Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The world of old, where people care




Continuing with our Wayanad trip, one of the heartwarming features was that most people we met were friendly, eager to help. As mentioned in the earlier blog, many of them led lives that seemed to be part of another world.

How else would you account for this? Abdul Rasheed is his name. We had to pass him on our way down to the Sentinel Rock waterfall. He was selling bits and ends under a tree – pineapple slices with chilly powder smeared on them, freshly cut raw mango slices, and gooseberry immersed in honey in bottles. There were lemon and other soft drinks too.

Rasheed was soft-spoken and friendly. When I asked him how far we had to go to reach the waterfall, he said it was not far away and that it was advisable not to take the route to the left as it was steeper. There would be people to help on the way, he assured me.

And just as he said, there was Vijayan half way down, with an assistant. He sold juice and lassi. All of us quenched our thirst on our way back at Vijayan’s. Rasheed and Vijayan stay close by the waterfall. Rasheed said that he’s been here since 1971! And in those days, elephants would come very near the waterfall. Now, he said, there were no elephants in the vicinity – an indication of how forest cover is dwindling and it is just as bad or perhaps worse than what we read in the newspapers. Everyday, Rasheed and Vijayan come to their nooks to sell their stuff. Visitors have reduced over the years, but on a good day, they manage to make money.

Pictures show Rasheed posing shyly for the camera, after we all had our share of his offerings; a vendor, complete with icebox, near the Banasura Sagar Dam, who quenched our thirst as well; and the leader of our team freaking out on a Honda Stunner parked near Rasheed’s makeshift store.

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