With very few vehicles coming from opposite sides, the drive was very pleasant, peaceful and calm; the lush green trees on both sides added more colours and joy to the morning ride through the neatly paved tarmac roads of the western ghats. While taking turns, I managed to keep control of the vehicle by giving attention to the road by carefully manoeuvring the turns and uphills. To add charm to the drive, the magnificent Neyyar River extended beautiful glimpses of her charming beauty through the thickly grown plantation trees, with branches hanging with the glittering mist. After a few more turns and twists, the road took us to a narrow pathway with an uneven surface, which rejoiced us with swings and swirls, but the power of four wheels dragged us easily and effortlessly to the top of the mountain to show the mighty sceneries which no one can easily forget. The vision of endless green blankets magically blessing the huge span of mountains with a stunning valley blessed with blue-coloured Neyyar in the short vicinity, even with the burning sun on top of us, was no less than fabulous.
After winding down the hilly path at a slow pace, the meal from a wayside shop put an abrupt end to the hunger and gave us the strength to drive back home with a lot of pleasant memories. While driving back to the city after the heavy meal, I was drowsy but remained attentive. Suddenly, while taking a turn with a car in a short distance on the front side, I saw a glimpse of her through the windshield of that car. A chilling shiver passed through my spine on seeing the Queen sitting helplessly next to her kitten, bathed in blood. I could feel her pain, despair and shock and imagine the plight of the wretched and dejected soul who lost her kid in a deadly accident. She sat very close to the kitten in the middle of the road, looking into its blood-filled face, and the roar of the engine coupled with loud honking had not bothered her to move to a side, as she was filled with grief and endless pain. The screeching sound of the brakes with the hard slap on the pedals had helped me to steer the vehicle to the other side of the road and pass through without hurting her. With a great sigh of relief, I looked at her through the rear-view mirror but was stunned to see a speeding car coming the same way without noticing her presence. The car had passed through us, and I held my vision to the mirror with eagerness and a lot of worry, but to my surprise, I could see, while taking the turn, her sitting on the side of the road with glittering eyes and wagging tail! Alas, the rest of the day, the sceneries, valleys, mountains, ghats, mist, river, blue sky and the roads faded away from my memory, and the spark in those eyes had made my day more beautiful and brighter.
Bijoy P Pulipra