coast to coast

The most beautiful journeys in life are the ones that come least expected.

That’s the first thing that came to my mind when I woke up this morning and peeked out of the window from the train. i smiled to myself, having been greeted by the familiar sight of God’s own country. The earth was carpeted in foliage, as long as my eyes could behold. Its probably the rain, I was thinking to myself. Lucky folks, for whenever I ride down my own blessed state (even the so called vala naadu), all I could see was parched earth, apparently yearning for some water, with some thorny shrubbery thrown in here and there, as if in charity.

How the world must have changed? In earlier times, I assume one must have carried adequate food and water, among other things, and traveled in platoons, on horse or bullock driven carts, and taken an indefinite span of time to travel a few miles. Much in contrast, here I was, having traveled across the peninsula, from one coast to another. It is another thing that the distance isn’t much, what, 400 odd kilometers or so. And yet, I was already on my way back, on the train, trying hard to smoke a cigarette on the sly, for smoking is prohibited on trains.

Telicherry. It is spelt now in many different ways, so much so, one hardly knows how really to spell it in English. I suppose that’s the problem with trying to anglicize our languages. But I digress. It’s a small little town, like most other towns are in state. And with a little more than 7 hours to spend, business included, that’s hardly any justice done. And yet, I would only consider myself blessed having had such an opportunity. The school, boy, I am not sure what kids would be learning there. And I wouldn’t care if it were me. For it is my firm belief that learning goes much beyond the four walls of the classroom. But here was this little temple of learning, perched on top of a tiny little hillock. At first sight, it was a moderate looking place. But what struck me was the little playground right in front, from where, one could look at the sea, and me, I never wanted to leave that blessed place.

The people here, they’re something. The men are usually dressed in nothing but a simple mundu and a shirt. It’s a typical sight, the men holding one end of that one piece garment in one of their hands, making sure it isn’t dirtied. For this is one place that the seems to be perpetually blessed by the rain God. The womenfolk, well, what does one say! It’s a sight to watch them trot around adorning their black curly locks of hair, just washed and let out in the typical keralite fashion.

It was this one person that made me write this post though, ironically, about whom I have hardly spoken as yet. And yet, it’s apt, for there isn’t much to talk about such people. They’re there. They tread this earth, hardly making a fuss. It’s not difficult to miss them – for they hardly make an effort to make their presence felt. And yet, go about doing so perfectly well what they’re meant to do.

Here was this guy, who went about his work with so much ease, I could hardly do anything else but admire him. And his health was troubling him, mind you. He was visibly in pain, and yet never stopped smiling. I was so inspired by his dedication, and yet, it’s his simplicity that puts even the so called bums like me to shame. For here I was, sitting cozily in my train, already on my way back to the east coast, having made sure I have just about everything – food, drink and a place to rest before the day beckons again.

I am glad for having been blessed with this completely unexpected trip. A mundane marketing call thus turned out to be the most enriching experience.


20 thoughts on “coast to coast

  1. WOW!!It is truly so strange how such people live without making their presence felt, yet come under our notice. They are an inspiration, when it comes to dedication, fighting spirit and thanking God for what all we have, which we consider trivial. Beautiful post. :-)Linked you on my page.

  2. Your post reminds me . . . have you seen the movie Teesri Kasam starring Raj Kapoor and W. Rahman?He transports her in his bullock cart. The sequence is accompanied by one of the classier songs around. Whenever I wonder of how people must have traveled before, this sequence comes to my mind.The longest I’ve traveled by a bullock cart was 30 kilometres at a stretch, and believe me it’s quite an experience 🙂

  3. Your description of the place has actually got me thinking to go to God’s own country on a pleasure trip. Observing people is a wonderful experience, I think more is learnt there than when something is said.

  4. @”thorny shrubbery thrown in here and there, as if in charity” its the sad shape of our state. I wish God looked out for TN too :-/When it comes to simplicity, I’m very much a part of the bum community too and guilty of complaining abt everything! 😦 Thanks for this post, I’ll remind myself all of today that I shouldn’t complain and that we’re all blessed in our own ways. 🙂

  5. wrote about complaining and cribbing in my previous post…your post acted as that much needed reminder….’be grateful for what you HAVE,rather than lament over what you COULD have ‘ LOVELY POST

  6. Dropped by your blog from my fav blog – Jarvarm – and added urs to my fav list!This post is about the place where I belong, so got a little emotional reading it 🙂 Overall its a nice observation of smaller details! They say – God is in the details and this one is about God’s own country! Amazing!

  7. beautifully written. i is wonderful how we continue to exist day after day, rarely stopping to think or notice. and then there are these sudden realisations of the ‘lesser seen’ people around us.though, i sometimes wonder if we cherish the people around us enough, the ones who are an everday part of our lives.. the people who really care, the people we end up hurting the most (i guess because we know that whatever may be, they’l love us th same anyway.)back to the post, really beautiful. i hope to see this place for myself some day. till then, thanks for the pretty picture. 🙂

  8. Dharma…as i read your post all i could do is compose shots in my mind..If i was there what would my camera click..I so want to go pliss to tell me details

  9. nice post dharma…i actually traveled with you on the train. i absolutely love train journeys, the second class ones! :Dyou pretty much made me visualize through you narration 🙂

  10. It is such a nice feelin to visit these places. And the best thing is they retain so much of their authentic flavour.I especially love Arundathi Roy’s description of the place.As usual a wonderful post!

  11. The non-anglicised name of the place is Thalassery. There’s a beach nearby the town, which is, probably, the only drive-in beach in India. You can drive or ride on the beach towards north for about 5kms.

  12. NABILA,yes, sometimes the very same things that are overlooked as trivial turn out to be the most important.thanks for the link!ANIL,30 km on a bullock cart – that must have been something! wish i get to do it sometime too.not sure if i have watched the movie, but am wondering what the song is – for i am sure i would have listened to it…Z,awww…do come down, won’t u?JOLVIN,yes, one learns a lot by observing people.IYER,thank you – for being here, for reading, and for taking what u think would make sense to u :)GAZAL,thanks so very much – i think we get these reminders from myriad sources – just when we need them.SHINI,thank you. pity i can’t follow you to your own blog though…care to mention it someplace?u belong to thalassery? lucky u!ADMIRATION,yes, the people closest are the people we so often end up hurting.thanks!ME,:) – will mail u abt it soon.KIRSTEN,thanks!MICHELLE,a trip to anyplace is worthwhile, if u ask me. but yes, kerala sure is special.NANDITHA,so where is your home town in kerala? TRINNIE,did not intend it to be so visual – i guess its the quality of the reader that makes it that way.thank you!ARPITA,ewwwwww! i didn’t specially like arundati roy’s book – for one, i thought it was quite superficial. also had to frequently look into the dictionary while reading – a quality, i don’t particularly admire in a book. plus, i think she is a fraud :)but thanks!ABHISHEK,thanks!JUBIN,of course i know the name – it is the confusion in spelling that i was referring to. i mean, it isn’t always easy to spell indian names in english, is it?missed that beach drive though :(BACKPAKKER,hey thats such a beautiful comment u know – thanks so much. i love the unexpected little surprises that life has in store for us :)thanks for visiting, and do keep coming by!

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