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Notes from a campsite
Sharing room with seven team members on a camp offsite last week was an experience, unparalleled in the short history of my existence. I had the rare distinction of acquiring the topmost berth on our two storey bunk bed, a distinction I’ve learnt not to acquire ever again. What goes up must come down – especially when what has gone up requires the use of restroom facilities at 3:00 AM.

Three of my fellow roomies, happened to be prolific snorers. On being confronted the next morning; like all prolific snorers, they denied it with the vehemence of a hungry bull approaching a matador. I was woken up several times - not by the collective, fugal, commotion of their snores, but by tremors that they induced in my bed. Students of physics will realize the intense violence with which the bed shook, when I state, that the snores had some how chanced upon the resonant frequency of material that constituted the bed. I am, of course, exaggerating here but this colorful description should give you a general idea.

So there I was, sitting in my bunk bed, looking as haggard as a newly hatched chick, trying to divine why my precioussss (Golum style) sleep had forsaken me. Just then, it occurred to me with resounding clarity that is often seen in a drunkard resolved to sing, that destiny has chosen me to be the official bard of my team.

Here are the first four lines of an attempted, aborted sonnet:

I’ll sing you a lullaby
You sing one to me
If sleep becomes my alibi
My snores will sing to thee

There were other highlights too. Alcohol, among other things, induces an irresistible urge to guffaw. Alcohol induced laughters come in various alcohol induced varieties – and we had all the documented specimens on display. From agitated armadillo to bemoaning baboon variety, from cackling cat to depressed donkey variety, from elated elephant to flagrant fox variety, from gurgling gator to howling hyena variety, from itchy iguana to jaunty jackdaw variety, from kinky kangaroo to lugubrious leopard variety, from mischievous monkey to nimble nightingale variety, from ogling orangutan to panicky pony variety, from quivering quail to raucous raccoon variety, from sickly salamander to tranquil tortoise variety, from upset uta to vivacious vesper variety, from wailing wolf to yelping yak variety, and last but by no means least, the zesty zebra variety, were all on display. My apologies if I missed out your favorite animal or laughter.

Another memory, that time will take a long time to dilute, was that of the clear starry night sky. In cities, the haze only allows the sky to present a rather dull, drab view. If by chance, you get a clear rain-washed sky, the ambient city lighting won’t allow your pupil to attain dilation sufficient for viewing all the stars that dot the firmament. I wonder if our next generation, will live oblivious of stars, and on stumbling upon their existence by accident, will suffer consternation akin to that of cave dwelling ascendants of thousands of years ago.

Things at our hilly campsite, faraway from even the remotest traces of civilization, were, different. After a very long time, I saw not only the prominent constellations but even the faintest of stars that crowd the sky each night. And when the moon rose, it felt as if I were attending a coronation ceremony, which had attracted thousands of chatty princes from far corners of the galaxy, but as the King rode in, they fell silent and waned away.

Birds woke me on our last day of camping. There was a general background of chirping, through which at least two distinct chirps stood out – like the cellist and the violinist of a double concerto.
posted: 2.5.05

10 Comments

Loved the sonnet and the story that inspired it :) I must admit though, I missed my favorite — the wailing wolf ;) Nicely written, Deepak!

By Blogger Megha, at 3.5.05  



love your sense of humor and being from a camping back ground appreciate what you went through. i just never tried singin.

keep up the good work

By Blogger zeldamax yoshi, at 3.5.05  



Thanks Megha! I'll incorporate Wailing Wolf into the list. I also forgot to include one of my favorites - Vivacious Viper :)

Thanks Zeldamax!

By Blogger Deepak, at 3.5.05  



Still clutching my tummy from laughing while reading this post! DEEPAK YOU ROCK!!! :-)

By Blogger Geetanjali, at 4.5.05  



Where is this campsite? Loved the entry, your use of language is the best I've seen in all the blogs I read.

By Blogger ash, at 4.5.05  



It would reflect on my sheer alacrity to point out the Jumping Jack variety or the Pestilential Passport Officer variety...the latter especially has proven more an animal than a racoon or a tiger of late, with my "campsite" hovering around Brunton Road. Admittedly, Heisenberg may have been there :-o

Nice post!

By Blogger jhgasuhvkjahklnsdlksnlknmlwvlckn, at 4.5.05  



Thanks Geetanjali!

Thanks Ash! The campsite was somewhere between Pune and Mumbai. You can find more details here. One suggestion - this is a bad time to go there; too hot and dry to enjoy.

Well Rajesh, if I were you, I'd be saying prayers to ward off the pestilent passport officer from my blog :), you really don't want him to be reading this, do you ;)?

By Blogger Deepak, at 4.5.05  



"...I was woken ... not by the collective, fugal, commotion of their snores, but by tremors that they induced in my bed. ...the intense violence with which the bed shook.. some how chanced upon the resonant frequency of material that constituted the bed..."

I just stopped at this part and started laughing out [really] loud. All my stupid chinese teeth showing and my eyes almost closed [not that you can make out if they are ever really open].

I'm a snorer by the way, but I found out only very recently from my wife :-). Funny, all these years no one in my family said anything about it. But nothing to worry about. It doesn't move the richter scale yet and its been a non-issue so far.

By Blogger Richard Hsu, at 5.5.05  



Hi deepak...just chanced upon this site whilst searching pics of playful squirrels..!!! Could I join yr club of friends..?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16.5.05  



You are most welcome Anonymous :)
And I am sorry that my blog didn't yield pictures of playful squirrels whose search got you here.

By Blogger Deepak, at 17.5.05  


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