|The Serene Pookot Lake|
Come mealtimes and we’d stuff ourselves to the gills. It’s not every day, one gets to eat yummy Fish Malabar curry and squid Masala with spicy raw mango chutney on the side. And when we started feeling guilty of not doing enough touristy things, we promptly hired a car to see Pookoot Lake. The lake is one the most picturesque and well kept lakes I’ve ever seen - touristy yet serene with a shaded pathway on its periphery.
Our cottage was next to a stream, swelled by the April rains. As we’d sip our morning tea in the balcony, we would spy on a giant Malabar Squirrel staring at us from its leafy refuge. My excited squeals ended up encouraging the monkeys. But instead of sending a friend request on FB like normal beings, they would genuinely try to be friendly. Fools!
The morning was still chilly from last night’s rains, when we all converged at the resort’s reception area, for the promised nature walk. A contingent of eager beavers, their DSLRs hanging heavily from their necks, caps placed at a jaunty angle on their heads, the mandatory honeymooning couple stuck to each like Siamese twins – we were ready to embark on a journey into the unknown and unseen. Our adrenalin was pumping so copiously that we happily dismissed the manager’s gentle warning about the leeches that had come out in droves, thanks to the relentless rain. Ha! We, the brave, battle human leeches all the time!
As we started climbing up the wooded pathway, the stones still moist and the fallen leaves making the path precariously slippery, we realized it was not as easy as it looked. I was taking baby steps, trying my best not to skid like out of control skaters on an ice rink, when Tee happily informed me – Maa did you know, fallen leaves are plant poop!
|Leeches up my breeches.|
The ordeal started with a series of shrill shrieks and the next thing I see is my husband thumping his feet energetically. Just as I was getting ready to applaud his cool, hip hop moves, I espied those creatures - slimy black things plastered all over our trainers. And no, they didn’t stop at that. They were actually trying to cosy up to our ankles, dying to take a sip from juicy limbs. Hello! Those are my legs, not sugarcane sticks.
But those creepy crawly leeches were not exactly amenable to reason. The harder you stomped your feet and said ‘NO!’, a million others would emerge magically and try to slither inside our shoes. Gosh, they multiply at such an alarming rate! Haven’t they heard of family planning?
The juicy humanoids were looking far from pleased, in fact we all look terrified. But the brave souls we were, we fought them tooth and nail – with bare hands, twigs, blood curdling screams. They felt cold and slimy but that didn’t deter us one bit. We weren’t walking now, we were crawling one leg at a time, battling a platoon of blood sucking aliens.
Bloody leeches, don’t you have anything better to do in life. Like read CB books?
It seemed our ordeal would never end. We had not even glanced at the beautiful environs, so engrossed we were in trying to keep our feet leech free. Our tee-shirts were soaked with sweat and we were wishing we had wings to fly back to our coop.
When I finally saw the main road, I started running faster than PT Usha. Tragically there was no one to time my 500 m dash, otherwise I would have been in London for the Olympics, doing our country proud.
We were finally inside our resort and I was in the restroom doing what normal beings do out of relief. And there they were, three more of them, trying crawl on to my feet!!! I launched a watery missile at them and did an angry tandav to get rid of them. Phew! Good riddance to bad rubbish.
I was now crossing the rope bridge to get to the dining area, dreaming of steaming puttus and kadla, when I saw another bloody leech nestled comfortably behind my knees. My battle cry was heard even in the neighbouring state of Karnataka and caused a stampede in the jungles of Nagarhole.
And Tee helpfully chirped in – Maa, did you know that the guy in Man v/s Wild ate leeches raw!If you are wondering - Where the hell did she go? Ahh..she was holed up in Vythri, Wayanad.