Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A journey into the past


Nine long years it has been.
It was in the summer of 1997 that we left Surathkal and its premises, to settle in Thiruvananthapuram.So much has happened in the years that followed , each one of us growing older , me and brother crossing classes , switching schools and colleges, surviving the mishap called professional entrance exam as well as we could and landing up in CET one after the other.My engineering tenure was a disappointing one with me underperforming and all my introvertism playing the villain , i frankly didnt gather much good at CET , which i have come to regret greatly at this later mode of life.

All through this course of time, i always had this feeling that something was greatly amiss in my life , something which i couldnt put my fingers on and say with surety...it wasnt exactly nostalgia , but all the same it was very much there...

We jumped at the chance when father made a suggestion that maybe we could make a trip to Mookambika via Mangalore for the Vishu + Easter hols this time.I knew very well that almost all of my classmates have moved out of the place , either married or got jobs or gone for higher studies...with everyone scattered all over the globe , the place will never be the same , yet i wanted to see it very much, perhaps I wanted to remind myself of the better times of my life...
We boarded the Malabar express at 12 pm , midnight from Ernakulam.All the world might have changed but not our dear Malabar express:) , tugging and pulling it got us there at 11 am the next day , an hour and a half later than its scheduled time.




Peeping out of the taxi as it sped along to Surathkal , i found little had changed about the place.It was very hot and dusty as it would be in summer in coastal Karnataka.Thats when we are grateful for the intermittent rains ,that have rendered us green all through the year.The funny thing was that i had expected great changes with the place and people ,and i felt a bit odd on discovering that was not so...nothing much had changed.As our car turned into the left side road to the lighthouse, opposite the men's hostel for Karnataka Regional Engineering College students (now its KNIT , Surathkal), our mouths opened wide to find the 'goodangadis'(kannada for a temporary thatched shop ) which sold sugarcane juice , omlette , noodles and such quick snacks , intact :) . The gate for Sadashiva devasthana(a temple of Lord Siva overlooking the beach ) had been repainted. Again at the staff quarters , new gates were put up , some trees were missing , (guess there had been some tyrant who specialised in cutting down trees ) i felt really downcast when i saw the empty space where our huge Badam tree had stood with its large branches offering a cool shade .....also i was disheartened to see two emaciated black she-dogs which came barking at us and ran away when brother bend down to pick up a stone, we used to to have two robust lovely dogs named blacky and browny both of which were reared right from when they were pups .The place had somewhat deteriorated ....plenty of overgrowth at the backyard of the quarters where we had lived for eight years....




The LightHouse and its office and controls room are a bit away from the staff quarters , about 2-3 minutes walk . There is the temple on the way , high up on a rock, the road which runs beside it goes to the LightHouse compound.Here there was good news.Some good renovation had happened , again new gates :) , freshly painted Inspection quarters(IQ) which appeared to have had a good maintanence (thats where we planned to stay until we left for Mookambika the next day) brought back our spirits.The IQ looks on to the beach below , it has all the positioning that a tourist beach resort should have.All those familiar rocks and boulders , sea breeze wafting in all the time and suddenely summer seemed no longer a threat .After a quick bath we hurried to have lunch at the Station Engineer's quarters, they were malayalees and were too eager to meet us, i thought that they were generously kind to have taken all the trouble , anyway the 'fish biriyani' tasted delicious ;) , and again we dined on the the same table we had used all the time when we were there :) . I ran around inpsecting what had once been my room , TV room , office room etc etc to us , they all seemed alien in new settings ....





That evening we climbed up the stairs to the top of the lighthouse . Standing out there with just the parabolic reflecting lens higher than us, feeling the strong gush of sea wind against our faces and the magnificient view of landscape merging into the sea ,one never really feels like dismounting those steps back down. Managed to get down to the beach before sunset and brother got busy with his camera .

Then the most unexpected thing happened . Me and brother had no plan to go meeting our old classmates , one reason being we had no idea where each of them would be , and if any where left at Surathkal at all , brother even suspected that they may not recognise him after all these years and he should be long forgotten to them. We were walking back from the beach as time passed from twilight to night , there were many people moving to and fro , lot of them being students of the nearby engineering college. It was getting really dark and we could hardly see each other's faces , suddenely i saw that brother was missing from the lot.I looked back to see him chatting with two guys , one a really tall and big one :) , laughing gleefully and hurrying to us , for a moment i was confused , any of his friends from trivandrum?? , his voice cut my train of thoughts , those two are Vikas and Nikhil !! , we had seen them as kids from LKG to 6th std .I went to talk with them with a slight hesitation thinking they may not remember me , only to learn that they had recognised me first and brother through me!! :) . From that moment my brother left us to join his long lost buddies , could understand his excitement, i wouldnt have been any less happy if this was to happen to me.Soon the rest of the pack joined them(all informed on cellphones by the other two) and we could hear all the noise they made at the beaches from where we stayed.....

Later he told me the whole thing was incredible bcoz it was on April 12 , 1997 that they parted , at the same spot with the uncertainty if they would ever meet again .Then they had just passed into 7th std and now all of them in 6th sem in different engineering colleges , one in medical college.And on April 12, 2006 they meet at the same place by pure coincidence!! Brother said even Stephen King couldnt account for so much of coincidence :)

Because of this unexpected meeting , the way to meet Shahin ma'am , the teacher we loved most and influenced us the most in school , became clear.Otherwise i had forgotten the way to her home in KREC campus.We went to meet her , me laden with half a kilo of 'burfi' from 'Costa bakery' :). Her eyes bulged with surprise and face quivered with happiness to see four of her students at her door step.She welcomed me with a big hug saying repeatedly "So happy to see you dear" . She talked enthusiastically for the next 1 hour or so , we were amazed about how much of an encyclopeadia she was as far as her students were concerned.She knew every specific detail about everyone she taught in the last 14 years.She for herself had grown older , but there was no holiday to her energy.We can never categorize her as an efficient and dedicated teacher .She simply had to be the most efficient and dedicated teacher that ever was :) . Took snaps of her but unfortunately they didnt come out well...She gave us all hugs and blessings when we said goodbyes .Passes our school on the way back , it had more buildings now and a new compound wall, except for that everything was the same, the same trees at the back , the same throwball courts and cricket ground .It was closed for summer vacation.We had to hurry back so that we could leave to Mookambika that afternoon.

The trip to Mookambika was quite uneventful , except for the mad rush at the temple for 'Vishu Kani' which i detested very much .If at all we go there again we should choose a better time of the year , the extreme summer heat made it worse.By the time we got into Malabar express to return home , i was sick with food poisioning...

All in all it was a memorable trip , one which we never believed would materialize , because our individual availabilities never seemed to coincide .....

To get a feeling of being in the past is really something.....

8 comments:

neeth said...

wow........
those snaps r really amazing...
the 1st one is an absolute beauty..
i suppose some of them u hav taken from the top of the light house.
the beach snaps r also sooo sharp and clear.....
u certainly hav got an eye for scenic beauty

soorya said...

Thanks :)
Bro is particularly proud of that first one :)
Yes, two of them taken from top of the light house...and i have added the two snaps which you mentioned..

Chetana said...

hi,saw u'r snaps,was just like refreshing the good old days and also went thru the blog,it was well written rather when u wrote abt how u felt when u saw u'r brothers friends and shahin teacher i was almost into tears

Anonymous said...

i found ur articles great,
ur old classmate from krec,
i hope u remember
sayed shanawaz

soorya said...

Hey Shanawaz! great to see you here,how r u and where are you?....of course i remember you,how did u chance upon this blog?..by the way its not been updated since long :-)...can u give me ur mailid or orkut id? Many of our classmates are in Orkut

syed shanawaz said...

:-O, i knew that its not updated for long.. but still gave a try....,
:-)), really glad ,that u remember..

(:-),my id sayedshanawaz@yahoo.co.in
now in kuwait for last 3years
working as an data Analyst,

RSVP,

Kishore said...

Hi Soorya,
journey to the past has been written very well, plus the embedded pictures makes reading so nice.
The part about meeting shahin teacher actually brought tears in my eyes..

Kishore

Krishnakumar said...

A truely reminiscent journey in the 'TIME MACHINE' :-) Good visuals , good narration :-)