At the age of seven, or you could say for any age, water falling from the heaven above and into the jagged rocks below brings in immense joy and excitement. Joseph showed it too when we passed through a signboard exclaiming the arrival of one Valanjankanam waterfalls on the way to Kottayam from Thekkady.
“Ammachi, did you read that signpost? A waterfall is coming up in a kilometer. Yippee!”
The kid was clinging into the window and begged his dad to open the window but the request was denied as it was noon and it was the hot month of April. The summers in Kerala can be harsh and dry, with high humidity. Perspiration is common and stickiness irritates everyone.
He asked his father to slow down near the waterfall and begged to stop for a while. He gave a low grunt after a lot of pestering. His mom showed little interest as the man of the house was short tempered and was already bothered with his business dealings.
The waterfall was situated in a curve on the road, which led to it being named what it is. With the governments new initiative to promote tourism wherever and whenever possible, they had widened the curve and the road, leaving enough space for vehicles to park without hampering the traffic. They even built barriers and put up boards of the dos and don’ts near to it.
As the car was approaching it, I too was eager to see it. I had seen it only a few number of times when I was young and was travelling with my dad. The road was small back then and he never stopped the old fiat as he respected the road laws and was a strict government servant. The first time was when we were going to Peerumede for attending my cousin Accamma’s wedding. She was fifteen years older to me and that made her treat me like her younger sister as well as a daughter. It was in the month of July and I remember the green vibrant hills I saw on our way for the monsoons were in full swing.
The colorful picture that these sweet old memories brought in me suddenly turned bleak and grey and I could sense dejection taking shape in my old wrinkled face. The enthusiasm was suddenly gone and then there was an urge to share it with Joseph and help him overcome his disappointment.
The curve finally came up and his dad slowed down the car. He was out from his seat and glued to the window. A minute passed away silently, some cars were seen parked, and people were seen drinking tea from the adjacent shops and stretching their legs. The road narrowed down to its usual width and the car slowly picked up its speed. But the waterfall never came.