Recently, a friend invited me to join an overnight outing with a group to Lonavla, a lovely area in Pune district, about 60 miles from Mumbai. It is both a town and a hill station, especially popular with tourists during monsoon season when the Western Ghats, part of a mountain chain located entirely in India and a UNESCO World Heritage site, are lush and green and waterfalls flow.
We contented ourselves with eating, drinking, and dancing late into the night, instead of attempting any climbing into the muddy hillsides. The nonstop noise from traffic marred the idyllic setting and was a constant reminder of encroaching civilization on what Wikipedia terms "one of the world's ten hottest biodiversity hotspots."
I enjoyed photographing the little hermit crabs ( not sure if that's really what they were ) that popped up everywhere in the mud. Their antics were certainly amusing.
We stayed in a rustic farmhouse on a large parcel of land owned by a Mumbai builder who was gracious enough to drive us and play host. We camped out, sharing two beds and the floor and laughed and carried on like teenagers, with music from our generation blaring loudly from the SUV speakers, with only the crabs to hear.
Here I am with Ganesh, who was my knight in shining armour throughout the weekend. He was at my side constantly, taking my arm, helping me up and down the steps, bringing me drinks and food, showering me with attention. And, strangely enough, he was a forensic enthusiast, having read every author and book that I had and MORE. Talk about a small world!
Lovely people, a lovely place and special memories to add to my Indian experience.