I have once heard that to build a house and to conduct a wedding are two of the most toughest jobs a man faces in his lifetime, and when you build a house 300 Kms away from the city it surely takes a toll on you. Nestled in the midst of greenery at a small village called Vellimalai that is a little more than a 2-hrs drive away from Salem (Tamil Nadu) lies my Father's farm house. A home whose every brick resonates the passion and vigor with which he has built it, yes it does not look grand and fancy, but behind every home lies a dream of a Man and every home has a story to say. The one above could tell you the bloody-mindedness with which it was completed. This home was just another ordinary dream dreamt by just another ordinary man who had the extra-ordinary will to make it come true.
It was a little over a year ago when my father came back from his trip to Vellimalai, for him it was love at first sight. He had fallen in love with its flora and fauna, with its streams, with its people, with its air and with the color of its mud. He described it with the poetry with which a teenager would describe his first love. I never took him seriously at first because I was never the kind of guy who believed that nature could change a man. I have been to crowded hill stations and have stayed at their cheap over priced hotels, have eaten the stale and one-dimensional food that it offers and have taken snaps of the greenery that surrounds it. I have just "sleep walked" through my vacations all this while because I had no sense of belonging there, I had nothing to say which was "mine", nothing with which I could connect myself- not the people nor the places. I had no reason to go back there. I felt the same way when I visited Vellimalai the first time. I just nodded along to what was being said, signed the dotted lines and became an owner of a piece of land which I never bothered to see since then. I did not even feel the tiniest sense of ownership creep in when I heard my father say that he would be building a small house over there for our vacations. The most I reacted was the raising of my eyebrows with surprise. But my latest visit has changed my whole outlook of the place.
The best part about Vellimalai lies in its simplicity, it lacks the glamor yet it has everything that a hill station offers- the weather, the air, the greenery, the hills, yet I cannot categorize it as an Ooty or a Munnar or a Shimla or a Darjeeling. It is not over-crowded and it is free from the clutches of greedy corporates who would convert it into another money-minting enterprise. It may not be your typical "tourist spot" but it is one heck of a place to unwind and gather your thoughts after a hectic week. Far from the maddening crowd, disconnected from mobile phones and the internet, I sat under the tree and realized how powerful nature really is. There is something in the rays of the bright sun that it clears the cobwebs of your mind, the clear crisp air clears your thoughts and the greenery infuses an energy within you that prepares you for another hard week at the Big Bad City. No wonder nature has always been a source of inspiration to artists ranging from Musicians to Industrialists to Thinkers to Entertainers.
The house is yet to be painted and it is yet to be furnished, it still looks unfinished but that evening when we dined with our friends and family and as good cheer was spread in the air, I realized that it was no more a House but a Home. And all a Home needs is the presence of the people you love- not your furniture, not your fancy carpets, not your costly paintings not your fragile vase. My father's time, energy and money spent had bore fruit- it was a job well done. I now have a home away from home.