Sridhar Venkatasubramanian

Tragedy Classics Others

4  

Sridhar Venkatasubramanian

Tragedy Classics Others

An Enchanting Tale Of Our Tour Of South India-Part 19 Of 20

An Enchanting Tale Of Our Tour Of South India-Part 19 Of 20

5 mins
64


OUR SOUTH INDIA TOUR IN 1975

 

A pitiful incident that made me cry my heart out and other stories

 

After spending a magical evening in our ancestral village, an experience that I can never forget, we travelled to Srivilliputhur.

 

The most important landmark of Srivilliputhur or Thiruvilliputhur is the 11-tiered tower structure dedicated to the Vatapatrasayee (Vishnu), the presiding deity. The tower of this temple rises 192 feet high and is the official symbol of the Government of Tamil Nadu. 

 

My astonishment at seeing red skinned bananas for the first time.

 

We then travelled to Kodaikanal, which is a hill station. Its name in the Tamil language means "The Gift of the Forest." Kodaikanal is referred to as the "Princess of Hill stations."

 

I was surprised when I saw red skinned bananas for the first time. They were larger than the yellow ones and plumper, too. The flesh was light pink in colour, and it had quite sharp sweet taste. At Kodaikanal, my diet solely consisted of the above variety of bananas.

 

We then took a boat ride on the lake and thereafter took long walks in the eucalyptus tree lined avenues. There were a lot of eucalyptus seeds strewn all over the ground, and it was giving out a healthy aroma. My father said that eucalyptus oil is used for many medicinal purposes viz., for relieving cold and cough and also aches and pains. My sister and I collected a lot of seeds that we used whenever we felt we were having a headache or cold. We used to catch a whiff of the seeds, and the smell seemed to provide some relief.

 

The weather was very cool even in the afternoon, much in contrast to the heat and sultriness that we had faced in the plains during the trip.

 

Our next stop after Kodaikanal was Palani, which we travelled by train. While we were passing through Dindigul District, we could see on both sides rows and rows of vineyards. It was a heavenly sight.

 

The Palani Murugan Temple, dedicated to Lord Karthikeya, is situated on a hill overlooking the town. It is one of the six abodes of Lord Muruga. To reach the temple, one has to climb about 700 steps. There is an electric winch too. We used the winch while climbing, but for the return, we used the steps.

 

At Palani, what I loved most was the panchamritham (a sweet concoction made from five ingredients viz., mashed ripe bananas, seedless grapes, dates, sugar, and honey). It is a favorite of Lord Karthikeya and mine too.

 

From there, we travelled to Coimbatore, which is a beautiful city known for its captivating structures. One of which is the famous Maruthamalai Arulmigu Subramanya Swami Temple, known for its iconic and elaborate architecture.

 

After spending a day at Coimbatore, we took a train to Thrissur in Kerala.

 

A pitiful incident that made me cry my heart out

Thrissur is about 130 km from Coimbatore. The travel time is usually 2-3 hours if you take an express train. But my father decided to take a slow overnight passenger train that left Coimbatore at around 11 p.m. By choosing this train we will be arriving at Thrissur at 4 a.m. in the morning, thereby giving us ample rest in the night on the train itself. An express train would have reached Thrissur at 2 a.m. in the night, and we wouldn’t be able to have a good sleep. Also, the availability of sleeper berths in express trains at short notice was next to impossible.

 

The train started its journey as scheduled. I chose the lower berth because usually I don’t get much sleep on the train and to pass the time, I keep looking outside the window.

 

Our train stopped at all stations en route. Around 1 p.m. it pulled up at some major station. The platform was on the other side and so I was unable to see the name of the station. On my side was another track, and then another platform, which I could see was platform no.2. It was deserted except for one dog that was lying down with its ears cocked.

 

Then I heard somebody from the next section calling out at the dog by making clicking sounds. Immediately, it sprang to attention. I could see that it was neither a puppy nor an adult dog. Then somebody threw a piece of biscuit or bread, and it jumped down on the tracks to eat it. It was fun watching him jump up high in the air to catch the food as it was being thrown. It was continuously waging its tail vigorously and was really very playful.

 

After about some time, I saw a big pack of food being thrown out of the window from the adjacent compartment. It landed right in the middle of the tracks. The dog now got busy trying to open the packet with his teeth in order to have the food that must have been inside.

 

Just then, I heard the sound and saw the lights of an engine approaching on that track. The dog was still busy wrestling with that food packet. The people in the adjacent compartment tried to warn the dog by making loud, shooing sounds. But the dog, instead of jumping to safety, kept looking at their window expecting more food. By that time, the sound of the engine was very close indeed. In desperation, the people threw water on it. The dog realized the danger only when the engine was very close. It made an attempt to jump on the platform, but as fate would have it, it slipped and fell on the tracks and was caught under the rushing engine. When the engine passed, all we could see was mangled remains of skin, flesh, and blood of what a few seconds before was a playful little dog.

 

I have heard that animals have a very keen sense of approaching danger that is much better than the humans. But that day, it failed the poor dog, which cost its life.

 

I heard pitiful crying sounds of somebody from the other section. I, too, felt heavy at heart after watching the tragedy. Tears poured out of my eyes automatically. I cried my heart out silently as I did not want to disturb others. I didn’t know when I went to sleep and was awake only when my father shook me to announce that we had arrived at Thrissur.   

 

In the next episode, I will share the episode of a 14-hour-long sleeping session we had.

 


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