River Through Camera II

I had posted a few photos of Periyar’s “Aluva puzha” side which you had witnessed in a better way in the blockbuster Premam with all its beauty from the movie makers. Here are a few more photos to go with it. All these were taken by me on my camera and mobile. These will show the beautiful side of the river which blesses the town of Aluva or Alwaye once again. I hope that these will make you fall in love with the beauty of nature again.

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But there were occasions when the river was not that kind; this one happened in the year 2013. The truth is that we are never prepared for situations like floods.

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TeNy

On Responsible Tourism

Exploration is a fine thing to do, and occasional travel refreshes our mind and soul as we wander around those wonderful destinations, whether they are the much visited ones or the locations lesser known. There is the never-ending need to travel, and as we go through these journeys, we arrange our food and stay at some nice place, and take photos of the beauty which is around us. When we are on such a journey, especially through the beauty of nature, we not only have the right to enjoy all these, but also got some responsibilities.

1. The first thing which I would consider as part of the responsible tourism is not to litter, no matter whatever be the circumstances. Well, the situation might differ everywhere, but the nature and our responsibility remains the same. It is a bad idea to leave the trace of our visits here and there. If there is something to be left behind, I would suggest that we leave some love and take home only the beauty which we have captured on our cameras and phones along with those rejuvenating memories.

This tree welcomes you to Ezhattumugham as the official messenger of nature :D

Why someone feel the need to litter at places like these is beyond understanding!

2. I would also suggest treating these places as if they are our own homes. Will we make our own homes dirty? We are supposed to keep these places clean as we would do to our own houses. We do see those historical monuments which are not in the best shape due to the visitors who find some fun in writing on them as well as spitting here and there. Along with conservation of nature, there is the need to preserve these archaeological monuments which tells the story of our past; it is also our duty to consider them as part of our culture.

3. We should also respect the local culture with their customs and traditions. After all, it is their world into which we enter. If something is banned somewhere, lets not use it, whether it is parts of the law or the tradition. If alcohol is banned, do not use it; the same goes for smoking. If some place has a vegetarian traditions, lets follow the same. If beef or pork is not supposed to be part of the culture at some place, respect that too. Wherever photography is prohibited, lets not take photos; there will always be other areas where it can be done.

4. There is also the choice to minimize the pollution in other ways. When there are four people on a journey, you don’t need to use two cars. But unfortunately, some parents who provide too much for their children make sure that they go on and show some style with the extra vehicle. It is mostly in the name of the homes being a few kilometres away from each other. If you are entering a place close to nature, I would suggest keeping the vehicle some more distance away from the place than you are expected to.

5. One should also stop making noises causing disturbance to other people as well as creatures of nature. This kind of people create more terror than most of the others, because they instantly destroy the peace which prevails in areas close to nature. It is a case of lack of respect, and unfortunately, this one can’t be taught by anyone else, but their own people. There is too much disrespect going on among people, especially the new generation and it might to be too much to ask this, but we have to.

So, when Thommankuthu calls you, will you be there? :D

So, you really want to disturb nature and the other visitors – then be ashamed.

6. As a visitor, it is our duty to be aware of where we are going and what we are doing, not just one of us, but the whole group of people. It will help us to cause the minimum impact during our visits and there is nothing which makes a negative impression is left behind. Enough information about the place, its people and nature will help us to make sure that the journey is a responsible one. Even if a place is mostly unexplored, there will be always something available at least related to the surrounding areas.

I am blogging for #ResponsibleTourism activity by Outlook Traveller in association with BlogAdda

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

Day of the Fire-starter

The title refers to Sunday, and it has been the special day, the one holiday at the end of the week which everyone has been waiting for. Throughout our lives, we have prayed for Sunday to come earlier, especially during the school and college days – Saturdays were mostly holidays, but the threat of the arrival of special classes was eternally present. So, Sunday was the one safe day, and it was the day on which the plans could be made without thinking too much about what else could happen on the day. A nice Sunday treat makes a better Monday!

Plan A: The movie :: Watching a movie is always the best choice. Even as I watch one movie on Friday or the first day of its release itself, there are always more movies around here to give a try. Sunday movie watching program means that there will be also another person to accompany you. Well, it is needed for me because not everyone is that jobless as I am. I try to leave the more family-oriented movie for the Sunday if I go with parents or relatives; otherwise I leave the more fun movie for later, watching the lesser known movie on the first of day of release.

Plan B: The mall :: The malls came here quite late, but the biggest mall in India did come to Kochi in the form of Lulu Mall. With a total of six malls in the city area itself, we are provided with the option to spend the Sundays there in peace. Five out of the six malls actually have the movie option with the multiplexes too. So, it is only fair to spend some time there and the movie option can also add to it. The option of watching three or four movies on one day itself is also there in these malls considering the number of screens available.

A shot on one of the early days of Lulu Mall after the grand opening :)

A shot on one of the early days of Lulu Mall; isn’t this a nice weekend choice?

Plan C: The beach :: Kochi has no shortage of beaches, as the new tourism initiatives have made it better. A day at the beach will be another nice option, even though the rush will be higher at those more popular beaches like Fort Cochin and Cherai, but then we have those smaller and lesser known beaches which can give us the peaceful experience. I used to try this beach option very often when the friends were around the city, but not that much anymore with almost all of them working far away.

Plan D: The nature :: The closest destinations in the heart of nature includes Paniyeli Poru, Bhoothathankettu, Ezhattumugham, Thommankuthu and many others. As Kerala is blessed with such natural beauty, there is no need to travel much, with beautiful locations exist near and around the river Periyar, the state’s longest river. We friends used to go to some of these places on every Sunday – those were some wonderful days, which can be brought back at some point of time, I hope.

We go through places like this one, and we wonder why not be here forever?

We go through places like this, and we wonder why not choose nature right away?

Plan E: The relations :: There are the relatives who join us on a nice Sunday, but that situation has been brought down a lot to very less impact these days in our case. Not many relatives remain around here, and I am sure that I can find more relatives at Bangalore than in our district. But it wasn’t the case until a few years ago. The relatives were here and we could go to places with them. Nowadays, we still go to their houses at times, only two find the parents there who await the arrival of their children some day!

Plan Z: Home sweet home :: We call it Plan Z because it is the last plan. But it has been a usual plan for me during the last few months. There are not many friends left to go out with, and most of the time, the number remains a zero. So, the “home sweet home” option usually becomes the right choice. It is still a nice option to spend some time home with parents and the pet. After all, there is no other place like home, and there will be some nice movies on the television which can be watched together.

The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

TeNy

A Fort of Monsters

A long time ago, there lived a kid who believed in monsters. He believed in monsters long before he had detailed information about them. He knew that they were real. He used to go under the bed and search for them so that there would be someone for him to play with. But he never really found the monster. They were real, but still they were not there. He waited for them to arrive, but they never came. Still, he knew that they had to come, and that much he had hoped.

The monsters exist, just like the certainty of the beauty of nature.

The monsters exist, just like the certainty of the beauty of nature.

There was such a destination for the myths. I still believe in monsters, and this place called Bhoothathankettu or the Fort of Monsters had a good role to play during my early monster belief season. The advantage of this Malayalam word is that it can be used in more than one way; we can also call them demons. I am sure that they won’t mind whatever we call them because horror is beyond names. Bhoothathankettu has a dam and is a popular tourist destination which was lesser visited at those times.

Bhoothathankettu has been the place to visit again and again.

Bhoothathankettu has been the place to visit again and again – worth it.

But it existed when I was a kid and it was only eleven kilometres from my Kothamangalam where my ancestral home is situated. So, it was always going to be a popular destination for me. It was different at that time, with less tourists, and naming it a tourist destination wasn’t going to be accurate during those days. The places for tourists were at other places, and this was just a dam and a park. But now, things have changed and a lot more facilities became available around the dam.

This might be the first dam which I ever saw, but can't be so sure.

This might be the first dam which I ever saw in my life, but can’t be so sure.

Located about fourty seven kilometres from the nearest railway station at Aluva and around fourty two kilometres from the Cochin International Airport, you can pass through the town of Kothamangalam to reach this place. There are tree houses and boating facilities for the tourists, and more have been added in the recent years. It has been some time since we last visited the place, and an update was to happen when I decided to travel less. May be another day with relatives will see me traveling again here, later.

Nature makes the call, but we are rarely ready for the journey.

Nature makes the call, but we are rarely ready for the journey to the greens.

From there, you can also travel to the Idamalayar Dam which provides more of the scenic views there. Then you can go for the other option, which is the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary which is also not that far away from there; it is also close enough to Kothamangalam, reached by taking a turn while going to Bhoothathankettu. It was the first bird sanctuary in Kerala, and is named after the famous ornithologist Salim Ali. You can also travel to Kuttampuzha, Urulanthanni and Pooyamkutty if you keep that route.

The tree-house - this one never losses the charm, that is for sure.

The tree-house once again – this one never losses the charm, that is for sure.

The distance from the city of Cochin will be around sixty three kilometres. There is quite some distance which can be traveled through the forests, with all the greenery around. There is a park on the side, and the dam itself provides a nice view of the nature which has blessed the surroundings. It will be an ideal tourist spot if you decide to travel to this side – you can find many other places, but this one will have its special charm with the myths, the dam and the improving scope.

You take a walk around to make it feel better, and nature heals.

You take a walk around here to make it feel better, and nature can heal.

There is something about this place which I have visited so many times, with friends and also with relatives. But time has passed since the last journey and I hope to be back there again. May be that will happen on another day when I will have the desire to travel again. There will be a lot more awaiting me by that time with the popularity of the place increasing. I hope that the kid finds the right monsters there on that special day, because the human monsters have been too evil for his liking.

Can the monsters be around here? This is a nice place, isn't it?

Can the monsters be around here? This is a nice place for them, isn’t it?

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

More Time with Nature

Nature has been my first inspiration to blog. My first blog comes from my thoughts during the times of travel. Now, even this blog stands here many more posts older. On this day, I will add something about another interesting destination close to nature; a place which I have visited multiple times, and one of the closest eco-tourism destinations near my home. If any of you come to my home, I am sure that this will be the first place I will make you visit 😀

You will see this Nandi statue on the way; one of the largest in India.

You will see this Nandi statue on the way to the destination; one of the largest in India.

The place is Paniyeli Poru, another place which brings us close to nature, away from the troubles of modernity. It has only gained popularity in the last few years, but most of you will be very much familiar about the famous Elephant training center near the destination, Kodanad. It was always a popular destination, going back to my childhood when we went to see the elephants there – well, now Paniyeli Poru joins the package, just about five kilometres from this location.

The Pietà on the way tells you that the path taken is correct.

The Pietà on the way tells you that the path taken is correct and you need to continue.

You can reach the road to Kodanad by taking a right turn at Vallom if you are coming from Perumbavoor side, or the left turn if coming from the Angamaly side. The former is for people coming from the South which includes the city of Cochin and the latter is for those arriving from the Northern side which includes the Cochin International Airport. On the way, you can find a huge Nandi statue on left – a part of Aimury Shri Mahadeva Temple; this might be the largest statue of Nandi as of now. After a few kilometres, on the right, you will find a Pietà, and you know that the path is right.

You travel and travel looking to reach this place of serenity.

You travel and travel looking to reach this beautiful place of serenity; keep going.

Along with Kodanad, you can also visit Abhayaranyam Mini Zoo, which has mostly deers – it was still under construction when I last visited. Perumbavoor is the closest town, just above fifteen kilometres from there through the straight route and a lot shorter through shortcuts. about twenty five kilometres from there, Angamaly is the closest railway station while Aluva at thirty one kilometres is the closest big station. It is twenty five kilometres from the Cochin International Airport and fifty five kilometres from the city of Cochin.

There are some swings which are close to nature around here :D

There are some swings which are close to nature around here; for the inner child 😀

You can also combine this journey with your trips to the spiritual town of Kalady where Adi Shankara was born, and Malayattoor which is a very popular Christian pilgrim centre due to its relation to Saint Thomas. But once you reach Paniyeli Poru, it is all about you and nature. Actually, there is a KSRTC low-floor non-AC (green) bus which goes from Perumbavoor to Paniyeli Poru. This place which is located on the banks of river Periyar will have some interesting places on the way there where you might want to stop.

This side of Periyar continues to display that awesome beauty.

This side of Periyar continues to display that awesome beauty; you know the river.

There is a nice walk through the paved path which leads to further inside where there are rocks, water and greenery all around. There is beautiful sights all around, it is only gaining in popularity with more families coming there instead of the adventurous youth who were the only ones who preferred the place earlier. It has a history youth falling prey to the slippery areas around. People are adviced not to get into water during the monsoon season when there is more risk.

You go along such paved paths until you reach the rocks.

You go along such paved paths until you reach the rocks while noticing the river.

Paniyeli Poru is the kind of place where you can spend some time in peace. It might be the best place to find some time with nature when you are coming from Cochin. Your choice of places to combine with this nice package to Paniyeli Poru will depend on your interests. With the new bridge up, you can travel through Kalady and Malayattoor to reach Kodanad when coming from the North, and that will surely make a nice spiritual trip combined with the time nature at Paniyeli Poru. For food nearby, check out Possible Food Programs, even though some details in the post has changed.

The mountains are far away, but you know that there are promises to keep.

The mountains are far away, but you know that there are promises to keep.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

Seven Faces of Beauty

There are not many places which I have visited with friends in the first half of the 2000s. But I am sure that there was one such a place, and this destination was so lesser known at that time that if we had talked about this possible location for spending some time during the weekend, people would ask why – there was Ezhattumugham. Most of the people during that time wouldn’t have known the location, but things have changed now. This place has become more popular these days, even though it is not yet a destination which brings a lot of crowd.

Enter the world of rocks; do you feel like Super Mario around here?

Enter the world of rocks; do you feel like Super Mario around here?

After visiting the place in 2004, I had another journey there in 2012 and was surprised at the changes which had happened there. In 2004, it was like a place rarely explored, and nowadays, there is a good number of visitors there. Earlier, the cars were rare to find, and most of the visitors were the youth who came on motor-bikes. But in the last few years, the fame did spread and families did start visiting the place and the facilities also did increase making it an official tourist destination.

The tree-house idea keeps making things better, all the time.

The grand tree-house idea keeps making things better, all the time.

Even though it is located in the border areas of Ernakulam and Trichur districts, the place is only about fifty kilometres from the city of Cochin, and a journey from the Cochin International Airport will take only about thirteen kilometres. The nearest city is Trichur which is less than fifty kilometres away. You can take a turn at Angamaly or at Karukutty while coming from Cochin as you go through Aluva by the National Highway 47. A turn at Chalakudy might be the best road even though longer.

You have the right and privilege to get transported to this world.

You have the right and privilege to get transported to this world.

The Chalakudy route is mostly preferred for the people who come from the North while the South has their own shortcuts. There was also a hanging bridge coming up to join banks of the river. The popularity of Ezhattumugham also has its roots in the Federal Institute of Science and Technology (FISAT) which is located about four kilometres from there. It is from the students of the reputed engineering college that I first came to know about Ezhattumugham and my first visit was also with one of them.

There is more beauty to nature than you will ever find in the known world.

There is more beauty to nature than you will ever find in the known world.

Ezhattumugham is a place of serene beauty. There will be only less visitors during the morning times, and a walk through the place is nothing less than refreshing. With developments taking place as the potential has been realized, there are tree-houses and park facility for children along with small shops to have some nice tea on the entrance, with restroom facility also available on one side. You can walk quite some distance around there, looking at and capturing the beauty of nature.

You walk through this disconnected path, towards eternity.

You walk through this disconnected path, towards eternity.

You are free to walk on the rocks and water through nature as you witness trees fed by the water which surrounds them, and all those shapes which these rocks will take. As you walk on these rocks to reach the centre and the other sides of the river, you will feel the need to sit there and enjoy the beauty. You can also walk on the dam-like area to reach the other side. I haven’t seen where the new bridge actually begins and end; maybe it brings a better view of the beauty of the place.

It is the green side which pauses your journey each and every time.

It is the green side which pauses your journey each and every time.

Athirapally-Vazhachal waterfalls is also only about twenty four kilometres from here, and so you can combine both these destinations together to make it one nice package. The best places for food will still be Indian Coffee House which is present throughout the route from Cochin after Aluva. You can divide the day into two and cover both of them as long as you don’t slow down and start right when the places open for tourists. Ezhattumugham won’t be that safe during the rainy season though, and you have to be careful during the journey all the time if you are not used to this.

This tree welcomes you to Ezhattumugham as the official messenger of nature :D

This tree welcomes you to Ezhattumugham as the official messenger of nature 😀

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC W-310.

+Wishing you all, a Happy Deepavali/Diwali 🙂

TeNy

Into the Soul of Nature

Less than twenty kilometres from the town of Thodupuzha lies Thommankuthu, the eco-tourism centre which has a number of waterfalls, including one very scenic fall which is a nice place for a photo-shoot. You have to walk some distance to reach this one, and the walking process, even though through uneven terrain, won’t be that difficult because the scenery is wonderful around. On your left, there will be elevation and on the right, there is the way down through rocks and water flowing through.

So, when Thommankuthu calls you, will you be there? :D

So, when Thommankuthu finally calls you aloud, will you be there? 😀

If you have watched the song “Kattum Mazhayum” from the 2012 movie Chattakkari featuring Shamna Kasim and Hemanth Menon, you will know that it was shot here; it is a beautiful song with the environment also well utilized – you can look for it on Youtube some time to enjoy the music as well as to see the place nicely shot. Getting to the waterfalls is rather easy. With Cochin Airport as the closest airport, the nearest railway stations should be Ernakulam, Kottayam, Aluva and Angamaly with Aluva being the best choice. I last traveled to the place about an year ago, and the roads were very good at that time.

A bridge on which you will drive your car. It is part of nature :D

A bridge on which you will drive your car. It is just a small part of nature 😀

About reaching Thommankuthu, coming from the North, you can go through Chalakudy, Angamaly and Perumbavoor to reach Muvattupuzha and then Thodupuzha; Perumbavoor route is to be taken when arriving from the Cochin Airport too. From the South, you can come through Palai getting to Thodupuzha from there or through Koothattukulam and Muvattpuzha. You can travel through Pattimattom or Kolenchery when coming from the city of Cochin. The accomodation is best at a town of your choice from those mentioned before. You can stop for food at any of the towns mentioned as there are some nice restaurants around.

The presence of a tree-house makes things special all the time.

The presence of a tree-house makes things special all the time; not just here.

But in the case of tea, if you need it, you can have some great tea from one of those shops around before entering the eco-tourism destination. You can have some tea and start the journey by taking some photos from the side of those shops as there is something like a nice viewpoint there. A visit in the morning will be better as there will be less rush. Thommankuthu is still a destination which has less crowd than those places with lesser potential manage to have. The evenings will have more people around.

Walking on the rocks, towards that final destination.

Walking on the rocks, towards that final destination which gets closer.

The journey from the last big town Thodupuzha to Thommankuthu will begin to get scenic very early if you look out through the windows of the vehicle. On the way, there will be places where you might wish to stop and take pictures. There is one particular bridge which you might really want to have a look at. There will be a lot of greenery around and this will surely make sure that your immortal desire for wandering away from modernity can get the early thumbs up.

Trees like this one brings a nice feeling of being close to nature's soul.

Trees like this one brings a nice feeling of being close to nature’s soul.

After you pass the gates, it the long, but interesting walk. The trees and the atmosphere makes sure that you won’t get tired that easily. The restrooms are there in the beginning, and there are also benches at some areas, even though you can sit on a rock or a giant root of a huge tree. It is after you go past the danger area that you should greet your temptation to get to the rocks and the water. You will still need to look for the slippery areas though. There is the necessity to look for the sign boards to make sure.

We go through places like this one, and we wonder why not be here forever?

We go through places like this one, and we wonder why not be here forever?

There will be tree-houses on the top of some trees which will provide nice viewpoints. Some trees will also inspire you to take some photos. After a certain point is reached, you will need a local guide to go further. The journey after that will be more difficult. In the case of a family trip or when you are beginning to get tired, stopping here will be appropriate. If you are in an adventurous mood and there is the need to see more waterfalls, caves and viewpoints, you can go ahead.

And then the waterfalls which proves to be nice background for everything!

And then the waterfalls which proves to be nice background for everything!

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 and Samsung Galaxy Duos. I wonder if Amal Neerad will shoot a movie like Iyobinte Pushtakam here, capturing all its glory! 🙂

TeNy

A River: Through Camera


There has been a good number of songs which have featured Periyar going through the town of Aluva, the most popular ones having the name itself in the songs including “Aluva Puzhayude” in the recent blockbuster Premam and “Aayiram Padasarangal Kilungi” from the 1969 movie Nadhi. Here are a few shots of the very popular river which has flown through inside a good number of Malayalam movies. All these shots were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 Camera.

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***Keep calm and spend some time near the Aluvaite part of Periyar or “Aluva puzha” 😀 Delighted to have lived so long on the banks of this river 🙂

TeNy

Discovering Togetherness

The world has been caught in the clutches of technology from which there seems to be no escape. It has only gotten worse in the last few years. The digital world has completely redefined the relationships, and the new meanings for the next generation are not really positive. There is so much of Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter which guide our lives. We are not really having the best future citizens for our nation. It has been some time since humanity has been slave to these machines, and it is time to make the grand return to the real world with some real emotions. It is time to get out of here.

What we need here is to be together, not while looking at our mobiles, and not by staring at the television or playing computer games. This togetherness has to happen outside, with nature, like a few of those moments which we remember from our childhood days. Things were much different at that time. There were trees to provide us with fruits and there were open grounds were we played cricket and football. But those days are clearly gone now with modernity taking over.

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So, the question remains about what we can do together. There was a 2014 Malayalam movie called How Old Are You, had Manju Warrier doing the main role of the lady who does vegetable cultivation on the rooftop and inspires many other women to join her. It was also remade in Tamil as 36 Vayadhinile with Jyothika playing the protagonist. Doing something useful along with being close to nature is something that brings a lot of relief to our daily stressful lives, and doing the same with others give one more satisfaction.

The thing about nature is that inspires us to continue what we have been doing. We have a number of trees planted around our home. There is not that much space around, but with what we have, we did manage to make something. There are also a few vegetables around. When our relatives away from the city arrives, they also join in helping with the same. There is a certain amount of happiness which is shared by doing such work together, that too being close to nature.

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A journey through nature will surely make us feel the same. May be we can visit some of our friends and relatives outside the city and town limits to witness some of the beauty. Nature is something which inspires not only our camera, but a wide variety of thoughts. It gives us reasons to love, and a chance to redeem the greenery which is being lost to us. Nature lets us know that we have the power to do something, and where we need to apply our thoughts. After all, we are part of nature too.

Still there will be people who won’t care, and it will up-to a small number of us. A recently released Malayalam movie Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi talks about the story of a few people who makes a different in saving a forest. It is a movie and they have done a lot more than what can be done in a usual situation. Still, in our current world, we should try and do what we can. It is all about trying, because this is not that much of a struggle as the whole thing is rather interesting!

There is something that we can do about it with ease. We can register at Kissanpur and get some tomato seeds for free. It is a fine interesting concept from Kissan. The advertisement nicely supports the idea too. There are some nice uses for tomato and as we already know, it is good for health in many ways. It always feels good to cultivate the healthy food at home at a time when all the fruits and vegetable comes mixed with the slow poison which will harm us one way or the other.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of Kissan. You can check the website for more information about these: http://www.kissanpur.com/

TeNy

Lord Livingstone Special

I had watched the movie Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi yesterday, and wanted to share something related to nature after having a certain dose of messages against deforestation and rest of the wrongdoings against nature. Even though the movie won’t appeal to everyone in the same manner, the intentions are very good there. Here I am sharing a few photos of nature which I have taken from outside India, that is in Sri Lanka. I believe that I have shared enough photos from Kerala already with the beauty of nature.

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***All the images used in this blog post were taken by me on Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 and DSC-W180.

TeNy

Favourite Shots II

It was only now that I felt the need for sharing a second set of the favourite shots taken on my camera by me. I would start with the Chinese fishing nets at Fort Cochin which have been one of the most significant tourist attractions of the place which haven’t been historical, religious or spiritual in nature. There are so many of them, and as they are photogenic, they form one of the many symbols of the place. If you walk around the Fort Cochin beach, you can have some nice shots of the same. Here you can see a modern reflection on the other side.

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Among the favourite photos, the backwaters of Kerala needs to be there; that didn’t happen in the first set of photos, but it does here. Kumarakom has left a few more memories, as on one day, we decided to choose the smaller boats to go on a journey through the backwaters of Kerala. It is an interesting journey as we see the bigger houseboats keep moving around – there is beauty all around and we notice them closer. After the process, there is also the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary to have a look at.

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Bhoothathankettu Dam and its nearby forests have been the tourist destination which I have known for a very long time, right from my childhood. The place has expanded a lot with more facilities these days as the number of tourists has increased. The myth of the demons and monsters had only re-inforced my love for the place during that horror novel filled childhood. It is less than thirty kilometres from the Cochin International Airport and quite close to the town of Kothamangalam.

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We have visited Ezhattumugham since the first time we had any idea about its existence. The place has changed a lot since my first visit there, and still it retains some of the peace and tranquility of the earlier times. It is one of the closest tourist attraction to the Cochin International Airport and is good enough to combine with your trip with Athirappilly Waterfalls. The photo is from the times of the rain when there was water everywhere. It is more of a joy to watch then.

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Located less than twenty kilometres from Thodupuzha, Thommankuthu is another beautiful destination which I have visited multiple times. It is one of the better known eco-tourism centres of the area, and the walk on the sides of the stream leads to the waterfalls which is a very beautiful sight. It provides a nice and interesting place to spend some time in peace, away from the busy world. All the path to this place itself makes sure that there is an interesting journey in store.

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There was one small island which caught my attention during a houseboat journey through Aleppey, and there were so many houseboats around making it an interesting view of busy waterways. The backwaters remain a thing of beauty, and the time spent in exploring the same is never wasted. There is always something more to be caught in the camera, and it is the advantage of being here.

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I managed to take this photo at Kannur, from the Saint Angelo Fort. It remains a special favourite, and taken during a time when I was reading Old Man and the Sea, it feels good to have this shot coming up good. The fort itself is a wonderful place to spend some time and also witness the historical landmark which is well maintained. There is also the presence of enough greenery around to add to the charm.

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TeNy

The Favourite Shots

I am sharing a few of the favourite shots taken on my camera through this post. I don’t claim that any of them is worthy of a special photography award, but as I have not shared them on this blog, I feel that I will share them anyway. The camera used is a Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 on each and every occasion, and they were all taken at different places. The first one is from Vagamon or somewhere near the place when we were on the way there. I loved this path! It was like the road less taken, and the journey was also very good towards the place of beauty!

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We stayed at Coonoor during our journey to Ooty. Unlike most of the people who keep going on a trip to Ooty and Kodaikanal, I have only been the former once and I have never been to the latter, and that has come as a surprise to many people. I was more than happy to stay here though, as there was so much tea, and walking with tea all around, was always going to be a thing of joy. There are also some interesting place around this one, and Coonoor is not a lesser town.

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Ilaveezhapoonjira remains that blessed tourist place which is so less explored. It will always be something of bliss to be there, and the view is always splendid. The fog actually provides an even better experience. It provides the feeling being somewhere beyond the world that we know, and it is during one of those days that I wish to be there again. I don’t think that I am that much of a traveller any more, but if I go into that more, may be I will be back there and witness the fog and rain.

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The lovely model tourism village, Kumbalangy has been among my favourites for very long. It has a nice place to enjoy the beauty of nature in the form of backwaters. I have visited the place for a very long time, even before it developed. There are some nice shots which one can manage from here and it can be joined with a Fort Cochin-Mattanchery trip during the usual journey to Kochi, and the place also has some old churches around which adds to the beauty. The place gives the opportunity for more beautiful photos.

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Athirappilly Falls might be the best known waterfalls in Kerala, and located well within reach from the Cochin International Airport, the place is visited a lot, and I have wandered around the place quite a number of times myself. With Vazhachal Falls also nearby, this is one shot which I always love. The shot actually reminds me of a number of computer games with waterfalls, and it is actually the place where parts of a lot of Indian movies were shot, including the most talked about flick of recent times, Baahubali and the upcoming Puli. There were also shots for movies like Dil Se, Pukar, Guru, Madras Cafe and many others.

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I have always loved the sculptures of gargoyles on the church buildings, and that interest increased with the movie I, Frankenstein. When I climbed to the top of this church tower at Thrissur, and looked down, I felt like a gargoyle on the tower even though the churches here don’t have that. But looking down from there looks good, as it is known to be Asia’s tallest church, and there is some good view from the top. You do see this church in a lot of movies shot in the city, dominating the skyline – like in Pranchiyettan and the Saint and Thiruvambadi Thamban.

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Munnar has inspired a lot of interesting photos for me, but nothing like a walk through the tea gardens. It has been a long time favourite hill station for me as I have visited the place multiple times. This shot was taken on a beautiful day when we stopped on the side of the road for taking some photos. After some great morning tea, wandering through the tea plantations was going to be an interesting thing to do. After all, tea is life and most of my life has been about it. I still wonder what I will do without tea – I will be without my strength and also without many other things. Then there are movies like Life of Josutty which reminds you of the beauty of Kerala highlands!

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TeNy

Urulanthanni: Not the Obvious

No matter where or how you search for information, Urulanthanni is not a place which you can find with ease; not on the internet or not while talking with those people whom you usually meet. It is because Urulanthanni is far away from most of those places where you visit for a relief from the normal city routine. It is also because it is not that much explored by people of modernity. Urulanthanni remains a name which is not usually talked about among the travelers, but it is a place which deserves to be discovered.

You see this on the way and you know that this is going to be good!

You see this on the way and you know that this is going to be an awesome experience!

If you have searched for Urulanthanni after reading the first paragraph on google, I am sure that you won’t find much of the written information about it, not even on Wikipedia. It is an area around Kuttampuzha river and a few kilometres away from Kuttampuzha – this much should be easy to find. If you come from Cochin, take the road to Muvattupuzha and then to Kothamangalam. Our starting point was at Aluva, fifty nine kilometres from the destination, not including the distance which we had to walk after the drive.

While on the way, you stop here, and just have a look; can't resist!

While on the way, you stop here, and just have a look; can’t resist on this view!

If you are coming from the Cochin Airport, you can join this route, and it will be fifty five kilometres from there, and fourty two from the place where the routes from Aluva and Airport joins – Perumbavoor from where there is fourty two kilometres to the destination. You will be travelling on the Aluva-Munnar road, and you can choose to have food just before reaching the next big town, or rather the last one worth mentioning – Kothamangalam. There is a vegetarian restaurant Dwaraka, and a non-vegetarian restaurant Paradise on the way which might be the best options to have food.

There are smaller places of worship around, as God doesn't go for money around here!

There are smaller places of worship around, as God doesn’t go for money around here!

After Kothamangalam, finding big enough restaurants get tougher except for the fact that there might be something around with Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary on the way, and there is the Bhoothathankettu Dam if you take a deviation, but you won’t if you are going to Urulanthanni. The path is indeed beautiful, and nature only gets better as you keep moving. Once you reach Kuttampuzha, the last small town, you have to take a deviation to the right. Otherwise you might end up reaching Pooyamkutty. You can travel through that road to reach and end from where you will have to walk.

So much green for the eyes, and for the camera - can't deny its power.

So much green for the eyes, and for the camera – can’t deny its extreme power.

There you enter the charming world of Urulanthanni, which is part of the Idukki Wildlife Division, even as it is part of Ernakulam district. Vodafone might be the only network which has connectivity there though. As you walk deeper into the area, you will find not much other than greenery, and there will be streams of water which you need to cross, and so there is the need to be prepared. some of them might be quite deep and having strong currents, so care is needed there. The rain which actually make it stronger and create newer ones.

Just one of those streams which should be crossed during the journey on foot.

Just one of those beautiful streams which should be crossed during the journey on foot.

You will also have to walk through the water which is caught between the rocks, and it should be slippery; therefore further care might be needed. You have to walk, run and jump until you reach the waterfalls which is a nice sight with the greenery. If you can manage to climb to the top of any of the rocks there, you can get a nice view of the surroundings. The beauty of the green is so powerful, and seems like eternal there. As it is not a big tourist site yet, the human disturbance on nature is not there and let’s not create something like that there too.

You can climb one or two of the rocks there and have a detailed look around the area.

You can climb one or two of the rocks there and have a detailed look around the area.

Along with the chances of slipping during the rains, you will also have to be careful about the leeches. I did donate some of my blood to a good number of them during my visit, but you needn’t make them grateful by feeding your blood. The best option will be to wear the shoes rather than chappals. You can ask for the help of locals to guide, as the path can be confusing or even dangerous for people not used to such journeys and leeches at full strength can be disgusting. Urulanthanni might not be the obvious tourist destination, but surely a nice place to visit with all the beauty of nature.

The waterfalls and all those green elements - that surely feels like Tomb Raider!

The waterfalls and all those green elements – that surely feels like Tomb Raider!

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my camera and mobile phone (Sony Cybershot and Samsung Duos).

TeNy

In the Name of Modernity

Check out the interesting video from Studio NH 47 🙂

Vampire Owl: No, it is clear that he is not a satyr, highlander, nomad…or a even known tree. I have never slept on something like this.

Vampire Bat: I think he is an Ent, a higher class citizen of the Wood Elf Lands.

Ent: Why does it matter who I am? What matters more is on all which has been done – all those atrocities which were committed in the name of advancement in science and the need for development.

Vampire Owl: He is like a war survivor, you know.

Vampire Bat: The conquests of the Dark Elves and the frequent attacks of Nomads have made such a bad influence on our forests. It is really a shame.

Ent: Are you completely out of your vampire minds? Do my injuries look like the result of a war or due to the spells from Dark Elves? Do you think Nomads will attack the nodes of life that feeds them?

Vampire Owl: I am confused. What is it about then?

Ent: It is a reflection of what has happened in the other world. I can feel the pain of fallen trees through the portals.

Vampire Bat: The Dwarves have always been like that. They and their new inventions in the underworld.

Ent: I am talking about the humans! Why are the clues so difficult for you? Stop acting like zombies! Don’t you go to that world through the portals to watch movies?

Vampire Bat: Yes, but we don’t see why it is so hard for you with situation there.

I ask humans to do one thing and they can't even do that :D

I ask humans to do one thing that is to save nature, and they can’t even come close 😀

Ent: I can feel it in me as they fall every tree there and never really think about replacing the same with another one. They run through trees with such an ease, but finds it difficult to demolish concrete buildings. They have problems when the path goes through their places of worship, but what they don’t realize is that nature is something to be worshipped too. I am a high priest and the eternal spirit of nature – I feel the pain each and every second. Why are we always the ones to suffer? Will they like us better if we were made from India Cements?

Vampire Bat: Chennai Super Kings fans are not going like that last question.

Vampire Owl: Is that a beard? I mean, I haven’t seen trees with beards. Satyrs have it, but…

Vampire Bat: He is a very old spirit. It was the coolest fashion at that time! Why don’t you go to Kerala then? There is so much of greenery there and the presence of nature tourism has been at full power. Have you seen the Kerala Tourism advertisement? I am sure that you haven’t seen something like that in your eternity.

Ent: I am not disagreeing with the same. Yes, there is so much greenery, but there is still too much modernity coming up. There are huge flats coming up and there are too many illegal constructions which affect the balance.

Vampire Owl: But there is more interest in the greener side.

Vampire Bat: On the vegetables than anything else. One actress is shown cultivating vegetables successfully and everybody is after the vegetables. Some of them don’t even touch the plant. It is not love for nature. It is just a bloody show-off.

Ent: Yes, they all wants to be part of the vegetable empowerment program. Some people just have too much money. But do they love nature? I don’t think so. A few people think that they will grow on their own, and the others have enough money to hire others to do the work. Then they call themselves “farmers” – seriously?

Even one leaf from nature is a gift of interest.

Even one leaf from nature is a gift of interest. Humans feel less about the same.

Vampire Bat: But there is the eco-tourism which has been nicely implemented in some places. It has worked very well in most cases. There is still better work that expected and it will only improve – even though there will always be some people who try to reverse the situation. There will be people who want to replace all the trees with concrete buildings when it comes to money. But things change, and people are understanding the situation better.

Vampire Owl: They don’t have the Enchanted Woods like we do, and so it is more difficult for them. Humans will learn, but it will take time. If they don’t we will unleash something through the portals.

Ent: I shall rest here until then. I have been accepted as a refugee in the New Vampire World and hope to have a better reflection from the other dimension so that I can go and be part of the Enchanted Woods again. Otherwise, I am just ruining the hallowed grounds which is more respected by the Wood Elves than anything else.

Vampire Bat: You can join us anytime. Bring a few tree minions if you need to.

Vampire Owl: A special tree for just owls alone will be a nice idea.

The Earth Day is just around the corner! Lets try to contribute to a better green world in our own way! It is up-to us to make a difference within our smaller universe and contribute to the society! Support Green Yatra on the same: http://greenyatra.org/

***The photos used in this blog post were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone 5.

TeNy

Exploring the Elements

This writing is part of the Explore The Elements Photo Contest which was announced by Thomas Cook. Here I explore and represent the four elements of nature with the help of the photos which I have taken using my Sony Cybershot DSC W-310. You can check here for more details about the contest: http://www.thomascook.com/blog/holiday-competitions-deals/explore-the-elements/ #ExploreTheElements

1. Earth: As it is said and known, “for dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return” is what the following scene reminds us about claiming our place back under the Earth and hope for a better time at the other world. There is stubbornness in this idea of truth, and the certainty of this return to the dust and dirt is as clear as the presence of these things on the surface of the Earth. The problem with humanity is its consistent loss of memory about this, and their pursuit of Carpe Diem. The photo was taken at a church cemetery around the city of Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England.

It is to the insides of Earth that we have to return, for we are dust.

It is right into the insides of Earth that we have to return, for we are dust.

2. Water: You can see how well water could adapt and as much as it can become the life saver, it can be the destroyer. The unbelievable amount of suppleness can be attributed to this element which is a powerful force of nature which can make impact in its presence as well as the absence. The photo shows the brutal strength that the element of water came up with, during the monsoon rain of 2013 (there were worse situations during that period at the banks of the river Periyar) at the town of Aluva, near Cochin, Kerala, India.

Water has its power to take over whenever it wishes to.

Water as an element has its power to take over whenever it wishes to.

3. Fire: The element of fire always burns, either in the minds of the people or on the far away horizons, as the globe of fire reflects our motivation and desire, becoming the silent watcher of the human hatred for the other people of their kind. The energy of fire is something that we can take into our lives, without the negative sides, choosing not to burn the people around us with hatred based on religion, caste or race. There is the need for fire in our lives. The photo was taken at Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India.

The beauty of fire on the sky can't be ignored by any camera.

The beauty of fire on the sky can’t be ignored by the eyes or any camera.

4. Air: There is freedom associated with air, something which is not easy in this world. We, human beings are bound by strange things and weird laws being passed, some of them making just the religion more important than humanity, and a few other making a few animals more significant that human beings. We should have chosen to air in this life, so free and with all the wisdom that is gained by traveling over long distances. In the photo, you can see how the vegetation bows down in reverence to the strength and wisdom of the element of air – photo taken at Ilaveezhapoonjira, Kerala, India.

When the element of air travel around freely with wisdom, take a bow.

When the element of air travel around freely with wisdom, take a bow.

There is only the human nature which is as unpredictable as the elements of nature, with compassion on one side and the tendency to be devastating with a certain amount of inherent evil which comes up here and there. There is something about the use of the word “nature” at both places. I hope you found the four photos of the elements of nature interesting – they have all been cropped and adjusted to a standard size so that there wouldn’t be any confusion. They were all taken by me only on my camera, Sony Cybershot DSC-W310..

Here, I nominate five other bloggers to participate in this contest:
Anita (http://www.anitaexplorer.com)
Maniparna (http://maniparna5002.wordpress.com)
Namrata (http://namratakumari.blogspot.in)
Shibu (http://shibumathewn15.wordpress.com)
Tara (http://crimsonapril.wordpress.com)

TeNy

A Special Ceylon Rewind

My journey to Ceylon is something that I rewind and play very often in my mind. There are many things that I was sure about, but one thing among them was that I had a fantastic time with the Ramayana Tour arranged by Riya Travels with the company of the newfound “spiritual uncles”, all of them who seemed to be above the age of sixty and myself being the not-so-little kid 😀 Here, I am sharing a few places that I wish to recollect – my little packages of joy.

10. The Ravana Ella: There have been a number of waterfalls during our journey through the high altitude areas of Ceylon, and among them, this waterfalls named after Ravana has the first say. This has a background story going back to Ramayana, and it is believed that Ravana hid Seetha in the caves behind this waterfalls.

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9. The Kandy Lake: This man-made lake is a beautiful sight to witness. Built by the last king of the place, Vikrama Rajasinha, before going under the British occupation, this is a nice place in the heart of the city, located next to the Temple of the Tooth. Here is one for your favourite lakes list.

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8. Hakgala Botanical Garden: Often connected to Ravana’s Ashoka Vatika in Ramayana, this is now a botanical garden with nice collection of trees, plants and flowers. The climate is nice and cold, with the place having some beautiful spots for taking photos. Yes, the tea is also around for us.

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7. St. Xavier’s Church, Nuwara Eliya: A walk through the cool climate of the place felt good, and during one of those walks through the hilly town, we came across this church, and an attempt to enter with chappals left on the outside almost lead to the freezing effect. The structure is nicely built and things were nicely arranged.

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6. St. Anthony’s Church, Bandarawela: When we were wandering around the town with lots of spare time having nothing else to do, we found out this hidden gem. It was not a big structure, but managed to be different in its style. It is located at a higher area of the town, and with its attractive looks, has a calm atmosphere.

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5. Seetha Amman Temple, Seetha Eliya: This is where Ravana is supposed to have hidden Seetha after abducting her. It is not a big town or anything, but a peaceful place which seems to have its own spiritual significance for anyone who wishes for some serenity during their journey. This a small, but beautiful structure which stretches from the rocks below to the heights of the road.

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4. The Negombo Beaches: We didn’t have much to spend at Colombo, and therefore the adjustment was made whatever was left with the beaches of Negombo. There were some nice, beautiful scenery there, and some spots which reminds us of home, in an extremely positive manner. There was a lot of Kerala at parts of Negombo, and I didn’t feel away from home at all.

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3. Mackwoods Labookellie Tea Factory, Nuwara Eliya: Providing us with breath-taking scenery of the tea plantations and also for providing us with the much needed awesome tea, the cold climate contributes with a sudden blow of wind which takes out breath away and then we realized that we need to drink more tea.

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2. Temple of the Tooth, Kandy: A royal palace and a temple complex, with the sacred relic of the tooth of Buddha – I don’t think that it could get any better on that trip. It was actually the first Buddhist temple I had ever visited, if my memory is correct; and yes it was not like anything I had seen before.

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1. The Kelaniya Temple: This is where our journey ended, as we went directly to the airporty at Colombo after the visit here. The temple takes us back to the time of the final visit of Buddha to Sri Lanka. It has wonderful paintings and sculptures all around, and special mention is needed for the reclining Buddha. The paintings show the life of the Buddha, incidents related to Buddhism in Sri Lanka, also a few things from the Jataka tales.

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*The photos used in this blog post are all taken by me using a Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 and a Sony Cybershot DSC-W180 – had two cameras with me in case one gave me trouble 😀

TeNy

The Conquest of Fear

Watch the ad that shows Arya’s journey from fear to victory with Mountain Dew.

There are not many things stronger than fear. Some people will say that there is faith, others will believe in hope, but the strength of fear is, at most of the times bigger than any of these other things. People do things or hesitate to do things just because of fear, and it is not something new – it is a fact that we can see through centuries; history proves the same during its passage through ages. There is the need to conquer this fear if we have to progress in life. Don’t we all need to #RiseAboveFear?

I have had my fears, and even as I have never really made a list about the same, I am certain that one of the bigger fears were my fear of the heights. Yes, I have rarely dared to go to the heights and take a look below. Even when I did, I have mostly been holding on to something and chanting prayers. But that had to change with a journey, and it was that day on which we decided to go to Malayattoor.

The beautiful altar serves as a blessing to our journey.

The beautiful altar serves as a blessing as well as a confidence booster to the journey.

For those who don’t know about this place, it is a pilgrimage centre about fifty kilometres from Cochin, with a church located at the top of the hill, where Saint Thomas the Apostle is supposed to have prayed there. It is believed that, after arriving at Kodungalloor in AD 52, he stopped at Malayattoor on the way to Mylapore. This is one of the most visited Christian pilgrimage centres in Kerala and should be the top holy destination in the whole of India which is not dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

So, when my friend told me that this time he is visiting the place alone as his father was not well and won’t be able to climb the hill, I decided to give him company. This was to be my first successful climbing of a hill, as I have been afraid until then. I have tried to go up this hill, but never even reached near even quarter of the distance, as I got worried and came back every time – a total of three times until then.

The rocks are nothing just the path to our final destination

The rocks are nothing but just the path to our final destination at the top of the hill.

It was easier for him, as he has already been to the top many times. I was still worried about the slippery rocks which stood on the way, and my inability to maintain balance due to fear was evident. He was faster and had to stop regularly to wait for me. The sights of older people and devotees climbing while holding different types of big crosses on their shoulders were more of the inspiration for me.

The church at top of the hill awaits us reaching there.

The church at the top of the hill awaits us to reach there, surrounded by nature.

I wondered why I was thinking about myself as so weak, and was being too afraid. The fact that it was a pilgrimage strengthened me. I felt that this was the moment to get rid of the fear, and something like this will only strengthen me for future. If I can’t climb to the top now, my fear was never going to end, and I would never have any confidence about myself.

The old altar also awaits us believers on the top of the hill.

The old altar with its own antiquity also awaits us believers on the top of the hill.

So, I stopped at the beginning stages of the journey and had a Mountain Dew, one of my favourite soft drinks. It has been what I always preferred to have, along with Mirinda and 7Up. So I continued that journey upwards, and I decided to make it as fast as possible. There were so many people around, and as people of all ages were doing the same thing with confidence, it helped me a lot in gaining the confidence.

One of the views before reaching the top - fair enough to inspire.

One of the views before reaching the top – quite strong enough to inspire anybody.

It took me much less time for me to reach the top as I decided not to stop at anything, not for my fear of looking down and neither for my doubts about reaching the top, and I have never been happier when I was at the top. I considered it my greatest achievement against the fear, and I was not afraid anymore. We wandered around there, prayed and had another bottle of Mountain Dew along with clicking a few photos.

 And then I was at the top; I couldn't be any happier.

And then I was at the top; tired and of lesser strength, but I couldn’t be any happier.

After giving Saint Thomas his due and spending our time in prayers, we slowly came down, and I had no fear in coming down, as I had conquered what I thought I couldn’t. I was sure that this was only the beginning of my big journeys to the heights. It was the end of a journey and the beginning of the confidence which had me not that worried about the heights any more. On the way back, we stopped at the Indian Coffee House at Kalady and had tea to plan another journey, after this victory.

And then it was the time to take a look towards the beauty of nature.

And then it was the time to take a look at the beauty of nature, along with having some rest.

*All photos used in this blog are from my journeys to Malayattoor at different times, taken on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310. This blog post was written as part of Mountain Dew‘s “Rise Above Fear” Happy Hours campaign in association with Indiblogger. Have a wonderful weekend and Sunday, and do spare some time to check the official Mountain Dew Page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mountaindewindia.

TeNy

UC as in You See and MGU

One year has passed after completing that voyage from a student to a former student at Union Christian College, Alwaye (UCC). It was rather an expedition for the cause of being an UCean which started with the Mahatma Gandhi University’s Centralized Allotment Process, something which made sure that I would get the admission, something which would have not been possible with a normal procedure and without Divine intervention. There haven’t been many of my friends who admire MG University and its way of operations, but I do; for even as I admit that I did suffer with its Off Campus Department working with that Distance Education, the rest has actually worked so well for me. I might need to complain about my total percentage like everyone else, but I am mostly a pessimist and a cynic who lacks focus, so no complaints about it from my side.

The first rays of a UC morning (taken on my GT-B7722)

The first rays of a UC morning (taken on my GT-B7722)

MGU’s CAP procedure made sure that I had the admission through a straight path, and there was something else about it, and it is about the out of syllabus questions that it comes up with. Yes, it once came up with the question who is Mrs Norris; the answer being the pet cat of Argus Filch, the caretaker of Hogwarts – I love when they come up with such questions, which I can proudly answer just because of a random reading or movie watching habit instead of studying those books which are forced on us. I didn’t remember the owner’s name, but the other details including its petrification in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets were clear in the mind. I have always hoped for them to ask some purely Gothic horror question out of syllabus, they never did though.

Whatever is closest to the tree of life :D (GT-B7722)

Whatever is closest to the tree of life 😀 (GT-B7722)

MGU, you are an intellectual beauty, and what you did with a lot of out of syllabus questions was to make the students think and read more literature making the library of some use. I know that a lot of students might despise the same, but I don’t. I admire what came up there even as nobody there might have really wanted that to happen. What English Literature students need are those out of syllabus questions, because you can’t restrict the post graduation in Literature to a few books, for it is a vast subject and questions has to come in such a way that the best readers get the better score instead of those who just memorize for the examinations. It would have even prepared us better for the NET exams. I shall choose to be a pariah rather than not support an out of syllabus question paper for MA English. I would say “add a little more history to it too”.

We are now not unlike this tree (GT-B7722)

We are now not unlike this tree (GT-B7722)

Being a UCean is a prestige, and it might not be something that one realizes when he or she is already studying there. We take our wonderful situation as granted, and a few months later, we realize that we should have considered it with that reverence that it actually deserved. But we are lost within such trivial matters that are so inconsequential that the fact rarely come up in our minds. We are lost not in the fog, but the haar of the coast, being caught in the imaginary British Literary Isles. But out reminiscences of our days at the college come up later, and that happens with such strength that it is impossible to resist, and with that strength comes unbelievable durability of the memories. We were all the riders to the sea, and now we are the fallens angels of that lost paradise, except for those who had chosen to turn Faustus and sell their souls to Mephistopheles.

Nature is happiness, it has always been (GT-B7722)

Nature is happiness, it has always been (GT-B7722)

When the life turns rather nugatory, that black hole which has been created in this busy world of chaos, turns on you and make you realize about its supernatural ability of preventing escape, and the first thing that it reminds you about, is that beautiful free world that you left behind, an year ago – the end of them all came in August 2013, even as the results came in December last year. There is no longer a free world, as the constraints stretch its arms towards you and works as dementors, feeding off the happiness and bringing out that mighty despair which converts itself to the mighy gladiator which has finally found a worthy amphitheatre. At that moment, UCC comes back to you, and the need to be a student again becomes stronger than ever. It was not just good being a student, it was awesome.

And then you give that building one last look (GT-B7722)

And then you give that building one last look (GT-B7722)

There is the morning light that you see at the college as you become one of the first students to set your foot on the college land every single day, and the meaning of the light becomes poetry when you are no longer that student. There is the evening sun which shines with its strange light going through the branches covered by green, reflecting on my Chevrolet Beat, a vision that inspires immortality. Then there is the tree under which you sit and read some random novel you take from the reading room or the library becomes the history book that you lost in the war that was to follow, randomly collecting the daily battles which are never won by any side. All the tea that you had from that canteen between the class hours is that memory which asks to be awakened – but you can’t go for tea from the class room if there is no class any more, right? How can one have the opportunity to be absent when there is no class? My absence is of no value any more, and makes me doubt my own existence.

Finally, the sun sets on thee and thy car (GT-B7722)

Finally, the sun sets on thee and thy car (GT-B7722)

UCC was the perfect place for me to be. It was always supposed to be so. But what does it take to realize the same? Not just some wrong decisions, but also two years of being there along with a few more months of pondering over it. But the question remains if it would have been any better if this worked more like school and I could just fail to stay in the same class for longer, for I would like to think that the time period between 2011 and 2013 was almost perfect for my existence there, and a few years early or just a little bit later might have taken the beauty out of it. Some things come late, and there is certainly a time for everything – some of them working well and the others working terrible, but all of them should come to an end, that ragnorak which happened and I never gave it the significane it deserved – damned be those pettifogging things which intervened.

I miss the tea at the canteen, parking the Chevrolet Beat under that huge tree, the quiz competitions and the English Department plus all the bloody green trees and even the grass. Above all, I miss literature in all its glory, and I lack inspiration with all its opulence, for I can no longer visualize Valhalla or Avalon 😦

TeNy