To be or not to be!!!


Munnar- the place I’ve travelled most. The land packed with misty mountains that rise up to the clouds. It seems like the hills are painted with cascading waterfalls and carpeted in tea plantations. And the weather- Oh so beautiful, any time of the year!

The first time I visited Munnar was right after my wedding- an ideal spot to spend a honeymoon. With the cool weather and soft showers of rain, the climate was a perfect justification for the occasion! We went to visit the Mattupetty dam, the National Park with the very friendly, yet endangered Nilgiri Tahr, to witness the panoramic view of Munnar from Pallivasal and Top Station and so on. I had a nice time but never felt the need for visiting the place again. But each time a plan came up to go for a tour, and we finalized on a destination, it somehow would fail and ultimately we end up going to Munnar.

When you think of experiences, you get them both good and bad. I‘ve had them both. I’ve always wanted to visit the northern part of Kerala to spend my holidays, or go to Pondi, or visit historical sites in Karnataka; or even better, go to Malaysia, or to Bali, or to Europe (or travel the world in 80 days. I dint mind!) But it was never Munnar for a rerun. But somehow she chose me. If I liked it or not, Munnar still holds the position for me as the most-number-of-times-visited-destination!

With the recent visit to Munnar (again after a flopped tour-plan!) we have a baby on-board! My boy likes travelling (I can say that because he’s always calm when we travel!) For me it was more of an innocent relaxation from child rearing and household chores. We reminisced of the days I first time came to Munnar. It brought smiles to our face. The winding roads up to our stay were breathtaking like always. On reaching the old British bungalow we were to stay, Akka Mariamma and her husband- the lone care takers of the bungalow greeted us. Talking to us in broken Malayalam and serving us typical Malayalee food, we were pleased with the way they took care of us. The bungalow had beautiful landscaped gardens and vast lawns which were a haven for us. Getting away from the congested and bustling crowds of Ernakulam, my baby was thrilled to toddle around in the fresh open space and play on the dew covered grass. He enjoyed tripping and falling and we watched his laughs and giggles heaving a sigh of relief. Munnar can make you sleep-deprived. I want it quiet at night when I sleep. But the crickets’ singing made me stay awake the whole night. Getting so used to the traffic noise pollution of Ernakulam, suffocated me even more in the morning with the happy chirpings of the morning birds. It was so confusingly noisy at Munnar!

It was raining throughout. My baby was clad in thick sweaters and an overall jacket (considering that we hail from the humid climates of Ernakulam) and he looked like a little wide-eyed Eskimo! To go see places was not a good option with the drizzles. Yet succumbed to my pleas, my husband took us to the places we’ve already been to. The twisting roads between the hills and valleys would always be a treat for me but for my son, it was nauseating! I dint mind walking in puke- smelling clothes till I reached our stay. And never cared what others thought of the stench. Each time we got out of our rooms was a new experience though the old ones had a story of its own. I still say we should not waste our time visiting Munnar again. But when She calls we just have to be there. No matter what, the hills and the valleys, the birds and the insects, they call. And we have to be there…

R Thomas

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