Silence of opulence within nothingness

It was early morning, the wind pushed my draperies to ask me, if I heard the bird singing? It said, follow me to the woods, to the dense forests as dense as your thoughts. I will take you around to my unidentifiable places and then you can tell me how beautiful they are. I will tell you stories about their existence. Wake up baby and smell the inspiration around you.

Who would not love to wake up to this enticement of zephyr?

I woke up to the half-lit sun and took a walk. The households begin to smell of lemon tea, leaves stuck to the trees smell of freshly fallen dew and the scent of wild flowers with mountain air fills the entire dreamy town. There aren’t too many people on the street, except few furry friends and common sparrows or a couple of men and women out for their daily morning walks.

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Once done with the walk accompanied by strongly flavoured hot tea, we got ready for checking out if we can trek to Catherine waterfall. On the way, we figured out there isn’t so much water because of summer. We picked up a view point from where we can get a good view of the mountains with the waterfalls.

With a quick hike, we were able to prevue at the waterfalls in the midst of the mountains. Being in hills on a summer morning is a delightful feeling. The sun caresses you and thaws you with such compassion that almost makes you feel like a baby.

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We were sitting on brink of the mountains watching the waterfall on the mountain range opposite to us. It was a wonderful place for a nice photoshoot with the sun shining allowing us a good exposure for our personifications.

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When I walked out of the spectacle, I was like sunshine on my skin, wind in my hairs. A storm in my mind. Peace in my heart.

We picked up our lunch from a restaurant and went to Sreyas house to have it. There was our furry friend named Darwin, a pet at Sreyas house. He was quite friendly and was more than willing to play with all of us.

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When we left Sreyas house, the dog cried and later we came to know that he was crying all night. It was almost evening in lieu of our usual lemon tea, we chose to have hot chocolate. It was the best hot chocolate that I have ever tasted. With that drink, I actually felt the chocolate melting in my mouth. It was ecstasy.

With the chocolate flavour still on our mouths, we started to our camping spot as we had to setup the tent before it gets too dark. Close to the camping spot, there was a village festival, which presented nice photography moments. Being part of the villagers and I was thoroughly relishing it without realizing the time. It was getting dark and we moved to the camping spot.

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We had to tiptoe down a steep lane in the dark for around 1.5 kms before we could reach our camping spot. It was already dark and cold there and with the help of the lights we had, we setup our tents. At this place, all our expensive mobiles were/could be used only as a mere torch light.

We occupied the resting places of Cheetas (yes, you read it right “Cheetas”) and Bisons and setup our tents. Some of my co-travellers, taught me a few things that is never part of our school/college education.

  • All animals, know the smell of human pee and pooh (sorry I couldn’t find a better phrase) and once it got the smell, it wouldn’t come near it. So, we marked our territories little far off our tent place.
  • If there is a snake in the dark, it can sense the vibration on the ground caused by our footsteps and will move back to its burrow for its own safety.
  • Unfortunately, if you step on a snake, it won’t attack you the first time but will warn you with its hissing for three times with intervals before which you will have the leave the place.
  • Most of us might be knowing this, not all snakes are venomous.
  • One more thing I learnt from my previous travel, animals don’t like the smell of their own shit. If they smell it, they will go back in the same way they came from.

We started our campfire, and there was a neighbourhood couple who walked in to our campsite asking we needed any help. They also, helped us with a bottle of kerosene to keep our campfire live.

It must be hardly an hour, the bags on the open space were besieged because of the miasma. Such was the temperature in the camping site. So, we lit up another campfire to keep us warm throughout the night.

We used the campfire to barbeque our potatoes and also cook our chapattis. In the meantime, Prasanna and Praveen mounted the cameras on tripods to capture the gleaming firmament.

Photo Courtesy: Prasanna

When we are ready to eat, there was one more gentleman from the other side of the vicinity sauntered to us and said, that if necessary we are welcome to use his house’s washrooms and there is a changing room too. Such are the people in the hummocks, always kind, always ready to help. My travel to the mountains is always filled with these random acts of benevolence from strangers that I feel indebted to.

When there is campfire, there has to be music around it. Thanks to Shalini for entertaining us with the guitar, all the singers and the upcoming ones and of course the chorus team. It was pure enjoyment, which made us relax and took away all the weariness of the day. It was little past midnight, when we got out of our music spell and was ready for our siesta.

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Lighting by Prasanna, click by me.

While I was drifting to my slumber, I was thinking of the question that the local couple asked us, why come away from comfortable city life and struggle like this in a forest?

When I was reviewing my photographs that night, I got my answer. It’s the entrancing views we saw. The fireflies in the open lighting up the dark. The crescent moon. Sky with gazillion stars. Our furry friends who are more energetic than us. The beautiful flora and fauna. The bicycles on the street. The interesting kids that we met at the village. I realized, this is why. Yes, this is why we came to the crags for, leaving the civilization behind.



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