The Hairpin Curve

Ek khwaab ne ankhe kholi hai
Kya mod aaya hai kahani mein
Woh bheeg rahi hai baarish mein
Aur aag lagi hai paani mein

I call this an underappreciated piece of art submerged under the husky voice of Arijit Singh and clichèd Bollywood music. Four lines of Gulzar magic has made me listen to it over and over again though I don’t like the song. Noticeably, this is the case in many songs – English and Hindi alike. The intensity and beauty of the lyrics are often overshadowed by the music. First world problems. Anyhow, the lines roughly translate into:

A dream has opened its eyes; the story has taken such a turn. She is getting drenched in rain and the rain has caught fire.

Such intense meaning and vividly left to the imagination of the reader. I can literally come up with thousands of interpretations. These four lines aptly describe my trip to Bababudangiri. Yeah, sparing you the suspense of what the hell I am talking about by giving you the scene early on. Rejoice!

It was no less than an adventure for me. Driving through a hill with my mother in the backseat and my father beside me is one hell of an experience believe me. Words cannot describe it. It was my first time driving up a hill. The narrow roads and cliffs in every nook and corner sounds terrifying for any first-timer. I had faith in my Alto though. Bangalore roads had taught me well. We began our ascent after paying toll in the forest check post. Both sides of the road were filled with coffee plantations (or should I say covfefe). I was just concentrating on the road and for the most part, not the landscape which was demanding to be admired. After driving for around 40 minutes we reached the shrine and with no clue where to stop we continued driving ahead. The road sign was showing that a waterfall was 3km away from us and that is where we planned to go directly. After 5 mins of driving, we realised the road was too treacherous for my Alto to handle and we stopped in a plain space. We started walking up the hill, cutting the roads as we walked ahead. We could see the local Jeep people racing each other very often on roads that were some 5 feet wide. It scared the bejesus out of me. While walking up, I started taking pictures of small flowers which were present along the path as I always do. We stopped walking when my father suggested that the waterfall might be too far to walk by seeing the road ahead. We decided to drop the plan and stood there for some time to take pictures. That is when I saw beauty for the first time.

Ek khwaab ne ankhe kholi hai

It was as if nature had conjured something up so beautiful that humans are yet to develop the means to perceive it. I was awestruck. The lush green mountains with a hint of water falling down the stream had opened my eyes to see something I had never even imagined. We were so high, the clouds were literally concealing our faces. It was beyond ecstasy. It was a charm. I stood there in silence trying to think how could I make this into a blog post. I restrained myself from thinking anymore because I wanted to fill my head with what I was seeing. What I was trying to see. She was so beautiful that the sun shied away and hid himself away amidst clouds. As far as I could see, there were just blankets of green. I could see a portion of a hill going away from sight as the clouds consumed it. It was incredible. I am lost for adjectives and I don’t want Google to substitute for my thoughts. It wouldn’t be fair to the hills.  We began to walk down the hill very carefully. The mud was slippery – the aftermath of a night of heavy rains and a prologue of what was to come.

Kya mod aaya hai kahani mein

We came down to the shrine and left our footwear in the designated place and started walking down to the caves. It was a beautiful place. A place where the boundaries of religion were lost. It wasn’t just a shrine. It was a beacon for harmony and coexistence. We walked further down and were encountered with a brown coloured, slippery cave with a low entrance. Our high held heads upon the hill were made to bend down very quickly. Freedom manifested itself in two different ways in both hill and the cave. There it was the freedom of sight. The freedom of admiration. Inside the cave, it was the freedom from boundaries. The freedom of energy. We went in to find what was like a tomb. Covered in flower garlands and coins stuck all over it. I had a silent laugh and thought to myself – The people who sat there and meditated in peace did not do so with an expectation of being showered with metal coins. Faith can be misleading sometimes and just as I was witnessing it, a hand came from behind brushed my arm and I heard my Mothers voice. She handed me a coin and I stuck it there. Yeah, so much for my high-level spiritual beliefs. The other side of the cave had tombs of other two people who meditated there and were buried. An old man was reciting what I thought to be Quran. Mind you, all these time we had our heads bowed down. We came out of the cave and just as we entered the footwear stall, the heavens opened up. As they say, a trip to Chikmagalur is incomplete without witnessing its rain.

Woh bheeg rahi hai baarish mein

We were fortunate enough to get shelter inside the footwear stall. It was so crowded that Mumbai metro would feel like a playground in front of it. We were covered with rows and rows of footwear in the back and people in the front. Both equally annoying for me. The sound of the rain almost made us believe that it would make holes in the roof. It was a deluge. I closed my eyes for a moment. I was cooped up but not my imagination. Not my memories. I imagined being on the top of the hill while in this rain. I imagined seeing the entire mountain range getting bathed in rain. What a sight it would have been. What a sight it was. The rain went hand-in-hand with the landscape. The roads upon the hill were like long tresses of a woman’s hair. We found solace in piping hot corn. It had never tasted so good before. Maybe it was some landscape juice. We somehow made it to our car and waited there for the skies to show mercy on us. Petite little Alto was filled with biscuit packets and empty water bottles.

Aur aag lagi hai paani mein

And I sit here, reminiscing the beauty, the horizon, the magic. The spark of imagination through which I was able to see more than what met the eye. It was one such places which made me witness nature in all its glory. On the way back, my driving skills were put to test big time. We were stuck in the longest traffic jam I have ever seen, thanks to a bus which had given up mid-way. It was a miracle the right side mirror of my car survived. The best part? I am writing all this not from memory of the events, but from memory of the script itself. While driving back, I thought to myself how I would construct the post and what all would go in it. Also, I thought about how I would write about thinking all of this beforehand. Good to be a Nolan fan.






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