Life's Like That

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

On the Nature trail

Conversation from last night:
Me: Hey, lets go somewhere during that New years weekend , its been a long time since we went anywhere
Rahul: *snapping out of his half asleep state and sounding verrry enthusiastic* Yeah lets!! Great idea.
Me: *taken aback by unusual show of enthusiasm but determined to make most of rare opportunity* So where do you wanna go?? I was thinking maybe Mangalore, or Pondy, or if you want the mountains then maybe Ooty...
R: No no..lets go on a weekend trek to Bandipur. Or Coorg...yeah trekking in Coorg will be fantastic!! I know someone who can help us organise this.
Stunned silence for 2 minutes.
Me: *appreciably less enthusiastic tone* erm..yes..Bandipur..trek..but sweetie think of the cheap booze in Pondy, or the yumm homemade chocolates in Ooty...or umm..the seafood in Mangalore...did I say cheap booze in Pondy...??
R: No no..Im telling you Coorg will be amazing... Trekking will be fun, we might even get to see some real big animals!!!Ill make all the arrangements.
Erm...this is the first time that this boy has been excited about anything enough to offer to make all arrangements...Im thinking its a good thing and I should go with the flow....BUT....a trek???? In the jungle?? Where there are animals?? Not to mention creepy crawly creatures ?? Is it reeeeaaaallly such a good idea???
Don't get me wrong. I belive strongly in wildlife conservation. I have never been cruel to any animal in all my life. I like cats and dogs (although not very large scary dogs like Alsatians or Dobermans or bulldogs..they scare the life out of me) I used to feed squirrels in Purulia where I also once owned a small black baby rabbit for a brief period of time...and I worked for almost two years in an office where they had 6 cats and a dog...we coexisted very peacefully indeed.
BUT....this is wildlife in the wild that we are talking about. I like Nature...but at a distance. I'm perfectly willing to sit on a balcony and look at Nature outside and get lyrical about the trees, the leaves, the monkeys and what have you. I just don't understand the need to go traipsing about in the middle of all that. The idea of sleeping in a small tent under a tree ( from which snakes and other creepy crawlies might drop on ones head) does not appeal to me. And call me finicky, but I need a nice clean western style loo...I cannot answer Natures call in the middle of a freaking jungle behind a freaking bush!!
Not to mention the animals and the reptiles and the amphibians and the birds and the insects!!!!
I mean, look at it this way, how would you like it if a couple of chimpanzees decided to drop into your living room to be one with you?? I bet you wouldnt be very pleased at the intrusion and you would jump up and down and scream "hat hat"( pronounced exactly like that and it is the Bangla equivalent of shoo shoo) and flap your arms at them till they left. Right?? So what gives us the right to intrude into their space?
If I were a tiger living in the wilderness of Bandipur I wouldnt be very happy with Rahul and Ron suddenly jumping into my jungle living room to see me. I would probably roar terrifyingly at them (which would cause Ron to have a quiet and immediate heart attack and die, I dont know about Rahul) till they ran away (though in Ron's case, she would be too terrified to run or, more likely, dead, as a result of that quiet heart attack. Actually the mere presence a tiger would cause Ron to have a heart attack, I wouldnt need to roar) or if I were really hungry I would probably want to change my boring diet of deer and cows(or whatever tigers eat) and want to snack on Ron and Rahul ( though R and R would probably constitute a very heave meal even for a tiger). Not a very pleasing thought is it?
I was explaining all this to my mother, and also telling her about the possibility of snakes attacking us,( have you ever wondered what would happen if a snake bit your behind as you went about answering Natures call behind the bushes? How the hell would you tie it up to prevent the poison from spreading? No, dont be grossed out at the mental pic..think about it..really) She of course snapped "Bokar moto kotha bolo na, sheetkaale shaap ghumoiye, oder kheye deye kaaj nei eshe tomake kamrabe! And bagh ki emni emni jekhane shekhane ghure berai naaki, je tomader dhore kheye felbe? If you dont bother them they will not harm you"( Dont be silly snakes hibernate in winter and tigers dont just roam around to eat you up).
This should have been reassuring..but then again this is my MOTHER....she is slightly crazy about Nature. She once sat peacefully beside a pond and watched a large snake swim across the water towards her, instead of shrieking at the top of her voice and running far far away.( "UFF!! If I screamed and created a commotion it would have been frightened, it was soo pretty, I didnt want to frighten it" was her reaction to my suggestion) She waited till it was within striking distance of her, at which point luckily the snake decided against attacking her and went off in the opposite direction. She also dragged a very reluctant 7 year old me to the big peyara gach (guava tree)behind our Purulia bari to show me a mammoth bee hive!! I still remember the angry buzzing noise those bees were making, there were 1000s of them. And my mother kept pushing me towards the hive(within about 100 feet of it) "kach theke dakh ki daroon"(look closely how amazing), the danger that I, her only daughter(at that time) faced of being stung to death by 1000s of bees didnt seem to have occured to her. Thankfully my instincts of self preservation were very strong even at that tender age and I howled at the top of my voice and screamed "na na chede daooo( no no lemme go) till she digustedly let go of me. She still refers to that incident to demonstrate my lack of courage spunk!!
Anyways, the point is that trekking, according to me is a reeeaaaallly bad idea. If you are dying to watch wildlife and all that watch National Geographic, or watch Animal Planet. Crazy people on those channels go around enthusiastically putting their hands into dark holes to drag out the most poisonous snakes known to mankind for your viewing pleasure. ( ne crazy man allowed a python to wrap itself around his arm and then cheerfully showed us how the arm was turning blue because the snake was cutting off his circulation). I mean have a thought for their efforts. They are risking their lives just so you can sit in your nice comfortable wildlife free living room and experience life on the wild side!!
But trying to convince Rahul of all this will be a very uphill task I think. He will probably laugh at me and join hands with my mother in teasing me and calling be rude names (Ma, Im NOT an unadventurous hopeless twit!I just happen to greatly value my creature comforts, not to mention my life, like most normal human beings should!!Also I think we should give animal life their privacy! So there!) I am very distressed about this. I really dont want to spend New years Eve worrying about scorpions and panthers. Cant we go to Pondy , drink cheap vodka get drunk and watch the fascinating life stories of scorpions and panthers on Animal Planet instead?? Please??


  • if I were really hungry I would probably want to change my boring diet of deer and cows(or whatever tigers eat) and want to snack on Ron and Rahul ( though R and R would probably constitute a very heave meal even for a tiger). Not a very pleasing thought is it?

    Ha Ha Ha!
    The whole post had me in splits.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:55 AM  

  • this is what sagnik would call a 'you go sister!' comment. still...i'm with you there, sister! in a freaking jungle behind a freaking bush??? when i can have homemade chocolates and/or cheap booze? not to mention a warm cuddles and soft beds and bathrooms... sheesh, girl, get rahul to meet some of us sometime!

    and ron impersonating the tiger was phenomenal. it's the genes, i tell you.

    By Blogger Rimi, at 10:46 AM  

  • Ha ha ha! You can really identify with the tiger !

    By Blogger Soham Pablo, at 7:44 PM  

  • You might as well see the tiger while you still can, you know. If i'm not mistaken, Coorg is also a good place to spot the malabar red squirrel :)

    And winter is just the best time to do. I mean, spotting animals is a wee bit harder, but when you do spot them, they'll be in their best coats, and the cubs (if you're lucky) will be a few months old by now, but still with mommy.

    If you go trekking, though, you won't see tiger, unless you're really lucky. You need to be in a jeep. You might see leopard. In that part of the country, you might even see them in with a special mutation of skin colour (too much melanin), and be lucky enough to say, ``i saw a black panther'' :)

    go for it. It'll be the experience of a lifetime.

    By Blogger 4wD, at 9:05 PM  

  • @bangaloreguy: it will not be so funny when ive been attacked by monkeys, covered with leeches and maimed by panthers.

    @rimi: thank you sister for the show of support. if you think you can talk some sense into rahul i shall imm introduce you to the child!! right now!!
    oh and genes??? tiger genes??

    @soham: na maane i was just trying to explore the psyche of an irritated tiger.

    @$WD: you too??? my mother told me all of the stuff thaqt you just said. she frequently goes on treks and she apparantly saw a panther at really close quarters. the problem is that she thinks that was the most exciting part of the trek, and i on the other hand feel it was the scariest part. i think i would have fainted or died if i had suddenly looked to my right and seen a black panther eyeing me beadily. also..the LOO...using the great wild outdoors as my personal toilet is not cup of tea you see!!

    By Blogger Ron, at 9:24 PM  

  • Brilliant. I totally empathise,nature is wonderful - but to be enjoyed from a distance only.

    By Blogger Dreamcatcher, at 9:56 PM  

  • Was enjoying reading every bit of ur post and animatedly nodding my assent until u started mentioning snakes biting bottoms. I'm gormless when it comes to snakes, so i shan't read any further. I've been told they hibernate in winter, but I don't believe a word of all that. If I had a dime for all the times i've wondered what wud happen if a cobra emerged from my commode and other such delightful thoughts ...
    I recommend u jump up and down, throw a fit and pretend ur fainting until Rahul realises New Year's will be spent on a happier note in Pondy and not in a Blair Witch-y jungle.

    By Blogger rainbeau_peep, at 11:17 PM  

  • fine with nature at a distance. i enjoyed that boat ride in periyar, on the lake, at the crack of dawn when we saw elephants, wild boar etc on either bank...separated from me by a stretch of water.that was fine..chances of them leaping on me were rather slim. it was lovely. but i dont see the need standing right next to them on the banks..if you want a closer look buy a pair of binoculars.

    @rainbeau peep: cobra in your commode?? eeeekkkkk!! even i havent managed to think of something like that. can cobras swim up 3 floors through the plumbing???ki shanghatik!!
    as for rahul...i think ill do what you suggest but end with some tears...not full blown hysterics, just eyes brimming with tears, coupled with "i really dont want to go..but since you are being so insistent, fine ill do it for u"...emotional blackmail ALWAYS works with most men...a combination of all this should work dont you think??

    By Blogger Ron, at 2:06 AM  

  • Wow you have an amazing sense of imagination. I am sure the tiger wouldnt disagree with you if you could speak its language. I think you take up writing seriously. For all you know you book could be a best seller.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:58 AM  

  • I spent my formative years in and out of forests :) My biggest problem with me is that i'm not ``lucky'' with snakes. That means, i rarely get to see them. Except for the Bamboo Pit Viper i almost stepped on in Nagarhole.

    I'm lucky with cats. In the outdoors, its all about this fabled luck. Some people, never ever see anything. Others see it all, mating, hunting and what not.

    Hide a bottle of brandy (I'd suggest something better, but brandy has its charm deep in a forest) in your backpack :) cheap booze solved.

    By Blogger 4wD, at 9:42 AM  

  • p.s. no snake will bite you when you do your morning thang.

    just walk heavily, and you won't even see a snake.

    of course, in the o utdoors, there's no certainty :)

    By Blogger 4wD, at 9:44 AM  

  • @r: such kind words!! hope this means my point is taken :-)

    @4WD: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!* a utterly horrified look* i am at a loss for words tos ecribe my state of mind right now

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:09 PM  

  • Well, you could sort of strike a compromise here. Make the man happy and go to Coorg but check into a nice luxurious hotel like Orange County (or just mention staying there to him, I have a feeling he'll veto Coorg ASAP ;)). Trek in the morning but come back to your lovely warm room in the evening, have cheap brandy, vodka, whatever, go to nice tiled bathroom with hot water and just chill.

    Nice idea, what?

    P.S. You do have the longest word verifications on your blog *grumble grumble*

    By Blogger The Marauder's Map, at 12:11 AM  

  • this is what i missed till now since the time we stopped chatting on msn: animated discussions!! Loved it! No seriously, ron, even i have wondered how would one react if they hear a snake hissing within kissing distance of one's rear while attending to morning rituals. But snakes as they say have a very keen sense of more.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:23 AM  

  • @marauder's map: hehe!! compromise has already been made...we are going to coorg..but no camping in the jungle...exactly what you suggested, except that we cannot afford orange county so that will be replaced by an affordable resort. the only problem now is that most places seem to have been booked well in we r not getting a place to stay :-( and im sooooo sorry about the word verifications...i dont know how make them simple.

    @bijoyy: my mother, animal planet (my one stop source of info on wildlife) and the internet have assured me that snakes do indeed hibernate in winter and chances of them waking up just to bite me are very rare...unless i actually step on them, which i intend to avoid my making rahul walk ahead of me and stamp around quite a bit. and i will be staying in some resort(if we get place) so very low chances of snakes biting my rear! am happy.
    PS: i miss those chats dreadfully!!! *sobs*

    By Blogger Ron, at 12:37 AM  

  • :( have i not given you insights on animal life from animal planet?? I think i your mom and i will make a great team!! look forward to meeting her!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:48 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger death, at 1:55 AM  

  • death: hello death (never thought i would ever say that!!) i wasnt too sure if you were being sarcastic about the writing, but then i think ill just take it as a compliment, thank you!! and welcome to my blog.
    as for being a pushover, its not easy...but i am trying very hard to say no when i want to say no and stick to it!!

    By Blogger Ron, at 4:43 AM  

  • really enjoyed reading this because I am so like you. I jump at the mere sight of an insect and B just was born to discover adventure. He made me camp out in a tent with him in Wisconsin for two days and a night. I agree it was romantic but it was scary. You don't realize how fast it can get dark in the woods. And then I spotted a spider inside the tent. inside!! I sprayed some anti insect spray on it and my tent kind of dissolved along with the dead spider. I hardly slept and kept waking up with nightmares of being trapped underwater. It was horrible. B dreams of being a forest ranger. Me, I'm not gonna be a forest ranger's wayyyy. I think girls don't like wild animals and insects like men.

    By Blogger M (tread softly upon), at 10:07 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger death, at 6:20 PM  

  • @m: oh you poor poor thing! the tent dissolved!!?? how terrible.and yes put your foot down very firmly when it comes to being a forest rangers wife and all that!!! absolutely no way!!!

    @death: aah i see.nice of you to explain. i shall write more, though it may not be about my last dream, also i will not be able to post again so soon, because i have lotts of nonsense work to do. but im gladyou like coming here, hope to see you here often :-)

    By Blogger Ron, at 8:39 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger death, at 9:16 PM  

  • nAAAh!,
    Trekking is probably the best activity one can do to unwind!
    well maybe am biased coz I loove trekking myself...
    But well this time..benefit of doubt given....its normal to expect to spend the new yr drunk rather than bitten!:-)

    By Blogger Ekta, at 8:07 AM  

  • I arrived at blog determined to leave suitably nasty and lengthy comment. but then I read post. Laughed so hard that I don't have the energy to type out a decent comment even. Oh ron, you're such a GEM!!!

    By Blogger babelfish, at 12:48 AM  

  • @death:hee hee to you too.

    @ekta: *sighs sadly* my mother would sooo love to have you for a daughter instead of me..(as for rahul...ahem..lets not go there ok?) at least u agree that new years shouldnt be spent worrying about things biting your bottom :-)

    @babelfish: cha!! no nasty loong comment!!? how sad! *smirks* but thank you for kind words :-)

    By Blogger Ron, at 5:06 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger death, at 5:24 AM  

  • They are changing Bangalore's name to Bengaluroo! WHAT A DISASTER!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:25 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger death, at 9:29 PM  

  • death: I am not :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:35 PM  

  • @death: no he is not. bangalore shall indeed become bengaluru!!!!!!!

    @bijoy: thats been on the cards for a while. i guess they are taking the city back to its roots, mud tracks instead of roads, agriculture instead of and so forth..alternative development you see.

    By Blogger Ron, at 8:55 PM  

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