Read Part-1 here: http://allsettodonothing.blogspot.in/2014/07/solo-trip-chronicle-26th-to-30th-july.html
HASHISH AND THE MONKEYS
En route Thekkady- I visited a “spice garden”. Ever since I watched this show on TLC called “Spice Trip”- I wanted to see spice plantations in Kerala! And Driver Anna suggested this place- which I absolutely loved! I tasted the “Stevia” leaf- which is used as a substitute for sugar! Personally- I don’t like anything sweet- and this was 20 times sweeter than sugar (but no calorie!). There was this leaf used in the preparation of “Sarvanga Thailam”. This oil- the guide explained- could be used to cure any bodily ailment- from muscle to joint pains. Broken bones too could be cured by this oil. The guide rubbed the leaf on my palm and she asked me to smell the back of my palm. Not expecting much (I am a sceptic incarnate!) I did and to my surprise- I could smell the leaf at the back of my palm!
I saw the Cardamom plants. Such beauty! They can be harvested throughout the year and have a life time of 15 years! They had these really pretty flowers blooming too...
The seeds are poisonous. Once consumed- its slow death. But this is also used in worship of Shiva and in making of Hashish! Now how cool is that!
I reached Kumily at around 3:30 pm. This is the town near Thekkady (which is actually the forest..). The hotel manager warned me to keep the windows and doors locked each time I left the room. Apparently, monkeys paid a routine visit to these rooms and liked partying within the rooms when guests are away!
NIETZSCHE COULD BE RIGHT!
Evening at Thekkady was a pre-planned affair! I had booked tickets for a “Kalari” show. As the swords crossed- sparks flew! Literally! They fought with swords, the Urumi (flexible sword)- jumped through fire and I sat there- mesmerised by the whole affair... I thought of my Paatti (Granny) and all her stories of warriors and swordsmen fighting the baddies and rescuing the princesses!
Later- I walked around the town hoping to buy souvenirs. Most shops were closed for “Eid ul fitr”.
“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking”- said Nietzsche. As I walked- my mind began to re-live the journey made so far. They were not “great thoughts” in the sense Nietzsche had said. But on the personal level- the walk made me feel as though I was living inside a Jane Austen novel! And that- truly is a “great thought”!
My boating trip was scheduled at 7:30 am on 30th July 2014. I started at 6 am and arrived at the gates of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. I walked through the woods and I was reminded of “Forbidden Forest” from the Harry Potter books!
If this was detention- I’d prefer it any day of the year!
Most of my thoughts revolved around books. It made me think whether it was alright to think that way or did it show lack of real-experience?! But I can never imagine any thoughts that are not related to books... What else could people be thinking? A mere memory can fade away. But words when associated with memories can never fade away!
BUSHY AND THE BOAT
At the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary Information Centre- there was a board that read “Save our tigers”!
I was reminded of this ad- that pushes me to tears each time I see it!
I thought of my Bushy (my cat) and promised her mentally that her cousins shall be safe!
Boating began at 7:30 am. Fortunately- I got to sit in the good seat! Except for a really stupid looking safety-jacket, the trip was fantastic!
Have you seen the “Your moment is waiting” ad for Kerala Tourism? I have always liked it! But only now- could I truly appreciate it. When “my moment had arrived”!
Birds! What varieties! When my mother cooks in the kitchen- sometimes she calls out to me to listen to a bird or see a squirrel or crow! This was one such moment- when I missed my Amma! She would have loved the birds and the songs they sang!
|Please take me home with you!|
As she swam- I felt like saying to her- “Please take me home”! As though in reply- she flew and sat upon a bark saying- “See! This is where I live”!
|Ah! So this is where you live|
Somewhere far away- a herd of elephants were taking bath. Of course- my two pence of a camera could not capture it. But it was one such moment- as the character Sean O’Connell says in the movie- “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”- “Sometimes I don't. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don't like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it”.
The rays of the sun filled the place with light. But he wanted someone to check if the light fell at all appropriate places. I felt as though I checked it right for him!
“Paayum oli nee enakku paarkum vizhi nan unakku”- wrote Subramaniya Bharathi!
“I am the rushing light to you,
And you are the eyes that see for me”- is its translation.
And you are the eyes that see for me”- is its translation.
Absolutely touched by nature- the boating trip ended there...
|Touched by nature!|
MARINE DRIVE AND MASALA DOSA
Finally- my desire to have authentic Kerala food got fulfilled while coming back to Kochi from Thekkady! Brown rice, pulisery, puli-inji- all the traditional stuff! My train was at 10:00 pm and I had a “long wait” ahead! My “solo-trip” ended at the Marine Drive, Kochi!
|And that's where it ended- Marine Drive- Kochi-30th July 2014|
I walked its length munching a “Vada Pav” packed “burger-style”!
But surprisingly enough- my wait at the Ernakulam Railway Station was not at all boring and lonely. Memories of the trip remained fresh and there was no more fear of travelling alone unlike when how the whole journey began! As I sat there, eating my dinner- the Masala Dosa- the railway station felt more familiar and so were the people in it. I had often heard people say “I shall miss this place” while they are leaving a place. But I felt that I shall not be missing these places. For only when I leave them- they shall remain a beautiful memory. Just like home. Which only when left- would feel like “home” – a place where you can come back to, a place of your own...