On first seeing Vellimalai

Vellimalai is not an intimidating hill but a friendly hillock that one may climb in 20 minutes. I climbed a few feet and could see the rocks were predominant. june19-vMalaiUpClose.jpgYet, because there had been no grazing, there was enough vegetation. I could see it becoming a denser green once water was made available for birds to visit and roost.
At the western edge of the property where Vellimalai stood, began the village of Peruveli. So three villages -Jamin Endathur, Netrambakkam and Peruveli – met at the land I was standing on. For an inexplicable reason, this seemed a significant fact.
In Tamil lore, land is classified into four categories: Kurinji, Mullai, Marudam, Paalai and Neidal, Each designating the hills, the woods, the fields, the wasteland and the sea shore. Tamil poets had great empathy with these classes of nature and for centuries their poetry associated a mood with each of these types. [Read an illustrated essay on this] pointReturn with its campus at the foot-hills of Vellimalai would have connections with each of the five realms.
The access turned out to be a sticky point a little later when I was already in love with the place. There was legal access from the village of Peruveli to the west, beyond Vellimalai. But this was unromantic and through a battered road. The preferred access from the east, in Jamin Endathur village is not direct but courtesy owners of intervening properties. There is an initial reluctance and resistance on their part to grant me legal access. But they have not said ‘no’ yet. So there is hope for a later day.
For now there is a real place to imagine pointReturn on and a canvas on which to begin painting it.

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