Saturday, Oct 8, 2005
Decided on the spot to make this trip since we didn't have the class we came for. 8 of us went on 4 bikes (mine included). This was the second time I was going there. The first time was about 2 months back... during peak monsoon. What a difference from what I saw then to what I saw now!!
The water level's receded so much since last time! It's the confluence of 2 rivers - Kaveri and Arkavati. Arkavati waters are a muddy brown. Kaveri waters are clearer, tending towards grey. For quite some distance the two waters flow parallely. Amazing... the way they just dont mingle during this time. Somewhere down the line the distinction disappears.
Where we were so scared to take a step the last time round, we ventured boldly this time! Sat on some rocks a third of the way (mid-stream) in the path of the flowing river. Feels so good. And so calm!
Whereas last time we had hiked for a little over 4 kms to get to the actual spot, where a 'meke' (goat) could 'daatu' (cross) the rapidly flowing river, this time we covered the distance in the bus. (Last time... no buses were plying.) In fact, the water had been so deep then (the 'theppa' (or coracle - a round fisherman's boat) fellow had claimed it was 20 ft deep ... non-sense!) but this time, we actual hit sand and were stuck mid way. With some effort, the guy managed to get us free and take us to the other bank. Guess we could have simply waded across.
The bus journey was fun too. Half the gang climbed on top and made the forward journey riding roof-top on the bus. Rest of us decided to let them be our experimental guinea pigs. If, at the end of it, there were no undesirable consequences, we'd follow suit.
Last time the water had been flowing so forcefully that we had been splashed and drenched even though we had only been sitting on the steps. But now... Where earlier I had seen only water, I now saw smooth-worn rocks.... some over 20 ft tall! Would we have been so care-free then, had we known what lay underneath?! Maybe that explains some of the fear my friends had felt back then. Now, I saw our last time's care-free frollicking as a display of bravado. Had I known then, maybe I'd have taken more pride and put on a better show. Now the pride was in hindsight.
Coming back to the present : The sights I saw... the patterns the water made as it flowed... at times calm, at times raging... the smoothness of the rocks... their roundness, the almost parallel lines running all round... the crevices and almost perfect round holes formed at places that had beeb hidden by the water last time... the dizzy sensation I felt when I lay on my stomach watching the flow about 20-30 feet below... the deceptive power... the co-existence of sheer force and beauty in nature... how does the force generated by Man compare?... what if there was a way to harness all this energy?... is the water creating the circles I see or is this rock revolving?... who am I?... do I exist?... is this for real?... I must be an illusion myself... what captivating enchantment!... what fluidity... what gracefulness... simultaneously gentle and forceful... serene and violent... what if I jump off this ledge?... how long will i commune with this bliss?... i will certainly leave the world i know... what would my last thoughts be?... will I feel life ebbing away from this body?... or will I not know the difference?...
I felt a distant tap on my shoulder. It yanked me back into MY world. I urged the others to prostrate and peer over the ledge just as I had. I sat back and watched them at it for a few moments. Deep inside me was an impenetrable silence and I shared it with one of my friends. We sat in pensive silence, aware of each other, experiencing the same (I think) inner bliss, feeling far removed from everything around us. Am I a part of this act or an observer on the outside? Who are these people?... Familiar, yet... Friends or strangers?... Either way, does it matter?
Some one called out to us. The bus was about to start its return trip. We scrambled back to it. This time all of us got on top. It amused me to see that the inside was almost empty since everyone was on top. It was an exciting experience! I felt I was part of a scene in a movie. If only someone started singing & dancing to Chaiya Chaiya (from Dil Se), the picture would have been complete. And perfect!