IIIrd Year Genetic Engineering Students "I to We" trip - Industrial Visit

DAY 1:
On Sept 22nd ’11, with our bags packed in excitement and with our holiday spirits going high, we left from Chennai Central Railway station by TVT Express at 3:20 pm. The train travelling hours were spent with moments of unlimited fun including games like antakshari, dumb charades, bluff and a lot more. With no sign of sleep in the eyes, we enjoyed the whole night and finally reached Ernakulam at 3 am in the midnight. We were dropped on the highway road near the Star Lagoon apartments; the place where we were staying which wasn’t so near. We awaited the apartment bus to drop us till the hotel and meanwhile to our amazement, we all saw a shooting star passing by the dark glittery sky and suddenly everybody started to make wishes of their own kind. But ending up in disappointments, the bus didn’t turn up and we all decided to walk a distance of nearly 3kms. That wasn’t so easy but we made almost half way through the distance. Finally the bus came and we reached the hotel. We were given time to get freshening up as we had to leave for the visit the very same morning.

DAY 2:
On Sept 23rd’11, with mixed emotions as all of us were so tired, we left from the hotel around 9 am, had breakfast in the city area and then went for our first institutional visit to CENTRAL INSTITUTE OF FISH TECHNOLOGY (CIFT). We were welcomed with a presentation about the institute and its motives. Later, we were given a chance to see the fishery museum which consisted of products from fish, instrumental models of fishing nets, eatables from fish and a lot more. The visit was a learning experience.

Continuing with the trip, we had lunch and headed for the very famous ferry ride.We made a visit to Fort Kochi. We also visited many shopping stalls. Shopping at the street mart is fun. The shops aligned in the streets showcase a burst of colors- clothes, bags, fashion jewelry, handicrafts, showpieces, dolls and a lot more. The river road which goes down the Fort Kochi beach showcases some street hawkers. For classy stuff, one can see a long queue of emporiums and boutiques featuring artifacts and precious jewelry. In the ferry, we experienced a beautiful view of backwaters, saw a shipyard and the best being the music in the boat. Most of us were on the dance floor displaying our funny talents of dancing and grooving. Our evening was totally made by the entertaining music and all of us were back to life. We had our dinner and soon got back to the hotel . Most of us couldn’t resist sleeping and went off to bed.

DAY 3:
On Sept 24th’11, at 6am we headed towards our next destination; Peechi. Meanwhile , we had our breakfast in a restaurant on the way. It was high time to start the real fun. With a great deal of enthusiasm and handful of talents, we danced in the bus crazily, sang n played pranks until we reached Peechi. At around 10am we realized that now we were surrounded by a range of dense forests and smell of the jungle. Inhaling the purest form if air, we got down at the Peechi dam site.

After visiting the dam, we were taken to KERALA FOREST RESEARCH INSTITUTE(KFRI) which was another place of visit of our educational tour. We were addressed with a seminar on forestry and its importance. We were told about the idea behind establishing KFRI. Also, a special seminar was conducted dealing with biotechnological aspects of forest research including techniques of plant tissue culture. Later, we were taken to butterfly garden which was a delight for photographers and for the people who are in love with flora and fauna. We had a special lunch of sambhar rice and moved on to visit the various labs and departments of the institute.

The best feeling came then as the educational part of the trip was over and we were left only with the fun part. We soon left for Munnar , had dinner on the highway and reached our place of stay; THE AYUR COUNTY CHANCELLOR RESORTS around 12am. We were welcomed with freezing cold temperature and we soon moved on to our respective rooms to feel the warmth. A few among us went for a midnight walk under the star lit sky and enjoyed the pleasant darkness while for the rest; sleep was like an awaited fantasy.

DAY 4:
On Sept 25th’11, at 9am, we were taken for a drive across the Munnar city and the places nearby.
Munnar - Breathtakingly beautiful - a haven of peace and tranquility - the idyllic tourist destination in God's own country are the words for a place like Munnar.

Set at an altitude of 6000 ft in Idukki district, Munnar is the favored hillstation of the people across India. The place is blessed with an unending expanse of tea plantations , pristine valleys and mountains, exotic species of flora and fauna in its wild sanctuaries and forests, aroma of spice scented cool air and more. It's the place anybody would love to visit and it's the place you would wish never to leave.
We visited a few places in and around Munnar. On our way back to the resort, we stopped at Chinnakanal waterfalls. Near the town of Munnar is Chinnakanal and the waterfalls here, popularly known as Power House Waterfalls, cascade down a steep rock 2000 m above sea level. The spot is enriched with the scenic view of the Western Ghat ranges.

We were allowed to take rest in our rooms and soon report for the camp fire. In a mood of partying, we all got dressed up and appeared at the place of camp fire. In the warmth of the burning woods and drops of the slightest rain, we moved, grooved, jumped and danced under the clouds. The famous Tamil , Hindi and English tracks were played equally and all of us turned out to be the attention of the crowd in the resort. Our performances were appreciated by claps and hooting and the evening was made happening. We filled our stomachs with a variety of dishes in the buffet dinner organized by the resort and soon went to relax our eyes with all possible sleep as we had to wake up early in the morning again.

DAY 5:
On Sept 26th’11, at 5 am, we all sat in the bus putting on warm clothes, covering each other with shawls in the cold temperature. Soon, we saw the beautiful sunrise and felt the natural warmth. We started to move back towards Kochi to visit the most awaited destination- VEGALAND. We stopped for a while near a waterfall to freshen up, had a little breakfast and left for Kochi. We reached Vegaland around 11:30 am. Waiting for even a few minutes to enter the park wasn’t bearable and breaking all the time limits, we rushed into the land of rides, pool of water, and area of wonders- THE WONDER LA.
The amusement park had rides like roller coaster, twin flip monster, space gun which made us go whacky and crazy. Also, places with water like wave pool, water splash, rain disco, water rides were the best way to beat the heat. Other attractions included Bambala cave which was a scary house, 3D theatre and many more. Everybody enjoyed to their maximum.

After spending an amazing time in the park, we left for the Ernakulam station. We had our dinner near the station and then stepped on to the platform. Surprisingly, most of us were not at all bothered about the arrival of the train as we did not want to get back to college anymore. As the train came, we rushed inside, arranged our luggage and occupied the seats. We suddenly started missing all the fun we had had in the whole trip. Most of us were soon seen sleeping and resting and the journey eventually ended.

DAY 6:
On Sept 27th’11, we arrived at Chennai Central railway station at 10 am and left for our respective places. We brought back with a us a beautiful experience of travelling, a wonderful collection of memories and a lot many happy moments. That was all about our IV- The institutional visit or in our language, a changed that happened from I to WE, a change that made us from just I to WE, let the saga of bonding be alive.

Nikita Kothari,
IIIrd B.Tech Genetic Engineering