2013: Summary & Statistics

Happy New Year everyone. The WordPress.com stats helper vampire bats prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,300 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Two other blogs were started: http://moviesofthesoul.wordpress.com/ and http://divineepic.wordpress.com/

Click here to see the complete report.

76. Driving in the Sea

@Muzhappilangad, Kerala, India.

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Even while immersing myself in the vampiric theories of the wonderful coffins, I have always wished to drive around in the sea. But about being able to drive a sea vessel – I was perfectly sure that it was an impossible thing. I am no merman, and therefore those more imaginative and creative options are left out. The Cabin in the Woods was that movie which took away the last few ideas about being a merman away. Being a half-fish, half-human monster with Piranha-tooth and a blowhole was never the best of things, no matter how well the figure is romanticized and exaggerated with the image of the mermaid from Disney’s cartoonish fortress. The mermaid are still portrayed with their beauty and cuteness which they might hold onto until the end of the world despite of a few exception, and mermans – right from the Mer-Man of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, there has been not much hope about it, even as Poseidon might wish to have a word or two about it. I would rather read Matthew Arnold’s poem, The Forsaken Merman. There goes all the sea vessels, and the merman element right out of the picture. Now the question would remain about driving in the sea; an unfulfilled desire.

So, what remains is the option to drive in whatever parts of sea which takes a peek into the sands of a beach. Driving through the beaches has been there during most of the Malayalam movies songs of the last century, and there was always something emotional about it, from love to friendship, and the sunset or sunrise was there to provide the background with the sea. I used to wonder how they drive around these areas of sand without the sands holding them down like zombies rising from their graves. The four wheels should have gone down, I would think – what are they doing? Drive-In-Beach was the answer. It was never officially an answer until that moment when the place was first visited. Well, we live in a world of paranoia, and this sense is more part of our life than of the post-modern literature. We live in our fears and refuse to accept the truths, and man and science has combined to destroy nature and call it a huge achievement, there are not much to talk about this anxiety, tension and depression which support paranoia on a large scale. But what a visit made sure about, is that the answer is right and close enough to truth. From those Mathematical equations to the news about space expedition, we are forced to believe – but aren’t these supposed-to-be truths pushed right into our brains?

Keeping all these in mind, this was explored by driving to the District 13, where I had to go during that time of extended vacation. This was a remarkable journey indeed in many ways. A road trip from Kannur to my hometown would be the longest route I have ever taken in my life in one stretch without stopping for more than just a tea or two. It was also that test which my own car had never taken before. The largest city in North Malabar region and the sixth largest in Kerala proved to be one of the worthiest destinations, as surrounded by history and geographical beauty. The Land of Looms and Lore was a destination which I should have visited long ago. Did I need inspiration to visit such a good destination? What took me so long is a question which is more rhetorical than anything else. But the fact remains that I was late and I would surely admit that. But being late has its charms; and being early always has so many negative things. This late-Kannur-coming was more positive than any other early visits to the other places. It created more wonderful moments than what was possible if the journey had happened long ago. Among those great moments, one of those places remained more striking, and it was here, at Muzhappilangad.

Muzhappilangad Beach is located near enough both to Kannur and Thalassery. The path to the beach might be a little narrow, but still beautiful enough, and the beach is long and wide, with not much of disturbance around in the morning when we went there. Thalassery should be the nearest railway station and Calicut the nearest airport. Well, it is the only beach in Kerala where you can drive and splash the sea water around. It is the place where your car becomes a sea vessel of the land. It is the right place for you to take photos of your autmobile with sea, beach and the boats around you giving the feeling that your car or motor-bike is one of those machines which can travel both in water and land, making both the tortoise and the frog jealous. The rocks add to the beauty of the world around. You can just drive and drive until the world gets tiresome. There is also supposed to be an island, Dharmadam island – but that was surely not in the list. With Thalassery is seven kilometres away and Kannur distant by just thirteen kilometres, one has to try hard not to visit this place if they wander around the district or the nearby ones.

If you love driving and the beaches, here the right paradise for you. There are no devilish snakes to take you out of this Eden. This place still remains unknown to a good number of people in the South of Kerala, and that remains a mystery. There is so much of peace and calm around this place, which might be quite unusual for a beach, and I would be surprised about the same sitting at any other beach in the South. Another major surprise comes in the form of the superior cleanliness which is seen around the sands. The calmness joins with the cleanliness to create a new world of serenity and a highly camera-loving area around there. Why haven’t most of us been aware about such a place which is better than most of the other beaches is India? This is a question which would have no answer just as the doubts about the low popularity level of the places like Urulanthanni, Paniyeli-Poru and Ilaveezhapoonchira; the last two still experiencing some rise, and with some better roads, they can see more visitors. But our beach still has a better accessibility, and I would be surprised if more people won’t come to know about this beautiful sands of time.

As I say about Kannur itself, what strikes the most might still be the blending of history to the nature, this time with the sands of many beaches – resembling our own Prince of Persia’s sands of time which continues to disappear into that void of worthlessness, that black hole filled with white sands. The Prince of Persia was surely not the one person to understand the importance of time, and the total number will not be limited to a few. The hourglasses will continue the job and the world will continue to have its not-so-Persian princes. One can bid adieu to this beautiful beach which provided great hospitality to our car along with hat ancient sea port, but how long until it fades away? The centuries of history would support the cause of the sea port to live in the minds of people. What about this great host of all four-wheelers and two-wheelers known by the name Muzhappilangad? That might lead to the rise of another story, or more than just one tale of travel. There is more about this beach that one should write about, as it is more experienced than talked about.

Diving out —>

TeNy

74. Myth with a Dam

@Bhoothathankettu, Kerala, India.

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The story of Bhoothathankettu doesn’t begin nor end with our last trip to the place, a journey which happened about an year ago. It goes back to that childhood when Bhoothathankettu used to be one of the favourite tourist spots which we visited more than once, due to its easy accessiblity. It is just about ten kilometres away from the town of Kothamangalam and fifty kilometres away from the main city of Kochi. There was also the easy access from Perumbavoor, Angamaly and Aluva. It was still distant enough at that time, but closer than the rest. For some reasons, it had occupied the top of our most interesting places and the place which we should visit again and again. It used to be a place close to the heart. In the beginning, it was a small world and the travel restrictions were rightly there. Still, no matter how far we travelled, the significance of the place remained the same. So the place can claim to be the pioneer of the Travel Diaries of this world and beyond, not in an official manner, but as belonging to the mysterious ways the world works to halt a traveller and to make him go for a journey which is least expected by himself and the society.

Therefore, it has a powerful nostalgia associated with it for us. It was more like a satellite, a natural one which surrounded our world. It was our Saturn’s Titan or Jupiter’s Callisto, for that being Earth would be too predictable. We made some good visits there with Kothamangalam as the base, but the visits faded away until three visits were made in the last six years, not bad for a time when exploring new areas was the trend for one half, and watching movies later replaced the same. The first of the three visits was the reclaiming of childhood without knowing it, the second one being the same thing knowing it all, and the third one was the journey for the camera which was still not a planned one, the most spontaneous of them all, as if the forces of nature had a direct involvement in an unstoppable procedure. There is always more than what meets the eye as long as such a place is concerned, and we were the adventurers at times. The place is blemished in its history with only one accident, as on 20th February 2007, eighteen people on a school excursion drowned in Periyar at Thattekkad, not that far away from the location of the dam.

Along with the dam which stands there, there are huge blocks of unshaped stones are placed on both sides of the river Periyar, making it look like a natural dam built by some supernatural force. The name Bhoothathankettu, means “ghost fort”, “demon fort” or “monster fort”, not with a clear translation, as “bhootham” or “bhoothathan” can mean more than one thing, and the difference in traditions would make it almost impossible to make a perfect translation, and only transcreation is possible. The presence of something supernatural has to be attributed to the myths, which doesn’t really make an impact these days. The ghosts have become more and more gentle and friendly. But the name of the place does give a kick to the curiosity of the common man who hear about it for the first time. The rest has to be experienced in person. We feel the supernatural almost every day, but that still won’t tickle our reasoning ability even by an inch. We feel it in thunder, lightning, rain and everything we see each and every moment, but we fail to recognize them. So wretched is our state, as we feel them all, but fails to know that we feel; the touch of the other world hardly affects us, as we are so much attached to the scientific methods that we deny the existence of those souls.

In the world of Twilight vampires and all the good-looking monsters who keep on attaining more and more transformations towards the side of beauty, the interest might keep rising higher and higher. But what kind of interest would that be, when the creatures of darkness are no longer of their quality, and sometimes not even grey? Ultimately, that really shouldn’t count, whatever they say. As the curiosity doesn’t kill most of the cats these days, there is not that much worry associated with it. The lack of fear and the glorification as well as the beautification of the supernatural has done more bad than good in a world of confused people. The twists of fate happen just too often, and there is none when you need them. One has to wonder what is in them, but there is no right answer, as it is not something which should have happened, even as there might have been some predictions already. There are moments when one wishes for death, but this is not one of them, for this is just pleasure-seeking even in the most dreaded monsters of the world.

Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary and the Idamalayar Dam are also quite close to Bhoothathankettu. The bird sanctuary is actually quite close, and just a turn is necessary on the way back to Kothamangalam. It has a rich collection of birdlife and is a common tourist attraction even as it pales in comparison to Bhoothathankettu which has a high number of visitors on the holidays, both from inside and outside the state. A day trip to all three places; Thattekkad, Bhoothathankettu and Idamalayar is also a usual thing. Bhoothathankettu surely is good enough to be one of the most visited places in Ernakulam district as well as in Kerala – it is just not publicized enough. This has been more due to the lack of infrastructure as well as the absence of advertisements. But the situation has been getting better. Sometimes, its peace and tranquility is all that you need to make one visit. The fort of the demons is not the place you associated these qualities with. But who can deny such a thing when one has experienced this peace? Even if the demons had come back to haunt us, there is still enough in this little world to keep one interested.

It is a very scenic place right from the beginning, from the first step you take into the beauty of that place. You can walk on the side of the dam, not just on the dam. The walk with water flowing on the side, will refresh one faster than ever – free from the troubles of city life, work or student life. There is plain nature at its best, without too much interference from the humans. If it is not the weekend, this might be the perfect place to escape to. There are times when one fails to find the right place to escape into nature. But this might just work for most of the people. The sights of the hills and the greenery far away might even inspire one to explore more. There is also a park to support the whole thing, and it has been there as long back as I can remember it. There might have surely been changes made, and add-ons giving support, but the base thing has been there for a very long time. There should be enough entertainment for the children, and a good view of the dam is also possible from a point there. On the other side, there is the boating facility, and also the “erumadam” or the treehouses which are common at the tourist areas of Kerala. There is a good view from the top of it, and the beauty of the area is to be viewed from that point. It gets even better with the rain. Therefore, I wish you the moment.

Diving out —>

TeNy