The Daabka Hangover

This summer I have traveled to one of the most prestigious places in India. It was the virgin forest of Syaat and Kyari. Mr. Jim Corbett, who was born and brought up in the Kumaun region, also hunted many man-eaters here. People in the olden times worshipped him. He was perhaps the only British guy was dearly loved and respected. I happened to visit his glorious land to study about the wild and know what it is to be in the lap of nature.

Jim Corbett, I believe has taught so many amateur wildlife enthusiasts like me to read the jungles and explore its beauty in every form. Jungles can be such a pleasuring experience. Right from the caterpillar on the leaf, to the tiny spider making a huge web on the giant tree, everything can be as appealing as watching a leopard walk in the wild. Its grace, the equanimity, and the serenity are incredible.  For people who have never walked into a jungle, it is impossible to even imagine what the beauty of a jungle is. While looking at the vivid colors of the flutterbys and the birds in flight, we crossed Daabka, several times, en-route seeing the scorpion carrying its eggs on its back, or the dung beetle making a dung ball. Everything was a flush of events. It was no less than mesmerizing to see all these wonderful tiny creations of the almighty live so demurely in their habitats. All doing their jobs so flawlessly.

Daabka was the small river that we often crossed to enter newer forest patches. Most of the jungle being Teak plantations done during the English rule was a storehouse of amazing birds and nests. The “Navrangi” or the Indian Pitta, a tiny tot full of nine vibrant colors giving its ‘line clear’ calls from his nest, or the beautiful ‘Paradise flycatcher’ getting food for its female while it flashes its while tail between the green trees is an experience you have to physically  witness to know how graceful it is. Putting it in words is simply impossible.  The River Daabka had a huge river bed. Though it originated somewhere in the Siwalik foothills and flew down as a tributary of Ganga, it was the main source of water for all the life forms present in the vicinity. The bank Myna, or the crested Kingfisher fishing with its quick reflexes was an absolutely amazing sight. So many things to observe that at a certain point you just keep your camera inside the bag and decide to simply sit and watch everything that is in front of you. And while you sit by the river, overwhelmed and lost in the moment, the forest on the opposite side talks to you, reveals its mysteries through this river, it tells you tales of the many horrendous nights and beautiful days it has seen. It tells you a story that you simply have to pen down.

I find myself sitting on the pebbles where the water hasn’t decided to flow, yet. I can see the ripple marking on the stones around and think to myself about how the silt from faraway lands must have traveled for miles before settling here after years. How it must have seen generations of Tigers and Deers drinking water, the dives of Kingfishers and the hunts of hunters.

Although my time here ends, the tales never will. They will last till eternity, just like they always have. I walk back to the mundane city life, leaving behind the purity, the Daabka, the stories, and taking with me countless memories. The hangover though remains.

– July 12th, 2013

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