October 13, 2011

Converging Landscape

Hattargi, Karnataka. 2011.

When the landscape hurtles to the horizon, flat and deep, for a rendezvous with the heavens where they converge to infinity, it’s never easy to determine if the clouds are coming in or going away, not in an instant anyway.

There’re no trees about for the wind to bend, nor are there leaves in a mood to oblige the nudging breeze. And if you hold your breath in the instant your eyes rove the land before you, it’s likely the expanse will root your feet where they first land for, there’s nothing to approach, nothing to get close to, and nothing that you’ll see better than you already do from where you now stand.

Yet, the landscape holds the gaze as vastness will. Nothing moves or if something indeed does it barely registers. A landscape that stills time assumes a vastness that endures the moment, prolongs it, and freezes it, rooting the eye, and the feet to the eternity of its passing.

The sheep that graze in the fields move less like individuals that they are and more like the clouds in the skies overhead, flowing together into one unyielding mass, changing shape, distending, contracting, but moving all the time, indiscernible but moving all the same, like thoughts seeking space to nest in the mind.

For a moment I wished for Sunflowers in the field, imagining the sheep grazing in a thousand Suns. It was September, and straggling monsoon clouds were playing catching up, travelling great distances over a land they had never visited before nor would they ever visit again. Come next year, other clouds would take their place, passing over farmers gathered on the steps outside their homes, their eyes to the skies, wondering and waiting for rains so they could plant jowar before the last of the clouds disappeared over the horizon.

In the moment that passed me that September day, I caught a glimpse of the land and the horizon locked into a perpetual tango, painting the landscape for travelers like me.


Nona said...

You sure do uncover exotic locations. :)

Daisy said...

Beautiful photo and words, Anil. You have a wonderful way with your words. :)

Riot Kitty said...

Clouds are always coming and going away, aren't they? :)

Balachandran V said...

in your words, the serenity and grandness of the landscape...

Anil P said...

Nona: And many more remain still :-)

Daisy: Thank you :-) The open landscape is a great sight.

Riot Kitty: They sure do. :-)

Balachandran V: Thank you :-) Words will always fail landscapes such as these.

karen said...

Hi Anil. I love landscapes like this - very like our African ones in many ways.

Your earlier jungle/cricket post was fascinating! I really enjoy reading about your birds and wildlife which seem so similar to ours, yet very different!

I'm bad at replying to blog comment questions, but wanted to answer yours about animals on the road at night - in most of the country it is cattle on the road at night, which have caused so many accidents but on the road further north to where we are, one has the wildlife to worry about - much more dangerous..

Anonymous said...

I've been unable to read your blogs as prose lately. Once again another poetic piece. It took me there for a while.

Anil P said...

Karen: Thank you. I like these kind of landscapes too. They're awe inspiring.

In the Deccan Plateau, these landscapes are a given, something that people living on the West Coast of India miss seeing on account of the mountain ranges that run down that stretch.

The similarity in wioldlife might have to do with the proximity to the tropical region.

Animals on the road will always pose a danger. At some point road planners need to integrate underground passages to allow for movement of wildlife to the other side of the road.

Magan: Places such as these will sometimes induce a certain type of poetic expression willy nilly, more driven by the sub concious than otherwise :-)

This is a beautiful stretch for such landscapes, more so as the monsoons retreat in the months of September-October, before the last spell of rain courses down.

Farmers in North Karnataka were awaiting rains in the last week of Septenber to till the land for a crop, while those planted in June at the onset of the monsoon were nearing harvesting.

Meena Venkataraman said...

Beautiful!..you paint with words!

Lynn said...

That is a lovely, quiet photograph. And your description of the land and horizon as a tango is lovely, too.

Anil P said...

Meena Venkataraman: Thank you. The landscape paints it for me :-)

Lynn: Thank you. Y es, it's a quiet photograph.

Arti said...

Hi Anil,
My first visit to your blog, Its beautiful. The scene seems very pretty, and the words flow seamlessly...
Just like a poem.
Have a nice day.

Anil P said...

Arti: Thank you. Welcome to this space.

Indian Bazaars said...

Anil, I read and re-read your lines wondering how prose could be this poetic!

Anil P said...

Indian Bazaars: Thank you. It also depends upon the reader, who'll relate to it poetically, making the prose appear poetic.