Only the widest angle lens can do justice to the sheer spread of Nature that is Coonoor.
Snuggled next to its more popular cousin, Ooty, that is teeming with tourists, Coonoor retains its serenity and sanity, as a happy result.
Remnants of the British who regarded Coonoor as a summer retreat are evident in the names of streets and markets, bakeries and quaint cottages spilling over with a profusion of vivacious flowers.
Perched on the mountains in spontaneous rows, the houses spring up in daring shades of pink, blue, green and even neon, as if trying hard to match the vivacity of the flora.
At 8000 ft above sea level, Coonoor has some of the highest tea estates in the world. As the car hugs the winding road, a gorgeous green thick carpet of neatly arranged tea plantations looks like a pattern of glistening waves.
Through the rolled down windows, the mist swoops down the blue mountains, and brushes your face, and brings in the unmistakable fragrance of eucalyptus infused with the sharp scent of pine. Interspersed with the birdsong of the Tickell’s Leaf Warbler, Indian Blackbird,Brown-breasted Flycatcher and the
Coonoor. Every scene is framed and feted with all the senses.
Happiness is a summer breeze sailing by suddenly. Releasing the fragrance of paayri, mogra and jamun into the languid Sunday morning air. Like a dab of paint dropped into water, spreading and swirling into it, till the entire water acquires a deep tint.
Happiness is a swift summer breeze lifting wisps of hair from a hot brow, leaving behind a cooling touch as refreshing as talc on a baby after bath. Like a warm memory unearthed unexpectedly from the soil of time.
Happiness is a summer breeze swooping in through the sunlit kitchen window at breakfast, stirring through the aromas – the golden sizzling corn on butter, the fluffy pancake of the girdle spread with honey, the coffee gurgling on the stove- till they all become one big wholesome fragrance that percolates the house making it more of a home, a happy memory.
Yes it is summer, and it is hot and the sun beats down, relentless on the day, but then along comes one wave of summer breeze, winding through the busy streets, and all of a sudden, the colours of summer come alive on its breath: the hand-carts with white slabs of ice, the drops of melted water running down its sides; sliced spring-green cucumbers arranged with a dash of tangy rock salt; water melon halves like smiles, the deep juicy red offset by an emerald green; the ice cream carts on bicycles straight out of picture book, piled with cones and flavours – strawberry, mango, black currant, chocolate – the fuschias, muaves, oranges and browns in a cheery tango.
There is splendour in every season, and the summer breeze brings with it all that is happy and fragrant and colourful and delicious about the months that turn the corner into the monsoons.