the long search

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

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)


Trevor Penn 11 February 2009 at 10:00  

A terrific account. Thanks for sharing and kudos for the good job well done. :-)

Just call me 'A' 11 February 2009 at 10:22  

ahh now I know why you've not updated for so long. the picture is awesome. you're pretty adventurous to be poking a scorpion out of it's hole. welcome back

Talking To My Soul 11 February 2009 at 11:03  


Heyy, thanks. I enjoyed the whole trip. Guess that helps the account look natural.

Thanks a ton, Crooner. Seems you are travelling.


Talking To My Soul 11 February 2009 at 11:13  


You are right, A. The places where I went to did not have much in terms of electricity and internet. So you know.

About the scorpion, it was kind of protesting, I guess.

Thanks for dropping by.


WarmSunshine 11 February 2009 at 14:20  

Hope you had fun :)

P.S. I still think those things are scary :/

Talking To My Soul 11 February 2009 at 15:33  


Some of them can scare any braveheart in the world, I am sure. But you can still appreciate nature's creation in the wild. It's captivating, I say.

Yes, I had loads of fun, Bebo.


Reggie 11 February 2009 at 19:19  

I was taking pictures in a wetland a couple day ago and I thought the same thing. Who am I stepping on right now? I moved off of a tuft of moss and it started making this snap, crackle, pop kind of sound as I watched it swelling. Most everything was covered with a thin layer of ice, but I know salamanders, insects and other life were teaming just below the surface. I tried not to disturb them too much with my intrusion. Such a neat ecosystem, nobody pays much attention to which is probably a good thing.

Talking To My Soul 11 February 2009 at 21:20  


You are spot on, Reggie. Nature is at its best when left alone. That's probably why they say, only God is entitled to solitude.

Thanks for dropping by.


renaye 11 February 2009 at 21:32  

mudskipper! i have seen them when i was in the mangrove and also lots of silver monkeys! i managed to touch their beckham hairstyle!

it's very exciting to be with nature. isn't it?

Talking To My Soul 11 February 2009 at 23:19  


Tremendously exciting. Amidst nature, you can just be yourself.

But how did you manage to touch their hair, Renaye? I mean how did they allow you so close?

Thanks for reading, lady.


agnes 12 February 2009 at 01:59  


It;s like a whole other world, some parallel world, fascinating on so many levels.

I loved this post :-)

Talking To My Soul 12 February 2009 at 02:21  


You are right, Agnes. It was a very fascinating world and I now realise how little I know of it.

Thanks for stopping over.


Keshi 12 February 2009 at 04:34  

wut a wonderful post on ur lil Nature getaway! I loved reading it. u gave a voice to all those lil imp creatures that r not considered imp by many ppl. These creatures make this Earth a paradise for us to live...if only ppl cud give them a 2nd glance and some love n respect, like u did in ur last week trip.

**I worked with them looking for the smaller details that make Nature so beautiful

yes thats why Nature is so vast and immeasurable in beauty.

Im a Cancerian so I cud be like that crab...quite crabby ya know lol!

Also, Im a lil scared of scorpions! :(

btw I was very busy I cudnt blog at all. I did come by ur blog but had to go soon hehe...


Keshi 12 February 2009 at 10:06  

**11. How do you see me in the future?
Amidst hundreds of children in your native country which has sea all around it.

aww I rem u wrote that! :) ty for hvn faith in me Soul. Its comments like that that make me wanna test my real potential even more.

So I wanna thank u for the inspiration!


Talking To My Soul 12 February 2009 at 10:11  


You need no inspiration lady, I dare say that.

I will catch you in a few hours time. Now I gotta run. When I return, I will reply.


Keshi 12 February 2009 at 10:12  

hey Soul Im so glad u accepted being the Intruder :):) TY!

Come and leave me ur email in my blog...I wont publish that comment.


Keshi 12 February 2009 at 11:11  

no worries Soul.

btw where is ur tanned pic?

run Soul run! cos Im waiting for u at the other end :)


renaye 12 February 2009 at 11:24  

errr... well i touched one of the monkeys when they were so busy approaching people for food [we r on a hill site and people r used to feeding them]. i touched them once one of them was distracted. :D and the monkey got shocked to be touched!! haha.

u can check out my post for that monkey.

but the pictures r more about me!

Talking To My Soul 12 February 2009 at 23:29  


You are in everything you said. It is in these small things of creation that beauty lives. I loved meeting the small ones in the wild. I wish I could do that in my everyday life too. Thanks for liking the post.

So you are crabby, eh? Like what? But I must tell you almost every average human being is scared of the scorpions. Me including.

Thanks again.


Talking To My Soul 12 February 2009 at 23:44  


I am sure the monkey must have been in shock after being caught unawares. You are a brave girl. Although they snatch foods from people, not many actually are aggressive. Just that we are scared and handle them badly.

Hey I tried leaving my comments on your blog. Don't know I could for the baboons popped up yet again.

Thanks again.


Talking To My Soul 12 February 2009 at 23:52  


I am happy to be the intruder. For the invitation, thanks again.

About the tanned pics, well, I am looking so bad that I screamed out of fear last night when I stepped in front of the mirror. "Who are you? And what are you doing in my room??" That was the expression.
So that's your choice now. You want to scream???

By the way, I ran and ran all day. I am yet to reach the end where you are standing. Hope to reach and find you soon.

Howz your day?


Keshi 13 February 2009 at 04:23  

Crabby as! hell yeah ;-)

**well, I am looking so bad that I screamed out of fear last night when I stepped in front of the mirror. "Who are you? And what are you doing in my room??" That was the expression.


ok I dun wanna scream let that pic not get taken lol!

aww u dun hv to run to meet me...I was only kidding. cos u and all my other mates r right in my heart :)

tnxx for the email addy too! Will write to ya soon.


agnes 13 February 2009 at 04:44  

yeah I know what you mean...

oh and happy v-day!

Diana 13 February 2009 at 09:00  

It is indeed a pleasure to be one with nature and experience everything it has offered. I dnt think ur tan's going to leave u for a long time...


Talking To My Soul 13 February 2009 at 10:08  


See. I told you. You will be scared to see me. Now you are. Ha ha.

Thank you, lady, for everything you do.

Heyy I have reached the end. Wherez you?


Talking To My Soul 13 February 2009 at 10:10  


You are right, Agnes.

Happy Valentine's Day to you too.

Thanks again.


Talking To My Soul 13 February 2009 at 10:18  


About nature, you are spot on, Di.

As regards tan, nope. I am getting back my normal shade (read dark).

Thanks for dropping by.


Keshi 13 February 2009 at 10:19  

Im right here Soul..cant u FEEL my presence ;-)


Talking To My Soul 13 February 2009 at 10:30  


Oh! I did. Thanks for being there. Waiting for the mail, lady.


Keshi 13 February 2009 at 11:07  

I just emailed ya lol!

Go check it out.


Talking To My Soul 13 February 2009 at 12:59  


Thanks, Kesh.


Geoff 14 February 2009 at 23:02  

Wishing you the happiest of Valentine's Days.
India rocks.

Talking To My Soul 14 February 2009 at 23:44  


You are right, Geoff. India rocks all the way.

Thanks for being here.

Happy Valentine's Day to you too.


Q 15 February 2009 at 06:48  

Dear Soul,
Nature teaches us so many lessons if we will only learn!
I enjoyed catching up with you. I also have been out in the wild, birding!
Welcome home.

Talking To My Soul 15 February 2009 at 13:09  


I saw your posts, Sherry. They are so lovely. You are one with nature, I say. Kudos.

I agree with you. Nature is the best teacher, if only we learn.

Thanks again.


Keshi 16 February 2009 at 11:29  

hey Soul Im doing good, ty and urself?

Just a lil busier today so no time to reply-comment in my blog :)

hv a good nite!


Talking To My Soul 16 February 2009 at 20:15  


Great to see you here again, Kesh.

I'm doing alright. Life is hectic at times.

Be well.


Keshi 17 February 2009 at 11:16  

tnxx Soul! :)


an experience...nothing short of it 13 April 2009 at 21:54  

again.. you write so beautifully. what a great account. i felt i was there seeing and feeling too.

Talking To My Soul 14 April 2009 at 14:36  


Heyy thanks. Long time, no see. Howz your medical studies going?


About this blog

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