Wednesday, June 25, 2003
I had made up my mind that I wasn't going to let my birthday be a usual affair of waking, going to office, coming back, taking friends out for dinner and then speaking to people on the phone in the night. Hell, I can do that any year.
So when I mentioned to a friend of mine, that I was planning to go to Coorg, he mentioned that he knew of this agency that arranges accomodation with families who stay on estates in Madikeri (The district headquarters of Coorg). I pounced on the opportunity and within that week, I fixed up with the chap to stay at a coffee estate.
So Thursday night, I set off with knapsack, books and tickets to and fro for Mysore. It's about 3 hours from Mysore by bus and I reached there Friday noon. The chap who was supposed to meet me and take me to the estate wasn't around, so I dropped off my bags at his restaurant and roamed around town and the vicinity for 2.5 hours in the rain. There's a place called "The Raja's Seat" from where the King of Kodagu used to survey his lands. It's beautiful and I sat there, admiring the place and reading when the rain has stopped for a while.
Getting back, I was taken to the estate, which is a 38 acre piece of land spread across the mountainous territory. The owner had purchased it for his son, who died a few months ago. Now he takes care of it and has moved into other business areas like cardamom, pepper and tourist accomodation. It's extremely quiet, which lends the charm to the place. There's a family who takes care of the place for them... Remi, the cook who makes amazing pork curry, a Coorgi speciality food, Sylvester the driver who took me around town and anywhere else I wanted to go and Priya, their daughter who was my guide around the estate. Soon after I reached, I was taken around the entire estate by slippery mud paths carved through the greenery. And at the same time given lectures on the types of plants. We climbed trees to pick guavas, we walked across streams flowing through the estate across logs put across the stream (Calvin-style).
I got bitten by leeches. I heard birds which sounded like a person whistling a tune. It sounded so real, that I couldn't believe it was a bird. I saw flowers that amazed me beyond all description.
Spent the latter part of the evening, watching a movie as I was rainbound. Saw "The First Great Train Robbery" starring Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland. Good flick. Later in the night, I walked around the estate again for an hour and then returned to sit on the porch and read till 12ish. It's so peaceful, I wonder why I shouldn't retire now. In fact, I was speaking to a friend of mine after returning, and he actually enquired about land prices et al. And he's just 24-25!!
And so, I retired, content, on day one.
More to follow ....
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