An exotic flower that bloomed every 12 years didn't surprise me... Read the full story
The narrow path widens, a small town appears, and the concept of building a civilisation inside a forest truly comes to life. I have never considered the possibility of vegetation being part of a town’s architecture. This is Elappara, where we are greeted by arched trees and divine statutes at almost every intersection. Postcard material, we immediately note, and this would be some postcard. The people are having a gathering today, and I am told certain electoral issues are being addressed. We are stuck in a slow traffic, and I can hear the pleasant-voiced speaker make his case with a calm demeanour. Again, not the politician I am used to. There is no belching, no finger pointing, just a respectful and passionate call to raise awareness among the public. Local self-government work here, says M. People decided there wasn’t too much of a point waiting on the government to solve each and every issue. They deal with strife among themselves. That is the way of the land. We speed through it like it is a sweet dream, a stretch that to this day brings back newer insights that I didn’t register initially. M’s constant need for the tea is the only vice he admits to and we make another stop at the outskirts of the town.
I see people gather in road intersections, with local and international issues being discussed over tea and fried delicacies, each opinion fiercely argued but heard. These are rest stops for us, ways to observe people in their daily habitats. Instead, we get absorbed into these roundtables without much force. Barriers I felt I held based on language and experience slowly faded away. These are visuals that I have seen in most Malayalam movies, but this is a reality here. Their need to express themselves come out of the fact that the actions of the world tend to affect them the most. These aren’t knee-jerk reactions to online comments. Inflation and landslides are realities, not merely headlines in these parts.
The Kurinji seems far away, but getting to it is turning into an eye-opening experience in itself.
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