Monday, May 08, 2006

Of Travel, Life, Death and more...


Travelling is an amazing pastime. Opinions may differ, but the real essence of enjoying travel, is in the state of mind when there is a lack of preparedness, when there is vibrancy of youth in the spirit to go on, when there is no fixed destination and when we travel, for the sake of travelling to see new places, meet new people and learn new stories.

Recently, on my vacation, I travelled along with family to Kerala, my native place, with a fixed schedule, everything well planned out, everything, every minute of the week planned well beforehand, thanks to my father`s meticulous planning. The trip was a mixture of emotions, of grief, of happiness, of devotions, of well- wishing and many things new.


Grief, mainly on seeing my grandfather laying sick, sinking and very obviously on his deathbed. To see that great man, who had always been a towering personality, feared for his angry words, loved for his loving nature, his love for food, despite being a diabetic, the old railway station master who loved his grandchildren dearly, to see his frail body and tear filled eyes, was enough reason for grief. Though I smiled, though I left his side and have come back to office, there is a tug at heart, there is pain, and I am sure, I will miss him. Death is beautiful, as I have felt earlier, but death is not without pain for those who survive these eternal souls who leave behind their lifeless bodies and walk the stairs of fate up and onto the journey to nothingness. May lord keep him happy and contented as he bids his final adieu.

As I mentioned earlier, a planned trip is not interesting travel, and yet a journey is in it`s own way interesting. Especially if it`s with your family to a place which can make your companions and yourself nostalgic.
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My father, for example was at the height of nostalgia, as he described his long walks to the school, his childhood and as he kept bringing to my notice that I was luckier than him, I was becoming increasingly sarcastic. While taking bath in the kulam(pond) at my uncle`s house, he suddenly remarked ..

"You know what..? We should buy a big ancestral house, complete with it`s own pond, trees, a nearby temple.."

I looked back at him and curtly replied. "Yeah, and we`ll get an elephant as well !." He ignored me, he was already in his own world, and I just smiled.

Attending my cousin sister`s wedding was another important item on our itinerary and was with it`s own share of gossip, family squabbles, well-wishing, food, greetings and work. Getting introduced one by one to people i`ve never known, making small talk etc. I discovered, that I am so terribly bad at such things. On the contrary, my sister was all smiles and was all set to talk and chatter, the typical to-be-MBA girl.


The trip concluded, with the pilgrimage to the guruvayur temple, to seek the lord`s blessings. As I stood in the serpentine long queues, admiring the paintings, I also felt that the thronging crowds have somehow diminished the serenity and silence of the temple. Inching our way, through an ocean of humanity, by the time we reach the lord, we just get a glimpse, before which we are pushed ahead, for the others to follow. The whole exercise, being surprisingly so symbolic of life itself.

Most of the time, we were travelling, everytime only on trains, as my mother is a lovable vomiting maniac and the buses of Kerala and the spiralling roads don`t favour the situation much.


As we finally reached back to chennai, back to the sweltering heat, we all had a bundle of emotions in our minds. A journey planned or unplanned sure has it`s thrills and shortcomings and to travel is an amazing way to pass time. If you have read the book "Footloose on the west coast" by Scharada Bail, you will notice that our journeys were similar in many ways, though in the book, the destination was the beautiful city of Mangalore, the land of Bisi Bela Bath.

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Travelling in India, is a beautiful experience, but next time, I would love to stretch this beyond the known places. Hope life allows and time agrees.

18 comments:

Palaniappan N said...

Why do you put grievances atop of happiness always?

SCRIBBLEZ TO WAKEUP said...

Oh..U have given an insight as to why you were being missed....Sorry about your grand-dad...I always believe that it is the surviving people who are in more pain of loosing someone they love....But alas, we have to give in to the circle of life...

We have been wanting an ancestral home too...I already one, thats my native place, with kulam and thodi or the garden etc etc...Its so simple and I love going there and even if I am not doing anything, I cant ask for a more perfect place....

I wanted an elephant too, a small one but grand-dad told me it needs to be fed a lot and there is no one to take of one, so we dropped the idea..Never the less I do see many during the festival...:)

You bought in good memories, of things I will see again....

About the planned journey vs the spontaneous journey , it it is the surprise element which you get more in a spontaneous trip that makes it all th emore exiciting...

I love planned trips though as I am quiet fussy about accomodation etc etc...:) :)

Cute post Srijith :)

Deepak said...

How did you manage to take the snap inside Guruvayur temple?

Srijith Unni said...

@Palaniappan : Grief, is like any other emotion. It is not taboo. However I don`t alwys put grief atop happiness, Maybe, I was homesick, while writing..!

@Scribblez : Yes, The circle of life, so nice! Yes, scribblez, and when you make your journey, do make a post about it, thus I shall relive some of my own memories. :-))

@Deepak : lol! I`m sorry deepak, but I actually didn`t take these pics myself, rather found them on the net. Put them on just to get a feel. and anyway you can`t take even a mobile inside, forget a camera. ?!

N Navaneetha Krishnan said...

At last, i understood something in ur blog.... (the previous blogs which u have written , i was not able to get anything)

Srijith Unni said...

@navaneethakrishnan : Sorry about that, shall try to make my words simpler. :-)))

Maya Cassis said...

hey there
My father is another planned traveller.He has every minute written down and he goes mad like an angry elephant on a rampage if we plan to do otherwise.
So most of our travels have been rushed and we hardly get to sit in one place peacefully at a time.he just wants to get everything done helter skelter and then we will be rushing back home again from our vacation, for which we wish we had another vacation to recover from.
Sorry about your grandpa.Even my grandma is ailing at the moment.Age does that to you but we have to learn to accept it.That's the order of things around here,isn't it.

Srijith Unni said...

@Maya : I guess all fathers are big-time planners. They plan a lot, about our daily bread, our education etc, and when it comes to travel, obviously, they have a clear agenda in place. :-)))
Yeah I understand that life`s like that, but Maya, don`t you think that some people don`t whither easily with age, for example my great grandmother`s sister is still living. She`s 93.

Jaya Chithra said...

good post...interstin...
well read ma blogs too n comment.. http://sjchitra159.blogspot.com

Ram said...

Hey Srijith, well you had a very symoblic trip. Life, death, marriage, religion and memories. What more is there?

Sorry to hear about your grandad, being close to death is a very powerful experience. I hope you came away the stronger for it.

I think that sometime during the time we all grow up, some sort of unique bond is formed between us that places we relate to. I can go to the US, I can go to Chennai, I can go to Bangalore or Delhi, but I never get the feeling I get when I get down infront of my house in my village. Just something special there...glad you could experience it.

Srijith Unni said...

@jaya chitra : thanks for coming by. Nice Blog, you`ve got, Wish, I could design my blog as nicely as well. Thanks for providing the link.

@Ram : Ram, I guess all journeys are like that, they are filled with all kinds of things and provide us with a multitude of things to talk about, that`s why travelogues are so interesting.
And you`re right about the bond we share with our native place. Home sweet home, is so sweet and true.

Thanks for leaving your comments!

Anuradha said...

Visiting your native place, your ancestral home is always very nostalgic... leave my DAD or MOM talking their childhood days, i keep telling my kid cousins about my good old childhood. Climbing trees, going for a dip in the kollum in sorching heat, running in the paddy fields... its all so much fun.. i mean true fun, not like partying out which we generally term as "having fun".
Good write...

Srijith Unni said...

@Anuradha : Yes so very true, anu. We go partying and call that having fun, but going to a place, about which we still have dreams, where we spent our innocent childhood, is just another thing completely. Also the simplicity and the bountiful nature adding to the sheer experience.
Thanks a lot for coming by and sharing your thoughts

AJITH said...

Nice writeup..Brings nostalgic memories. And, can we now take photos inside Guruvayoor temple ?

Srijith Unni said...

@ajith : Hi Ajith!. Thanks for the compliment. It`s nice to know that one`s words and thoughts make another nostalgic.
No! They don`t allow you to take even a mobile, so forget a camera, this is a pic, I found on the net, and so put it up here.

Maya Cassis said...

it's true wat you said...some people do not wither with age and I have some living proofs in my life too.
but lots of people go the other way...the majority,I mean.

Prash said...

Oh boy ! ! !

You put me into nostalgia too...

That pic of Guruvayoor field and those stretched rice fields surrounded by coconut and other types of trees..typically kerala ! (where i come from too).

Planned travelling with family...oh boy ! i hated it always. Dad, used to do that every time and we go to that temple once every year. Now i don't go there anymore...But last time i visited India (oct 2005) i went with my parents to that temple just for them because they get disappointed every time i say no for that trip. Finally i said yes, as i thought that is going to be something nice and i can think about my childhood and cherish it. I certainly did.

Thanks for taking back to those days .

Srijith Unni said...

@Prash : Yeah, I guess this was written with a lot of nostalgia for myself and am happy that it made so many others nostalgic too. and yeah I knew you were from kerala, after seeing your pics from Cochin. Nice Ones..We all cherish our childhood a lot, don`t we..?