Friday, July 1, 2011

Down Memory Lane

Today, dear reader, I invite you to take a walk with me Down Memory Lane.

It must have occured to you, since you are the brighter sort of person, that 'Down Memory Lane' might be code for 'long boring yarn about the past from chap unable to find anything interesting in his current life'.

You would be right. Nothing of any interest has been happening to me these past weeks. The boys, now in their 10th and 12th, are glued to their books most of the time. They go to coaching classes too, which suck out whatever little free time they have left and the missus and I are usually to be found in the living room, holding hands or arguing about what to have for breakfast, or both.

And we take walks Down Memory Lane.

Life was fun when the kids were little. Their innocence. Their pranks. Their fights.

"Remember the time you guys went on a tiger safari?" asked the missus.

How could I forget it! We had gone to the Mudumalai forests near Mysore, where some species of forest lodge had been hired. It had a truly gifted cook, one Mani, who made the best 'kozhambu' (as I believe it is called) I have ever had and I would have been content to spend the weekend sampling his ouevre. But the powers that be, namely the missus, decided that we must go into the forest.

I was a bit reluctant because just the night before, I had gone with a few of her cousins into the forest. This was at 4 am and the idea was to see a tiger. The chaps who took us reasoned that tigers, subscribing to the old maxim that early risers get worms, good health and wisdom, would be about in droves and we would naturally get to see them doing whatever they do at 4 am.

All that happened was that I got bitten in many places by many different insects and for about 10 minutes, when I couldn't see anyone around in the pitch darkness, experienced sheer terror. Thankfully, the tigers were conspicuous by their absence.

But the missus wouldnt hear of not going. "You have to take the boys and get them to experience the thrill of wilderness"

'YOU have to take the boys? Why, aren't you coming?"

'Turned out that she liked the kozhambu too. "No, I'm worried about my spondylitis" The missus has a convenient spondylitis for occasions such as these.

Anyway, we hired a jeep and took a bumpy drive into the forest. All that we got to see for many a mile were deer, which are like the autorickshaws of the forest. They are found everywhere and run away the moment you approach them. The boys got bored and about 15 minutes into our safari, were fast asleep on my shoulder. Suddenly, the driver braked hard and excitedly pointed to a clump of shrubs. For a fleeting moment, I saw a leopard which, like most intelligent people do upon percieving that they are about to be inflicted with the company of Shri Narendra Shenoy, lit out of the place instanter. I woke up the boys "Look boys, leopard!" I hissed.

There was a bit of what-where-whoing on the part of the lads and by the time they could get their bearings, the critter had vanished into the woods. The boys went right back to sleep.

We saw a couple of peacocks, one of which was doing it's dance, and a HUGE bison, but the lads were not interested.

An hour or so later, we returned to our lodge. Mani had organized some river fish and was grilling them on an open fire. I forgot about my aches and rushed into the middle of the action. Missus had convinced Mani to roast some sweet potatoes and masalafied tomatoes, which were excellent.

We sat around a fire and got the kids to sing and dance. I was regaling the grown-ups with tales of my safari.

"We saw a leopard"

'Get out! What luck! Leopards are really hard to find. Are you sure it was a leopard and not some deer?"

"Of course we saw a leopard. Here, ask Gautham. Gautham, did we or did we not spot a leopard this evening?"

"No, Annie"

'What! Oh of course, he was sleeping. He wouldn't know"

'What about Vyaas?"

'Oh, he was sleeping too"

I could see the growing scepticism in their faces.

"Hmm", said the missus, "nice story."

"No really, we did see a leopard. Gau, you did see it's tail, didn't you?"

"Yes,amma, we did"

"Then why did you say you didn't?"

"I didn't say I didn't"

"You did"


I felt the temples throbbing.

The older one piped up. "Annie, you asked us if we spotted the leopard"


"We didnt spot it. It was spotted from before"


"Hahaha" said the missus."Run along, boys, time to sleep"

The missus smiled at this point in the reminiscing. And I decided I would pick up the old laptop and bang out a post. 


Giribala said...

ha is difficult to spot a leopard in a jungle, but if you take its picture then it can be spotted easily in MS Paint.

Sita K. said...

Nice. Just one Insect-away spray keeps the insects away (for next time).
I have a similar story with Bears+Yellowstone+Camping and an end result of someone saying "Look!!" at shaking branches.

k said...

"All that we got to see for many a mile were deer, which are like the autorickshaws of the forest." - You hit the spot! (Pun unintended.)

parthicle said...

"... autorickshaws of the forest. They are found everywhere and run away the moment you approach them."
You need to patent this line. Marvellous.

Tapan said...

All that we got to see for many a mile were deer, which are like the autorickshaws of the forest. They are found everywhere and run away the moment you approach them.

Hands down, one of the best lines I've read in ages.

rk said...

Ah, what a trip down the memory lane! Now I am excited about my upcoming trip to India (most time in Mysore) and upcoming trip to forests in Karnataka and Kerala. I do hope I see some tigers or spot a leopartd :) I did see a black bear cub in Shanondoah valley a few weeks back, thrill of a life time I tell you!

Nav said...

havent yet read this one.. just too glad that the posts are coming thick and fast.. guess the home building is done.. good. when can we come for the party?..please do write an account of your home building experiences, specially interactions with the skilled people and the contractors on the, the project team, the project manager, the missus, the sons et al..