Manu Remakant explores Reason #1.Villages…
Abandon yourself in a village, a nameless, nondescript one in Kerala. Any place will do. Play deaf to those cynics who say that the State is now a big township and villages had long packed their baggages and left.
They will point at the electric lines, telephone poles and mobile signal bars and smile their cynical smiles.
Every night I sleep, I hope to wake up in a place I visited long back – Kanthalloor. The place lies beyond Marayur in Idukki district. The first time I negotiated the hairpin curves to reach the place at night, I saw a necklace of bright stones on the mountains welcoming me – forest fire. It was followed by buffets of cold breeze from the distant stars studded on the black canvas over the blue-black mounts.
The night did not reveal the beauty of the place but gave away to one of the best mornings in my life. Buds were waiting to wake up gently along with me. Apples, strawberries, carrots, cherries – Kanthalloor takes a break from Kerala, but lingers on its way to heaven.
Mist hugged close to the street of the mountain village even at 8 O’clock in the morning. Cows were seen calmly lapping up the dew on the green tufts which stretch on until they reach the blue mountains far away. A couple of wild horses trotted along the path.
One of the best jungle treks in Kerala begins from the village. The walk through the Anaimudi National Shola forest is etched deep in my mind. For the first time I saw fresh green lichens hanging down from the branches of tall trees, “which are the hallmark of environmental purity,” says my friend.
When you are in a village don’t be hesitant to be part of the life there, but never its politics. Overhear the villagers over a cup of ‘very slow tea’, from a local tea shack, read their faces, gestures and bearing, listen to the lilt and respond with smile as they crack jokes you don’t understand. They will get you to places, people and things no travel guides have access to.
People are infinitely helpful in villages. The only thing is you have to open up. They may hate their neighbors, but love us who come from faraway lands to their home.
(Photographs by Manu Remakant)