little elephants, little pleasures and a little person
rediscovering cousins, getting re-inspired by an uncle, traveling, reading, watching a few movies, clicking, chowing and celebrating life with a corrupt hard disk. that’s been life over the past two weeks, in case anyone noticed my absence .
have you ever watched bollywood on mute? it is even more ridiculous than when it’s running on full throttle. i just flicked on a channel where jeetendra, rishi and rakesh roshan are trio-dancing some absolutely inane steps dressed in cowboy boots and capes fitted over figure hugging shiny sequined shirts. as if their get up is not funny enough, the choreography is a hoot. it goes something like this: knocking on a door, distributing leaflets, lassoing something, walking on a tightrope, pulling down the blinds, about to shake hands and then changing ones mind, extending hand again, changing mind again, and then kicking the garbage out. ms. munim, witnessing this spectacle seems to be appreciating it tremendously, though.
coorg. a pock-marked road wound its way up, up, up, through teak and bamboo thickets and into mountains draped with lush coffee and pepper plantations and the tiny locality of madikeri 125km west of Mysore. anywhere you looked, a tiled roof farm house could be seen, set amidst betel nut creeper-smothered tall silver oaks and coffee plants. apaiya estates. bucanalado (or something) estates. thimaiah estates. and fog everywhere. it was like driving through white organza that shrouded shades of green. like looking through frosted glass. moss covered every wild tree and sagged and hung from higher reaches giving the whole place an un-touched and slightly eerie quality. but the beauty was breathtaking. as we took all this in, we wondered how to get to our hotel. as if reading our minds, sudden yellow signs appeared and pointed the way to our hotel. 8kms, 5kms, 2kms, 0 km ->, it said.
built on the side of a hill, our hotel had opted for unobtrusive, traditional architecture, but was quite obviously new. an unusual combination, quite heartening. 35 acres of land was mostly covered by tall mossy trees and rich undergrowth on the forest floor. the occasional call of a peacock reminded me of the proximity to wilderness and added to the excitement and the array of bird calls i was largely unsuccessful at recognizing. (mental note to self: brush up on indian bird calls. figure out how to to tell where the call comes from.) sumptious meals spread themselves decadently each lunch and dinner, but my stomach finally protested at this sensory and gastronomic overload, and willed me into a 2-day fast. i opted out of a visit to an elephant camp and instead slept in trying to ignore the nausea. when i felt slightly better, i snuggled down into a cool, newly made white bed with a book (My land, My people by the Dalai Lama — in case you are interested). this was just as well as i felt much better by the evening, but opted to skip all meals thenceforth.
so yeah, in the backpackers paradise, the only back-packing i did involved pillows. no regrets tho, as this was supposed to be a vacation with no agenda or to-dos.
kabini. a jungle lodge on the southern end of nagarhole national park. as the wind coursed through my hair on the game drives, i realized that i enjoyed nothing more than being in the wild and watching nature doing what she does best. and what better than having a group of people around who are as excited as you at spotting the flash of a golden backed woodpecker or a crested serpent eagle perched high on a leafy teak tree, or the fresh pugmarks of a panthera tigris. at a small elephant camp in the middle of the forest, we stopped so that the sub-4ft members of the party could enjoy their first pachyderm encounters. while the little feet hung over a large elephant cow and disappeared into the forest, a little baby elephant entertained us by simply showing up. and then, suddenly, it decided to mock charge me! i laughed and dodged it and it picked another gamely soul to chase… so adorable was the little one that we were instantly in love with it.
speaking of little ones….
welcome, dear little thaker. how fitting that you should be born on Aug 15. your dad is synonymous with wearing the indian flag on his sleeve, heart, hand, everywhere and embodies the best of the indian spirit. and your mom made us proud bearing the flag at our graduation. welcome to your life, you couldnt have chosen a better home to be born into. raaj karoge. aur karna bhi chaahiye!
other happies: happy birthday praveen! belated happy birthday to little ayesha!
almost wrote a very introspective blog entry today, but opted for a more descriptive one. but the introspection continues as i revel in books and re-discover the pleasure of reading on my own time in the complete absence of compulsion or expectation of any kind.
at some point i will need to end the status quo and earn my keep. what are the chances that i will earn doing what i love?