Skip to main content

A new year and writer's block

Hmm..., I've been shillyshallying too long thinking about what the first post of the new year should be about. Should I write about the year gone by? Should I write about the projects I'm looking forward to in the new year? Or should I write about a book that I've read recently? Aaah, disease detected, it's my old pet perfectionism rearing its beguiling little head. So this post is designed to break the pattern and get me started off once again.

The day after Christmas, we left on a 5-day road trip. On our way to Munnar, we decided to drop in on a set of my husband's cousins who have been inviting us for a veryyyy long time. Well, we couldn't just 'drop in' on them, mainly because we needed their help finding our way to them. So we got to the 6th Mile junction on the Munnar Highway just 10 minutes ahead of the time the infrequent bus made its way into the forest. This is what we saw:

We were looking up at a pretty rugged road that we didn't feel up to driving. The first few kilometres of the bus ride justified our reservations. It's a real test for your back's health with more ruts than road and a few barely negotiable hairpin bends thrown in for good measure. Most of the road wound through thick jungle and meadows. The forests had a lot of bamboo and we had heard that elephants sometimes came down to graze in plain sight. The road smoothed out after about 3 km and the conductor wanted to know where we wanted to get off. Then we found out that the place name - Mamalakkandam - was not enough. We had to specify the house where we wanted to get off at! Wow!

So we got off in front of the homestead of one of our cousins. I did a 360-degree turn on the spot and could see nothing but hills - both verdant and bare - all around. Later, as we were talking to one of our cousins, my husband asked him how this village came to being in the middle of the forest reserve. It seems that during a particularly bad famine period in the pre-Independence era, the government gave permission to people to clear forests in order to cultivate paddy. That is how Mamalakkandam or literally "paddy fields among great hills" came into being. Today, the unprofitable paddy fields have given way to less labor-intensive crops, but the pastoral air still remains. The only drawback we found there was the lack of electricity (currently they have electricity only during the rainy season from a mini-hydel project) and a good hospital with emergency care. Further into the forest there are tribal areas and it's easy to get unadulterated forest produce such as honey and tribal handicraft products like baskets at Mamalakkandam. 

Our lunch was all the more delicious because the vegetables were farm-fresh, pesticide-and-chemical-fertilizer-free! We were thoroughly bowled over by the hospitality of our cousins. Post lunch, we piled into a jeep with a few younger cousins to take a foray into the forest. We stopped by the side of a stream that wound its way among rocks and trees. The kids enjoyed jumping from rock to rock and occasionally sliding into the deliciously cold water. A couple of our cousins wandered off to find elephants to amuse themselves and when they failed to turn up after half an hour, we were a little concerned. But they soon appeared hanging on to another jeep coming our way. Where had they been? Oh, just cornered by a couple of elephants who had driven them up a tree and kept watch underneath till the next jeep came around! Thank God, we non-tree-climbers had not attempted to go with them.

My back again proved itself sturdy on the way back in the jeep this time, after exchanging fond farewells and invitations to visit. We basked in the glory of our encounter with nature and the hospitality of our relatives as we drove to our halt for the day at Adimali.


  1. that was a wonderful experience right?...well written..beautiful picture...

  2. There is more and more in this beautiful village such as muni ara etc.....

  3. There is a lot more in this beautiful village such as muni ara etc......

  4. Is it, may be we should ask our cousins when we again! How did u get there?

  5. My mom's house is there. Itz really god's own place. No? I love to be there in my school vocations.

  6. Had u heard about the "Chakochi" bus accident that occured there in 2003? I was in the bus. 5 people were dead. That is my unforgettable event in life....!!!!!

  7. There was no article abt this place in wikipedia. So I donated a page by referring ur blog(call it copy) . Could u modify the page? Because my weak English is nullifiying the beauty of the place. Pge url is

  8. Hi Amaljith,

    I'll check out the wiki article and let's see what can be done - have some urgent work now. R u in any way related to my husband? His father's cousin's home is right next to the post office. One Jayan who ferries people on his jeep is a cousin. Gopan, Jayasree, etc.?

  9. I had never heard of the place till 3 or 4 years ago. No I didn't know about the bus accident - why was it named "Chackochi", that's a Suresh Gopi character, rt? :-) Have u blogged about it?

  10. The name of the bus was "Chackochi". That's why the accident is called Chackochi bus accident.

  11. Mom said that she knows them. Ask ur husband's cousin did he know Molath house and Molath Mohanan,Vijayan. My mom is their sister.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Thoughts of an Ordinary Malayali Woman

Yesterday I watched a bunch of Malayalam movie personalities expressing wonder and stupefaction at the attempted abduction/compromising photographing/blackmailing of a noted Malayali actress. They seemed to think that such a thing was not heard of in God's Own Country at all - and it set me thinking of my life journey as a woman in Kerala. 
I think I was 7 years old when my Mummy asked to me to stop sitting in the laps of the "uncles" who came to visit us in Saudi Arabia. She refused to tell me why even though I pestered her for an explanation. But the warning was enough to awaken a sense of self-preservation in me when barely a year later, I found myself being tightly hugged from behind by an "uncle" who had wandered into the kitchen while I was mixing Tang for our visitors as my Mum had asked me. I made a fuss about not being sure if I had added enough sugar even though he insisted that I had. I yelled aloud for my mother and was instantly freed from his arm…

Be Ready!

On Sunday, I received a forwarded whatsapp image

With the typical disdain of an Anglophile, I was about to dismiss this image, particularly turned off by the mishmash that is supposed to be English in it. But the dates and the area of influence mentioned niggled me into doing a bit of research on this. You know how I feel about rumor-mongering if you have read this blog post of mine.
What I did find was an article in the Hindu - this is the link to the same  - regarding this Mr. Babu Kalayil and how he had predicted the 2004 earthquake and subsequent tsunami and how the Kerala University has a team of academics doing research with him.  The Hindu is NOT a tabloid rag and that lent the news some credibility.
Then I sat back and thought about one January morning in 2001 when the earth shook in my native town of Kottayam. It was a relatively minor quake and no one in my community was harmed. But I remembered standing still wondering what was happening to my glass of tea that was trying …

New year on a note of gratitude

Hi everyone! 
Much as I would like to subscribe to the view that each day is the beginning of a new year, the feeling of an actual new calendar year is still exciting! The last page of my 2016 diary has been written up. All the receipts and papers of the last year have been transferred to a new 2016 folder that has gone to live in the lower cupboard instead of in my desk. The 2015 folder has joined its brothers in the archives on the top shelf. The last box of decluttered items is waiting for the recycling guy in the shed. This year I even managed to clean out the garage and get rid of a lot of junk - some of which was as old as Karthi!!! 

My old planner and new diary! I am a BuJo fan now. No planner that I bought over the years was completely satisfactory because they had no space for the myriad things I wanted to keep track of.  That is when I encountered the Bullet Journal - a planning system that is (a) totally customizable, (b) very economical - you can adapt any notebook for th…