Discover more from Icarus Project
I don’t really have a bucket list because I think it's stupid, but if there’s one place I want to go to, it’s Maasai Mara in Kenya. In my head, the Mara is a living remnant of the kind of place we human beings evolved in (I’m not sure how accurate this idea is). I was watching a YouTube video about a family on safari there and learned a German word from them – Fernweh. The vloggers described it as an ache for distant places. When I looked it up, I found another definition- farsickness, the opposite of homesickness.
I wonder how much of human life is simply the conflict between these two urges. The urge to wander, and the need to go back home.
In week 2 of my break, I had a bit of both. I wanted to go home, to my original home in Kerala, and I also wanted to wander from my current home in Bangalore. Thanks to the third wave and covid in the family, we couldn’t go to Kottayam, but ended up going to Wayanad instead, to a cousin’s coffee estate.
It’s not the Mara, but their place is about an hour from Bandipur Tiger Reserve and is quite beautiful. My dream of spotting a tiger in the wild remains unfulfilled, but we did see plenty of spotted deer. Towards the edge of the forest, I saw a field full of what must be at least fifty of them together near a small watering hole. I had a 300 mm lens but unfortunately, it was in the trunk and I missed the shot. But in a way, it was good because the memory of it is more picturesque than what I would have managed to click. I even saw two peacocks jumping in the air above the deer and fighting or playing, to complete a picture that would never be taken. Surprisingly, all this was barely 500 meters away from human civilization. I got back in the car and drove to see kids playing football in the next field after a curve in the road
When I told our host about this later, he said the deer come closer to the edge of the forest when a tiger is out. I have no idea if this is true but it sounded pretty cool, but probably not for the deer.
Fun fact – Why are tigers orange when orange stands out? Because it only stands out to us. Deer are red-green colour blind, which means they essentially see tigers as a green blur in the foliage. Pretty terrifying right?
Our host’s coffee estate was a pleasant change after a month of being locked in a containment zone apartment. While we enjoyed the fresh air, three dogs, bird song and crickets, they enjoyed bacon burgers we brought from Bangalore on request. That’s the flip side of home-sickness, right? Sometimes we get sick of what we get at home and want what others have, and they, in turn, want what you have, although in this case, it was a good trade because we got free, unpolluted air and they got a known carcinogen (processed meat).
Anyway, that was week 2. Just taking care of some fernweh. In week 3, I plan to test the resilience of my fledgling good habits (exercise, reading and writing). Usually, a vacation is the end of all good intentions and self-improvement plans, but hopefully not this time. More on that later.
Stay tuned for:
Upcoming podcast episode on the great Indian middle class – Is everyone middle class? Is anyone?