Thursday, May 31, 2007


It felt like hell.
She felt nothing in her life was going well.
At first it was a friend she lost.
That broke her some.
Then it was a most prized possession.
That broke her more.
The tears were unstoppable.
It hurt to let things get away.
It hurt to lose.
It hurt to live with 'without'.
Why? - was the only question.
Answers there were none.
It was her granny who consoled her
"I know how it feels, honey
You're beginning life now.
I have lived it thru.
Believe me, there's more.
But, my girl, be strong.
Your life will go on,No matter what."
The words and the love
lit a spark in her.
She's ready to lose more.
And she did.
But it didn't hurt as much.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

My First Travelogue!

Sonu Nigam is humming ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ in my ears. A cold wind is brushing my face. We’re coursing along a mountain route. I see a great green carpet of tea plants in the moonlight. I hear snatches of conversation around me; “Hey you took the 9 of spades”, “lakshminarayanan srinivasan are you there?”, “hey Praveen adutha paatu paadu da (Hey Praveen, sing the next song)”. How did I end up here?

We’re on our 3rd day of our much-looked-forward-to trip! It all started with one of my best friends getting married at Salem. Our gang planned to couple the wedding trip with a sight seeing tour. Since about a month before the actual tour, lunch time conversations consist of nothing but “trip planning”.

We started from Chennai Friday night. Two decks of cards came out when the train started moving. After some good games, we all felt considerate of other passengers and told each other dutifully that it was time to switch off the lights. Up came the berths and we all curled up intending to sleep. None felt sleepy!!! Slowly we looked at each other and all sat up in their berths. The conversations started then! We discussed life in general, love, marriage, family, parents, friends, colleagues, career… everything but the kitchen sink! One by one dropped off and finally it was just me and Vidya still continuing the discussion! Conversation with a friend lasting all night long – try it! I can’t explain the special feeling of bonding that arises from such convo!

We got our first look of Salem in the dawn of Saturday. That whole day and the Sunday morning were spent totally in the marriage celebrations! Sunday afternoon our van was ready to take us to Marayoor, the place where we had booked rooms.

We started from Salem all geared up for the sightseeing! With stops on the way for lunch at Kangeyam, to get a permit to enter Kerala at Pollachi and for tea at Udumalpet, we finally reached our destination Marayoor, Idukki District, Kerala at night. Our rooms at Chandana Residency were comfortable and we liked the first look of them which washed away our fears of getting cheated by what we saw of the hotel in the Internet! Since our rooms were adjacent, we could go from one room to another just by climbing over the balconies! We all freshened up, had dinner and while some went to sleep, some of us assembled at the balcony and played cards till after midnight! I went to sleep in pleasurable anticipation of what the next day has in store!

I awoke to the sound of Nivi saying “Mathi wake up!! Come and see outside, it’s great”. I sat up groggily and blinked at the muted sunlight. My watch showed 6.00am. I pulled on a jacket and went and stood at the balcony. All I could see was a green, green field spreading from the other side of the street and beyond that a row of brownish green mountains whose tips were wearing cloudy crowns. We planned to take a walk and left the room. That’s when I got the next surprise. Our room opened to a corridor through which we saw more mountains in the same uniform. Our hotel was plump in the middle of a valley! We took a long slow walk along the street with Thiru clicking away with his new camera. We bought coffee from a small mom-and-pop shop on the way. After we drank that down, we walked back to the hotel ready to start the trip!

While we were getting ready Suku was planning the day’s course with a map. Since we wanted to make Munnar our ultimate destination we decided to make Dolmen Caves our first stop. This cave lies on the way to Munnar from Marayoor. We reached the place where the mountains formed a kind of “U” and the road to the cave was situated in the bend. The road was not open to the Van so we walked down the path. We kept walking through the undergrowth, and suddenly we saw that ‘Two roads diverged in the woods’. Since both of them looked well traveled by, we chose the right one and just kept forging ahead without reaching anywhere. After a while the track ended abruptly!After that it was just a sheer fall. So we all trooped back and now took the left track. We passed a small culvert on the way and when we over the wall we saw that there was a tiny waterfall!! With a whoop, we slid down the sides and reached our waterfall. We squealed with joy when our feet touched the water…it was so cold! Some one then had the bright idea to thrust just the head thru the screen of water! We all lined up and did it!!! After a while we realized that we still hadn’t actually seen the Dolmen Cave. But no one was in the mood to leave! We finally left the place and walked on. The end of the road had a small dark Temple. We assumed (maybe wrongly!) that maybe the Temple is the cave after all! But we didn’t regret not seeing the cave a bit!

We came back to the Van and went to our next destination, Lakkam Falls. This was another amazing place for waterbabies like us! The Falls wasn’t a mighty expanse. It was a medium-sized yet proud sheet of water! We spent, like, an hour in the water, forgetting everything like lunch, time, and the need to go to the next place! I think the best kind of trip is the one you take where you enjoy to your heart’s content and don’t bother about wanting to include everything on the map!

There was a particularly deep place just at the feet of the Falls where we could actually swim! That was my first experience of swimming at a place other than a pool! When I went underwater, the whole world around me was green, the sunlight was piercing the water and I could see tiny rocks far below at the waterbed! That was a lucky-to-be-alive moment!

Other friends who hadn’t gotten into the water started yelling it was time to go, only then we left! From there we reached Munnar where we had time only for lunch and some souvenir shopping since we had to travel about 40+ km back to reach Marayoor. By the time we started it was dark. The full moon kept us company all the way back. There were fireflies blinking like tiny dots of fire along the road. That wide huge expanse of mountain sides in the moonlight was one sight I’ll carry to my deathbed!

The next day our driver refused to take us up the mountains again, saying that the Van has some problems. So we decided to go visit some lower areas. Our first stop was Tirumoorthi Dam where we went boating. On the way we saw windmills which presented a mighty sight! From there we visited Aazhiyar Dam. I felt a secret connection to this Dam since my mother had told me that my grandfather was the Chief Engineer for this Dam Project.

Next stop was Monkey Falls. It wasn't as much a falls as a cascade of water. We scrambled up to find the origin of the falls and saw that the flowing water was actually a leak from an old dilapidated dam! But since we reached the place near closing time we couldn’t spend much time there. Tired, wet and happy we finally left the area and were on our way to Coimbatore to catch our train!

The trip has given us a lot of memories, filled with laughter, jokes, ribbings, leg-pullings, bursting-into-song moments, feasts for the eyes and of course fights! Without the fights there wouldn’t have been the proper mix of spices to make this complete! Fight we may, Love we may, our principle was Har pal yahan jeebhar jiyo, Jo hai sama kal ho na ho (Live every moment here to your heart's content, The time that is here may not be tomorrow)!! And we did!