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Day 18 : Overshooting destinations, engaging the Irula and fighting sore throats

Day 18 was the perfect day for a power walk, especially seeing as Natesa Iyer, clad in his neon-shoes was fully mobile, subsequently relieving me of my obligatory duty of care. We both powered, in tandem, up the road, against the back drop of blue-tinted hills kissing the sky. As we walked for approximately 13kms, with traffic roaring past us for about half of the distance, we even managed to overshoot our chosen destination, prompting the driver of our advertisement van to call us back!

The destination was a ravishing, but not fully used, horticultural forest, harbouring unique flora and fauna. We raced to meet another Irula community, where we had plenty of explanations and discussion about the reasons for our walk, and more importantly the concept of fair trade and climate justice.

Mr. Alwaye, who was still physically with us, shared a lot of his knowledge about government programs in the area and the recent agreement/proposal for a nursery in the area. Interestingly, our trusty, lovingly named “Eager beaver”, the organisor/coordinator, Shanmugam, hails from this community.

We later went back to Metturpalyam, where we met a senior business man, Mr. R.V.R. Chinnu, who also represented truckers. He spoke about the rapid deterioration of hard, basic industry in Metturpalyam, the gateway to the Nilgiris. He was our warm, thoughtful and kind host.

I have developed a mild sore throat during today’s walk, but I suspect I can tough this one out and be back to walking days for Day 19 !

We are very close to our summit, Ooty now!

Follow closely my friends, and please donate to Fairtrade India, if you can spare something!

Pushpanath Krishnamurthy,
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