for an outdoor/nature trip to Ragihalli. Was the trip worth it? Emphatically, yes! The children smelt some fruit, felt the texture of some leaves, got distracted by the butterflies...and took care of each other in the most heartwarming way.
The children had visited Lalbagh and Cubbon Park and wanted to go to "actual forest" as one of the more articulate children put it. Certainly, Ragihalli, in the Bannerghatta National Park, fit the bill!
We started from Snehadhara, in J P Nagar, at about 8 am,
and though we navigated Bannerghatta Road quite well, the road deteriorated as we approached Ragihalli, and indeed, with road-laying work, the road was blocked at the village itself, about 3km short of Adavi Field Station.
Nagesh, Dhanu, Shivanaja, and Akshath took care of us while we were there. Dhanu,
whose father Manjunath runs the eatery in Ragihalli where we always stop for piping hot thatte iddli, is quite a keen birder himself, having Akshath as a senior in school, and being trained by him.The field station is willing to conduct bird walks in the area for those who are interested. I took the children from Pramiti School there last month, and so had no hesitation in taking the Snehadhara children there. (Though if I'd known about the road condition, I might have asked for two vans rather than a large bus.)
Our bus negotiated the drive-around with difficulty. It also happened that the area had no power since 5pm the previous day, so Nagesh, his brother Shivananja, and my other friend Akshath....all their phones were without charge, and unreachable.
However, we reached after a delay, and before Akshath took us for a walk, we had a little bit of loosening up and a game of "actions" under the large banyan tree.
Our walk led us through the mulberry plants, and under large trees, to a rock formation where we sat peacefully,
admiring the view over the hill ranges of the Bannerghatta National Park.
Though humid, the cloudy weather enabled us to sit outdoors without worrying about the heat of the sun. We walked back to the field station, where the children had their lunch,
and then slowly drove back from the scrub jungle of Ragihalli to the concrete jungle of Bangalore.
I showed some children and adults various wild flowers, put together in a tiny bouquet
cultivated ones like this Pomegranate,
plants, and some birds. The children definitely seemed to enjoy the outing. We got a few fresh mangoes,
and I feasted on fresh, sweet tamarind from the trees. My personal delight was sighting a rare tree (Firmiana colorata,also called Coloured Sterculia, the last two photos of the album) on the way home through a route that bypassed Ragihalli (the actual village).
Thank you to Snehadhara for providing me with this opportunity to interact with the children. Sunny temparaments like that of Aravind (always with a smile on his face, and so curious about my camera and binoculars!), and quiet personalities like Karthik's were equally fascinating to watch. And...I found that Swetha was my neighbour! The teachers
were so patient and loving with the children, and there was so much happiness in the air!
The cloudy weather ensured that the children did not tire, and it was a very enjoyable trip indeed.
My photos are up on my FB album
No...I didn't click the birds or the butterflies...I was concentrating on the children this time!
On Monday, all going well, I will be taking the wheelchair-bound children (who could not do the Ragihalli walk) to the IIMB campus, where very different kinds of minds will meet, as IIMB kindly allows me to bring special children into an academically high-performance campus for the first time.