The heart is gloriously happy in the simplest of moments. And if it is a walk we are on about, then doubly so…
It is a misty, overcast afternoon, late in August. We are in Ooty, Nilgiris country.
We step out to walk with no destination in mind. Just letting the feet take us to wherever. Soon a sign board catches our attention; just the “Elk Hill” bit of it and we decide to follow this path up Elk hill.
It is a steep climb but the air is pure, sharp and remarkably clear. The mist lies thickly over the hills beyond the valley below. The valley has turned into a passive bit of scenery set with little clumps of colored boxes amidst rolling stretches of green.
Some of the steeper slopes seem better tackled with a bit of backward walking thrown in, especially when tired. At least it works for me! An act borrowed from something Ajay begins in fun. The balance is better, I proclaim. In these incredibly heady, happily weary climbing moments.
A few truant raindrops surprise us, strange; it is rain in a small circle! We are laughing. Happy. It is quite random, just under some tall, tall trees. The grey clouds breaking into rain upon touching the tree tops? We step into quite a few of them, smiling every time.
We pause higher up, near some slopes of beautifully tender green land rolling down to some far way misty horizon. Ajay takes some panaroma pictures here. I sit down to a get a closer look at the plants. Later the next day we realize that they were baby carrots. A few women are here, squatting in a circle, tending these plants. We soon pass by a farm that smells of cow dung and cow urine (just a wild guess). A strong sharp earthy smell. We pass by some schools, the destination from the sign board that got us up here, a church and continue walking up.
A dog follows us around for a while. Ajay starts calling him our guide. A while later it disappears having found something more interesting, perhaps. I have it framed in a picture so those moments are there now, the dog forever with us, digitally preserved.
The mist gets closer and closer and pretty soon after some more climbing we are in it. I close my ears and shudder a bit in the cold. The few people we meet walking past are all covered up similarly, little woolly human outlines going about the hills.
On our way back we stop at the small store we passed by earlier to have some tea. The hot tea is refreshing and we stand there, our heads nearly touching the humble roof, and watch the sparrows seemingly doing some aimless hopping on the road. Hop. Hop. Hop.
A shrub with bunches of wildly waving violet florets is rooted so picturesquely by the roadside.
A kitten jumps on to the row of the jars that lines the store’s counter and seats itself on one of the jars. Comfortable. And not a bit shy.
Adieu, now, to this lovely walk.