Novel by Ally - Sirsi


After a long night’s journey we reached the talguppa station. A very scenic place indeed.  What a lovely feeling it was, to feel a nice fresh breeze blow on my face and the wet dew drops on the new saplings. We were hungry, not having any food on the train (as we were sleeping) So we had some hot beverage and rusk. Although i was not a big fan of coffee i decided to have some to enjoy the weather and the beautiful greenery around, and it was a good refreshing decision. Our bus was a bright yellow, like the ones in cartoons. And the ride to the farm was pleasant.

On the farm, When we first entered, the farm was just lovely. There were chickens running around, and the house was simply beautiful. Susheela aunty is a very good cook, i really enjoyed the breakfast. We were late and missed a couple of activities that were planned for that day. But it sure was an amazing day. Everything we did had something to learn from. We had gone to Yana, the most unique rock i had ever seen. The rock looked like black sharp blades merged together. What a sight it was!!  To add to the adventurous day we even went to a waterfall.(Vibhuti falls). It was a very beautiful waterfall, i must say. But i didn’t want to wet myself completely. I think the slippery rocks must have read my mind because i ended up slipping on them and wetting myself from head to toe. The water was cold! Maybe the rocks wanted me to experience the cold water. I must admit, I had fun alright. But what a pain it was to take out the knots in my hair. The first day i had slept in the big tent which i think was named jumbo jet. It was very big, probably the biggest tent i had been in… or seen in real life. My sleep in the tent was not so good (when i was awake) due to the uneven floor. But it was good enough when i was actually asleep and not in notice of these things.

After a good sleep we were treated to a yummy breakfast. We packed our day bags and left in our yellow bus. The first activity planned for us was a visit to the herpetologist. We were warmly welcomed with a hot beverage from that area. It had a strong taste, but very much enjoyable. After that sleepy ride on the bus we well deserved that. We were taken for a well detailed session on snakes. I learnt about the venomous, non venomous , facts and myths. We also had an opportunity to touch and hold a rescued rat-snake. When i touched it, i could feel the scales.. It gave me shivers. It’s tongue was so fast, it was like it was blinking. After the very informative session on snakes, we had an amazing lunch followed by an introduction to the nature walk. There was a simple wooden gate for the entrance which we had to climb over. Oh what a sight it was! I had never been in such a green area in my life! It was so beautiful! It felt like i was in a movie, a paradise. It really was worth seeing. There were lots of trees preserved there. I learnt a lot.  Then we headed toward a historical, very old temple. I observed the engravings in the rock and thought about the time and effort put into making the temple. There was no cement holding it at all, all of it was rocks. And how strong it held itself up! It was amazing to think about all these things while observing. Outside the temple was a big chariot, which was worth exploring, but a swarm of bees had made their hive there. It was a very big hive and there were plenty of bees too. We had some pineapple and left for the Gudavi bird sanctuary. It was already pretty late when we reached there and there were dark clouds in the sky. We thought we would go in anyway. There were so many langurs and birds there. We were exploring the place but the weather was not so good, it started drizzling, so we all rushed to the bus. After that it was a long way back to the farm. When we finally reached we had dinner and freshened up. What an exhausting day it was! It was my second night in the tent.

This was the day we would spend at the farm and explore it.  We had a well prepared tour of the farm, learnt about bio gass and saw some new plants. Asked questions about their lifestyle, their difficulties etc. The farm was very big indeed. We finished the tour and had lunch. I enjoyed playing with their 3 dogs, ozzy, silky and veru. We had a nice lunch on the terrace. Then we were going to a nearby stream. I was so excited. We walked for a few minutes and got into the stream. It was so rocky and shallow when we first entered. After some time the floor of the stream started becoming sticky. It was hard to walk in or around it because there was clay. My leg got stuck multiple times in the clay. It felt like quicksand. After a long walk in the stream, the level of the water was rising, so we climbed up onto the rocks and walked back to the farm. It was such a wonderful experience in the stream, even though i was complaining a lot that i was getting stuck. But it was a very nice feeling. We had been introduced to members of the “wednesday group” which was get together they had with the other homeschoolers there. We watched a documentary film and there was a discussion to be followed after that. But it was late, and i was too tired so i decided to go to sleep. This was the first day i had slept in the cottage. And my stay there was much more pleasant than it was in the tent. 

We had a good breakfast as usual and proceeded to the handmade paper factory. It was a very messy place, the main part of the factory was filled with machines and the floors were wet. We first had a tour of the whole area and what happens where. We were first taken to the main part of the factory. We witnessed how the pulp was made, what was used to make the pulp and the whole process of compression and cutting the paper. As though that was not enough we were taken to see how it was evened out and dried, how the paper was cut on the sides and how they printed on it. We were handed small booklets with samples of the kinds of handmade paper that was made there. They even made binders for NIMHANS hospital. After that we got into the bus and stopped right outside a pathway. We got down and walked a long way to the river. I didn’t want to risk going inside as i saw a few cattle do their “jobs” there. I was a bit disgusted after that sight. I sat on the rock and enjoyed looking at the others playing in the water. After all that fun, we walked back and had a banana leaf lunch followed by an interesting interactive session about appiko movement. I must say, i was quite enthralled through the conversation. I kept asking questions and as time passed the more interesting it got. We went back to farm, it was truly a tiring day. We had dinner including a discussion about a few things related to the trip. Most of us whom were really tired went to sleep and some of stayed for a short presentation. I was there for the session. It was really interesting as we saw many pictures and videos. After all that i was really sleepy. The whole team who were there for the presentation went down to sleep. It was already pretty late. I finally had a well deserved sleep after a long day.

It was the last day at no man’s land. Our bags were all packed and we were all ready to go. We said our goodbyes to the farm and went off in our yellow bus, for the last time. We travelled for a long time and finally reached our destination. We were asked to sit in a big room, very plain and empty. We had a talk about honey and cocom juice and had a look at their products. Then we had lunch by the stream. It was a simple but very flavourful lunch. I enjoyed. Then we had a detailed session on how to make baskets and other things for mostly storage with a creeper. How skilled those people were! They would do it so fast, and when my turn came it took so long to just make a small circle. I had got bored of the basket weaving so i went to the group that what doing palm weaving. It took me long to get the rythm of braiding the palm leaves. After a long afternoon there we went our way back to the station. It was a long journey alright! And a very tiring one. We reached bangalore at 4 30 in the morning. It was nice to be back home… but i will surely miss the farm.