@Kothamangalam, Kerala, India.
On this journey through the way of the world, I have moved closer to the city through Kothamangalam, Perumbavoor and Aluva; three major towns which have seen the most of me, another fourth one would be Muvattupuzha, but I would let that rest for now. Tracing a past beyond Kothamangalam is far away from my mental ability or my memory which is unable to take anything after the 18th century and before the 20th century at the moment. It has been hardened; filled with a world which existed before me and my present; a world which is already recorded, but Kothamangalam’s past has no part in it. It has a blackout and I would let it have the darkness; for it is supposed to be so; dark pasts give us options and it lets us create; imagine and bring out the best.
This town 14km from Muvattupuzha and 18km from Perumbavoor and much more distant from Alwaye and Cochin; what is in it for me? It is my ancestral place; the land of the forefathers as some of the great people would say. Is it the garden of Eden? Is it the lost paradise? No, I don’t trace ancestry that far behind. We don’t keep family records from the beginning of the world and I am not planning to travel back in time and do so. Even John Milton knew that and never mentioned it in his epic poem. Having Kothamangalam in ‘Paradise Lost’ would have been great, but I would let it stay here and let him find his own lost paradise. I am a little exaggerating for sure, but it comes with the same amount of exaggeration that the rain has been creating with it’s weird entrance at the wrong season.
When I say that theres a million things to see in Kothamangalam, that would surely be a hyberbole. If I say I would die if I can’t visit Kothamangalam, that would also be the same figure of speech. But the fact remains that the place is beautiful. Where NH-49 and Aluva-Munnar Road pass through, where the Orthodox and the Catholic denominations have a long history and awesome church structures, that is the place. Located so close to the Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary and the Bhoothathankettu as well as Idamalayar dams, with lots of greenery and irrigation and not that much exploitation of nature, Kothamangalam is a dream town which serves as a gate and a non-corrupt sentry between the higher and the middle areas of Kerala. This sentient sentinel is not just a town; it is ‘the town’.
Just to make sure, I was not on dope while writing the second paragraph. I surely did have my regular cup of tea, but I was no Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Tetley tea never produces anything like ‘Kublai Khan’ as you might already know. It won’t even produce a random Khan from the Hindi movie industry. Tea never led to the rise of any Lotus Eaters and thus my second paragraph will stay as sane as it is. The only addiction you will be encountering might be nature. I am not being William Wordsworth or even Robert Frost, but Kothamangalam has enough greenery to inspire you and it will give you the start you need and might even keep you going. If Munnar is a hill station, Kothamangalam is what welcomes you to Munnar. If there ever was the scope for ‘The Solitary Reaper’ in Kerala, I would place that one in Kothamangalam; there could be many ballads, lots of songs of joy which would be accelerated by the rain and the sunshine which will follow it.
Christianity has strong roots in Kothamangalam, as the Jacobite Syrian Church and the Roman Catholic Church structures dominate the skyline. They will be the first thing which will catch your attention if you wander around through the town. I would have every town to be like this one if I could; it is simple, yet it gives you the special feeling; it is no city or big town; neither is it a village; it is what lies in between, a town which is at perfect equilibrium keeping you at a pont of happiness without any particular reason. The sadness will fade and from it’s end, we will see the light of nature; not even tea is necessary. I have the need for Kothamangalam; it is not like the ‘Need for Speed’; it needn’t be cracked and it needn’t be bought; it needn’t be played again and again, as it lives with you.
It is not as if Kothamangalam lands on you as a revenge when you land on it, as it is a slow process; it will get to you and it will make you feel as if you have been there for centuries. That wouldn’t make you older; it makes you stronger, and you needn’t always be old to be stronger. It can take days, weeks, months or years; but once the process starts, it will live forever; through you and through the listeners, the people who will spread this to the cities which will not have any greenery left; where the nature would have ceased to exist. Kothamangalam is not immune to it and what affects the world, especially the nation as a whole will still affect it; but for now, it will be the nearly unchanged change for me which exists almost the same with quite a slight change. That would be enough for me at the moment.
Diving out —>