Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Memories of a weekend in Alunda...

Alunda is a typical village off NH8 that links Mumbai to Ahmedabad. The closest town is Wada, which is probably the size of, or smaller than, Lokhandwala. In good weather (read roads that haven't been ravaged by the monsoon) and average traffic conditions, the distance between Borivali and Alunda takes about two hours. My in-laws have built a cottage on a plot in Alunda. Their society is surrounded by the hills and lies adjacent to a vast tract of adivasi, agricultural land. Here are some impressions from a recent visit to that haven of silence and peace.
  • The first view from the bus of a green carpet of paddy fields, tall grass, lush trees and swollen rivers and ponds
  • A lazy afternoon with the sound of the wind through the garden, the occasional birdcall, and the constant tinkling of wind chimes
  • Untamed greenery almost five feet in height, growing thickly, running over every bit of available soil
  • Watching spiders build webs to catch their dinner; a bulbul's nest on a frangipani tree; a chameleon concealing itself on the trunk of a drumstick tree
  • A spider and its tiny web on a leaf, caught under a dewdrop in the early morning
  • The ride back home in a Qualis, accompanied by the owner of the car who wasn't too confident about driving on the highway; the local panwallah who acted as driver due to his prior work experience as a truck-driver; and the local odd-job man who came along because "I want to see Mumbai, aur hamare gaaon ki gaadi jaa rahi hai."