Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hartal in Kerala

Our drive back from Calicut to Coimbatore was eventful. Sunday we were told that the hartal on Monday has been revoked. So, we started off a little late (7:30 a.m.) rather than at 5:00 if there were to be a hartal. Anyways, after uneventful driving clicking pictures and stopping by to enjoy the countryside, we met with our first blockade after Malapuram. Trouble was brewing as we could see from far, and there was a long line of vehicles not being allowed to move. Having to catch a train at 4:30 p.m. we thought we would have enough time in the world. Then came the information from the bus drivers that there were many such blocks all the way to Palakkad. People told us it would be dangerous to go anywhere near trouble and we having TN registration didn't want to take a chance at all.

We got the information from people around that there is another route by which we can clear the block and move on. Wondering how to go about it, and asking people for directions we met two people on a two-wheeler asking us where we wanted to go. On hearing that we had to touch Palakkad, they asked us to follow them and that they would show us the way. They took us through winding roads, for nearly fifteen minutes and more, stopping by to say hello to people on the way, leaving us wondering where we were going to. Then we were reminded of the good samaritans who on our earlier trips had helped us and how we should trust them based on our experiences before. And lo, they got us out on the highway again where we cleared the block. We thanked them adding them on to the list of people who we will remember for a long long time and whose help we have to return just by being like them when the opportunity came.

We crossed two more blocks, especially the third one which took us through bad roads which Arun, if not for the Indica would not have taken. The country side in Kerala is one of extreme beauty, enthralling and captivating at once. Oh! how one would love to retire to such a place. Finally, when we got through Mundur, which people said would be a bottleneck(thankfully and luckily, it wasn't), we were left thinking what an experience it had been; this to be uneventful journey, turned eventful by the hartal and more so by people who provided us information and by those who helped us by showing routes we couldn't have known even if we had a map.

So, to Kerala's hartals through which we saw the best of her people, goes this blog. Few pictures taken on the ride through all the tension. A picture of Arun talking to the bus drivers as well as the five vehicles that took the roads on the third blockade can be seen.

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