Spoilers of Nature

The silence and the sheer beauty of nature are only to be experienced.

Quiet and sedate, swift and green flows the Godavari. With sinuous grace, this second longest river in India and the longest in the south, aptly called Ganga of the South originates at the sacred place of Tryambakeshwar in Maharashtra, not far from the western coast and wends her way across the Deccan plateau to finally merge into the Bay of Bengal, irrigating thousands of acres of land and powering millions of homes in her nearly 1500 km journey to the eastern ocean. 

Parts of the East and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh abut this river, forming some of the most picturesque and scenic spots in the country. Upstream of the city of Rajahmundry, the Godavari stretches for more than two to three kilometers from bank to bank. 

Flanked by the massive Papikondalu mountains, the Godavari twists and turns like a capricious damsel, tantalizingly displaying her charms, now disappearing behind a mount, reappearing suddenly with a fresh attire. 

At some places, the thickly forested mountains descend sharply almost into the waters. The rocks and boulders have been sculpted into stratified formations over thousands of years by the winds and water. At other places, vast stretches with fine river sand extend on both sides. The silence and the sheer beauty of nature are only to be experienced. The soft gurgling of the water as it is cleaved by the bow of the motorboat seems to be in cadence with this symphony of nature. 

As the motor launch slowly chugs along, the panorama unfolds, turning the mind towards an inward journey. Who or what created this magnificence? For what? Maybe a Ravi Varma or Van Gogh or Picasso could have created a work of startling verisimilitude. Only a Wordsworth or Keats could perhaps capture in words this glory of creation.

A sudden splash jolts one out of this reverie. A plastic bottle floats on the water. The speaker belts out the latest film songs. The decibel level is high enough to pulverize the surrounding mountains. On the upper deck, the attendants gyrate to a humoresque, thankfully not risqué piece of music. Facetious and downright asinine jokes make the insensitive tourists clap their hands in appreciation. 

One cannot help wondering whether these people could not have stayed put at home in front of their televisions instead of expending time, effort and money to come all the way for this crass display. Plastic and litter float on the pristine waters. Facebook and Twitter seem to take precedence over this short tryst with nature. While food for the soul begs for takers, food for the body attracts people. Taking everything in her stride, unruffled flows the Godavari.

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