Kukkal Chinnar Episode - 4
Thanked Alex, for all his support, and left the village, commencing the 13 km walk to Chinnar, through the dry scrubby jungle.
Had news on a tusker frequenting this sector and the walk was a bit cautious. There weren't much events, as the track was clear, apart from occasional stops for Biju to capture a bird or two - especially those found in dry regions.
|Blue bearded leaf bird - Photo : Biju PB|
|Collared dove - Photo : Biju PB|
|Thalanji in red envelope|
The water the inhabitants use, is from river Amaravathi, which flows near by and the previous day's untimely rain in the hills had rendered it a muddy reddish tone. Necessity forced me to gulp it down and I had to pay for it, later in the day.
Spotted a few coconut trees in the premises by then and a tribal boy agreed to fell a few tender ones for us. That was a heavenly gesture, which i believe, had enabled us to live up to the aim. Left 'Thalanji' under the torching sun and we had 5+ kms more, to our destination. The next water source, as Gireesh and the Thalanji people assured us, was 'Athiyoda', a stream about 3 kms from Thalanji.
Proceeded with occasional breaks under the shadow of not-that-frequent big trees, as we feared sun stroke. Just after one such break, noticed a herd of spotted dear, running frantic. Reason for the panic was a pack of Dhole (wild dog), at close quarters. We fell in between and the pack aborted the hunt and dispersed. We had saved a life but deprived others their food- equally good as bad.
Sun was squeezing our moisture out and the lone hope was on 'Athiyoda', assumed to be very close by then. Two more turnings and we were there. Desperate is a word too mean for such an occasion, for we had just the trace of a stream, burnt sand surfacing.
Sat on the bank, wordless for a while, and some one started walking, with others following. None spoke for the next two kms or so, for fear of dehydration, until the Pambar flow was audible.
I had never longed for water like that, in my life, and I drank up to my nose, aware that the flow had just left the town of Marayur. Had a thorough wash up, crossed the flow and walked up to Marayur - Chinnar road, where a car waited, to take us to Marayur. Had lunch from Marayur at 4 PM and left for Munnar to catch the night bus to Trivandrum, leaving Girish at Marayur for his journey back - of course along tarmac.
Got beneath my good old bed roll, by 5 in the next morning, and could doze only for three hours, as my mobile went ringing ……….