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A Love with Fort Kochi !

           Having born and raised at Aleppey till the completion of my graduation; I had never got any chance to explore any places except few major places of Ernakulum like Vytilla, Kadavanthra, MG Road, Kaloor, Edappally and so on.  Later on, after completing my graduation, I moved on to Kalamassery to purse my Post Graduation. From there I got campus placement and now its nearly 13 years that I am closely associated with Ernakulum and its suburb. I have often heard my friends say about Fort Kochi and its beauty, especially during the time of Christmas and New Year. In my mind, Kochi was some distant, vague place, nothing so special, nothing for being nostalgic …....

 

During the course of time, some films, especially “Big B” had influenced me a lot and generated a curiosity to discover Kochi and its nearby places. I believe none of Kochi-ites might ever forget the dialogue “Kochi Pazhaya Kochiyalla, Pakshe Bilal pazhaya Bilala”. I happened to see this movie in some local channel and started developing a special love for the beautiful places captured in this movie with its beauty its best. The buildings, which had resemblance to old British style Bungalows, Beautiful Roads, Sea views, Sea side parks, lots of small but beautiful shops, filled with tourists from different parts of the world etc. A few days later, as one among the usual audience, I too lost interest in these places as we forget about these places once we stop watching the movie and I got back to work. Later, while I was watching our Mega Star’s another Movie “Daddy Cool”, a lot of places again started popping up and started pulling my attention and I started analyzing each and every scenes. And to my surprise, these scenes had resemblances with many of the scenes in “Big B”. I concluded, this film too might be shot at Kochi. But one scene which I liked the most in “Daddy Cool” was Mammooty’s introduction scene. Some cops (Vijayaraghavan, Baburaj, Biju menon ..) were waiting for Crime Branch CI, Mr. Antony Simon (Mammooty’s character in Daddy Cool). They were waiting in a jeep near a circle, a round, where there were lot of trees…...….people are seen jogging, bus conductors washing the bus and so on…..……Mammooty just arrives on an Enfield bullet, with his friend…..He then gets into the jeep and they start their journey for a secret operation and the movie continues………This specific place, the round and the nearby roads, guarded by Gulmohar Trees on both sides, were too beautiful and I started searching for this place……..I asked a few friends, but no one knew where Daddy cool was shot. I even googled with key terms as “locations of Daddy cool” and so on but in vein……But I used to watch this movie occassionally, as I loved the story and music in this movie….…(It’s a nice movie……good story, full of fun and suspense…….you will love Mammookka in this character …... and Thanks a Ton to Director Mr. Ashique Abu…..your creativity has really made this movie worth watching repeatedly….. Hats off to this Trend Setter - Game changer - Ashiq Abu.”

 

Later, during my tenure of work with a Life insurance company, I had a personal staff in my team, who used to support us during late hours when there were extended business hours for login of insurance proposals. If she was too late and she missed her last bus, I used to drop her home. Her house was at Pandikkudy, but rarely did I knew that Pandikkudy was a part of Fort Kochi. While dropping her and returning from Pandikkuty, I used to pass by a hotel named “Fort Queen” and I even had dinner from the same hotel once.

 

Later one evening, while I was watching “Daddy Cool”, I just paused at the intro scene of Mammootty, just to have a detailed look at the background….I saw a green sign board….…I paused to find out where this green sign board was leading to…….but it displayed “Fort Queen”. My Neurons in the brain cells immediately lighted up exchanging memory shots at the speed of lightening and I thought “Jesus Christ, is this the same Fort Queen hotel at Pandikkudy?” The very next day, I travelled to pandikkudy and passed by Fort Queen Bar…….I didn’t know exactly where to go but my instincts drove me……at last, I reached a junction…..to be specific, a round which was very much similar to the one I saw in Daddy cool….and YES, my mind lighted up when I realized the truth…...I am at Fort Kochi…It was “VELI GROUND”…….full of huge Gulmohar Trees…….and exotic houses……. I was very curious to discover the latter part of Kochi….So I started driving my car left and right…without knowing where to go exactly…….at last I reached a huge Church….and I read “Santa Cruz Basilica”….I travelled again and I saw some sign boards marked “Princess Street”…….Yes, without knowing, I was actually sliding through the veins of Fort Kochi. Atlast I reached a small junction where there was a book stall and some handicrafts store….near to that I saw an old post office…..I stopped my car there and turned to right. I was just realizing that I was in front of the house, where “Big B” was shot. Vow…..what a great Surprise......!

 

I didn’t stopped there….I continued my drive and reached Fort Kochi Beach……I stopped there and started walking along the beach …….visited some Fish stalls…..(later realized that it was the famous "Kamaalakkadavu" fish market where Fort Kochites love to buy huge fish.) Later, I returned home with the satisfaction of discovering a new place of historical importance. After reaching home I made it a point to watch Big B and Daddy Cool and Double corss check the places I visited.

 

Time for Marriage : Now, it was in 2010, I went to see the first girl (Pennukanal). I just remember the travel route, my broker took me through. After reaching Palluruthy, we turned left, went straight again after some left and right turns, we reached the place…..met the girl……we talked......liked each other….both of us are equally educated, equally employed, knows both family very well…and both of us had common relatives…So I was pretty sure, this was going to happen. We started talking over the phone and came to know that she studied in Fort Kochi, was raised as a pure Kochi-ite and loved Kochi like hell. In fact, she was not so much happy about getting shifted to Aleppey…. At first, I believed that it was her sheer arrogance, but later I accepted the reality that Kochi-ites do have a special love for their home town…

 

OK, now you might be thinking what happened to my proposal?....Nearly after 2 months due to technical reasons, things went upside down and on good terms, we decided to part…..That story ends there……..

 

I got fed up by the so called “Pennukanal” and I started concentrating on my job and time passed at the speed of light.

 

It was in 2011 November, my new "Marriage broker" came home and as usual he had a great skill in Canvassing my Mom and Dad. This time again the girl was from Fort Kochi….........and we started our monotonous activity called "Pennukanal".  We met each other and talked and the same moment i felt this is going to work out. Later, parents visited each other’s houses and things got finalized. Our Marriage was initially fixed at Thoppumpady church but due to unavailability we had to search for another church and can you believe, where our Marriage was finally fixed ???  “Santa Cruz Basilica” Church, Fort Kochi.

 

Still I don’t know whether my Unconditional love for Fort Kochi made me reach here but one thing I would like to reiterate for sure…..Fort Kochi is a Place you must visit……Specially during festive seasons…..You will be a hardcore fan of this place and you will Love this place forever….

Later during the year, 2012, when I watched the Movie “Thappana” starring our Megar Star Mammootty, I was really amazed to see how the beauty of Fort Kochi was captured on the screen (especially during the song – Oorum Perum Ariyathe). Same was the case with Mammootty and Dilip duo starrer, “Kammath and Kammath”.

 

Fort Kochi today is an Epitome of precision and promptness, a Perfect blend of European heritage & true cosmopolitan temperament.

 

…..and my journey, Continues……………….

Fort Kochi Beach - Kamaalakkadavu Fish Market

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St. Mary's Anglo India Girls High School, Fort Kochi

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Chinese Fishing Net

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Old Thoppumpady Bridge

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Fort Kochi Beach - A nice place to spend evening in a calm and serene atmosphere

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Princess Street - Fort Kochi

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Old Thoppumpady Bridge

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Chinese Fishing Net at Fort Kochi

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Chinese Fishing Nets at Andhakaranazhi

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Thoppumpady BOT Bridge at Night

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© 2014 Roopesh Arakkal