” Ghattakke odi hoda” so folks in my native tell to this day say when some carefree bloke goes absconding from town. Meaning he ran away to the ‘Ghats’. Such is the furtiveness of the place. Add to this, every time I read Harry’s adventures in The Forbidden Forest, I could not picturise a better place. And time was, when in school we used to draw these zigzag lines on the India map all along the west coast. It was one of the easiest things to put up in the map drawing sessions during those geography classes. The tale does not stop here. For people like me who keep hopping from Bangalore to Mangalore or the other way for God knows how many times in their life this part of the journey is like the hardest level if you were playing a video game. Those curves and bends all along the road give a feeling of a snake slithering inside your stomach, a very wild one that too and every time you travel it just gets more! I managed one such yesterday and that explains why I am writing about it here.
On the greener side, there is something about the Western Ghats which makes it an alluring place, so much still remains unknown for all its good. There is a certain sweet rasp in its air which captures all your attention. And if it rains, it just adds to the magic. I realized it more when the bus managed to pass through and reached the plain lands, then is when I started missing it. The nausea had settled down by then. The river flowing with all gush by the side, the little waterfalls here and there, the old rail tracks, the chirping birds which you barely manage to see, the animal friends who remain in hiding with a justified fear and things as simple as these can make you feel you are just a little tittle in this world.
For all the human intrusion that it has managed to survive like a hundred other forests on this globe have, for all the diverse flora and fauna that it has owned over the years despite it all everything is not hunky dory about this place. The new rail tracks, the widened and tarred roads, the plastic bottles, the wrecked cars by the side are proof enough. But who cares, as long as it is safely commutable if you are travelling ”Oh the ghat roads are better these days, see until the next rain“ so many of us opine. Period. And we of all the living for the sake of saving our ass speak of conservation, evolution and development. What nonsense. The clock never zeroes, nature never revolts. But it has its way, none of our territory that is. Nothing better than the Western Ghats to give you that feeling.