10. People of the Tea

@Calicut, Kerala, India.

My love for Calicut didn’t come from books or any random things told by books; it was surely not from any random advertisement from KTDC; it was due to a man who used to drink so much tea; he was the one who could drink any kind of tea anywhere at any point of time, however it was prepared; even without sugar. This doesn’t mean you can mix Vim, Surf Excel or Ariel into his tea; it doesn’t work that way. There used to be a season of tea all around Ernakulam district until he was brutally transferred to a place which was less known to me and was quite far away for a tea meet. That place they called Kozhikode or Calicut; it was a place I never visited until that day came by; North Kerala has always been a territory which I had failed to visit, as I rarely had any reason to go there. If I had to visit Calicut, it had to be for a pre-planned trip and with this cruel act of transfer which shocked the local world, the door was open for me; I had found my gateway to North Kerala. What added to it was the fact that it was a time of boredom and depression and a change was inevitable; there was the certainity; an absolute one beyond the words of expression.

This certainty which had started to exist at that point of time was beyond all languages; leaving all forms of communication far behind. It’s been a long time since I travelled in a Chair car and I had never travelled in that class in Kerala; so it was going to be my chosen mode of transportation. This journey in Chair car actually ended my attraction to Sleeper class as that long journey through day time helped me to read a lot; I was able to read things which I thought would take years, that too in less than four hours. I finished nearly a full history of Greece in that train; Sparta, Athens, Macedon, Thebes and Mycenae went through me and the failed Persian invasion of Greece along with the Battle of Thermopylae, Battle of Plataea and the Battle of Marathon never ceased to leave my for a long time. Alexander, Pericles, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Leonidas, Themistocles, Solon, Xerxes and every possible person brought their characters into that train as if it was a dream. They lived; they taught and fought as if they were brought back to life by Mephistopheles for Dr. Faustus.

My journey was thus made to feel short; thanks to these people of History. The return journey was to feature the History of France, but there was not to be something like the History of Greece; never really thought what would I do to go back in time and live as a Spartan or an Athenian. Thus the return journey was a little longer, but it too had it’s moments of history coming alive for me; it was my second day of ‘Night at the Museum’, but without anything actually coming alive outside the mind and without any action. A train is certainly not the best place for the history; and it doesn’t help literature for sure, but in the end it is you mind and it’s creation and recreation. If you force that against the boredom which comes against you, that brain of yours will react in a positive manner. Why was ‘Night at the Museum’ that good a movie? It was because the past came alive; it was due to the fact that History is a subject of souls; it is not science and therefore it is beyond all limits. History is humanity; history is what has made you, not science. History is what teaches you; science is just what you study. History is both his and her story; every human being’s story; it will live on unchanged.

From the moment I reached the Calicut railway station, the tea procedure started. What could only distract me from drinking more of it was the porotta which was too good from the railway station itself. My friend there was a busy man, but I was so jobless and I was someone who has been used to doing nothing; so it was a perfectly good combination in Calicut. Unlike what I feared, the beaches were not the only attractions there; I had enough of beached from Ernakulam itself. Calicut got old and beautiful churches; not that big as one would expect in a city, but old and nicely constructed. The one mall I visited there failed to create big impression, but in the end of the day it became a good place to live for me. It was kind of slower and this slowing down was something I wanted. Kochi has been too quick for me, but Calicut proved to be having the perfect pace for me. It was too hot to inspire a poem, but the days remained good; I had my books and there were journeys around the city and surroundings. It was the change; at that time, myself was also being the change. Only the tea remained a constant; as it had a value which could never change.

So was that the trip or the need for change which landed me there? May be a bit of both, along with the desire not to be at home, as it was the concrete jungle which had sucked a lot out of my brain and disappointed my eyes into a feeling of not wanting to look any more. No matter how hard you try to make a place naturally beautiful in a scientific way, the artificial beauty will always remain untrue; it fails to give you anything to cheer about. I have seen that through the concrete jungles; as I know that the greenery that you see is unreal; it is manipulated; it is like a fake smile which most of the people put on their faces. This visage which they create; this veneer which they produce in heavy quantities to make an impression or to look good hasn’t in it’s soul any truth. The same is the case with this aritifical greenery which is combined with the concrete jungle. It is a joke; it is the madness which will cramp your soul from the inside; you will never know it until the procedure is complete. You never know the source of your sadness; it has more reasons than you know; the same is the case with your surroundings; it has more stories to tell than you will never know.

Calicut is a city of rich history. It makes the place my kind of a city, but still the ignorance of monuments prevail. If we are to go on a trip, upto an extent, it has to be for the historic monuments. Don’t we have a rich history? Why can’t Keralites give importance to what they have been? Why is History considered an inferior subject by a good number of people of Kerala? When will Arts and Social Sciences get it’s due? It is not going to happen until there is tourism based on history. We need Kumarakom and Munnar, but we also need our share of historic destinations; not those which are limited to the British and the freedom struggle, but far beyond those; so much longer way back in the history. We need our share of historic cities and Calicut and Cochin should definitely some of them. We should know the origins; even superheroes like X-Men have their origins and our past which actually happened, fails to have it. We read history; we read old literature works and we drink tea; this would lead me on the way of righteousness; unaffected by fate and led forward by passion; this is my path, the right one which was reinforced by my trip to Calicut.

Diving out —>