Sunday 30 May 2021

Bindu Saxena, Prose 500 2021 Longlist

 Jungle Odyssey

It was my first experience with the woods in Gujarat. 

For a holiday filled with excitement, I made sure I fill both channels of my nose with the smell of nature. So, we booked a night in an eco-tourism resort. 

Our next-day lunch was at another location. After a butter-smooth drive for nearly 55 km, we entered an unknown area - in interior roads. Finally, we made headway to a kutcha road. It was time to locate the resort. The GPS withdrew its support. A thought crossed: Would it be likely to find the place down this road? The width was enough for one four-wheeler to take its course. Surrounded by shrubs, trees, and dead silence, we found ours has been the only vehicle all along. 

One could see a pond on one side, a few broken cowsheds, and barely a human life. The details of the path filled me with frightening fun and unknown nostalgia. Lightning and thunder with a meagre presence of sunshine started playing hide and seek. At one odd point, we approached the forked road. We had no clue which way to turn? Soon a drunkard signboard hung lazily with an arrow, stood in front. We crossed our fingers and followed it. Finally, we reached the resort. It was a happy surprise to see about 20 vehicles already parked neatly. The anticipation to get down the car and enter its gate was like a child in me. Nature recited many poems. I heard them sing in my ears. 

Like any other holiday, there was nothing mundane. It was refreshing, restful, and quiet! It began to rain. It was time to drive back to our campsite. It rained heavily. A thunderous spell, indeed! In two hours we reach. The fury of high decibel lightning sounds was scary like Halloween characters. The temperature dropped, but humidity scaled upwards with a power outage. The mosquito coils saved our skin. Amidst candlelight chats, it was time to appreciate a vegetarian dinner. The tiny amphibians and giant lizards had a dominant presence on the balcony. We lay in the dark on the crisp white comfy bed and enjoyed the sounds of rain. The earthy smell slowly saw us drifting away to sleep. 

Contagious optimism prevailed at 6 am when we heard peacocks mew. Down in the valley, the bushes, the trees - of varying height, density, and colour made a brilliant combination. 

Recalling that complete recluse with nature, I sign off. 


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