• Pocket Diary Book Club Ghanerao Retreat: Log 3 Oranges & Snakes

    Everyone I saw was reading a book, in the canopy outside, on a window sill.

    Poha, Parantha, Dahi and bluffmaster Nirali. She and Yogesh Ji woke up before sunrise, left their man-made communication devices in their rooms and trekked up to the temple on the mountain behind the 100-year old hunting lodge, to watch sunrise.

    On their way back, climbing down from behind the temple, they saw some trees standing together like a family. They offered them the sweetest oranges they had ever tasted.

    Nirali said, there was no need to peel them. Just the top part had to be removed in a small circle, like a cork on a bottle of wine.

    But Rajesh Ji countered her facts, he said, “3 people had to peel 4 oranges. It was hard work.”

    Indeed, all this bluffing was hard. But what is true is the mating call that went to the bears but was answered by a small, cute, not really harmful, snake.

    It slept in Rajesh Ji’s room. With him or without him, well, I don’t ask personal questions.

    Shaurya saw the snake and closed the door from outside, Rajesh took a picture, and called for help. We received the picture and discussed, was he bitten? as me, Chirag and Ruchi sipped tea and clicked candid reading pictures.

    It was candid, she was reading before she asked us to capture that moment. No one went to capture the snake.

    At the breakfast table, we had two Sandip’s. We learned that all were safe and happy. And that a chipkali had once gotten up, close and personal with Rajesh.

    You know what reading, music, poetry and nature does? Men were offering flowers to each other. Something I had only seen women do for each other before. We had people from all sorts of profession and yet, not once was this topic thought of. We never strayed from Rumi’s poetry, Books and the lucky ones saw a shooting star.

    So, we packed our bags, clicked a group picture and left.

    This journey was immortal.

    सुना है लोग उसे आँख भर के देखते हैं

    सो उस के शहर में कुछ दिन ठहर के देखते हैं…