Saturday, February 9, 2013
It was at 12 at night when I got in at Calicut. Everyone had folded their eyes when I was back to my home town. I walked to the bus stand and caught a bus to Calicut University. Though it was night and alone I was, the whole city and the lonely paths wondered me a lot. It was as if I was traveling first time in a unknown country. Some birds still chirped and tweedled at night to welcome me to the home land. Nobody was there to speak, so I knowingly made a small fuss with the conductor, only to call back that was my land! Around 1.30 I landed at the University of Calicut bus stop. It was thick dark, and there were no autos to bring me home. From university I had to walk at least three kilometer through a paseo to reach at home. I preferred to take the air rather comfortably getting in an auto. I called mother and she strongly advised to catch any auto at any cost. But I wanted to walk in such a calm but frightening night. Dogs were horribly woofing from everywhere. Some dared to trace me! I kept two three concrete stones with me only to get some courage. Fist time in my life I walked alone in such a darkest night. Still I felt a warm feeling to meet my parents. I reached home around 2.15. The doors were open already in expecting me there. Mother served some hot dinner (rather a supper!) that time. She was waiting for me whole the day. I was feeling at home after a long time. Everybody cordially received me to the land. I tried to meet everybody. For a week I completely kept my books away and stayed with the parents. They were very happy to send me to the wonderland.
The following day I set off ‘exploring my city’ journey. I usually do a journey without any destination only to see my home place with wild eyes! That day too, I caught a bus to Kondotty. It was Rs. 5 from Vadakke Bazar to Kondotty. By the time, the government had slightly stepped-up the bus fare, but interestingly the government had extended the minimum fare distance, so I had to give five instead of four. I passed on at Kondotty. Next was either to go to Manjeri or Calicut. I waited for the first bus. Luckily it was to Manjeri. I jumped into it. I was observing what people had newly constructed on the road side. I wondered the fast and sudden development my land was getting! Everywhere, construction was progressing, new buildings, houses, farms and other concrete forests were coming day by day. The greenness of country was gradually disappearing from the sight. When I reached Manjeri, I took another bus back to Kondotty. I was sitting near the window watching outside. I was noting only the outside scenes. Suddenly an old man (sorry a senior citizen!) asked me to close the shutter! It was not a request but a kind of demand and command. I helplessly gandered at his face. There was no any sign of understanding and relief. Very politely with a very low tone and trying to make my facial expression gentle I said:
“Hey! Kakka! I am travelling this long journey only to watch these missed sights! Pls don’t ask me to close it down, it’s a request to you, and you can still have a seat other side”
Then he sat very comfortably a bit and whispered in my both ears,
“Son! I am travelling in this only to forget everything and close my eyes at least sometimes..! I don’t want to see the world anymore!”
He was trembling with anger. I did not understand anything. Again I explained:
“I am a pravasi, not an exact pravasi, but I am staying outside of Kerala. I am studying in Hyderabad, the Pearl City and I usually travel on this route only to see what changes my city gets every day, Pardon me if I disturb you by opening the window of the bus!”
He again eased his sitting and held my right hand mildly and asked about the stories of Hyderabad Nizam and Hyderabad. I explained what I could. For a long both did not utter any word. I looked outside and gazed my co-traveller’s face alternatively. He was looking straight and different emotions were flashing on his face.
After a long pause, he mumbled in my ear. “Our land changed drastically!”
True! Kerala is developing day by day and the signs of progress are reaching in every nook and corner.
I agreed and nodded.
“.....That’s why I take this way to go to Calicut everyday in this time!” He added.
I really could not understand what he was averring. I desperately looked his eyes. The silent communication passed my helplessness to him.
“I am travelling to Calicut everyday to forget my place and house. I reach to Calicut around 12.30 and I go to Palayam Masjid for Zuhr prayer. Then I sleep there to dream my childhood. Only when I am in this dreaming my mind gets sharp. That is the time when I am living here in this world. I am dead now; you are speaking to a dead man! But when I sleep I wake up to dream my childhood!”
Then he untied the stocks of endless history and stories he had to say, about his child, Mappila Rebellion, family, the good and better old days, and the nasty and cheating of the present time. It was not a discussion, but he was showering his unhappy to the world, to his family, children. I listened the wild expressions he made in his face. The gestures seemed he lost all trust to the present world. When bus reached at Kodangadu, I said I was getting off next stop. Then he stared at me and held my hands tightly. I was afraid his tight holding might break my hands! His mouth touched my ears and spoke to my eardrums: “Son! Now, first time in my life, I feel that those all good old days are coming back again!
I really did not know why he said so, but our conversation eased his anger and tension. I got down at Kondotty and went to Fish market, even our Mackerel was upgraded to the royal fish, now the poor only have sardine as theirs! But to my surprise every sardine was screaming to save them from there, people changed suddenly their taste and everyone began to think they were part of the rich!