Sunday, January 11, 2009

What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare...

Yawn!! It was a beautiful Sunday.... I tossed and turned in my bed, wrapped my body in the cozy blanket to brave the chill of the morning. I wanted to sleep for five minutes longer, so that I could see the end of the dream that was now broken. Even as my eyelids fluttered, I saw a yellow streak of light barge in through the gap between the curtains. How did the sun manage to wake up so early on a Sunday, was it never tired? Didn’t it ever party till late on a Saturday night? I shoved my childish thoughts away as I stretched each muscle of my body.

I lazily walked up to the kitchen sink where the vessels from last night’s dinner lay unwashed. I rinsed a saucepan and measured water for tea. As the water boiled, I watched. Bubbles formed on the surface, and the bubbles burst, each time letting out a gush of colorless, odorless vapor. I added the tea powder, intently watching the water change color… it turned orange, and then red, and then dark maroon before it was finally brown. I strained the concoction into a cup and observed it turn lighter as I added milk. I wondered, “How many colors have I seen since morning?”

Tea cup in hand with a pack of biscuits, I headed straight to the balcony. This was my favorite place on a Sunday morning when I had nothing else scheduled. As I approached my seat, I knew what I was going to spend the next hour doing. It was peaceful, it was bliss. I enjoyed this silence… my only propeller for waking up early on a Sunday morning. Occasionally, a bird chirped nearby, the sound of the wind a sort of accompaniment to it. The plants swayed from side to side, their flowers seemed to wave me good morning. I found myself smiling, being one with nature, enjoying every moment of this. I was joyous from within, I wanted to dance, I wanted to sing, I felt like gurgling with laughter with the innocence on a child. I threw my hands up and wide as if embracing everything that God had to offer me in his today… I felt life… This was the paradise that I so always wanted to live in. But I knew this was not here to last…

Slosh!! a car went by, splashing water from the puddle and smoke from its butt. Bow wow!!! I recognized the neighborhood dog as it chased the car. Along with this rose all the sounds of the earth. Somewhere an alarm went off, somewhere I could hear a kid wailing. Telephones were ringing, radios were playing, children were shrieking, people were shouting.

As I went back in into my room I couldn’t help thinking, “Was this paradise lost or was this paradise lost…” Contributing my bit to the noise around, I switched on my laptop to play some songs.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Smile...

The bus was bursting with people, their voices over the sound of the bus as it rambled along. The driver was playing a dual role of conductor as well. People were pushing, children were yelling. Mummies tried to calm their little ones, at the same time keep an eye on their luggage. Wonder where this bus was going.

Outside the bus, it was a different world. A long, winding road, lush green pastures on either side, a pleasant wind, trying to dry the rain-washed roads. This paradise was my destination. I had to alight, I needed to, I was desperately trying to… but in vain. For every step that I put forth, I was pushed back by two. I was screaming whispers into the noise.

At this moment, the bus halted. I paved my way through feet of different size and colour, even stepping on a few of them. As I reached the last step, I heaved a sigh of relief. Having succeeded in my venture, I decided to check what stopped the bus. I looked through the glass, a traffic police. He was looking straight at me as if checking if I was alright. As I moved ahead I turned back one last time, his eyes were yet stalled on me as I saw him alight. I was grateful to him, I smiled. He smiled back, a perfect set of 32 pearly whites, his twinkling eyes complimenting the cheer in his face. That was indeed the best smile I had ever seen.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Happy Full Stop to the Year contd...

Masinagudi Day II

Sunday morning, even when it was yet pitch dark, I decided to venture out of the resort. As I reached the gate, I found myself staring at 2 deer which were hardly 6 feet away from me. It seems they weren’t expecting me just like how I didn’t expect them. They scurried their way back into the forest as I walked back to the room to share my experience with others. At 6:30 we were all set to go on a trek. We were a group of 11 people and 2 guides. The initial phase was the same trail that Karthik and I had discovered the previous day. We crossed the waterfront and moved on to the other side. The guide said he could hear elephants on our path and hence we had to change our route a bit. The trail was getting tougher and the forest, denser. There were thorny shrubs at eye level, trees had marks of leopard claws, the ground cluttered from place to place with animal bones. But the best was yet to come. As we cautiously inched ahead, we saw this HUGE skull of a bison. I wished so much to bring back atleast a small bone but I didn’t want to against the wish of the guide.

As the slopes got steeper, my fear was getting the better of me. I needed help every few minutes. I started cursing myself on having started on this expedition despite knowing that I am scared of slopes. But just as I felt it was thankless to be there, we reached a waterfall. There was still water below as the waterfall was diverted by huge rocks. Our tour guide encouraged us to wade through the water to the rocks ahead saying the water was only knee-deep. Karthik and I were the first 2 to yield. We jubilantly pulled up our jeans upto our knees lest they get wet, and set foot into the water. The water was ice-cold and soon my legs went numb. As we moved forward, the water grew deeper. The water reached a little above my knees and I tried to balance myself on a wooden log under the water. And suddenly, Splash!! I fell from the log right into the water, drenched upto my waist. Thankfully Karthik was within reach and I gripped him for support. Our enthusiasm propelled Kishore and Hamsa who joined us into the water soon. We spent about quarter of an hour sitting on the rocks below the fall and then returned. After a short photo session, we moved on.

We continued further up to the peak of the hill. At one point the guide said that the climb would get steeper on ahead and people who were doubtful of their capabilities should stay back there. 10 out of 11 wanted to go further. Yes, you guessed right... I was the only one who wanted to stay behind. But again, Karthik wouldn’t let me stay. He persisted that I join them up and ensured that he would help me all the way up and down. The sight from above was lovely. We had a view of the entire ranges of Mudumalai. After a short halt on top, we returned back to the resort.

After a quick wash, we checked out of the resort and moved on to Bandipur. Post lunch, we went for another Safari. Here we weren’t any luckier, we only saw deer, deer and deer again. Some little mongoose and eagle here and there were like an incentive for having come so far. After the safari, our glorious trip was coming to a close; we were on our way back to Bangalore. Mostly everyone fell asleep in the car except for Karthik and me who didn’t waste a single minute. We went on and on and on talking non-stop such that we weren’t even bothered where we had reached.

Our chatter only ended when we reached Karthik’s house at 9:30. By the time I was home, it was past 10. No energy left in me, I directly hit the bed only to wake up to the alarm next morning. It was a trip that I didn’t look forward to before I went coz I didn’t know too many people who joined us. But it is definitely one of my most memorable ones after I returned.