So we are in Kodanadu area of Kotagiri in Nilgiris Mountains.
We had super-duper-green-tea-with-lemon-grass. Sun is about to set in the mountains and it is crimson all over and also wind is getting cold. It is 5.30PM so we walk to the center of the village amidst the cluster of these purple flowers Salvia Leucantha (Mexican Bush Sage).
A man is waving us and shouting at us from the top of the village and I wave back. He shouts in Tamil that I cannot understand. He comes running and gives me a hug and then takes my right hand in his both hands and begins shaking and muttering. Mistaken acquaintance, I thought. Then he speaks in halting English that his throat is cured now by the medicine I told him.
Now I remember him. One upon a time; I instructed him to make a medicine from an identical herb of Phytolacca that grows in Nilgiris but I was unable to find its reference or real name in any book. However now I came to know that a debate is going on about naming this newest discovered plant (well they discovered it now but I discovered it many years ago because I was familiar with Phytolacca Americana/Decandra). Some scientists say that it is Phytolacca Decandra, someone brought it from America and some say Phytolacca Ocandra.
Whatever is the name; I tasted its berries and found no difference in the famous Phytolacca that is used in Homeopathy medicine. It is right sided remedy, right side throat swollen and many other right sided ailments (sensitive to electric changes, worse in rain and damp). Well, I vaguely remember that I instructed this gentleman about how to make 10C potency form the Phytolacca root. Root is poisonous. One man was suffering from dropsy and tried to end his life by eating Phytolacca roots but he got cured.
This gentleman says that he is now OK. His forever sore throat is gone. Right side was worse always or problem always begun at right side then spread to all over.
I again got drifted from my travel tale. This gentleman Mr. KK Swamy forces us another cup of tea from the nearby shop. We can see down that bus is coming from Kodanadu View Point and he also watches it in dismay and begs us to visit his home and then take last bus. We want to get to Kotagiri in daylight because we are not wearing any warm clothing. Bus abruptly comes and we get on it leaving behind the paradise.
Bus is sparsely full so we take our favorite front seats. Driver knows us because he is watching us wandering in the mountains for several days. After Kodanadu bungalow he stops the bus just to show us several roaming bison on the mountain above the tea estate. That is no good; that is no good at all; his showing us these goddamned bison.
I know that my wife will freak-out and will refuse to walk in Nilgiris tomorrow.
What can I do?
She gets scared of animals and deserted places and I am reverse in this respect.
From here the lake at the bottom of Kodanad Estate and neatly arranged village is shining like silver in the setting sun. It is a breathtaking scenic area. People find this lake very scenic and in almost all pictures of Kodanad Estate this lake is present.
Bus takes half hour to travel 17 kilometers to Kotagiri. It is dark now and we can see lights on the mountains.
We get down 1 KM before the main stand of Kotagiri and enter in the GRB bakery and café. They made best tea here. Best in the sense, they serve hottest tea. They keep cups in the hot water and then pour tea to serve people. Next door is the cyber café where I go to check my emails. Then we take alternate way that goes in the town then to our hotel.
We arrive in our hotel and Mr. Phillip the hotel manager is there. He is a big man with big mustaches and at first impression he looks very scary but then after you are know him for a while he looks very gentle. He appears the kind of a person that is most suitable for the role of Ravana in Ramlilas.
I begin the conversation with him.
“Hey Man; Phillip, I say that WE MUST stay in your hotel for another some days.”
“You are welcome; you are very welcome. You are very-very-very welcome”
“But man, I say that our money ran out. We called our home and money will arrive by mail and we haven’t got anywhere else to go so we MUST stay here to wait for the mail to arrive.”
Suddenly Phillip is very angry and confused because he knows me for many years.
He shouts, “You can stay here for maximum one day. Day after tomorrow you must leave. Or I will throw you out.”
I say in tormented voice, “But, Man, we have no money to eat. We want to borrow some money from you to eat. If you have some roties, give me so we eat those.”
He is very angry, confused and sorry for us.
I take out rupee note from my front pocket and insert in his shirt pocket.
I say, “This is our last 100 rupees that we got.”
He is staring at me in boiling anger. His whole face is red and he is shaking.
This reminds me the scene in Ramlilas, when Ravana gets the news that some petty jungle dweller Lakshman cut off his beloved sister Surpnakah’s beloved nose.
Years of acquaintance restricts him to beat me up for good.
I retreat to our room upstairs. My wife Vimla was watching my conversation with Phillip from the balcony. She was there because she is not good at suppressing her laughter. I join her and we walk to our room.
Phillip shows up at our door after 5 minutes.
He is laughing, “Sir you pulled my leg again. You always get away with your mischievous acts.”
“Man, I was only testing if you are my true friend.”
He replies meekly, “I guess I failed the test.”
“No Man, you passed with full scores. Had you beaten me to pulp then you would have failed.”
“He he he he. Here is the receipt for that 2000 rupee you put in my pocket.”
I pulled his leg on my last trip too. One evening after my day walk and some nightmarish ordeal with Mr. Sebastian who is security officer in Kotada Estate where I trespassed; I entered in my hotel and placed 2 hugest and ugliest looking Avocado fruits on his desk.
“What the hell this means,” he barked.
“We met a gentleman named Sebastian, he turned out your distant brother-in-law and he sent you these mango. He says he loves you and also mentioned that he admirers your mustaches.”
He shouted at the top of his voice, “How dare is he to send me this junk.”
“Hey man, don’t scream at me, I am only a messenger.”
Then he calmed down and looked at those avocado fruits as they were 2 dead rats lying on his desk.
“Man, I say, can I take one Mango?” I said.
“You take both. Thank you.”
“No. Thank you.”
When I was on the stairs to my room he screamed, “You are not going to eat these, will you?”
“Take a wild guess.”
He ran after me shouting, “Give me those.”
I wrote several posts on Kotagiri and always forgot my night walks here. It is fun to walk at night after supper. After you pass main road, here comes the old area around the Mosque. After you pass Mosque, there comes a nice temple that my wife loves to visit everyday. After the temple you make a left at T junction and again you enter in the wilderness and you can return back to Kotagiri main area above you after some zigzag paths. If you make a right you will enter in the further streets and more temples and you can return back through the streets.
If you walk out of Kotagiri towards Sterling Tea Factory you may see strange trees in the tea plantations. I may feel the trees planted upside down.
Roots in the air and canopy under the ground. These trees are imported from Africa. These are Baobab trees. These trees grow at some places in India.
About 4 I have seen in Cubbon Park and Lal Bagh in Bangalore. Several of these trees also grow around Mandav in MP.
Another plant that grows widely in Nilgiri is Eupatorium Perfoliatum.
Eupatorium Perfoliatum is a well known and highly advertised medicine in Homeopathy for Dangue, Swine Fever, and Flu etc. Known as “Bone-set”, from the prompt manner in which it relieves pain in limbs and muscles that accompanies some forms of febrile disease, like malaria and influenza.
Eupatorium Perfoliatum is a magic medicine and can prevent many miserable situations if used. I used it in Malaria, Influenza etc. Perspiration relieves all symptoms except headache.
Another plant that is the cousin this plant is Eupatorium Purpureum is not so famous remedy. It is used for Albuminuria, diabetes, strangury, Irritable bladder, enlarged prostate. It is excellent in renal dropsy.
Chills and pains run upwards.
Impotency and sterility.