i

i

June 22, 2011

Thinking...

In the glory and the perceived doom of the aftermaths of post globalised industrialisation, there stand so many interested parties that our politicians would die to have them inducted into their ideological fold. But what is so unique about the war for/against industrilisation and environmentalism is that the third group of the usual fence sitters is bigger than usual.

These are the very people who are forced to drink a mix of browny wowny slimy water each day and prefer to spend rupees eighty per day on treated water, month after month, on and on, yet choose, refrain and just do not step on the line which will make them capable of choosing a correct way of living, one that is free of the networking modern society provides. The net is never damaged.....safety net, spider net, societal net, parental net, friend's net or just a material net. Never.

June 20, 2011

Look

Look through the glass,
you will find
Thy face not seen before
With the touch and the Care
that nature bestows

Look through the mirror,
you will find
the other face of you
Lost in the rat race
Life has become today

June 18, 2011

I suffer from ........ and I do not know what to do about it

Mukurthi Again

As a past resident of the Nilgiris, discounting an oppurtunity to visit the Mukurthi National park is not a choice but an eagerly awaited stroke of fortune, as people would testify to the difficulties of permissions and prohibitive costs involved in visiting this pristine zone. I have visited the park umpteen times for very short durations and the very abundance of nature at its best compels me to look at the westward sky, everytime I pass Ooty.

Mukurthi is infact a jewel in the hill district's crown and its very existence till today speaks volumes of the conservation efforts undertaken by past conservationists in enforcing policy decisions that led to the creation of the park.

Mukurthi is located in the western crescent of the Nilgiri district, looking over the expanse of the state of Kerala and almost appears as a wall like impenetrable fortress when seen from Nilambur region of Kerala.



The park is covered by grasslands and sholas and some stretches of the invasive tree, wattle.

The Forest Department and Nilgiri Wildlife Association were organising a census to estimate the population of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr and I bounced upon the organisers. With a stroke of luck, Mohanraj Sir, who is one of the most progressive conservationists in Southern India and also one of the main organisers of the event allotted me to survey the Bison Swamp region.

The effort was worth for the sheer opportunity to see pure nature with so few disturbances.

June 17, 2011

The Wyanad Tale - Young Men on the Move

Vinayan is from Wyanad, one of the northern districts of Kerala with a substantial indigenous population and a degree of backwardness that is an aberration to the overall growth oriented outlook of Kerala but it is not infact backward in the Central India sense of the word.

There are hardly any destitute poverty stricken people hanging around. Visiting here from Eastern Uttar Pradesh, one would amaze at the number of vehicles, number of public buses, innumerable bakery shops and so many umbrellas, that popular umbrella companies infact have their showrooms in most of the towns of the district. But Mananthwady, Sultan Bathery and many more small towns and villages have a story to tell.

The story is that Wyanad did a fast forward leap to modernity, sidelining the vast populations of indigenous people, who could not adjust to modernity in the modern sense of the word.

Wyanad was and still is, one of the least densely populated districts of the state of Kerala and it is people like Vinayan (whose family originally brought about destruction of the forests) as they, along with thousands of other immigrants from central and southern Kerala have taken up cudgels to preserve the remaining forests of the district.

Vinayan sees the forest as an integral part of Wyanad, a sea change from early migrants who viewed the then vast forests as a resource to be logged and burnt and pillaged. For then, the forest was a dark brooding competitor in the land starved minds of most people. Encouraged by the government, the tale of Wyanad's forest is a tragedy of the present times leading upto this situation where barely some parts of the original forests remain as per the original habitat.

Vinayan's father and Sujin's father settled in Chettapalam and Thrissilay close to the town of Mananthawady.

Saneesh's father also was a migrant from Ernakulam. Infact, when it comes to Wynad, almost everyone is a migrant in the correct sense of the word. Nobody belongs to Wyanad as Wyanad Belongs to None.

While Wyanad is no one's ancestral home, except for the indigenous people who have lived in the primeval forests for long, it is now referred to as home by many who live here.

Saneesh, Vinayan and Sujin are but a few amongst the growing tribe in the region who are passionate about the pearl and not averse to irking the establishment in order to get their demands met.

These three are infact are a part of the story that turns the familiar cycle round and round - the fathers destroyed large areas of forests, the sons are now rebuilding the forests as is laying fresh plaster on a dilapidated house.

They are birders, take part in animal census regularly, conduct environmental education classes, together with more friends maintain one of the best libraries, small town India might have ever known - the Youth Library at Manathwady.

These boys and their many friends are working towards restoring the lost primacy of Wyanad’s natural heritage into the lives of the ordinary people - they are not frazzled by the infrequent progress and take it as part of the larger game.

What they do and are attempting to do is simply one of the earliest known solutions to turn back deforestation. Educate all and sundry. Hold classes for students in natural; settings, take them on nature walks to Kuruvadwip island, take part and exhort citizens to be active members in tree planting ceremonies and much more.

This strategy of educating people is seemingly one of the least attractive measures to confront deforestation, but the high thinking promoters of complete closure of protected areas and/or complete autonomy of indigenous populations are slowly taking up this path.

June 15, 2011

Today is long gone

Today is long gone..........

If that is all that matters, I am losing still....

For all I may do is to sit still and all I can do is to freak all day....

For all the suffering that she has had, all I have done is not much....

For all I have done is to give empty drums, to their depths of sorrow....

All I know is that I am going deeper underground....

And yet, all I know is that nothing is totally lost for then, nobody would have been a better person today.

If living an imperfect life is a crime, one must suffer or should One, I ask?

There is always a chance, that we will pull through and then, maybe we will...

I can't oversee your death. I can see you over that climb and help you along. It is a challenge but it is true.

Your life is all you have, have to make it remain with you.

June 11, 2011

The heaven that is Mukurthi

Again, a visit to my personal heaven. I have explored virtually every corner of this heaven in the wonderful opportunity that I got in the past few years.





I wonder if I will ever get over my singular love for this small patch of forest. Why, after a million visits, feel like going again.
I hope it gets more strict to enter there, for we nature lovers help ruin that beauty more than others.

If I ever decide to die on my own terms, I will do it here. Here and nowhere else. My best memory would be walking that early morning right along the edge or just sleeping during the days or so many more.

June 10, 2011

Change

As and when life begins anew, it brings a fresh whiff, a scent wondrous and it is now that you feel that it is young, hopeful and it is divine.

For when the ride is uphill with its strains and hiccups, only when you reach the top, does it feel so nice and so fair.

Leaving one's world and going to another random place, life beckons. And for me, a change every few years is just like an experience breathing in fresh air. While in the hills, one of the strongest memories was looking out of the window and seeing God's magnificent creations that gave me an immense sense of pride.

June 8, 2011

Wyanad in the night


You enter Wyanad ususally to pass through it - to Cochin, to Calicut or to Southern Kerala. You hardly roll down the window when the clear sky becomes dark due to the madly dense canopy, you think about the impending vomit of your chidlren now that the hills are twisting, you do gaze at the fields and wonder about the greenery of God's Own COuntry. As you reach closer to the border of this hilly district, you will yourself to sleep as there are no longer any interesting buildings to watch and speculate the prices of, neither are their any towns to buy your regular snacks from. You invariably sleep and wake up at Mysore, smiling pleasantly at the noise of the Maharajah's bus stand and his palace that stands tall.


But my eyes pop open long long before I entered the land of the forests. I sit up in anticipation in the red and white KSRTC bus that does reek of vomit, but is regularly cleaned in the depots. I sit up and move over to the window to watch the spelendour of the hills and forest draping her modestly. I become a poet watching the clouds over Brahmagiri. I point out exactly to whichever part of me that is able to twist that if Brahmagiri is front, Chembra must be behind. I wonder and wonder and reach the forest.

It was about eight in the dusk when I drive into Wyanad through Gundlupet in Karnataka. The road was wide and empty except for a turboed KSRTC bus and the sights were a beauty. It was raining in the strange Karnataka sort of a way that makes you feel that any rain in this dry zone is inadequate yet if you step out you wet and drenched to the bones. It was raining and the road was shimmering and more than the rains, it was the thunder. In periodic intervals, it lighted upo the skies and made outlines turn to figures. A lady to the left, a giant tree straight ahead and a Pachyderm walking past. To see all this in a quite vehicle at an uneartly hour made me gush with feverish excitement.

It thundered more and the forests swayed. I was in Wyanad and was driving past the hope that sustains the hills and the surrounding plains, a Wyanad draped with Bamboo and grasses and shrubs, a Wyanad plentiful - the hope smiled and returned - the thunder just circled through forests forest's fargile shadow. I reached the checkpost..

June 7, 2011

How to Park in Kerala

Step 1 - Enter the town and look around. As the crowd moves on your left, move with them, or atleast try to. Take a complete round of the town.

Step II - Again, go round, look around for a place to park.

Step III - Take a final round. By now, you would have become familiar with the policeman who is efficiently directing the traffic to go round, a couple of striking employees who are being watched by hordes of others. Try the India Coffee House for a parking but it is invariably full, finally try with as many citizens as possible who get equally confused with the most vexing question ' where to park'