I remember being very excited about visiting the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary in the Mandya District of Karnataka in Southern India. I had read good things about its founder Dr. Salim Ali and he has an interpretation centre there to provide ornithological instruction and information. Anyway we were staying a few miles away in the beautiful city of Mysore. Sarah went off to revisit the famous local market and I set off early in the morning to catch a bus/buses out in to the country to find the Bird Sanctuary… Eventually I disembarked from a bus in the middle of nowhere alongside a dusty track which the bus driver pointed to enthusiastically. Although it was only about 8.30 in the morning it was already over 30 degrees so it was already a very hot walk whichever way I went! I stood there contemplating my next move as my only means of transport disappeared around a bend in a cloud of dust leaving me feeling rather stranded in the middle of the Indian countryside. Knowing that I probably had nothing to lose I set off along the track with my trusty camera bag over one shoulder wearing my Tilly hat to protect me from the sun. After what seemed a long time, but was probably only 30 minutes, I heard the unmistakable ‘pop popping’ of an old Royal Enfield motorbike behind me. As I turned to see the bike I saw an old man riding along with his shopping on his lap. I stood aside to let him past and we exchanged waves of acknowledgement whereupon he stopped and pointed to my camera and flapped his arms. I nodded and he invited me to jump on the back and took me all the way to the sanctuary! It was typical of the hospitality and friendship we have often encountered during our four trips to India. The sanctuary was an oasis, indeed, a wildlife utopia set around a long but narrow lake and I spent the whole morning there until even the wildlife had settled into the shade to escape the searing heat. This spoonbill was just one of hundreds of photographs I took of exotic indigenous wildlife… but you won’t believe what happened next. I set off back down that dusty track again, still excited by my time with the wildlife but rather concerned about enduring the very long walk back down that dusty track in the glare of the afternoon sun. The thought of the trek plus the uncertainty of finding a local bus that might take me to a bus station where I might find another bus to take me back to Mysore was certainly uncomfortably occupying my mind. However, within 10 minutes history repeated itself as another stranger appeared, not on an old RE this time but on a beaten up scooter. Once again I was invited to climb aboard and he proceeded to give me a lift all the way the bus station, a journey of at least 30 minutes. I never found out whether he was going that way or not but neither stranger asked for or expected payment and so I will never forget their sacrificial kindness and generosity…. As always, ‘every picture tells a story don’t it!’
Day 17#20 Greetings Cards
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