I am back home. Yippee….
For 14 days I have to see desolation and thorn bushes as my landscape when I work in Ramnad in my rig. Only the best things are the awesome sunrises and sunsets. And the wind. It’s so awesome. While working at night, it feels refreshing when you feel the wind hitting your face and giving you a pleasant and comfy feel.
And then I get to go back home today. Ah the feel. The mind gathers Goosebumps and by the time you are relieved of your duty, you rush out. I did say my regards to my relievers and shared the love and affection of my previous shift. I miss that shift sometimes. It was the shift in which I joined and learned my trade and also two awesome seniors who are like brothers to me. I miss you people.
So I rush to my bunk, get ready quick, take breakfast and hop on with the crew to head to the bus stand. If I am lucky I just need to catch two buses. One from Ramnad to Madurai and then next from Madurai to Kottayam. I need to reach Madurai by twelve to catch the other bus. A KSRTC Ernakulam Superfast. The fastest way to reach Kottayam. Period.
The first bus ride is boring. It’s hot, humid and the landscape continues till Madurai as if it is also coming with me to my home. Only a new addition is the river Vaigai, the lifeline of the people in this area. I reach in time and head straight to the Jigarthanda counter to have a glass of it. Jigarthanda in Madurai is so famous and you get the best possible ones here. Good, tasty, sweet, cheap ones. And they make it in a jiffy and you relax yourselves and prepare for the journey ahead.
I board my bus in time and off I go. It takes nearly half an hour or more to just get out of Madurai town. It is such a huge town and this bus stand is at the east end and my route lies to the west end. I end up seeing small bye lanes filled with people, bustling with activity and camaraderie. When a street starts, almost all the shops are the same. They deal the same stuff, putting up hands on competitions with each other. There are streets that are old and rustic, facades like those from the colonial era. Would have beautiful to look at if it weren’t for the heat and the dust.
Once the bus exits the outer ring of the city, we are in better and less crowded roads. And the landscape slowly starts to change. Some large rocks are seen in the backdrop with vegetation taking a better greener hue. And as we approach the hills of Theni, one can see farms of windmills churning up energy and imposing a huge figure of the beholder. I sometimes remember the English chapter on Don Quixote and how he ran to fight a windmill considering it to be a dragon. Funny.
More fields begin to appear. Sunflowers, rice, sugarcane, maize can all be seen along the edges. Coconut farms can also be seen with perfect symmetrical rows and so does the plantain gardens. The brown edges to green and this continues till Kumily. Tamil Nadu sure knows how to grow their crops with the bare minimum of water. I am thankful for that.
Climbing the Kumily hairpins is such a joy you know. The air becomes cooler; the wind hitting your face cools you and makes you happy. And the temperature decreases as the sun is slowly setting. Along the roads one can spot lots of monkeys and today I think I spotted a Giant Malabar squirrel. Now the foliage that was green is seeing the end of autumn and the brown leaves are in heaps on the ground. From brown to green and back to brown. Nature is weird.
This post will continue tomorrow. The leg from Kumily to Kottayam. Hang on in there.