Day 116 | 7 May 2015 | Kittur to M K Hubli | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • The soft side of the constabulary, at breakfast point, Belgaum, Karnataka
  • Girls of Sri Kalmeshwar School are cock-a-hoop- as they pose with towering Leena, MK Hubli, Belgaum, Karnataka
  • This car opts to cross the older bridge on the Malaprabha, Belgaum, Karnataka
  • Villagers line up to greet the Padayatra, Itagi Cross, Belgaum, Karnataka
  • 4.
  • This woman washed a stretch of road for the Padayatra to cross, Belgaum, Karnataka
  • 2.
  • The Sun starting to make its appearance behind the little shrine at Bachankeri, Belgaum Karnataka
The dawn after the rains was golden as the sun rose and the morning remained pleasantly cool too. As usual, this pleasure lasted only few hours, till around 8.00 or 9.00 am. After that, it got warmer every minute. The rains,a boon without doubt, also tends to make the afternoons more humid and musty. Today's breakfast had a pleasant surprise awaiting the Yatris; one of the walkers celebrated his 44th wedding anniversary with a cake that disappeared even before it was cut.

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Once again, the padayatra kept away from the hustle and bustle of cities and proceeded on empty highways marked with a few houses here and there. During instances like this,all through the day one gets to see only as many people as one does in an hour in a city. However, people in such remote places are by nature more open, curious and friendly; they often come up to enquire about such large number ofpeople marching under the hot sun. At times, they even demand flyers from the flyer distributors. On the other hand, vehicles invariably zoom past the padayatris on the highway, not paying much attention. Though, at bottlenecks and crossings, when the police stop the traffic, people peer out of the vehicle windows—some wave and smile while some just stare. Does this marked difference between the city-bred and those from the countryside tell us something about the capacity to respond to the unusual or does it speak in relation to time that does not allow one to stand and enquire? The yatris get to witness more open land as they approach the Western Ghats. The terrain has a mild gradient and every now and then one has to climb and descend the gentle slopes. The stretches of land are vast and open and as far as the eye can see. Much to the delight of the padayatris, who have walked through the towns and cities of late, they saw trees once again. But they were far too few and too far away to give the comfort of shade. Once in a while they did come across a lonesome but a majestic tree. The character of farms too changed in this part of Karnataka. The terrain of this region lends itself more to step-farming i.e. when strips of plain land are created by cutting into hills, both by elements and humans At this time of the year one mostly gets to see the sugarcane farms. These were obviously planted recently, for the plants were only a few feet tall and tender green in color. The padayatris also came across many mango trees laden with green mangoes. This day too, there were heart-warming scenes that brought out the simple devotion of the people in these areas – a lady from a village actually washed a stretch of the road for Sri M to walk on! Children and the ladies lined up to greet the padayatris along the stretch. Much can be written on the nature of daylight after rain. The clouds after rains are white and wispy. They seem to be unmoving for they are high up in the heavens, but actually it is not so. One senses the movement when one sees the patterns of light and shadows move back and forth on the road. The light falls down in very distinguishable shafts and if one looks up, one can see light penetrate through openings in the clouds. The clouds drift here and there with almost invisible movement but these shafts of light, one can see them shift clearly. It is as if some playful young God is holding a magnifying glass, hiding behind the clouds, and changing the slant of the glass. The sky in these moments is magnificent and the light shimmers, just as it does, perhaps in mythical fairylands. The padayatris proceeded in this hot and humid climate for two or more hours and reached Sri Kamleshwar English School on the outskirts of Mugut Khan.Hubli, M K Hubli is a small village surrounded on three sides by the river Malaprabha. The village is home to Gangambika Memorial, located on the banks of the river. Gangambika, wife of the12th century poet reformer,Basaveshwara, is said to have breathed her last here. There is a memorial - a Samadhi temple that is now in a dilapidated condition. From here, they were transported to Gopal Jinagouda Bharatesh Hospital, opposite Suvarna Vidhana Soudha. Here, they were assigned to study rooms, ICU wards, maternity wards, and psychiatric wards, laboratories and staff rooms in numbers of two, three and even six to a room. Here the common prank played bythe walkers was to call up their friends and family to inform them that they were in the ICU! In the afternoon, there was a cloudburst and a hailstorm. The howling winds hit the buildings and the deafening sound of the rain and the hail was enough to wake up anyone from their naps. The clouds came down from their journey through their earlier noted heavens and the visibility remained almost zero as long as it rained. As it cleared up, the air was crisp but the day looked very grey. At 4.00 pm, it seemed as if it was 7.00 pm. With no Satsang scheduled in the evening, the defunct hospital became a hub of activities. Some men caught up on gully cricket, while some women played memory games and others enjoyed yet another magical sunset from the rooftop. Once again, it was planned for the yatris to stay here for two days and that meant an hour of extra sleep for the Walkers of Peace and Harmony.

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