It was my sis-in-law's marriage in Madurai (Nov 19). J went early with the kids for the pre-marriage activities and I followed her on the next day. Reached Madurai on the 19th and started for the marriage hall.
Marriages in general are pretty bores, if they don't have you either as a bride or groom. So I was given the job of baby sitting my kids who were thoroughly enjoying the day. I remembered a diary entry I made about 20 years back about the amount of money we spend of marriages but then my marriage itself was no modest affair and the hypocrisy of the thought was staring in front of me before I could even pretend righteous anger. I was generally looking forward to the lunch and the rest afterwards before J told me that we are leaving for Dindigul the same afternoon. All I can say was a weak 'yes'.
One thing about the marriages I like is that J likes to deck up with her jewels and Vanathy likes to do her make-up (is it even right for a 3 year old to do make-ups?). Sibi, like me, is mostly uninterested in the proceedings and in general, hates crowds.
So we left for Dindigul the same day. The climate was fantastic with light drizzles and it was a very cloudy day. One thing I like visiting my in-laws is that no one asks you to do anything. You can watch TV all the time (of course if it is free from the PS playing cousins or the cartoon watching Vanathy) and just order what food you want. The downside was that since J was all busy, I ended up with the kids all the time. While it is fun, it is also exhausting. And there are the cousins who took care of playing together relieving me from duty at times.
On 20th, after getting up late and very full lunch, we decided to visit the rock fort in Dindigul. This is a well maintained fort on top of a modest hill in the middle of the town. This is where Rani Mangammal used to reign and there is a legend that Tipu hid here for sometime from the British. It is an impressive fort with arsenals and stables
and a temple on top of the hill. Sibi raced with his cousins to the top while we were moving towards the top slowly. The air was breezy and the walk up the hill was pleasant. And there are some breathtaking views from the top as well. After getting down, went to the Mariamman temple and came back home for the parathas.
The next day started same as the day before with no sun and drizzles. Late morning, it was decided to go to the Kutladampatti falls near Madurai. It was supposed to be a quick ride and back before lunch. It started raining when we started and so there was hope that there will be water in the falls. The roads were fantastic (now that the four laning is complete) and we quickly took the turn towards the falls just before Vadipatti. The roads from here are narrow, passing through villages and fields. There are well placed markers and it reminded me of our drive to Amrithi last year (of course, all we could find in Amrithi was just rock and no water!). The road ends near the falls and we need to go up a couple of kilo meters to reach the falls.
It was not difficult but the path was narrow and through the forests. Once near, the path becomes slippery but the view of the falls with water flowing makes everything just worth it. The kids loved it and we all went into the falls. The crowd was less, although it was a Saturday. So we had fun for some time and decided to return back.
So it was a slow trek back to the road where the vehicle is. I was telling the kids about the thorny bushes along the path, when I was pushed from behind by a guy running towards the road. I didn't fall but thought nothing of it. At the same time, we saw another guy running down and this time we moved to give way and wondering what is going on. J was walking behind me along with her sister and suddenly started saying 'ரத்தம்! ' (blood). I was turning to see where the blood is. She came towards me fast and said its on my tees. After the bath, I didn't bother to wear my tee but just put it on the shoulder. J checked my back side and decided that the blood is only on the tees and must've come from the first guy who pushed me aside. We quickly called the kids together and saw another couple of guys rushing down. One of them had a towel wrapped in his torso and you can see that there is blood everywhere on the towel and though he was speaking, he was losing strength. They passed us quickly. We just waited for everyone to arrive and then started together down. There were more people coming down now and what we heard is that there was an altercation between some of the guys in the falls and one of them just broke a bottle and thrust it into the other and fled. By the time we reached the road, the first two has fled in a bike and the injured guy was taken in a car. We quickly assembled in the van and started back (of course, we were hungry!). Just before the highway, the locals set up a road block to check the vehicles for the fled guy. They checked our vans and we were on our way back to Dindigul. J after discussing with her sister, has thrown the soiled tee into the forest.
Nothing as exciting happened the next day and since, we booked the tickets from Madurai, I left in pouring rain to Madurai with Sibi and J boarded the train at Dindigul and we came back home exhausted from the 4 days of excitement.
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