The world’s largest boat trip
Photo: Chakma Orchid
Photo: Chakma Orchid
“What are you going to do on a boat for two days?”
The question was valid and we had no answer. But when the schedules lined up for our group of eight friends – an unlikely event for a cohort of individuals who are either college students, young professionals, or both – we took a leap of faith and jumped on it. opportunity to leave Dhaka. It was a good jump.
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Rangamati is a city very dictated by Lake Kaptai. Mawrum, a 77ft long and 19ft wide diesel powered boat on the Kaptai, would show us the sights and wonders of Rangamati. We got on the boat and settled into a picturesque deck saloon, and the boat finally started to pull away from shore. The hum of the engine could barely stifle our excitement, and when the hot, sapient weather turned to a cool breeze under a blazing sun, we realized what we were going to do for two days on a boat – relax.
The views were breathtaking. The cascading greenery descending along the small hills had the effect of creating winding waterways, and as we felt indebted to nature for its offerings, ever more breathtaking views revealed themselves behind the hills. At one point, one of the writers ended up with a sore throat from all of the gasping – their breath was really taken away.
Much of the first day was spent in and around the Shuvolong waterfalls, where we were lucky enough to encounter strong currents. The water, which was the perfect temperature for soaking the toes, washed away any city-induced tension. Back on the boat, most of us felt really calm and in solidarity with the laid back attitude that life on a boat forces its inhabitants to adopt. The others were asleep.
This whole trip was in the middle of the week, which is an odd choice at first glance, but we were a group familiar with the lunar calendar, or at least we remembered from Google when the next full moon was before plan. Our first night on Mawrum was the second night of Harvest Moon. In anticipation of a moonlit evening, the boat was docked at what appeared to be the perfect spot. Against a mound of earth jutting out from the lake, we had the expanse of the lake on one side and a towering silhouette of wild vegetation on the other.
As darkness finally broke and the moon appeared behind silver clouds, we celebrated. Gradually, the moonlight revealed small fishing boats in the distance, dark against the glistening golden water that sent the moonlight back to us from a million different angles. All the chants of lunar devotion that we knew escaped our throats, and for a while we sang at the top of our lungs. Then we just whispered through the night, eventually going silent and letting the moon speak. Some of us slept on the deck that night; we had.
PHOTO: ANUPOMA JOYEETA JOYEE
PHOTO: ANUPOMA JOYEETA JOYEE
On the second day, lounging on the roof of the boat turned out to be the fan favorite activity, with the wind blowing your head and feeling like you were on top of the world. There were many safety precautions to maintain such as staying away from railings and constant supervision by staff. But safety was not a barrier to pleasure, on the contrary, it was quite an addition.
That day, we decided to dock to swim. Our group, comically lacking in swimming skills, discovered that the mandatory life jackets allowed us to float in the water (at shallow depth of course) without being afraid. After that it was just rainbows and butterflies. It was like we were in a Studio Ghibli cinematic universe. Lying on the water bed, we saw the sky change color with the sunlight watching through the leaves of the trees, creating patterns as if we wanted to be left in our hearts like a muse as we continued to chasing the clouds.
After four hours of pretending to be fish, we recreated evolution by rediscovering the function of our feet. It was silly, it was a little silly, it was assisted swimming, but it was overwhelming. It made us realize the mundane insignificance of our existence in the grand scheme of things. The experience destroyed the ego that we transported to Mawrum from Dhaka in the most terrifying way possible. One of us has had a makeover.
Another highlight of the trip was the food while we were in Mawrum. It was cooked according to local tradition and every meal was incredibly delicious. Whether it was bamboo chicken, fish, bamboo curry, or curry made from banana cones, the dishes were an absolute delight.
As we write this travelogue in our office and look back on this journey, we realize that it had been nothing less than an ethereal experience. We have all left parts of our souls on Mawrum and in the depths of the Kaptai, between the hills. In our hearts, we are always in the “Lal Paharir Desh”.
To find out more, visit facebook.com/mawrumboatlife