Sunrise at Bandipur
A dawn full of hope, that is what I hoped for when I woke up on the 1st of January, 2012 and it was nothing short of that! I spent a lot of time, last year, contemplating a deep desire to start blogging, a desire that arose from the multitude of experiences that I had gathered in solitude and with company and the conversations that I had had with myself sitting alone on my terrace. There was a need to share some of these experiences and more importantly to create a vent!
As 2012 dawned, I could think of nothing better to start writing about than the surreal last week of 2011 that not only gave birth to a few new personal aspirations but also brought about a new sense of clarity to my perception about my life and what I wanted from it.
It all started with a chat with Santosh Kumar (http://www.getoffurass.com/) over a cuppa at Java City. He shared with me a dream that he had been holding on to, a dream that seemed so close to what I had been aspiring for too. Before I knew it, we were off one morning, off riding to 10 Degrees Off placed beautifully in the serene Bandipur reserve forest. I can’t say that the ride was the best I’ve been on, it was hot and we faced stretches of busy traffic at Mandya and Nanjangud, but then riding out was always something that I preferred to riding within the city!
The stay there was spent in quiet ease amidst the surreal landscape of shrub forests with the hills of Ooty framing the horizon. Waking up to the sounds of the birds outside and seeing the brilliant azure blue sky while sipping on a hot cup of coffee, was something that I had dreamt of every morning in Bangalore! Chandra and family made sure that we were looked after well and that every meal was as fulfilling and delicious as it could possibly get. The week was sprinkled with sightings of a gaur, wild elephant herds, a magnificent lone tusker, herds of Cheetal, a couple of wild dogs and a beautiful Travancore Wolf snake.
Wild Tusker at Bandipur
Spotted Deer at Bandipur
A large part of my time was spent lazying on the bean bag and reading or chatting away with my more than generous hosts, Santosh and Indu. We discussed and sometimes even argued about everything from Gandhiji to Anna Hazare, from the conservation of the Tiger to the grandeur of the forests! It always amazes me how it becomes exceedingly difficult to sit peacefully in the midst of the chaos of a city and hold a conversation about these seemingly random issues and how , in some unexplained manner, the wilderness fosters the same.
I could keep writing about the days at Bandipur but then that would still not be enough. From my experience, I only hope that everyone gets the opportunity to travel and find peace. I could not end this without mentioning the great company that I had at 10 Degrees Off and without thanking everyone who shared this experience with me. It was fabulous to usher in the new year with Reena, Athreya, Manu, Nisha, Gurpreet, Praneet and Minky and I hope 2012 is a year that sees everyone fulfill their dreams.