SNAPS FROM MY LIFE-travel

SNAPS FROM MY LIFE-travel

When I wanted to book a rail ticket for Trichur , it was found that all seats are full for four months . It was a big shock. How can a low income fellow like me go home ? I came here in Delhi because my daughter had booked ticket by air. Now I am practically stranded here.

This may be the cause of my dream last night , that I was at an unknown place and had no money to come back. If it is a small distance bus travel is most convenient.

KASHI YATHRA <a href='http://www.blogsurfer.us/

Even in those days, when the whole of the subcontinent was a vast forest, with formidable rivers without bridges and mountains inhabited by wild animals, people from different parts of India, used to go on pilgrimage to the holy temple on the bank of the sacred river Ganga

It was doubtful whether they will return alive; so they used to bid farewell to friends and relatives before undertaking the journey on foot.

A chain of temples where food was free and the pilgrims could rest in the night, facilitated movement across the country. There were high ways used by merchants. Horse drawn conveyances were available in different sections.

The lure of adventure beckons me. Alas! I am too old to go to Kashi on foot.

My cousin Unnikrishnan once traveled on foot all the way from Keralam to Calcutta and thence to Delhi, where he appeared for IAS examination and chose Indian Forest Service.

He was brought up in the forest and his choice was expected; but he had one basic fault – he is thoroughly honest. Such people are unwanted in Government service in India!

One of my ancestors lived in a guest house, belonging to the Raja of Cochin, in Kashi.

He rarely came home and remained a bachelor. I have a vague memory of him, when he visited our ancestral home.

FIRE FLY

Hindi words are sweet sounding. Jugnu is the word for fire fly (minnaminigu in Malayalam). For a long time I did not know the meaning of the Hindi word, still I liked it.

I get excited like a child when I see fire flies. The fluorescent light is soothing to the eye. The word fire is a misnomer.

They are seen during rainy season. It is said that people used to collect them so that some light is shed during dark nights.

Once we were going in a train along the forests in Konkan area. I woke up at the dead of night and looked out. Nothing could be seen. Suddenly I was startled by a number of small electric bulbs brightening the surroundings! I was reminded of some birth day party, where such lighting arrangements are made. It was a colony of fire flies around some shrubs.

I woke up my companion to see this celestial, ethereal beauty! Alas, the train was moving fast.

HOLIDAY IN A REMOTE VILLAGE

Kaithapram is a well known Malayalam film music director and lyricist. His village is known as Kaithapram.

More than five hundred years ago, a group of twelve namboodiri families came down to an uninhabited area, almost encircled by a river and settled in the uninhabited,fertile valley. Then three more groups followed.

Now this village has more than two hundred families, all of the same caste and is known as Kaithapram.

Long ago, when my niece was married to a family there, we felt sorry for her. The village was too remote for us to approach, equidistant from Kannur and Payyannur stations on the Mangalore-Shoranur railway route. After leaving the station, we must travel by bus up to Plathara and then walk for an hour or so. Not a single terrace house and the only toilet, thankfully belonging to a lady who recently came there from south Malabar, was my relief. In those days, people just defecated any where outside the house!

Now I was taken aback by the changes, during the last two decades, which were a pleasant surprise. Almost all houses had concrete roof. Most of them have a car. We were picked up from Plathara by one of the twins of my niece (one is studying for engineering and one for medicine, with government scholarship) in their jeep. They had internet connection at home. Most namboodiries are computer shy. Many do not know what a blog is.

That evening they took us to the Parssinikadavu temple. It is an impressive big temple, right at the bank of the river by the same name. It is full of clean water. There are some boats, but something could be done to remove plastic bags and bottles.

The deity is Muthappan or grand- uncle. The head of an old man is worshiped here. The devotees are offered tea and dhal free of cost. Free meals are also given all the time.

Next morning I went for my walk with just a bath towel, after my bed tea. Within a few minutes, I reached the river. As the water was dirty, I reversed the direction and reached the Srikrishna temple, with good clean water in the pond in front. As there was no one around, I removed the only cloth I was wearing and plunged into the water It was my first dip in a pond, on coming to Keralam, this time.

After praying in the temple I roamed about for some time, but returned early, as I had not taken my break fast. I saw two old men reading newspaper, at Kaithapram Grameena Vayanashala (library). I too had a look at the head lines. I am a newspaper addict.

We were confined to the house, because of a hartal (bandh). In the evening, we climbed the highest hill in the locality. The top of the hill was a plateau, quite wide. I could not believe the spectacle of palatial buildings, constructed in feudal, artistic style. I was told that it was meant to be a music and dance academy , but the man found it impracticable and sold it to an engineering college.

There is a wide road along the periphery of the hill, from which we could see the surroundings.

The whole village is encircled by mountains and the river, which originates beyond Kerala border, in the Western Ghats. This explains the fertility of the soil and the abundance of water.

There is a well at the top, near a Shiva and Devi temple under construction. Water is available just ten feet below the ground. A large pond near by, also has plenty of water. This can only be explained by my theory of subterranean water channels, connecting the entire rocky crust of the earth ( Saraswaty- myth or reality? ).

At the foot of the hill, water level in the wells is fifty feet deep.

There is a rain gauge, well protected by fencing. I wonder if any one takes readings, climbing all the way up the hill.

POWER OF SLEEP

Americans are crazy over the word POWER.

I have read three books- Power Healing, Protein Power and Power Sleep, the last one by a professor of sleep!

It is no joke. He has done research in SLEEP and come up with some remarkable theory about sleep arrears.

These are my observations, by way of introduction. We all know that a student preparing for examinations is always sleepy. Boredom induces sleep. I think it is just an escape mechanism. But I have also observed cooks sleeping soundly on a pile of faggots, after continuous work during the night. Here it is a bodily requirement. Nehru is a poor sleeper, but he falls asleep, as soon as he enters the aeroplane!

While traveling in a bus, I have fallen asleep, just before reaching my stop and carried onward, much to my annoyance. I used to go to sleep while hearing the Hindi news of All India Radio.

If sleep is a replica of death, both come when you least expect it!

Now about the book. The author says that a man requires a certain amount of sleep. He can manage with less sleep for a few days even, but eventually sleep will demand arrears. If denied, it will overpower you when you least expect. The driver of a vehicle may go to sleep suddenly, causing most accidents. I think this is a very important conclusion. Drivers should not work overtime!

In India, where there are too many unemployed people, why are drivers (both in the railways and in road transport) made to work overtime?

MALABAR STILL RETAINS TRADITIONS OF RURAL KERALAM

When I returned from a short visit to northern areas of Malabar, I am very much excited about the unspoilt rural charm   and the vibrant enthusiasm of the people.

After seeing “theyyam”, a semi tribal ritual, in which the Goddess enters the dancer’s form and speaks to the devotees, who believe evry word spoken and gain the same feeling, as if they have actually seen the Goddess, I am overwhelmed by the simplicity of the village folk. They kept awake throughout the night!

The open space and the landscape full of hills and valleys, where rice is grown is an invitation for even lazy folks, to come out and walk in the wilderness. A woman who could not believe that a person will walk, without any aim, asked me where I am going; and showed me the proper direction to the house where I was staying!

I shall write in detail about my experience.

ELECTICITY BOARD TAUGHT ME A FEW LESSONS

If there is no supply of electricity, even for a few hours, we feel frustrated. Imagine our plight when we had to manage five full days without current!

It was a Saturday when it happened. We duly recorded the particulars in the complaint register maintained in the local office. Nothing happened.

The next day was Sunday; but two line men came and examined it  They said the meter was damaged and can be replaced only after the approval of the Engineer. So we must wait till Monday. I should contact the Engineer and give an application for checking and replacing the meter.

I did as directed, but because of some urgent work involving shifting of electric posts, nothing could be done during the two days and I must meet him afterwards.

On Wednesday, they assured me it would be done. Go and wait at home, I was told. When no one came, I went and remained in the office during the next two days, till a line man was deputed for the work. He did come and our house lighted up again!

In the meantime, we learned how to manage without electricity.

My son who is lazy, used to draw bucketfuls of water from the deep well and fill various containers.

My wife did all washing manually.

We all forgot the TV AND I MISSED MY BLOGS.

Luckily, we had good showers in the nights and slept soundly, without fan.

I used to waste a lot of water for my bath, pouring large mugfuls over my body; now I learned to use minimum water.

We could live even without electricity!.