Thursday, June 19, 2008

God's Own Country

As we drove past the greenest of green landscapes, I wondered why we had stopped venturing in to Kerala, and discovering its hidden treasures, virgin beaches, waterfalls etc.

Along with the mist that rose from the falling waters of Athirapally, rose the mist that crowded my mind as well.

All looked well as we surveyed the crowd gathered at the Falls.

Athirapally is a beautifully located waterfall, surrounded by greenery that is refreshing and verdant even under the glaring hot sun.

The Forest Department allows visitors to access the river that falls down a height to form the waterfalls. So you can find people soaking in the stream of water, splashing others with the cold water and generally having a lot of fun.

The river bed is rocky and requires a lot of careful manoeuvring. As we decided to cross the stream, to get to the middle, (since the flow of water was better there and it wasn’t as much crowded) a bunch of young boys decided that we needed help.

They started by extended their hand to help us cross the stream, as we tumbled over rocks and tried to get a grip to prevent ourselves from falling.

One of the boys, wearing just a calf length track bottom (he had even left his fly open), looked visibly high on something. He came quite close to me and I guessed it was not liquor since he wasn’t smelling. I reckoned it was grass (marijuana), which is quite easily available this side of the country. (It actually grows in the wild.)

Soon they were following us and kept getting uncomfortably close. As my husband confronted the boy I’ve mentioned, it seemed as if they would back off. But the stares and looks in our direction continued much to our discomfiture. My husband could not enjoy the water or play with the kids as he stood watching, guarding us from these probable predators.

As time passed, the boys zeroed in on another family consisting of two girls who were with their parents. At one point, both hubby and I saw the boys lying in knee deep water and masturbating. The sight was so revolting and disgusting that hubby swore, “I hate Malayali men.”

Even as School going kids we had encountered flashers (men who raise their ‘lungis’ to show off their private parts to unsuspecting girls) and I’d thought over the years, perhaps, this phenomenon had been curbed by the cops.

But somethings just do not change.

As we packed and left the area an hour or so later, they followed us almost till the car.

As for me, as I said earlier, the mist disappeared. There is no wonder why we had stopped venturing to discover the hidden beauty of this gorgeous State.

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