Its only serendipity that can bring such experiences into one’s life.
We (Pankaj, Siva and I) were on the grim task of evaluating some of the post-tsunami reconstruction projects in coastal Andhra Pradesh. Long, long journeys were punctuated by hot and dusty stops at featureless, monotonous, army-barrack like projects. Hearts were heavy and the limbs were tired. The soul, as usual, seemed to have a million questions …
What saved the trip was the wonderful, green, dotted-with-tanks landscape of the coast. The beauty was indescribable.
And then one tired afternoon Kolleru happened. Kolleru, I imagined, was a huge lake. And when the field team talked about boat rides, my ears perked up.
Never, never, never, in my dreams I would have imagined an experience like this. Kolleru was no simpering lake. It was a huge expanse of a wetlands … that swayed to the rhythm of flooding and receding waters – leaving behind a vast variety flora and fauna. The fishes thrived. And the place was a Birds Paradise. In half an hour, we must seen at least 30 varieties of birds – ranging from the tiny twittering ones to the silently, meditating 6 footers !
The trip included a visit to a remote island village which was famous for its temple. But remote or not it boasted a bar. The hoarding seemed incongruous in the setting, sitting side by side the temple ! But then there’s a strange rightness in that – for, after-all, both promise Nirvana !
The trip that lasted a good 2-3 hours, ending only as fell, seemed like a reward, a compensation for the task we were doing.
The soul was replete. Filled with gratitude.