Sunday, March 30, 2008

Of Damp fur & Dripping feathers

It's been awhile since I traveled the blogger's trial, and inspiration always comes from my favourite pilgrimage spot - the jungles; or so I thought.

When dark clouds gather, it speaks of impending downpour and we all go in search of a little sunshine. Call it mid-life crisis or cross roads of life, it demands a little space for yourself and some time to ruminate on the events of life alone. A pilgrimage was due and I was going to take it.

Some three days of unexpected rain with no sight of blue sky overhead I thought the jungles would bring some sunshine into my gloomy days so I packed my bags and fueled up my car to hole up in Bandipur. Just to be sure, I called up my old friend Gangaswamy. He was on safari in the jungle but his assistant assured me that there was no speck in the sky that foretold any rain. Phew! What a relief, I thought, as I dumped my bags into the boot of my car and started off.

The first inkling that things were not going to be all that sunny came as I crossed Satyamangalam and started climbing the Dimbam ghats. The grey clouds, it seemed, was stuck to the bumper of my car and following me as I drove uphill. 150 kilometers and there was no let up in the rain.

I stopped, as I always do, at "MONKEY CROSSING" but none of my old friends, bonnet macaques, were around to greet me. I popped out to take a quick pic and started off apprehensively.

Farther up the road I found them sitting on the parapet wall, huddled together miserably in the cold. The young ones clinging onto their mothers for warmth and the adults, perhaps praying for a ray of sunshine. The usual enthusiasm they display when a vehicle slowed was absent, so I guess they had been getting drenched for hours.

250 kilometers; Gundlupet behind me and less than 10 kilometers separating my from an old hide out, the rain was still following me. As I turned into the resort on the edge of Bandipur National Park my old friend Gangaswamy was in his office. "What sir, you always seem to have the rain following you?" , he greeted me. It was not meant to be a chide but it pricked.

The overcast sky reflected my mood. I knew this trip would be a wash out. I felt like that wet vulture just then. All predators would be holed up and a deserted kill from which he could forage for scarps would be delayed till the rain let up!!

Why the vulture was looking so miserable is another story.