Last week, I went to Malappuram, which is one among the most beautiful places I’ve ever discovered from the South India. Revu, my elder sister, also accompanied me this time for the trip as she has nothing else left to be done at home other than sleeping, watching TV and going out with friends nowadays; generally, she spends her vacation days at home in a quite crenellated pattern like this. Actually, we’d an improper plan to visit this place a few months ago. But she was a little busy with her project based activities at that time. Hence we cancelled the trip and thought of going later during her upcoming vacation.
I had visited Malappuram with my achan (dad) while I was a kid; except the retrospections of the train journey we had together, I don’t remember anything else that I’d seen during my very first visit to this frisky land of naturalistic portraits. What still persists in my memory is a brief idea of this place’s popularity for teak-wood that I’ve learnt from the social-studies text book in school days.
Dini chetan, our 1st cousin, has been dwelling together with his family there at Majeri in Malappuram district. He’s been calling us to come over there since the year they’ve shifted from my homeland to Malappuram as a part of his job transfer. Hence, this time we didn’t make any proper plans none other than packing our bags and catch our easiest way to reach there.
We left from home by around 11:00 on last Friday morning. Revu asked me to choose bus service, which runs directly from Kochi (my homeland) to Malappuram, to reach our destination. We awaited there at the Kalamassery bus stop for around 1 hour to catch the direct bus to Malappuram, however we didn’t get the one we needed. It would take at least around 6 hours to reach Malappuram via bus; hence we skipped the plan for preferring bus as we felt that we’re merely losing our time.
So we went to the Aluva Railway Station for catching the train on time; we hired an auto instead of bus to reach at the Railway Station as earlier as possible, thus reach at our destination before evening. In between, Revu had called Dini chetan to enquire regarding the route we’d to be followed on. He asked her to take tickets from Aluva to Tirur from the Railway Station and then take a shift from Tirur to Manjeri via bus.
“It costs just 60 bucks! Indian Railways are always reliable for every citizen when it comes to their ticket prices.”, Revu told while handling over the tickets to me.
We walked down to the 2nd platform, where our train would be coming, carrying the luggage we’d.
“Indian Railways are good at maintaining their trains to run on the scheduled time, too”, I exclaimed when I came to know that our train was late.
Finally, after spending an hour walking here and there in the platform, we got our train by 13:00. I had never travelled in local compartments; it’s too crowded and not that easy to catch a local Indian train from an easily accessible Railway Station, I must say. Somehow, we entered in and found out a better position on one of the corners to make sure that both of us were inside that teeming compartment.
A stout old man who was standing next to us smiled at me and enquired about to where we’re going. I talked to him further and came to know that he’s also going Tirur, the same station to where we’re going. After standing there in the compartment for a while, Revu had got a seat to sit and I offerred the other seat next Revu to that man to whom we’re talking.
I stood there, reading Paulo Coelho’s “By The River Piedra, I Sat Down And Wept” on my cell, giving least attention to the restive voices from the crowd humming in my ears. Revu felt relieved, looked at me with a happily facial expression for getting a seat.
Another girl from Kochi was also sitting next to her on the other seat; they were talking too much while I was looking at her side. I stood in that crowded compartment; I didn’t notice the distance I had been covering as my vision and attention were focused upon Coelho’s discreet thoughts. I love Coelho. I love his infinite dexterity in keeping readers in his thoughts. And I love the simplicity in his writings for explaining the meanings of cursive words he always prefer.
Time went. We reached at Tirur after 4 hours of long train journey (for me). I was fed up for standing in a crowded compartment of that sort for a couple of hours. Our cousin had asked us to prefer bus-service to reach his place. He couldn’t come to pick up us due to his hectic schedule at the worksite. With the help of that old man who was with us, we found the bus stand from where we’d to take bus to Manjeri- Kacherippadi stop, which is so close to my cousin’s home.
We got our bus within a short while and waved our hands to that old man who was there with us until the bus stand. I took two bus tickets to the place mentioned by Dini chetan and sat together with Revu on the same seat. Unlike in Kochi, you wouldn’t get tickets in return for money you pay for travelling in the bus services in Malappuram. I also noticed that there would be 2 conductors in a bus: one meant for asking where the passengers are going and the other for collecting the cost for travelling via bus.
Bus moved. Revu showed and explained to me about the natural beauty of Malappuram through the open window of the bus. In between, I laughed while listening to Revu regarding a talk she had with that girl who was sitting next to her in the train. “Call your boyfriend. I can offer my seat to him so that you two can sit together. Mine is the next station”, she said to Revu while her station was about to come.
After an hour’s journey in the bus, finally we reached our destination. Dini chetan was waiting for us at the bus-stand and he picked both of us to his home.
His family is a nuclear one: he, his wife and 2 kids. Dhanya chechi, his wife, had made food for us and we had it directly after reaching at his home, because hunger mattered for both of us. On the same day evening, we went outside to a farm for buying some non-veggie items.
Chakkara and Nandhu, their younger and elder daughters respectively, were so happy to see both of us together. On that night, we played a lot of childish games together. Revu helped Dhanya chechi in the kitchen for making dishes and gossips, too.
Dini chetan’s home
They live in a small rented home. Being so frank, I liked the idea behind the plan of construction of that old home. A perfect home for a family of 4; every room has an average space, although the kitchen is less spacious. Unni uncle (house owner) and his family is also living in their home next to them within the same compound.
I loved the climate in Malappuram as well. It’s neither hot nor cold; moderate climate, I would say.
Dhanya chechi, Dini chetan, Nandhu, Revu, Chakkara at Kottakkunnu
On the next day evening, other than spending time with our cousins at their home, we went to Kottakkunnu, which is a spot located at the topmost area of a large mountain. I didn’t feel anything special about that place except the calmness I’ve seen everywhere around. I played with Chakkara and Nandu in a small children’s part over there.
Revu and Dhanya chechi in “yo yo” pose
A lost nomad.
“Smile when it hurts the most”
On the 2nd day, we went to Nedumkayam, which is a complete forest area spotted with wild animals. We were a little late to reach there on time before the scheduled visitors timing; somehow we got the permission to enter in from the respective authority and walked in through a jungle I’ve heard from stories during childhood days.
Those who would love to explore nature and dissolve in its widely elapsed beauty of waterfalls and unending paths into a wild forest, I would suggest this location for you. It’s more than what you think of or expect to see.
Entrance to Nedumkayam Forest Area
“An endless road has a story to be told”
We’d thought of leaving back to home on the 3rd day morning, but Chakkara and Nandhu had made us to stay there for one more day. We hadn’t done anything so special or go out to any other places that day, except a ride I’d together with the kids on that day’s evening.
We left from Malappuram on the next day morning. Dini chetan and Dhanya chechi dropped us at the railway station. It was really a wonderful time we’d together with them. And Malappuram is a must visit place to be seen in God’s own country. For whom you’re waiting for then? Pack up your bags for a few days, catch your next train to Malappuram and get exposed in nature.
Photo Credits: Insight Blog