B is for Boisterous Fruit Bats
April 2016, Kumarakom, Kottayam District, Kerela, India
It was a balmy evening in God’s Own Country (Kerela), as I sat by the banks of Vembanad lake gazing at the cerulean sky, gradually turning into a shade of grey and then charcoal. The girls, DH & I had walked to the Vembanad lake that languorously kissed the banks of our getaway. We were excited to catch a glimpse of the amorous setting sun. But as luck would have it, the skies were suddenly blurred by grey petulant clouds, and the setting sun disappeared into their haze. We dug into some vada-chutney and piping hot masala chai (tea). The DH and I had returned from a relaxing Ayurvedic spa and the girls were engrossed in getting their hands adorned with henna.
The two of us sat silently experiencing the evening stillness that merged with the occasional sound of the Vembanad waters gently brushing against the water hyacinths along the waterfront. We were waiting for a colony of fruit bats that usually arrived, regular as clockwork with the onset of dusk. As the sun headed home every evening, these creatures of the dark made their way from the jungles nearby, to feast on the innumerable fruit laden trees dotting the length and breadth of the property.
I decided to walk towards the pier at the edge of the lake, and as I sat by myself revelling in the silence; far from the pandemonium of the city, I was suddenly shaken out of my reverie by the loud flapping sound of wings. As I looked up, I saw hundreds, yes I kid you not, hundreds of fruit bats, the size of small dogs flying overhead. I made myself comfortable and lay on my back. Enamoured, my eyes feasted on the phenomenal spectacle and the sheer numbers that soared the skies in search of their supper. Even though they flew independently; ahead or behind, they seemed so united and in sync with each other. It appeared they were motivating one another to fly faster and make a grab for the supper that awaited them.
This was one truly breathtaking moment! Yes, one that gives rise to sudden epiphanies in the mind and the soul. I thought to myself, if we joined hands as a team; at home, at work, with our families, in our communities we could attain so much. Just like these fruit bats that went foraging for food every evening, together as brethren. These surreptitious creatures also lived by a routine. An equally pertinent habit for us to cultivate and stay in line with – to eat on time, to work on time, to sleep on time and to celebrate the precious moments of life. Nature and all things natural don’t change their course. They follow their body clocks and the rhythm of life. I think we have begun to lose this attribute slowly but surely, engrossed and trapped in the follies of technology, screen, and the break neck scramble of life. Thereby plunging deep into ill-health, stress, communication gap, competitiveness and so on so forth.
Time to pause and think, time to look at nature and imbibe it’s subtle messages, time to live and create a life well lived.
And you thought bats were ghostly and eerie! :-))