When I was young, this was something I used to boast about. Imagine living in a lane that is named after your grandfather! I don't think anyone paid much attention then but now I do want to brag and let the whole world (or to all those unsuspecting ones who read my blogs) know, that yes, my grandfather had a whole road dedicated to him.
But this is not just on that but on the things have changed there, at Azad Lane. This was the most peaceful area in Kottayam, we had all the advantage of living right at the heart of town, with the great Thirunakkara temple a furlong away, and yet we were away from the hustle bustle of traffic.
Azad lane connected two main roads and was a broad tarred one with few shops on either side of it. Yes, there was a shop, which kept sweets (the loose ones, no branded ones then) and bananas. This was strictly a residentional area with houses on either sides, the only big ones being our cousins at the beginning of the lane and then Pukalacaut way down. There was only one office here and it was ours, a big building with a press behind. It was called the Cinema Masika Building and this compound was fairly crowded with workers and film boxes. But soon even that became a thing of past. There was a workshop on the left of the office and our Maths tution Sir lived just beyond this. Well, he was one charachter, who didn't opened his mouth (he chewed paan and sometimes he had his mouth full of paan spit!uggh) nor smiled, just scribbled out problems on our notebooks and withered us with his looks. His scribblings ranged from faint noiseless ones when he was happy with our mathematical skills to noisy angry and huge engraving (he has torn pages with the force he wrote) when he was angry with our efforts. Thinking back, he resembled one of the teachers at Harry Potter's Hoghwarts school of witchcraft but he was a good soul and that all of us knew.
Down further was the Chellapaan Bhavani teacher's dance class. All of us girls had to endure the dance classes, though we had varing abilities, from my mother who was a very good dancer, my sister who was good too, to me with my two left feet and always a source of embarassement for I was constantly reminded of moms skills in class.
Well, thats it, this was Azad lane, 25 years ago.
Now this 120meter long road is the busiest road with 2 hospitals, 5-10 shops, lesser residences and numerous offices, facing it. (all this in a 120 meter long road)
It has its advantages, the land price is quite high as there is not an inch available and you can rush to the hospital for emergencies, but they end there, the advantages, I mean.
It is difficult to drive and to walk through this busy 'intersection' with the auto drivers ruling majority of the road space.
Azad Lane has become a difficult place to live with all the facilities available right there and that is the irony!