Peep Into Pandora’s Box

peep into pandoras box

The morning rays were peeking in through the half-shut flight window as we hovered mid-air over a rolling expanse of blue. Long before the wheels of our aircraft kissed the runway of the perfectly scenic Veer Savarkar International Airport, I could sense the mysterious charm hanging in the air and the adventure that was beckoning as I stepped into Port Blair, the capital city of the scantily populated and largely unexplored Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 

My first acquaintance with this coral-fringed archipelago happened way back in grade four, when I was eagerly leafing through the glossy pages of our geography textbook. The white sand beaches, exotic marine life, and facts about the aboriginals of the Andamans floated in front of my eyes. All the childhood memories came rushing back as our car moved along the wide-flanked road with the sighing blue sea on one side and beautifully constructed buildings of the capital town on the other. 

The Andaman Islands can be quite chameleonic in appeal. It can catch you off-guard with sudden bouts of colonial history or invite you to take on dense forest trails, where crickets chirp and not a trace of blue sky is visible. 

A tryst with history I found myself easily attracted to the ominous and formidable structure of the sinister Cellular Jail. Like a page taken out of a middle school history book, the jail came alive in front of my eyes during the light and sound show. Sentenced to Kala Paani, far from the mainland, the oppression suffered at the hands of the Britishers during India’s freedom struggle were brought to life here every evening. 

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