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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ndakota ghost town booming back....... Vettayapuram palace...

Imagine walking back and being on the street that you lived four decades ago… if you had been away for many a years and if that happens to be a rustic village – not much could have changed and there could be ghost houses that haunt your memory…… !!

Manichitrathazhu (The Ornate Lock) is a 1993 Indian Malayalam psychological thriller film written by Madhu Muttam, directed by Fazil, and produced by Swargachitra Appachan. The film dealt with an unusual theme which was not common in Indian cinema but proceeded to become a high grosser at the box-office. The story reportedly was influenced by a tragedy that happened in Alummoottil Tharavadu, a famous central Travancore family, in the 19th century. Just in case, if you are not able to connect – sure you would jump on hearing ‘Vettayyapuram Palace’  - the desolate house that people fear to enter…….and the story behind it. That is – Chandramukhi, a film by P. Vasu, produced by Ramkumar Ganesan in  2005 starring Rajnikant, Prabhu, Jyothika and Vadivelu.  

Dan Brown’s ‘Digital Fortress’ published in 1988  was a real techno-thriller…… one of the main characters was - Ensei Tankado —a disgruntled former NSA employee.  The story was about the theme of government surveillance of electronically stored information on the private lives of citizens, and the possible civil liberties and ethical implications using such technology.  When the United States National Security Agency's code-breaking supercomputer (TRANSLTR) encounters a new and complex code—Digital Fortress—that it cannot break, Susan Fletcher, the head cryptographer discovers that it was written by Ensei Tankado,  and employee displeased with the NSA's intrusion into people's private lives. Tankado intends to auction the code's algorithm on his website and have his partner, "NDAKOTA", release it for free if he dies. Tankado dies in Seville, of what appears to be a heart attack, and the Agency deputes personnel  to  recover a ring that Tankado was wearing when he died. The ring is suspected to have the code that unlocks Digital Fortress. The ring had passed hands just before his death and each person in the frame gets murdered by a mysterious assassin.   

The mystery deepens in trying to find out who ‘North Dakota’ could be….  eventually it turns out that North Dakota and Ensei Tankado are actually the same person, as "Ndakota" is an anagram of "Tankado".

Now in reality ….. North Dakota is the 39th state of the United States, having been admitted thereto on November 2, 1889. It is located in the Upper Midwestern region of the United States, with its northern border running along the borders with the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba of Canada. The state capitol is located in Bismarck and the largest city is Fargo. Currently, North Dakota is the 19th most extensive but the 3rd least populous and the 4th least densely populated of the 50 United States.

North Dakota has weathered the Great Recession with a boom in natural resources, particularly oil extraction from the Bakken formation, which lies beneath the western part of the state ~ a recent report of Daily Mail states that the North Dakota ghost towns that are coming back to life thanks to oil boom.  It states that the town now is booming with recreational vehicles and trailers seen on places that were once deserted.

Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp photographed abandoned towns for a coffee table book; they recently returned to create second volume of the book ~ some of the towns that used to be abandoned now have people living in them. Poignant black and white photographs document success stories of farmers left destitute by Great Depression who fought to get back on their feet as the columnists were shocked to see that some of the towns that were photographed in 2005 or 2006 had people living there now.   North Dakota, in the northern part of the state. There were places in at Omemee in North Dakota, where nearly 150 people from 28 states, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have purchased property in the ghost town on auction sites like eBay are found to have rebirth. Larson knows that the rebirth is temporary and might be the makings of future ghost town photos.

Though the pair have doubts on how long the boom will last, there are enough traces of the forgotten town coming back from graveyard.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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