Home on the range*

Remember a time when a vacation meant travelling to Ooty? Or Mysore? To me, these were places I went to in between holidays, when I was still in school...

Remember a time when a vacation meant travelling to Ooty? Or Mysore? To me, these were places I went to in between holidays, when I was still in school and college. They were never holiday destinations; not to me. To me, a vacation meant driving to Wayanad. That’s the place I’ve holidayed in the most. I’ve lost count of the number of times I vacationed there in the past 3 decades. Be it summer holidays or winter vacations, that was where I went.

Now let me tell you about an incident that happened a few years ago. I was working with a mainstream newspaper in Bangalore then. One day I was talking to a PR person about scheduling an interview with one of her clients when I told her that I was going home for a few days and that we’d do it once I was back. She casually asked me where home was, so I said, Wayanad and was waiting for her to suggest a new date when she exclaimed, ‘What!’ like I’d said something preposterous. I almost jumped out of my skin. Now something like that never happens when people in the PR business talk to journalists. They’re usually on their best behaviour, if you know what I mean. Just as I was wandering what I had said for her to cry out like that, she said, ‘We pay thousands to book ourselves into resorts there and you just go home to Wayanad?’ So that was it. I’m sure I looked relieved and let that ain’t-I-lucky-smile cross my face. I remember proudly telling her that when I needed a vacation, I just needed to go home.

Yes people, envy me. Wayanad’s home. Now that’s not how people always reacted when I gave them this piece of information. There was a time when people I spoke to knew nothing about Wayanad. Not even some schoolmates of mine who said they hailed from God’s own country. Then there were the people who sounded scornful when talking about Wayanad, like it was some god-forsaken place. These days, everybody who knows Wayanad wants to holiday in this green paradise on  the Western Ghats.

If I were to tell you a little something about this place, it  might sound like a travel brochure, but it’s not my fault — it’s the way Wayanad is. Sitting snug in that part of Kerala where God’s Own Country rubs shoulders with Tamilnadu and Karnataka, this hilly district is coloured in the greenest green you can think of. With plantations blanketing its hills, and paddy fields spread over its valleys, this idyllic place is a feast for those eyes that are sore from the sight of concrete jungles, blinding city lights and traffic signals. The air is fresh. The scenery is picturesque. It’s got enchanting peaks, a breathtaking ghat section, pristine waterfalls, an exotic river island and a lovely man made lake. It even has some aboriginal groups of people who have been able to preserve their tribal traditions to some degree. Wayanad is also home to some remnants of the neolithic age.

Today it might be a place where techies from India’s Silicon Valley getaway for a quiet weekend or some adventure. There are resorts and home stays and tree houses and everything else to welcome both domestic and foreign travellers. Yet, Wayanad has not lost its charm and rusticity to the last 10 to 15 that put it on the tourist map of the country.

My friends who had come down for my brother’s wedding reception a few years ago fell in love with Wayanad and didn’t want to leave. Who would want to, you might ask. Believe me, I once spent a whole afternoon putting up with a snooty relative who was looking for reasons to find fault with the place, complaining about everything you can think of. Oh! things I wanted to say in response. Alas! I had to be a good host. That day, I secretly wished I would never have to end up with a person who disapproved of my home on the range, which really is a synonym for natural beauty. Fast forward to a couple of years, I have a better half who loves spending his special mornings there listening to the chirping of birds and watching the mist lift off the coffee plantation and disappear behind the mountains in the distance. No points for guessing where this Mr. and Mrs. hope to spend their days of retirement. Now that we’re parents, we wish the proverbial fruit does not fall far from the tree.

*Fresh and Original Entry. Written for The Kissan 100% Real Blogger Contest

Older Wayanad posts:-
Breathtaking Wayanad Ghat Section 
Chained here is an unsettled spirit
History in stone – A Jain temple now in ruins

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19 Comments on this post.
  • Deepu George V
    27 February 2012 at 3:34 pm
    Leave a Reply

    Techies in Bangalore like to Visit Wayanad Very much. NH212 and most of the other access to Wayand from Karnataka being blocked from 9:00pm to 6:00 pm on behalf of animal safety hindered techies easiness of reaching Wayanad as a weekend destination. Most of my friends from Kerala would talk about Wayanad sarcastically as it is a remote place where human life is not possible, but at the same time, deep in their heart, would like to have some land in this beautiful place.

    • dNambiar
      28 February 2012 at 7:29 pm
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      Isn't it a little piece of heaven? πŸ™‚

      Perceptions have changed. It's a place everybody wants to have something to do with, these days. I guess people now see why those of us who hail from here are so in love with the place.

    • dNambiar
      28 February 2012 at 7:42 pm
      Leave a Reply

      It is such a great weekend destination for Bangaloreans. It sure is refreshing.
      I heard about the curfew :(. I understand the need for protecting the wildlife near the border but closing these roads at night must be causing such inconvenience,right? I remember doing those night trips from Bangalore and they were so perfect.
      I'm wondering — couldn't they just replace this shutting-down with night patrolling or something?

    • Deepu George V
      5 March 2012 at 6:24 am
      Leave a Reply

      Many proposals came during political discussions, Karnataka government somehow rejected all of them. Another road – Bavali – Mysore road which is blocked from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am was declared to be opened by supreme court intervention, but still Karnataka blocked it without a proper explanation, One side of that blocked road is 90% inhabitted by humans, and it is not at all a forest. After blocking NH212, Karnataka government suggested Hunsur – Gonikuppa – Kutta – Tholpetty – Kartikulam road as the one to be used during night time curfew, ironically that road goes through even dense forest. All these dramas makes me think that the real intention of the night time curfew is something else.

    • dNambiar
      6 March 2012 at 7:30 pm
      Leave a Reply

      The Bavali route is the HD. Kote- MTDY route, is it?
      This sounds so wrong. It does look like the real issue is something else.

  • joshi daniel
    28 February 2012 at 5:18 am
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    so so refreshing to see those greenery!

    • dNambiar
      28 February 2012 at 7:19 pm
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      That's Wayanad for you:) If you haven't been there yet, do a make a trip there, Joshi. You'll find loads of photo-opportunities. Btw, I'm a fan of your work. πŸ™‚

  • Dee……..
    28 February 2012 at 7:55 am
    Leave a Reply

    good luck for the contest !

    • dNambiar
      28 February 2012 at 7:21 pm
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      ha πŸ˜€
      Thank you Deepak. πŸ™‚

  • deb
    29 February 2012 at 8:41 am
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    ain't u lucky!!! i envy u :D. and thank u for sharing some great info about Wayanad. Lovely narration, all the best for the contest.

    • dNambiar
      1 March 2012 at 12:42 am
      Leave a Reply

      You're welcome Deb.
      So now you know where to go when you head down south :).
      Thank you. The topic turned out to be a 'prompt' for me.

  • Harsha Chittar
    1 March 2012 at 3:23 pm
    Leave a Reply

    I have heard so much about Wayanad I have always wanted to visit the beautiful place. I get the same reaction too when I tell people I am from Coorg. Good luck with the contest, love the pictures πŸ™‚

    • dNambiar
      2 April 2012 at 11:39 pm
      Leave a Reply

      Harsha, I'm so sorry for responding this late. I missed this comment as it went into my spam folder.

      If you're from Coorg, you'll be totally at home in Wayanad. We hail from similar places. πŸ™‚ I read your post about childhood. All the best to you too.

  • specs buffy
    8 March 2012 at 10:54 am
    Leave a Reply

    lovely and Iam literally going "green" with envy- spectacular house on the range!

  • Kishan P
    5 April 2012 at 9:09 am
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    My first time to Wayanad has been dissapointing to say the least. I attribute it to the fact that I was just tagging along with a group of friends for whom sight-seeing/exploring was not their idea of a "trip". Plus the planning and execution were not in my hands. πŸ™

    I hope to go there sometime on my terms and have a blast and get overwhelmed by nature's beauty. Amen!

    Oh btw, I see some overlapping text and pic in your blog too. So yeah.. its definately a browser incompatability issue πŸ™‚

    • dNambiar
      5 April 2012 at 9:11 pm
      Leave a Reply

      uh oh πŸ™ It's not a place for people who are not nature lovers, as such. You seem to be a serious traveller so I hope you get to do it soon. Have fun :)I'll come by your blog and read the travelogues.

      ha ha yeah? And I thought I was being helpful:D. I guess it is a browser issue. Do come by again.

  • Sude
    5 December 2012 at 5:26 am
    Leave a Reply

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    8 January 2014 at 12:39 pm
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