the long search

When you have nowhere to go, go back to yourself.

Silence & I

Silence is pure beauty

Beauty without imperfection

A space between sounds

A deadness between noise

Quiet, you can hear it, yet you can't hear anything at all

So you could say silence is nothing

A nothing like me

Nothing is there and so nothing there is to judge

I wish I was silence, so no one would judge me……Sunny Sethi


Back To The Classroom

I virtually chased everything I saw – from a dazzling yellow-black striped fish to a mudskipper with a wing-like fin; from a tiny red long-clawed crab – which moved at a Charlie Chaplinsque speed - to a scorpion which I had, at the first glance, mistaken for a crab.

“Can’t you push it out of its hole? May be, you can pour a bit of mineral water. It’s acclimatised to salinity and might just find mineral water, for a change, interesting,” Ajay said. He was our man behind the camera.

I tried. In vain though. It just wouldn’t leave. I had to virtually push the scorpion out using a small twig. The little thing hurried out of its shelter and headed towards a small stream and rolled over many times on its way down. Looking at its plight, I realized why human beings have emerged as the biggest encroachers and Mother Nature, the best teacher notwithstanding how badly we have treated her. The scorpion, as I noticed, had found a new burrow for itself in no time.

I spotted cone-shaped shells. Oh! There are so many around here, I told myself. A villager, curious at what the camera crew was doing at the spot for the last one hour, corrected me: “These are snails, and are alive.” I literally jumped in the air. Damn it! I realized I was standing on so many of them with my shoes on. They must have been crushed, I thought. They were not. Under pressure of my body weight, they were pressed deep into the mud though.

“But how do they live around here without water, on this dry muddy surface. The sea is about a few kilometers from this spot?” I asked. “It can live inside its shell for days together and comes out when tidal waves flush the area,” he explained. Unless of course, the snails were crushed by someone like me.

** ** **

Before you start wondering why I am up to all this, I must tell you what I was doing. I went back to the wild with an environment documentary film team. For full five days, I worked with them looking for the smaller details that make Nature so beautiful. Like the crab, the scorpion and the snails, the sensational mangrove species that withstand such high levels of salinity and tidal inundation to protect the coasts, so crucial to the human beings.

And of course, the mudskippers which look like big-sized larva. They kept jumping on the shoreline of the river like mad. They are said to be more active on wet, moist land than in water. I am even told this amphibious fish species was among the first aquatic organisms to have come in contact with land. And boy! They enjoy being on land even if they are a fish, as if kids playing on a beach in the afternoon sun.

I had always loved exploring the wild but this one was terrific since I was watching everything so closely. For the film crew, it was probably part of their job; for me, it was learning. I had a 6 am to 6 pm work-hour (God! That was back-breaking although I never dropped tired) during the five-day shoot and had to trek long distance inside the dense mangrove forests, along the coastline, travelled in a large brackish water lagoon for hours on end as the sun beat down hard.

We shot a range of floral and fauna species that make the wetland ecosystems – that’s what the documentary film was about – tick, came across some real large animals like the salt water crocodiles and even the smallest ones like the colourful beetle.

I felt I had gone back to the classroom. Of the real kind.

(Yes, I did tan my skin in the process and no one can recognise me now. Not even me.)

(Image: Aquarium of Pacific)

About this blog

If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed