The room was mostly dark, except for one little light shining directly above the couch where we sat with our bags. At the other end of the room, a staff leaned over the reception desk trying his best to look awake and waited patiently. I felt a pang of guilt at that, somewhere probably in a deep untouched corner of my heart. But apart from that, I mostly felt worried and frustrated. Time was ticking away, quite literally and louder than usual, and the car was running late.
This was a day of travel for us. A long undesirable journey. The main island of Andaman stretched for a little over 300 km and we were going to travel the whole distance in a day. Months ago while planning, this didn’t seem much. I had travelled more than that in a day and with quite an ease. But only when we started to research on rental cars few weeks before the trip, did we realize how much time that meant in the island. With couple of boat rides across rivers, driving in a convoy through a reserve forest area and long patches of extremely poor and narrow roads, it was expected to take us around 15 hours. Lucky for us though, they were all ready to start early. Way too early.complete article
My heart sank as I looked out of the flight window towards the land that we were descending at slowly. It was a gloomy day with a shade of grey across every other colour. The morning sky was full of darkened clouds and the ocean below reflected the same dull mood. Where was the deep blue sea and the bright green lands bordered with white sand? Where was the sunny day that inspired tinted glasses and airy summer dress? Where was the magical land that I had been looking forward to for so long? Four months of anticipation, rigorous planning and this is where we ended! Talk about bad luck!complete article
Kanha – even the name sounds so sweet in my ears. Before I ever visited Kanha, I always pictured it as the forest from The Jungle Book. So basically green landscapes, vast meadows, some scattered hills and shallow rivers. It’s something that is beautiful because of its simplicity. And when I finally arrived there I wasn’t disappointed. Kanha turned out to be more beautiful than I could imagine. It’s hard to describe Kanha because the forest changes with every season. During monsoon the greenery increases and thick green grasses covers the whole land, by winter the grasses turn golden brown and the trees start to blossom with colourful flowers, in the summer you see a dry forest with leaves shed from the trees and bare naked ground and by end of summer new leaves in shade of pink and red start to grow bringing a different colour to the forest. Except for the hardest part of summer, Kanha is always a pleasure to witness.complete article
The sun was bright in the sky and the rippling water reflected it beautifully. The old cottage stood behind me giving a bit of shade from the scorching day. The grass felt soft under my palms as my hands rested on the ground, and I looked out in the distance across the lake. On the other side the hill loomed with thick forest all over it. On top where it was a little less dense, I could spot a few animals standing and chewing on grass. I could barely make out their shapes from that distance. But I knew that they were bison, I had seen them through binocular earlier. A little diagonally from me, a patch of grassland cleared off of any trees sat next to the lake. A group of deer and wild boar roamed that land mingled into each other with a mix of harmony and indifference. There was also a lonely stork sitting at a little distance from the group. I couldn’t tell if it could fly, because it had barely moved from that spot in past one hour. But then again, so had I.complete article
Not all plans are meant to work out. Not all trips turn out the way you wished. Sometimes things work out for better and sometime it leads to some unknown disaster. But most of the time when your plans fail, you are left with disappointment, delight and confusion all at the same time. That is the summary of my seemingly well-planned Bhitarkanika trip. And here’s the full story…complete article
Kasol village had come and gone with little to no impression. The narrow streets crowded with tourists, cafes and souvenir shops lining the road, numerous hotels standing upright between the road and the river – it could have been any hill station. But we were heading towards a different destination. So we went ahead on the meandering road enjoying the tall pine trees and the soothing river down below.
Then came Manikaran. A small pilgrim village famous for its hot water springs. The water is used for pious bath and apparently for boiling rice for the temple as well. For a small patch, the river was lined with houses and hotels on both sides surrounding the Gurudwara. We passed by quickly and stopped a little ahead where the road goes lower and crosses the river by a bridge. The water was cold and the landscape was charming. But we had farther to go.complete article
Finally my north-east trip was over and it was time for me to head home, or in this case travel to Kolkata. The journey was quite straightforward and uneventful. But still in order to give closure to the whole series I decided to write this piece. Even though the journey took me little over two days, I will try to keep it short. So here it goes…complete article