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.


74. Myth with a Dam

@Bhoothathankettu, Kerala, India.


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 —>


69. The Sleeping Beauty

@Thommankuthu, Kerala, India.


This is something which would keep away from the original fairy tales of Charles Perrault or the Grimm Brothers despite of the title. As the author of this blog is not dead and the possibility of editing is always there, having such a fairy tale title would hurt no soul permanently. The elements of ‘sleep’ and ‘beauty’ would still reign supreme, for those are the things which makes the title not ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, ‘Snow White’, ‘Rapunzel’ or ‘Cinderella’. Thommankuthu Falls lie asleep with all its beauty at a location around eighteen kilometres from Thodupuzha; sixty three kilometres from Aluva; seventy two kilometres from Cochin. Our path was the one which touched Muvattupuzha and Thodupuzha; for a stop at the Indian Coffee House belonging to the former, was totally necessary, something which was becoming more of a great tradition which is going to pass on to the future generations through the legends, supported by fairy tales and vampire stories with the exception of the strange, pale Twilight’s twin sisters who are set to follow the footsteps of their elder sister who made a complete nonsense out of the vampire belief.

The path to Thommankuthu itself had the force of attraction; there was just raw scenery; small waterbodies and bridges which blend into nature as if they are all the same, belonging to Gaia, the children of one force; credit to whatever Uranus and Pontus provided, or even those which are adopted. This is one closer to the absence of that need to perfect terrakinesis. It was a suitable scene for a near perfect photo right before entering through that gate. There was also the presence of tea shops to attract the people of the tea, but it was not till the end of the program, that there was the fall due to the temptation of that immortal drink. Still, considering the fact that there is the need to keep breaking the narrative as tea is more important than most of the other things in the world, here skips the flow, just to say that the tea was awesome. That procedure of drinking the elixir of life should have happened before the journey for sure – but it was the last thing we did, which meant that all the weariness of the journey would be declared void, and the tiring feeling existed only during the journey through the Thommankuthu Eco-tourism Project, as it was named. As I can’t help but reiterate in a different way, the tea which followed the journy had paradiso or parts of it.

Yeats had his vision, and its time one should have his own; but the fact remains that the extensive study had to go beyond the curriculum, for which each journey could contribute; this time of nature, next time spiritual and some other time historical. But the presence of one of them in another is not to be avoided, as mixtures are common and solutions are even more readily available. The same is the case of Thommankuthu which is more of mixture and is slowly moving towards being a solution. Here is the ecotourism destination that is Thommankuthu which has its own undisturbed beauty of nature right from the beginning, or even through the path leading there, being the best and the right alternative to standard commercial tourism of heavy modernity. But the disruption of the virigin nature and its territories is not something which is not entirely absent. The use of plastic, even if banned, would always be present in these areas. There would be pollution and disturbance to the flora and fauna, but for now, it is not at that much of a high rate which would be alarming at the first sight.

The narrator, obviously myself, was at unfamiliar territory, through a path which was beautiful was awesome until it narrowed down right after that board which titled “Danger” preventing people from jumping into the incredibly beautiful stream of water and rocks. It was a great journey through an area of fresh air until those smaller paths at some height was at sight, and it was ‘almost the road’ which was not taken till then. I was less like the foreign teams at India and more like the Indian cricket team abroad; not really being done with the spin, but with the swing provided by the breeze. To be frank, this was written at a time when India was playing England at home, being the fake cricketing giants and the team of home specialists, as three of the fabulous four, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman has retired and the ‘home only’ players were doing awesome enough to make sure that their team lose – and the worst of them might have still failed to score. One still has to guess they will continue to do the same; as theres always fame and fortune which guides them – let them gain the much needed enlightenment in that way for its just the matter of how long it might take for them to reach the ultimate stage of pure tube light: just saying things in a more scientific way so that the people of modernity can follow.

However one looks at the matter, it is quite strange that the blind fans would support a payback with turning pitches which their team itself can’t handle; for it proves that one still lives hidden behind those narrow domestic walls instead of going abroad and getting the job done. When there is no grass, little assistance for pace, bounce, or lateral air movement, just cracks which make it look like some area of drought, it is also an insult to the nature which has blessed man with so much plenty and beauty. A loss because of doing such a pathetic thing is pure justice and it is clearly self-inflicted. When people yell for victories of this sort, there is the emphasis on those pathetic walls, even more emphasis than what was provided by caste, creed, community, religion and language – walls are everywhere, but does humanity or even the life force create a wall? Is there a fortress which keep the ideals safe? What would be the role of customs and traditions in this world which runs on profit and victory? The global teams like Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea, AC Milan, Arsenal, Liverpool, Real Madrid and the plenty of beauty which is football might bring some of these bigger walls down and create smaller fences which might be a better thing – so might the awesomeness of Roger Federer and the machine that is Rafael Nadal. Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are surely into it too. They are present as the global spirit, not as heroes of selfishness.

Getting the narrative back into track from the narrow-minded one-man, one or two nation show that is cricket to the global football and tennis, and now to where this had started, the falls were many; not just the Thommankuthu Falls, but also everything which existed far above it on the way up through the green areas of natural beauty. Here one moves to the Universal Brotherhood of Nature which is a far more advanced thought than whatever is provided by modernity. The true legends are there, hidden in a philosophy of whatever is green; and this is what preceded the legends of antiquity and the ridiculous pseudo-legends of modernity to which this land gives not much value. What is to be seen in the modern world which boasts of a multi-cultural nonsense is that lack of tolerance, and those bullies are forever, until the Doomesday – the wheel has turned too much and it is the time for it to stop and spin backwards. There is a limit to what you should provide, Prometheus; kindly don’t be Victor Frankenstein, for there are promises to keep; if not, there are tragedies awating all of us: blame fate as much as you like, but you are the pilot of your defying Embraer, the driver of your own Cadillac, Ulysses of your majestic Galley, the master and commander of your soul for now.

Diving out —>


2012: Summary & Statistics


1. London Tower Bridge
2. York Cathedral
3. Kumarakom Backwaters
4. Liverpool Cathedral
5. Kandy Temple of the Tooth
6. Divurumpola Site
7. Canterbury Cathedral
8. Thanjavur Temple
9. Glasgow Cathedral
* Just random pictures from the beginning of the blog to this day; not the favourites or the most visited, just some of the interesting places I have visited selected randomly. Summary & Statistics to follow.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.

In 2012, there were 14 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 69 posts. There were 20 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 3 MB. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was June 23rd with 92 views. The most popular post that day was 47. To Further South.

Click here to see the complete report.

65. That Long a Name

@Ilaveezhapoonjira, Kerala, India.

With that long a name which could shock many non-Malayalam speakers and that part of speech which signify the absence of fallen leaves, the place is a tourist destination which is not yet crowded and exploited by the overdose of modernity. As one might still wonder about the reason why the leaves won’t fall and relate some fiery Gothic stuff to it with a powerful supernatural story as a backgound, the simplest fact might the powerful wind which could leave nothing that light on the ground without taking it away like Shelley’s own West Wind, and the absence of the bigger trees around. Located at about 18 kilometres from Thodupuzha, 55km from Kottayam and 60km from Cochin, the place should invite more trekkers than most of the places in Ernakulam district. The route should take a right turn on the way to Vagamon from Thodupuzha, a few kilometres after the Malankara Dam which can be seen on the left. The right turn can be identified by a CSI Church on the left side. There are a few sign boards to help the cause too. The beauty of the mountains can be seen from the road too; theres also beautiful scenery related to the dam reservoir on the left side. The greenery doesn’t fail either, and they all combine together to give a preface to Ilaveezhapoonjira.

The road to this destination is not that good though. There are enough twists and turns supported by pretty huge gutters on a small road which is big enough only for a car and a motor-bike to pass each other at the same time, and the sides of the roads are not in that good a condition for parking either. There is a ninety five percent chance for any of those lower-middle range cars, and most of those hatchbacks to lose all the confidence on their ground clearance. I would surely not look under my car for a long time, as this was the biggest of all those ground clearance failures which haunted any of the cars I had driven before the occasion. Watching bigger cars getting attacked by the rocks and parts of broken road did make me feel less worried about the capability of my car though. The path has surely turned my car pessimistic, and I am hoping that the four-wheeler of mine is not that depressed to lose its brakes while coming across a monster truck. Luckily, only a jeep and two auto-rickshaws came opposite to us, and it was at that area where there were houses or open grounds on the sides – those few points of relief which were hard to come if we look at an overall picture.

The car could take a few more pathetic areas of the road and a little off-roading until there was that time when more of the journey in a smaller four-wheeler near impossible. The rocks had started looking like Scott Steiner’s biceps, with some sharp areas which could have resembled half a cone ice-cream, the lower side of that cold edible thing. There were many small waterfalls on the way, and it was near one of those falls that the car was parked in the end. There was another smaller falls nearby and both of them seemed to have given the car a look to suit the photography. There was still more area to cover and more waterfalls to see on the way, all of them significantly small and not large enough to be given pet names. The journey to the top was surely difficult, and the path was horrible even for walking. There is also the option to hire one of those jeeps which might be better even as I don’t know how much of a shaky journey that would be. Walking with nature surely seemed a better option at that time though. After driving for so long, the walk was tiresome, but the beauty of nature had to be seen and enjoyed, the bliss had to come and rescue the mind from its fallen state, and therefore there was no stopping, and the walking was done at a good speed except for a few stops in between for taking snaps.

There was a resort-like structure and a small tea shop quite near the top. With rain clouds everywhere threatening to fire the grenades of rain drops, tea was a much needed thing. But the clouds still hesitated except for a few drops, and it was another day of no significant rain; another day of monsoon failure or the curse of the Lords of the rain. The wind was strong though, and even the grass bowed down to it as if the master of that small world had arrived. The fog was powerful enough to make it all feel so unclear; the beauty of nature still showed its face in between. The green colour was not easily hidden and the rocks sometimes gave the effect of watching a black and white version. The uncertainty of rain still prevailed. The power of the wind was good enough to bring back the memories of “Ode to the West Wind”, as if it was also a destroyer and a preserver, and carried our words, our ideas all the way to distant areas of the hills. The world was still, and everything looked stuck like a newer Operating System working in an older computer, until the wind had arrived. The wind and the fog created that new scene of beauty; as if it was West Wind’s twin brother, or at least a cousin; even the possibility of a double role or re-incarnation cannot be ignored.

As the journey happened in the morning itself, there was almost a complete lack of tourists around there. It was only by the time we were leaving, that people started arriving, not in groups, but in two motor-bikes and three cars which were clearly checked for ground clearance by the magnificient tester that is Ilaveezhapoonjira. There is the need for better roads ending the tragedy of cars, and there would surely be more visitors – the need for pubicity is also there, but that factor is surely being worked on right now. But when the roads remain like that even at a time that there is less rain, one has to wonder what monsoon would do to it sooner or later. Even an alternative, a longer, but better road would be a better solution. But the practical solution would be to repair them immediately, or see a few mad tourists. Robert Frost might consider this route as the road not to be taken, rather than the road not taken; but in that part of the world where even the most travelled roads needs lots of repair, that would be so much to expect, knowing the negative results in advance.

To be frank, none of these made the journey a failure, or a disappointment. All of these blended into a significant one-day trip which gave the mind much to remember for the next few days. There were not many different scenes, but just the same scene with frequent change of climate – with sunshine, clouds, powerful wind and the mystic fog supported by a little rain having a guest appearance. There was no shortage of that awesome poetic effect created by nature. I was being Ulysses or Odysseus, identified more by Lord Alfred Tennyson’s version rather than the others. I was also made weak, not by age, but by time and the world around me, and I was there to strive, to seek and not to yield. I had my small group of mariners, not of the sea, but of the land and the name nomads would suit us better, and on on that occasion, we were closer to that name both in spirit and also by the physical status. There were no Lotos-eaters though, not then, may be we could have seen similar people in the twilight, but that was not something this Ulysses had any interest in; as he was no war hero and his kingdom was absurd for many, for all the historians, poets and novelists wouldn’t have his name in their works.

Diving out —>


64. The Seven Faces

@Ezhattumugham, Kerala, India.

The beauty of Ezhattumugham is something which comes to close to making an impact similar to what Daffodils made to Wordsworth, but considering the beauty of Kerala as a whole, and for a Keralite who manages to see similar things every day, it might not be a big deal. Still, at a time when the nature is diminishing even in God’s own country and the nation as a whole, due to the materialistic tendency and the industrial nonsense, there is the need to witness the beauty of Ezhattumgham, the land of seven streams – the seven faces of a river which flows in a different style through different parts of the rocky areas. If the Spanish football team has eleven wonderful players who merge into one unit, this has seven. The pathetic losers who can’t admire the Spanish victory can also fail to admire the beauty of nature on this occasion, as the beauty and truth are the same here and also evident in the Spanish victory, in a simple selfless game, not brutal and ugly as Netherlands showed against Portugal in the 2006 FIFA World Cup and against Spain in 20120 FIFA World Cup. Those teams which play cannibalistic football, thus creating a Battle of Nuremberg and continued to do the same even in a big stage of World Cup finals, had to lose, and so should the people who see nature with a destructive eye.

The victory of Spain in UEFA Euro 2008, FIFA World Cup 2010 and UEFA Euro 2012 was a victory of both truth and beauty, and as John Keats said in this beautiful Ode of timelessness, beauty is truth and truth beauty. For the last few years, that beauty was Spain in football, and it will continue to be so and it wouldn’t matter if they continue to win or not. The game will continue from their boots with that same beauty as comparable to the flow of nature and anyone who speaks against it is surely a criminal to both beauty and truth. It will eventually cause the rise of the most evil souls from hell and the gate to inferno would open directly to Earth. The nature itself would have its revenge, something which it has been waiting for, ever since science started destroying its soul. The mocking of the best, just because of jealousy, is that evil which can come next only to the vanity which exists inherent within cricket that makes a few teams superior to the others, that is evident with the Nokia Champions League T20 and its partiality – 10 teams; 4 from India, 2 from Australia & 2 from South Africa; that is 40% reservation for Indian teams & 80% for teams from these 3 nations. When the other teams agree that they are inferior and promote the vanity of the so called ‘higher race of teams’, everyone has to give up and accept the superiority of those overlords. Feudalism and racism got many new forms for sure.

Euro 2012 might have saved Indian sports fans from listening to any more of Sania Mirza’s selfish comments which might be responsible for a possible fall of Indian Tennis in the future. But Ezhattumugham has been taken away from the people and the tourist map more by the Athirappally-Vazhachal Waterfalls which has always been a huge tourist destination. Its popularity has actually made Ezhattumugham a less significant place of interest. In the case of Kodanad and Paniyeli-Poru, the same thing has been working in a different manner, as Paniyeli-Poru has been rising above Kodanad as the new place of natural relief. Even the condition of the roads seem to tell the same story of neglect. There are no signboards either, except for the directions to Athirappally and two major water theme parks which are located nearby. The easier path from Cochin to Ezhattumugham would be a right turn at Karayamparambu, just after Angamaly, easily identified by the end of a bridge and the view of the huge white dome of Saint Joseph’s Church. A few kilometres later, the path is confirmed to be correct when you see the Mookkannoor church straight in front of you during a left turn. Then comes the time when you have to ask and ask for directions, thus clearing those uncertanities about reaching that world of serenity.

At a time when the glory-hunters supported Germany (unlike the true German fans who have been supporting their team for years) and the physical people supported Netherlands, the true football lovers had stuck with Spain. For the exact same reason, Ezhattumugham is a place to be stuck with. It is comparable to Paniyeli-Poru on many occasions. The first thing is the absence of sign boards, even as Paniyeli-Poru has directions towards one side. There is also the flow of water between those rocks which is a wonderful scene. Both are not exploited that much, as they are not the most popular tourist destinations yet. They are rising, and will soon reach the major list of Kerala’s tourist attractions. A few bad and narrow roads are to be made better and the sign boards are to be effective. Then the rise would be quicker, and they would reach that higher level; as both are not too distant from the Cochin International Airport. Athirappilly surely has glamour and might continue to win many hearts, but Ezhattumugham is what wins with its beauty of variety. Nature rules over individual beauty of waterfalls. In a world of scientific reasoning, people may argue with facts, but as nothing of this world is real, one has to wonder what they are trying to prove with their God particle instead of using the money to save the poor and treat the diseases.

The path through Chalakudy and many other shortcuts should also reach there, but the previously mentioned route should be the easiest as well as the most beautiful. There are palm trees on the side too – something you don’t see very often in Kerala. It was as if the Coconut trees took a break. There are also the mini-waterfalls – or should they be called micro-waterfalls? There is significant beauty in there, and it doesn’t really matter how small they were. All those underrated places of beauty, the same as the Spanish team. They said Spain will never win any tournament and will choke in Euro 2008 and they supported the team with most chance of winning. They felt that Spain is not World Cup material and for World Cup 2010, they supported the teams which had the best chance. At a time when Spain was not considered favourites and was weakened by the absence of Villa and Puyol, they still supported the team with the best chance to win. Now the question would be – who are the glory-hunters? It is them who say that Spain won’t win and support a team with maximum chance to win, and after that team loses, they will support every team against Spain. This is exactly the same feeling, a few people had against Brazil sometime ago – the same itching people have against Roger Federer and Sachin Tendulkar envying their achievements. They would also speak against Who Wants to be a Millionaire’s Malayalam version Ningalkkum Aakaam Kodeeswaran, and their action would be part of another story of blind celebrity worship and a form a typical story of envy against people earning money more by knowledge rather than those silly reality shows.

Ezhattumugham is not a place to fade away due to some people preferring only the places mentioned in the list; it will live on and it will gain more and more strength by the people who strive, seek and refuse to yield. They will find these new places and bring them to light; they will find the truth behind everything fake. They will rise like Spain and win their battles, not in a rough, pathetic path of some negative teams; but like a poetry in motion. For now, the glory is with those who play a selfless game and not with the mindless goal scoring machines of selfishness. Portugal and Netherlands would also rise to get to glory for the first time, if they keep closer to the beautiful game as it is called. When the Prakriti Gramam, the park at Ezhattumugham becomes better maintained with superior security, its rise will be comparable only to the Spanish rise; there is so much talent in nature which is total in itself just as the Spanish team of Total football. The people who can’t appreciate beauty will continue to be those hurdles in the path of truth and greatness. They will succeed in their path, but will eventually destroy the world around them, like science destroyed faith, belief and true love. But the thing to be kept in mind is that perverted ideas of beauty are not to be included. It is not something to come from a drunken state either. There is no beauty without truth and vice versa. Ezhattumugham asserts it in the right manner. For those who are wondering about the content, this was written just a few days after Euro 2012, a month after the Ezhattumugham visit. This is a quick impact of Euro 2012, and do forgive the writer for the overspeed.

Diving out —>


61. A Few Miles to Go

@Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India.

It would be nearly impossible to find a reason not to be anywhere near Ooty at a time when Vulcan breathes fire like a dragon without a fire control system or the support of firefighters within a few kilometers radius. Even Volcanalia would not have the opportunity to see its own red marking on calendar in a land of working Gods if the heat would just continue to go high. This is that time of the year when the Shrine of Vulcan would love to miss its worship by its favourite element of nature. As his Greek counterpart could bring something like Talos to life, talking about it could possibly bring another reason for the people to believe in whatever to happen on December 21, 2012, which means that there is the need to stick to “Welcome to Ooty, nice to meet you” kind of stuff which would bring that superior nostalgia to the mind which rests on nothing other than that wonderful Malayalam movie Kilukkam. That would be the right thing in the absence of Jason, Medea and those Argonauts. Colossus of Rhodes would take an earthquake to rest and leave its story behind, but the same cannot be said about the man of heavenly ichor.

In the case of Ooty, this ichor should run deeper; also sharing the Greek gods’ own liquids with the beauty that is around, making the place immortal as the survivors of Mount Olympus who have not faded away into that eternal absence created by their non-existant worshippers; those people of legends currently existing only through the works of Homer and whoever followed him, as well as those allusions which came later and spread with the help of colonialisation and due to the power of that international language in which this is being written. Considering the temperature of the place, the existance of Vulcan in about a twenty five kilometer radius has to be a thing of eternal doubt, which would stretch beyond the knowledge of any mortal and his science which would find a volcano instead and wait for the end of days, always contributing to Global Warming and thinking in vain that it would help him find a solution and survive when his so-called inventions will consistently keep falling on his head even after the time for his epitaph passes by.

The thoughts of science bringing that Doomsday mentioned in the Holy Bible, the scene has to switch to St. Stephen’s Church, one of the oldest churches in the district and a good example of simple colonial architectural work. It is undoubtedly the most well-known Christian worship centre in Ooty, may be due to its longer history; ask for a church and it would be were a cab driver would stop for any tourist. Belonging to the first half of the nineteenth century, it has lived long and currently stands with yellow paint on the outside and white in the interior. Except for the painted glass in the front area on both sides, it is quite simple and small a structure even as the colonial elements make it something of further importance, along with its wooden parts. The graveyard and the celtic style crosses on the backyard gives it another view from that side. There is enough natural beauty around to add to all that exists in the house of God, and the cool breeze would continue to certify the significance of that old structure.

The Sacred Heart Cathedral is another nineteenth century structure, but of the second half of that century. Along with the peace and beauty of the surroundings, the church structure stands tall, not that far away from the famous attractions of the town. The church itself is an attraction as well as a place of spirituality, and it is a thing of religious and spiritual serenity; painted yellow and white, and seen even from a distance as a tall structure, not only due to its own height, but also due to the elevation of the ground itself. The scenic delights would surround it, especially the Government Botanical Garden and all which surrounds the same. Being in a church in this cold was something which I last experienced in Nuwara Eliya, a long distance – kilometres away from the current structure; but it was cooler during that time at that hill station of Ceylon and the situation was different; still spirituality and its side-effects were just the same. The same couldn’t be said in case of a sudden enlightenment though. The places were hallowed in both cases, and what made the difference was simply a gap of one and half years.

Coming back to all which concerns the beauty of nature, The Nilgiri Mountain Railway, one of the oldest mountain railways in India remained untouched, considering how crowded that time of the year happened to be. It was not in any way like that off-season trip to Kanyakumari to watch a cloudy sea which covered the sun; this was more of a trip right on target, even if there were too many targets which would mean that a few were in line just to be missed by a good margin. As Ooty is only about eighty kilometres from Coimbatore and eighteen kilometres from Coonoor, they provided great resting places and the need to go by any transport other than bus was completely out of the equation, and I would say it worked perfectly. It would have been great to travel by train through the scenery though, but it was still to be too slow. Well, the journey by road not anything that inferior in nature exploration, as it has its own sights of happiness which spreads and creats poems through the minds.

The Goverment Rose Garden, the largest Rose garden in India, and the Government Botanical Garden remain two of the places to be first visited, and they were indeed well-maintained places of beauty; the verses from Lord Tennyson’s Maud suited the former magnificiently, as one can see it among the roses, as if to improve its beauty by literature. The Ooty Lake with its boating facilities would be of significance to many, and what they call the highest peak in South India would be astonishing, but I found more attraction to the tea factory and museum. It was not something I didn’t see in Nuwara Eliya, but I was closer to tea this time and the chocolate factory had its role to play in making it that good an experience. The tea was superior throughout the stay at Ooty and so was the factory’s addition to it, which was the satisfaction of being at the highest elevation tea factory in India as they claimed, and being that close to tea and all those things which preceded it.

Diving out —>


60. The Night Riders

@Angamaly, Kerala, India.

On that day of darkness which most of the earthlings would call night, I had that lone drive to Angamaly which sparked that memory which was recalled and initiated with a cup of tea a few kilometres from the destination. For something which was powered by tea, there was surely the memory which consisted of the immortal drink of the common man, but the town remained the topic of that night; that time, it was about the destination and not tea, the latter which served only as the path – the motivator. Supported by a number of English songs which served as the gasoline for that moment, those which were to point directly to some random destination in England or Scotland, they actually led to that place, as the compass showed one direction and the memories followed to travel and reach that place which was a lot closer; but memories needed no petroleum products.

That journey was something which happened a few years ago and after reaching Angamaly, the first thing to notice was surely the St. George Basilica with its dome giving a great sight from a distance adding a certain amount of magnificience while entering the town from this side of the National Highway, which is the path coming from the Cochin side, while St. Joseph’s Church would catch the attention faster from the other side, with its own dome is definitely a closer thing to the road. The former and the latter should be that noticeable; new and closer to giving a great sight to the human eye, and may be also to the eyes of the angels of the other world who travel beyond the dimensions; at the same time driving the demons of Hell away, with its own uncrowned champion getting the worst of the creatures made of clay, due to their devotion which could make the power of hellfire submit.

The Basilica might be one of the biggest churches in India, if not the largest the biggest of the newer church structures of this century located at this part of the world. At Angamaly, which has been one of the main centres of Christianity in its early days, stands this church building which is a thing of beauty as well as spirituality. Its architectural beauty could take no second seat as it looked that awesome, even if it lacked the usual old-style characteristic which could have lead the mind to another world, for it would have suited the land better; still what the new structure gave was no thing of less importance in a world of no devotion, belief or faith to guide humanity in the right path. It can be for this world or the other, but it would serve, and as John Milton would say, stand still and serve like a few angels who successfully avoided the temptation of the fallen one who spoiled that wonderful opportunity to serve at the right place rather than to rule at the wrong place.

When looked from the outside, its the dome and the two towers of the front which might gain all the attention, but once inside, the window glasses steal both the heart and the brain. They are so beautiful and when the light passes through them, there is more of that divine feeling added to that already existing beauty and the feeling is more of being out of this world. The windows keep reflecting the light to the floor and the feeling of divinity continues to reach another level. One can look at all sides, upwards, downwards and everywhere there is that great feeling of beauty which exists throughout the structure with its spirituality. It is that domain of prayer which is not just a material thing, but something which would continuously touch the inner soul; raises that faith and belief, calls one’s spirit to that new dimension of never ending hope.

St. Joseph’s Church of Karayamparambu should be something new. It is easily visible from the side of the National Highway and is mostly one huge dome and not that huge a structure as it seem to be. The dome comes at the front area of the church building and it gives the structure a great view, along with those statues of the saints adorning the area just below the dome, supported in beauty by the cherubs on the front gate. Inside the dome, there are the pictures of various saints as well as those of various incidents in the Bible. The altar is also very much something of beauty and the feeling inside continues to be great. There is nothing in there not to be noticed, and being a smaller structure doesn’t take anything out of it. There is also the greenery not too far away from the location of the church, not planning to leave the beauty just to its architecture.

Located so close to the Cochin Airport at Nedumbassery and having its own railway station, along with having one of the best bus stations around, Angamaly is surely fast developing and in that process, it would add more to the memories which are to be awakened by another night ride, next time that ride itself would be a memory which would stay alive for a longer amount of time, not to haunt and not confuse, just to provide enough to keep them steady in the mind, as it would deserve as that town of importance, located that close to those pilgrim centres of supreme importance, Malayattoor and Kalady; for it is that gateway and it can only be extended and get better. The memories also would have the same opportunity, and it is for them to take and use during one of those journeys and fill the mind with them without an opportunity to overflow.

Diving out —>