For the last ten years I have been living on the slopes of a hill. Of course I was aware of the same when I lived there, especially when I was standing on the terrace and could see for miles around. But when I watch the same hill from the rooftop garden on the thirteenth floor of where I stay now, I am amazed. Is that really where we lived? It looks so different when viewed from here!
The slopes look green, covered with trees like most of Kerala does. There are tiny looking buildings visible from in between the trees, like matchboxes. But I know there are a lot more houses there, hidden by the greenery. The apartment blocks though stand out when compared to the houses due to their size and so are easily identifiable. Precisely because of that I know exactly where my old place is though my eyes cannot locate it as easily. It is right behind the leftmost side of the pinkish block of flats.
It is not far as the crow flies, but by road it takes longer. From one slope of a hill to another higher one the road winds along and then there is also the traffic to contend with.
Did I ever mention that my city is one built on hills? Some say it is seven hills, but that’s debatable. There are many claimants to the ‘built on seven hills’ title and Thiruvananthapuram is apparently one of them. The question remains which are those seven hills? That the city is situated on hilly terrain is obvious because of the undulating roads. Everywhere in the city it is mostly ups and downs. A flat road that runs for a long distance is hard to find.
The really high hills like Ponmudi and Agasthiarkoodam are definitely not within the city limits. The one where I used to live is certainly eligible for a place among the seven hills that make up the city. But then again, when the historians of a bygone era spoke of the city being built on seven hills, they were actually speaking of a much smaller town of which this hill was never a part.
Whatever, suffice to say I used to live on one of the prominent hills of the present city and have now moved to the slopes of another smaller one.
©Shail Mohan 2022
The town I live in has swelled way beyond the valley floor where it began and has spread like a rash up the slopes of the surrounding hills. I can look across the valley towards three different residential areas on three hills – another hillside has, fortunately, been set aside as a nature reserve-cum-recreational area.
I saw the same thing happening in the last ten years I was at my last house. At first there was barely one or two lights shining from the distant hills at night, but by the time I left the place, they looked like so many Christmas trees!