Tuesday, November 29, 2005,9:40 AM

Thenmala 20 years ago

Senkottai - Punalur perhaps the most breath taking train journey of south India. Before the conversion to BG the only train to Trivandrum was from Madras Egmore, thru Madurai -
Tenkasi - Quilon. I was not aware and I was not prepared to face the beauty of Senkottai - Punalur section. It was simply breath taking. I was in a state of shock right through. I was very angry that no one told me about it. This was 35 years ago. It took me another ten
years to go there again.

I stopped at Thenmala. Spent three days there. No place to stay. Four estate workers were very kind to give me a place to sleep. I used to go for walks in the nearby forest, sit there and read, have lunch at a mess, I was the only paying customer there, rest were having monthly account, got friendly with the manager, chatted with him in the nights after dinner.He wanted to know If I see film stars every day. He was very disappointed with my answers. Enjoyed my meals like I do always in Kerala, Hot steaming red boiled rice, hot more kolambu OWWEEE !!! dark smokey place , and piping hot Jeeraga vallam yooops ! Me shivering with cold with hardly any warm clothes. No warm clothes at all..

After lunch I used to sit in the railway station and read. A paradise on earth.no one to bother you, always deserted, very few trains passing. The station master used to sit with me and chat. He told me that Thenmala Railway station received awards for the best maintained Railway
station of India for 7 years in a row. WOW !! I saw the framed awards hanging there on the wall.

Thenmala today

While having lunch I saw a man pointing towards me and talking to the manager. I was the only outsider there. He followed me to the railway station. No one there, I sat on a bench and opened the book, Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance reading perhaps fourth or fifth time. I knew he was standing behind me
He tapped my shoulder asked me in Malayalam who are you, then repeated in English.
Who are you is the most difficult question to answer sometimes.
I said I am from Madras.
What is your purpose ?
Purpose ? What purpose ? What do you mean ? what Burbus ? I mimicked him
not a good, idea rotten idea infact.
I am blinking He was getting angry, saw you taking pictures in the forest do you have any permission ?
I don't need any bermission from anybody its a free Gundtry.
I was mimicking him in every possible way.
Who are you ? I asked
He said he is the forest Range officer.
Oh shit ! no uniform
'I can confisgatee your cameray'
I was not carrying my camera thank goodness.I realised I am not handling this too well.
You'll never find a complete moron, complete nothing short
Well made, perfect moron I am. He was drunk barely able to stand. I was hoping the station master would come to my rescue, There was no one there.
Suddenly I had a bright idea felt the bulb glowing in my head though very dim 10 watts. It never glows brighter. I went closer to him and whispered in utter secrecy,
there was no one around , only birds.
I have come to hunt for location for song shooting for a film company.
Whichee combeni ? he asked
Now I stopped mimicking him.
I was cursing my lack of film knowledge
Right behind him was a film poster, weather beaten, half torn, faded soaked in rain. a lone poster hanging there just to rescue me, lovely eyes staring at me rest of her torn,
angel she was, I saw the name, don't remember now, just a shot in the dark, hoping it was a name of a company not the name of those lovely eyes, My mouth was dry.

The moment I uttered that name he fell to his knees, well almost. It was bull's eye.
Boy ! how powerful these films are !!
He grabbed my arm and said
saarey why are you staying in that rat hole, I'll take you to the forest bungalaaa, we have electricity there, I'll bring my jeep, I'll take you around, show you some nice locations saar
I said fine .
what time shall I bring my jeep to pick you up sir
I said come at 5
I left at 4
to Quilon.

Daylight again
Friday, November 25, 2005,9:41 AM

Aliyar Dam

This is Attakatti, misty romantic place on the way to Valparai,
Coimbatore - Pollachi - Valparai one of the most beautiful roads of Tamil Nadu

Daylight again

Sunday, November 20, 2005,4:35 AM

Thanks to the net I found a weekly train Trivandrum Jodhpur. Boarded the train from Calicut.
It is a breathtaking journey. Planning to go there again in January. If you are planning to take the konkan railway please see that you cross the Mangalore - Bombay in day time. Sleeping thru any part of konkan is a crime. Please make sure your train has a pantry car, since all the stations are new and away from the towns, you get absolutely nothing there except for madgaon Goa
More pictures in Photobucket

Daylight again