Friday, 29 November 2013

Big Foot and Bicylce 'Bum'ps

The banks of the Kabini river is a gorgeous landscape to behold. You would think Oh, what a lovely feeling it must be to cycle along the riverside... Hold your horses! If you've been out of touch with your active side, you better tread that peddle with caution!

I saw that landscape cycling was on my itinerary and I headed out donning my sports shoe to show the cycle who's boss. I made my way to the bicycle rack, and requested the keeper to lend me one. And soon I was off happily peddling down the concrete slope, past the gates, and onto the mud track. I did my best to keep my feet on the peddles as the bicycle 
bumped my bottoms hard against the hard seat. 

Calling it a bumpy ride would be an understatement; the stone-ridden path to the river bank was nothing short of a spank-sport! But if I thought that was the difficult part of it, I was only being a pea-brain... A mere ten minutes along the banks and I was huffing and puffing as if I had delivered an obese baby! And to think I'm young... Never mind... 

I stopped at the edge of the river to enjoy the view of gazillion birds happily chirping and preening one another on the rocks amid the river. Some more huffing and puffing later, I decided the bicycle was the better boss after all, and made my way back. Uphill! Alright, "uphill" might be an exaggeration. But atleast it was up'land'. 

So what seemed like rivers of sweat and a near-wheezing syndrome later, I approached another part of the river banks where I set off the Big Foot versus Angry Birds battle yet again. Their indignant cawing and "did-you-do-its" didn't really help my love handles speed the cycle up. And that meant I would carry my heart in my mouth until I passed their territory safely. 

It took all the cholesterol in my body to keep myself peddling; sadly I didn't feel any lighter afterwards though. Some uneven tanning, near-breathlessness, and severe junk-craving later, I returned the bicycle to the keeper (who looked 
amused at my state), looking dead on my feet. 
I simply dragged my feet to the room and submerged 
in my private pool like a hippo.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Big Foot and Big Trunk

The ripples of the Kabini river made it look like a muddy red skirt playing to the gentle breeze blowing about. As I walked the path to the river, I could hear indignant cawing and "Did you do it"s. Oh dear... Not again... Seemed like the Big Foot Versus Angry Birds battle was still on... I faked a calmness I didn't feel and simply walked on.

A little further down the banks, and I could see Meenakshi – The Majestic. She lay in the shallow part of the river, with her mahout beside her, both patiently waiting for me to sit on her back. I entered the water, strutting. Queen like. Atleast until the water became too cold and deep for comfortable strutting.

Hesitantly, this scaredy queen approached Meenakshi closer. I slowly stretched a hand to pet her back and my, was she warm even in the coool breeze! Her face looked calm and gentle. Her mouth seemed to be curved in a smile, her trunk resting in the water. The light spots on her ears and trunk were a sign of her age and wisdom, and she was completely at ease with the river, the breeze, the mahout, the many people and animals watching her. Now who's the queen!

The mahout asked me to sit on Meenakshi's back for "a bath" and I hastily replied, "No, that's fine. I'm alright just petting her, see?" patting her hairy and warm back to prove it. The mahout insisted, lifting me bodily off the riverbed, and placing me on Meenakshi. For half a heart beat I thought I would hear her trumpet indignantly. Instead she simply flapped her ears more graciously. She is a lady, indeed.

"Madam, ready?" the mahout asked. But before I could so much as nod or open my mouth in answer, I heard him utter something very tongue twisty at Meenakshi. Some tiny part of my brain guessed it was perhaps Malayalam. Lady Meenu hailed from Kerala, apparently. At his request, she sucked in a trunkful of the muddy red Kabini water, threw her trunk backward at me and splashed a huge amount of it, enough to soak me wet in an instant. I squealed in delight, all my lady-like dignity forgotten. Meenakshi too seemed to be enjoying it, for she flapped her ears vigourously in acknowledgement and splashed another trunkful at me. So she went on for another three trunkfuls until her mahout requested her to stop. With some difficulty, I jumped off her back and pet her forehead. It was ever so satisfying to see her close her eyes at my touch.

It was her time to get a real pampering bath now, and her mahout obliged. I pet her one last time and then it was time for me to warm up quickly. The queen-like strutting lady smiled to herself as she walked back to her room. She happily smiled to herself at the spa-like treatment she had received in all its natural goodness. But that was only until she passed by the Did-You-Do-It birds again...