It IS ONE SUMMER NIGHT IN 1940 AND THE LOCATION IS THE FOREST NEAR PALLIVASAL, MOONNAR. The tropical forest is thick and full of dangerous animals. There is no one inhabiting the place anywhere in eye sight. There is a mud track that takes traffic passing through the middle of the forest. A tourist bus comes slowly up the hill through the forest and at one point just stops. All the lights are gone and the engine is dead. Any attempt by the driver to start the bus fails. All the passengers in the bus are now in pitch darkness in the middle of the forest. There is no way to spend the night in the bus as the area is not safe to sleep unprotected in the open.
The passengers start to walk away in panic, aided only by the glimmer of light from the stars. Ruben, a school teacher, spots a light in the distance on a tree top. He walks fast and beats everyone to it and shouts at the top of his voice. A man opens the door of his tree house and peers out.
And then something amazing happened. The man from the tree top lowered the ladder and ran down to Ruben in a hurry.
“Sir, why are you here in the middle of the night? It is dangerous to walk alone in the forest at night. Come stay with us for the night.”
He was one of Ruben’s umpteen students. Ruben remarked to me years and years later that being a teacher has its good moments despite the poor pay, and this was a life-saving one indeed!
Ruben was on his way to visit his brother working in Pallivasal Power Project inaugurated that year (1940).It was the very first power project in Kerala, meaning that entire Kerala had depended on lamps before that time!
Can you believe this story? Well, you probably cannot, but it is every bit true! Do you know who the two brothers were? My grand dad, C.I. Chandy was the teacher and his brother in Pallivasal was C.I. Abraham.
It was the period of reign of the last King of Tranvancore, Sri Chitra Balaramavarma and his prime minister, called Diwan, Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer. C.P. is credited with the success of the Pallivasal project which was otherwise beset with legal troubles.