My first break in writing came to me as a surprise. Vinayak called me to ask if I would be interested in doing a copywriting work for a real estate project in Wayanad to which I coolly said, “yes”.
After a while I got a call from Deepak who asked me a few questions to which I answered and also gave him my blog link. I was convinced that I aren’t getting the assignment as I am an amature blogger writing mostly personal stuff.
But to my surprise in the evening I get a call from Deepak asking me if I would be able to leave for Wayanad on Friday at 10:30 p.m.? This was an all expense paid trip. I had to say yes, but what about the apple of my eyes, my 2 puppies? Sanjukta came to my rescue, as a true friend, she has always played the role of a nanny to my four legged babies. She agreed to stay at our place over the weekend. While I was making this arrangement with Sanjukta, Deepak called me again to know how much would I charge? Now this was a tricky one which I comfortably left on Vinayak to handle. With no prior experience in writing I had no clue what number to say.
Friday evening, at 11 p.m. we left for Wayanad and as notoriously famous I am, I slept all along my way. Early morning we reached Wayana where we were introduced to Anil Abraham who is the owner of cottages and tree houses at Pristine Wayanad. A very friendly person with a very pretty daughter. He was covered by Malayala Manorama in the month of February for making an eco friendly cottage all by himself when many farmers in his village committed suicide due to lack of agricultural facilities.
Pristine Wayand is a must stay whenever you are in Wayanad, simply for the homely experience that Anil and his family bring to you. All the meals are cooked by his wife and not by cooks. He makes it a point that you meet his family and feel at home.
I wanted to be there at Pristine Wayanad for some more time but work started soon. Vinayak was appointed for the photo shoot. We were taken to the site and unlike the typical barren, drab plots that I get to see in Delhi’s outskirts, here we were taken to a hill, where we trekked through the jungles. I, for a second did not believe that this is the site that I am walking on. Abundantly filled with lemon grass, Jack fruits, Guava, Mangoes, wild berries, flowers, the trip looked like a nature walk to me. It was the dry season and I could see the huge craters in the foot hills which would soon be filled with rain water by June making huge streams that will entwine the place like a serpent amidst the forests, hills and everywhere.
We had to cover a 20 acres of land on foot. Our greatest discovery was an old, abandoned, dilapidated church on the cliff which the owner had bought along with all the other houses on that hill.
Our second destination was another 14 acres of land, where we plucked guavas and ate it while on a Robinson Crusoe like excursion on that treacherous hill.
Our 3rd destination was in the middle of the jungle. We could see rain falling on one part of the area and creating ripples in the water, and there was another area which remained dry. I could see the misty mountains as I stood there with the child inside me waiting to go bonkers with all playfulness but I could not do as I was with the client. I so much wanted to run around, get tired and fall asleep. This was also the area where elephants come to drink water. All along I just had 1 question in my mind that in the name of development we should not let go of such bountiful natural beauty and ecology. With the development of lands so many trees will have to be cut down destroying the homes of so many othert life forms.
Interestingly the tag line of the project is supposed to be “a home away from home” and ironically that will probably be achieved by taking away the only habitation that the local tribal, animals, birds and other forms of life have.
I kept saying to my client that trees should not be cut in huge numbers, nor the elephant’s path should be fenced. Wayanad mostly has lose soil which is held together by trees, with heavy rains and no trees, land slide is inevitable.
I was doing an internet search about Wayanad when I came across another sad fact about how forests have been cut down leaving so many animals homeless and open to being hurt, hunted and killed. Wayanad also has a lot of tribal population which again sustains itself on nature. I don’t know how are they going to cope up with it.
Though chances are with infrastructural development these people might get jobs as maids, helpers, gardeners in a state which virtually has no industries. But on a scale of balance, which one would you choose? Development and jobs or Ecological Balance and environmental sustainability which is so crucial at a time of global warming? In a battle between Nature and human race, we have always been winning only to lose in huge numbers when Nature retaliates with all her might and fury. May be we deserve it, may be we ask for it.
After 2 days of work, 8 kms of trekking, almost 12 hours of non stop sleep due to exhaustion and tasty local meal it was time for us to say adios to Wayanad. Before leaving, we went to a local tribal settlement. Where we met a 102 years old tribal lady. She belonged to the original tribal of Wayanad called Paniyars. Another community was Kusavas, who are traditionally a community of potters. After a live demonstration of pottery making, we left with gifts of clay pots. Anil gave us a jackfruit and two papayas as our farewell gift with a promise from us that we will keep in touch and gang up with him for fun activities.
I would want to come back here in monsoon and in winters. On our way back we saw few accidents which are better left unmentioned. Constant company was given by our ever chatting driver, Girish. Another surprise waited for us at the end of Bandipur forest, where farmers were selling fresh vegetables at 10/- a kilo. This was a steal and both our driver and I went berserk buying vegetables for the entire East Villa Apartment where we stay in Bangalore.
Even after coming back I could not stop thinking about the tribals and the wildlife which are at stake almost in every part of this world where we are trampling on someone else’s world to make a way for ourselves.
Sometimes I feel we don’t need so much. There is enough for everyone only if we did not have so much greed.
NOTE:- We stayed at “Pristine Nature”
Anil K. Abraham
+91 94473 16363
Buna Vista Hut, Kavumannam P.O.,
Kalpetta, Wayanad, Kerala-673121