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Graduate in Maths, Postgraduate in English literature. Worked as a medical transcriptionist, also as a teacher.

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

For a 'change'.....'I want some change please!'

              This article is for a change. Yes, a change from the travel articles, social issues, poems, book reviews, art & craft, et al. Phew, what a change!!! What is that change?? Is this about something totally out of our universe? No prizes for guessing. It is something about us only. Our change-expecting habit. Habits do become second nature when they are with us for long.


                                                     I do not know about people in other countries, but we Indians have this 'incorrigible' habit. Forget about shopping with credit or debit cards. There are many shops and establishments in our country that don't accept these plastic cards. We carry a bunch of 500-1000 Rs notes. We go to buy groceries in those kirana or pop & mom stores. One may either buy a bulk of things or just 1-2 things. Then he/she pockets out a 500 or 1000 Re note to the shopkeeper. If they are generous or if you are lucky you will get some change in 100s, 50s, 10s. If the amount stands out in units (like 164, 567 etc), the rest of it is compensated with chocos like Eclairs. From where did we develop this undying habit? Yes, we need change to pay those autowallahs, bus conductors, ironwallahs, or at places where there is no possibility of getting back any change. But expecting to get back the change each time, every time and fatten our purses with those 10s, 50s, 100s all the time?  Can't we spare a second thought to those shopkeepers or anybody who get fed up seeing customers giving them full notes all the time? How would you feel if u are in their shoes? I will feel irritated. Searching for the change and keeping the next customer waiting. Recently, I went in a cab from one place to another and when I got out and handed him a full note, the driver said he had no change at all. The destination was a hotel, and an employee took the note from me and hunted for that 'change'. After some time, he managed to get some notes, but still I had to forgo 10 Rs.

                             "Bhaiya, aap ke paas change hai kya?"
                              "Bilkul nahin, sir/madam."

         These are the two dialogues we Indians are always familiar with. When they declare that they do not have change, we will pay the exact amount which we already have. Yes, though we have the amount in our purse that can be paid in exact way, we still do not want to part with that valuable change. We expect more of the smaller notes. Why do we have this mentality? We have a convenience store in our complex. The other day, when the employee from that shop door delivered things worth Rs 75 and no, I did not give him 100 Rs expecting a change of Rs 25. For a 'change', I paid him the exact amount. I am sure he would be happy seeing these exact amounts making his job easier. If everyone of us are paying only full notes, how will he have change? Come on, he needs a change from giving us back those changes!

PS. Read my previous article 'A Trip to Munnar' which was posted recently. I could not wait to publish this one!!!



                I hope you are all enjoying this cloudy, gloomy weather with rains in between and lots of steaming cups of tea, when time permits. As the continuation of the last travelogue article, this one mainly focuses on Munnar trip. I wanted to encompass all the details of our vacation trip in one, but found that it was becoming too lengthy. So, this one stands out from the rest :). 
                                 After having the complimentary breakfast at our hotel in Thekkady, we started with renewed vigor to explore Munnar. It is about 110 kms from Thekkady and we took NH 49. As we progressed, the road became narrow and winding, forcing us to go slow with caution. Munnar's altitude varies from 4,760 ft to 8,842 ft above sea level (the upper limit is close to the altitude of Mt. Everest). So, it was understandable that we got to see more of mountains on one side and valleys filled with greenery on the other side.  As we ascended, we seemed to float among the clouds. When we reached the town, it was evening and to our dismay, we found that the hotel we were supposed to stay was 20 kms backwards. We were fatigued and hungry and so we had a late lunch and headed back to the hotel. It was a  resort named ' Falling Waters' in the place known as Kurisupaara. The resort itself was a feast for our eyes, as it was surrounded by nature and there was waterfalls behind (and hence the name).
                                                         Munnar town images



                                 The next day morning, eager to explore the place, we stared after the breakfast. We headed to a place known as 'Top Station'. To go inside and explore the valley part, we had to purchase tickets. The view from there to various merging of valleys was beautiful and breathtaking. The adventure part involved in that was climbing down a series of steps (about 250) and coming back. Folks, even in some of these famous spots, there are no decent toilets or vegetarian food (for vegetarians), and so prepare yourself for these basic discomforts. There are some toilets built near the spot 'Echo Point'.
                                     View of the valley from 'Top Station'

                   After exploring the 'Top Station', we came down to the 'Echo Point'. Echo Point had everything from people, shops, animals, river, 'BUT ECHO'!!! Yes, we shouted loud but did not hear any echoes. It was a place spoilt with the incoming of large number of tourists and bad maintenance. If you want to have shopping experience, there are any number of fancy stores and shops which sell local spices and chocolates.

                                                Echo point????


                         From there, we went to the well known 'Mattupetty dam.' This is one of the 'must see' spots for anyone coming there. The dam was opened in the year 1953 and built conserve water for hydroelectricity. The solid structure and the surrounding scenery there are beyond words. Boating services are also offered there.  Feeling tired for the day, we went back to our hotel.
                                                    Dam pictures



                             Our resort was surrounded with tall trees and we explored a bit around that part. At some point near the water falls, we had to climb up barefoot and we were quietly bitten by leeches. These leeches silently tug to our legs and toes and so, keep checking for those creatures if you are going for an adventure like this. After getting a lot of fresh morning air and brush with leeches, we packed our bags to go to Eravikulam National Park.
                                                       Resort pictures

                                               Entrance and our baggage......

                                                          the thin waterfalls behind 'The Falling Waters'...

                                          Eravikulam National park is one of the top most destinations in Munnar as there are certain attractions like the mountain goat Nilgiri Tahr and the highest peak of South India, Aanamudi. If you are going there during a weekend, expect to wait in a long queue for about 2-3 hours. So better start out as early as you can. We waited in the queue for about 1-1/2 hours which is 'less' compared to other days. We were not allowed to drive inside the park and buses are separately provided to go inside the park. The lush, never-ending tea gardens are no doubt feast for our eyes. That day, we were so lucky to see lots of Nilgiri Tahrs which our relatives could not spot after two days. They belong to the goat family and little different from the goats. They are generally brown in colour. Some even seemed to pose for our cameras. At the end of the park, we got to see the 'famous Aanamudi peak'. There is a museum with some animal horns preserved and scenic images. Our trip to this park was pleasant and memorable. The lucky sighting of Nilgiri Tahrs made it more memorable.


                                                                   Aaanamudi peak...

                                                             A misty view from a point....

                                                   Thanku for posing, dear Tahrs.....


                                                      It was all 'Tahry Tahry'......

No, the image inside the museum..

                                                            Horny Horny......
A view of tea garden in the park...

                                          Due to the paucity of time, we could not go to tea factory. We bought some tea packets, chocolates and spices. All these are available at unbelievably cheap prices. So do not miss that. In between rushing from one destination to other, get out of your vehicle and take a walk in the tea gardens. You will see the tea workers, mostly women carrying their bags to pluck leaves working from morning to evening. It will be a sight for us to watch, but if possible, talk to them about their daily lives and the hardships they undergo for their living.

                             We finished our vacation with the visit to Guruvayoor temple.

 'Night life' in Guruvayoor.....

Garuda Statue in front of the temple..

                                    Phew!!! Finally I finished this long pending article. Yes, better late. The next one is coming very soon, so please watch out....

Love and cheers,