Colours of Sahyadri

Nature was, for the longest period of time, something I had read about or oohed and aahed over when I went on picnics and vacations. The words to describe the sights would come easily to anyone who has read any travel article—the cerulean blue of the sky, the fluffy clouds that look like cotton candy, dewdrops shining like diamonds on blades of grass, a lake shimmering like a sheet of glass, the brilliant disc of the full moon, the ink-blue night sky dotted with crystals, the stormy grey of a rain-cloud filled sky—I could go on and on…

Little did I imagine that I would one day be living in the midst of all those words I had read! I had first visited Sahyadri towards the end of March. The hillsides were dappled with shades of brown. Green was visible in patches on tree tops and the lake was far, far away looking as though someone had accidentally set a large sheet of glass with jagged edges in the valley.

I came back towards the end of May and the colours had not changed much—the bright blue sky overhead, the Impressionist orange-red glow of the sunsets, the varying shades of grey-blue on the lake’s surface, mirroring the porcelain white clouds.

... the Astachal sky
… the Astachal sky

The monsoon blew into Sahyadri and how the landscape changed! A riot of colours unfurled itself. The greens came first, from the palest yellow-green of baby leaves to the deep, dark rich green of the older ones who had seen a few summers. The blue of the sky changed to iron grey, molten grey and silver grey depending on the whims of the rain gods. The white clouds turned grey and then black with the effort of holding in all the raindrops. Then came the flowers in the deepest of butter yellows to the fieriest of reds, oranges, an artist’s palette of blues and violets, and the babiest of baby pinks, milky whites, and waxy creams. The jagged edges of the glass lake seemed to smoothen themselves out and reflect the spectacle of the grey and black skies.

Bheema at the outset of the Monsoon
Bheema at the outset of the Monsoon

I have been here for four months now and each day has brought fresh enchantment as I watch the myriad shades of sunshine through the leaves, butterflies clad in the colours of the skies, the leaves and the flowers, and make fresh discoveries, such as the pale-green Moon Moth, the fierce-looking Owl Moth, the humongous Atlas Moth.

I now look forward to the next term and seeing the greens fade into yellows and the yellows into browns, the skies regaining their porcelain shimmer, the clouds their candy fluff, and the sunsets their vibrant oranges.

– Seema Srinivas


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