I’m trapped in wilderness, kindly throw away the key.
It’s a magical land, Kerala. And though the million colors of the flora and the rolling tea gardens of Munnar are a sight to see, it is no match for the wilderness I’m currently being exposed to at Thekkady. I’m staying at a place called Wild Corridor, and at this very moment I’ve had a brief window of calm and quiet. Everyone has gone off to get ready for dinner… no TV blaring the wrong done to a so-called saint, no one making conversation to fill in the quiet that I so love in moments like these, and no feeling of being rushed to the next must-see place. It’s just calm, and so am I in the balcony that screams that I’m in sheer ‘luxury meets nature’s’ lap.
It is dusk. The clouds are moving east. Maybe they’re going home after their day’s job of nourishing and drenching God’s own country. The crickets and birds are singing me a symphony… well, it’s actually a cacophony, but don’t tell them I said that. It’s almost the same call as street vendors selling their wares- Unadulterated, unstoppable sound. A slug is making its way towards the small wall towards my left. He’s been at that journey for the past half hour. “Hang in there, buddy”, I say to him, “you’ll get there.” He doesn’t care for my ranting. I don’t mind. I like this slug. He’s my type… slow, silent and going nowhere fast.
My mind is doing 500 miles a second right now. Smoke like daydreams form in a vision, and vanish before I can fully comprehend them or even catch a glimpse. I have lived most of my life in a day dream, in a semi conscious stage of what can be, rather than living in what is. Kerala, this balcony, this moment is such a perfect ‘what if’ moment. My slug has almost reached its destination. Its funny how in half an hour, my affection for this slug has increased to an extent that I see it as mine.
The chill has started creeping up the tips of my toes to my ankles. I love this feeling, of being warm inside and cold outside. This feeling is one that only nature can provide, weaving magic with tiny dew drops and sharp cold bursts of wind. My slug has reached the wall. What will it do now? It has reached where it wanted to go, right? Maybe we all are slugs in our own way, slowly going nowhere. And when we reach that wall, it’s hard to understand why we started on this journey in the first place.
“Now what?” I ask him. He still doesn’t care for my ranting. He takes a right and slowly starts going nowhere again, in no hurry and in no apparent worry. I really like this slug. He is teaching me the way to live. “Relax; take it slow, it’s all in the travel, anyway.” He’s right.
Dusk has now given way to night. All I can see are silhouettes of trees, branches and leaves which I could see clearly and in great detail only minutes back. Maybe this picture is a drawing of the days to come. Maybe everything that is crystal clear today will only become a dark shadow upon a navy blue canvas, tomorrow. Maybe I should stop day dreaming and start doing, before I lose precious time. “What do you think, Slug?” I look at where my slug should be. It isn’t there. He was a figment of my imagination, anyway… just a strong character in a day dream. I wish him luck. May he reach nowhere fast, just like he intended.
And so, it’s easy to see that I love Kerala. It relaxes me and my make believe friends come to life. But, ever so soon, the time for reality is back. Luckily, I can dream at night.