When we stepped out of that train, it was almost the entire police department were there to greet us. So actually there were these two guys who were not in uniform who asked us something. I said nyet( No) thinking it is some sort of porter or something. 5 seconds later, like 5 guys in uniform surrounded us with kalashnikovs and then we sorta got the gist of what was happening.
“Adhaar card” ( ok maybe not that)
They fucking made sure we had all the docs that are needed. I was expecting a strip search next, but they let us off when we told we are going to Kizhi islands. It was really impressive that they knew exactly in which compartment we were even before the train stopped.( The secret police works good here). We get our cycles and now we are in PETROZAVODSK. ( Or something close to that.)
We go out to eat something, but that is when I see something on a magazine shop. No, no way.
But it was, I been searching for you for more than 10 years, and I finally found you, in Petro? The small Russian town near the Artic circle. But I finally found you. Shit just 130 rubbles, you are coming home with me. ( I am getting ideas on how to decorate my room next semester)
Petro has this beautiful river flowing through it. Its almost like a wallpaper. ( No I int kidding you, you can use it as a windows wallpaper).
So if you cycle straight from the railway station. You will reach the river. Then you can see a wilderness on the other side, like vast untouched lands where bears and yetis run wild. It was the most beautiful natural scene I had scene so far. It was just far enough from civilisation where you would see this iconic image and also a sex shop 1 KM down the road. So we cycle down the road with the river next to us until we find the pier with the ferry to Kizhi Islands. We go in and find out our over spending spree is not over yet. The ferry service costs like 3k both ways. It was insane, but since we had come all the way down here for this, we had to pay up. And when we got in the ferry, it was fast, unusually fast. I almost started thinking how it is possible for a boat to go so fast. ( I would soon realise that it was a legit question).
So as with any mode of transportation which doesn’t involve peddling or pushing with my feet. I fell asleep. Fast.
And Amar was on the deck of the boat watching everything. Like fucking everything. So when we reached kizhi, he came back and I went out.
Let me tell something about Kizhi. It is literally an island which is a museum. So there was this medieval church from the 16th century there. Which looks like nothing I have ever seen before. So they decided to move a lot of old buildings and structures from the same era to this island and charge 500 rubles for an entry. Smart. So we had other plans in mind. We were carrying our tents. We wanted to set up camp here and spend the night in Kizhi islands. ( We bought tents and sleeping bags from India, I know, crazy) and when we put this proposition to Tamara, she was like “ I am sorry, but this is a museum, we do not allow outsiders to stay here.”
So let me tell you about Tamara. She is the Russian women in the ticketing office who speaks great English. She looks a lot like granny from the Looney Toon show and she is a very sarcastic( I dont know if she realises that or not), but also sweet and kind and the way she talks reminds you of your English teacher who explains things so sweetly but leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Like, “ Yadu, if you play Fifa and not study, it might be fun, but you wont get a job and no one will love you” ( In a tone which is supposed to make you feel better) Same way Tamara said – “ There are a lot of snakes here, they might be small, but are very venomous.”
OK, that was one way to say it.
So since she told we cant be illegal immigrants in an island with a population of 40, we decided we would go back on the last boat.We showed her the time table and she said yes, come back 30 minutes early, the last boat is at 1900. ( I WANT YOU TO MARK THIS)
So, we start exploring. It is exactly has she had said it was. It was a museum which was an island. You would find a lot of middle age structures from windmills to barns to houses and at the centre was the grand attraction. This cathedral which looked like a castle. It was somewhat depressing, but beautiful. Like those gothic chicks who wear all black with black lipstick. It had a charm, but something drawing it towards the dark side of the force.
When we went in, I saw Jesus. ( No really, I saw Jesus) and heard the most Melodic music I have ever heard in my life. It was the priest and the choir ( They are not catholic, guys, so no worries) chanting. And the wooden floor and the walls resonated this sound so much, the base voice could be heard camping inside my ear. It was so beautiful. I am defo listening to this after I get lifted to a higher altitude.
This is sort of what it sounded like, but much better when you listen live.
I video called my mates back home. They were having biryani together man. Oh how I fucking miss Biryani. The things I would do to get my hands on a biryani. ( The first place I am going from the airport is to that Tattukada in Edappali and gone start of with the traditional beef deep fry and porotta and then a biryani to take home and fucking treat myself)
So we spend the entire afternoon exploring the island. And found this small mart where we sat down for a beer and Mars ( Trust me machane, its a great combo). Then we were joined by the people who everyone warned us about. Drunk Russian dudes. I could smell the vodka from a mile away and then one dude came near me and then began this conversation in google translate where he threatened us for insulting him ( It was totally googles fault), sort of racially abused us( in a funny way, no offence) and named a Bollywood movie that even I haven’t heard of ( Sita, Gita or something like that). The conversation ended by us buying him a beer( More out of fear for our safety than anything else) and us bonding over our love of Manchester United. His name was Sergei.
Now we are back on our feet towards the pier to board the boat.( Which we realised was a hydrofoil, we saw it fly away while we were on the island.) Tamara comes rushing out. – “ You are late” .Gommale, exactly like all my teachers who made me stand outside the class for being late. Exact same vibes. ( I am pretty sure she was a teacher at some point). I am like, no we are 30 minutes early. Then she said the last boat left like 30 minutes earlier and she made it sound somehow like it was our fault that she misinformed us about the time.
DANNY THE SOLUTION (SOLUCHAN)
So now what, we are stranded on an island where we are not allowed to stay. So Tamara proposes an alternative. She said there is a boy here who will take you to a deserted island where we can pitch the tent and spend the night. We were like- “ This is karmic justice bitch, we got what we asked for and now you look like a little punk”.
Then she said we would have to pay 1500 rubbles and we were like,
But there comes a time in a guys life where the money is a factor, but not THE factor. ( It doesn’t mean you should spend 10,000 at a strip club which is just 10 minutes from your hostel, but you cant go, not due to morals but due to lack money. ( IF ANY BENEFACTOR WANTS TO SEND 10 K SO THAT I CAN GO TO A STRIP CLUB AND WRITE ABOUT IT, YOU MY FRIEND WOULD BE DOING THE WORLD A FAVOUR)
So, we decided to go ahead with it. Then she called Danny. I know an Otha( fucker) when I see one. So when I saw Danny I realised this was a dude on the same wavelength as us. His English wasn’t too great, but we got the message across. He asked, “ You do Mariyajuana”, he said it the same way you would expect your Mallu mate from South Trivandrum to say it. We were like – “ da”.
And that is when I knew it was going to be a night to remember and also a night I have to be careful writing about due to legal reasons. But fuck that shit,
Kids let me tell you a story you would have wished you lived through.
TO BE CONTINUED