An Excursion in which you took part
Last year I went on an excursion to Thiruvananthapuram and Kanyakumari. In our party there were twenty students and four teachers. We had reserved twenty-four seats in the Kerala Express bound for Thiruvananthapuram.
We boarded the train and occupied the seats allotted to us. We were in high spirits. Everyone looked happy and relaxed. Hardly had we travelled about a hundred kilometers, when a number of passengers entered our coach. Some of them sat forcefully near our seats. For want of seats, some of them stood in the coach. When we told them that the coach was only for those who had reserved their seats, they reviled us. They became vociferous and boisterous and created a pandemonium. We wanted to chuck them out, but we could not. We resigned ourselves to our fate. We were greatly relieved when all of them got off at the next station.
As soon as the train reached Thiruvananthapurarn, we got down and went to the Mascot Hotel. We had already reserved a few rooms there. After food, we went to bed and slept like logs. Sleep, “great nature’s second course,” described by Shakespeare helped us greatly to get rid of our weariness and fatigue.
The next day we woke up and went to see the museum there. We saw a number of birds and animals. The antics of the black chimpanzee attracted us greatly. The tigers and lions in captivity do not have the prowess and vitality of the tigers and lions living in natural habitats. By 2 p.m. we returned to the hotel and had our lunch. Then we spent an hour discussing what we had seen in the museum.
Then our journey to Kanyakumari commenced. It was in a luxury coach belonging to the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. At 3 p.m. we boarded the coach.
By 6 p.m. we reached Kanyakumari. Soon we went to the hotel and occupied the rooms that had been reserved for us. After keeping our luggage, we went to see the sunset. We saw a red globe sinking into the calm ocean there. Its beauty is ineffable. There is something solemn and even awe inspiring in the splendid beauty of the sky as the Sun sets in the west. Wordsworth felt it when he wrote:
The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That bath kept watch o’er man’s mortality.
We returned to the hotel.
At dawn we woke up and went to see the rising sun in all its glory. The refulgent sunlight dazzled the entire atmosphere. The enthralling sunrise reminded me of the Englishman in Henry New bolt’s poem He fell among thieves. The Englishman requested his enemies that he should be killed only after dawn since he wanted to see the rising sun in all its glory. The Englishman considered the Sun as the symbol and manifestation of god. We agree with him. It is the Sun that sustains all life on Earth.
At 4 p.m. on the next day, we went to see the Vivekananda Rock Memorial. The beautiful engravings on it captivated us. The ‘harmony and peace’ characteristic of every religion, mentioned by Swami Vivekananda in his address at the final session in Chicago (27th September 1893), seemed to prevail in the atmosphere there. We sat there in silence and thought of the contribution made by him to interpret the religious heritage of India to the outside world.
Our return journey home was pleasant.