A beautiful princess is floating on the air as clouds
Trying to cover the mountains with her zari lined sari
Why did God make the hearts of some people hollow
Like to honour Him with a degree; where is He?
(A song from late 70's by Kannadasan)
(சொல் குற்றம், பொருள் குற்றங்களைக் கண்ணதாசனும் அவனது தாசர்களும் மன்னிக்க வேண்டுகிறேன்.)
One can live through the meaning of the first two lines while travelling from Trivandrum to Kuttalam via Kulathupuzha, Thenmala & Ariyankavu. (The last two lines, one is confronting anywhere and everywhere without getting any reply.)
I was travelling along the beautifully winding ghat section a couple of weeks back. A wonderful experience as usual. You would be marvelling at the dark clouds and they would transform into rain drops suddenly. You just can't pin point exactly at which point the transformation takes place. And then again suddenly some of the clouds join together and allow the sun rays to penetrate in the gap, making the hills partly bright with sun shine and partly dark with the shadow of the clouds. A natural beauty I can only enjoy; can't fully describe in words. And the rain water falling through the gaps in small rocks making tiny water falls is music to the ears as well.
When I was working in Aryankavu branch, I used to get up at 4 in the morning and prepare some food for 2,3 days and would run to catch 6 a m bus, leaving my 7 & 10 year old sons with my husband. The 6 a m bus would be cancelled due to diesel shortage, the 7 a m bus would break down and I would be forced to take the 8 a m bus and be late to the office, putting all my efforts in vain. The only solace to my saddened state of mind would be the beautiful scenery on the way.
Let it be.. let me come to the other scenes that caught my attention during my recent trip to Kuttalam.
Some positive scenes such as ... teenaged girls riding bicycles with school bags.... Young women riding two wheelers loaded with farm products...... Women travelling alone in buses and mini buses to nearby towns, running small errands...And during such travels, offering to keep the babes from the standing co-passengers who could not get a seat and caring the babies as if they were their own... It is indeed a heartening scene. If you make a small talk with the woman it would in all probability turn out that they are members of this or that SHG and are on their way to a bank or returning from some Government office.
If one lists out the good things that happened to rural women in recent times, it may go something like:
- Self Help Groups
Together these three help rural womenfolk become more and more self reliant.
Teenage girls use bicycles to go to high schools/higher secondary schools even if situated only in a nearby town.
Young women load their TVS-50(or other such handy scooties) with their farm products and take them to nearby market places to get a fair price for their products.
Women of all ages form self help groups and get trained to undertake financial transactions and gain confidence to approach officials in Government offices and Banks to transact business with dignity.
These are definitely heartening scenes.... But the travelogue won't be complete if I don't mention a scene that should make us all put down our heads in shame.
A scene of men squatting in the morning on the sides of their fields or on the road side on the train route. Luckily one may not see a woman doing so, not because they have access to private toilets but because they are trained to answer the nature's call in the dark, well before dawn. On the cursed 3 days and on all 30 days. Privacy of a closed toilet is alien to them. We who are blessed with that luxury can never understand their pain fully.
We raise our voice against so many evils. But why are we reluctant to raise our voice against this? Besides being an ugly and undignified scene it is a health hazard not only to them but to the passers by too. Can't we as a society do something to stop this by getting enough hygienic toilets constructed? Is it too much of asking from the Government headed by a woman who should be more aware of the pain and indignity?
Sorry guys to have taken you to this ugly scene as well. But let us hope some good will come out of it.
And when you reach Kuttalam after all this and more and allow yourself to be showered by the water falls, Nature's own shower it is indeed a bliss.