Let myself into the western ghats , with curiosity as my guide and the journey is still on!
In the Western Ghats of Kerala, in a forest with 30kms radius, with the beginning of the monsoon breeze, chill and calm breezes sometimes with small droplets of water sprinkling from the leaves of trees older than 50 years, with the roots crawling up in the roads giving a rustic look to the scenic ambience , I was sitting in the bus stand waiting for to go downhill to my friend’s place. It was 6pm and the tea stalls were closing, the sun has already set and the native people are swiftly walking back to their homes . There wasn’t a single stressed out face. People seemed to have very calm and silent lives with the nature. Thank god for my photographic memory, I scan the scene once in a while when I feel life is so fast paced.
So , I was waiting for the bus and almost the crowd got reduced to a handful. There were a dozen of puppies, mostly white round ones, staring at the chai wala pleading for the delicious omelet he was making. Suddenly a jeep passes right through me and was overcrowded so I dint get on and kept waiting for the bus. By now the sun has set and its almost the dark blue sky , which got me a little worried. A few minutes back me and a lady were exchanging smiles and so I went and asked her. To my surprise the last bus leaves at 5.30. All I could think was, How did I not plan this on my very first Solo Trip. Though I was not panicking, the only worry was I am not familiar with the local language except for a few words.
I sat there thinking if I could walk down and was hoping that my friend would come looking for me, despite that she is 100kms far . Suddenly a Lorry stopped by the tea shop and all I could think of was , it was the only chance for me to go downhill. Mustering up all my courage , I went to the driver and asked if the vehicle was going down with the words that I knew . He clearly understood I don’t belong there and he said “Challo madam”.So, I got in and sat right next him and to my surprise he knew Hindi. 😀 I was thanking all the gods I knew the names of and the ones I dint know the names of 😛
SO that’s were the fun part began. He was in his mid 50s probably and he said he is from Maharastra and he loved Kerala so he moved from there and stayed here as Gypsy! I was taken aback. Who would literally do this back in 1970s? I got all excited and impulsively asked “what made you take this decision”. His reply was “I hated the fast moving world and wanted to enjoy everything I see around and I dint like the road of Pune with stress on their face” . I shrieked out saying , that’s pretty much the same reason I came on a solo trip as a break from my monotonous corporate life. Then we both started gossiping about the lifestyle of people(including my lifestyle on weekends 😛 ) He started giving out so many life examples he had seen in around him.
The one thing he said that got into my head was “I have seen people who are 60 and still rush and run over something to achieve. I have seen people who are 20 and sit by the lakeside and make a sketch of it. Its all what the heart wants and eventually the heart always wants peace” While saying this , coincidentally there was an 80’s Ilayaraja song take came up on the audio deck and it felt so serene and logical as to how the world needs more silence . Eventually, we started speaking almost about everything from local customs of the tribal people living there to the food joints that are famous around. Our topics always revolved around the simplicity of the life of the people there.
I reached my destination , were I could get onto another bus and go to my friend’s place. I thanked him for the thoughts he had passed to me and not for offering the ride. Immediately and so thoughtfully , he gave me a small dreamcatcher he had bought that day for a neighbor kid. That was the least I expected , and I hadn’t even paid him for the journey. I offered to return it back and he said “I will surely get another one tomorrow for the kid. Now your duty is to spread Kindness in all ways you can” with a smirk but happy look on his face! That was the best moment of my Solo trip for it got me thinking about what kindness exactly is and for being kind we need peace in our inner selves .
I still remember the way he said “No one wants peace. Its all about competition” Probably he had been through something worse back in Maharashtra that made him move or probably he had seen and felt what peace is and it irritates him to be in a rush for something. I’m still wondering if I really met him for a reason on my very first solo trip or maybe the world still has nice people out there . With all the hints he had given me to deal life and with the small white and red dreamcatcher, I started giving out more love to people and started encouraging them in ways I would do it for myself. And as a fruit to my seeds that I have sown, I sometimes feel what peace is by looking into the eyes of a friend who sit beside and blurt out all the emotions and in the end look with a feeling of relief. And so I started understanding “Happiness comes from contentment”.