We first met Thomas when we did the local sightseeing tour in Munnar, Kerala. Manoj, our navigator, took us to the Green Hotel in Chinnakanal owned and run by Thomas, at a distance of about two kms from Club Mahindra where we stayed. We wanted to eat our favorite Kerala food items such as Puttu, Appam and Idiyappam, Kadalaicurry, and may be Parotta made of wheat and not maida. Manoj strongly recommended Thomas’s Green Hotel for being clean, offering homely and tasty food at value for money pricing. We agreed to try it out.
Thomas welcomed us with warmth, and served us freshly made Parottas with Kadalaicurry as the side dish. The Parottas were light, tasty and gave us a sense of fulfilment. We just had a small conversation with Thomas, thanked him for the good food and left. He has a very pleasant disposition and affable manners towards everyone who meets him.
On the day we left Munnar for Alleppey, we decided to have our breakfast at Green Hotel so that we could meet and have a conversation with Thomas. But we could not meet him immediately as we were told that he was offering his prayers and would take time. Someone else, working there, attended and served us superb breakfast. Even after our breakfast, he was still praying. When we were about to leave, Thomas came out. I told Thomas about ShikshaDaan, our Yatra to visit every district in India for ShikshDaan and thanked him for the wonderful breakfast.
Thomas then decided to open up spontaneously. He shared about his past vices of chronic and acute alcoholism and drug addiction for almost a decade and a half, and the strained relationship that he had with his mother. The consequences for Thomas, personally and socially were so disastrous that Thomas decided to commit suicide. He had nothing in life to look forward to. Ostracised in his village and community, he decided to take the ultimate step. He had made all preparation for committing suicide and as he kneeled down, Thomas felt he heard the voice of Lord Jesus and instantly decided to drop his decision to quit life and also dropped his vices, became a changed man and turned around completely. Today he is married, and has a supporting wife, and wonderful children going to school. His hotel, Green, is doing very well, patronised by tourists and locals in good measure.
Thomas said his prayers, for us, in front of us, and took selfies with us. Thomas, you are a great turnaround story and an inspiration. May you stay blessed!