Andaman Trip Story (Day 6)

March 11, 2009 at 5:14 PM 4 comments

Morning Stroll

It was quite chilly morning on 19/03/2009 at 05.00AM, since I had slept early the previous night I must have got up early with comparison to my ordinary schedule. For sometime I rolled on my bed trying to catch some sleep but it was a fruitless effort, since I didn’t feel like sleeping anymore I decided to venture outside the hotel on my own. The receptionist who was on his night duty was sleeping, without making a slightest noise or bother the sleeping stallion I made my way outside the hotel, It was not drizzling but the moisture of the night had made its presence almost everywhere. The sky line had already illuminated itself as though it was six in the morning. Since Andaman is in the extreme south-east of Indian union territory it is one of the first regions in India to see the sunlight early.


The city was just coming to life for its daily routine a small tea stall owner was yelling at his assistant for not keeping a watch over the boiling milk while he was sweeping the shop. The road leading to our hotel was a narrow one some cows and stray animals were majestically sleeping in the middle of the road since there was no movement of vehicles at these times. But I didn’t have to maneuver myself; there was enough walking space through which I could continue to stroll. On my way I also came across IRP battalion (Indian Reserve Police) Headquarters, Andaman & Nicobar. It was a nice smooth road without any potholes or bumps, vegetable contractors had also reached the market place and they were negotiating their “Days price” for the goods, the result of this early morning debate was that the supplier won his quoted price.


I wanted to go further but it was almost 40minutes since I had started my stroll and I had to back to the hotel since I didn’t have my cell phone with me and I had not informed anyone about my short expedition. So I hurried back, 15 minutes later I began to panic about the panic scene in the hotel if I did not reach on time so I started jogging, 10 minutes later I was desperately trying to catch up breath (right from my childhood I am a total cabbage in sports and physical activities , sometime back when I was in my school my high school physical director lost faith in sports because of the way I played), so you can imagine right, even if I jog for say 10 minutes jog it is just like scaling some mountain for me.


“Karz” from dad

Somehow huffing as though I have been chased by the cops I reached the hotel at about 06.30am none of them seemed to be awake, the receptionist by now had even put his leg on top of his table and was sleeping royally, on my way to the room I met Jaya aunty who was probably interested to get a morning cup of coffee, we both greeted each other and went on our way, when I came back to my room my dad was still sleeping. I woke him up; he told me that “the previous night while you were asleep the guide had told us to get ready by 08.00 am so I will sleep for another hour don’t bother me, okay”.


I would have let him sleep, but that dialogue, yes yes that dialogue gave me a flash back (no no not of my previous birth) but the incident that happened two days back where my dad rudely work me up while I was sleeping I instinctively knew it was a payback time (meanwhile that rishi kapoor was playing the revenge guitar title tone from Subhas ghai’s movie “Karz” it was ringing my head all over ) and I knew what I had to do.


I picked up the most reliable weapon, the TV remote and switched on to a music channel that was quite loud volume compared to the silent morning (it was as though Neil Mukesh was speaking my intentions in a catchy way and singing “AAA Dekhe zara kisme kitna he dum jamke rakhna kadham mere saathiya”) I zooped to the bath room knowing the consequences if I was on the location of my criminal act. It was barely 20minutes that I had come back from Suprbatha, my dad gave me an angry young man look, (I swear on god, I could not stop laughing in my mind looking at that disgusted look on his face…. Ha ha ha ) I guessed he realized why I did that, so I did as I didn’t know what had happened (but my revenge worked, he was not even able to sleep for twenty minutes forget about the hour he was talking about…. Ha Ha Ha) and then even I got ready.


Chatham Saw Mill

All of us had finished our breakfast and were waiting for our trip greeting by our guide Mr. Raju who informed us that most of our visits will be within the city limits. Since that particular day we were sort of one vehicle the guide requested some of us to switch to other vehicles which I and my friend Anvith readily agreed. We got to sit with Umashree aunty Leena Aunty, Binamani aunty, who were all the while traveling in the same vehicle from the start. Now this vehicle had senior most people among the group, so I initially thought I had to keep quite all day pretending to be decent guy, but it was not at all like that, it was a total merry group. All the way while traveling these people kept on sharing their funny experiences in their career some old time stories and all that.



Soon we reached Chatham saw mill; this is one of the oldest saw mill in India which is still operational, it is also a historic place there are many areas of this huge factory which was also bombed during the World War II.



Apart from having a saw mill which carries’s out wood work right from cutting of trees to the final chemical treatment stage it also has a museum which stands as a testimony to the history of not only this place but of most of Andaman and its growth as a civilization.


There are several aerial pictures of Andaman, shipping equipment and navigational equipment, wooden handicrafts and other similar handiwork.  


  Mini Zoo


Chatham saw mill was the first destination of the day and the second one was a mini zoo. It is just like any other zoo it has got visitors very often. Now guys do I need to tell what the zoo looks like!!! Okay there are monkeys, parrots, snakes, eagles, crocodiles and other animals got it.



Apart from the trauma of being away from their natural forest habitat, the animals of this zoo is constructed close to the city which I don’t understand the intention of having this zoo in the city.

Just think about it for us these animals are like entertainment it must misery to these animals who have to cope up with city life which is polluted by noise, air and all sorts of pollution.


Samudrika and Aquarium

Next we were on our way to a marine zoo Samudrika; it is maintained by the Indian navy. They call it zoo but I would rather call it a museum because most of the items put on display over this place though they belong to marine life they are dead. If you guys are interested in things like corals, shells, navy stuff, fishes and things like that then this would be a place you would not want to miss.


Though this is not a huge space or something it is worth visiting this place. Being surrounded by water you can’t be away from its creature so were we as most of our visit included the water lives so was or next visit which was a fish aquarium.

Now there are many varieties of fishes in these huge aquariums (I know they are fish that’s it, I can’t name them guys).


There was also a big carcass of a dolphin which was painted in a black coating or something, some fishes were also kept in some chemical solution (After my PUC this was the first time that I entered a place where they kept things in liquid solution I just do know how those dead animals live in such a stinking solution. I hated it when I was in PUC and I even hate such pungent stinking place today also)


“Cellular Jail or Kaala Paani”

Then came our last place of visit in the city for that day and that was “Cellular Jail” or “Kaala Paani”. Now this particular place I was longing to go from the day I came to this island, the other day we just saw the lights and sound presentation but today we got to see the actual jail itself.


The very moment I saw the glimpse of it I was dumbstruck by its massive size, till then I had just heard about it but this was the first time we got to see it. And out of practice I started taking pictures automatically still not being able to digest the fact that I am actually standing in “Cellular Jail” (no I am not making drama, I really felt like that). This jail has seven blocks out of which only three are standing today the other four were destructed during the allied bombing of Japan occupied territory during the world war II.


The guide who toured us the entire premises informed that Indian freedom fighters in the jail were kept in total isolation from one another even the structure of the jail is built in such a way that one Indian freedom fighter is not able to talk to another.


And for no reason whatsoever the freedom fighters were punished with methods like getting them dressed in jute material clothes and asking them do hard labour in the hot midday sunlight, whipping their mere bone skin by flogging, replacing freedom fighters with cows to extract oil from the seeds and coconut, the freedom fighters were also kept in dark room for days, other methods included food deprivation , sleep deprivation and if some one is really lucky enough to escape all these miseries they would get quick death in gallows.


We toured the entire jail complex, the watch tower, cell in which the freedom fighters were kept to serve their sentence; we also visited the cell of the great Maratha Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, who was also kept in this jail even after independence till 1960. This jail is a nothing less than a complex of horror filled with the stories of brutality, incompetent, atrocities tales of the ruthless British Empire and the Japanese monarchy.


The administrative building of this jail complex is now converted into a museum where photos of historical moments of this island are displayed like the visit of Netaji Subhas Chandra bose, the great freedom fighters, unfurling of the Indian flag in port Blair, some old photos of this island and so on.


A thought I had while visiting “Kaala Paani” “It was an era of nightmare to these island which now seems to have gone just as it came, however these walls still seem to be crying out aloud to the highest of the sky and to the deepest of the sea with agony and pain demanding justice which never came.”  


The story, the people, their lives, the brutalities of this island, everything really touched me. And as a true Indian I would rather visit “Cellular jail” at least one more time than visit Shabarimala or Tirupathi, Mecca or Medina, Vatican City or Jerusalem. I somehow really felt satisfied and had a peace of mind the moment I came out after visiting the “Kaala Paani”. I felt as though as I really witnessed the freedom struggle and as though even I part took in it. I no more felt like an alien to my nation. I would recommend anyone at point blank to visit this place at once.


Shopping Shopping

I was still mesmerized in a mood of a patriotism all through the afternoon, even during lunch and also while we went to back to our hotel. I slept till 04.00pm, when we started towards the city. As next day would be our last visit in Andaman our tour operators guided us to a shopping complex.


Most of the things in the shopping were made out of conch shells, so I didn’t feel like buying; I mean what I would do with it. But I thought of buying something to my sister and mother who had not come to the tour because of my sister’s examination. I could buy anything I want to my mother I knew, but in my sisters case, me and her have only one thing in common “WE HATE EACH OTHERS SELECTION”. So I had to find a representative to buy something which I don’t like but most probably my sister would, so I selected a panel of two, My Granny and Bharathi Aunty.


And those were very active panelist (Thanks to my foresight…..again boasting ehe..he..he..he..he) My granny helped me buy a coral beads and ear ring to my sister and Bharathi Aunty selected a nice white purse and multi colored wooden bangles. As for my mother I myself bought a sari.


Shopping Patterns

Okay I brought couple of sweatshirt and a track pants and within 25minutes my shopping was over. But wonders oh wonders oh wonders I realized that rest of the pack had not even selected anything yet. But they had literally made the sales people show almost every sample of dress or whatever from the rack and yet they were not able to decide. I just kept on wondering it was 18.45pm and yet we didn’t seem that we were going to have our regular dinner at 19.00pm.


For sometime I was feeling very tired seeing the way the ladies were selecting different variety or same thing, my leg had already started aching running the marathon from one shop to another as we had decided to move in a pack. But soon out of habit I started entertaining myself by observing shopping techniques of different people.


First my aunty (Shakuntala) Chikki she was selecting a showpiece for her home and her contestants had finally narrowed down to a monkey’s statue carved out of coconut. She held two monkeys in her hand and the rest of them were on the table; she was searching for defects of craftsman ship in those lifeless creatures. Oh my goodness the way she looked at those monkeys seemed as though George bush was looking at Saddam Hussein and thinking “Now that I have caught him what should I do first? Should I leave Iraq or hang him first.


Then I saw my granny who brought a travel bag, I wondered why did she every buy a travel bag, it was later I came to know that her shopping was so much that it was not possible to keep it any other bag than the traveler bag.


Bharathi aunty was buying some red Rose and green Leaves corals so that she can align it with the gold pendent which she was making. I think she went almost 6 different shops to select that particular design.


Mr. and Mrs. Padmanabh were peacock hunting they had a plan to give souvenir to some people in Mangalore so they made the counter sales people place more than 20 pieces (20 pieces only because the shop had only so much) of peacock in the display, I think they brought everyone of it. Meanwhile my dad even he had finished shopping and he was eating Cornetto ice cream.


I feel if women of our country would be doing a great job if given the post of quality control officer in every department, they really have so much stamina, patience and they are so meticulous in seeing even the last bit of final detail which men usually overlook. I think these things are quite instinctive.


It was 20.00pm we left the shopping I said to myself “Jai Ho” after this we had our dinner and as usual everyone was having a great time sharing their experience and funny moments only I was the one who had kept my mouth shut….. Till Now.

I had recovered myself from the “shopping disorder” and then I had shower kept my camera on charge and then started watching T.V, I was watching “Race” on a local movie channel but somehow before “Race” started I slept.


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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Editor  |  March 11, 2009 at 11:59 PM

    Interesting blog. I must congratulate you for writing this with so much of minute details…keep doing this….all the best…

    and in any case you miss Andaman just visit


  • 2. harsharajgatty  |  April 29, 2009 at 11:11 AM

    thank you so much for ur wonderful comment..yeah i do miss andaman and i will be there back soon

  • 3. Murli  |  April 17, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    I wonder if good people like you really exist in the world, the description of cellular jail is really nice (my english vocoblary is weak, I wanted to use some other word in place of nice).

  • 4. harsharajgatty  |  April 17, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    Hi Murli:

    Thank you for you encouraging comments, well I cant forget my journey, the beaches and the people of Andaman and will be looking for every opportunity to visit the island once again.

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