Trusting Wild Ideas: Gap Year Week 43

“We’ve made a wrong turn,” says my aunt for the fifth time in five minutes. Sprawled in the backseat, I stay quiet, but cannot help but agree. We’re four hours out from Bangalore and have spun along the highway to Tamil Nadu for hundreds of kilometres before turning off onto what is, undeniably, a plain dirt road. Continue reading “Trusting Wild Ideas: Gap Year Week 43”

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Morning in the Ghats

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Mornings in the Ghats are an exercise in pastel. Continue reading “Morning in the Ghats”

maybe my heart is full of sky

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so maybe the only thing

separating loving and living

is an oh of amazement – the

breathless sound the sky makes

when falling the final gradient

from dusk to twilight and back

again, the way your eyes keep

searching for stars only an

evenmist away, how your fingertips

keep feeling for worlds closeted

within atoms, and maybe

that difference really isn’t as

much as we always thought,

like how your breath can be a

song and a song can be a kiss

from the universe saying you are

here you are here you are here

over and over in seven quintillion

different ways.

This is a chestnut-headed bee-eater I spotted flying over a field in Valparai earlier this summer. I’ve always loved bee-eaters – almost as much as I love kingfishers, actually. The first time I saw one – a blue-throated bee-eater in my condo – I actually could not stop smiling for a solid half-hour afterwards. There’s a sort of exuberance they inspire, the way they swoop and dance over the sky, their quick rests on the bare branches, their confident grace. They’re also pretty damned beautiful, no matter which way you cut it, and the sight of their bright colors darting across the blue is enough to make anyone convert.

On some weeks I’m going to be reposting old photographs and posts. This one is from nearly a year ago, and I thought deserved a fresh glance.

Thoroughfare Tahr

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The Western Ghats are a cradle of biodiversity, in every possible sense. Just driving along a road and you’ll find endemic primates, birds, ungulates.

The Nilgiri Tahr is limited entirely to that small stretch of hills it inhabits; it’s listed as endangered on the IUCN red list and lives in the increasingly threatened shola grasslands. Formerly, they roamed the slopes in large herds – now, to see one is an achievement, which makes these car window glimpses all the sweeter.

What You Leave Behind

Hills_ProcessedThese are the Anamalais – the Western Ghats, the cradle of Indian biodiversity, and essentially distilled beauty. I am at somewhat of a loss for words to describe them further – rest assured, you will get looks at the parts of this magnificent whole as the days and weeks roll on.