SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: Deep inside the magical jungles of Kakanakote, in a place called Kymara, bordering Wynad in Kerala, is an ancient forest guest house built by the British in 1932.
It is to Kymara I headed last week, as I have for a couple of decades now, when my heart longed for solace and the soul sought calm from the hubbub of life. From the maddening pace of existence. From the energy sapping tensions of work. From the rigours of routine. From the predictability of the calendar. From the inexorable march of urbanity. Where it’s quite but impossible to have a moment of your own.
Kymara is where time and space are all your own. Where calm and silence mingle in beautiful harmony. Where the day begins when you want it to and ends when you decide. Where the bird songs hold a divine orchestra while the emerald green trees sway in a cadence.
Where the air is fresh and sweet like the breath of a baby. The flowers, the fragrance, the mood, the setting…all hark of a wonderfully relaxed form of existence. A balm to your frazzled nerves. A relief to your regimen. Adding a soothing freshness to your being. Where the only pressing engagements you’ll have will be listening to a million bird songs and the primordial chirping of the cicadas; indeed a wonderful journey into timelessness.
To be in Kymara is to be completely lost to civilization, to be pleasantly cut off from all that stands for so called modernity, to be enclosed in the womb of nature, to be able to savour all the shades of green that there is, and just let your mind switch off to life beyond the cluster of immense trees that grow all around the place as far as the eye can see.
Kymara is where Subba the tribal cooks a simple meal of thin dal and rice with some cabbage thrown in, a meal that tastes like it’s been picked off a heavenly menu; the crimson -coloured lime pickle contrasted by the black-coloured mustard seeds adding spice to it.
There is a kind of stillness to the place which grows so wonderfully on you, a kind of hush which virtually allows you to listen to your own heart beat, a quiet that is achingly beautiful, an atmosphere which stills your mind and slowly cleanses it of its long accumulated silt.
It’s in Kymara where you sink into rattan chairs whose cane weavings have needed some mild attention ever since I can remember, and have an extraordinarily intimate conversation with your own self; where outside the latticed verandah you’ll find the star-lit night sky coming to life like a dazzling explosion of fireworks fit for the birthday of an emperor; where the rustle of a bush or a sudden flapping of wings from inside the branches signal either the arrival of a gaur into the vicinity or an elephant or heaven knows, a tiger!
Kymara is where your conversation is interrupted not by the obnoxious trilling of a cellphone call but quite divinely by the trumpeting of an elephant from somewhere deep between the nandi, mathi, honne and taare trees that grow in glorious abundance; a place where, if you are sensitive enough, you’ll surely realise aspects of mysticism that you never knew you could contemplate.
Kymara is where I hated to even turn on my jeep’s engine lest I disturb the personal space of the butterfly that flitted from one lantana flower to the other; where the hum of the bee sounds like the instrumental music of the gods!
Two days later, as I drove back on the slippery game road that would eventually bring me to the strip of pot-holed asphalt that is the Manandavadi road, past herds of elephants and sambar and gaur, the exclusive world of Kymara seemed to close itself from me like a tortoise withdrawing into its shell; my mind once again, quite laughably tragically, beginning to think about the business of urban existence; about why Rahul Dravid did not enforce the follow-on in the Oval test, on the opposition’s demand for a re-negotiation of the Indo-US nuclear deal and about picking up Mallikarjuna the plumber, from his Kanne Gowdana Koppal home, to fix a leaking tap in my apartment’s bathroom!