Saturday, January 30, 2010

Breathing roots

as we travelled further into the heart of Bengal
towards the legendary forests of Sunderbans, home to the Bengal tiger
many unique species of Mangroves, and the mouth of Great Indian rivers
the journey was truly magnificent, characterised by back waters and expanses of prawn farming
i enjoyed the entire majestic drive through my Canon Powershot lens
fields of prawns stretched to the horizon dotted by stunted trees and tiny huts
my mouth salivated for the culinary experience that lay ahead

after about 4 hours we reached an island from where began our ride
in a launch boat towards Bali island No. 9
greeted at the resort with an elaborate meal, which included dal rice, bengali pickle and vegetables
we set out in the forests again, we saw many rare birds
such as the Bronze Drongo, Black Capped and Collared Kingfishers,
we also saw the vibrant Minivet, Iora and bee-eaters,
we headed back to island at the time of dusk
the sun sunk slowly into the marshes,
we left behind us the myraid wildlife with the hope to see them tomorrow

we hit the boat early dawn ,we sang the national anthem in pride
the misty Sunderbans seemed to let out a yawn
the waters allowed us in lazily, we voyaged along,
interrupted by the Chinese sparrow Hawk
the crocodile, the wild boar, Chitals, the jungle cat,
we returned to the camp partially satisfied
the evening snacks comprised of the bengali samosas dipped in chilli and mustard sauce
dinner comprised of delectable kheer and finally the tiger prawn curry

the next day was busy and long as we were to explore the core forest
the journey was scenic; the rivers meandered to reveal many surprises
the air got chillier, the waters merged into wider expanses
one river flowed into another, tiny rivulets etched into the marshy lands
we wondered where was the regal heir?
we saw his pug marks but seemed to have missed our rendezvous
the forest still offered other pleasant distractions
like the pied kingfisher, curloo, the mud skipper, the lesser adjutant stork
the beautiful jelly fish sometimes surfaced on the waters
we also spotted the beautiful raptors like the Shikras, the falcon, eagles
the fishing owl napped on a branch along the river
our excursion ended again at sundown
back to our camp we ate the tasty baigan bhajiyas
we were also introduced to Bonobibi the Goddess of Sunderbans and the tiger gods
through a musical play performed by the village theatre company
the next culinary delight was the Shukto, fish cooked in mustard sauce and potatoes with poppy seeds
at midday we left the majestic Sunderbans, but the forest echoed you can go but you cannot leave me..

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