Deepika Mehta lives at her mountain home on the outskirts of Shimla. She recently did a short hike in the surrounding hills and has penned down the experience. Nature writing is an art and Deepika in just a few words transports you to the hills.
Deepika on the trail near her home in Shimla
Sitting alone silently at the Glen, a favorite childhood picnic spot, I am listening to the music of the forest. I am right by the water whose chattering seems the loudest as it dances over its stony bed. But once I am able to “open up” my hearing beyond the water, I can hear the full symphony of the Jungle Orchestra.
I begin to be conscious of the birdsongs, as they seem to perform their serenade just for me. I hear their myriad notes in the trees above; the melody so soothing, I shut my eyes. I can pick up the hum of insects adding their voice to the song in perfect harmony. I begin to get entranced.
A gentle breeze starts to blow and the leaves above me begin to whisper their secrets. The air is chilly, and I can feel it on my cheeks. But when I am perfectly still, I can hear it caress my skin. A dry, brown leaf rustles ever so softly on the forest floor as the breeze gently unsettles it from its place of rest.
I recognize a similar, but louder rustle coming from a distance. Probably a critter scampering amongst the fallen leaves in search for food. Perhaps it will find an acorn or pine cone that I hear occasionally dropping from the trees above. I sit, immersed in the auditory experience, losing sense of time and place.
The minutes float by inducing a dream-like state, when suddenly my eyes are startled open by the whoosh of air beneath the wings of the three black birds taking off from a nearby branch. It breaks my trance and the performance ends. I get up to leave, contented.
Deepika Mehta is first a nature lover, with a passion for the Himalayan region, and makes a living providing strategic communications to non-profit organizations.