Beauty and the Beast: The peculiar Rann of Kutch Part - I


We’d driven from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, part of it on the super modern Mahatma Gandhi Expressway which is without doubt one of India’s finest roads. We’d then gone bavk a couple of decades when we arrived in Dasada, a rustic little village at the edge of the little Rann of Kutch. The roads were more suited to bullock-carts, and women in colourful attire drew water from deep of wells as the womenfolk of the village had done for centuries before.

We’d driven from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, part of it on the super modern Mahatma Gandhi Expressway which is without doubt one of India’s finest roads. We’d then gone bavk a couple of decades when we arrived in Dasada, a rustic little village at the edge of the little Rann of Kutch. The roads were more suited to bullock-carts, and women in colourful attire drew water from deep of wells as the womenfolk of the village had done for centuries before.

Next morning, with the resident guide Junaid strapped in to the rear seat, we set off to explore the Rann and photograph some wild asses. We crossed the railway line at an unmanned level crossing, only after I first put my ear to the track to be absolutely sure there was no train coming, since the crossing was just after a wide sweeping curve.

Haveing a guide is essential because parts of the Rann are bogs which are very dangerous to drive a car into. Juniad was with us for this very reason – to steer us clear of these quicksand areas.

From my vantage point on the window, I saw the herd bifurcate as if to avoid an onstacle in their centre. The very same instant Juniad yelled a sharp warning, but my friend at the wheel was hot on the chase and it was a long second before he hit the brakes, but it was too late. The wild asses had led us into a deadly bog.

Junaid whipped out his phone and called his pals Sailesh and Kamlesh and nilesh. Now, calling them and having them arrive were two different things, not because the trio lacked enthusiasm but because the mad chase had left us bereft of any sense of direction. I had to climb on the car and pan the horizon for the railway line that was our only landmark. Half as hour after our location was communicated. Junaid’s pals arrived on old Rajdoot motorcycle and with a lot of pushing, swearing and sweating we managed to get the car unstuck.

Continued............in Part II


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Beauty and the Beast: The peculiar Rann of Kutch Part – II

The Rann may look flat and arid but life goes on here too. On our way back we crossed groups of namds with their livestock. One group even invited us to share a breakfast of the thick bajra rotis (flat bread made of milet) and sweet camel milk in earthen cups.

More articles: Beauty and the Beast

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