From Kowdiar, Trivandrum, Kerala, India
A visit back to your school invokes nostalgia so much. After finishing high school in 1994, I went back there only once. I would pass by the school quite often, as it is just 2 KMs away from home, but never felt like walking in there. But last week, I thought I would just show my 3-yrs old son around the school as he would always point out and say “here comes your school!” whenever we passed by.
Sree Narayana Boys High School, Kanimangalam, was and is a modest school. There is a story behind why I joined this school that is about 2 KMs away from home while having an English medium right in the back of our house. I was a school topper in the lower primary school which was also nearby. That school was run by nuns and they made a deal with this other school that I would get admission there from 5th standard onward, because my family couldn’t afford the school fees and they would have to admit me for free. The founder of that school was an old man clad in monk-like saffron clothes whose name was Acharya J C Chirammel, also known as “Chaakkoru Maash”, and he readily agreed to take me in. But then he passed away in a road accident. His son was a priest and he denied the help offered by his father (very priestly indeed). So we had no choice but to move to a school where we did not have to pay for education. That is how S.N. Boys School came in to picture. I have mostly good memories of the school. The teachers were kind, the atmosphere helped grow the extra curricular activities and got some good friends who still remain good friends. Here are some pics.
This place that looks like an abandoned historical site was once abuzz with the chatter of students and parents. The stage you see in this picture has witnessed many school anniversaries, youth festivals and send-off meetings.
Next to the old and abandoned stage is a portion dedicated to teach children the basics of farming. There was a student who was watering the plants. I also met the current school head mistress there. She is an alumni of the S N girls school next door. She asked me whether there were enough children in our batch. There were plenty of children in each class room in our time. She said now there are very few students. The surge of modern schools has resulted in this. The class room you see on the right is which used to be my 6th standard class. One of our teachers was K V Sreedharan Master, who is a former BJP chief of Kerala. He had a hoarse voice which, as the children used to say during that time, was a result of police beatings during the times of Emergency. He retired the next year, when I moved to 7th.
This is how the old and infamous ‘kokkaRNi’ looks like now (‘kokkarni’ is sort of a farm pond). There used to be a time when this place was a camp of the notorious senior gangs in the school. They boozed and smoked beedis and weed here. They also used this as a rear entrance to the girl’s school next door even. Other children did not dare to go to this part of the school when there were seniors around.
Nelliyampathy is a hill station in our neighboring district Palakkad. I have never been to the place though it is pretty close (must be around 80 kms max to reach). So when my nephews planned for a trip to Nelliyampathy on last Saturday, I jumped right in. We started in the morning and came back by night. It was a fun trip with the young ones in the family.
There isn’t a lot to see in Nelliyampathy. It was a sunny day when we got there, yet there was cool breeze in the air. So the climate on that day was somewhere in the middle of being too cold and too hot. Our first stop on the way was Pothundi irrigation dam, but if you go there don’t waste too much time. There is a beautiful garden in the area and that’s a good place to relax a bit, but the dam in itself doesn’t offer much to see. There are some small waterfalls en route to the top of the hills and there was one place that we stopped by when we returned and spent a lot of time. It was a picturesque location and we enjoyed our time there. Another place to see is Seethaargundu view point. That place offers some nice view from the hills and is a major spot. There was another peak called Manpaara, but we didn’t go there.
Ours was a day trip but there are some nice resorts to stay if you go with your family or friends. But when you are outside, there isn’t any good restaurants to eat; at least we could not find any. Below are some photos from our trip.
A beautiful church somewhere in a rural area with a huge Pietà replica; en route to Nelliyampathy
A nice view of the hills on the way
Another view on the way
The team posing for a photograph en route.
Boys striking a pose at the Pothundy dam garden.
Seethargundu view point – friends from the evolution period saying ‘Hi’.
Lunch time for the old friends – at Seethaargundu view point
A view from Seethargundu
This tree must have been photographed a thousand times by tourists to Nelliyampathy. I have seen numerous photos of this on internet. This tree is situated at Seethaargundu.
Taking my fair share of fame by posing with the famous tree
The boys at Seethaargundu
Literally scratching each others back
It does not matter how rough the weather is,
How turbulent the waves could get,
How far the shore is or how long we must travel.
What really matters is that we’ve come this long,
Rowing this boat of life together,
Having you by me and I by you.
(The photo was shot at Alappuzha, Kerala, during the Nehru Trophy Boat Race season in 2007.)
As usual, I set out to Thrissur Pooram this year too and clicked a few pics. I’m kind of losing the interest to go see Pooram during the day because of the heat and I only spent 3 hours n the town. This time it was mostly walking in the Swaraj Round and Thekkinkadu Maithaanam seeing the Pooram special sights. Here are some pics I clicked during the stroll.
ezhunneLLippu after Madathil Varavu.
Naadawaram and Thakil vaadyam – The guy in the center (with yellow robe and moosh) has been playing in Pooram for a long time.
Umbrellas floating in the sky after the fireworks during the day
A gypsy family making a living during Pooram. Gypsy circus is a common sight of Pooram.
For just 20 bucks, you get a name engraved in a single rice grain which is then put up in a liquid and then made a keychain out of it!
This young man is very skilled. He could write even long names on a single rice grain!
My friend Ajith sat with the card reader when I insisted. For 20 bucks, the old woman said he woud marry from the same religion and his marriage would happen soon (he is already married and it was an inter-religious marriage and he already has a kid). There is a big row of palmists and card readers outside the Nehru Park and many people go to them though they pretend it is just for fun.
Looks like one of the palmists had his fair share of the day before noon. He is half-naked and fast asleep, must be the Gin bottle you see on the left of the banner.
These are not phone booths, they are temporary toilets. From Thekkinkadu ground.
There is this small convent school just to the back of our house where all of us in our family went to from 1st to 4th standard. Those were the days when people had so many kids at home and could not afford to send them out to fancy schools with a fee. Those who could afford the fees and an English medium school sent their children to another flashy convent school near by. This little lower primary school of ours is called Pope John L. P. School (in Kuriachira, Thrissur) and even though it is in the next street, I have never gone back there ever since I was 10. I went there as I had a chance yesterday and it brought back some old memories.
The school has not produced any famous people that I know of (but certainly some good people), but there is one journalist who works with Mathrubhumi Weekly who was my batch mate back then. The building and even the class rooms remain the same way as it was 20 years back except for some ceiling fans which seems to be a new thing. I heard that the school now has very few children and like in the old days almost all of them are from poor families in the area.
(All photos shot with my Sony Ericsson P1i)
A quote from Albert Einstein is written on a blackboard that says the power of thought is more valuable than the power of intellect (I don’t really get that though).
A class room frozen in time. Only the wall paint has changed.
A small chapel to the end of the main corridor.
That is a blackboard but what you see in there is not a map.
Lessons of math written on wooden desk.
First lessons of art, again on a desk.
First lessons of love.
A peek from the corridor.