After a lot of discussions and planning, it was decided that we will be leaving to Erode and the places nearby(my dad’s native), the following weekend. Me as well as few of my cousins had been there just once(that was long long ago… so long ago… nobody knows how long ago
), the excitement and anticipation knew no bounds… The entire week passed off in a jiffy and finally the day of the tour arrived.
We were just 3km from the town, when suddenly the van came to a halt. The driver examined the vehicle and told us that it would take 15-20 min for him to rectify. Soon, all of us started loitering around with my dad and aunt showing us the places which was once upon a time, their farm. There was a house in the vicinity which was looking very beautiful with farm surrounding it. We saw a man stepping out of the house and seeing us stand there, he offered us to be seated in his house. He compelled us to get in, showed us the farm, allowed us to take pics and also was suggesting places to visit. His wife got us fresh lemonade and made each of us drink 2 to 3 glasses. We were complete strangers to them, but they treated us like VIPs at their home. I also got to know that, its a practice there to first offer water to anybody who arrives at their doorstep irrespective of who they are or where they are from. I was stunned by their affection, as in city, first instruction that we are given is, never open the doors to strangers… even if it is courier, get it through the grilled door and lock the door soon
Next thing to amuse me was the temple festival…Being brought up in city, I never had the chance to see such crowd pulling gala events. Each shop got its due attention and kept its share of audience crowding in the entrance. I paused at a stall where the shopkeeper was demonstrating his chopping skill. He cut all the vegetables in all possible ways within 2 min… He advertised the product “Are you bored of staying in the kitchen for long? Are your mega serials getting affected? Does your husband and children complain of delayed lunch? We have heard all your problems and have come up with the solution… “Anjali cutter”… It cuts not only your vegetables fast but also your worries… Get home “Anjali cutter” and appreciation follows “
(This was in tamil… I have translated it
) There were people advertising about “Murugan driving school” for which advertisement goes like“The RTO asks the boy to trace an 8 with his bike…He says I can trace not only 8 but even 1 to 7 as I learnt in Murugan driving school…”
Immediately the RTO offers him the license and the ad ends by blaring ‘Murugan driving school, Murugan driving school, Murugan driving school’
in loudspeakers … It made me giggle
There were stalls that offered ‘Each Rs.10…Pay Rs 10 and take anything.’
There were all household items , gift items and stationary items… Here if we pay Rs 10 we will just get a packet of biscuits… nothing more
As they show in movies, such festivals had giant wheel, balloon shooting, ring-the-item and the surprise element here was ‘marana kinaru’ (death well)… The name and the advertisement(through loudspeakers) gave a chill run through my spine and I was curious to see it. When I reached the place, there was a huge crowd around a circular ring and I could hear the acceleration sounds of bikes. It was a 10ft deep hollow well like structure and 2 bikes and car were gearing up. The show started and the bikes started moving up around the walls with ease. It stunned me as they were riding along the circumference, maintaining the speed and were spiraling up to where we were standing… The car followed suit… Even a second of distraction could result in serious accident… Their skills and risks involved made me freeze.
As always, there was this giant masala papad being sold, sugar candy, bubble water, kaleidoscope, sugar cane juice (Rs 5) etc… Do you think I would have spared any of these?
Apart from this temple festival we visited many other temples, dams , parks , river (without water
) , coracle ride (parisal)
… a form woven boat… I googled the equivalent word
)etc. The waiters were no different… They served with so much care… In fact, when I stopped him while he was serving rice, he was like “This is so less…This is the age to eat… Eat more”
I was reminded of my granny
One funny incident that happened was , I asked for the availability of fresh juice and the waiter responded by telling “All the juices here are fresh, ma’am… we don’t sell old stocks”
Another interesting sight was, all houses had an yellowish green paint on the floor. Later I was informed that its a custom there to mix turmeric and cow dung and to use this paste to mob the floor. It served as an antiseptic and also created beautiful uniform patterns on the floor making me think its a design
On the whole I enjoyed this trip and was in awe of most of the sights I came across… Now I understand why my dad always tells ‘His childhood days spent there, were the best’
How true… I missed growing up in a place like that…sigh!