Sunday, December 2, 2012

At the Puthuvayil house.

According to previous arrangements, my maman and I had set off to Neelamperoor this morning. The last of the glitches needed to be sorted out before handing over the house to the government and the ASI to convert it into a national monument. The house in which PN Panicker was born and brought up should, rightfully, be the state's property and must inspire generations to take up causes for the uplift of the society at large.

It's always nostalgic when I fetch up at Neelamperoor and today's visit was no less different. Our immediate family had conglomerated at the house by morning and there was an infectiously festive atmosphere that was prevalent. Gomathi peramma(the second daughter of the late P Kesava Panicker, the elder brother of PN Panicker) and her children currently, reside in the ancestral house. In her late 70s and though infirmity has slowed her considerably, she was very happy to see us and it showed on her face. In her excitement, she was continuously issuing orders to her daughter to feed us! I was touched by her kindness, eagerness to put us at ease and she seemed to be wanting to do a lot of things, all at once!

Through the course of discussions, a common ground was reached and the initial paperwork for the dedication of the house as a monument, was formalised. And then, it was time to break bread and as the lunch was on in the small, yet roomy kitchen I went again and again through the entire house and its surroundings, mentally and didn't feel quite satisfied. The fact that my grandfather was nurtured from an infant to his adulthood in the house made it a very exciting and special occasion, especially, with a string of anecdotes being 'fed' along with the exquisite lunch spread.


I'd bought a ticket, for the one hour return travel to Kochi, on the Thiruvanathapuram - Gauhati superfast express and boy, wasn't the journey an experience of a lifetime? Just consider these and you'll agree with what I mean:-

      (a) The compartments were overflowing with passengers and literally, packed like sardines. It seemed
            as though the entire crowd from the north-east, currently in Kerala, were returning to their homes!
      (b) The guys who'd reservation were inflexible and unhelpful. Two of the Sabarimala pilgrims, from
            Andhra Pradesh, were so rude that I'd to tell them that their pilgrimage had come to a naught as
            they're devoid of compassion to their fellow beings - they relented, on hearing my sermons!
      (c) Two elderly ladies, with their heavy luggage were helped to detrain through the crowded corridor
            and they wouldn't leave my hands thanking in appreciation.
      (d) Wonder what would happen to the many passengers who'd clambered onto the reserved compart
            -ments without reservation? Don't the TTEs ever take rounds to take stock of the situation and  
            provide remedial measures?

Thankfully, the train reached Ernakulam in one hour flat!

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