Update for fortnight ended 2 September 2011
The monsoons brought in the rain with loud thunderclaps. The lightning that preceded the thunder also helped in the nitrogen fixing that plants need to grow well, and this is one of the best ways for nature to use the abundant nitrogen gas in the air. So the hilly tracts of the old Western Ghats are covered in green – including the bare rock faces that are usually barren and brown for the rest of the year. The drive along the new expressway (though it is no longer new …. It has been around for close to a decade now) on the Western Ghats does not provide enough scenic sights, except the occasional waterfall along the edge of the tunnels, or the sudden rush of water as one traverses the dark tunnels. But if you get off the expressway and get onto the country roads, the sights and sounds can be quite uplifting. Take for example the little drive off Pune heading westwards for a couple of kilometers into some industrial towns where the Germans seem to have found foothold for their engineering, and then northwards towards the little ghats that hem the little villages and hide blue lakes. You cross a hill, and the blue waters of a dammed lake are visible. The roads are winding, but in good condition despite the heavy rains, perhaps because they are seldom used or perhaps because they head to heady destinations. The roadside has little temporary shacks covered in crumpled tarpaulin sheets under which sit villagers roasting fresh corn over coal, while their children stand on the deserted roads shouting and waving down any passersby to spend a few rupees for the thrill of eating corn on the cob in the rain. Many people stop by for this earthy experience – most are motorbike couples who have the taken the half hour trip out of Pune for those private moments by the lakeside, or near a hill stream, nibbling succulent sweet corn over conversation that veer over sweet nothings cooed into each others’ ears.
Monsoon in India is considered very romantic and poets from time immemorial have written love ballads revolving around the grey clouds, the sprinkling spray from waterfalls or the soft droplets that dampen the veil over one’s head but not dampen the spirit.
A few adventurous couples would head further uphill, as they cross another hill and wind along the ghats like hair pins turning almost 180 degrees directionally, but heading uphill or downhill – depending on whether one was going up or down. And the view gets prettier as one keeps moving uphill, as the green vistas from uphill are dreamlike and made more surreal as light misty clouds traverse the hills and envelope all into its translucence. The parrot green grass cover juxtaposed with the darker green bushes are enveloped by the almost blackish green tree cover encircling blue water, which suddenly start losing their brightness as the white clouds dilute the greens and blues. The heavy and cold raindrops egg on the travelers to keep moving on and head towards the next lake perhaps for a little more than just plain corn on the cob. Perhaps a meal at a waterfront café or buffet lunch with eclectic Indian and Indo Italian menu, topped with a choice of desserts including German Blackforest Cake (I thought the Germans only had a foothold in the foothills, but looks like they have captured beyond as well).
The D Boys on D Street have been through quite a wild ride over the past fortnight, but the nice part is that they have been celebrating the monsoons like the medieval poets and their muses….. so they have stopped to sample the streetside corn near valley lakes and also admired the green foliage of the D street cover as they took their pet muse – the SENSEX, across lakes and beyond to rolling green hills – upwards to finally end this week at 16821…… although the overall ride may look like a small 350 point move; it actually was quite a roller coaster as one week saw about 700 points downwards before moving up 1000 points or so.
The hilly drive reminded me of a song I learnt in class IV about a bear that looked over a mountain to see what it could see…. Do you remember the song…. which repeated these lines four times (at least) before it was revealed that it was the other side of the mountain was all that it could see. Sweet memories, misty skies and hills with cold rain on my face….. a nice drive and back.
Have a nice weekend… Cheers….