Habituated to 4 years of routine, i did yearn to get busy and do some work - though the first three days of idle loitering wasnt any different in truth ! :)

We packed and left with our suspicious baggage. The time controlled Kannada movie got us through the journey to Naalur, i guess i again smiled at everybody in the bus. The smile on my face was transfixed ever since i first got lost in Agumbe. Locals are all smiles all the time, its rather infectious. We walked through a narrow, slightly [by normal standards and very dirty by Agumbe standards] dirty 'kaaldhaari' that would lead us to a road with a few houses at healthy distances from one another and devoid of too many people - again a healthy sign ! Whats better is that if you did come across a few passers by they would be all smiles and ready to indulge in a short cheerful chat...wow! dont i like the people of Agumbe.

We reach the spot and hurriedly unpack and make a 10X10 tent with the tarp allowing only the crisp blue sunlight in and the music of the rains at regular intervals. Newspapers were the doormats, 'TOI' would have made the perfect doormats - i would have loved to wipe my feet on it. A perfect stand for the antenna with the reciever at arms length for checking on beeps as we rest ! If it was out of reach then i would go 'Beep, beep' which quite irritated Pradeep and did make him smile too !

It was good fun after that, taking turns with 'kestrel' readings [pleasure if it doesnt rain when its your turn and more pleasure when it rains while its somebody else's turn ! :) ], we laughed a lot, tense everytime its sunshine lest the king squints, winks and simply wiggles through the bushes while we try hard to clumsily level the same, after wasting 6 dosas out of 9 i decided not to pack lunch anymore so we were content with gulcose biscuits dipped in rain water and the occasional Jackfruits treat by anybody who wanted a pass through our tent - the jackfruit toll was ideal and i get greedy everytime...lots of smiles exchanged again ! The king never moved only we had to change batteries and this was the peak of excitement.

I tasted the Beluvaa [initially mistook this to be the name of the local who brought down the Jack fruit for us, all action 'coz it was pouring then] and Bakkhya which we shared with a dog and a sleuth cow (the cow ate up jackfruit which was hidden and meant for the next day, next day we only found the recycled jackfruit - cow dung !). Vittala was fun by the peg and asleep if not. Pradeep and me spent most of the time playing 'chukki aata' - digital snakes turning into houses (am i getting philosophical...naah, philosophy is never so obvious :)!).

5 30pm sharp would be the final call, the king does not budge. We again quickly wrap up before the day long effort of keeping dry feels washed out., everything is in before it rains and we set off humming a kannada number and head for the hot chilli bajjis at the small clean tea shop where people gather to discuss simple, sensible living and solutions for leach bites. We managed to get some 'hurali kattu' that i was so looking forward to taste, after all the fervor and demand the topic triggered but unfortunately i never got to taste it - no one at ARRS seemed to understand its importance (atleast to me ! ), i was touched at the heartiness of the man who promptly brought it for us the next day - can never forget that. Now to the most discussed hot topic of everyday (apart from snakes) - the locals always had answers to the leach bites, their disgust for the creature was almost complimenting it. They told us about Beedi wraps (paper) that could be used to stop the bleeding, 'kaarekkai' that can be used as paint base to 'chunam/ sunna' to prevent it from washed away in rains, amidst all this i even learnt about 'kasekanna theppe' which is instant death to dogs only while cows cud and digest the thing - this is also a great natural insecticide for coconut trees. So, much learning from the locals, such simple intelligent ways and peace. i loved them and we synced up instantly.

Everytime we boarded the bus, a usual comment that made everyone roll would be 'Byagnalli haavu untaa ?', it was the way they greeted us. I miss the bus rides and after just one day of occupying the 'xtreme space management' seat just enough to accommodate a close pair of human butt, located between the exit and the first seat of bus, the conductor called it 'nimma jaaga', i guess i fit into it really well !

A few other things that filled me with joy at Agumbe were -

The pyre dabba at the bus stop.
All the local people ofcourse
The common mossy wells
The compound walls
Snakes (especially the keelback) that kept dodging in quick jerks the prying hands - this made me very sad !
All the preventive and remedial measures for a leach bite

My experience at Kasturi Akka's to continue....


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