This past week I have spent over 24hrs in airports. That is far more time than I ever wish to. Fortunately those 24hrs were spread over the course of 4 days and took us to the fabulous ‘blue mountains’ – Neel giri s.We planned to surprise my mother on her 65th birthday with a family celebration in the beautiful Nilgiris. It was quite late when we reached the tea estate and we were greeted by a black bear. He had just crossed the road and was caught in our headlights trying to wedge himself between the tea bushes. He’d probably eaten too many ants and honey because the poor bugger couldn’t fit through the bushes. Fortunately for him he was able to extricate himself and he ran down the road we’d just travelled, looking thoroughly embarrassed like he’d been caught with his pants down or worse with his pants down and his hand in the honey pot.
Over the next few days, more wildlife greeted us. We saw a family of bison with a young calf, a noisy woodpecker, a Malabar squirrel and countless birds whose names I wish I knew. Indians would be different people if we just had better weather. A cooler climate makes all the difference to ones approach to life. That, and no traffic or pollution. If it weren’t for the fact that we had left Abroozi behind in Vizag, I would have loved to stay the whole summer up here in the mountains.
I was insanely jealous of my aunt’s vegetable patch, which to her was well below par as the bears and bison have been having their way the fencing. Beetroots, carrots cauliflowers, zucchinis, radishes, tomatoes and red cabbage abound all year round. Everything is so luscious here and bursting with life. Someday maybe we’ll have a patch like this too.
Perhaps my favourite thing about this old bungalow is the wood burning cast iron stove – the name Modern Mistress branded across it. A classic feature of these old tea estate bungalows from the 1960s.
And though we were missing our little Abroozi, we had this little fella for company.
This was one of those much needed weekend refreshers with family in a beautiful location. Walks in the early morning and evening rain, team Scrabble and dumb charade tournaments followed by sumptuous meals.Everything is full of life in the hills.
Now it’s back to the hot and sticky real world.
(All photos by the DH)