Unexpected Trip to Munnar

20130929_095805Yesterday night, my wife asked me: “Do you remember – we have a small house plot in Munnar”
“Oh, how come I forget it ?”
“We have not gone there since years.”
“We don’t have to feed it with water and food…” I told.
“There has been news about encroaching, acquisition and landslide in Munnar. So, let’s go and see if the plot is still there?”
“Ok, we will go tomorrow morning” I said.
So today morning at 6AM we left home. “Don’t speed up,” she warned me, “you have got traffic tickets twice for over speeding” she reminded me.
I enjoy driving in Ghat (Hill) areas. I put fast pop numbers in the car stereo. (I listen to slow classical music only while sitting quietly). A flashback: Munnar was my “love at first sight”. The serene, heart-warming lush green environs of Munnar, away from the madding crowd fascinated me. I started loving her. The mist, the chill, the greenery -everything was so romantic. She was non-spoiled then. So I have decided to build a home there. Hence we bought a small house plot near Munnar (some 8 km away from the town).
Time passed. My travels, job, and other assignments – I totally forgot about the house plot. In between we visited there only once! There was a dilapidated house inside the plot. Later, Munnar became a spoiled area like Ooty and Kodai. The process of filling up Munnar with junk, plastic and dirt has begun.
We reached Munnar at 8.45AM – less than 3 hours journey. There were dark clouds and was foggy.
The mist welcomed us. I was counting the waterfalls – there were five waterfall locations till the plot. There has been lot of new buildings and route has been changed – somehow we located the plot.
I went to the neighbour’s house. I asked him in Malayalam: “Do you remember me?”
“Engine marakkana sare? Ningalu pachilem pullum thinnunnavaralle? Etho manushyanu thiriyatha bhashayum parayumallo?” (How can I forget you? You people eat leafs and grass, right? ) He doesn’t know the word for “vegetarian”.
“What do you think; I am a cow or rabbit?” I asked. He laughed showing his entire mouth – luckily there was not even a single tooth. So innocent a smile. His wife teased me about getting bald. They gave us tea and a huge bunch of bananas to take home for….

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By
Udaylal Pai
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