Saturday, November 21, 2009

TAJ : My Hostel in Munnar

Disclaimer :People who have not studied/lived in Munnar, may not be able to gauge or enjoy this post in its full meaning...so kindly bare with me...

Nostalgia is a wonderful feeling to have,especially when you are back somewhere special after a few years. I had visited my old college hostel recently and as you rightly guessed, this post is an after effect of that.


All these years , anyone who has been patient enough to hear me out, would know that i simply go on and on about my college life in Munnar, especially about my Hostel life.Ravi a colleague of mine (now in Pune) sat with me for two hours at 1 AM in the freezing cold of Munnar at the hill where my hostel is situated, hearing me go on and on about my hostel life with utter patience...hats off to Ravi who also showed what listening skill truly is.

We were the first batch to enter in CEM and since there was no college hostel, we lived in a bungalow nestled above the CSI church in old Munnar, christened as 'TAJ' by us.
Now there are numerous incidents related to my college days in Munnar, hostel life with my 25 odd hostel mates etc which cannot be done justice to in one post...So this one is just to introduce you all to my Hostel.

In recent times, the Hostel movie series of the blood and gore genre has given a slight edgy effect to the term Hostel...And the place i am about to show you has all the required elements of a thriller.So let me guide you up the hill to my hostel were i spent the best days of my life...



When you start to climb up, you first run into a old gate made up of railway track rails used by the British when trains used to run in Munnar...Rust proof gate ;-) (As of now this gate has been replaced by a bigger concrete arch).




Note : Click on picture to view bigger resolution ones.



Going up this small hill on this winding road , you reach a majestic looking old stone Church build in 1910.




Pic : CSI Church...and on the left a glimpse of my Hostel...


From here, when you are standing in front of the church, you get a view of the part of Munnar known as Old Munnar...



The well tarred road now turns into a small winding trail behind the church, leading up to first,the house of the resident priest and then further up, to a small bungalow which was my hostel.





Going further you reach my hostel at last...TAJ !







Climbing further brings you to the spooky looking storage shed of the Church which has been the source of fuel (in the form of old furniture stored here) for our numerous mid night camp fires at center of the cemetery...





Further up the hill side is occupied by the church's cemetery...graves scattered lazily across the wilderness giving each 'occupant' a permanent view of the beauty of Munnar






One such occupant, Theodore Edward, holds a special place as i have spent many hours studying at the foot of the tree shown below...






Usually within 15 min the book gets closed and the rest of the time is spent taking in the fresh mountain air and looking lazily around at the wonderful green spread...so the study place usually ended up as a chill out space for me...




Pic : View of old Munnar from my timeout place...




Pic : View of my college...the top building in the middle of the pic...




Pic : View of the big tree were i used to chill out with the grave of Edward on the left...



Hereon the trail straightens up and as you walk further you are surrounded by tall majestic trees...






Climbing further up will bring you to the top of the cemetery...Here you will see a flight of steps leading to a small clearing where we used to have our camp fires, which usually required no reason at all to have, except for the heck of it...



Walking past the steps and clearing you will see a grave with the area around it raised above ground level (as if on a platform) and surrounded on all sides by a small hedge which makes it stand out...you also notice that its at the top of the cemetery beyond which there aren't any more graves giving the impression that its the first one here...Well my friend, you have now reached the resting place of Eleanor Isabel May...She was the descendant of Edward Brabazon, First Baron of Ardee...but to us she was and still is the first and last lady of TAJ...



Her grave holds a special place in our hearts and we make it a point to visit her whenever we come to our Hostel...

Further up is the hill top with shrubs,rocks and trees...second spookiest place after Anachal on which i blogged a long back... Nothing else.

Nothing else is present on this hill... Now this 'nothing else' makes full sense only when you, who are used to well light city streets, are walking up this trail past the dark menacing stone church on a freezing rainy night with strong winds making howling noises, the trees swaying back and forth, and all you want to think of is the faint light you can see somewhere up (the hostel's porch light), while you try not to think about the cemetery to your right as you slowly climb up trying not to slip on the muddy trail...

Its not a pleasant trip mind you because even though you think there are no real ghosts, some hostel mate may be standing hidden somewhere,braving the rain, waiting just to spook you...and all you can do is to wish that it turns out to be indeed an hostler, and not a bored resident of one of the graves...(I have to thank such nights from which i learned what sprinting truly meant, which helped me in my recent 7km Chennai run.)

Thus you come to the end of a small trip across one of the pristine hill sides in Munnar which we 25 odd guys used to call as our Home away from Home...TAJ !





Pic : TAJ Rulz - Our Hostel Emblem

Last but not the least, TAJ RULZ !!!

- A proud TAJian

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11 comments:

Sree said...

I never knew, you guys stayed in such a wonderful place.... :). Amazing post. kudos..

Supi said...

haa! I had a virtual trip back to the place where we were born again.

Amen each word of that blog, maanukal

Another Tajian

Jithin V Mohan said...

Wow!! This post made me relive those wonderful moments. Though not a TAJian and joined the college only after you guys passed out, I'm also sentimentally attached to this Church, Cemetery and Eleanor Hill. That pic of the church is so beautiful. I think it changed over years.

Krishnaraj said...

Nice work

Krishnaraj said...

Nice work

Dileep Jose said...

Maanuuu, Kidulam. This post will touch each and every Tajian. Bringing alive the golden days. Only Wish if we could ever just rewind and run through those streets. If we could just....

sasi said...

really good work man.
am s.kumar currently living in taj.
if you have any old pic of eleanor isable may buried cometary. plz sent to me.

sasi said...

i have lot of recent photos of your memories. you know one month back only i had rectified the water heater which is repaired by your guys.

Monu said...

@ Sasi : Really glad to hear from you about my old hostel and I envy you as you get to live in one of the most beautiful places in Munnar.

Can you send me your email id ? You can add a comment to this blog with your email id and I will not make it public to all to prevent any spamming from online bots.

nit said...

heaven !!!!!

nit said...

heaven!!!!