Mayilvahanam buses brings nostalgia to the hearts of every valluvanadan .Those buses with green , blue , red and white livery were the only ones we knew , they literally connected valluvanadan heartland with the outside world . Today as they wind up their historic journey , this is my ode to what we proudly call “our KSRTC”….
Being born in 1989 my Mayilvahanam experience started much later compared to many of my readers . My mother used to go to college in a CTS which she reminisces quiet often and the strange part is that she still remembers the names of conductors and drivers of those “circular” buses . As other means of transport were rare those employees held an important place in their lives as they took them to their destinations safe and on time. My first memories of those buses were when i used to go to my maternal home in the “Ennapadam” bus from Cherpulassery to Shornur . It was a blue / green bus that ran from Mannarkad to Thrissur and would usually be full when we board , more people used to get in as we passed through the many stops making it tilt towards either sides violently owing to the weight as we sped through many a narrow lanes. Then came my school days when my mother and I used to take our morning and evening “Velichapad – Valanchery” . It was again a blue/green bus from Ottapalam to Valanchery via Cherpulassery and pattambi . The name Velichapad was the pseudonym of its driver who according to my mother was short tempered like a valluvanadan Velichapad . If we did not get our regular bus the next was a red/white Palakkad – Guruvayur one which was so jam packed that i still have nightmares about my journeys in it. As years passed these many Mayilvahanams became part of my life . The Palakkad – Guruvayur route was their bastion , so were the many routes connecting all the major Valluvanadan towns like Cherpulassery , Ottapalam , Shornur , Pattambi ,Perinthalmanna , Mannarkad and Valanchery. The Kozhikode buses were legendary whether it be Walayar, Kollengode or Mangalam dam , and there was the Shornur – Anakatty bus that passed Pattambi early in the morning. The strange thing is that most of these buses started from the small discreet border towns along the Kerala – Tamil nadu border like Gopalapuram or Meenakshipuram and went to Guruvayur.
Each brand of Mayilvahanam buses had their workshops at Shornur . I still remember the bus bodies being built inside those sheds with spare buses waiting for maintenance spilling on to the main road . Like KSRTC they used to have checkers .During my college days (2010s) , he used to board the Kozhikode – Vadakenchery bus from Thootha on random days and check the tickets from the conductors ticket book . There were spare buses and it was common for the passengers to be ferried into the spare bus at Kulappully if the main bus experienced any trouble.
As of 2017 there are only a handful of Mayilvahanams left and myself being a Mayilvahanam fan like any other Valluvanadan would deeply miss our Vahanams.