When The Desert Turned White - Rann Of Kutch (Rann Utsav) Skip to main content

When The Desert Turned White - Rann Of Kutch (Rann Utsav)

In the darkroom and past midnight, I and my two friends decided to plan a trip. But the place should be something that does not dig deep into our pockets and gives a lifetime memorable experience as well. While my friend Harish (yeah! we share the same name, unfortunately) asked me, "Is there a place where you wanted to go?".  This question hit me with a place that I have been struggling to go for the past two years. A place which is as far as Indian borders could stretch, as colourful as a child's smile and as memorable as "once in a lifetime" place. I instantly said, "Let's go to Rann of Kutch to see Rann Utsav".  Not to my surprise, my other friend, Aminul said, "Where is this place?" and Harish added, "What is there to see?".

I knew that pictures will speak louder than my words. I googled quickly, "Rann Utsav Kutch" and showed them the images. I am quite sure I showed them this image:


rann utsav



With a smile on both of their faces and mind being at Rann of Kutch, they both agreed to go to the place. The plan was to witness Rann Utsav, the biggest and most colourful fair hosted on the borders of India in the Kutch district witnessing millions of footfalls every year. It was a long dream for me to visit the Rann Utsav and just feel the voice in ears, "Esme Khushbu Hai Gujarat Ki". Within the next couple of hours, the car was booked, the train was booked and the hotel was shortlisted. The plan was to visit the white desert (Rann of Kutch) in December 2019.





On the eighth of December, we boarded the train from New Delhi Railway Station To Ahmedabad Junction and not surprisingly, I caught the train at the last moment when it already had started. Aminul had never been in a Rajadhani train and was new to the hospitality of the crew. It was an overnight journey and the train was as punctual as Mahatma Gandhi. Maybe because we were in his home state. We had to take the car from here and drive it to Rann of Kutch which was 400 kilometres away. We were excited and in excitement bought so much of snacks for the road trip that we could not finish it till the last day. From Ahmedabad, we went to Bhuj and then to Kutch. It was already past dinner time when we entered the resort near Rann of Kutch. The resort was made of mud-huts and the smell of the soil still please my nose as I write this blog. It was a resort that gave a rural experience without crossing the lines of luxury. They had all the arrangements for the people from the city. We were in Kutch but Rann of Kutch was 19km away from there and Rann Utsav was hosted there only. Tired of all the driving and all the songs we sang, we slept within minutes after having a delightful dinner.


mud huts kutch



The next morning was hot as summer. We were coming from 14 degrees to 30 degrees right now. But who cares about the heat when our mind is full with pictures of the desert in Rann of Kutch. We decided to visit Kalo Dangar (the highest point in Kutch) and then go to the Rann Utsav in the evening. Kalo dangar was not amusing for me after graduating from the queen of hills. I have seen a lot of mountains in my life. At that time, Rann Utsav was what it was in my mind. My friends were busy picturing every moment into the cameras. A thing that I do not usually like but given we are all different, they have their own personalities. They were happy at that place. We left after a couple of hours to the resort to eat some lunch and then left for the Rann Of Kutch at 4 in the evening to witness Rann Utsav. 




The road to Rann of Kutch was surrounded by vast inhabitable land with just a few dry trees and a few buffaloes. But, that road was leading to a beautiful white desert. Rann Utsav started with a series of flags and tons of boards with the tagline for 2019 Kutch festival "Banayein Rann Ki Kahaniyan". This scenario made us feel special like some VIP guests are arriving at the event. Towards the Rann Of Kutch, a BSF soldier stopped us and asked us to take the permission for entering as it is border sensitive area. And just so you know, the border lies with Pakistan. Within 10 minutes we had the passes in our hands and the road was clear to the desert. A desert that was as white as snow and as vast as something can be. Till the point we saw, everything was white. Yes, it was a white desert. A desert of salt. We were standing on one of the largest salt deserts in the world; Rann of Kutch. Although we knew the destination we never imagined it to be as beautiful as it was.

Rann Utsav In rann Of Kutch



We jumped on the salt. My feet breaking the salt cover of the desert and sinking into the mud beneath. My friends were smiling at each other. It was an experience you cannot recreate. We were walking on the marshlands above the salt layer knowing there is mud beneath. I looked at the horizon. As far as I could see, I saw just one colour: white. It was stretched to miles and miles ahead of me. The sunrays reflected the salt, blinding and forcing us to wear sunglasses. We spent a couple of hours just walking on the salt but our hearts could not be filled. All of us had two priorities on the Rann Utsav trip: to see the salt marshland and to do paramotoring. Paramotoring is similar to paragliding but on a motorcycle kind of vehicle. The problem was we looked in all the direction but could not see anyone doing that. It was time for sunset already. All three of us were very excited about that. But, we finally made our minds that our dream will remain a dream and we started to go back to the village at the time of sunset.






On our way, we saw a folk group singing folk melodies at a stage in the Rann Utsav. I stopped the car and we went outside to please our ears for 2 minutes when Aminul sees a bike flying in the air. A moment to remember when all the three of us looked at the same angle in the same direction. Our eyes were bright and the heart was light. We parked the car and ran towards the canopy fearing that they must be packing up because it was getting dark. "Yes, boys!! Want to do paramotoring?" asked a man on a motorcycle with long hairs. "Yes", I said quickly. "Come I will take you to the boss", he said and screamed in the direction of a parked van. A man came outside from the back who looked like an experienced man. His skin tightened on the neck. His hairline was visible with short hairs, maroon shirt tucked into his jeans and with a strong voice he said, "It's time for calling it a day but I guess I will extend it to three more rides."





The smile on Harish's face was struggling to meet the ends of his face, Aminul asked, "What's the price?" and the man shot his gun right where it would hurt the most, "3000 per person."
"Damn! That's too expensive", Aminul said. We tried to negotiate to which he said if all three will take the ride, I will adjust the price to 2500 per person. I was ready. I asked both of my friends and standing on the orange salt marshland because of the setting sun and with a heavy heart they both said, "It's out of our budget, we won't take that ride." Rann Utsav was all about desert and paramotoring. I knew the importance of it and hence I asked them to borrow money from me and return it whenever they will get. They denied keeping their integrity intact. I asked them a couple more times but they both denied. Hence, I went alone. I told the man, "I will go alone." He charged me 3000 INR and said, "Come, you will ride with me and not my disciples. I am the owner of this institute. We will have fun. Just sign this agreement that if anything happens to you, I am not responsible."




Those were two contradictory statements he made in one second. With a poker face, I signed the agreement and sat on the bike ready to take off. "Ready for take-off!!" He screamed. Two of his students raised their thumbs in the air and the fan behind the bike started. The bike ran and we took off our wheels above the land. Like a linear graph, we gained height as much as he wanted. The ride was for five minutes but the time was slow up there. From up above, I could see tens of miles ahead. The dusk light made it more memorable. I saw tens of saltwater pits arranged like scrabble pieces. I saw vast forest land as far as I could see. I saw the same barren land that had skinny trees. I saw my friends down below. "Are you having fun?", the man asked. "Yes!!", I said while smiling and gulping ton of air. "This ride will be more than five minutes! You are my guest! Welcome to Rann of Kutch Utsav!!", he said to me. I smiled at his kind gesture. He turned the bike and took a long circle in the sky. We landed in 7 minutes approx. "Did you like it?", he asked while knowing what I would say. "Yes, a lot!!". I said. The same question was asked by my friends.


paramotoring at rann utsav




Paramotoring was once in a lifetime experience. A lot more fun than paragliding. The height was much more and the speed was much more. But most importantly, my dream came true when we landed back on the Rann of Kutch's salty land. One more check on the bucket list. I know my friends would have kept a heavy stone on their chest while imprinting their footsteps on the muddy soil in the opposite direction. I wish they could experience the same. The balance between the sorry I was feeling and the happiness I was feeling stopped me from talking too much about it. I wanted to talk about it in excitement but it would have been more upsetting for both of them. I wished they would say, "We have decided to ride too" when I landed. But they didn't. I wish they would someday be able to take off on that bike, if not from that while salty Rann of Kutch during Rann Utsav, but anywhere in the world. It would satisfy my heart that day.


Comments

  1. Satisafction gives much more happiness..than anything else.

    ReplyDelete

Post a comment

Popular Posts

A Better Path To Satisfaction

On a Sunday morning, a very famous Indian actor Sushant Singh Rajput committed suicide in his flat in Bandra, Mumbai. Although there was no suicide note, a lot of theories have emerged regarding his attempt to end his life. I am tired of a new theory coming every day and reading them does not bring us to any conclusion. But the main essence of every theory is, "Sushan Singh Rajpur was lonely and under depression."



Depression, a word that has taken a toll on a number of patients in the last decades. Except for the pockets of psychiatrists and hospital fund, depression is harmful. Loneliness and depression are often constituted together because of the relationship as the more lonely you are, the more you think and the more you get frustrated. During our evolution as human beings, we discovered that one man is easy prey, but 10 men are predators. This evolutionary process made us what we are today i.e. social animals. We are so social that the hardest punishment of all in prison…

A Different Side To India China Skirmish || India-China Faceoff

Let's start at the beginning of where everything began. On December 2019, a new virus was identified into existence by WHO. A virus that the WHO was not sure about but tracing the infected people back to their travel history, each one of them had visited China. Not only China and anywhere but at a specific city called Wuhan which is quite big in size as well as population. The virus was found zoonotic and there are thousands of zoonotic viruses that do not spread to humans. The virus originating in Wuhan was inspected under the microscope and had similar properties to the SARS virus which erupted in 2003 all around the world. This virus had a crown-like structure on its boundaries and hence was named CORONA which literally means crown in Latin. With its behaviour resembling the SARS virus, it was also called SARS- 2 or SARS-COVID-2 or simply COVID 19. COVID-19 is an abbreviated term to COrona VIrus Disease 2019. This is just the background and I know very well that since our lives…

Signs We Ignored - Part 2

In the midst of heavy rain, we decided to go ahead with the plan. I took my phone and the power bank with me. Raman took his phone. As we stormed down from the stairs, the rain started getting worse. "Are you sure it's a good idea?", I asked him with rain dominating over my voice. "Just a matter of minutes and we will be inside the car", a confident Raman said. "Alright then, let's go ahead with the plan".

READ SIGNS WE IGNORED PART 1

I sat in the back and Raman drove the scooty. There was water everywhere. I was soaked in water in just a few minutes. I tried to hide behind Raman as much as I could, but the weather was so damn bad, I could not escape. I was wondering how my friend was fighting with those thorny little drops. It was around 1.6 km in distance including all the U-Turns and service lane cuts. Finally, we reached our destination.




"We have a booking for Tata Bolt," I said in a slightly louder tone to the Drivezy agent. "

A Journey Towards The Pink City - Jaipur

"Beep! Beep! Beep!", I woke up to my alarm sound. It's 8:30 in the morning. Normally I do not wake up this early. But, today I need to travel to Jaipur. I have booked a car for my journey and I need to pick it up at 9 am. This is not a restricted time boundations booking. I can go and pick it up anytime after 9. I checked my mobile phone and see the location of the car has been shared with me. Great! I walk outside my flat in New Delhi at around 9:30. The destination is just 15 minutes away. Cool!



I took an auto to reach the destination as it was cheaper and faster. It is a really beautiful sunny day. The roads are as usual filled with cars in the capital. 12 minutes to the destination and I open my Zoomcar app once again. The location and the car details are gone now. They don't even show any upcoming bookings on the app. Could be a glitch, I thought and looked outside. People are rushing towards their offices this Friday. 4 more minutes to reach the destination. I…

A DAY BEFORE LONG NIGHTS - THE LANDING || PART 10

As I mentioned earlier, I was seeing double from the first day till now. My eyes did not improve even a little for many days. Everything I used to see was double. Two doors, two mobile phones, two coffee cups everything. The doctor said my pupils are not moving synchronously as they should and hence you are seeing two images of everything. The images are seen separately by both the eyes but our brain combines it as one, while in your case it is still two images. But, you will be fine with time. With time. This is a very vague sentence. There is no specific maximum limit nor there is any medicine. You will see normally with time. Hence, I waited for "the time".

Two days after I came home after being discharged, I picked up my father's phone, opened chrome browser and typed, GB Syndrome patients case studies. I wanted to know how much time? How everyone else have managed and how much time they took. I needed to know. I needed to be prepared at least. I read three case stu…

THE UNTOLD STORY OF A FEW GOOD MEN - KHEERGANGA || Part 2

I climbed to the peak with a dog whose both eyes had different colours. A disease maybe. The scenic beauty of Kheerganga trek is something you cannot miss and would crave for later in your life. It was a hard trek, especially for someone who does not trek regularly. The path was natural, unpaved and quite narrow. At some places, there was no path at all due to the landslide happened just a night before. It was tiresome to climb such a trek for 14 kilometres but I had a companion that I told about in The Untold Story Of A Few Good Men. I reached the top of Kheerganga trek at around 5 in the evening. It was very cold at the peak. Nearly about 12-15 degrees. But thankfully there was a hot spring bath at the top. A hot spring bath is all you need after such a growing latitude. I booked a tent and quickly went for the bath. It was the best. The natural hot water flowing continuously and in the centre of the highest peaks you can see them capped with snow. I spent nearly an hour there. It …

THE MOST UNUSUAL SOLO TRIP - REACHING GANGTOK || PART 3

"Can it be fixed?" were my words as I was so doubtful about the final result. He said, "yes, yes, look what I will do, I will take this rope and tie this to this spring and remove the mudguard by hammering it. Although tyres will not be straight as the spring is broken but since there is no mudguard, what will they touch to? And the spring which was hanging, I will tie it.". This was his solution. I smiled at him and he smiled back, I knew he would do it but I was not sure about the final destination whether it will be Gangtok or some village where this car will finally breakdown.

I rushed towards the two boys who were smoking a cigarette under a shed of a house about 10-15 meters away. The visibility was just 5-8 meters by then. I could just see the main road and the people sitting outside their house where I was standing. Another boy who was sitting beside me in the cab also asked the same question to the driver and he gave him the same answer. While I was sure …

The Story Of The Butterfly Effect With A Stranger

Have you ever felt that every small decision that you take and every small change that happens around you, that could have happened, either way, can change the outcome of certain events? Have you ever experienced the butterfly effect in real life? I never did until something so coincidental happened to me, it urged me to write a post about it.

Last summer I was travelling to Mumbai. I stayed in Zostel (Hostel) in the Andheri area. It had been a long time since I visited Mumbai and met my friends there. Seeing this, my schedule was totally booked. I was in a 6-bed room in the hostel.  I just checked-in, put my stuff in the locker and went out to meet my friends. I returned late in the night around 11 PM or 12 AM maybe.



I freshened up and laid on my bed. Like everybody else these days, I turned to my mobile and replied to some messages, scrolled social media a bit for a few minutes and then put the phone aside after my eyes started to hurt. I was tired of all the travel I did that day. I …

The Divided States Of India

As I landed in the city of Bangalore, a man is shouting just outside the airport. He is shouting something that I do not understand. Fortunately, he has learned 4 5 English words. After all, he is standing outside the airport. “Where,” he asks. “Marathahalli” I spoke. “Bus 8”. He says one word and starts shouting again. He was a bus driver. But most importantly, a resident of Karnataka state in India. Yes, this place is in my country and we both cannot communicate.




Many years back when I was in the eighth standard, my textbooks proudly and boldly highlighted the words, “India is a diverse country”. They would show the culture and folk dances of each state. Unique on its own. A moment to feel proud. You can never find a country as diverse as India, as culturally rich as India. That was just the textbook. My practical started almost 2 months ago.
Soon when I reached my hotel I realized nobody in the hotel knows Hindi. Yes, Hindi. A language spoken in India. A language which is not only…
Managed and maintained by Harish Rajora