If you came over for coffee last weekend, I’d tell you about the below quote I wrote on the first of September and that I had no idea the Universe was listening. I would tell you that I am no longer sure how or what made me write these words for now when I read it, it makes me shudder. If you’ve been following me closely, you’d know what I am talking about. But if you haven’t been or are new around here then you would have no no clue. Then I’d explain to you that I lost my grandma on the 9th of September to a cardiac arrest and then my uncle. on the 28th of September. You’d probably not understand why I was devastated. I’d then explain to you that I was extremely close to them and they kind of defined my life in a lot of ways. Anyways, now that you know, read the quote again. Isn’t it creepy?
Like the last two lines in my quote, I believe I, we, shall heal. So after I could shed no more tears and make no sense of what had happened, my husband decided that we go on a long drive out of the city. I wasn’t sure what to expect or if the drive would help because I didn’t know what I even wanted. All I knew was that fate had been unkind and shown no mercy on the family by taking away two people in less than three weeks. With my uncle going who I called ‘Mamu’, there hadn’t been time to mourn the loss of my grandma who I called ‘Amma’. Ironically, Amma had never troubled anybody during her life. It seemed like she didn’t want to bother anyone in death either, for with Mamu going, we were so consumed with shock and grief that she wasn’t even a topic of discussion any more.
But leave all that for now. I want to share with you about the drive we went on and how it helped me in healing. An hour and a half away from where I stay is a little town/village called Karjat of which I hadn’t heard of prior to the drive because it’s one of those off-the-beaten track kind of places frequented by travelers who like that kind of travel. It doesn’t boast of landmarks or any such sort of thing. There are some caves and waterfalls I believe but with Covid, the locals have put their foot down to outsiders coming in. So, all we were decided to do was drive through it. Before I tell you about the drive, would you like some sandwich. We set out at around 9.00 a.m.. The roads were busy despite it being the weekend and the lockdown until the Sion-Panvel highway. And there was nothing out of the ordinary- cars and more cars. But once we reached Panvel, I noticed a sudden slowing of pace.
From both sides of the car windows, the first thing one notices are the hills surrounding the town. Karjat is 25 kms away from Panvel and we reached it less than 30 minutes. There was a complete change of scene. Even the green was different from the green of Mumbai. In some way it reminded me of a my hometown, Mangalore decades ago. The town had been untouched by Mumbai’s development. Small homes, simple folk, single road with wild flowers spilling over on either side from which narrow lanes stretched like fingers, a river where children and animals bathed and women washed their clothes and dried them out on the river bank and yellow sun-kissed fields that overlooked the mountains is what you get in Karjat.
We parked the car and stepped out near the river. A muddy path full of pebbles led to the river. Yellow butterflies flew in an out of yellow, pink and white flowers growing in abandon all around. There were homes on the other side of the river. A man in trousers waded across the river to reach h. There was a water pump on the road-side. While we stood there a lady in a sari with two empty pots walked up to the pump. She filled her pots and placed it on her head one on top of the other and turned into a narrow muddy road.
A man who had been bathing his cows in the river swam across with them and got out of the river where we stood, his clothes soaking wet. The cows still looked dirty on the hind. I suppose all that sitting on the red mud had rubbed off on the hide making it a permanent stain. Another man on the other side of the river kept making loud noises. If he was talking it was un-understandable. But there was somebody who understood – his buffaloes. There were around ten of them who made their way out of the water while he stood on the banks instructing them. When all ten had got out, he walked and they followed.
When the walk alongside the river made us hungry we drove to town and bought bananas, chips, biscuits and spinach fritters. For lunch we had pizza from a restaurant in Radisson Blu hotel. Karjat has a lot of resorts and homestays. And in normal times, it provides opportunities to do river rafting, hiking and trekking. A place like that nestled between the mountains unmarred by technology and just two hours away from busy Mumbai, is the perfect getaway for all Mumbaikars. I hadn’t realized until then how much I needed to get away from a place that was structured and predictable to something that just was. It was our first trip outside Mumbai in six months and it worked wonders on me.
As Corona does not seem to be going anywhere soon and travel by flight is still a scary option, the best is to explore places around. We’ve decided to see the unexplored places around Mumbai as and when we can.
Life is unpredictable and when you can’t fight it, you need to live it and make the most of what you have got.
Before I sign off, I’d just like to say, ‘Celebrate what you have. Cribbing is easy but its not going to get you anywhere. What you have is now and here. Make the most of it. Quit thinking the rest of the world is in a better place. And quit waiting for a better time.’
Thank you for visiting. I hope you enjoyed the trip with us. And I hope you visit again. I enjoyed talking to you. Stay safe and live life!