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Hampi Visit- V. Doppio Movimento
Preludio:I regret having visited Hampi in almost total ignorance of the place’s history; something I’ve addressed partially but there is good deal of ground that I still need to cover. And so, when talking about the actual ruins, I will need handsome support from the pictures that I clicked. I will certainly recount things I heard – myth, legend, allegory and all that might be historically dubitable - but that will have to be in context of the pictures (which I’ll only start posting as part of a photo-essay separate from the write-up here). I will also attempt to relate historically relevant facts wherever possible, though for most part you will find my knowledge abjectly wanting. My memories of the day I spent at Hampi are sandwiched between memories of a dramatic sunrise and an even more dramatic sunset. This post therefore, deals entirely with sunrise and sunset, which though are an indelible part of my Hampi memoirs, should be separated from the actual time I spent at Hampi; just like you need to separate the two halves of a walnut for fuller enjoyment of the kernel.

Adagio-Allegro: My perennial obsession with the luminary, commonly reputed to be a young mid-sized star (astronomically speaking) and often referred to as Sun, got me to the roof of our guest house before my roomies had woken up. I had expected the few minutes before the sunrise to be peaceful. Unfortunately I received an auditory torment worse than my usual urban settings.

Constant hum of a water-pump pervaded the air, and when the power at the guest house went out, it was joined by an even louder hum of a generator. Just when my ears had turned indifferent to their cacophonic duet, they were rattled by loud cries of chickens – not their everyday clucking to welcome dawn but the sort that they coax from their throats when in mortal danger. I had thus divined that chicken sandwich would be the first item on the breakfast menu. From a small farm in one corner of the guest house, two pigs came out prancing. I don’t think the word ‘adorable’ and ‘pig’ are used in the same sentence, unless ‘adorable’ is being used in a context separate from pig, or, unless ‘adorable’ is preceded by an adverb that negates its meaning; but allow me to deviate from the usual norm. The pigs were adorable. In fact, one of them sported a black and white coat, giving it a very dog like appearance. I suddenly felt open to having a pig as a pet. Their happy squeals were soon superseded by splashes of water. Below, in the guest house lawns, our parked bus was being given an elaborate bath by its driver. I have never seen affection between a man and his vehicle that is of same order as I was witnessing here. But oh the quiet before dawn!

The sky in the east turned faintly orange. There were small clouds there and the sun, after making a momentary appearance, hid behind them. After a long wait it emerged again only to be shrouded in clouds once more, though partially. So by the time it finally arose clear of the cloud cover in east, too bright to click or stare into, it felt like I had seen two sunrises instead of one.

When we arrived at our lodge in Hospet at 5:30 in the evening, after a hectic day at Hampi, a quick bite was my foremost concern. I placed my order (a cup of tea with onion pakoras) with the lodge’s keeper who looked visibly annoyed at having to serve an entire cavalcade on a lazy Sunday evening. Just then, a momentary flash of brilliance (entirely metaphorical one), reminded me that I should be clicking the Sunset at Tungabhadra Dam. I wasn’t sure of the actual timing of the sunset so I asked a fellow passenger to help me locate it in a day old copy of Praja Vaani lying at our table. The newspaper didn’t carry the timings and everyone else’s guess was as good as mine. A short joust between my primitive instinct (hunger) and intellectual faculty (oh for a glorious sunset) ensued; intellect knocked instinct with such force that I found my legs involuntarily drawing me towards the Tungabhadra Dam precincts. The entry to the Dam complex involved procuring a ticket and at that moment I was positively sure (I later realized that I had an hour to spare) that it would cause me to miss the sunset. So I abandoned the Dam altogether and trotted along the same road which the bus had taken to get to our current lodgings. There is a mine in the nearby area and I could see hundreds of trucks – both on the road and parked alongside it - carrying heaps of red sand, depositing it in good quantities on everything they passed by.

After walking about a kilometer, I settled on a little bridge built on a small stream. As I stood facing the stream in west, I got a clear view of the dimming evening sun. For a moment I was reminded of Shire from LOTR, but I snapped out from that illusion when the bridge under my feet shook violently. I initially feared an earthquake though before a sense of panic could give me goosebumps, I could relate those tremors to the passage of heavy lorries over the bridge. The continuous convulsions of the bridge made me wonder if the architects of the bridge, in their grand scheme of things, had taken into account the strain caused by an excited, seventy kilo human load; that too, a strolling seventy kilo human load, during what must have been peak time. Fortunately, I witnessed a fascinating sunset without a crack in the bridge or its collapse. Full marks to the designers and constructors of the bridge.

The sunset felt like an episode from a fairy tail. A cloud moved in front of the sun, and the sunbeams escaping from behind it, gave it eerie appearance of an imaginary sun-devouring bird. As the sun descended even lower than the cloud, into another elongated patch of cloud, it felt as if this bird was laying a golden egg in its nest (or perhaps it found sun too hot to handle). At last the sun fell below all clouds, draining my pool of imagination and camera batteries. I watched sun’s last rites, wondering how many such beautiful sunsets I must have missed in my life.
posted: 26.2.05


Show us the pictures soon Deepak!

By Anonymous Avis, at 28.2.05  

Echoing Avis, but sad that there probably are no pics of the adorable pigs.

By Blogger Ink Spill, at 28.2.05  

Posted :-)

You are right Ink_Spill, no photos of pigs :-(. It was too dark and a distance of about 8 feet separated us. Next time!

By Blogger Deepak, at 28.2.05  

This is a lovely account - lots of detail. And I hope you eventually got something to eat and drink?

By Blogger Deirdre, at 28.2.05  

Thanks Deirdre! Oh yes I was fed well; the word "surfeit" comes to mind :-)

By Blogger Deepak, at 2.3.05  

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