July 24, 2011

Life and times at Pillur

Pillur is an unknown place not many have heard about. But I in my earlier avataar have written about it and a long time from now, I would remember my time there fondly.

Life is Pillur can be broken up into 2 parts - before and after marriage.

Before marriage, I used to be at Pillur, ostensibly looking after projects but never really sure about the level of interventions an outsider can have at a place.

I used to be up imeediately after the 6.30 bus would leave for Mettupalayam and after brushing would go out to the nearby shop for tea. A leisurely tea was followed by a visit to a nearby village or be at the centre itself. Invariably, hpowever I would return back 9.30 after completing most of the works and then just wait for the heat to hit.

Lunch was a massive Rs. 15 affair and then came the afternoon siesta. Then maybe a village visit during the evening. The period around dusk would be a heavy duty affir at the dam with me running about 8-10 rounds of the dam.

Oh, what a life it was and though the heat was immense and a constant struggle against whatever activity we set out to complete, I at least became healthy beyond belief, also because I used to exercise for some exams as well.

After marriage, life was more rushed as I was returning to Kotagiri every 4-5 days. This took a toll and caused an impression in the office. Nursery plantings were over and I could see that I have had a successful affair at Surki and Chitukunni, besides having put up a lot of efforts at Pucchamarathur.I stayed and worked at Pillur till January 2006 and then intermittently till March of that year.

My time at Pillur was spread over one year, from February 2005 to March 2006 and then infrequent visits continued till 2008. It was punctuated by aa series of fortunate incidents, none momentous but each filling up a space of nostalgia that is embedded in my memories forever.

What I recal most are perhaps my coracle rides across the Bhavani river and so was the occasional jeep rides to Pucchamarathur, through Attikadavu. Biking up and down to Pillur from Kotagiri though the forest as well as through the longer road was fun as well. Walking upto to Situkunni and getting severely affected by some insect bite will remember with me foreever, so will the walk to mettupalayam through the river bed of the Bhavani.

The nursery that we started at Sittukuni was my first field work, we climbed to the village, went and cut bamboo from the forests above, somehow managed to carry the huge bamboo down and then set up the nursery. Involvement with that nursery till it was closed down was a learning experience and also was the other nurseries.

Going to the large tree a few kilometres from our base will always remain a memorable experience as was that walk that actually traversed the entire hill and landed us directly to the camp.