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Nature talk

OFF THE BEATEN PATH


 “There is pleasure in the pathless woods,

  There is a rapture on the lonely shore,

  There is society where none intrudes,

  By the deep sea and music in its roar:

  I love not man the less, but nature  more.” 

                         -F. SCOTT FITZGERALD



Life is short and the world is wide. You can never truly grasp its beauty until you experience it. Enjoying and appreciating nature is quite the cliché topic that loads of writers have written sonnets about. A repetitive topic, but to each their own.

Having a dad with a job prone to transfers entails two things:  you never stick around in one place for a couple of years together and most of your summer vacations gets occupied with moving. When you finally settle down in one place, then pops up the unavoidable issue of clashing schedules. The thing is, I grew up with an elder brother who is almost six years elder to me. As a consequence, when I was an enthusiastic kid, he was a brooding teenager and when he finally became semi-sociable I was the brooding teenager. All of this coupled up with growing up in a city meant vacations were devoted to sleeping late, summer camps, TV and reading books. So naturally the idea of a family trip was my dream come true. This excitement was quickly dampened by the fact that we were going on a road trip to Coorg. The thirteen years old teenager in me was not impressed. I could think of so many different things that I could do instead of sitting in a car for hours together. I had never quite experienced nature in its true glory before. This also meant that I didn’t quite appreciate it and found the extensive imagery often described in books overrated and exaggerated. My teenage mind scoffed at my father when he described the vibrant surroundings we would be staying in. I crossed my fingers hoping for a good trip and grabbed a book to occupy myself during the car ride.

Surprisingly, a few hours into the trip destroyed most of my preconceived notions. I found myself having the time of my life basking in the company of my family. As we approached Coorg I found myself secretly appreciating the beauty around me. The four-day trip was filled with bonfires, delicious food, nature walks and what not. I could never wrap my head around the hype about the calm and quiet of nature before. But as I stood there surrounded by plantations and wilderness, I began to understand it. The book that I thought would be my solace for the entire trip, lay forgotten in the car the entire time. I returned home with some changed thoughts and a newly found appreciation for my surroundings. I still preferred my normal vacations but I could definitely enjoy the little things surrounding me more than before. Consequently, as I went on with my life, I found myself noticing these little things around me that I had often overlooked before. Slowly but surely I unconsciously began to seek the calm and quiet that nature offered me. 

A year later another vacation plan was laid out. This time it was a road trip to Mahabaleshwar. Consequently, I was infinitely more excited than the last time. The car ride was filled with jokes and banter just like the last trip. We entered the swerving hills as the sun went down. The journey uphill creeped me out at times. I found myself holding my breath at certain really sharp hairpin bends. But the thrill of the slight danger sent a shiver down my spine. Not a ‘Oh God I am going to die’ shiver but rather a ‘Damn that was crazy but fun’ kind of shiver When we reached our accommodation, a part of me was relieved to have made it through, while another part of me missed the sudden thrills

My mind was distracted quickly enough by our accommodation. The owner of our accommodation was a very friendly guy. The view from the homestay was absolutely breathtaking. I felt like I was in the center of a green ocean as I immersed myself in its greenery. We had scheduled our trip during the non-holiday season, this meant that we had most of the cottage for ourselves. The cottage had a wide backyard where the owner’s dogs ran around. The night was freezing cold and had all of us huddled together in one big tight embrace. It was a real struggle to wake up in the morning as the weather was freezing cold. As someone who wore multiple layers for slight chills, this certainly proved to be a challenge to me.After a warm shower that bought me to my senses, I went out only to be awed by the scene before me. They had a wooden swing in the backyard hanging from a huge tree that had me questioning it’s strength. My skeptic mind told me that I was going to end up with a broken leg if I approached the swing. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to try it out anyway.With every new push by my mom, I felt like I was flying. The feeling of soaring high surrounded by mountains was probably one of the most liberating sensations of my life. I ran around with the dogs and had an absolute blast. We visited various viewing points, my personal favorite being the elephant point and captured some amazing shots. A lot of the views were enchanting to say the least. Standing there and peering into the depths of the valley, I felt an incredible sense of calm settle over me. I was surrounded by a hoard of people, but all were mesmerized by the view beneath them. There were families chattering around me and it was certainly not calm in the traditional sense but it was the most peaceful I had ever felt in my life. The points were so similar yet different at the same time. They all had this certain level of uniqueness to them. Having to leave Mahabaleshwar was truly a disheartening feeling because now I knew that I could never get this sense of calm in the hustle and bustle of the city.

The journey down the hill station was even more nerve wrecking at times than the way up. We lost our way among the valleys and the google map rerouted to a more secluded path. The ever reliable Google maps gave up on at one point due to network issues. We held our breath as my dad navigated the car through the innumerable hairpin bends. Once we reached down, we lost our way once again. All of these navigation mishaps were blessings in disguise as it took us away from the main road into the intricate valleys. We crossed various plantations as I watched the people work there. It was a truly fascinating sight. I marveled at them as they chatted and laughed at each other as they worked on. It was a sight that I had only seen in videos before. Once back home, I realized that this trip was an experience that I would forever cherish in my heart.

A lot of authors describe the power in the beauty of nature. As readers, we often find ourselves in awe about the beauty of it all. But experiencing it is truly a different feeling. I still find myself seeking out the peace and tranquility of nature as there is nothing else in the world more calming than the feeling of the light evening breeze wafting past our face as we bask in it beneath the infinite sky.  

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9 responses to “Nature talk”

  1. Wonderfully written

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great first blog post Shruti.

    It’s always good to read blogs that echo the writers experiences and perception instead of his or her opinions. Reading your emotional responses to the trips you too makes us understand you as a person and that is the importance of a personal blog.

    Keep at it. Can’t wait to hear more.

    Like

    1. Thanks a lot Priya aunty😊

      Like

  3. Hey Kingu!! This is so well captured! A brilliant writer lies hidden inside.. bring it out!! ( Who knows, a Booker might be coming into the family sometime!!!). Keep at it, please… Proud of you…

    Like

  4. You captured and shared your falling in love with nature so well. I had similar experiences while traveling to national parks around the US.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad that you could connect with my experience. It’s truly among one of my most cherished memories.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I understand and feel the same about my summer of park travels.

        Liked by 1 person

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