December 6th,2014. A drive from Bhuj to Dhordo, Kutch.
Afternoon. The day was clear and still. The Sun was beating down mercilessly over the overwhelmingly flat barren land. And some short thorny shrubs which must be quite resilient to the broiling heat, were unevenly spread on the either side of the long highway. It was the third day of our trip without rest and it seemed to me that our eyes had carried forward the past two day’s sleep. We would fall asleep anytime given a place to sit. One could even feel the warmth of the place just by closing one’s eyelids.
The distant heat waves rose from the ground and the mirages flashed on the surface of the road, now and then. An intense drowsiness washed over us. I—leaning back lazily at the rear seat of the car—would either lift my heavy head with the aim of searching for some unique birds or let it fall. To my surprise, even with those languid eyes, I was able to spot a variety of bird species—Chestnut bellied Sandgrouse, Indian Roller, Drongo, Common Sandpiper and Common Crane.
Though we seemed devoid of energy, we were all waiting to reach the salt desert, as we imagine with delight what the place would look like on a full moon day on the country’s much awaited event – ‘Rann Utsav 2014’. As I reach Kutch, a whirl of thoughts and a crave for surprises rush to my desperate heart which has now, traveled miles to soak in the barren beauty of the White Rann.
December 6th,2014. Evening. At the Salt desert.
The beauty of the desert is kept simple. There was no tree, no dune, no sand, no shrub as far as the eyes can see. The absolute flatness of the arid land can create a multitude of illusions for a creative mind. Sunrise, Sunset and Moon-rise render colors and crowd to the otherwise barren land. The camels were decorated in their colorful best.
The Sun was sinking below the horizon, fusing it into gold, through which shone a calm, yellowish-orange sky. The silhouetted crowd was far-flung across the length of the visible horizon. While the Sun brightly lit up the colorful scene: well dressed women and children, pavilions and crowds of visitors, a mellow breeze carried assorted voices of the visitors who were busy taking selfies with their families and friends.
Despite the presence of hundreds of people at the desert, a pensive solitude was just a few steps away from where I stood. And there, I knelt down to the ground and had a closer look at the salt marsh and marveled at the observations—the land was embedded by densely packed salt grains which rendered a coarse texture and these grains of salt were seldom lifted up in the air or swept by the wind. The salt marsh was not rigid enough to withstand heavy-footed steps as it was too wet and soft to walk on. The grimy footsteps of the crowd wouldn’t make the land lose its white.
As the evening was drawing to closure on the west, the full Moon gracefully rose above the horizon on the east. The beauty was breathtaking and meditative. It appeared to me that the Moon’s pace was faster than usual and the entire landscape was moon-lit under the midnight-blue sky. Far away from the invisible crowd, everything was immobile except the Moon. The desert was glowing in the moon light with luster, that seemed to emanate from within.
While the air chilled considerably, I stole away one last sight at the glowing desert and hurried to join the crowd at the pavilion. A sudden rush of happiness and contentment brimmed within me as I realized my dream turned to reality – The Great Rann of Kutch on a Full Moon Day!