Saturday, May 12, 2018

Nal Sarovar, Gujarat, India

As part of a trip to Gujarat in December 2017, to attend a friend's wedding in Ahmedabad, some friends and I decided to see bits of the rest of the state. If you live in Bangalore, travelling to Gujarat just for an occasion or just for the tourism is probably not worth it.

This is part 1 of n, where n TBD.


We were at Nal Sarovar early in the morning and very few people were around at the time. We didn't see any flamingoes either. That is not a comprehensive list of what we didn't see.

Birds, Except Seagulls

Let's get this out of the way first.

Naalsarovar has a lot of birds. You'd think that's expected of a place which has Bird Sanctuary at the end of it's name but how many tigers do you reckon people see at Jim Corbett? How many chips do you get from your packet of? How much ganja does Kunal have? Is Eden a hazard? Does Danny drink water? Whom does Kyle walk? Will Ashley still be young at 60? What did Luke do to make Ryan cross? What did Danny rise from? Have I made my point yet?

In spite of that, wildlife sanctuaries are like going to a museum. Unless you're really into it, you'll feel a moment of excitement when your eyes fall upon something which looks interesting, you'll pay some attention to some of the details, miss out most of them because neither you nor your companions know anything about it, maybe take a picture, linger for a few seconds before you move away ( or the animal / museum display moves away and you don't give chase; all motion is relative so it doesn't matter, ) and then forget whatever little you picked up.

Also, if it wasn't challenging enough taking pictures of birds, try taking them from a moving boat.

Bird 1
 If we are pushing ahead with GMOs, may I suggest modifying all animals so that their cry is the same as their name?
It will save us the embarrassment of asking questions like whether anybody knows how to tell a stork from a crane.

Bird 2
A mermaid had sex with a sparrow.
A similar plotline has been reviewed by the NYT, so please contain your disdain for that idea.

Bird 3
Is that a mynah? Why is it even there?
A mynah at a bird sanctuary is like Mallika Sherawat at Cannes.
We've seen enough back home, and there's much better to see here.

Bird 4
Birds would do really well at that Russian folk dance where you crouch and
kick your legs out one by one while pulling off a cummerbund and a turban.

Birds 5 - 18 ( L to R )
This bird, the black dog, runs on the water when taking off.
That's one more trick than Jesus could do. Time to switch?
Dog and god have the same letters also so should be easy to change prayer lyrics.
Except it'd be Black God and I can imagine some folk having a problem with that.

Bird 19
Might be the same bird as 41.

Bird 20
Could be a stork or a crane.
Or some third thing.
No idea.

Bird 21
Have you played that game where you drop a penny in the water and then try to find it?
And when you can't find it, you realise you can't give up and leave it down there because you need the money?

Birds 22 - 38 ( L to R )
I waded through a lot of mud to get closer to them but they kept flying off.
I haven't felt that way since campus placements.

Bird 39 - 40 ( L to R )
Somebody's sleeping on the couch tonight.

Bird 41
Might be the same bird as 19.
Or just have the same taste in make up.

Bird 42
Sea perchin'

Bird 43
Neither a crane, nor a stork.
Pelican ( I think. )


Seagulls

Seagulls abound. For every one of a different bird specie that you see, you will probably see twenty seagulls.

They also seem really hungry and stupid. Just a throwing gesture drives them into a frenzy, and they don't learn from past instances of no food materialising from those throwing gestures and continue getting excited every time you do it. What we were feeling was probably what Narendra Modi feels like all the time. We were even in Gujarat.

However, we didn't try to subtly get the seagulls to attack other birds or not even issue a condemnation when some seagullts raped the chicks of other birds so there is still some bit of the experience that the Naalsarovar seagulls can't provide.

We did eventually throw them some morsels but made them earn it with mid-air catches, swift changes in direction, or really high throws.

Some of us use this sort of opportunity more constructively.


All the, "Aao. Aao." reminded me of Amrish Puri from DDLJ.

SRK and friends pestering Amrish Puri to sell them beer.
SRK grabbing the carton.

I haven't thought about this movie since I was about 7 and only just realised the complexity of
Amrish Puri's character - an orthodox Indian man, the sorts who promises friends that their kids
will get married to each other and is willing to move countries when his daughter falls in love
with another boy ( Indian, not white even, ) but also lives in England and sells alcohol for a living.

Punjab.

SRK leaning outside the door, steely-eyed, hand stretched.
Kajol getting distracted and stopping to grab a samosa.


Things Which Aren't Birds, Except The Boatboy 


There is an island that your boatman will probably take you to where they serve some great food.
It's expensive but it's on an island. Think of it as a rustic pool party, if that helps.
And if you're there on a winter morning, you'll probably be cold and some hot food will help.



The travails of a travelling DP-seeker.

The DP.

A cubist interpretation of a tube man.

If you had to choose, piss in the pool or dung in the mud?
I'd choose dung in the mud.
Dung in the mud or Arnab Goswami in a media house?
Dung in the mud again.

The local prison for misbehaving animals.
The convicts are, quite literally, jail birds.



The Boatboy



As you might be able to tell, this is Mohsin.

He rowed the four of us around, pointed out various birds, told us about this and that, and negotiated an add-on package to show us a couple of more spots beyond the initially agreed deal.

He also seemed enthusiastic about photographs so I sent him some on WhatsApp. He then video called me on New Year's which is when I blocked him. At what point is a child with small town moorings old enough to either be called a creep or understand that us city types' friendliness is only a pretense to get discounts? If you happen to see him on your trip, please explain this to him. He may be old enough by then. Note that he is comfortable in Gujarati, and can manage Hindi.

Also, regarding the boating itself, there is no clear list of the duration, places, etc. for the amount you're handing over so this up to your bargaining skills.

Have you ever looked at something and wondered how many different butts that must have touched?
Harvey Weinstein, for instance.

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