@Muvattupuzha, Kerala, India.
This should be one of the most visited places in my list of towns to be passed through. Even as there were shortcuts to avoid Perumbavoor with many smaller roads on the way to Kottayam side including Kuravilangad, Ramapuram and Bharananganam, Muvattupuzha has always been there. Even to travel to Nagapuzha, Kaloorkad, Arakuzha and Vazhakulam, this place stood in between. This place has been our place to go through, the place to stop and have a break; get some food and tea. The restaurants of Muvattupuzha ceased being strangers to me long ago. I could know those restaurants from miles away. For me, the favourite option has been to go through Valayanchirangara, which not only saved some traffic and distance, but also added some scenic beauty to the trip. But choosing different paths is always the right thing to do; you never know which way will give you an experience you want to forget or something you never want to forget. These choices are things that will live in your mind forever; there are always choices and we know these makes us what we are in the future.
Except for the traffic problems during peak time which has bothered me on many occasions, Muvattupuzha has always been a place I liked. When I was a kid, I used to go to a book shop there, which made it a superior place for me. It has the river and bridge right in the centre of the town which adds that beauty, but stays as an obstruction to having a bypass to save the travellers from it’s heavy traffic. As the gutters on the road keep getting further deep and higher in number, it keeps increasing the traffic problems. The most important thing in Muvattupuzha for me would be the Holy Magi Forane Church. It is kind of small considering the number of people who come there for mass and stay outside the whole time. It had to be a bigger church and not painted in that obvious colour of white and then it would have looked so much better. It still looks a dominant structure from a distance. The gate to the church is even finer than the holy structure. St. Joseph’s Cathedral is being built in the lands and I have a feeling that it is going to be a wonderful structure and another reason to visit Muvattupuzha; may be I would go and attend the Holy Mass there too; who knows what I would do, as I have to travel in a restricted space these days.
My relation with Muvattupuzha is as old as my relation with Kothamangalam and Perumbavoor. Aluva had only a small role to play at that time and Angamaly and Paravoor came to the picture very late. The role of Cochin has always been that of a different world at that time. Kottayam district played only a better role than the other districts as I was restricted to Ernakulam district at that time. North and South Kerala didn’t exist for me at the centre. But still Kolkata did exist and so did Chennai. This was my childhood and it surely had Muvattupuzha. It didn’t just have that place as a random place of memory; it had a lot of it; further and further into that town of natural beauty, another town which is like a gateway to a difference. It is like Kothamangalam and it is close to the place; it sends us to Kottayam district even as that district doesn’t begin until some more distance is covered. It gives us kind of that feeling though, and the road changes significantly from Muvattupuzha to Kuravilangad. The twisted roads with so many turns always interested me. It gives me that adventure feeling and it is surely fun to drive even if most of the people won’t like those huge turns with options to fall down the ledge to that depth on the side of the road which would be a horrible experience and considering the speed of some Super Fast buses, you will never know.
To these beautiful roads, Muvattupuzha has been a gateway for me. It also leads to Thodupuzha through another big road, but my favourite and the most travelled road would be the first one. It is the road that fascinated me from the childhood itself and I identified it with Muvattupuzha until I gave some credit to Koothattukulam and Kuravilangad too. It is the road many people told me they hated; that same road which many people wanted to avoid, but it is the road I would always take and it is the road which has always helped me improve my driving skills. I would drive on that road which Muvattupuzha has opened for me; that part of the Main Central Road which gave me motivation; the path which inspired me; the path which want to take in every second. I remember those theatres of Muvattupuzha, I remember a park I visited during my childhood and as those memories keep flashing around, it mixes with the current town which hasn’t undergone too many changes, and I have the feeling that it was always the same with that same inner thing which makes me have that feeling about it. It can be interpreted as not having that much development as Aluva, Perumbavoor or Angamaly, but this is still the Muvattupuzha I like, but without those occasional traffic problems.
The most significant journey to Muvattupuzha happened on a day of bloody rain. It was raining heavily and we had to watch the movie ‘Classmates’. But considering the traffic problems of Cochin and the rush for the movie, the plan to go to Ernakulam was dropped. As it was a time when Aluva and Perumbavoor were not release centres and a good movie would take months to reach the theatres there, the two option were to be Kothamangalam and Muvattupuzha. The latter was chosen at Perumbavoor when it started to exist that big doubt of what to choose as we could go to both places from there. From Perumbavoor, Kothamangalam was surely a closer place, but Muvattupuzha felt like a bigger release centre at that time as more better movies seemed to come there at a faster rate and taking more risks was not an option on that day of the rain. That thing from the clouds poured on regular intervals and we fought it by stopping on regular intervals as well as going through it when it was weaker. We can’t say that the rain failed and we won when we reached Muvattupuzha. It still had the advantage, as it was the one playing with people and it was the more powerful one.
A show was going on when we reached there and after taking those cheap tickets at that small theatre, we had food and came back to watch the movie. The theatre was no wonderful structure, but it was enough for us. The movie turned out to be good as expected and rain decided to take it’s revenge after that. It never stopped raining after that until we reached Perumbavoor. By then it seemed to be bored and we reached home frozen. It was still a successful trip with a good movie and a journey which would be termed the biggest effort to watch a movie. There would be attempts to watch movies at Perumbavoor, Paravoor, Angamaly, Kalamassery and Edappally, but this would remain the longest journey to watch a movie, that too in a bike during rain. That journey still remains a classic symbol of our own Golden Age when we dared to do the right thing; when we had the energy and the will power to do what we wanted. It was written in our mind with a permanent ink and Muvattupuzha came to be known to us for our unconquerable soul and powerful spirit. What comes to my mind when I think about Muvattupuzha will only make me stronger.
Diving out —>