They say a little warmth goes a long way! So it was, that the moment I alighted at Kollam Railway Station at around six in the morning today, I was eagerly on the lookout for a chaai shop! After a hot cuppa chaai to bolster my spirits, I indeed, literally went a long way…... got into an omni bus [‘dolby’ing out tamil songs by the dozen!] and alighted at Ezhukone, some 20 kms from Kollam, where I was lodged at a good hotel (Nila Palace).
Once you find yourself in totally new environs, the instinctive ‘call-a-friend’ option comes to mind and, yes, there I was, calling up my good friend and going on and on and on, only to be interrupted by Mr. Vineesh, who came and gave me my itinerary for the day. So I had to cut short on my ‘live commentary’ and soon got into ‘get-ready’ mode! My cordial host Mr. Vineesh had a lot of interesting things to tell me about Kollam, and I was pleasantly surprised to know that I was in the land which is called the Cashew Capital of the World, and that a whopping majority of the populace in and around Kollam are involved in the cashew industry. Coincidentally, Nila Palace where I was lodged, is one among the popular cashew exporters here. Their Residency, in fact has an exclusive duty-paid shop which sells their brand of cashews of all hues and shades. One rarely comes across such splendid varieties of cashews!
Aqua tourism or backwater tourism is yet another specialty that Kollam offers! Interestingly, Vineesh also told me that Kollam is fast becoming a Cherrapunji, as rains have started battering Kollam too in equal measure, and true to his words, in no time there was a heavy downpour which lasted at least four hours into the night! The next morning, it was astonishing to see that there wasn’t any visible sign of the previous day’s ‘cats and dogs’ spell anywhere on the roads, thanks to their locale!
Vineesh drove his Wagon-R with such alacrity and ease through the highs and lows of the hilly terrains in and around Ezhukone, and when at last we reached Musaliar Hills, it was indeed a fascinating sight to behold! A breathtaking panoramic view it was, through the hilly terrain over the lushy mountainous landscape ensconced in such pristine environs!
TKM Institute of Management, Ezhukone is housed in such a salubrious and envious locale and I was told by my hosts that, it was one of the premier B-schools started as early as in 1995.
Professor Anju, of TKM was our cordial host, and in my interactions with over a hundred students at TKM, I was bowled over by the ease and conviction with which they’ve opted for a course in Management, and their passion for the English language was evidenced in their effective and impactful interactions! One could see a sincere conviction coupled with a passion for excellence in all the students with whom I had the opportunity to interact with!
After a fruitful and memorable time at TKM, and a comfortable stay in Kollam, I geared up in all eagerness for the next day’s (Saturday) itinerary. Travelled a distance of around 60 kilometers from Kollam to Trivandrum by Mango Cabs [much akin to our Fast Track!, and yes, OLA has not been a success story in and around Trivandrum at least till now, mostly due to local taxi operators threatening and intimidating OLA drivers, and/or because of problems galore in payments].
Our next destination for interaction with students was Mar Ivanios College, Trivandrum! Situated in a huge campus that houses many sister institutions, Mar Ivanios is without doubt trendy and highly updated – be it their syllabi or the skill-oriented courses that they offer, or the commitment of the Dept of English to take in staff who are competent and well-trained in skill-oriented courses, Mar Ivanios is sure a step ahead than many of her counterparts, in this part of Kerala. Dr. Joseph, senior Professor of the Department ushered me in, and the Department Room for the Staff was so large enough to accommodate even 30 members! The Department has a modest 15 members of staff on its rolls, and with a dynamic and dedicated team, they are doing a passionate and committed work in training the students in a variety of skill-based courses, apart from their Specialisation – English! It was a Saturday, and hence a holiday for the College. But the fleet of NCC cadets who docked in front of the English Department, sprightly dressed up in their NCC Khakis, and poised with purpose in their goals, was indeed a sight to behold! The NCC Seniors (aka Under Officers!) were indeed having a whale of a time, enjoying their stint in disciplining their juniors to perfection.
Now to the students! Most of the students with whom I interacted were from the Department of English, and a few from Economics and Commerce. ‘A cut above the rest’, ‘Way ahead’, ‘Astounding’, – some words that come to my mind in describing the high EQ (Enthusiasm Quotient!!!) and Communication Skills of the students! For once, I was able to see students in this part of Kerala (and a majority of them from UG English) speak elegantly without any hesitations, or reservations, or any accent whatsoever! Full credits to Dr. Joseph and his dynamic team!
After a memorable day at M.I.College, we were on a fanatic-sight-seeing mode, and the adventurer within us was raring to go...
to be contd...