There is such a thing as too much greenery. I realised this when I stood on top of the Green Mountain. As the name suggests, whether it’s summer or monsoon, the mountain is ever-green.
It’s a high view point located somewhere in the forest regions of Thekkady. The only way to get there? A jeep. Fancy that.
I felt like a forest ranger popping up and down and swaying like a pendulum as we rode through some of the roughest ways I’ve ever seen. I didn’t say roads because there were none. It was all just rocks and mud and monsoon slushes.
We rode higher and higher a mountain without ever knowing our heading. And all along the way, there were plenty of shrubs and long grass. We could also spot a few pepper plants and cardamom pods studded between the rocks. It was hard to say what we smelt, though, because there were so many different scents wafting through. Apart from the spices that went straight to our heads, there was also a strong lemony flavour in the air. And that combined with wet soil, it was some high we got.
Our guide reached out into the shrubs and pulled out some of the lanky grass. He twisted it and handed it to us to smell. And at last, the lemony mystery was solved. There was an abundant growth of lemon grass in those regions. It’s one of the most pricey cooking ingredient and a superior flavour in cleaning agents. And the weird part: They shrouded this forest like overgrown weeds in an un-mowed lawn. Amazing what the absence of human interference does to nature.
We reached the top of the mountain, and all around me was green. Green hill tops, green grass sheen, green trees, a green valley below — so much green that I couldn’t help but wonder if global warming was a myth.
How could one part of the world have so much natural beauty while the flip side parched? It seemed so unfair, yet it felt so good to stand there as if in a chroma key video shoot.
When I had drunk enough air, I looked behind and saw our guide holding out a pair of binoculars. “Look there,” he said, “elephants!” I looked; a mass of grey giants loomed inches from me. The elephant herd kept moving from one mountain to another faster than I could adjust my focus.
All of a sudden our guide shouted from the other side. He had spotted a herd of deer.
And all the while, my father stood facing another direction altogether with a pair of binoculars glued to his eyes. I approached him, and he looked at me his eyes sparkling. “Look at that waterfall.” And I stood transfixed until the guide had to usher me.
We had more views to drop our jaws at.