Sirshendu’s visit to Karanji Lake in Mysore unfolds miracles. Read this story to find out more on it.
I love going to Karanji Lake in Mysore. It is one of the lesser known attractions of the city, but a beautiful place to visit if one has time.
Besides the lake itself and the surrounding garden, the added attraction is an enclosure for peacocks that one can walk into. As a rule I hate any kind of confined space for animals, but this is really a large place with trees and pathways where several peacocks, both green and white, perch on the branches or strut about.
When we had visited the place some ten years back I remember that just as we entered, in front of us was a peacock just winding down its feathers after a dance. And I felt a pang in my heart – if only we had come ten minutes earlier.
Few months back my brother made a sudden wish to see Karanji lake and kept reminding me day after day. Many interesting experiences with him have taught us over the years to honour his whim when he is really insistent and so one fine day found us on the Shatabdi Express to Mysore, enjoying a delicious lunch as the towns, fields and rivers flashed past in a smooth silent rush.
We reached Mysore in the afternoon and after a short rest at the hotel, fearing that it might rain later in the evening, we decided to visit the lake. We reached the place at around 3pm. It was a festival of flowers and colorful butterflies flitted all around us. The lake itself was as serenely beautiful as ever although the boating had been suspended for some reason.
We walked around a bit looking for a bench to sit and enjoy the beauty but everything was wet – possibly it had rained in the morning. So we strolled around and eventually found ourselves outside the peacock enclosure. As we were about to enter the feeling of my previous disappointment came back sharply to my mind and I sent a silent prayer to the cosmos as if to say if it was not too much trouble would you mind putting up a show for us this time.
One needs to enter the enclosure by pushing through double barricades of suspended chains. Inside is a fairly large area with trees and shrubs and with pathways to walk on. Only a few people were there at that time, among them a group of young people, possibly Chinese, speaking in English with a strong accent. The peacocks were all around us and the mild sunlight was glinting off the rain-washed trees. It all looked exquisitely beautiful and I heard one of them remark “All this only for just 50 Rupees??”. For some reason that remark made me feel extremely proud of living in India – a place where one can experience the grandest beauty in unexpected places for surprisingly little.
Just then there was a sudden commotion and the group started excitedly in what sounded like Chinese, pointing through the foliage at the further end of the enclosure. Turning around we saw that a green peacock had started to dance right at the other side and all of us rushed along the pathway to a point almost close to the exit to get a better view. It was still some distance away but at least it was a clear sight. Visitors have to stay on the pathways and are not allowed to enter the grassy part of the ground, so we could not get any closer. As if sensing my slight disappointment at not being able to see it at close quarters, a white peacock just in front of us decided to start dancing as well.
For the next ten minutes or so it was a time of indescribable happiness as the two peacocks white in the foreground and green in the background delighted us with the splendor that nature in its mysterious design has bestowed upon them. And then slowly the feathers started to droop as the show came to an end and we walked out feeling joy beyond words. For me it was more so because this was a prayer answered instantaneously with one-plus-one free. Even online delivery apps can’t match up to this.
The feeling of wonder stayed with me as we walked the rest of the perimeter of the lake and returned back to the city center. At a coffee shop near a quaint old world market of Mysore, we had a delicious cup of filter coffee and I managed to spill sugar all over the counter – pardonable side effect of a double shot of instant miracle.
What was not pardonable however was that just an hour or so afterwards, back at the hotel I lost my temper most despicably on my brother over an extremely trivial incident. In the blackness of rage all reason , all sense of fairness and beauty was soon forgotten, And this to the person whose insistence it was that had made the experience possible in the first place. Thinking back on that time I realize that the momentary feeling of being special in the eyes of the universe, of deserving such instant gratification, instead of filling me with awe and gratitude had shamefully triggered the arrogance in me.
Perhaps that is the bane of mankind that with all the miracles of life being showered at us, instead of blissful contentment for all, something in us is still chasing the glamorous discontent of being one of the special few. In time when sanity returned and remorse set in and I apologized to him, his sweet response was in bengali “aamio to koto bhul kori” (I too make many mistakes). From a person whom we consider less than average intelligence is that not a miracle?
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Joy (Sirshendu), an engineering grad, had his schooling in Shillong before moving to Bangalore. After a couple of decades of excitement and monotony alternately of the corporate world, he has now moved to an NGO that focuses on education-to-employment programs for the deserving and underprivileged college students. Joy is an avid traveller and is the co-author of the book -“Faith” in journeys: 20 places that tuned our beliefs.