HEARD OF RIP WAN WINKLE'S STORY?HE SLEPT FOR 20 YEARS ;AND I WAS IN FOR A BIGGER SURPRISE TO VISIT KUMILY AND PERIYAR DAM AFTER 50 YEARS

..............






FIRST ABOUT MY VISIT TO PERIYAR DAM AND KUMILY IN 1950'S:-
IT WAS JOURNEY WHICH WAS TO START EARLY MORNING AT 6 PM FROM THIRUVALLA TOWN ;[A TYPICAL BUS OF THAT TIME]

BY THE ONLY BUS TO REACH CHANGANCHERRY TOWN ,IN TIME FOR THE ONLY BUS GOING TO KUMILY AND VANDIPERIYAR ;NEAR THEKKADY AND PERIYAR DAM AT 7 AM.THIS WAS BECAUSE IF A BUS STARTS FROM KOTTAYAM AT 8 AM IT WILL REACH KUMILY TOWN ONLY BY 5PM AND THAT WAS TIME FOR 'CURFEW'! CURFEW BY WILD ELEPHANTS ON ROAD FROM VANDIPERIYAR ONWARDS. AND BUS DRIVERS REFUSED TO DRIVE BEYOND VANDIPERIYAR TOWARDS KUMILY AFTER 4 PM DUE TO WILD ELEPHANTS




THE GREEN COLORED BUSES WERE KNOWN AS 'MURI MOOKKAN'[HALF NOSED] BECAUSE COMPARED TO THE FULL NOSED [SEE RED COLORED BUS WITH LONG BONNET] IT HAD VERY SHORT BONNET

HALF NOSED BUSES WERE QUIET COMMON ON ALL ROADS


WHILE LONG NOSED BUSES WERE FOR LONG DISTANCE .MOST BUSES WERE PRIVATE OWNED BECAUSE THE MAHARAJAH'S(GOVT:)BUSES WERE FEW
THERE WAS NO EXPRESS BUS OR AIR CONDITIONED -AS AIR CONDITIONING FOR CARS AND BUSES WERE NOT YET DISCOVERED IN 1950'S
, ALL BUSES WERE PETROL BUSES AS PETROL WAS VERY VERY CHEAP(1 GALLON PETROL =4 LITER=15 RUPEES;NOW PETROL PER LITER IS 50/)
THERE WAS NO INDIAN PETROL TILL SHELL AND ESSO COMPANIES WERE NATIONALIZED BY INDIRA GANDHI IN 1970'S.
PETROL PUMPS WERE HAND OPERATED ;BY MOVING/CRANKING THE HANDLE TO AND FRO (YOU SEEN IT AT THE BACK OF THE PUMP IN THE PHOTO) ;AND THERE WAS NO ELECTRIC OPERATED PETROL PUMPS -AS IT IS NOW-AS THAT TECHNOLOGY WAS ALSO NOT AVAILABLE IN KERALA AT THAT TIME

BELOW SOME OLD HAND /OPERATED /HAND PUMPED -PETROL PUMPS OF 1940-1960
PETROL HAD TO PUMPED INTO VEHICLE BY MOVING THE HANDLE ON THE PETROL PUMP ;TO AND FRO MOTION .IT WAS TEDIOUS WORK TO FILL TANK BUT PETROL WAS DIRT CHEAP

THERE WAS NO DIESEL BUSES OR CARS TILL PETROL PRICES WENT UP IN 1970.
ROADS WERE NOT TARRED IN ANY PLACE EXCEPT IN FRONT OF THE KOWDIAR PALACE AND MAIN ROAD IN TRIVANDRUM.
SO IT WAS REAL JARRING JOURNEY AND IT USED TO TAKE FROM MORNING 7 AM TO EVENING 4 PM TO REACH VANDIPERIYAR FROM KOTTAYAM AND ANOTHER 3 HOUR OR MORE TO REACH KUMILY .AND THERE WAS NO TRAFFIC ON ROADS FROM VANDIPERIYAR TO KUMILY
ONCE I WAS UNFORTUNATE TO REACH VANDIPERIYAR AT 3PM AND THERE WAS NO MORE BUSES AFTER 3 PM FOR ONWARD JOURNEY TO KUMILY AND I WAS FORCED TO STAY IN A ROOM GIVEN BY A KIND HEARTED ESTATE MANAGER

OF COURSE THERE WAS NO HOTELS ANYWHERE INCLUDING THEKKADY ! TOURISM HAS NOT STARTED AS AN INDUSTRY OR EVEN AS DIVERSION AMONG PEOPLE ,NATURALLY THERE WAS NO NEED FOR HOTELS .MASCOT HOTEL IN TRIVANDRUM WAS THE ONLY HOTEL IN TRIVANDRUM
AND FROM KUMILY TO VANDANMEDU AFTER 5 PM DUE TO WILD ELEPHANTS ON THE ROAD




SO TO TRAVEL TO KUMILY FROM KOTTAYAM(2 BUS PER DAY-7 AM AND 9 AM) AND CHANGANCHERRY( 2 BUS PER DAY7 AM AND 8 AM) ;SO AS TO REACH KUMILY OR VANDANMEDU ;BEFORE -THE WILD ELEPHANTS DECLARED THEIR CURFEW- AT 5- 6-7 PM ; WAS NOT FOR THE WEAK HEARTED
PEOPLE HAD NOT STARTED STAYING IN HIGH RANGES IN 1950 DUE TO WILD ANIMALS AND MALARIA
AFTER MUNDAKKAYAM WHEN THE HIGH RANGE STARTS THE WHOLE PLACE WAS EMPTY OF HUMAN HABITATION,EXCEPT PEERMADE AND VANDIPERIYAR WHICH WERE SUPPOSED TO BE THE 'WILD WEST' OF KERALA
PEOPLE WERE MAINLY TAMILIANS IMPORTED TO WORK IN THE TEA GARDENS AND ESTATES BY EUROPEAN OWNERS .THERE WERE 2 OR 4 INDIAN ESTATE OWNERS ALSO
THERE WERE VERY FEW MALAYALEES IN THOSE PLACES AND MALAYALEES WERE MAINLY OCCUPIED AS ESTATE SUPERINTENDENTS



OR SUPERVISORS OF TAMIL LABOR
MALAYALEES WERE STILL CONFINED TO THE 'LEVEL' GROUNDS UPTO MUNDAKKAYM ;NOT BEYOND
NO BODY EVER THOUGHT AT THAT TIME TO GO TO 'HIGH RANGES' FOR WHATEVER REASON ,INCLUDING AGRICULTURE .IF ANY BODY TALKED SUCH A PLAN AT THAT TIME HE WOULD BE THOUGHT AS A FOOL OR MAD
SO WHEN YOU GET INTO THE BUS OF 1950

TO TRAVEL TO KUMILY AND VANDIPERIYAR ;THE CROWD ONE COULD SEE WAS MAINLY MALAYALEES GOING TO THIS SORT OF HELL FOR JOBS AND A FEW OF THE EARLY MIGRANTS STRONG WILLED ENOUGH TO START AGRICULTURE IN MALARIA INFESTED FORESTS OF KUTTIKANAM,AZHUTHA, PEERMADE,UPTO VANDIPERIYAR AND .NOT BEYOND ;BECAUSE IF ANY BODY STARTED AGRICULTURE ANYWHERE BEYOND VANDIPERIYAR HE WAS SURE TO BE KILLED BY WILD ELEPHANTS

THE WHOLE ROAD FROM KUMILY TO VANDANMEDU WAS NO MANS LAND ,OVER RUN BY WILD ELEPHANTS AT NIGHT AND SOME TIME DAY TIME .MANY A TIME BUS SERVICE HAD TO BE CANCELED BECAUSE OF WILD ELEPHANT STANDING ON THE MUD TRACK BETWEEN KUMILY AND VANDANMEDU

FOOD WAS NOT AVAILABLE ANYWHERE BEYOND KUMILY AS THERE WAS NO HUMAN HABITATION THERE AND ALL FOOD HAD TO BE TRANSPORTED BY TAMIL COOLIES OR BY BUS .THERE WERE NO TRUCKS OR LORRIES AND I WONDER WHY!

NOT ONLY ELEPHANTS BUT TIGERS,BLACK BEARS



KUMILY TO VANDANMEDU ROAD WAS LIKE THIS-

,LEOPARDS ,AND OTHER WILD ANIMALS WERE IN PLENTY
OLD KUMILY TOWN LOOK- ALL TAMILIAN COOLIES THERE THEN

NOW BACK TO 2005
WHEN I VISITED THE SAME PLACE AFTER 55 YEARS:-
SUDDENLY I REALIZED I WAS IN A WELL DEVELOPED PLACE WITH CHURCHES,SCHOOLS ,COLLEGES,AND PLENTY OF HOUSES AND PLENTY OF PEOPLE EVERY WHERE .AND EVEN MANGO AND COCONUT TREES ;

MY SURPRISE HAD NO END WHEN I SAW A CHRISTIAN PRIEST WALKING ON ROAD ;ONCE A PLACE FOR WILD ELEPHANTS
ANOTHER SURPRISE WAS WHEN I SAW A BEAUTY PARLOR!! WHERE THERE WAS ONLY WILD ANIMALS JUST A FEW YEARS AGO!!

I SAID MY GOD !! WHAT A CHANGE !! AM I DREAMING?OR IS IT REAL?!
I WENT TO AN ESTATE 10MILES(16KMS) FROM KUMILY ON THE ROAD TO VANDANMETU TO MEET SOME OF MY OLD TAMIL COOLIES BUT I WAS FOR ANOTHER BIGGER SURPRISE .I ASKED FOR MR EENASU MUTHU AND THE ANSWER WAS LONG DEAD(ERANDU POOTCHU);NEXT I ASKED AT LEAST 6 OTHER NAMES OF WORKERS I KNEW IN 1950 AND EACH TIME THE ANSWER WAS DEAD,LONG DEAD .NOW SUDDENLY I HAD AN EERIE FEELING TO COME TO THIS PLACE AND TO KNOW ALL ARE DEAD ,I FELT DISORIENTED ;CONFUSED;MADE SURE I WAS AWAKE BY PINCHING MY HAND AND THAT IT IS NOT A DREAM

NOW I UNDERSTAND HOW RIP VAN WINKLE FELT AFTER SLEEPING FOR 20 YEARS !:-A FEW LINES FROM THE STORY OF RIP VAN WINKLE :-

"All stood amazed, until an old woman, tottering out from among the crowd, put her hand to her brow, and peering under it in his face for a moment, exclaimed, "Sure enough! it is Rip Van Winkle - it is himself! Welcome home again, old neighbor - Why, where have you been these twenty long years?
"Rip bethought himself a moment, and inquired, "Where's Nicholas Vedder?"
There was a silence for a little while, when an old man replied, in a thin piping voice, "Nicholas Vedder! why, he is dead and gone these eighteen years! There was a wooden tombstone in the church-yard that used to tell all about him, but that's rotten and gone too."
"Where's Brom Dutcher?"
"Oh, he went off to the army in the beginning of the war; some say he was killed
"What is your name, my good woman?" asked Rip
"Judith Gardenier."
"And your father's name?"
"Ah, poor man, Rip Van Winkle was his name, but it's twenty years since he went away from home with his gun, and never has been heard of since.
Rip had but one question more to ask; but he put it with a faltering voice:
"Where's your mother?"
"Oh, she too had died but a short time since;
Rip's heart died away at hearing of these sad changes in his home and friends, and finding himself thus alone in the world.
"God knows," exclaimed Rip , at his wit's end; "I'm not myself—I'm somebody else—that's me yonder—no—that's somebody else got into my shoes—I was myself last night, but I fell asleep on the mountain, and they've changed my gun, and every thing's changed, and I'm changed, and I can't tell what's my name, or who I am!"


KUMILY TOWN NOW :-



NOW:-

[THIS IS A REAL STORY AS HAPPENED ]
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Rip Van Winkle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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"Rip Van Winkle" is a short story by American author Washington Irving published in 1819 as well as the name of the story's fictional protagonist. Written while ...



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