We tell ourselves we will get Scuba certified closer to home but we know it would never be the same.
The sun at dawn or dusk decided our swimming schedule. We swam every single day. The thrill of putting to test this newly acquired skill in the open waters was unmatched and I did good – certified by Jeevan 🙂 We set goals and swam towards them but I enjoyed swimming towards the setting sun more. Almost like an effort to catch the sun!
We sat by the beach every evening, by the candle lit table which the staff of these modest stays would try to set up for us. As we enjoyed the sumptuous food, I couldn’t help but notice that the lanterns here actually served their purpose and are not kept there for beautification. It is so amazing when each thing we use/own serve their purpose isn’t it? Maybe a step towards minimalism.
We had this post dinner ritual,where we would sit by the dock and watch the stars. We started recognising the same constellations while we spoke about deeper stuff. Lakshadweep felt like the perfect place to reflect on our time together 🙂
On the largest island Kadmat, we chose to cycle from South to North – a total of 8 kms. The island had just one road with coconut trees on either sides. A closer look would reveal both the lagoon and sea too. It was not too hot thanks to the trees. The North tip offered us a perfect picnic spot amidst a coconut grove where we set up our hammock and settled down for a good read. Even at 12 noon, the place did not feel too hot. Trouble struck when our cycle lock wouldn’t open. After carrying it for a distance, the locals came to our help and broke open the lock. They also assured us that the island has no thieves and we didn’t have to worry about losing something. Jeevan and I felt sad we couldn’t spend enough time there. We went back the next day, on a motorbike and enjoyed the salty breeze and the reassuring shade for a few hours.
Our boat ride from Kadmat to Bangaram turned out to be a scary one as we were ferried on a small boat and not a speed boat. The three-hour boat ride became six. Eighteen people on the boat with just three life jackets was a highly avoidable experience especially when the sea was rough and choppy. I could see fear and worry in everyone’s eyes but there was nothing we could do. While Jeevan played some soothing music, I delved into the depths of Louisa’s plight. So lost was I in Louisa’s story that even when Jeevan tried to get my attention to look at a big fish, I paid no heed. Turns out I missed seeing a whale! Damnnnnn.
A quick note about the islands
For all of you planning a trip to Lakshadweep – Tinakara is a small uninhabited island with about 10 huts. The food tastes home cooked and the service is heartfelt. The water in the loo is rich in sulphur and hence has a different odour but is safe for external use. After the first day, we pretty much got used to it. This island has a small lighthouse too.
Kadmat is a larger island, 8kms in length and 500 metres wide. Around 4000 people live here. The resort is on the South tip with rooms that open up to the ocean. If you plan to get PADI (certification for scuba diving) certified this is the island you want to be in.
Bangaram offers a little more in terms of luxury. The resort is huge, rooms are built with taste and has a better lunch and dinner spread.
One can dive, go kayaking or any of the other water sport activities offered on all three islands.
I got used to waking up to blue waters every day, being in the sea, catching gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, walking under a sky full of stars, not looking at the phone too often, got used to just living in the moment and taking things slow. I loved the island life and I bet you will too.
A short video of the most beautiful landing – Agatti Airport
Duration: 8 days
Islands experienced: Tinakara-2, Kadmat-4, Bangaram-2
Helped with booking: Sameer Aman from Lakshadweep Tourism: 9447304775