Munroe Island was a great find for me during my trip to Kerala but the overwhelming circumstances being the feviquick on my gauzy wings, I had to shuffle my plan just a little, calling my stay off in this island after a night. Even in the best of the places planning does go woefully wrong at times, but at those what-now moments I met some great hearts and saw #mytravelstory.
The plan was to take a full day backwater ride from Alleppey to Kollam and then a bus to Munroe Island. The Home stay informed that I could get a direct bus from Kollam to Munroe Island and it’s just a matter of 25 kilometers (It’s not that I don’t do any research before my travel, sometimes the internet doesn’t get enough information for my set of queries). The Kollam ferry pier and the Kollam bus station are always waving at each other, so I thought taking a bus would be better than the train. The ferry reached at Kollam by 6:10. At the bus station I inquired for a direct bus to Munroe island (remember the routes of most of the buses are written in Malayalam in Kerala), one of the staff couldn’t respond and asked me to wait. 5 minutes, 10 minutes; some big boss came and the staff pointed me to speak to him. The Big boss seemed to thinking for sometime..
‘There is a direct bus but that leaves by 4. Now there is no more bus available. You have to take a bus to Chengaroor, then to Kundara, change next at Chittumala and then finally to Mundrothuruthu.’
It was 6:40 pm already, I would never manage the 7 pm train, and next train available was at 9 pm, so whatever I would chose would anyway have got me late. The officer sent a staff with me who would help me to get the bus and the staff informed the conductor to drop me at the right place. First stop came across; the other passengers helped me through to get down at the right place. Now I was back in the same blank-space, how to know which bus would go. There were other people waiting for other buses, I asked one or two, who gestured not knowing anything other than Malayalam. I went to another gentleman, formally dressed and most probably at his late 40s. To my relief, he not only understood English and my concern, he would also go to the same direction. So he assured me to be my guide for the rest of my journey.
‘I will get down a stop before Mundrothuruthu, the next stop would be yours, I will inform the bus conductor; he will help you to get down.’
‘No problem, that will do. Thank you.’
‘So you are travelling all the way from Kolkata by yourself? Is it a holiday?’
‘Yes Sir, I am on a holiday.’
‘Wow, I have hardly seen Indians travelling alone, that too a girl. But nice to see this. I have been to Kolkata, I stayed there for about 2 years for work.’
‘Oo, then you came back?’
‘Yes, I wanted to come back to my family, and now I work here. Don’t worry; you will reach your place.’
We got down for our last change. There were few other old men standing at the bus stop, It was about 8:15 in the evening and the number of people by then were very less at the stand as the rush hour is till 8 pm. The gentleman was speaking to those old people and by their look I understood he was talking about me.
‘I spoke to them; they will get down at the same place. So I can peacefully leave you as they will make sure you reach your hotel. Also, we are right on time, as this will be the last bus.’
‘Don’t worry, you like my grand-daughter.’ Said one of the old man.
‘All safe. We help you.’ Said another after thinking for some time. English wasn’t their language, but they wanted to assure me by themselves.
They not only helped me to get down at the right bus stop, they waited till my host, who by this time got very impatient on my delay, came to pick me up.
Later my host did agree of his little knowledge on the bus route and agreed that train route is most advisable to come to Munroe Island. This one piece of advice could have saved me from so many hassles; but obviously this travel-learning would have been undiscovered and surely untold then. All well IF ends well!!