YATRA - A ROAD LESS TRAVELLEDMature

A deviation to destination springs up thoughts for the author of the times spent earlier ...

 

I thought for a second time, about what should be the caption for the contents I am writing and thought of a Sanskrit word meaning “travel” is probably apt. The thoughts that were cause for provocation behind the script that emanated on my travel to work are all about that. Work here is about “YANTRA” the machines with which I am associated and is in synonym with “YATRA” merging with “YANTRA”. Let me start with what I want to write about.

 It’s about the road less traveled, that we took as a compulsion to deviate from the route which we normally used to take. The clogged roads that were affected due to rains were being blocked to put huge drain pipes. The mess created in traffic jams is in the city of BARODA now as Vadodara, getting the meaning from the VAD, the banyan trees. This made us to detour and deviate and make a change the way we traveled to work. Changes have always given challenges and that makes good reasons to think different.

 The new path passes through the villages and I spotted indicating boards of Karali and Chansad villages. Karali village reminded me of Kairali and Kerala where I grew up. As the road winds up from my house at “Aiswarya” in the town to nearly 27 km away to Por village where the factory is situated, I switch off my urban thoughts by clicking the mouse of my mind to “sleep” and to use the rest of faculties and cajole with the childhood times

 Sounds that reach my drums recall the old memoirs of Bharata Puzha, the river that has a bridge at Kuttipuram, a village those days on way to the Guruvayoor temple. My moothama (mother’s elder sister) and family lives there, as my uncle was working with the PWD, constructing the bridge. I remember hearing some of the queer sounds whose frequency was very high and unheard so far. Moothamma had told me that they were creatures that do not harm. Here on the way to Por, I heard parrots and some other birds singing, some even fly close to the windshield of the car. I thought of the meditation practices where you calm your mind and observe your thoughts, when you can listen to many sounds. One tends to ignore those in executing busy schedules of the day. The blare of the horn connoted as an odd entity creeping through the silence. The whistle of the train that connects Mumbai to the North and West pass some where behind. Birds flew out from where they hang around in the bushes and sat close to the trishul on the temples. As I crossed the temple, I observed when the bells rang at the temple, no bird flew out. They probably knew it was serene.

 It was interesting to watch groups of girls and boys not in uniform running around and falling in line for the morning prayers during school assemble. In one school, I watched them play in comparison to carrying heavy loads of books by urban children. The bullock carts that roll out on the one line road carried some of them. I was reminded of the times when I used to ride a cycle to the college of engineering that was close to Malampuzha dam. Seeing a wheeled shop that sold sweets brought in the memories of the ½ “a’na” (those days, 16 a’nas made up for one rupee) priced ice candies and ground nut toffees that we bought during school intervals from a close by shop in Calicut, near Malabar Christian College School. Passing on the road were squirrels and mongoose, in a hurry to meet their needs! Once I saw an elephant unable to give way for the car, we moved and parked aside. Seeing monkeys (?) in their natural habitat was another dot that made my day from the animal kingdom. That day I remembered the grand building that is called HABITAT, on the Al-Khobar road in Saudi Arabia. Within HABITAT, humans were aping and here on the road less traveled monkeys were in their own field, displaying probably contempt for the passers by. I was thinking of the HSBC, advertisement “Culture or fashion?” when I noticed one youth riding a cycle, with a stud on his ear lobe. Did I see goats around the KARALI village? I went back years behind in thoughts when my mother took out leaves from the jackfruit tree’s branch and followed to beat me for a fault that I did that day. In our house hold, much before the sachets of milk came in home, we had goats to milk. Thereafter we had a herd of cows. Here on the way, it was more of bullocks than cows.  I wonder how by listening to the car, bullocks moved away to the sides of the thin road, accepting natural ways of giving ways! A deer with its head up was on the side lanes, out of the woods and close to us, one morning.

 My mind signaled, yet another forgotten story of plucking flowers for the Onam festivities during child hood. Fiery red and yellows are most of the wild flowers seen on the way. The green arch that formed on the thin stretches of the road made a contrast to the blooming flowers of the spring season. I was thinking then of the pure white thin small “thumba” flowers that once upon a time decorated Onam flower decks. Those little ones had no fragrance to throw out. It represents the moon light soothing the nerves and creating an atmosphere for love to flow freely. The indigos that lined some where close to the railway tracks was yet another variation identified with my keen eyes, that wandered to find newer and different flowers species on the way. Curious is what I have become all of a sudden. I even compared the sand dunes that change colors as I used traveled through deserts on my way to work in the Gulf. Up in the sky here the blue is bluer. And as I return home, I watch with gratitude the amber streams that comes out through the dawning skies. Between the sun and me were green bushes that prevented me to have a full sight of the setting sun. Alas I thought, I could see the sun sets on my way from work and enjoy the gifts of the day. As the window panes were open the wind whispered in tandem with my breath. As I listened to these sounds and colors, I was reminded of His unity in nature.

 Thank God, that the Municipal corporation at last decided to cut the roads and burry the pipelines to carry the rainy water. Thanks are for those who drive madly on the roads to make sure that each one of them in that process made the rest to get stuck between those many and reach destinations late. Thanks to Sanjay my driver who opted to deviate and suggest a new Yatra to the Yantras.

 The whole episode helped me to reinvent the child in me to become enthused about looking beyond to witness some of those unique frequencies in sound, variations in color, un-masked human beings that represented nature, animals in their habitat, purer air to breath and scenic sequences without the hassle and bustle of routines that have embedded in work life for such a long time. I even felt that a stream that now flows under a bridge that spans huge may once get enough water for me to I step out and watch the river that would have some of the species of fish.  Did I become a child for a while? Are we in a hurry to grow up and then we long for our lost child hood? Do we ever step out and look at nature and life as we focus on the work front?

 My car, Fiesta, thus celebrated the drive in an unknown path and I appreciated God sent beauty of nature. All because, we deviated from the urban path until then, I had felt was within the comfort zone of travel to work. We just deviated and made a change and then had loads of surprises that were in offer and to our heart’s content. At times we must be prepared to get rid of the lives we plan, so as to have the life that is waiting for us on the side lanes.                                            

The End

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