Recently, I had the fortune to go out on trek with a couple of friends. What a group it was, three adults and a kid of 7 years, all bursting with energy waiting to reach the Karnala Bird Sanctuary. Saturday morning the journey started and like always the Mumbai traffic took hold of us, Moses came for our rescue(Moses, Who?? Well that’s a story for another post, for now just regard him as our rescuer).
We reached the Sanctuary around 10.15am, almost an hour late for the time we intended to reach. Led by an experienced Father-Son duo, we entered the wilderness and what a moment it was. One deep breath and I could experience the magic. For us city folks a patch of 10×10 feet also looks like a forest, and here we were surrounded by massive trees, trees which, if they could talk would have told us some historical tales of kings and princes and more. As we started walking, rains greeted us, the feeling was superb, calmness set in, mud felt like cushions and the small streams seemed like a masseur, working on your feet. The kiddo was the guide, jumping with joy and with god zillion questions about everything. His energy and zest was a treat to watch. The trek wasn’t that arduous but it was a bit tricky in some patches, the fact that we reached late was a blessing in disguise as we had less crowd on our way up. The twist and turns in the path and the greenery around, the fresh air was exhilarating, making ones spirit sore with joy. We could hear birds, monkeys rustling in the trees, some even came close enough to shake hands with us. I tried my hand at giving the kid some lessons in flora and fauna, don’t know if he learned anything, I think he did, though it sure gave me a chance to refresh my memory, I guess this was a trek after a gap of many years for me, and it sure felt good.
As we reached a plateau after some steep climbs, the sight that we saw took over breath away, here we were just a few kilometres away from the madness in Mumbai city, and right before us, were stretches of green wilderness, valleys and cliffs all covered in a carpet of green, a lake in the distance was a delight in the green patch. An ideal location for a few photo ops. We continued after a short break and within some time reached the base of the Karnala Fort, some remnants of the fort still stood strong, we wondered, how did it last for so long, the information board said it was 1200 years old. That’s a long time, it had seen lots happen around it. Guess need to read about it more to explore.
The kid by now was jumping in joy, well I should say the kid in us three adults also was smiling to experience this moment. We stood in silence for quite some time, don’t know what everyone was thinking, I was surely thinking, can I just live here, away from the chaotic life we live, the craziness we call a career, in that moment it all seemed so insignificant. We were surprised to see the fort on the top had a water tank, carved into a large tall rock, amazing is an understatement for the feeling we had. How in the world did these guys build this, what a pristine way to preserve nature and yet live in it. Hope the modern developers could take a cue from this and improve our urban living standards.
On our way back, we again frolicked in the streams, the water gave a soothing feeling, almost like magic, our tired feet, were relaxed, ready to take on more. The spiders, the butterflies, the insects, the birds, the trees, the leaves, the creepers, the climbers……….became our new friends, they not bothering us and we leaving them just as we found them, looking and admiring the beauty of nature around us, made us feel so small and tiny yet magnanimous with joy.
The trek ended with a fabulous local meal of Zhunka Bhakar, onions bhajji and tea, I bet that meal could beat any five star spread any given day. The road back was quite and mundane, taking us back into the madness, yet I am sure those few hours touched our lives greatly, for we experienced a certain degree of calmness and serenity. The forest sure changed us in its own way, taking nothing from us but giving us a lot.