I had to reach home early as promised to my wife and as the clock struck 6 I dashed out of the office rushed to the basement to get on my motorcycle for a quick ride back home. Guests had already arrived at the house and I had been warned to reach as soon as possible. As I exited the main gate I was frozen cold with the sight that was in front of me. A huge procession of people across Park Street some dancing to the tune of a makeshift DJ atop a truck while some just dragged on. I got off my motorcycle only to realize that the procession was starching beyond my visual range in both the directions.
What I failed to understand as to what the people were celebrating since there were neither any gods neither any political flags. Upon asking one of the participants I was told that they were celebrating Bhim Jayanti which was actually the birthday of Dr. B R Ambedkar. The section of the procession which was passing in front of me constituted people from the cobbler community. From them, Dr. Ambedkar was like a messiah thus all the festivities.
The concept of a community-specific celebration or a place of worship is not that a new concept and this I got to know during my trip to Rome. My daughter was very much tired after walking for quite some time and she requested to rest somewhere. I found this quite place behind Capitoline Museums overlooking Roman Forum. It seems not many people come to this side and tourists after visiting Capitoline Museums either go towards the Colosseum or enter Roman Forum directly.
I am sure many of you who have watched the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara have had the thought of going on a long road trip once in your lifetime. Fortunately for me, I have had that experience a long time back, to be precise 15 years back(2003) much before the movie popularized the concept of a road trip. Back then this was just another long drive and it is only now that I realize that it was actually a landmark in my traveling life.
It all started right after I finished my last examination in college where I was completing my Batchelor’s degree. There was a gap between the last examination which I still remember were Economics and the result date. I still hadn’t figured out what to do after graduation thus was completely relaxed.
Which state in India is known as the Venice of the East? This was not a direct question to our team and I eagerly waited for the question to pass it to my team. This was during our school inter-class quiz competition which we used to have every year. During school days I was an avid quizzer thus all these answers were almost at my fingertips.
For years I have known that Kerala is often referred to as the Venice of the east especially the town Alleppey (Alappuzha) which due to its waterways is often associated with the Italian town of Venice. It was really fortunate for me to have traveled to Kerala quite a few times and the experience was just amazing.
One fine day all of a sudden an opportunity jumped into my lap, a chance to travel to Italy and I knew which place that I had to visit. Traveling to Italy and not visiting Venice would be to visit India and skip a chance to see the Taj Mahal. The planning had to be perfect since Venice is in the eastern side of Italy and within a few number of days, I had to complete my tour of the country covering what all could be covered.
What on earth is this I exclaimed? It’s a two-in-one you see replied my father. But this is not an ice cream to which he smiled and replied that it’s a two in one music system having both a cassette player and a radio tuner. It was the 80’s and it was the era of disco and boom box. My father had just got home a new Akai two one and I was stuck to it like a magnet. I knew what a cassette player was and even knew how a radio functioned with the SW (Short Wave) and MW (Medium Wave) buttons but this one had an FM button and that was something new to me.
At night my father extended the antenna and switched on the radio while he was locating radio stations by turning the tuner dial I asked him about FM. Frequency Modulation he replied, it’s like radio but with stereo audio but you won’t be able to hear anything now as there are no functioning FM channels in India. Maybe if you travel abroad someday you will be able to hear FM. By the way, he asked do you know who invented the radio? I did not know the answer so he replied that it was J C Bose who had first identified radio signals but it was Marconi who the world credit it to as Bose could not spread the word of his discovery to the world.
I had been planning a Rameswaram trip for nearly three years and every time it got finalized something or the other creeping up. Either it was a train timing mismatch or the whole vacation itself got diverted to another direction. After all visiting one of the southernmost part of mainland India has its own challenges due to its extreme south location along with limited train connectivity from the rest of India.
Rameswaram has been an important tourist spot due to its religious significance and as the name suggests it’s all to do with Lord Ram after all this is the place from which Ram Setu was built by the Vanar Sena to mainland Lanka (Sri Lanka). Thus Rameswaram is a very important pilgrimage town and this town has quite a few temples which are strategically built according to the journey of Ram marching along with the army towards the kingdom ruled by Ravana.
We were travelling as a family to Rameswaram and did not get a direct train thus had to stop over at Madurai. I had been to Madurai in the year 2002 but a lot had changed since then. Moreover, I was not a blogger then thus my approach towards the city was very different. So I had one full day in the city so had to utilize it to the maximum.
For a luck, I managed to book a hotel (Hotel Rani Mangammal Residencies) in the city which was located bang opposite to the Madurai Railway Station gate thus no running behind auto drivers no bargaining. Just took the luggage straight to the hotel and the rates were extremely economical considering the strategic location and the room type. Later on, however, I learnt that the hotel was operated by Madurai Municipal Corporation which was another shocker considering its beautiful ambience and maintenance. The manager at the front desk was extremely helpful and guided me to the list of important places that I could visit within a day with some comfort and enough time at each location to enjoy the beauty.