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E-Pao! Essays - Down the memory lane

Down the memory lane

By: Nameirakpam Surjit Meitei *



It was a hot morning with no chance of a rain though we would have loved the rain which will give all of us a break from this hot climate of Chennai where idli, dosa, sambar and hot humid climate rules. Good experience of Chennai climate made us to book a Toyota qualis air-conditioned car for our trip to Mahabalipuram, which we all have been planning with lot of enthusiasm for the last two days. We will be traveling all along east coast road, which is a toll road that goes meandering beside the beach up to Pondicherry. It was a gala start with seven of us Tachou, Akshay, Gogo, Uma, Neena, Sony and myself ready to go with all the euphoria usually associated before the start of such a trip.

Our trip leader was a young 45-year-old energetic contractor from Manipur lovingly addressed by everyone as Tachou. First we went to a showroom to get a camera to capture all the moment worth reminiscing during the trip. The vehicle zigzaged its way through the crowded busy street of Adyar and Thiruvanmiyur. As soon as it entered East cost road it zoomed past all the vehicles in full throttle like "black beauty" galloping at its best. Meanwhile all our inquisitive eyes juxtaposed with an exclamative face were focused on the beautiful beach that meanders as we go along the beachside ECR road. As we cruise through in the scenic highway with our eyes gazing the natural beauty of the beach, Gogo started bringing out the burgers and sandwiched we have prepared to satisfy our appetite during the trip. Our trip continued with our trip mate ringing up their near and dear ones to tell the thrill they are experiencing right now in an exaggerated manner, not to mention the jealous feedback of having missed the trip from the receiver end .We reached Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram (colloquial language) at around 11.30 am. We all were astounded to see the beautiful 1300-1400 old monolithic structure that stands in front of us.

Our guide who was a retired staff of archaeology department of Tamil Nadu briefed us with the nitty gritty of the structures and the rulers' pallavas. He took us to every nook and corner of the temple and explained the presence of Egyptian octagonal dome, Chinese dragon and influential presence of Thailand's pagoda structure in those huge monolithic structure. It was very beneficial to our group, which consist of business, engineering and modeling mind with four budding avid student. In a short span of 2 hours our friendly guide with well-spoken English has taken us down the memory lane of the pallavas ruler. The presence of well-sculptured temples and influence of Chinese, Egyptian, and Thailand architecture suffice us to believe the trade relation the pallavas had with these countries and their sculpting skills. We went on to see the marvel of their skills and the lighthouse. The principle of reverberation and center of gravity that we studied in our school physics is displayed in its natural best in mahabalipuram. In one of the temple a small humming sound produced constructively resonates to produce a huge humming sound. The center of gravity is displayed by the huge balancing rock referred as Krishna's bowl that stands on an inclined slope. I bet physics student will die to see and hear this physical phenomenon, which they have only abstractly learnt in their schools and college.

Next we moved on to see one of the remaining temple out of the 7 temples that have existed before. It is believed that the other 6 other temples now lies inside the sea thanks to the ever advancing sea shore due to global warming which has increased the sea level. By this time we were tired but we were enthusiastic because our next programme is to see Sea lion in Dolphin city. But lady luck was not on our side and we have to skip the thrill of seeing sea lion as the show was supposed to start late. With enough of lessons learnt in Mahablipuram we went to a beach resort to satisfy our hunger with an array of non-veg and veg cuisine. After having a good lunch and a nice rest we continued our sojourn with vigor towards VGP golden beach an amalgamation of modern exhilarating ride with the natural beauty of beach set in serene environment in a southern suburb of Chennai.

We proceed to see the statue man who was attired with all the jingle bells that is usually associated with a maharaja .He was standing in a graceful manner without moving, not even blinking his eyes no matter what pose we do in front of him to make him laugh, blink or move. But Neena turned out to be the ultimate champion I would rather say a Parvati in disguise who came to break the penance of Lord Shiva. She utilized her romantic skills proficiently to make the statue man to not only move but reply to her when she shouted the three most pleasing word everyone likes to hear irrespective of caste, creed, religion and age "I LOVE YOU. After having lot of fun with the statue man we thought of going for some ride to fell the zing thing rushing in our veins. Next we went for the Columbus ride where the boat was adorned with beautiful mermaid on the boats bow. But our enjoyment and joy was short-lived and Columbus ride nearly became a show stopper of our trip when one of our companion could not take the ultimate test of free fall of the ride .To everyone's surprise she fainted to be awakened only by a sudden splash water on the face. After making her rest for a while and with things all settled down we proceed to the go karting a smaller ditto model of F1 cars and dancing car section to test our driving adroitness. But the thrill of rush and smash of the dancing car stole the show and we went to collide each others dancing car round after another. After riding all the thrilling and exhilarating modern gizmo rides we went to refresh and cool our heels in the natural beauty of golden beach.

The cool water of the beach that welcomed us was a massage to our tired bodies. Leaving aside the fear of being drowned we went a bit deep to the ocean and came swimming with the huge waves in a dexterous way, not less than a dolphin. Followed by a quick refreshment we are on our way back cruising the vehicle with cat's eye piloting us in front and back and the day's experience doing round among each other.

Everything went fine till I reach my house and the usual exploring if's and but's started in my mind before I went to sleep. If tourism were permitted in Manipur our state would have occupied the top slot in the most favored hill station in India. Our hills, natural setting of the stream and rivers would have outwitted all the hill station in every respect. It is just that ooty, nainital and all other states have developed the god given beauty to its best and utilized it for their betterment, which is not the case in our state. First of all the need for a peace to prevail in our state is top priority if we want to attract tourism. It's also high time that we start pressurizing the central govt. to remove the ban that has been imposed on foreigner to visit our state.. Imagine a Manipur overflowing with tourist, loktak being developed into a water sport complex and luxurious small boat- house rowing on the lake with hordes of tourist booking for hotels in moirang to spend their vacation. Cottages built on the foothills of baruni, koubru and langol hills with organized trekking being conducted for the tourist. We too can bank on adventure sports like trekking, hang gliding and river rafting in our god given beautiful streams and mountains. Moreh could easily become an international market with tourist rushing in to buy foreign goods. The indigenous handicrafts, games, martial arts and dances of the Meiteis, Nagas, Kukis and other tribes coupled with the famous Raas-lila will easily become a tourist puller. Imagine the employment and economy tourism would generate and help us in propelling our state to better heights. One of my friend from Hyderabad who has been to Manipur use to tell me that "God's own country " is Manipur not Kerala. The weekend mahabalipuram trip was a good experience and a welcome break to relax our tired limbs and brain after hectic weekdays but it has left inside me a deep thought inside my mind that Manipur can beat everyone in terms of tourism.


* Nameirakpam Surjit Meitei, a Progammer Analyst with a Chennai based Software Company writes regularly for e-pao.net. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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