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Wayanad: A Monsoon Drive
11th September 2016

written by -    Mansi Pal


We all love the rain and its antics. She is unpredictable and flaky; she can never make up her mind about the right amount. You either have a parched land or a floating house. Whether she causes havoc or serenades us with her sweet, wet touch, we all wait in anticipation for her to shower us with her love. And when she loves, she loves everything & everyone alike. She lights up the dullest of everyday chores. The grass is brighter, the moss is wilder & the roads turn into a gleaming black carpet bordered with dramatic skylines. For some, the rain is not an inconvenience – it is a temporary reprieve from the dry world that they live in. Even the most dilapidated part of our being & belonging becomes pristine.

A road trip during the monsoons is something everyone must experience. I highly recommend the Konkan coast or the Western Ghats. You will be guided by the cool monsoon breeze, and the saturated color of green will paint your memories forever.

So we decided to take off with our car to Wayanad in Kerala, which is the southern tip of the Deccan Plateau. The approach to Wayanad as you exit the dense deciduous forests is outlined by grasslands & pulsating coconut leaves. Apart from a fascinating story to share with everyone, I am also chronicling my road trip adventure for CEAT Tyres in association with BlogAdda.

The first filter coffee of the day

A road trip out of Bangalore cannot be complete without the legendary filter coffee & masala dosa at Mylari Dosas in Mysore. We plan our exit out of Bangalore for road trips in a way that we hit Mysore just in time for the early morning coffee when the streets are empty & it’s just the newspaper guy & the flower lady who are setting up their shops. These two are occupations for which you need to be an early riser. It is an experience savoring the delicious food while the city of Mysore, a city of palaces, is still asleep.

There were other travelers like us who were giving their long weekend trip an early start to avoid the holiday traffic jams.

The jasmine lady who got teased

As we left the busy highway off Mysore, the roads became more winding & there were some beautiful ascents bordered with green fields & coconut trees. We bought jasmine flowers for our car in Mysore. Here is the sweet jasmine lady who was getting teased by the neighborhood kid for being treated like a movie star, because I was shooting her. I have come across this reaction often while shooting on the streets of India. It is nice to see subjects lighten up.

Road tripping with the sun & the rain

Here is the jasmine, tripping with us to good music & pleasantly inviting highways washed with the early morning rain.

We saw both sunny roads & thrashing rains on this trip. The rain brought with it dark clouds that created abstract illusions on the window pane.

The sun came out again & so did the sunflowers in all their glory.

Humans of the monsoon drive

She was graceful & walked with the elan of a person who has walked this road several times.

This is the bus stand near the Banasura Sagar Dam, the largest earthen dam in India. The rain had turned the bus stop into a swamp. This was the only spot which was dry enough to stand without coming out with wet, muddy shoes.

She was shy but she still smiled an honest smile when I waved at her. She was crossing the road to make her way home through a field as pretty as she was.

This is what I love about bikers. They love it when they ride. It is a commitment that makes them happy. This happiness rubbed on to me too when this beautiful frame filled up with this man & his muse. He waved, I waved back.

She completely camouflaged with the surroundings & yet stood out. She was almost running off to wherever she had to be but slowed down when I pointed the camera at her. I am sorry if I embarrassed her for running.

He sat there looking at us following him.

When the Umbrellas came out

Umbrellas and raincoats are ubiquitous during the monsoons. They are seen almost everywhere, and they appear in all kinds of shapes, colors, and sizes. While it’s a much-romanticized affliction of city dwellers to run around in the rains and get wet, for people living on the fringes of civilization like the ones framed below, it’s almost bordering madness. Because when I got out of the car in pouring rain to shoot them, they looked at me with bewildered amusement. And, I guess, a touch of happiness, as indicated by their smiles.

In summary, I think that one of the most beautiful things in the world is to take a drive through the jungle in the rains. Not only does one get to experience nature at her loveliest, but also the people who are in equal measure loving the rain and trying to escape it too.

Flag spotting

Considering this road trip coincided with the Independence Day weekend we caught glimpses of celebrations all across Wayanad. The enthusiasm among the masses was definitely more upbeat than what we experience in big cities. Here is some flag spotting from Wayanad.

The headmaster’s annual Independence Day speech was blaring from the loudspeakers. No one was even pretending to pay attention. They want freedom to skip this part every year & get to the Payasam quick.