“Thangamani! is it not strange to play Kanda Sashti Kavacham, at this odd time, at an odd place?” Rangamani asked.
The lights were on at early hours of day 5, 08-Jun-2019. Rangamani’s family was getting ready in a hurry. The previous day ended with a sweet ending as the train trip was nice and the dinner was delicious.
They ate and slept well. The mild cold weather and the good food offered them a phenomenal quality of sleep. Ella is less cold when compared to that of Nuwara Eliya. Because its elevation is considerably lesser. It had a pleasant weather like winter-time-Tamilnadu.
They stayed in a hotel with a small garden in the middle of a hill. The garden had various pots, in which different varieties of plants – starting from roses to cactus – were grown.
Rangamani put on his walking trousers in a hurry. Junga and Bunga were brushing in expedition. Their half opened eyes showed how sleepy there were. They were getting ready to hike in Sri Padha or Siriya Sivanoli Patham or Little Adams Peak. Was there a connection between Adam and this little peak in Sri Lanka? I don’t think so. May be a gimmick to treacle European travelers. If Yuan goes high tomorrow, they may conduct a naming ceremony to name it like Little Dongling!
“Why not? You can play Illaiyaraja, if you want. Did I say No?” Thangamani smiled at her husband.
She became an early bird after marriage. Usually she likes to do things early in the morning. She will be in good mood until her peak-hour-circus starts.
Little Adams Peak / little sivan oli patham is 2,234m high. It was close to 5am then. Rangamani and Tushara planned to reach the peak before the sun rises. They were on their march. Set and …. go!
The trek route had off-roads and steps. It was dark everywhere. Junga felt that his brother Bunga would be scared. But he was enthusiastic. He walked energetically with Tushara with the help of cell phone torch, which teared down the darkness.
The town has not yet woken up. Except the sound of their slipping sandals and some strange sounds surrounding the tea plantations, the entire hill maintained a haunting silence.
“The sun will rise on time, isn’t it?” Thangamani asked anxiously as she was concerned about their leisurely walk.
“Usually it will come on time. You want to meet him today. hmm…. Not sure if he will change his mind.” Rangamani replied in a sharp hissing voice. She nudged him in return. Their food step count increased gradually.
It was a lonely track for Jeeps or trucks. It took a long time to reach the top of the peak. All of them were breathing and sweating heavily. Sometimes they need to help each other to reach the height. What they saw were amazing scenes! They filled their vision with stack of blue mountains, their nostrils with a fresh breeze.
There was a Buddha statue, should have been added much recently. There was a shrine for folk deities as well. They were waiting for another delightful sunrise. Tushara appreciated that it was a good decision to hike in the morning.
When you go there, do not forget your walking shoes. A fall may cause worst bruises due to sloppy land and hard stems of tea plant.
A couple of foreigners joined them. Tushara mentioned that there were many private drones flying by and taking pictures during peak seasons. But it was calm without any fuss, due to the effect of Easter bombing.
They shot some photos before they started their downhill. On the way back, there were no one to confront them, except an elderly Thai couple.
‘Flying Ravana’ was an adventure game that starts from Ella. You can fly on a rope. $20/head. Rangamani folded his cuff and tried to go in. “What you think about yourself? Bear grylls ah?“ Thangamani shrieked at her crazy hubby to put him back on track.
“Walking through these tea plantations is nice, isn’t it” Junga exclaimed. Rangamani cleared his throat. On realizing that he was ready to deliver a lecture, Thangamani increased her pace and moved far away from him.
“Tea plantations have their own worst side of history, my son. See there!” Rangamani’s fingers pointed at the estate residential houses.
There were Tamil settlements in the quarters of tea plantations. Tamil temples were observed. Tamil film songs were heard. Few boys and girls were rushing towards the town in school uniforms.
Rangamani had bizarred body language due to his uncontrolled emotions. He said “They were imported as slaves from India to work in tea estates, until they die. They are treated as third class citizens in this country. At the same time, India is not ready to take them back. They became frail and vulnerable under the pressure of those supervisors and estate owners. There was a line in a novel – The tea is red, because of their blood” and gasped. Junga did not know that his father can talk non-stop like a RJ!
“Junga, Come here”. Junga heard his mom’s call and ran towards her. Your guess is true! She tried to rescue her son from Ranga’s noble ideals!
Junga was activated after they finished the trek. He felt hungry as a starved elephant. He took a shower even before someone instructed him, rushed downstairs, expecting some food to munch. He found Idlies as part of their breakfast buffet. “hurrayyyy” his mind rejoiced. He took the idlis on his plate and found a seat. Junga thought he was blessed that day to see idlis. “Hey Junga, You were expecting Chapatis in Sri Lanka. But you got idlies dear!” His conscience rumbled.
Rangamani suggested to him to consume local food wherever he goes. When Idly is in front, why should we listen to a boring father? With much eagerness, he tried to slice the idly with a spoon and fork. It was a failed attempt. It was like a hardened cake in the name of idly. The idly was sliding like a beautiful Russian athlete of winter Olympics in his plate.
Junga changed his technique. He stabbed the Idly on its head with a fork like a skilled murderer, dissected it into two pieces with a knife. His lips were piled up in utmost concentration. Two became four. Four became eight. He rejoiced, he accomplished something. Then he took one piece, dipped it into the chutney, and pushed it into his mouth. It was sliding inside his mouth here and there. Thangamani and Rangamani were loading themselves with bread and juices on the other side. He could not even start!
He lost his patience. He expected a soft idly like the feather of a quill. But what he felt was a split rock. With much disappointment, he conducted a closing ceremony to his addiction to the idlis. He went ahead with bread and butter as usual.
Finally, a son accepted his father’s suggestion. When you follow something, you get knowledge. When you encounter something, you get wisdom!
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