One viewpoint, two points of view

One viewpoint, two points of view

Representative image. Credit: Pixabay Photo

It was a hot day. The sun would be setting shortly. Tourists were making a beeline for the “Sunset Viewpoint” at Agumbe, in the Western Ghats. On a clear evening, a breathtaking view of the sun setting into the Arabian Sea awaits you there. Agumbe is a nature lover’s delight. It is one of the rainiest places in India. It is the habitat of the king cobra. Leopards, macaques, langurs, wild dogs, jackals, porcupines, deer and flying squirrels inhabit the Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary down below. The great Indian hornbill and the Malabar whistling thrush add colour to the skies here. Seethanadi, flowing nearby is home to mahseer and otters.

It is the view of the setting sun which attracts tourists. The viewpoint is full of tourists now. A group of youngsters is boisterously singing a popular number, the end of which brings raucous laughter. Now it is selfie time. The group becomes as compact as possible. Someone’s missing? A quick look all around and they spot the missing person. “Chachoo”, yells one, “Where are you? Come quickly, before the sun sets.” Chachoo, clearly not interested, looks away disdainfully. The youngsters assume an indifferent attitude and get busy clicking selfies.

An observant bystander walks up to the clearly disgusted gentleman, “What happened?”
It is like touching a raw nerve, “I brought my nephews and nieces settled abroad here hoping they would see nature in its pristine glory and learn to love it. All they care for is selfies. Look at that sun, how beautiful it looks! Even those two macaques seem to be admiring it. Look at those beautiful birds chirping there, before nesting for the night. Have we come all the way from Udupi for selfies here? When will they learn about nature and its charms?”

One niece comes over and counters, “We have gathered from different places after many years. We may not get a chance to meet like this again. The Agumbe sunset and nature here will remain for eternity. We can see it later. But Chachoo…” The sun has exited the grand stage. Some birds are still chirping. The macaques are foraging the discarded plastic.
Finally, the Sunset Viewpoint is enveloped in darkness and silence. Still, you can hear the buzzing of insects and the rustling of the tree leaves in the cool, gentle breeze which is now blowing. But the diametrically opposite views of the two generations represented by an uncle and his young niece will haunt the observant bystander for a long time.