9 of us are on our way to Coonoor. Right now we have stopped over at a Barrista. Behind the wheels we have Vinayak in his Honda City and Vicky in his Honda Civic. Amongst the other let’s goers we have Snigdha, Myself, Danish, Sanjay, Sunil, Sree and Suresh.
Suresh is the most quiet guy, followed by Danish. Sunil and Vicky are like the pranksters, I and Snigdha are the glamour factors. Sanjay is one guy I can communicate in pure Delhi style. We have ordered for coffee. Time for a group photo.
Vicky seems to be the center of attraction here, everybody is trying to guess the place of his origin. (No he is not a wildlife item)
We have crossed Bandipur Santuary, Mudumalai, Masinagudi and now we have stopped at a small tea snacks place in Mavanalla. Ooty is another 15km from here. Only thing available for breakfast is Masala dosa and Puri sabji. All busy hogging.
That cow won’t move no matter how much the shepherd would pull, those kids on their way to school wearing tri-colored badges are still sleepy, an old woman carrying a basket of hay on her head another on her hand, worn out but she has work to do, men wearing whites distributing toffees, far away in the fields a man is doing his morning task, a bunch of cyclist carrying vegetables and newspapers – I am looking outside the Honda City which is zipping through a Tamil Nadu village on an Indian Independence day morning. Morning tells you so much. Each one’s morning is so different from the others.
What better way there can be to spend your Independence day than watching millions of tricolors in every nook and corner of the routes you are traveling, saluting to every stranger coming across and saying it out in your loudest voice – Vande Mataram and see how they jump up in joy looking at us strangers saluting at them.
That’s what we did as we traveled from Mudumalai to Ooty to Coonoor searching for our home stay a little ahead of Coonoor town, the Devashola Estate. After stopping over for some photography here and there we finally reached the Devashola Bunglow at around 2 pm. On the way we were joined by the 10th member of this trip Hari Menon, a professional traveler photographer.
We could have reached a bit early but there was a terrible accident on the way which created a huge traffic jam. A jeep had colluded with a vegetable carrying van. The front of the jeep had been smashed beyond recognition and the van had overturned. Happened on the narrow road towards Coonoor from Ooty. I can imagine what must have been the speed of the vehicles otherwise how can one explain the overturned van. Why do people do this? Why don’t they understand, it’s no big deal that they died, we all have to one day, but the people they left behind to shed tears for the rest of their lives, they so don’t deserve to live the death.
Why do most of us presume ‘accidents happen, I see them everyday, but it won’t happen to me.’ Why do we think that we are invincible, why the over confidence?
Something or the other had to remind me of Kakan, whom we lost to overconfidence on a similar trip same day 2 years ago.
The Devashola Bungalow was quite great. A big hall, 3 large bed rooms and some simple yet elegant wooden furniture. Each room opening to the view of the jungle, mist mountain range and a peaceful vastness.
The moment we entered we were served home made vegetarian food. Anna the caretaker cum homemaker of this Bungalow is an old man. He had prepared food for 6 people only but we are 10, so he was at it again once the first round of hungry souls were fed. Poor guy never left the kitchen ever since we have come.
After lunching we were idling in the balcony when we spotted a few bisons. The photographers immediately ran outside and trekked a few meters down the Bungalow to shoot them but the bisons very politely chased them away. And when the brave shooter returned home after being chased away by the bisons, they narrated their story of heroism over pegs of whiskey and papar to the wide eyed listeners (or so they think).
The mist is all over inside our rooms now, the photographers have gone out to shoot some more wildlife. Rest of them are sleeping and I am blogging. Anna is cooking dinner in the Kitchen.
These photographer guys, the Sunil, the Vicky, the Hari they only talk about camera, lens, focus, object, subject, light, dark – man I can’t believe them. How dry are their conversation I thought. Vicky among them is a newbie to the amateur club. So he talks the most. While Hari is a professional, so these guys got all the opportunities to get that valuable tip from him.
Meanwhile, Suresh has been replaced by Danish in being the most silent traveler. I and Snigdha discovered Sree does Ham radio, something we thought of doing before a lot of things didn’t happen in our lives. But meeting Sree our desires to be Hammers have been renewed.
Just asked Anna to close all the windows of the house – mosquitoes are here. Am thinking I should wake up the guys now…dang I feel like a mom.