Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A date with Happiness!

What is true happiness? Wallowing in worldly comforts and living in an artificial utopia or minimal existentialism in the lush green nature?

This weekend experience was such that I was led to delve myself into this exaggerated philosophical drivel.

It was a spur of the moment decision. We were sitting and having our customary drink in the evening. Friday was a holiday. Saturday was Ganesh puja and Eid and Sunday was ,well, Sunday. The million dollar question was what do we do.

Suddenly a friend remarked why don’t you guys go to Srisalem. I had only a fleeting idea about it. But the moment I googled it I became hooked. The friend did warn that getting accommodation may not be easy and it would be prudent to book the Tourism guest house. Alas, when we called them, it was booked till Sunday.

But I was now hell bent. The lush jungles had captivated my heart. It is biggest tiger reserve in the country. I was willing to sacrifice anything to be in that natural habitat.

Srisalem is a sleepy little town about 250 kms from Hyderabad. It is famous only for its shiva temple. naturally only vegetarian food is served. The food is delicious but brace your self for some real spicy stuff. I could have done with a little less!

For the nature lovers, this trip is absolutely a resounding yes. Rains bring out the best in the nature. It has a very well fed and rich look. The green is a typical lush which can be seen only in the rainy season.

We were unlucky in that we didn’t spot any tigers. But monkey we did in dozens. There is also a deer sanctuary. You are allowed to feed them leaves which are sold by a young child for Rs.10 a bunch. Tony, our eight year old hero couldn’t feel satisfied. He must have purchased at least ten till the deers got bored. The monkeys got all our bananas apart from the peanuts that we purchased specially for them.

It’s a pleasure to watch the deers stand up lazily and come majestically to pick the leaves as if they are obliging you with a huge favor.

There was a bunch of godmen there. We definitely didn’t want to look racist or discriminating . So gave them a 100 bucks too. They all raised their hands in blessings. It was a picturesque moment. A dozen smiling , weather worn ,saffron robed men with snow white beard and long snowy tresses, their hands raised in unison. Unfortunately I missed it. That is the only picture which is hazy. Maybe they want you all to spend your money to admire it! That is why we call them god men!

The dam may not be very large (We have seen Bhakra Nangal before.) But it is captivating. I can even now close my eyes and feel the soothing gossamer spray of the water vapors against the skin.

The only downside is that there are not many hotels. Apart from the tourism hotel which is good, there are two other ones. But getting a/c room is impossible because of the queue. These run on donations and naturally the donors get priority.

I suggested we go to the forest. There are very pretty cottages in the forest too. But again even they were all booked. Finally we had to do with a very basic room inside the holy city of Srisalem. That too because we were Brahmins! Never knew that my caste would ever come to my rescue! Next time I may even try it in Boston. Haven’t you ever heard the phrase ‘ The Boston Brahmins’.

There is magic in the air which I think can be captured better by the pictures rather than by my slip shod prose. But if even they feel to capture the essence, remember, they were captured by me! it still doesnt take anything away from that paradise.

All I can say is that I plan to go much prepared next time I visit India and spend at least a week in the wilderness. This time I shall be careful to book the Air conditioned cottage.

After all there can be nothing more pleasing to the ears than the hissing of an a/c along with the chirping of the birds and a drink in hand would be better than two in the bar in Hyderabad.

And that drivel about minimal existentialism. Let us let it remain a drivel!