“Let’s go check out the Beach” . Minutes before the end of day, which largely is in the 530 pm to 630 pm zone in Valappad Standard Time, that was the mantra on our lips. The beach isn’t the easiest of accessible places in upcountry Valappad, further-up-country Thrissur, really-up-the-creek-country Cochin. The autodriver – as luck favoured us tourist-kinds we found one – was willing to take us there. Once off the main road and heading into long stretches of winding narrow residential lanes, we wondered if security had been compromised. Having the driver tell us it’s a safe place and nothing happens here, only added to our stance of being compromised. 3 kms was the distance estimated by the hotel manager - from the hotel to the beach. Clearly, he didn’t realize that we don’t fly as the crow does. Come to think of it, we don’t fly at all. The distance was an easy 7 kms. When the beach stared into our face from between isolated homes and coconut trees huddled up, we still took a few seconds, before the sounds, rather than the visuals in the dark, indicated the presence of … The Arabian Sea… at our feet! What a feeling!
Sea’ing it from the beaches of Goa and Karwar is one thing, call it A. But b’ing at c, from on a beach that’s not visited at all by tourist or tout, gives a different name to the game. Call it B. B is the more rustic country cousin of A, but when it comes to soul, A can go suck on a mollusc. I would say, let it B.
Things couldn’t have improved any more for us on this trip. The path, as mentioned before, winds through heart-warming narrow-lanes, and at a spot where 3 of them met with and met-up with devotion, was this most amazing temple. Barring one neon light in blue, indicating the name of the temple, the rest of it was lit-up using only oil lamps. An atheist would have remarked “my god…” after a brief thought. A believer would have remarked “my god…” but without the atheist’s thought. The idol was difficult to discern through all that fire-lit brilliance and I’m sure one look at the deity would have thrown so much Awesome at us that we’d have renounced all our worldly possessions (colleague’s SLR). A quick enquiry in chaste Tamil led to an elaborate answer in Malayalam. Summary – it’s the 2nd oldest temple in Kerala; its certainly more than 1000 years old; it closes at 730 pm VST and opens at 530 pm VST; jaggery pongal is standard offering to the residing deity, Vishnu. With a massive banana-leaf helping of this prasad, we were overwhelmed with carmic and calorific thoughts. The latter stayed longer. Looking forward to a few more discoveries like this around.
Tomorrow, we’re taking the first of our fly-backs. I’m off to Hyderabad for a wedding – a friend Priyatham’s. He has promised us a good time with his other endearing friends – John, Bud, Fisher and others. With my flight only at late noon, we are going down to Jew Town in Cochin. More from there. I hope they’ve found themselves. Its been more than 40 years now.