Monday, August 29, 2016

A seemingly endless journey!

The day had begun at a half past 5 for me and I'd woken Lekha up at 6 because I didn't want her to unnecessarily get up early just because I was embarking on a journey. My packing had been completed last evening after I'd returned from the walk. Anto was at the gate, on the dot at 7, as per earlier arrangements. Mom gave me the go ahead, as I touched her feet before leaving, with the words, "Do well and come back immediately after the ceremony is over".

I could get the super fast to Thiruvananthapuram departing at 0725 hrs and managed to get a seat at the rear end. Boy, the bus was jam packed as the train services, up and down, remained disrupted! Small irritations like the passengers standing close to me leaned on the backrest of the seat, stepped on my feet and made their posture comfortable by asking me to shift my luggage frequently, were there during the initial stages. A few of them were taking the road journey after having travelled by train till then; they'd not even performed their morning chores and hence, emitted foul smells! When one travels in a public transport all such irritants are attendant and cannot be wished away!! The journey to the Vyttila hub at Ernakulam took about three hours.

As I charged towards the rest room to ease the pressure on my bladder, there was a low floor air conditioned bus to Thiruvananthapuram ready to leave but I'd reconciled to the fact that I wasn't gonna get it while I went about answering the nature's call. The lady at the enquiry told me that the next bus was at 1140 hrs and therefore, I'd helped myself to a snack and washed it down with a cup of tea. The bus left the terminal about 5 mts earlier than its scheduled departure.

At Alappuzha, a young lady doctor had become my co-passenger. We'd a long wound conversation on many issues - she was a good listener but seemed to be bothered with something - because from a call that I'd attended, she had come to know about the purpose of my journey. She'd posed a lot of queries regarding the libraries and the Library Movement. The long journey was, therefore, quite passable......... As we passed Kollam, I saw three IAF choppers parked at the main ground that had brought in the Vice President for an event!

At the Kollam bus stand, there was a change of our bus because its front door had jammed and the air conditioning wasn't effective. Anu, the doctor, offered to look after my overnighter while I'd gone to the rest room and we'd tea, waiting for the alternative bus. I didn't get to see her subsequently during the journey and was reminded of the saying that - "People come into your life for a reason, a season and for lifelong" - in this case, she'd briefly stepped in to break the monotony of a long journey!

On reaching Thiruvananthapuram, Omanakuttan was a trifle late to pick me up because of a bad accident enroute and as I reached the Foundation, I came to know that my slot in the official function was nixed to accommodate a representative of the Public Libraries to avoid rancour. My role had, therefore, become  that of a backroom boy and masking my disappointment, I put Maman and the members of the staff at ease. Omanakuttan seemed to be the worst affected by my removal - damn sweet of him!

Anjana, the MC, was given the script and we'd gone through the entire procedure, thrice, to boost her confidence and to make her aware of the nuances! We'd, then, gone to the Kanakakkunnu palace, to see that the flex boards, the stage and the seating suited our requirement and during the process, the reps of the Delhi Police came in, to okay them as well as to understand the minute-to-minute of the entire ceremony!

I'd, further, fine tuned Maman's speech, had a working dinner and we'd headed home, satisfied with our efforts for the day.


The entrance to the Kanakakkunnu Palace had two huge cut outs of a smiling PN Panicker, along with that of the Vice President, the Governor and the chief minister - the dignitaries who'd be there with many others - with the title of the day's programme displayed prominently. It was gonna be a successful event....I did get the gut feeling!

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