When we go to Kodaikanal, we do nothing.
We like Doing- Nothing in Kodai.
So, we usually choose to go there in a season when 'doing nothing' is fun. The Xmas Season.
Its merry to bundle up in woollies and go and sit among some Idli-Poo ( "Idli Flowers "= white hydrangea) patches and watch our conversation emerge as visible speech bubbles of condensation in the heavy , chilled air.
Its nice not to have to jostle with holidaying busloads of excited tourists in the Botanical Gardens ; Its nice to watch the hide and seek game the Pillar Rocks play ( now-you-see-it-now-you-don't) ; its nice to hog the road along Bear Shola without fear of traffic.
Its invigorating to explore mud lanes and "cuttings" breaking off the tar road and leading into clumps of houses , some perched on wonky ledges, some lurching over slopes.
Its equally exciting to walk into unknown thickets of skyscraper trees and gather a bagful of perfectly sculpted pine cones.
And to admire wild flowers.
And to spy on insects.
And to discover lichens.
And to smell aromatic plants ( this one, above, smelt like rosemary).
And to get a scare when a cow's head appears without announcement, suddenly out of the fog.
The Xmas before last, son and I wandered into a small hillock of undulating terrain, " enclosed" by crumbly bits of an old compound wall in a region we are not very familiar with. At the summit stood an old church, partially hidden by trees. Quite abandoned. Gloomy looking. Total silence. A grubby wooden signboard said "German Church". Had never seen this church before, though we usually make many trips to town for provisions along the road that skirts the mound. As we ambled up towards the building , a heavy cloud of mist descended on it and suddenly, it did not look exploration-worthy at all. In fact, it started looking sinister. So, we quietly retreated by the slope behind it only to discover a huge wooden bellhouse with an imprisoned bell standing at the bottom of the 'estate' wearing an equally sinister look. Darkening clouds and the unfamiliar path beyond the crumbly wall din't cheer us at all. Forgot flowers, lichens, insects et al and hurried towards the faint sound of cow- bells that signified civilization. ( But din't forget to get these two snaps.)
"Doing Nothing" is done best in The Silent Forest. It is so truly, gloriously, deafeningly SILENT that you can hear the rustle of a pine needle under the hop of a stick insect. Here you can sit and day-dream , day-dream and day-dream yourself into a trance.
A pity we are not going there this season. So, just remembered the joys of the Christmas Past !
Happy X'mas . Peace on Earth & Goodwill to all.
(Photos by Son, Guhan).