Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Adieu 2017

Dear 2017, you have been good, could have been better. But for all that you have been and for all that you have given me and us, I must be thankful to you. So here are a few words of gratitude, of thankfulness and of happiness ; thank you for keeping us safe, for giving us moments of joy, for giving us opportunities of experiencing newer shores and becoming wiser as we learnt to make better comparisons ( quite contrary to the popular belief that comparisons can never be positive) and choices. Overall, it has been a year of much learning and I am happy that it has made me more patient, saner and more thankful towards life. And now as we inch towards another new year, I could not have bid you adieu, 2017, without these few words of contentment and gratification. Life has been a blessing of sorts. With every cloud,  there was that silver lining. With every strong wind that rocked us and could have blown us away, there was that inner strength from you that held us strong until the winds changed in our favour. You kept us going, made us hopeful that fair weather would soon follow. As the countdown to 2018 begins, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping us afloat. Adieu 2017 and bienvenue 2018...I know this comes a little early but I shall be having a packed end of the year schedule hence this early wish.
Merry Christmas to all who celebrates and a happy and prosperous 2018. 

This little guiding light of mine, I'am going to let it shine...................
 We wish you a merry Christmas........

Peace, faith and believe, the tenets of my life.......

Warmest of wishes to each one of you...........
Of happiness in abundance, of  dreams to be fulfilled, of boundless joy, of love galore......

Monday, October 16, 2017

A mini home tour

Not much of a gap between my last post on The Bison and this which is a mini home tour of a close friend. This is a segment I love to do as I find it very interesting to observe how people's personalities reflect in their homes. This home that you will be touring is both special and different from my other home tours. Special because it belongs to a close buddy and different as it's a home I've actually visited. Hence, it wouldn't be a virtual tour for me!
When I first set foot for the very first time, the little passage or entry whatever we prefer to name it made sure that I get a picture of a warm and cozy space created by the family living there. This is a rented space as they have moved cities. Earlier, I had seen photographs of their old home and marvelled at their sense of aesthetics. This time round, getting to see the new space and the home they are creating came as no surprise to me! They are a bunch of houseproud peopleπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ.
The lady of the house is a busy executive who juggles between home and work and tours the world around was shy to speak about herself. Hence I shall be introducing this pretty home and shall tell you all something about them, too.
A few weeks ago during one of my trips, I connected with my school friend. In fact we have been in touch through the social media and phone calls but I met her for the very first time after our 10th board examination. Well, imagine our excitement! My friend, in spite of her busy schedule, not just took time out to meet me but also took me to her 'home'. And it was an instant love, a love at first sight with her abode and her furry member πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ.. She shares her beautiful home with her husband, daughter and an extremely lovable four footed creature. I wouldn't prolong this introduction but would take you in to her lovingly created abode. And believe me, you would all fall in love with this oasis, a mixture of 'desi' , modern, contemporary and functional space that has taken shape in a 'foreign' land in just about 3 years. The homeowners' love for gardening is apparent in the beautiful green patch they have created.
And now come on in and experience the visual treat.
The saying goes that morning shows the day: here it is the entrance that creates the suspense..... 
The intricate metal tree of life  coupled with some knick knacks sets the mood for more grandeur...
The home owners certainly have an eye for art and boast of an impressive collection.
Another piece of art from their collection.....
A view of the picture perfect living room: the colourful cushions in rich colours, the fresh flowers, the plants, all blend beautifully and create a vibrant space.
A closer look.......

 My friend has a keen eye for unusual decor pieces.......
I simply loved this study! Books and cushions and a gorgeous view from the window!
A part of the formal dining area.........There is a tie between the painting and the huge ship with its masts!
Carved decorative wooden panels, paintings, this house has it all....
Fresh flowers livening up the space.....
My favourite photograph amongst all!
They have a splendid garden to boast of!
A view of the garden.....
Seasonal flowers literally lighted up her garden.
Look at all those blooms!
I loved the garden as much as I loved the home. Everything seemed to be so perfect.
If you have enjoyed this mini tour, do let me know. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Bison

Our tryst with The Bison dates back to the summer of 2016. We were reading up several reviews on the Tripadvisor so that we could finalise on a stay option in the Kabini. Not a very difficult proposition going by the handful of resorts in that area. We studied in detail about each one but something about this rustic looking resort struck us. The photographs can be deceiving (in this case in a very positive way ); the place looks charming but in reality the place is far more than just charming. And the proof is our frequent visits. What attracted us to The Bison is its simple, rustic look; the thatched tents, the rooms built on stilts, giving us an elevated view of the forests at a distance and the backwaters of the river Kabini from the rooms. The planked pathway leading towards the tents, illumined by the olden day lanterns at night and a host of other things create a tranquil atmosphere. If we have to describe the place in one word, we'd say < peaceful >.
The Bison to us is synonymous with the Kabini river and the Nagerhole forests. We have fallen in love with both! I still remember our very first time at The Bison, as we drove through fields of sugarcane and ginger, following a bumpy, rough stretch of road with a very crudely written the Bush Betta camp as signage. The view was mesmerizing as we could see some hillocks at a distance against the dense forests and a bit of the thread-like river Kabini. It was summer so the river had dried up but still the backdrop was simply magnificent! The best part was the tranquility that prevailed all around. A short drive ahead brought us to the resort, neatly tucked away amidst fields of crops and splendid view of the forests. A rickety wooden flight of steps lead us to the reception that wore a colourful look; something that immediately made me fall in love with the place. The walls were adorned with brilliantly captured photographs of big cats, of wild dogs, of majestic elephants and of birds captured in flight. 
Now without further ado, let me take you through a tour of the place. Sit back and enjoy the charming place with its magnificent views.

Don't go by the rustic look of the thatched cottages. Looks can be deceptive. As you enter each, you will be surprised to see the luxurious interiors of the tents. Yes! These are actually tented accommodation.

The deck is one of my favourite places in the property. It is from here that I see the changing colours of the sky ; the silhouette of an elephant against the backdrop of the Nagerhole forests is still vivid in my memory.

The wooden pathway that leads upto the tents is another such versatile place. A place that gives me the opportunity to hear the conversations of the home-bound birds in the evening.

The setting sun dabs some paints on the sky above and the water below. Patches of yellow, orange, crimson and vermilion thrown carelessly on the canvas of the sky. And what a mesmerising view it is! 

The bright and colourful lounge with its collection of books and pretty knick knacks. Adorning the walls are some of the choicest life like photographs of our very own Bageera, Scarface, Kismat and a few more important members of their families.

The view from the dining area is simply superb! What I love best is to enjoy a delicious meal, mainly lunch and breakfast against this backdrop.

The view from the deck on a rainy morning....

An attached courtyard that is beautifully done up and doubles up as a place to chill.

The dining area.....the bamboo chiks are rolled up at meal times for an excellent view of the backwaters.

The pretty lounge that has a charm of its own. I was instantly attracted to this lounge done up in  bright and cheerful colours as we stepped into the property.

You would've seen many of these photographs in my Instagram account :-).... No expensive flower here ; a branch of gulmohar flowers brightens up the tea and coffee counter (on a summer afternoon).

Wildlife in our tent πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

Another look of the courtyard I had mentioned earlier. This is how it is when the days are dry and not rainy.

And the comfort of a neatly made bed.......

The fanciest of wash rooms and powder rooms.....

The newest member of The Bison family, Masti, a perfectly behaved horse. It took me some persuading to finally pat her before clicking a photograph of her. 

Hope you have enjoyed The Bison through my eyes. The photographs have mostly been captured with my humble cell phone so they may not be the best. But I am sure they give enough proof of the beauty of the place. Many of my friends had wanted to know about this place and this was a post long, long pending. Finally, it is here!
  I would love to hear from you here on this post.

Monday, July 3, 2017

on the tiger trail...........

Hello people! How have you all been? Are you all interested to go with me on a chase along the tiger trail? I can assure you that this is going to be interesting, in fact very engrossing as we literally follow the muddy tracks to have a glimpse of the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger in Nagerhole. The drama unfolded beautifully over two days and we not only spotted the regal, striped four footed being of the jungle but also witnessed much more drama. A movie could be made of what we saw, our emotions all charged up, sometimes with wonder, ecstasy and sometimes with disbelief! And while I take you through our experiences, hold onto your seats well.
Patience is rewarding. I don't know who said this but it is my belief, and a tried and tested one. Today's post as I mentioned earlier, is all about our rewards, our experiences in the jungle, a place we keep going back to every now and then. Not for anything in particular but for our deep love towards the place and its inhabitants. 
We love to stay at The Bison ( a post on this place is long pending ), a rustic camp, that nestles beautifully along the fringes of the Nagerhole National Park also known as the Rajiv Gandhi National Park. This sanctuary, along with the Bandipur National Park are home to the largest number of big cat population, I am told. Although Nagerhole is smaller of the two, we have found the jungles full of wildlife, be it herds of the mammoth elephants, the gigantic Indian Gaurs, flocks of deer with their intricate antlers, the huge sambar deer, the magnificent peacocks,   wild dogs, foxes,wild boars, the human-like and playful langurs, leopards and the black panthers to name a few. The river Kabini flows in this region and is replete with marine life. The fresh water otters and crocodiles making their presence felt at all times, regale the visitors throughout the year. The boat safari is an experience by itself. The soft purring of the engine as the boat cuts through the rippled waters of the Kabini, the outlines of the dense forest in the distance, the occasional faraway cry of some animal, a solitary elephant standing against the light thereby creating a silhouette, all so magical. One cannot help but fall in love with the jungles.

Well, sorry for the digression. Each of our experiences is so unique that once I start penning them down or even get talking about them, I lose track completely! Every little thing merges into one, that of love for the wilderness and wildlife. So let me try picking up from where I detoured. We sped towards the tiger tank, a man-made reservoir as news of sighting a big cat came in. It was a completely thrilling experience. As we reached the spot, we could see a few other vehicles waiting for a glimpse of the cat. And suddenly, someone whispered and pointed to something resting against a thick bamboo thicket. There it was, the first one. Then out came the second one, a cub, to have a drink of water. It posed for the hungry photographers, who lost no time to press the multiple shot button of their cameras. The second cub, then, made its appearance. I couldn't believe my eyes! Not one, but  four tigers in front of me! It was a big day for all of us, jungle lovers, the ultimate viewing. They all looked regal, their black and gold striped skin shone brilliantly against the golden sun. Their presence was electric. We gaped at them, some trying to capture their movements in their cameras, the others like me trying to absorb all of it and permanently store them in the memory boxes within our brain. 
Day two started with a morning safari. We had zero hopes of spotting a tiger as we went to a zone where the tiger population is known to be  very less. Little did we know that we were in for the biggest surprise of our safari life! A few hundreds of metres into the jungle trail and there she was, lying on the main pathway! I actually pinched myself hard to believe what I was seeing; a striped four legged creature! Yes, you heard me right! She was having a power nap, totally oblivious of her surroundings, oblivious of the fact that a dozen or more cameras kept flashing and she was under the astounded gaze of more than fifty onlookers. I loved the way she just took no note of anything or anyone, continued to nap, occasionally twitching her ears.

Well, this is HER territory and we must wait for her to make way for us!

While she decided to sit up and pose for us!

The haze, the camouflage, all so perfect!

a closer look ......

What! A leopard, too?

It was certainly a day of high drama in the wilderness.Two regal creatures in front of us; while one was striped, the other one was spotted. And were apparently not at loggerheads with each other. The tiger was clearly not happy about the leopard's presence in what she felt was her territory. She made it very obvious with a look upwards towards the leopard and a hissing low growl! And we were witnesses to all of this. 
Guess I must stop here as this could be lengthier with all of my descriptions and never-to-end stories. This post was meant to be published long back but got deferred for reasons I know not. Maybe I was too busy dreaming about those magical moments of spotting a tiger for the very first time. After this first time there has been many more such experiences and each time has been different from the previous. Leaving you all with a few photographs of our first experience. 
I would love to hear from you about your experience in the wild.