In Dire Times

Passing through Aluva, I throng to have a view of the Aluva Manappuram from the train window. Here thousands of people come to offer final rites for their departed soul. And it’s a place bustling with cacophony on Shiva Ratri. The sandbank along the temple serves as a pious place. And during the monsoons when heavy rains strikes, the sand bank becomes submerged and invisible only to rise a few days later.

Ranny isn’t a small town. Anyone passing through the town on a weekday will know to expect a block. The town is crowded and the roads are not that wide. But it’s always bustling with activity, people are shopping, immigrants can be seen talking loudly and chewing on their paan, buses come out in quick succession from the bus stand right in the middle of the town. The monsoons makes it feel even more old school.

Munnar, Kattapana, Kuttikanam and Kumily. The high ranges are packed with tea estates; green and vibrant throughout the year. On my regular bus journeys from Kumily to Kottayam, my mind feels refreshed on seeing the green tea estates as the bus winds down the hills precariously. The drivers are skilled and you can count on them to deliver you in one piece at the quickest time possible in the valley down below. Being a highway, these roads are maintained well despite their narrowness.

Chengannur reminds me of Parumala Church, a holy place for christians alike. When I was young, my mother used to take me here. We used to spend a day here, sitting and praying and eating from the canteen and praying again. She has a ardent belief on this church and the patron saint of the church.

Wayanad is simply beautiful. Filled with tea estates and waterfalls and hill top view points, it’s a travellers delight. This is one place that most of my North Indian friends mention about whenever we talk about Kerala. The resorts and spas and sanctuary lure them in.

And finally Idukki Dam. I saw the arch dam way back in 1998 when we had gone to Elappara. It’s huge and magnanimous and the sheer structure just diminishes your worth in front of it. And two years back, when the dam was opened to the public, I went there with my family and grandpa and walked along the two dams: Idukki arch dam and Cheruthoni dam. It was an amazing feeling and my childhood rushed into me. I felt happy and joyful and marvelled at the beauty of human engineering.

Now when I switch on the TV or browse through the news channels, I am dejected at the sad plight of the these beautiful places. Kerala is witnessing an unprecedented monsoon and it has affected the lives of thousands of people living in various part of the state. The situation is grim.

My instagram amd whatsapp stories are filled with messages of people asking for help and how we all can help from wherever we are. The volunteering work is in full swing and people have come together to help each other survive this disaster.

Maybe we should keep the analytical side of this for another day. The need of the hour is to muster all strength and courage to overcome this calamity. By helping in the smallest way we can. A donation or volunteering work, by using social media to spread information of people stranded at places and bringing this into the attention of the rescue teams. By contributing food and clothing to the people who have been relocated to shelter camps and by providing the kids, senior citizens and women a safe shelter and basic amenities.

I have no doubts in the resilience of humans. We have come through centuries fighting all odds and disasters and have single handedly reached the apex of growth and development. But nature can be harsh and furious and it is one thing we must bow our heads to. We bow only to rise.

Let us all huddle up and help each other out in thesw dire times. And do whatever we can to wipe off the tear from a fellow human. Here we stand for humanity.

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