My much better half and I have always agreed on one part, that one day we will move back to India. This was not due to a misplaced sense of patriotism but due to the fact that both of us are emotionally attached to this country (and food, but mostly country.. I think). When an opportunity to come back and work in India came our way, we just took it. There were many “what if..”, “but how about..”, “shall we..” type moments but we decided to just make a move. Leaving a place we had called home for last 10 years, we came home.
Setting up a home in the “City of Wildlife Photographers” take a little patience. Specially when both of us are linguistically challenged in the local language (try telling a carpenter how to assemble an Ikea bed, with no knowledge of local language). Thankfully, we found a nice little place next to my office so that was one less thing to worry about. Soon we were semi-settled. We had a functional kitchen, a few suitcases and one empty house. Our shipment was in transit. So we decide to do what any sensible family would have done. We booked ourselves a couple of nights in JLR Kabini.
We started really early on a friday and in no time we were out of the city. After a quick stop at Decthalon for an umbrella and a few misc items we resumed our journey. We had a quick pit stop at Kamath’s for an early breakfast. While I had a great experience a few years ago, this time was a disappointment. May be it was a seasonal thing or may be the service has deteriorated, we did not enjoy the breakfast there. I am hoping it was just a busy day for them. To know for sure, I will have to plan another Kabini trip soon.
Right outside Kamath was a small stall, where someone was selling small statutes of Ganpati, made of clay. The price was a steal and we just ended up with a few of those. Couple of pit-stop involving Jackfruit and mangoes later, we reached JLR. We had a chance to stay in one of the rooms in past. This time around we were to stay in tents and kids were quite excited at that prospect. Those tents did not disappoint us. These were big, airy & clean tents with attached bathrooms & sit-out area. I plonked myself into one of the chairs in sit-out area and forgot all about shipment, plumber, kids etc. Kids started exploring the area around the property.
We followed a familiar schedule that most JLR properties follow. AM and PM safaris and meals in gol-ghar. Most of our free time was spent lazing around the lodge. Safaris were fun, although we did not sight as much wildlife as we were expecting. We did see some Gaurs, Barking deer, Tuskers, CSE, Mongoose etc. I was secretly hoping for Dhole sighting but that did not happen.
One incident worth mentioning was during the solo boat safari that we took. Sharing the boat with us were a couple from Delhi who were apparently on a romantic trip to Kabini. Going in tradition with how we do things in North (yes, don’t be fooled by my name :D), the couple was chaperoned by a couple of guys who appeared to be hubby’s friend. Again, proving the typical stereotype of us northies, the guys would ignore all instructions to sit in their appointed seats, insist on navigating the boat, talk loudly about what is going on in their life (not much by the sound of it), make loud noises when we get close to birds etc. Obviously the bride was ignored to the point where she had to come and try in vain to pull her brand new hubby for some quality honeymoon time. He obviously was more interested in guys I think. At one point, one of these idiots was heard saying “Anna, kuch khatarnak dikhao..” to the boatman. I was hoping that Anna would take him to some isolated corner and show him something “khatarnak”.
These are the times when you realize how the stereotypes are born.. Anyhow, I suppose it takes all kind..
Ah well, aside from the sighting of these wild asses, the trip was a perfect family gateway and we ended up meeting Giri after a long time. Hopefully next trip will be sans the LRK special. 🙂