Taking the chill pill in Bali

Its that time of the year when I thought it would be most appropriate to take the chill pill. To get away from it all and bask in nothingness, far away from the hustle and bustle, to de stress and rejuvenate the tired self. I also think its an appropriate time to take a mini break from writing on my favourite topics that I absolutely relish. It is also hopefully a vacation from the responses that artistically paint me into a conniving and deceitful fox that writes with vested interests for the opposition party and a respite from those hilarious comments that desperately mould me into a communal witch. No, I don’t sit on a broomstick, but sit on level ground and here I am writing about the place that I am currently vacationing in – ‘Bali’ and sharing some pictures of this wonderful island with the lovely blogosphere. Bali indeed does provide manna for the tired soul and I am sure it would garner some interesting responses even for an innocent topic as a ‘vacation in Bali’! Sigh.
I write this as I overlook a grand turquoise blue Indian Ocean and to the sound of crashing waves against jagged rocks that juts haphazardly over gleaming sand and a setting sun, my fingers move lazily over the Mac. The serene setting evokes some interesting poetry as well, but I shall save that for later.

Two days ago, the flight into Bali on a Cathay Pacific flight into Denpasar was non eventful and the four and a half hour flight from Hong Kong allowed me to catch up with a horror flick called the ‘Insidious’, a Crossword puzzle and to soothing Hindi & Tamil songs (which was delightfully available on the entertainment console), glided into the capital of the province of Bali, Denpasar. We were happily greeted by a chap called Ketut, who served as a guide come driver and on enquiry into what “Ketut” meant, he proudly exclaimed, “ The fourth child in Bali is called such, as “Ketut” means number four”. The locals are friendly and tourism is the largest single industry of Bali. The economy was marred significantly post the Bali bombings by Islamic militants in 2005, but the economy since then has revived greatly.
90% of Bali’s population are Hindus and the performing Arts and the locals of Bali usually put up dance dramas from the Ramayana. According to the Balinese, the Ramayana unfolded in Bali and the monkey island that was home to Hanuman & Sugreev where in the immediate neighbourhood and Ravana too lived in the vicinity of the Java Sea. It was fascinating to watch the dance drama being performed in an open-air theatre at dusk, the theatre perched high on a cliff in Obud that opened into the glorious Indian Ocean. The dance drama (known as Kecak dance) did not involve any music and the natives used their vocal chords and provided the background score by repeatedly uttering the words “chak chak chak”. Kecak is said to have its origins in trance rituals and that probably explained a lot of excitement around the theatre. One must keep an eye for gibbering monkeys enroute to the open-air theatre; they hold utmost fascination for sunglasses. I was warned.

The Hindu temples of Bali are grandly sculpted and ornately decorated but the ancient temples lack adequate maintenance and left to stand ever since they were constructed ten centuries ago. I visited the Besakih temple, also known as the “Mother temple of Bali” that stands loftily on Mount Agung at 3000 feet above sea level. There are numerous steps that ascend at different levels of Mount Agung and the trinity shrines dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are encompassed in august courtyards.

And there is Bali’s geo diversity, which did hold me spellbound. An active volcano of Mount Batur at Kintamani spews molten lava every few years and has erupted around twenty four times since 1800. Kintamani is serene and picturesque with an azure Batur lake that is a major source of irrigation.

And what better way to wind down than by basking in the sights and sounds of picturesque Bali. A walk through lush coffee plantations and watching the natives prepare Bali coffee the traditional way by taking in a whiff of the aromatic roasted coffee beans has been invigorating.

I am for the moment quite enjoying the chill pill that I am taking. Like all good things that come to an end, so will this break. But, before I leave, a bit of what came to my mind when I started writing this blog at the time of the setting sun over the magnificent Indian Ocean.

Its that time of the day when birds fly south
A gentle ripple on the still waters breaks the silence
I drift in the lingering sweet nothings from your mouth
The sky slowly bleeds its tangerine essence…


2 Responses to “Taking the chill pill in Bali”

  1. Thanks for the pics. Bali sure looks and sounds inviting. Now can’t wait to listen to the poet in you..

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