Saturday, 29 October 2011

6. Public Transport

Using Public Transport is a good Reality Check.
So, when I had to travel from Marthandam to Kanyakumari and onward to Thiruvananthpuram, I decided to use Public Transport.

To begin with, I had to pay only Rs. 17/- (Yes, you read it right!) for  Marthandam to Kanyakumari, - a distance of approximately 40 kilometers.
Marthandam to Kanyakumari Bus Charges

The roads are good - narrow but in good condition. The driver and the conductor were friendly. They did not speak either English or Hindi and the bus board was only in Tamil, but I could manage to convey them my destination.

The condition of the bus was very poor. See what supports the board.

What did 'SSS' indicate I did not know. From where this bus was coming, I did not know. Somehow I could read 'Kanyakumari' written in Tamil and did run for the bus, then the driver and conductor helped me.  The journey was bit 'fast and furious' but enjoyable.

While returning to Thiruvananthpuram, I chose Railway. My favorite train is 1082 Up Kanyakumari Mumbai express. Now it is numbered something else - five digit number - something like 13682 - I am not sure.

I always like to visit Kanyakumari Railway station.

Especially early in the morning at 5.00, the sea breeze is very cool and that is the time I generally leave  Kanyakumari. So, I was bit nostalgic. This photo is taken at 11.00 am and not at 5.00 am.

Well, and the ticket costs just Rs. 31/- This distance is 87 kilometers. If I had hired a car, I would have paid at least Rs. 2500/- for the same journey.

Public Transport does not save only money. It opens our eyes. For  example, in this train journey I met a group of 7 people (6 women and 1 man) from Saran district (now called Chapara, Bihar) who were visiting South. They were happy to speak Hindi with me. None of them spoke English, how did they manage in this strange part of the country?

"Did you enjoy the food here?" I asked.
"We don't know. We are carrying Sattu flour with us" - they told me.

What do we need when we travel?
Maybe, just a place to sit. That is all.
Public Transport offers that.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

5. The Angle

I was downloading photographs from my camera and suddenly came across this photo.

For a moment I wondered what it was about. Then I recalled.

On my way to Mumbai, I was watching (and enjoying) Sunset - from Aircraft window. It has its special beauty even when watched from 11000 meters. This photo - rather like an abstract painting - is a photograph of the setting Sun. The windowpane must have some spots/stains on it..  .. which changed the actual scenario - which was something like this.

The same Me, the same Camera, the same Window, the same Aircraft, the same Sun, the same Evening, the same Sky ... still two different pictures within a gap of few minutes.

What makes the change?

The bias that one carries? (in this case the stains on the glass!!)
Or the scene really changes?
Or just the Angle? 

Sunday, 16 October 2011

4. Sea at Daman

Last month has been bit crazy .. I mean differently crazy. I had opportunity to visit four coastal places - and all the shores have its special beauty.

Daman I am visiting for the first time. Being ignorant about geography, one afternoon after lunch I could just smell the sea (without knowing the existence of Sea). I am right. We are at a walking distance from the beach.

The sand is blackish ( I have been through red sand experience earlier week) and it seemed to be a fishing hub - to watch this I must come here early in the morning.

Are these some kind of shops?
What are the people doing there at 2.00 in the noon when the Sun is shining? 
Well, I do not know.
Had no time to go and speak to strangers.

And the board creates another image of the Sea - not an 'all time friend' - but one that could turn out to be dangerous without any warning. What are the causes? What is the history?

My questions remain questions.

What is different about this board is - local language is the priority language!

I wonder how do authorities convey this message to people who cannot read? 

Friday, 7 October 2011

3. Moving Sand

Prior to this visit I had traveled from Patna to Chapara number of times.
It was during September 2010, I observed something different.
I had always watched Ganga water flowing and was surprised to see the sudden appearance of the huge amount of sand there. It was as if I did not know the road.

As we moved on, I saw it more closely. There were few small boats and they all seemed to be engaged in some kind of urgent work.

I was still clueless about what was happening. I thought maybe, people are using boats as a means of transport. We kept on moving and through the car window I could capture some more images.

After few more snaps, I realized what it was all about. I am a 'late' learner, by the way.

This is not a Natural Sand Movement.
It is actually Sand Mining.
Whether legal or illegal - I do not know.
What price people pay for such activities, we all can imagine.
But who cares? 

Saturday, 1 October 2011

2. Mathur Aqueduct

Because of my association with Kanyakumari, I feel I know a lot about its surrounding. However it is not the case.

Yesterday I was in Marthandam in Tamilnadu. In between two meetings, we had some free time. I was taken to a spot whose name I was told as Thottipallayam.

We walk  across the bridge  and the view  is stunning.

The place actually is called Mathur Aqueduct. You read it right – it is Mathur. Initially I thought it must be the name of Chief Engineer who constructed the Dam . No, nothing like that. Mathur is the name of a hamlet.

As always, we all think that it must have been constructed by British! However, it is constructed in 1966 by Indians . You walk across the bridge and get surprised to observe a canal running parallel to it. That is amazing. The river downstairs is Pahrali . The canal is named as Pattanamkal – which carries water from one hill to another – above the flowing river.

It is now a tourist spot – entry fee for human beings is Rs. 2/- and if you carry camera you have to pay Rs. 5/- extra. Who is more valuable – camera or human beings – that is what I was wondering about!

 On the way, traders try to lure tourists – it is like a small mall. You name it and you have it.

Well, don’t  get scared. It is only Honey. Marthandam is famous for Honey production.

And women continue to carry the burden.