@16-04-18/ The Munnar diaries

At six in the morning, I was on a bus ready to start from Fortkochi to Ernakulam. I was the first person to be on the bus and the rank lasted long. After few minutes, someone came to the driver and yelled in Malayali (in a friendly tone).

The driver went to the solo passenger and started with a polite voice. All I could understand was the “….Dalit bandh…” in the middle of his sentence.

Well, let’s take a ferry

After a walk for two kilometers, I found that the ticket counter will open at 6:50. I  waited in the morning which is calm along with a heart that is anxious. With ticket fare about four Indian rupees, I made it to the Ernakulam port.  I reached the RTC bus on the auto and there stood a bus which was about to travel to Munnar.

I found only one empty seat. Really, what are the odds…? What if there wasn’t any Dalit bandh..?

Along the way to Munnar,

 

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the absolute stillness of the water…& 

Further on,

 

 

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green blankets everywhere…)

and finally,

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valley of tea plantations…!

 

Cont’d…

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@16-04-18/ The Munnar diaries

After learning that the tea museum was closed, I decided to go for an open exhibition of various plants. After ten minutes of the auto ride, it started to rain.

I wasn’t lucky. Not at the very least but I don’t blame anyone. As a Solo traveller, what do I expect…?

Upon knowing that the Kathakali is being played nearby my hotel room, I decided to give a try,

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Kathakali- Mohini vadanam  

 

and at the end,

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Kathakali- Mohini vadanam

I called it a day and walked to the hotel.

Cont’d…

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@15-04-18/ The folkfore museum

As I’ve reached the Ernakulam junction, the clock almost ticked the ten in the morning of the fifteenth.

Hired an auto to the museum and on the way, I found that I was starving. I went to Rao’s hotel which is nearby the museum. I’ve met two people from Andhra Pradesh…

Nobody looks like a stranger when they speak our language…

They were from Chittoor village and said that they work in navy.  After they left, I paid the bill and,

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It looks small from the road…

entered the folklore museum. I took the entry token and paid an extra hundred for the camera.

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The reception at the entrance…

And I went on,

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One of the various costumes…

After one hour of wandering through the costumes, I left to find a bus to Kochi.

 

Cont’d…

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@15-04-18/ The Malayali girl

Life gets better when you don’t anticipate.

At the night of  @14-04-18, I went to a nearby restaurant. I’ve ordered my meals and waited for some time. As I couldn’t resist, my enthusiastic hands took control over a pen and began to write about the trek,

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To catch the 4:15 train to Kochi, I started at 3:30 in the morning. I finally got on the train at 4:50 and had a reception with few sleepy pairs of eyes on the seventh compartment. I’ve decided to take a short nap until the sun peeks from the east. As I finally got to my seat, I saw a bag beside which stood a girl along with her male companion. While I was looking at my seat number on my phone, he said that she wants a lower berth.

After few minutes, I’ve settled on the upper berth. As the train started to move, her male companion got off the train. I couldn’t identify faces at that time. After half-an-hour, I began to peek if there was any sign of sun from the east for every ten minutes.

I finally got the glimpse of the ray touching the train,

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As I was replaying the tapes, I saw the face of the girl in golden ray.  I asked myself,

Is it me or she looks really beautiful..?

I must confess that I was a little carried away. It might be that the fact that I acknowledged the truth of short life from the late trek on the previous day.

Life is fragile without experiences.

I started the conversation and it took for over two hours of the ride. She is awesome when it comes to talking to a stranger. I thought that if I get a yes/no answer, I would cease any attempt to talk further.  She loved the idea of traveling and in fact, she gave some names from her bucket list.

When topic shifted to movies, she took my travel journal and wroteCapture14

about twenty movies.

She said that she was doing her PG in Chennai and was returning to her hometown. I thought to give her a novel. When I asked her about the author, she said that she didn’t like her writings.

We exchanged numbers and she got off at her station.

 

Cont’d…

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@14-04-18/ the value of life.

It wasn’t easy.

To trek down a two thousand, with a backpack that tries to push. I began to bargain for the inches of my life. On the early clock of 14-04-18, when my eyes began to anchor along with the shivering legs, I began to climb with fear and faith along the slope. Many experienced people passed me without any third leg (bamboo stick) but I decided not to rush.

It was as if my nerves were writing a code in zeros and ones. It goes as to step one leg at a place and if it stands good, go for one. If not, wait or skid as long as it takes a perfect stand.

Those minutes could prove how much I love my life. When I was climbing down the last mountain, even when the stones pierced into my feet, I couldn’t feel any pain. It wasn’t that there isn’t any pain…But the thought that I wasn’t falling down kept me occupied. Pain transformed as a tiny curve on the chart of life.

The story that I would never forget or never would have written if I haven’t made it. But I’ve experienced that my strength is stretchable to a limit that no one could imagine…

In the name of holy spirits, those moments seemed too valuable to ignore…

In the end, all I could do was to do an old man to climb the stair for the second floor and fell on the bed for three straight hours on the midtime of 14-04-18…

 

Cont’d…

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@13-04-18/ A solo trek on Vellagiri hills.

If I had known the outcome, I wouldn’t have continued my trip. I can’t wonder how perfectly the stories are aligned to make my trekking a terrific experience. My first amateurish solo trek of 1778 meters high hill, on a chilled night, accompanied by a heavy rain…

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I must confess that life felt truly short when it tested my grit. Yet Lord Shiva seemed to have other plans for me.

From the Coimbatore bus stand to Poondi, I met a seventeen-year-old local traveler and told about his experience on trekking the seven hills. He said that the vellagiri hills are famously named as ‘The southern Kailash’. Also said that as I am making my journey alone to the Shiva, it would give me a lot of blessing. On the ground, I saw a lot many people taking selfies with a 34 meter, half-eyed Shiva statue and,

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“I know you are looking at that mountain. Maybe I would give you a good look when I reach the top…” I said, and The Shiva seem to take it a little too serious.

A 23-year-old, who knew nothing knew about trekking might expect the journey to be picturesque. It would be if we make less effort to see the sunset with a camera having a perfect lense

With three Tamil friends, I started on the first hill with a backpack (Rug, Eatables and a novel). As one of them is a little fat, I’ve lost their track at the third hill. At the fifth mountain, It started to rain. And then, a bit more heavily. I couldn’t afford the thought that I would slip. I took the every another step I could and even after, it seems to be a little further.

And it came to me,

“Now that you are watching me and the fact that I’m alive to notice, I want you to stop the rain for us to meet…” I said to Shiva on taking a leap.

With a wet backpack that I haven’t noticed and my body pouring more sweat than the drizzle, I managed to say ‘thanks’ to the statue beside a rock. And all I’ve got is a half coconut, a banana and two pockets of ash.

I wasn’t angry, not frustated, certainly not disappointed. All I’ve got was the few moments of silence with no desire. I prefer to call, the immortal feeling. 

As for a reply, The Shiva seem to say, “It isn’t finished…”

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With a broken bamboo stick at one end, while the cold wind started to tell the horrific tales, I began to climb down…

-Cont’d…

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@12-04-18/ Along the way to coimbatore.

Everything went so incredibly perfect. Events that link to form unforgettable memories yet terrifying. The train that arrived at 12:20 in the morning and fortunate departure at the exact location, which is near to the bus station. The happenings inside the train are usual as in every Indian rail travel.

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the rays from the east…

In particular, The president of mid-thirties commanded the air on the debate of politics and argued that the status of poor people is getting even poorer while the benefits of such laws are enjoyed by higher class. I often couldn’t believe how good the expressions become a great asset to a storyteller. He always adds the word, “Whether you believe it or not…” before any answer or for any statistics. He went on to talk about the attitude of Kerala people and opportunities in Bangalore. As the current in our compartment was little dim, President went to talk to the local station manager and solved the problem. There are many characters that made my journey awesome. For instance,

 

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Enroute to Coimbatore. along with three fellow strangers/friends watching my camera feed…   

Joke-A-Lot – A character that can make a joke at any given time. If the train moves slow, he responds. If the voice of a samosa seller is different…

Sir-Lazy – I couldn’t understand what he was. Even when I asked him to move his legs from my seat, it took him an eternity to act. I thought that his time is too slow for a human.

And it was as if the casting was chosen in a way that no two persons acquire the same attitude.

In Coimbatore, I have decided to climb the seven mountains to reach the Kailash located at Poondi. Sure, it was a hasty decision. I mean, the first solo travel to get trekking experience on a hill that I’ve no idea, in the chilled night.

I didn’t know that I would’ve to experience the most terrific moments of my life on 13-04-2018.

 

-Cont’d

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