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Coming of Age of my Home Town

CHERANALOOR

Have you heard about Cheranallore? Or Kunnumpuram?

The expected answer is oh! Yes, yes, yes! where Amrita hospital is.
But this was not the case some 25 years back. Kunnumpuram is a small place in the village of Cheranallore. I did my schooling in a famous convent school in Ernakulam.

So where are you from? – asked my friends. My reply was – Cheranallore. They had not heard about Cheranallore or Kunnumpuram. I started mentioning Edappally which was better known because of the famous church there. Majority of my classmates were from Panampilly Nagar, Giri Nagar, Gandhi Nagar Kadavanthra or M.G road, the better-known places in Ernakulam.

Only few busesuse to transit to our place. Kunnumpuram is 10 km away from Ernakulam. But in-between there is a railway track that makes its distance more than it should be. The railway gate here was manually operated. The cabin used to be almost 350 to 400mts away from the gate. After the passage of train, we used to wait for the person to open the gate and it always seemed that he was deliberately moving very slowly to open the gate.

It had a small restaurant where usually all the political parties meet and fight. Near to that were a small provision store and a small vegetable shop. We had a big temple with large pond. All these were around Kunnumpuram Govt school. Even though two major industries like Metal Box and Presha were near to this place, none of them were working due to trade union issues.

As years passed by, modernisation first descended on our area in the form of an automatic railway gate. Then came the opening of Varapuzha bridge which shortened the long distances towards Trissur and Kozhikode. Buses start overcrowding on our small roads. Traffic block became a usual sight, especially near the railway gate. The demand for railway overbridge was raised by all political parties along with the local people but to no avail. By the time I reached my college days, I was mighty fed up with the traffic. In my mind, one of the options was to get married and leave this place. But I married a person who owns a firm in Kunnumpuram itself. Kunnumpuram disappointingly remained with me after the marriage also. Years passed. Another big hospital initiatedin the name “Amrita hospital” took shape in our village. Many people who were jobless in my place were employed andKunnumpuram gradually started to change its face.

Meanwhile people got used to with the railway gate blocks. Many people found out alternate roads which were slightly longer, but they adjusted to those difficulties. With all the prayers, after inordinate delay, finally, our railway overbridge was opened. This started another new phase for our Kunnumpuram people. This was followed by the opening of LuLu mall. Edappally changed from an unassuming place to a most sought after one. To top it all came the metro. Today Edappally junction is one of the busiest places in the state of Kerala. You can see three modes of transport one above the other at this junction.

The developments here had a deep impact in Kunnumpuram too. And my Kunnumpuram changed into a metro township. Be eatery joints like Aryas, Saravana Bhavan etc., or state of the art showrooms of Volkswagen, Mahindra and the developments like Vallarpadam container terminal road, are all around this place only. From a shy girl, it has grown to a matured woman accepting all the changes and waiting to embrace more!


Smitha Venugopal

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