Itinerant idiolects - 5 by U Atreya Sarma

U Atreya Sarma

(Autobiographic, with poetic flashes)

A Hilly Thrill!

By U Atreya Sarma

A hilly thrill! A thrilling, nostalgic adventure! On Monday, 25 Dec 2023. In the morning, I wished my mishpocha a Merry Christmas and a Happy NY (2024) with my following poem which I recycle every year, mutatis mutandis.

Jesus’ birth on this earth brought so much mirth;

His life was to unearth man’s innate worth

And teach love and peace to humanity.

Christmas gives us a sense of sanity!

 

People go about and each other greet –

With cakes and gifts, love and smiles to treat!

 

Each home welcomes us with a tree of pine

Decked with apples, lights, and Bethlehem Star.

Every heart should receive hope, joy, and shine

Of the lowly and groaning, near and far!

 

Everyone capers gleeful and carefree

In the glow of snow, with close and dear;

The snow, real or symbolic, for cheer!

Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year,

All are too busy on a shopping spree!

 

The gifts of Santa Claus draw every child’s applause.

May the surplus go to the poor souls’ noble cause,

For a sound harmony with no unhappy clause!

 

With fun and frolic, dressed up in colourful apparel

Gadding and gambolling around humming many carols;

Youthful ivies and hollies kissing under mistletoes

Dreaming of their wedding bells and honeymoon cameos –

Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas!

Fully focus, do be joyous!

Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas!

Fully focus, do be joyous!

 

Let’s welcome, oh children, women and men,

Happy New Year Twenty Twenty-Four, amen!

May it wipe out all sorrows, sighs, and tears!

And bless all homes and hearths with lots of cheers!

 

Later on in the day, post-lunch, we started off at about 1:45 pm to climb up a rocky hill in our vicinity. Thanks to the Almighty, our foursome team managed to reach atop, safely...and also get back safely. We were extremely alert & cautious all the way. It’s the Hanuman hill near our 7 Hills PWS community at Kokapet in Hyderabad, India. The idea had been playing in my mind ever since my family stepped into this community about two & a half years ago. I once ambled into the hill and surveyed it to some extent by spiralling it up through bushes and trees, thorny or otherwise.

Sometime back, a chat with a co-resident—Dr Prof. Veerapaneni Suryaprakash—on the stage at the lawns revealed that he and another resident Seetaiah had successfully mounted this hill some three years ago. I had been broaching it with quite a few of our residents—with the idea of teaming up and trying it out. And suddenly on the momentous day, we, the quartet, unanimously agreed to venture out into this hilly climb. The foursome comprised—the nearly 77-year-old Atreya Sarma Uppaluri, the 61-year-old Narayana Reddy Mudamala, the 41-year-old Sri Harsha Bodapati, and the 36-year-old Gagan Sharma.  The only gap was, we had none in their 50s!

On my suggestion, we stepped up into the wooded hill from the north along the right-side track—to foot it to its backside in the south—and wind up around it. We moved on ahead…until we came to be stonewalled by a thick & spiny outgrowth and with little space to meander through. The intuitive and persuasive wisdom of Narayana Reddy and Gagan made us backtrack, go to the left of the Hanuman temple, and climb up the stony steps leading up to the shrine of the rural Goddess, go ahead, and then swerve to the right…and move up and up and zigzag—sometimes vertically, sometimes horizontally, and mostly slantly, negotiating the sylvan-bushy-prickly terrain by holding their stems, branches, and even roots for grip, and helping ourselves by giving one another a hand, and changing the course aright, if needed for foolproof safety. Before taking this U-turn, we sensed that a wild creature sensed our presence, and it hurtled away and up. It was a monitor lizard, said Narayana Reddy.  

Gagan, the youngest in the tetrad, with his cricket background and profound spiritual quest, was our lead on the rugged, uneven, craggy, and steep trajectory.

Initially, we noticed a dog perched on a boulder above. He greeted us silently. Spotting us, the canine, looking as if lost in a deep and pleasant meditation, leaped away calmly into an unseen niche. After a few minutes, we saw a peacock suddenly flying out, and winging its way up toward the south before landing on the rough plains abutting the Allu Studio Road. The way it spread out its rich and multi-hued wings and landed was a flashy ocular feast.

We tried every trick—climbing, hopping, clambering, scrambling, crawling, dragging ourselves on our backs, heaving ourselves from a lower spot onto a higher one—in tune with our convenience and body language—taking meticulous care to ensure that we didn’t slip and fall into the clefts in between the boulders, or off or down the boulders, on our way up. Our wariness stemmed out of someone like Edward Whymper’s observation which I found after our climb, so as to buttress this writeup. Says he, “Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end.” How meaningful & wise! Edward Whymper (1840–1911) was an English mountaineer, and he was the first to climb the Matterhorn, an Alpine Mountain, in 1865. Unfortunately, four of his team members lost their lives during the descent.

Mother Nature was friendly to us, the current foursome. The sky was clear and sunny even as a loose motley of gliding clouds dotted it to beautify the celestial scenario. The wild vegetation kissed and tamed us in its laps. The rocks and boulders were not stone-hearted but soft-hearted!

On reaching the summits, we turned our bliss into meditation, pranayama, and chanting of hymns. We then held up the dear national flag we carried along… and rapturously roared a catena of slogans—Jai Shri Ram! Jai Hanuman! Aum Namah Shivaya! Jai Hind! Bharat Mata Ki Jai!

We, the four, snapped ourselves with the mobiles we carried along! But how could we get ourselves captured from the ground level, so that those shots could be more interesting?! After mounting the hill, I called my better half and asked her to come out to the spot facing the hill. I hadn’t informed my family of the impending adventure lest they should dissuade me. Shocked so, she along with my daughter-in-law prowled out and captured us on their cameras. Our slogans echoed perfectly in their ears and on their mobiles.

In all, it was certainly a risky and precarious feat, demanding every precaution and caution. It was an example of grit, camaraderie and team spirit. The hill might look small from a bit of distance, but it was rough & tough enough, and even chilly at times.  

The two pennants flying aloft on the hill peak had been placed much before by the priests of the Hanuman temple nestling at the foothill.

On the flipside, we felt a bit distressed to see the dump of plastic & glass bottles and their shards scattered hither and thither even in the hilly bosoms. The besotted hillwalkers, in our country India, find it so light, and easily carry their bottles full of booze—up the hill. But once they hoist the bottles on the way or after reaching atop, and empty them…they find the emptied ones too heavy—far too heavy—to bring them back!!! Let’s all have a clean conscience, and keep the surroundings clean, especially lakes and water bodies, hills and mountains, and paths and roads.

The Hanuman hill experience reminds me of the poem ‘In the bosom of a breezy hill’ which I penned on Dec 16, 2014, and reproduced in my poetry collection Sunny Rain-n-Snow with the foreword by Dr Sunil Sharma. And here it is, in part.

All along I have longed to live

Close across a lofty sylvan hill

For its lure of pleasant scenery

And clean, lilting, enlivening breeze.

Luckily has it become real

Since the chilling, thrilling November last.

… … … … …

I march on and up – until I reach the massive foothill.

Scanning all around, I put my best foot forward up the slopes,

And quickly get to meander through the glades,

And from under the thick green canopies,

As the hustle-free soft rustles of a myriad Oreads

Play on my eardrums with a soothing rhythm.

I feel as if walking on air... and keep up my swagger,

To cover the steep distance to the hilly top...

‘Make it man, take it not easy,’ it urges and cautions.

Pounding up and resting, tramping up and halting,

Ha, I manage at last to set foot on the crest.

But there no, I don’t pitch a post to fly my pennant of pride.

I have only scaled for the delight of discovering

A wonder world lying on the other side of the divide,

In itself a portal again for yet another world beyond,

And for a much broader perspective of the one on my side.

Bounden am I to the bounteous hilly vantage

For the fascinating delicacy of a rare vintage.

I can’t love more these Sahyadris

At Phase Three of Pune’s Hinjewadi!


4 comments :

  1. PADMAJA IYENGAR-PADDYJanuary 11, 2024 at 12:26 AM

    An excellent and exhilerating write Atreya, that took us along with you through your adventurous hill-climb. More power to your spirit and curiosity to explore new vistas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot, dear Padmaja for your kind compliments.

      Delete
  2. Brilliantly expressed experience!

    ReplyDelete

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