Sooraj found a friend of the family at the nearby "Faith India", a vocational training institution for the differently abled. Mr. Chandrasekhar, the director of the institute was very cordial, given the time of day we had barged in at - 8am. We spoke a little bit about our walk and the institute and exchanged contact details and promised to be in touch about the possibility of engaging in training in free software options tuned towards the differently abled.
Soon we were on our way towards Moovatupuzha. We had breakfast, and on the way, we stopped by a little shop where we noticed a television set. We had a glimpse of the Doordarshan "State Scan" program at 10.30am, where the walk had been featured. Our egoes thus whetted, we moved on towards Kolencherry. However, we were disappointed that the media had stripped out the soul of our message, and reduced it merely to Free Software. The underlying philosophy of "being the change you wish to see in the world" had been glaringly missed out on. It is interesting to note that Manorama News had also focussed only on the Free Software aspect.
We reached Kolencherry around 11AM and decided to have some refreshments from a nearby bakery. We had lemon juice and tea and were sitting in the bakery with the thought of taking a little rest. Then we got our big surprise of the day, the shop keeper came and asked us why we were not leaving after the drinks. It was for the first time that somebody asked us something like this since we started our walk. All the places where we had food/drinks were sympathetic towards us and we normally took reasonably long breaks at such places. We decided against taking a photo but thought we should mention this in the blog.
A little gate leading into a grand courtyard gave us the hint that we were probably at St. Peter's college, Kolencherry. As we walked in, a lady teacher accosted us and asked us our business. The atmosphere was decidedly hostile, as we first spoke of our desire to inspire and be the change we wish to see. We soon realised that the main issue was that of credibility - our qualifications in terms of education, work experience and entrepreneurship seemed to make all the difference - rather ironic for a Christian institution working towards an egalitarian society. Soon however, we'd broken ice, and once the message got through, the teaching staff really warmed up and introduced us to quite a few teachers who passed by. They explained that many students had not turned up since private bus services were on strike. We were then invited to have a quick chat with the Principal, after which we made our way on towards Moovatupuzha.
Soon after lunch from a home-cum-hotel on the way, we noticed a church that looked rather ancient. The sign boards in the vicinity promised us that we were at Kadamattathu. Trying to piece together the legends behind this church to what we actually saw here was harder than we had thought. After looking around a bit and absorbing the ambience of this ancient church (supposedly 1600yrs old), we moved on towards Moovatupuzha.
We took a break at a Bus Stop. The pace had slowed down to a crawl by now - Anoop had developed a bad muscle sprain and this was slowing the walk - and all hope of reaching a scheduled programme at Moovatupuzha had dissappeared. While we were in the bus stop, a bike pulled up and off hopped Kiran from STAS Edappally! He had spotted us in the bus shelter and turned around to say hi. After he and his friend left, a couple of juniour friends stopped by to say hello. Sarath was curious about us and the gadgets we had on us. He seemed to be well informed, for a 9th standard student. His younger brother Ajesh, was even more impressive, a 2nd standard student - not at all shy, perhaps a little too little so!
Walking further, we had dinner from Moovatupuzha, and carried on towards Thodupuzha. Here, we decided to seek shelter at a church when all options had run out. The vicar at the St. Sebastian Church, Anicaadu, Moovatupuzha, was quite accommodating to three disheveled strangers ringing his doorbell at 9pm, but we explained ourselves, and he was gracious enough to offer us the Parish Hall to sleep in overnight.
People who walked today:
The freedom walk trio.
Places passed through: