The First Time Part 2
The morning was crisp and cold with the freshness of mountains in the air.Walking along the road with little or no traffic and only the sounds of nature was a rare privilege.The sound of my shoes on the ground seemed almost blasphemous.
BSNL has network coverage in Munnar,the only cell phone company to do so.But on hindsight,I'm glad I left it behind.With the exception of a small Sansui TV in the I.B ,I'm cut off from the "civilized world".
I met the D.F.O in the morning .I owed her a visit anyway.Without her helping hand,I wouldn't be here.I told her how much I was enjoying myself and the stay.I told her about the location of the I.B and how it fitted my plans to a T.She recommended me going to Marayoor , famous for its sandalwood forest.
The drive to Marayoor is inarguably the most beautiful drives in the world.Forests,tea plantations,majestic mountains,waterfalls,the smell of tea,by God it's divine.There are buses and jeeps plying regularly .I took the jeep for the view and for that sense of adventure (not much though) you get while travelling with total strangers.I was wedged in between the driver and the gear of the jeep.There were 4 persons in the front seat excluding the driver.The driver sits with half his ass hanging out in the mountain air but mercifully with both his legs inside.The person sitting next to him(poor me) will have one leg between the driver and the gear.But incidentally it wasn't that uncomfortable.But for the weakhearted pleasure loving folk, I suggest a private vehicle ;)
The people in the forest office were very accomodating and they sent a forest guard with me for trekking.Saw this prehistoric painting on top of a rock shaped like a serpent's head.Below those faint paintings was written in bold blue "priya I love you" and many such declarations from our cultured love sick countrymen.Then there was an unexplored cave...very spooky, dark and unbearably hot..
It was good fast trekking and I was exhausted when we finally reached the top.The view was great and the breeze was cool and steady.There were sandalwood trees all around and many more cut by poachers.It's incredible what man will do for money. Madhu,my guide, was an affable chap .He spoke of his hardships while we went to his village and had tea in his shop.There is a children's park which has a huge banyan tree standing majestically in the middle.But the park is in disuse and the place looks shabby and abandoned.
Back in Munnar , had a very interesting conversation with a forest guard who lamented the changing climate and the increase in pollution.There were "illegeal couples" in the inner posh resorts,he deplored.The people here are very friendly and theres the city antagonism missing here in relationships.
The night air is cool and calm.The sky is lit up with stars and one can make out all the constellations with absolute ease.There are no visitors here in the I.B except me and it's unbelievably quiet and peaceful.Just the sounds of the night and the cook preparing dinner in the kitchen.
-Sanitised,harmless excerpts from The Devil's Diary.