On December 12, 2012, when the boat leaves the Vypeen jetty at 11.30 a.m., a celebration would erupt on board the vessel in Kochi backwaters

No one knows exactly when the boat service connecting Vypeen Island to the Mainland Kochi started.

Yet, everyone knows that it has been there for decades together. It has been the lifeline of hundreds of islanders all through the years when commuting between Vypeen and Kochi was not as easy an affair as it is today.

The ferry service, in fact, influenced the course of their lives in different ways.

It took newborns to their homes from city hospitals and ferried the sick to hospitals. Several struck friendship with fellow passengers and several others parted ways on the boat. It took several generations of children to institutions of higher education and better life. And the newly weds to the new lives. The ferry service remained an integral part of the islander’s life. Like a trusted friend. Even the timetable of everyday life of hundreds of islanders was decided by its trip timings.

On December 12, 2012, when it leaves the Vypeen jetty at 11.30 a.m., a celebration will erupt on board the vessel in the Kochi backwaters. The passengers will honour M.V. Joseph, who steered the boat safely between the two shores for years together. The recognition comes not just for navigating the vessel but saving seven precious lives from the depths of death. V.V. Hassan, the president of the Passengers’ Action Council, will receive the honours for leading agitations for retaining the boat service.

There were times when as many as five boats plied in the sector. Big boats that could accommodate around 500 passengers were used in the route. There are also passengers who travelled half a century in the route in these vessels.

Now, with the commissioning of the Goshree bridges, it has been reduced to just two, says Sivadas Nayarambalam, chairman of the organisation committee.

Those days, it took around 25 minutes to complete one trip. That short journey in the company of water birds and waves along the Kochi backwaters provided the romantic backdrop for many persons to fall in love with their fellow passengers.

Several romantic relations that flowered during the ride might have withered. But, there are six couples, whose love affair flourished during the boat journey, and fructified to marriage. And most of them got married at least a quarter century ago. They will be part of the celebrations on Wednesday.

Several celebrities, who navigated in the boat, too would join the festivities. More details of the programme can be obtained from the telephone numbers 93492 51702, 94477 59977.

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