Ananthapuri is where Lord Padmanabha reclines atop Anantha the serpent. I remember how I used to reach Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, along with my father and brother, at 3 a.m., have “darshan” in peace. But now, more than devotion, what stands out about the temple is its treasure, and it is a painful fact that the temple has become something like a museum for many.
That apart, this city has a treasure of memories for me. Like the pan shops, sweets and sherbet of East Fort. Going to the East Fort by bus, the longing for the sherbet suppressed in the mind for long, the trip itself was a thrill. Now, even those shops are gone. But the taste still lingers. The nostalgia too.
And the “rasa vadas”! The proximity to Tamil Nadu, especially to Nagercoil, has seen a lot of Tamil culture in our city, and one of the biggest advantages we got from that proximity is undoubtedly the “rasa vada.” You won’t get the same anywhere else in the State. Even now, I know places in the city which serve that incredibly tasty “rasa vada.”
The geography of Thiruvananthapuram too is unique, the city being a blend of so many hills. From Kudappanakunnu to Kanakakunnu, and my own place, Poojapura, which is also a hill — it is an elevated area from the spiritual angle too. I remember my childhood, the days of the Navarathri festival there, the concerts at the Poojapura Mandapam, the cricket matches at the Poojapura grounds. But now, we cannot even walk along the road peacefully. It has become like a highway, overcrowded and noisy.
And I wish Thiruvananthapuram would once again become the neatest city in the country, which was what we learnt in school. The mountain of garbage that meets our eye as we drive from East Fort toward Killippalam is a painful sight and something that is not good for our health either.
I also want more double-decker buses running in the city, more people visiting and sending their children to the Public Library instead of leaving the children to mere Internet-oriented knowledge. The Public Library and such places are where we can encourage their power of imagination and creativity.
Another memorable factor about the city is the Attukal Pongala festival. The record turnout, I believe, is more because we see Attukal Devi as our own mother. The emotions that abound in us when we say “Attukal Ammachi” are more related to a mother than to a goddess. Such festivals are unique to Thiruvananthapuram, so is the symbol of communal harmony at Palayam, where we have a mosque, temple and church in close proximity.
One thing I would like to change about the city is the protests in front of the Secretariat. I think we should try out a separate space for protesters.
All said and done, I strongly believe that whatever I am, I got all that from Thiruvananthapuram. It is my city in every sense of the word.
The author is a music composer and singer