Dec 14, 2012
Last day was dedicated to our bikes, and today as well. Starting with the same focus, Manas’ bike needs an oil change. We get up around 7am and head out by the near by tapari for chai. I displayed my malayali skills,
नाल chai (showing 3 fingers)
JK laughs his ass out, shouting ‘मून चाय!’ While we have our tea, the aged foreigner comes up to the stall and asks for tea. We start a conversation with general ‘Heys’ and ‘Hellos’. Somebody from us asks, how was his trip goin, to which he answered.
Its going great, I’d been to all the temples of South India, Rameshwaram, Madhurai, Kanyakumari, now Allepy. Its great. Prior to that I’d been in North India, visiting Himachal Pradesh, Kashmir, etc.
We’re taken aback by his itinerary, JK asked
How long have you been touring here?
O.. Its been 3 months !!!!
All of us stared each other, It was a nightmare for us to sync our leaves for a period of just 2 weeks. He continued..
I’m here roaming with my son, he is just 24. I know, I’m not the best partner for him, he should’ve been here with his Girl friend. But… I wanted him to show all this, that I’ve visited.
You’ve been here before as well?
O.. ya for a long period. I was here in India for 5 years of my life (We thought we lost a beat). I studied in England and then wanted to roam, I came here in India and stayed here for 3 years. After my money got over, I thought I should start earning and went to Australia. Worked there and then came back here again for another 2 years. I’ve visited the North, Rajasthan, eastern states, all of south India, etc. I wanted my son too to see all the places that I’ve seen.
We were left completely speechless. Our tea had already dried up just as our leaves were. But here was a man whose interests for touring never dried, he must’ve been around 50+. But still roaming 3 months+ in a developing country.
A goodbye to him, and we get back to our room, and head off for Yamaha Service center. Oil change done, we come back, pack our bags, hoist them and leave by around 11 am. The Panvel-Kanyakumari highway is busy. We get to Kochi around 12.30 and take a right towards Thrissur.
We didn’t have any breakfast as we wanted to reach the Yamaha Service station as early as possible, the hungry guts are demanding. JK spots a decent restaurant with parking right in front and we stop for lunch. JK orders a Curd rice, I go for tomato rice and daal and roti. Both the flavours of rice are yummy. I actually wanted to eat more, but none of my partners were interested in hogging more. Just outside JK has his नंनारी drink again, the first one just prior to the lunch. We’re gonna see more of this drink later.
Kochi to Thrissur highway, continuation of Salem-Ernakulem, NH-47, is a flat land tar route. So we ended up doing 90+ kmph crusing. The weather is reminding me of my regular trips to Konkan during day time, Windy and fairly hot. As Thrissur approaches, so do large hoardings of Silk saree laden models. Somehow its following us all the while from Coimbatore in broken appearances, but from Kochi its consistent.
As we go past Thrissur town, we stop for a water break. I’m already liking this town. Neat roads, thanks to the NH-47 right through the heart. Small bungalows, with some apartment like buildings, nice municipal grounds, trees all along and some up-hill roads. I feel I could stay in a town like this for all my life.
Thrissur is right in the heart of Kerala. With routes connecting Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, North of Kerala, Kochi and down south is a major trade city.
That was JK’s explanation for the Silk saree hoardings. We continue north-east, towards Palakkad. Its almost 2.30pm, and we have only about 30-40 km at max for JK’s village, our last stop in our trip. Along the way, somewhere in Vadakacherry, JK is spotted or JK spots one of his relatives. We stop. While we have water, etc. JK laughs
We’re close to my village, and I’ll be meeting my endless relatives all the way. This man is my cousin sister’s husband. We’ll stop in another 5 minutes to meet my cousin sister as well.
We move ahead and JK stops again, His sister is probably taken aback by JK’s new found expanding body. In few minutes we see a diversion for Shornour and we take it. The route now starts to get into a hill, it seems we’re getting into a forrest region.
Another turn for Thiruvilwamala, JK’s village! We come down from a hill, JK is happy, smiling broadly ! From the NH-47 from Kochi, to the narrow winding roads of Thiruvilwamala, The tar normally considered as an enemy, has taken us through the heart of Kerala. JK takes another turn pointing towards a bungalow, then doesnt’ get in. But goes straight ahead, stops and takes a U-turn. And suddenly gets into one of newly created Bungalows. Manas shouts
JK, साले भूल गया क्या अपना घर ?
He blows his horn, a lady is all smiles. They both start talking in the native language. His aunt and uncle greet us and we get into the lovely bungalow. We put our bags into the upper room, and come downstairs getting awkward as normally a unknown person would be.
While roaming in the Verandah, a bike comes in the adjoining bungalow. JK calls for the guys. Vinu and Shri, JK’s first cousins too are here for the holidays. Its their house that we are actually living. Vinu has a very distinct north indian tone to his Hindi, while Shri seems to have a Gujarati tongue. Both of them hailing from Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Vinu is a super cool chillax fellow, while Shri even though friendly seems to be very formal. Vinu with his north indian flavour also has the added spice of gaalis to his tongue.
We roam around and before we know its sunset. Its gonna be a daaru party tonite, JK’s cousins, JK and us on a farm house. So we head out for a wine-shop, its actually a back of the hotel. Me, Manas and JK get in. There is a small counter near the door, a hall in front of it with a huge wooden plank around chest height along the border with empty glasses, water bottles, soda, etc. There are people buying a peg or two at the counter. They come with their pegs, put water in the glass, place it on the plank, have a peanut or two and then in 4 gulps its down! Another one comes in, puts water in the glass, raises the glass to his lips, and the lips never let go the glass till the brown liquid vanishes! Manas and me stare at them and then back to JK…
Welcome to Mallu-land, this is how Mallus drink !
Back at the farm house, we ride through thorny shrubs, rocks, into a secluded small house which in the dark, seems to be right in the middle of a jungle. However it was amidst the rubber plantations. Wind hustling through the trees, the temperature too has droped, its now pleasant. On the big rock, everbody sit, start enjoying the night with the मद्य पेय. JK and his cousins talk incessantly, joking, laughing. Daasu another of JK’s cousin, the eldest amongst those seems to be an expert at cracking one-liners, as well as showing a lot of his physical brotherly love to his cousins which JK had already had warned us about.
Me and Manas only get in the conversation when Dasu with his Kamruddin style hindi got us talking. Manas, the half-plate also a quarter-drinker couldn’t have a lot. Finally we ended being back in his aunt’s bungalow, resting in the cool air of Thiruvilwamala.