Monday, September 25, 2006

The Razor's Edge

I had my best weekend of this year to date. My friend M used to say I loved to live the characters of a book and this time it just coincidentally so happened that I was straight in a situation where life imitated art.

A nice co-worker of mine extended me an invitation to join him at his ranch for the weekend. We picked up charcoals,meat,sodas,ec (the usual stuff) and drove out in a monster 4x4 all the way to his ranch.

By the time we were off-road close to the ranch I knew I was in for something special .It had a beautiful road winding up to the mountain (almost picture perfect) and the only place where we could actually sit on the middle of the road and smoke.We also found a lovely bunch of Wild turkeys across the road.The way to the ranch also had to pass through other people's ranches and hence it involved opening something like 10 gates before we were in his ranch (reminded me of the movie "The Ninth Gate" which is a very cool one to watch). The funny part was each ranch owner had his lock on each of those gates and opening any one would leave the gate open.Very nice idea I must say.

And then we went up through a canyon to our desired destination which exactly looked like Walden. I mean to the letter perfect. The only sounds I could hear was the sounds of a distant woodpecker on a tree and the rattling of a housefly's wings. This particular house is nestled on a small hillock situated between 2 peaks. Whats more my co-worker made sure it had all modern amenities like DirecTV, A/C, etc in the middle of nowhere. Then we had a nice barbeque using the grill under a tree. After a sumptous dinner, we moved towards a place where we used a bunch of quarter-logs to create a campfire while sipping beer. Then I just glanced up to see the whole sky lit up with stars. Being in Urban locations deprives you of the complete view of the sky. We were following the milky way, ursa major and orion the hunter. We could hear the coyotes howl in the middle of the night and smiled to ourselves that we had fire (It was a moon less night and fire is guaranteed to scare away any such animal). It was just cool to end the day like that.

Woke up early morning,made coffee and then I saw a giant cargo container (like the ones used for shipping). While I was wondering what was housed inside it, I saw a buch of quails pass through our path. Then quietly sipping coffee I spotted a weaver bird (or something like it) right on top of my head around the tree. It was a beautiful structure. After drinking in the sunlight sitting around and watching all kinds of birds (I saw Magpies too) I went in the cargo container and saw a mini tool shop(had all kinds of axes, sawzalls,power tools) but what caught my eye was the 3 ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles much like Kinetic Honda but larger in size). Hopping up on one of those we decided to explore the terrain. My colleague offered to show me a nice spot and we went riding on it across the mountains. While negotiating the ridgeline between two peaks I beheld a magnificent sight of the valleys below me.

He took me to a plane crash site where an old Cessna seems to have crashlanded with its tires were in the bushes (yeah! Dunlop is Dunlop) some metal plates on the grass and some other debris. But then the beauty was not about the crash but about the site. Looked like a mustard plantation but it happened to be a dry grass of some sort. This is where I saw the most beautiful butterfly in my life. It was very small but had an exquisite fractal like shape etched on its wings with a symmetric precision. I followed it for a while only to see that there was also this huge dragonfly (just like those big aircraft carriers which carry planes inside their bellies). A few honeybees were hovering around a hive in a tree.I clearly see the bluejays open their wings and close immediately almost like that of a hop skip jump motion that leaves a flicker of blue in your eyes. The wind had an upwardly draft and for one moment when it hit my face I suddenly felt I became one with the universe :)

Shape I may take, converse I may, but neither god nor Buddha am I, rather an insensate being whose heart thus differs from that of man

On our way back, just like old times we chopped some firewood out of Oak. Then I had a surprise. My co-worker bought a set of handguns for target practicing.I Never held a gun in my life (apart from the winchester bolt-action rifle used in NCC) and I was given the lowest powered one in his repertoire. It happens to be a 9mm Ruger P89. It was very hard to land one shot on the target board leave alone bulls eye. The recoil, hand posture and stance completely make it hard for an inexperienced guy like me. All in all, I can see why these toys can be quite additcive. Gives you a sense of power and all those adrenalin rushing sensations. It was still fun to fire them just like I shoot golf balls at the driving range.

We had some nice hot dogs for lunch over the charcoal grill. Rested for a while watching "The Last of the Mohicans" on an old 1960 RCA telly. Finally as it was about to get dark we wrapped up, turned off solar panel/generator/water supply, etc locked up and started to return.

The way back was almost a zoological expedition. We first saw a coyote being chased out of a range by 2 horses. Then we saw a rattlesnake at a distance but the best sighting was that of a wild boar eating acorns.Actually found 3 of them with black bodies and white tusks. Cows and Horses are always expected in a ranch but not this much wild life. A few cottontail rabbits crossed our trail on the way back and at the gates.I cam back watching those mountains make way to the causeways and back to the city.

The whole point of this incident is that I managed to understand the "Kafka On the Shore"

You sit at the edge of the world,
I am in a crater that’s no more.
Words without letters
Standing in the shadow of the door


Now I know how riddles form a part of the solution. I need to go sleep now. Or if you prefer Dream..

1 comment:

Hirak said...

I am reading Murakami's Wind-Up Bird. It's quite meditative and I was recommended to read Kafka on the Shore next.