So today is my last full day in Nedumkandam. I’m very sad about this, even though I’m happy to be going on to other places.
EXTREMELY random gruntings
Yesterday was Malasadass (‘monsoon meeting’), the schools event at which I was to talk. It was opened by an MLA. Other speakers included the Deputy Director of Periyar Tiger Reserve, a local director of education and a fantastic poet/singer. Malayalam folk songs can be entrancing even when I don’t understand a word of them!
My talk was delivered, in my opinion, really badly. (Although no-one else to whom I mentioned this appeared to share this opinion.) And I’m horrified and thrilled in equal measure to learn that my mumblings were broadcast as far as Trivandrum. Er, this was my fault for arriving back at Nedumkandam at 3 am yesterday morning. And the reason for that? Well, my Indonesian friend’s family live in Pekanbaru and Padang, not at Madan as I’d previously understood. So I spent an extra night in Madurai so I could try to change my booking on Monday morning. Then I decided that I wanted to reduce my bus travel backside-bashing and so take a train from Madurai to Theni. The train was smoother and I got time to write postcards! But it took longer than the bus and so I eventually arrived in Cumbum at about 6pm, after the direct last bus to Nedumkandam had departed.
A soldier (a member of India’s EME) got me on a bus to Kumily, his next destination. Surely I’d be able to get to within walking distance of Nedumkandam from there, or so I thought. We chatted all through the journey and so it seemed to pass in almost no time.
At Kumily, I was told there was a bus to Kattappana (and thence to Ernakulam): at 11.50! It would pass through Puliyanmala. From there I could get a night bus to Thookupulam (where Malasadass was due to take place) and from there an auto (or walk – it’s only 10km) to Nedumkandam. All went according to plan apart from being forced to sit underneath a loudspeaker on the Ernakulam bus and suffer high-volume radio Tamil until my ears bled and then at Puliyanmala watching the night bus go sailing past me without even slowing at the stop. Eventually I took an auto – it cost Rs150 (more than the rest of my buses and train to and from Madurai put together) and caused extreme teeth-gritting.
Oh well, this is how Random Bozo’s life goes. With hindsight, I can smile about it all. At their request, I’ve typed the text of what I tried to speak and will email it to a newspaper that’s covered the event. I’ve already sent them the photos that were taken with my camera. And I’ve finally finished the essay I’m writing for DS! OK, time to go!
Fame at last!