Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Went Hiking in the Hills of Artist Village Today

A Hike in the Artist Village Hills

Long time since I went hiking around the hills of Artist Village where I live. Did I say Artist Village is in a valley formed by two hills, in the center of which is a retention pond, and a beaten track that leads up the mountain? I used to hike there, once. That was until I joined outsourcing, and my soul itself looked outsourced to the managers sitting in the US of A. But that’s another story.

Pictures of Artist Village can be viewed here. These pictures were taken during the great deluge of July 2005 which had devastated most of Bombay and New Bombay but had spared Artist Village.

When I went for the walk, I met my friend Henry performing his routine morning walk. Today being a holiday, I was in the mood to try something adventurous. So I persuaded him, which isn’t very difficult, as he is game for such things, to climb the hills with me.

The trail we took leads to a tribal village on the other side of the hill which still exists in the fifteenth century or thereabouts. No electricity, no shops, the tribals there are food gathers and cattle herders. I wouldn’t dare to hike without company as these people have country-made guns and there are leopards and wildlife around.

We reached a promontory and sat down to rest, as Henry was sweating rather badly. He needed a drink of water, which we hadn’t foreseen in this unplanned hike. The view from up there was breathtaking. I immediately rued not having brought my camera.

So I will try a word description here: Below us were the geometric structures of residential buildings and red tiled roofs of the houses of Artist Village, and further away the imposing buildings of Konkan Bhavan and Cidco Bhavan, the seats of administration of the New Bombay area. I could also espy the massive structure of CBD Belapur railway station, the one I entrain from every morning on the way to work. They seemed stunted now from the great height and distance. Towards our right was an outcrop of volcanic rocks that must have erupted from the belly of the earth, God alone knows, in what millennium. It was such a huge rock, majestically surrounded by jungles where leopards are known to live and foray for livestock owned by the inhabitants of the village mentioned above.

Around us was the cacophony of bird sounds dominated by the melodious song of the lark, or, cuckoo, which Henry told me is called the “Kuil” in Malayalam. “Kuil” is “Koel” in Hindi and the similarity delighted me. This reinforces my belief that all Indian languages have originated from the same root. A cock crowed somewhere, I could hear the buzzing sound of a fly, the world seemed at peace here, which is until Henry told me about the goings on among the community of members formed by “Kairali” – the association of Malayalis that I am a member of.

Actually I am unaware of these happening, as I am away most of the time, working on what else, outsourcing. There’s treachery, scandal, corruption, political manoeuvring, and, hold your breath, even prurient goings on of which I am unaware, and of which I do not wish to be aware. Stuff of scandalous page three happenings is right here under my nose. What has the world come to?

We descend from the heights, after our chat, the wind like a blast of air-conditioning on the way down on this hot day. We plan another hike, this time with plenty of water, proper hiking shoes (I was wearing my Bata slippers), and lots to eat once we reach the rocky promontory where we rested. A good hike was had, as the cliché goes.

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