Monday, April 6, 2015

Lake on a hilltop

This is a picture of Charlotte Lake in Matheran, the popular hill station located 800 metres or 2,625 ft above sea level in Raigad district of Maharashtra, a large state located on India’s west coast with Mumbai as its capital. The lake is the major source of drinking water.

On the other side of the lake, the part you see here, is a sizeable and formidable population of our distant cousins, the Bonnet Macaques and Hanuman Langurs, who don't hesitate to come charging at you, whether you're a kid or a grownup. The monkeys on the townside are more guarded in their approach probably because they're outnumbered by people and horses.


Charlotte Lake in Matheran.
© Prashant C. Trikannad
I think of Matheran as an ideal setting for a fictionalised murder mystery, where a monkey is trained by the bad guy to terrorise and eventually kill the victim. I'm thinking of a solid motive and once I get it, I'll sit down to write the story.

Not that I’ll actually write one. But Matheran, where no motorised transport is allowed, serves as an inspiration every time I visit the hill station, which was discovered by the English in 1850 during their occupation of India. We usually spend time walking through nature, seeing various scenic spots called “points,” riding horses, eating good food, and most of all reading books. I carry a couple of them with me. It’s not much fun reading ebooks on a holiday.

A trip to a place like Matheran infuses one with positive feeling and energy, probably because you’re far away from the daily grind and the hustle-bustle of urban life. The only way to enjoy these short excursions is not to think of the realities awaiting you back home—and to live in the moment.

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