Today I am sharing the memories of my first visit to Kerala. I and my husband got married in the year 1959.Even after a lapse of fifty three years I remember all the events vividly. Our first visit to Kerala was in May 1961,when my son,D was six months old.
The train journey up to Madras
Those days air journey was not as popular as it is now. We went by GT Express which went only up to Madras (now Chennai) and used to take two nights to reach Madras.We were travelling in a two berth first class coupe. Those days first class passenger were treated as VI Ps. A huge slab of ice in a big container was specially kept in our compartment. The night journey from Delhi to Madras was comfortable.The train reached Nagpur Station early morning,where we were given bed tea. The baby was in his Father's lap. My husband was looking for a newspaper when all of a sudden the little baby shrieked.He had pulled the tea tray; the kettle rolled and boiling hot tea spilled on his legs. Even now when I think of that incident I shudder. The child was crying uncontrollably. A crowd collected in front of our coupe. Perhaps somebody had informed the Station Master. Within a few minutes the Station Master appeared.He told my husband to carry the baby and follow him. After he got down he shouted to a Railway employee "GT ko rok do."The child was taken to the Railway Hospital where first aid was provided and the leg was bandaged. All this while the train was waiting for more than an hour. These days such good behaviour and concern is unheard of. This was not all. After Nagpur, when the train left, at every station up to Madras the train was signalled to stop and a Railway Doctor was waiting to enquire about the child. They administered medicines and changed the dressing. Even when we reached Madras, a Doctor was making an announcement That we should meet him. We met him and profusely thanked him.
Stay at Madras
As the train journey was too long, we had planned to halt at Madras for two days. Those two days were hectic. My husband's elder brother was settled in Madras. His Father-in-law, Vasu Menon, was a film producer. He had made his first Hindi Movie 'Jhoola', starring Sunil Dutt and Vyjayanti Mala, which was awaiting release . He arranged a special screening of the Movie for us. Since I was the only Hindi knowing person, he especially asked for my comments. This was my first visit to the house of a film personality. I was amazed.There were several people residing in that huge house (I can call it a palace) From morning to night the Idli grinder was moving.
Some one or the other was always at the dining table. There was no count of the number of cars. Some going to pick up guests, some going to leave the guests and some going to the studio and some returning from there.I felt a bit awkward that my Bro-in-law was staying with his in-laws. My hubby told me about the Matriarchal system, according to which the husband stays in the wife's house.( More about this system in another post. ) Two days were spent in sight seeing and shopping. The time to proceed for the next part of the journey arrived. My Bro-in-law had arranged for reservation. We boarded the the train for Ollvokode(Kerala) and reached the station at mid night.
(to be continued)