Devbagh requires only a weekend. Start on a Friday and come back by Monday morning. But time stops still in this place. For me it stopped on Saturday morning when I entered my cottage on this peaceful island. Devbagh, literally means “God’s Garden” and I am wont to think that I had a divine chance. Cottages on the island are set back, a little away from the sea, tucked away among tall trees. Behind the cottages is a small forest filled with casuarina groves and medicinal plants. Oh and beware, foxes lurk too, although am yet to see one. I only caught sight of its tell tale footprints and saw a fox hole on a nature walk on Sunday morning.
I reserved Saturday to explore parts of the woods that I had not ventured into the year before. So after recovering from a bouncy night on the bus, I armed myself with my camera and set out. I came across a small clearing and followed a tiny trail ahead. One of my friends has a good eye for butterflies and I was able to get a glimpse of a couple of colorful beauties. I was searching for the Southern Birdwing, but then do we find what we search? Or do we search what we find? Devbagh has been a place of retrospection for me. It makes me reflect and mellow in mood.
There was a beautiful moment in the forest, the sound of which still resounds in my mind. Last year I had taken a photo of White Bellied Sea Eagles perched on the tree along the beach. At that time I didn’t know what they were, but just being interested in birds I snapped a shot. Since then I have read up quite a bit on birds and when I put up my photo in one of the photo forums, it was identified as WBSEs. So this time when I went I wanted to see more of these majestic birds. The forest was very quiet and I could only hear the crunching of twigs beneath my feet. Suddenly, I heard a big rustle and a sound akin to a helicopter starting up. The whoosh whoosh whoosh of the huge fan blades. I looked up and what should I see but two great WBSEs flying from atop a tree. I stood rooted to the spot and just watched them soar above with their great wings. There were two of them. Lesson one from Devbagh – want and you shall not find, but seek and you shall find.
There, that’s my twist to the old proverb. My day ended with a dinner by the beach in front of a bonfire beneath a starry ceiling. I never get to see so many stars in the city and this was a treat. The highlight was the walk along the beach after dinner with Anil, the nature guide, who said he would show us the fishermen’s haul of the day arranged in big baskets. There was a fishing village close to the beach and we had to walk it up. The 10 minute walk till the village was a mixture of spookiness and magic. The beach was completely dark and the only light was from the stars and from Anil’s torch. A gusty wind added to the eerily bewitching atmosphere and although I could not see the fishermen since they had gone to celebrate a festival, the walk was worth it. Lesson two – Cliched yet true. Its the journey that counts not the destination.