Not all those who wander are lost- J. R. R. Tolkein (The Fellowship of the Ring)
A strong odour hits my nose the moment I step out of our compartment. Is it a dead rat or a perpetual smell of a coastal fishing town? The platforms are deserted except for few fellow travelers at nine in the morning. As we move towards a hotel only a few meters away from the station, I wonder how Dr. Kalam must have wandered through these very lanes, thinking about arcane ideas; very much unlike me who is wondering how the lunches and dinners are going to fare without the absolute surety of a multi-cuisine hotel. The languorous day stretches on. We meet Dr. Kalam’s elder brother in the evening. His grandson had invited us to his house. The exhibition at his house and the gamut of his achievements and contributions increases my respect for the town.
The next evening we visit the renowned Ramathaswamy temple that is believed to have been worshiped by Lord Rama who came here to seek absolution of his sins, if any, after his war against Ravana. The four gates have been recently reconstructed indicating the four directions. There are a variety of eat out places near the temple premises, which took away any qualms I had about the availability of food.
The town of Rameswaram is 14 km away from the farthest point of India, Dhanushkodi, which is a narrow stretch of land in the Bay of Bengal. We are lucky enough to get a Field Trip to explore the place. Our day starts with a bus ride in the sea towards Dhanushkodi and it’s for the first time that we are travelling in water on a four-wheeler. It’s amazing to see hundreds of flamingos enjoying the sea-food for their breakfast. The way is unique as for the first time we are visiting the town that was destroyed in the Cyclone of 1964. The old church, the school, the police-station.
After having our beach moments at the last point of India, we go to the Pamban bridge- the connecting link of the island of Rameswaram to the country counterparts. We are joined by a fellow wayfarer, Polina. In search of coconut water, we roam around the lower parts of the bridge. There I get to witness benevolence at its epitome. A fisherman, who owns some local boats, fetches us a couple of coconuts from his own house at our inquiry. He goes on to offer us his scooter to get some lunch. In the meanwhile, we are offered the tastiest cake we’ve ever had.
The highlight of the day is the bonus ride in the boat through the sea waters. We get to see the train passing over the narrow stretch of the rail road above the sea water. We are speechless on seeing the sight and out of words thanking him, the fisherman, for being so kind towards us strangers. We invite him to visit the train. It revives my faith in humanity and we return towards our hotel with big smiles plastered on our tanned faces.
Prashant Sharma, A Muthu Dhivakar, Dinesh Kumar and Rituja Patil- Reviving and reliving beautiful memories through SECAS Blog!