I have fond memories to cherish.
Off life, rides, friendship and love.
With those, let me walk into a new year.
And you too, with your beautiful, colourful and lovely life
At the end of it Abhi’s Mom asked –“Are you guys contended?”“We look like outlaws inspiring admiration everywhere we go. We’ve left civilization behind and we are much closer to the land.” -Ernesto “Che” Guevara: The Motor Cycle Diaries
At the beginning of it my Dad shouted –“We don’t like you doing this idiot showmanship. Who do you think you are? Why can’t you just concentrate on your job or don’t you have anything else to do? ”
At the end of it there was nothing achieved, but a mere sense of satisfaction of driving through the tea estates, of hearing the beat of two birds, of experiencing adrenaline rush while climbing uphill with the back wheel skidding and moving from one place to another, and last but not the least a rendezvous with fresh air atop Calvary Mount.
At the beginning of it there was lots of planning, exchange
of emails, Herculean tasks of getting leaves approved, maintaining the
birds fighting fit, and finally all the way just getting mentally prepared for
‘The destination – Munnar’.
What’s there in a name? People would ask. What’s there in a nick name? I would say there is a lot in it. Especially in an “A-Peru” – the term which is used in
Last week on someone’s blog I saw a nick name of someone and a few days before, me and my room mate were discussing about the different nick names my second room mate had. It made me nostalgic thinking of all those nice and funny names that I had over the period of time from the school days till this day. Then there were also the funny names around; of which I knew the origin, or I called most frequent. It was fun, even though many may not like it. And then it’s nostalgic too. So here I go with those names which were given to me at various stages of my life. Hope no one of those guys which I mentioned here mind.
Kozhi: The first and only genuine A-Peru I have maintained all through this life. I was blessed with that name in as early as 5th standard, where we all moved to the new school from different schools. As my surname and father’s name was Gopinath, I was assigned Kozhi from Gopinathan->Kozhinathan->Kozhi. See how villainous they were in naming me. But then there were also RajaVembala (from surname Rajagopalan), Boost (Due to the shape of the person), Kochimban (Due to hairy body I guess – name took from the character Kochimban Bear in Circussum Poraattavum, A Malayalam Supplement Book), Ittapush Vegetarian (God Knows the origin – the character was a Veggie Namboothiri) and AndiPottan (Another Fattie). There were a lot of people who used to call me once, now there are a few only, may be a Buzz on the chat window – “Eda Kozhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii” – to which I will reply – “Podeeeeeee Boooooooooooooosteeeeeeeeeee”. He He .. Good Old Days.
Kannadakorappan: Again from school only, but not from my classmates. It in fact came from my sister’s class may due this spectacled boy’s frequent visits to their class, to ensure my little sis is not being teased by the naughty boys :) . She might have been the creator of it, though she never confessed it. Still sometimes I hear that once in a while, when she is so angry – “Poda Kannadakorappaaa”.
Kalippan: The Collegian Angry Young Man. But that didn’t come so soon, it took its time and came only after an year or so into the college basically when I moved into the phenomenon called Men’s Hostel, that too Government Men’s Hostel. Yea, as the name suggests I was a bit short tempered those days, you know angry young man who wants to change the world and all those blah blahs ;). I cannot say I was a bit short tempered; I was too much hot tempered. Getting angry for anything and everything that frustrated TP and ended every time he asking “Neeyenthinaa Choodavunnathu, Paranja Pore”. I hope that phase is over now; I am a lot calmer now :) And as a Kalippan I lived amongst some strange names called Petti (His nick is more famous than his name), Petti Abhilash (Just because Abhilash was Petti’s roommate), Dolby (for his DTS voice), Mammali (Of course Basheerian version of Mohd. Ali), Maaman, Pappan, Thadiyan, IB (since his father was in I.B, yeah Intelligence Bureau), Mathann, Maami, Puttu and what not.
DAN-GO: Well, it’s not a nickname or a pet name. It may be something in the middle. Anil wanted some sort of short names for everyone in the class at college for the E-Groups or something like that and that resulted in the birth of this name. It was the acronym he got from Dhanush Gopinath. Another one was put V-GAS also. Only very few like the Idiyan or the Dolby call me that name these days.
Dinkan: Then came this from the institute I worked as Lecturer. I never know what prompted my colleagues putting it up, but it happened one sudden day that they decided to call me by this name. May be Dhanush and Dinkan rhymed well. There were Hanuman (Due to Size), Gajju (Due to size and the actual name started with J), Kova, Vadivelu (Slim Beauty!!) and Ritchie (The colleague who instructed that we should teach C based on the book of Dennis Ritchie when Balaguruswamy was ruling the roost) along with me in that prestigious institution in Vadakara where I started my Lectureship days.
Puli: From the ITP days in MBT, an inapt name coined by dearest friends Kich and Seena. By the time I joined MBT I had a good understanding of Computer Subjects like Operating Systems, Data Structures, and C; mostly due to my teaching experience. And as we had to get trained in these subjects at MBT I used to teach these guys and other friends in our gang. That went on by them calling me Puli since they thought I am an expert in these subjects and also the guys who joined us in our house in Mumbai also started calling me the same name. Still now when Seena pop up on the chat window she screams “Da Puleee”.
Dhanno: It happened when I moved to Pune with Ramlal and Pillu. They found Dhanush to be too long and gave me the name of Basanti's Horse in the movie Sholay. On a Friday weekend Ramlal would come into cube and say "Challe Mere Dhanno, Ajinkya Chalthe hai aur woh Pillu Saab ko bhi bulathe hai". We were of to the Bar ani Restaurant next to our office. On a more lovelier note, they will even call me Dhanno Darlling. Chall-Dhanno is from were named this blog. As we moved into a bigger house my good friend Google (Whatever you discuss with him, this guy will have a relevant story to tell you, just like Google finds you the pages. No wonder he is achieving double the target in his sales.) and Ramlal's friend Jatt (The Haryanvi Body Builder) joined us. Jatt was much younger than us and he started calling us by suffixing Bhayya to our names. So I became Dhanno Bhaayya, and the rest Ramlal Bhayya, Pillu Bhayya and the funnier Google Bhayya :-).
Log Nishku: Those MBTian days (I was only a Tech Mahindrian for 7 days). Courtesy my Malayali friends there with whom I used to travel, party, drink, cook, play and eat. It was initially Still Photogrpaher Nischal Kumar (from the movie Kilukkam) shortened to Nishku, because in every trip I did with them I carried my camera. In the final trip I even carried my tripod and my luggage was so heavy. It then changed to Log Nishku because I once complained about the non-availability of enough logs in the system I was working on then. None of them calls me personally by that name, but in the group mailing lists the mail id is mapped to that name and also in mails we will address each other by these names when things get heated up ;). All of us has some name or other like a Maruthu Pandi (Beacuse he comes from Trivandrum and closer to Tamilnadu), Golconda Thampuran (Because his favorite brand was Golconda Brandy), Gemini Singh Aluwalia (For his liking for Punjaabi Kudis), Seedorf (The Brilliant FootBaller), Bullet Nitin (Nitin who owned Bullet Machismo) Vriddha Manavalan (A friend who married late, he claims to be 28 but we claim he is 35 ;) ) Pamman (For the "hot" stories he brings us about anything under the roof of MBT).
Ponmaatra and Vikraman: Thanks to Bangalore Boyz, I was blessed with two more names. Ponmaatra arrived during one drinking session where we were discussing about the film Thanmaatra and I said some blunder (due to the effects the drinks made in me), to which PophAbhi responded –“Nee Thanmaathrayallada Nee Ponmaatrayaa Ponmaatra” . Then onwards for a short period I was Ponmaatra until I spotted a horizontal lined white and grey T-Shirt. It didn’t take much time for them to come up with Vikraman. Yes you guessed it right, the dacoit in Mayavi in the Balarama Comics who spotted a similar kind of T-Shirt. But then as I live among Appooppan and Tommy, I shouldn’t mind it.
So these were all the ones I could remember, the nick names from the past and present, the A-Peru’s that made me famous and infamous and the identities one will find in me. Whenever I go back to these nick names, there is a unique joy which comes from deep within the heart that reminds me of those phases of my life during which I was named. It is still fun and joy, when some one calls me by that name err by that A-Peru.
Now I know all of you guys will be having that sweet smile in between your lips thinking of what to call me next time you meet me. But I bet you will be confused which one to select.
This time it was different. I had to WRITE answers to the questions given in a question paper onto the answer sheet provided by my university. Yes, I was attending the First Semester Mid Semester Exam of my MS course from BITS. It took some amount of time to realize that I no more have the speed of writing that I possessed 9 years ago. And all I had to do was just WRITE. Some of the questions were problems, and I found the equations on the fly and calculated the results. But some of them asked me to explain with lucid examples how CMMI model is affecting my daily livelihood of coding and development and even asked me to step into a Project Managers shoes and visualize how you would schedule the Project Roll Out in 90 days Agile Processing. Huh!! Writing was tough, after all these years, what I used to write was the scribbling I made in my personal diary and a few letters I used to send to my best friends. How times have changed, I even forgot the grip I used to have for my pen. TOTAL DISASTERRRRR!!!!!
I was writing the exams back to back - 4 exams in 2 days. The last time I wrote exams that way was in 1995 March when I appeared for the SSLC exams. And that was the last time any kid in Kerala wrote SSLC that way - 12 exams, 6 days back to back from one Wednesday to the next FN 10 AM -12 Noon, AN 1.30PM-3.30 PM (Friday 2pm to 4PM). That was really terrible. This is all about some observations which I made during my two days at the school.
All were setup by Abhi and his friends and I and PP were just to join the gang. Trip, stay and food were all arranged Ajith, Vipin and his brother Nipin and behind them where Vipin and Nipin’s father and mom.
We (I, Abhi and PP) assembled at the Dairy Circle KSRTC bus stop in
It was early dawn when we reached Palakkad KSRTC Bus Stand. We were joined by a small gang from Chennai – Binoy, Sumod and Lajiraj. The dawn so beautiful. I never had a chance to see the dawn with my camera, and I didn’t waste any time clicking a few. After a morning tea, Vipin guided us to his house. The half an hour journey to Kollangode was refreshing and thrilling due to the bus. From Rajahamsa to a local Kerala private bus I was a big change. The one like moving from a PG to a bigger rented house. That journey provided me everything. Rains and early morning cold winds to refresh my mind and soul from hectic time I had the days before (I moved in with Abhi and PP a day before). I could also see the place where Ravi, the protagonist in O.V Vijayan’s Khasakhinte Ithihasam, got down to walk up to Khasak.
At Kollangode Vipin’s father came and picked us in his Jeep. That ride reminded me about the numerous jeep rides I had from my house to my father’s house in Vadakara. Jeep Taxi’s are one good mode of transportation in Vadakara and I always enjoyed them, especially hanging behind.
And as we reached his place, boy it was beauty all over. I haven’t scene nature at its best any where else. A small, but spacious house on the road side, with paddy fields behind it touching almost the horizon. And in the back drop the Sahyadri’s guarding you from almost anything. With those small and big waterfalls adorning her, she looked like a princess with the diamond necklaces around her neck. That was awesome and on the road in the rain, a two bullock carts passed against the back drop of those hills. It was really nice atmosphere.
After a good tea made by Vipin’s mom we were off to the Ambalakkulam (
In the initial part of the journey I slept and woke up only when we reached the Tamilnadu Border. Interesting part of the forest is that, even though it is in Keral, to enter it we have to go through Tamilnadu there by paying tax for them for seeing our forest. But after all we are all Indians right? At Kerala Check post it was raining and from there Saravanan, a Kerala Forest Dept Official came as guide with us.
They are trained to show us all around the
The ride after that was full of enthusiasm and interest as we could spot any wild animals any time and luck bought us a wild elephant group. As I sat on the wrong side of the van I couldn’t get any close up views. We spotted a few deer also. We had our lunch at around on the way near the lake side. Vipin’s Mom had packed us rice, Sambhar and chicken curry and that was great. I ate around four small plates of rice, which Pophabhi might say is not a big thing. I have become an eating specialist (aka akkranthan) these days. Hmmm.
We reached the main forest office area at 5 in the evening. Hard luck turned out as we missed the Erumadam (Hut on Roof Tops) by an hour. The Erumadam is a bit far away from the main land and one has to travel one and half our in the boat to the island and that too with food and water. There the food can be cooked after collecting fire wood. It would have been one hell of adventure in the wilderness. Stay on the trees for a night. Huh and we missed it since we were late, it would be even late by the time we reached there and it is not at all encouraged to reach there late.
So we wandered around, went to a small Tunnel Project and then came back and ordered the food. We also went out for a walk in the night. With a good road and ample lighting it was easy to walk but the atmosphere had the sounds of crickets. That irritating sound of the wild night. After a good chappathi-chicken curry dinner, we retired into our lodge which was big spacious 3 bedroom house. The
After a good chappathi-chicken curry dinner, we retired into our lodge which was big spacious 3 bedroom house. The
We had already planned for a trek the day before with the Guide. We had chosen the ‘soft’ trek from the various treks that were offered. It cost us Rs 50/- per head. The trek was 7 km long and will start from the base forest camp and reach the Kannimara Teak, which is considered to be the oldest teak in
The start of the trek was boring as we mostly walked through the tarred road, but a kilometer into it we were truly surrounded by jungle with us following the way the Safari Jeeps used to go. That was our only direction, and that was the needed one. A few minutes into the walk we saw bison’s and deer at a distance. There was also an Earumaadam setup on the walkway. We all got a better view of it from there. We then walked, walked and walked and kept waking with only the sound of crickets, the bites of leeches and the wilderness of the evergreen rain forests in company. It was tough, but it was exciting – following the trail. The three hour long trek came to an end at the Kannimara Teak. By that time our van reached there. Some of us went and had a wash at the near by river and then we were back to the base station.
We missed the boat ride there as the boats were already gone for a ride with some people. So we decided to have the breakfast and push it off from Parambikulam. The breakfast was dosa, idli, chutney and fish fry. And after some time the hoteliers ran out of dosa and informed us with a great difficulty that the whole of the Dosa Mix is now finished. And after that at around 11 we bid adieu to Parambikulam, before making it possible to visit the Parambikulam Dam.
The Dam was awesome, with wonderful scenery behind.
Next target was Seetharkkundu a place close to Kollangode. It’s a small area where water falls from the high Sahyadri’s and have formed a pool with a small waterfall. It is believed that Seetha, wife of Lord Rama, had taken a dip here during their Vanavasa. To reach Seetharkkundu we had to walk for 15 minutes from the place where our van could go.
That walk was like we were walking into the mountains as we were going towards the mountains just below it. We could see numerous small waterfalls at the distance.
And finally we reached Seetharkkundu. The bath in Seetharkkundu was very refreshing. The water was so cold and it took some time for me to get into the water. Till that time I was capturing the beauty and the boyz. Ajith almost drowned and PP had a fall, but still we were enjoying. We had some fun for around 45 minutes there and then pushed off to Chinganchira.
Chinganchira is a place near to Kollangode where there are lots of big banyan trees and there is a temple also here which is inside a banyan tree. Couples who doesn’t have a kid, come here and offer wooden cradles to the deity. These cradles are then hung on the tree. When we were there, there was a group of people who had finished their offerings and returning back. It was here the few scenes from the film Kaliyattam was shot. We returned from there soon and at Kollangode had a great evening snacks (we didn’t have lunch) at a local thattukada. People had Porottas, Beef, Chicken, Egg and an occasional Biriyani and good high tea. Yea Snacks they were !! And our stomachs were full, we were happy. Because we are happy when we have a sumptuous food isn’t it ?
Finally we reached Vipin and Nipin’s house. By that time the sun was setting and the paddy fields behind were giving a great treat to the eye, with colors of red, orange, blue and grayish black all playing their roles in giving us he perfect blend of nature. It was just amazing. We had our usual photo posing and enjoyed the evening out there on the bunds that separated the paddy fields. It was a once in a life time feeling that I was having.
And then the Chennai Kings were getting ready to go. They left soon and after that we visited Vipin’s paternal house which was a bit far from his house. Had another round of eateries there, with achchappams and neyyappams again filling our stomachs.
We came back and while we were getting ready Vipin’s mom packed us the dinner. God only knew where we are going to fill it. We took the last bus to Palakkad. Got down and got another bus to Olavakkode Junction, from where we were to board the Yeshwantpur Express to
It was just that break we all needed after a lot of idle weekends in
This trip definitely is going to be with me for such a long time. And we may keep visiting that place, may be on our birds. Because that place offers you a lot, a lot that even you cannot think off and you will just end up sitting admiring its beauty.And that’s why we call her “God’s Own Country.”