Tuesday, June 3, 2008

XXIII and Wayanad

Its been a year since I turned 22. And I have posted only 17 times in the mean time! According to Paul Theroux who I had the privilege of meeting( rather hearing) a couple of months back at a author/reader interactive session in a bookshop and also most other wordsmiths- To become a writer one needs to assiduously put pen to paper daily. Laziness, lack of time, writers block, matters of the heart and mind, et al prevent me from writing more frequently, not necessarily in that order.
I complete 2 years of work at my present employer on the 26th of this month. A time to introspect on how my career path is shaping up, what steps do I take it more solid and endearing. As of now I am mentally ready to change jobs, sectors from sales to marketing/communication. Any openings please do let me know.
Tripping continued. Wayanad was covered during the last weekend of May. A light drizzle welcomed us as we drove into Kalpetta, our base. Check in, lunch, and rest later it was too late to visit any of the sight seeing worthy places, so we took the road to Kozhikode which leads through about 25km of winding hairpin bends. An undulating ebb of green rises up and down like a calm ocean. After having a good laugh at the thought of a comic scene from a Malayalam movie of how Kuduravattom Pappu manages to negotiate the same stretch of road at high speeds on his roadroller, we headed back to our hotel.
The next morning our first stop was Soochi Para Falls or Sentinel Falls. The road leading to this falls was through a velvety green tea estate, which was explored with many a photo opportunity. The falls per se were a delight. Stripped to our innerwear we spent the better half of an hour getting pounded by crystal clear water falling from a height of close to 40 feet. Water sports later it was time for lunch. Full meals at Hotel Afsaa (completely Muslim sounding place, serving pure Veg fare, liberal doses of garlic included!) later it was back on the sight seeing circuit, the Pookote Lake.
We hired a boat for 4 and got midway through the ride when a heavy drizzle started which converted itself into a full fledged cloud burst. The boatman quickly sculled us to safety under a couple of trees on the bank. Five minutes later we were all drenched. The boatman suggested that since we were already wet now, we could complete the ride. So off we went in the rain, which had eased off a bit by now. Water water everywhere.....couldnt be more apt. A cormorant perched on the water buoy continued its hunt for fish inspite of the rain.
On the way back to the hotel we paid our respects to the Chain Tree. The tree is believed to have the soul of a local ghoul chained to it. The next morning we proceeded to Thirunelli, a temple town about 60 km from Kalpetta. The 3000 year old temple dedicated to Vishnu towers over the settlement on top of a hill. The Papanishini stream flows nearby. According to myth, Garuda was flying over the stream with 'Amrita' when a drop of the divine nectar fell into it, rendering it so pure, that it turned into a purifying spot, with redeeming qualities. A dip in the stream is essential as part of the last rites for your parents. The stream being quite empty, did not look inviting enough for me to take a dip to purge my sins.
The return drive turned out to be quite an adventure, with a new route which according to the mile stone would have cut distances by about 40km. The road soon disappeared to a pothole filled semblance of a road, and finally into just a mud path. According to a villager who we stopped for directions the road had not been repaired from the days of the Wodeyars, 50 odd years back. The 25km stretch took us close to two hours to conquer, leaving us with a punctured tire in Mysore 70 km later. Apart from accosting black faced langurs, a peacock who crossed our path and a couple of elephants in the distance we were kept company by various interesting noises from the jungle. The rest of the journey passed off uneventfully with a break for refreshments at Dasaprakash for Masala Dosa, Bonda and Coffee.
The punctured tire replaced we continued to Bangalore. An adventurous weekend behind us, the traffic on Mysore Road brought us back to reality, pollution and the sad fact that the next day was work as usual.