Monday, November 14, 2011
A Slide Down the Wild Side! (December 2008)
Julius Rego led a walk on Sunday 21st December to Artists Village Belapur. In his message he said the trail was 'strenuous'. Understatement of the year! To me it felt like I was taking part in Fear Factor!! Sorry, Julius...I suppose 49 year old bones and muscles really make themselves felt after even a little bit of climbing :)
There were twelve intrepid souls including Julius who assembled at around 7.15. My good friends Kalpana, Rajesh and Rajashree and newly made pals Vamsee and her better half Saru. At the beginning of the trail there was quite a bit of bird activity.
Lots of purple rumped sunbirds, an iora, booted warbler, red-whiskered bulbuls and a lone bee eater (seen on our return). Honey buzzard on a tree, booted eagle in the sky, a couple of swifts...however our attention was more on keeping our footing on the leaf strewn, rocky path.
Julius suddenly pointed to an 'artistic' pile of dung and asked me if I knew which animal had done its business. I replied that it was probably a cow. Why not a buffalo, queried Julius. Then he said that buffalo dung was rather smelly and not so well formed! A discussion ensued as to why the cow was holy and not the buffalo though both are equally useful to man!
Julius pointed out the numerous mahua trees and a few other plants whose names I've forgotten! Sorry! The interlude gave me a bit of a breather because the climb was a bit steep thereafter and after a lot of huffing and puffing (at least I was huffing and puffing!) we reached a level sort of plateau. This was where we had the dosas I'd taken along and a couple of swigs...of water, of course! Then on, courageous birders!
We reached the top (I thought) but Julius said there was an even higher place a half an hour's walk away with a beautiful view! Seven of us said 'nyet, nyet' and turned back at that point after a hearty meal of cake, apples, oranges, plum cake with rum, courtesy Julius (Merry Xmas btw) and cucumbers and peas...More discussion on cows and buffaloes. According to Julius, in Germany a scientist used cow dung which was worked on by sunlight to fertilize crops and as a pesiticide. It was marvellously effective. Holy-moly cow!
The way down was more of Fear Factor, slipping and sliding and landing on our backsides on some places! We did see a booted eagle (bonus!) at one point. The rest of the trail passed in a blur and by the time we had reached level ground, I was soaked in sweat and spattered with hay and bits of thorn. Thank god for strong helping hands in the form of Vamsee and Saru!!