Sunday, August 8, 2010

On the road- Ernakulam

Ok, First things first. This place I went to is around 40 or 50 kilometers away from Cochin or Ernakulam town. By Ernakulam, I mean just the Ernakulam district. The vast number of villages, hamlets and towns are the stuff under discussion when I say Ernakulam.

Now that we have got past that formalities, lets get down straight to the brass tacks.

As some of you may know, I was in Trichur for a day before I decided to shift ho and move a wee bit down south. Somewhere in the district of Ernakulam lies a small village and in that my Dad's place. It is one of those quintessential villages that one reads about- cut off from much of the world, dense expanse of greenery all around the place, small houses dotting the landscape, tea shops scattered around the area and generally giving off an old world charm.

It is a tough job to be able to get to the place, one having to grace a train and at least three buses to set foot in the village. Armed with the awesomely funny Stephen Fry, I set about to tackle this dangerous and tough task. I do not remember much about the train except for the fact that the mirth and jolly nature I was prone to exhibit courtesy Mr. Fry was not at all well received. I could sense a strong desire among my co-passengers to write to Ms. Banerjee about it.

I got off at the Alwaye railway station, a small but busy station which somehow seems to recite to one Longfellow's poem "A Psalm of Life". The walls seem to shout out "Life is real, Life is earnest And the grave is not its goal". Buses were boarded on and the familiar sights of the district drunk in as the miles were eaten up. In less than an hour I was a mere 10 kilometers from my destination, looking for a bus that would finally take me there.

After hunting around for anything with wheels that would go anywhere near where I wanted to be, I finally found a bus which actually had my destination printed on the board near the windshield. Surprise! Too good to be true, thought I, a thought I would regret later. I boarded the bus heartily, joyous at having a bus that could take me to my destination in one piece.

I knew the bus ride would be pretty long, so I was content to just gaze out of the window once I had a ticket, continuing to feast on the sights, just ensuring that they were familiar. A latent fear that I may have erred still persisted. Happily proved wrong.

Thirty minutes in to the ride, I reached what can be called a proper village area of the district, the stereotypical signs of a typical village put on show. I was aware that my place was still some miles off so I resumed my feasting/drinking.

Now, the thing about these Kerala villages is that they are so small that it is perfectly possible to trip over one and land on another a few miles apart. This is exactly what I proceeded to do.

Almost an hour after I had boarded the bus, I reached a junction from where it was just a matter of a five minute walk to reach my destination. Some inner voice told me I should do so. However, another inner voice told me "Dude, this bus goes to YOUR place. It may take a longer route, but it will eventually deposit you at the doorstep. Stay on". In the ten seconds that the bus stopped at that junction the two inner voices did the angel and devil on the shoulders act. Even before any conclusion could be arrived at, the bus moved. Now that the former of the inner voice was rendered null by forces outside my control, I had no choice but to retain my seat.

The bus sped on.

Another half an hour later, the population of the bus had dwindled down to three. The bus had not taken any major deviations so far, something I expected it to do since it was supposed to go right till my place. Five minutes. One more person off. By this time, we had moved on to the deepest and darkest corners of the land. Another five minutes. I was the last person on the bus.

The conductor walked up to me and asked where I wanted to go. I provided the needful. "Eh?", he said. I explained my destination in some detail. A wtf expression sparked onto his face. He explained that I was as close to my destination as Edison was to Tesla.

I got off in the middle of nowhere with only my legs to serve as locomotion.

It was nearing seven and there were very few streetlights on the village road. I started walking in a direction I deemed to be right and five minutes alter chanced on to some population. Asking for directions, I continued, repeating the exercise whenever I came across a few fauna.

At last, when it seemed like my legs would go into coma, I reached a junction. I asked some people for the place which hosted my destination. "This is exactly that place", they said.

Fuck. There were two roads, one to the right and one to the left. None seemed familiar, not even in some long forgotten dream. The chances that I would have to retrace my steps if I took either road were roughly equal. Sensing my helplessness, someone asked, "Do you want to go to the church"? It was a lead, a slender one at that. I replied in the affirmative. I was informed that the road to the right led to the place of worship.

With all fortitude I could muster, I took the road to the left.

Ten minutes of walking later, I came upon familiar territory, from where it was child's play to reach my Dad's place. I reached the house drenched, parched and bewildered.

No comments:

Post a Comment