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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ranganthittu

Editor's Comment: First off, Adu wishes to apologise for the undue delay in publishing his trip report. This trip was made on April 21, 2009, Adu's 11th birthday, and he managed to finish this report only today.

Second, I am officially turning over this blog to Adu and will only assist him in publishing it as his stenographer/secretary. The photographs will remain mine but all text content and sketches are his.

NOTE: For some reason, I was unable to upload the pictures. This blog will be updated as soon as I can resolve that problem.

On my 11th birthday, we decided to go to Ranganthittu, with two grandmothers, two grandfathers and one set of parents. In the morning, I had cut the cake, received an ample sum of money, and at 9:00 a.m. was ready to get into the car. It was a hired vehicle, and it stood gleaming dully next to the house. While mamma and Ajji sat in the back, everybody else sat in front and daddy and me sat next to the driver. We started off and soon got out of the city.

"Shall we go through the NICE road?" asked the driver in Kannada. "Mmm, yes", replied daddy. "I find it much easier." "Why is it called the nice road?" I asked, intrigued. "The abbreviation of the name of the company that built this road is N-I-C-E," said daddy. "Oh!" I said.

We soon reached a place where we had to buy a ticket from a guard, who, quite, frankly, looked as though someone had whacked him on the head with an exceptionally heavy brick. "Where are you going?" he asked dully. "Ranganthittu," said the driver and daddy in unision. The next man, in contrast, was reasonably bright, and we bought another ticket. Then we sped off again only stopping to buy some chips and cool drinks. We reached Ranganthittu much later and stepped out of the car to a simply symphony of birdsong, and, looking through my new binoculars, found a red-vented bulbul. I watched him for sometime, then daddy came and I gave him the binoculars. He frowned through them and then gave them back to me. "Look at that bush," he said pointing "and tell me if it's a magpie robin or a pied wagtail." "It's a pied wagtail," I said looking at the glossy little bird fluttering around optimistically. After that I followed a noisy little Blyth's reed warbler, which chucked surprised and with some difficulty around a huge berry.

Then daddy gave an exclamation and I looked up to see a painted stork flying majestically carrying nest material in its bill.

We wandered down to the water's edge where we got a boat to ourselves. I sat down in the front and looked around. The boat rocked from side to side alarmingly as the forest guard got in. He sat in the seat behind me and with apparent ease, picked up the heavy oars and started rowing off and soon there were many birds all around. On a small isle which seemed rather overcrowded to me, paddy birds rubbed shoulders with egrets, painted storks and open billed storks, while below, on the ground, where he could not reach the nesting birds, lay, with his (or her) mouth open, the first crocodile in the wild that I had seen. With practised ease, the forest guard rattled off the names of the birds on the island and then pointed out the crocodile.

Then we went off and next came to a strip of rock on which two river terns huddled together despite the heat. White Ibises kept a respectful distance from the bigger birds among which were darters or snake birds. The forest guard was bent on calling the same bird both names. As I turned to see the birds, another one flew past our boat. "Darter or snake bird," repeated our forest guard in case we had missed the point. We returned to terra firma and had lunch.

After we had lunch, mamma asked if I wanted another boat ride. "Will it cost much?" I asked. "Mmm, no," she replied. I nodded. Ajji and Ajoba stayed behind while the rest of us went off to get a boat.

We got a boat and set off. We saw nothing quite exciting until we saw a pied kingfisher. This was a bird I had long wanted to see and saw it as soon as our guide pointed it out. It was going over the water in quick, zooming circles, occasionally veering off course. Then it suddenly stopped in midair, apparently gazing at the horizon, displaying an ability to stay in one place in the air, which I thought only hummingbirds possessed. Then, suddenly, it quite literally dropped. It dropped in a slanting line and dropped as a paper kite might drop, with a suggesting weight about it. But, somehow, it had an air of business and straightness about it it. It dived with a splash near a rock, and I flinched because I had noticed that for quite a distance around the rock, were underwater rocks, only a foot or so below the surface. It seemed to me that the kingfisher, descending from its great height, would smash into this and break its skull, not to mention its beak. However, it popped up again, apparently perfectly all right and hovered around for more fish. "Usually, you wont' see it after five o'clock," our guide told us. "Its got chicks, that's why it's so late."

We went back. The journey back home was anything but uneventful. The elements were determined to make the journey memorable one. There was a huge thunderstorm , and for the first time in my life, I felt my buttocks going to sleep. I think it was worth it.

4 comments:

mamtanaidu said...

'one set of parents' ha ha......

Fantastic account Adu!

Waiting for the pics now.....

romaspace said...

I am off to Bandipur this Sunday. Lets hope my subjects are willing to pose :)

Let me know you inputs on the 50 mm lens once you start your shoot with it.

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

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