A bike ride away from Ahmedabad, about 70kms away, off the highway lies one of nature’s gems tucked away from crowds.

Nalasarovar is a big marshy lake, filled with tall grass. These attract a large variety of birds such as storks, spoonbills, pelicans,egrets, kingfishers and of course, flamingoes, also pink ones.

We borrowed Panditji’s ( our head cook) bike and drove down at around 5 am.

Obviously we looked like students( which is what we were) and did not have to bargain too much. For I think a hundred rupees, including the entry fee, we got a really knowledgeable boatman who spoke Hindi and even some English. His discourse was punctuated by silences as we drew near the birds. It is remarkable – the sounds of various birds in the quiet of the morning.

As we meandered through the marshes, we saw the sun rise, lots of birds one had only seen in the Salim Ali book and of course fish darting by the boat, in the water. Just as I was giving up hope of being able to see the flamingoes, there they were. A whole flock of them. We waited in anticipation for them to swoop up and display their pink and black wings and bodies in full splendor. They teased us as though they knew we were watching. Then all at once they rose in unison- like a crescendo. So exquisite. So majestic.

If you wish to go there, you could check out the Forest Guest House as well.

I did not have a digicam then, just an automatic Kodak which failed to zoom in on the glory of these birds.

But the memories are crystal clear, even after a decade.