Where we have been moving, there is a large fresh-water lake (Kolleru) … huge, dying out, being slowly and surely encroached upon by us humans. This lake is home to millions of birds, different kinds – small black ones darting around, huge brown ones watching the world drift by gracefully, white ones flying in formation, twittering, cooing, cackling, screeching … it is a wonderful world.
We went in a motor boat through some of these wetlands – these are densely packed with “kikisa” a water-reed that is grows almost 15-20 feet. And it was like going through a tunnel, with “kikisa” towering on both sides, while we slid over black, still water, thick with moss, hyacinth and water lilies and fish !! The underworld teems with fish which the birds just dip into and make a meal out of them.
It is the last part of the dry season now – next month this some-75,000 acres of wetlands will fill up when the monsoon arrives and the water levels rise slowly up … and there would be a huge sheet of water.
There are villages, of course, dotted inside these wetlands – little islands with people who move around in boats made out of hollowed-out toddy tree trunks. People who catch fish and god-knows-what in little box like cages . There seems to be a whole industry here and many have very locally specialised equipment to weigh, segregate and transport these fish. The reeds are sold Rs. 20 for a bundle.
We move back onto the road, shake hands with our “kahaar” – the boatman and slip him a couple of hundred in gratitude for an unbelievable journey into an unbelievable world. Once again we gaze out our car-windows, at the rain and the dancing clouds, and a green world seemingly full of peace and harmony and a certain “stillness”.
The divine seems to be a natural part of the environment here – apparent in the spaces between every solid thing – between the leaves, between the houses, between the people and even between my fingers … and I realise that the THING, IT, FORCE resides in the “spaces”, in the emptiness. It resides in the silences between words. It resides in the stillness between movements …
The houses are truly beautiful, graceful with tiled roofs, white walls and shapes and spaces so much in harmony with the nature around it and with the people inside it. No contradictions here. Fences, walls, roofs, made of the ever-present “kikisa” …
The soul is refreshed.