How can you travel in to the past? Carl Sagan suggests a simple method- you can travel into the past by watching a star, as the light from it is coming from a distant past. Yesterday we traveled into the past- not very distant but some 33 years back.
Have you ever visited the place where you started your career? One might have worked in a score of places (with good or bad memories), but to think of the first office or School where the first hesitating overs were made (and where one has been addressed a Sir for the first time) is indeed a pleasant experience. Such was our feeling when we the trio, Viswan, Karunakaran and myself crossed the gate of Banddka Govt. Higher Secondary School ,yesterday. I have worked in several schools and Universities before bidding adieu to my career, but I will never forget my first classroom with a ninety plus eyes keen on me (I was bewildered, anxious and curious, indeed) expecting something special from me. I taught them the enchanting world of chemical reactions, the myriad bonds between atoms loving each other lip locked forming new compounds. I was not a novice in the act, as my teachings started much earlier in crowded rooms of several parallel Colleges.
After completing my teachers Degree, The Employment Officer at Kasaragod (I was registered there in the care of address of my present companion, Mr. Karunakaran) gave me a choice to opt any of three schools where vacancies exist. I instantly opted Bandadka as my friend ,the other companion, Viswan was working there. But when I went there for the first time I realized that it is the Andaman of Kerala. The bus from Poinachi, then a sleepy junction on NH17, with two or three shops, took some two hours to maneuver the 30 kms curved and steep road with many hairpins to Bandadka which was at that time the last stop, having a couple of shops and a high School, as Alatty reserve forest in Karnataka borders the town.
It was a pleasant experience to be in such a beautiful place. From the teachers hostel where teachers and bus employees lived together, one could see the enchanting misty mountains in the morning along with the devotional kannada songs(gajamukhane…) from the temple nearby. We used to take our bath from the temple pond which overflowed always as it is constantly charged from above by a spring on all seasons. The students at that time walked miles to reach the School as there were no means of transport. Teachers were mainly from south Kerala except the Kannada teachers. The faces of teachers like Vidyadharan, Varkey, Sahadevan, Muthanna and many others come to mind even today. The seniors gave us sympethetic consideration and love
The evenings were much colourful. All of us will walk miles and miles through the unraveled hills and meadows. There was a gravel road to chamundikunnu which was commuted very rarely by lorries carrying loads of wood. I will never forget those evenings in which we acquainted with the fauna and flora of the place cracking jokes.
Alatty forests opened a new vista. Once in the forest some strange smells brought you back to the ages when you were wanderers in forests. The ever pervading sounds of crickets, the refreshing sound of a waterfall nearby, the chirping of birds, the distant cry of animals, and the many coloured butterflies flying all around …all added to the splendor. Once we walked through the forest up to Sullia. On the way in a small village inside the forest there was a cockfight going on, attended enthusiastically by a lot of local people overjoyed by consuming palm toddy which were served in plenty.
We went to the teachers room. The Head Master and the teachers received us cordially. We exchanged our regards. The younger generation led by Mr.Sandeep, the son of our old colleague took us to the old places and classrooms. Now the School has grown much and there are numerous new buildings. We took some photos and went to Karunakarettans hotel which we used to frequent in our old days when Bandadaka, the present town was in the making.