Being in the lap of nature: My Covid antidote
I found nature can be the biggest healer far from the madding crowd, as I logged off from the outside world
My personal experiences since my return to Delhi from Dubai on a family emergency around 10 weeks ago reinforced the feeling that elemental forces can be incredibly therapeutic. Amid the viral outbreak for a second year in a row, I, for one, could heal “naturally”.
Covid-19 had been playing havoc even in our clean, green, happy and secluded enclave in south Delhi, where five residents succumbed to the viral scourge within a week in early May. That its tentacles could close in on our enclave was a disturbing thought as it is an oasis of splendid isolation, surrounded by the serene and idyllic Aravalli Biodiversity Park.
But the prevailing doom and gloom and the family emergency couldn’t disrupt my daily reunion with nature while almost all my neighbours were running scared even as they hunkered down indoors.
I managed to brave the odds and go out on daily morning walks and evening strolls in at least three of 11 community parks that dot our sprawling six-acre housing complex. It was an exhilarating experience to be up and about to catch the early rays of the morning sun in a city grappling with a second and lethal wave of the contagion.
However, evening strolls weren’t as pleasant as the morning walks because of gusty hot summer winds, unlike the cool breeze at the crack of dawn, where tiny droplets would still cling to blades of grass on the moist ground. I kept up with this routine for around eight weeks till the health emergency at home gradually eased and the mercury was simultaneously rising to an unbearable level.
It was time for a weekend getaway.
I’m a rolling stone, who gets itchy feet at the drop of a hat.
In end-June, as the situation in parts of India, including Delhi, looked set to ease, despite the Delta variant concern, I set out on a whirlwind trip to the tea country in Darjeeling hills, which is nestled in the breathtaking eastern Himalayas.
Though Darjeeling district was reporting the second-highest caseload after Kolkata in West Bengal (the eastern Indian state), my destination, Glenburn Tea Estate, a picturesque plantation amid a dense forest spread over 1,600 acres exuding colonial charm, was mercifully untouched by the contagion and remains that way since my return.
Perhaps the magical misty Glenburn valley, which is located between two mountain-fed rivers — Rung Dung and Rangeet — has the natural prowess to overpower the virus.
I found nature can be the biggest healer far from the madding crowd, as I logged off from the outside world and cocooned myself in the community spirit of Glenburn.
I enjoyed my quiet breakfast under the dappled shade of a pomelo tree, which was laden with ripe fruits. I savoured my lunch on the bright and sunny verandah of a colonial bungalow. In the evening, I sat on the manicured lawns of The Burra Bungalow and went on a trip down memory lane, as the lights from far-off villages across the hill in Badamtam and Ging tea estates sparkled like fireflies under a sheltering sky.
Three days went by in a jiffy while the mellow sunshine on my shoulders made me happy… sunshine in the hills almost always gives me a high.
I hit the road back to Delhi on a Monday, while humming Bob Dylan’s 1962 elegiac number, whose resonance rings louder than ever before amid the new normal:
Well, I’m walkin’ down the line
I’m walkin’ down the line
An’ I’m walkin’ down the line.
My feet’ll be a-flyin...
I see the morning light
I see the morning light
Well, it’s not because
I’m an early riser
I didn’t go to sleep last night.
We all may be walking down the line and living on the edge because Covid-19.
But trust me, this too shall pass, with a little help from therapeutic nature.