In Rain Country
June 20, 2008 § 1 Comment
Monsoon is not just a season in Coorg. It’s an experience.
The rain winks at you from the awnings of your window and drips gently across the breadth of your window sill. Reach out to the rain and it will softly slide off your thumb as you sip a cup of hot Kapi.
If you’re not lounging about on a baked tile verandah, humming to the tune of the raindrops, like I was, you can probably go chasing butterflies here. Venture out into the lush greens of Coorg, nestled in the heart of the hills, along the nature trails and paths beaten by cattle and local animals. Or trudge through the irrigated fields dotted by a tree amidst the cultivated land, a small reminder that man cannot have overcome nature in totality. As you follow the River Cauvery lazily curving in corners or flowing in abundance through large pockets of land, you’ll wonder what the fight is all about. There is so much for everybody and so little to worry about as you flop along the emerald landscape feeling wonderfully alive. With the rain slashing, caressing and teasing you in turns, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that any other seasons is a myth.
The choice of shelter in Coorg was between a hotel room, posh or budget and a homestay replete with the comforts of home. Curious to experience the legendary hospitality of the hill folks, the choice was a homestay, which was sweetened by its location in an estate area about 26 km from the town of Mercera. Situated among the forest area, the cottage of choice is on a hill very close to the Cauvery and sat comfortably secure in red tile amidst yellow and blue flowers. The village of Cherambane houses such cottages that used to be weekend lodges for the hunting type. Armed with guns and led by their hounds, the Coorgs would chase game and later retire to Brandy and warm water around the bonfire. Being vegetarian myself, I can only retell the story of how those evenings were accompanied by the smells of meat roasted to a succulent finish, flavored with local spices like clove. The same spicy aroma accompanies my memory of the meals I savored in Coorg. Cooked by a Kodava lady, the cuisine was completely local with a range from bamboo shoot curry to rice rotis. The flavors of Coorgi food lingers in your mind almost as long as the unrelieved green colors your sight.
Long walks were countered by thoughts of warm food and cozy shelter though it was a fight to pick between the two, so the choice swung both ways equally. When we did get out, A, P and me squelched like 3 year olds in the rain getting incredibly drenched despite the elaborate rainwear, bummed a ride of a fisherman down the river and lost our way back. Fearless in the face of leeches and shiny faced like only country folks in spirit can be, we trailed home for the mists we gathered there. Otherwise getting around by bus and car, most preferably by walk, Coorg opened up to my delight and charmed me all over again .
I know I’ll do this again, I’ll never get enough rain…!