This post is a continuation from the prelude and part 1.

Ayush drove into New Bombay, past a bridge over the river, through the thick smog. Then slowly, without us even noticing, the smog faded until we were on the highway facing dry mountains with flat tops before we slipped into a tunnel.

I told Ayush about my interest in blogging and taking photographs. He told me about Jungle Lore tours to Ranthambore National Park where they track tigers.

At one point, we headed off the highway and drove into a tree lined road, where I saw women molding bricks and piling them underneath the scorching sun.

“Ayush, when we head back, can we stop so I can take photos of them?”

“Sure! Or better yet,” he pondered. “Why don’t we visit a village in Durshet? We can ask one of the guys in the lodge to bring us.” Thus begins the happy accident.

Ayush and Sunil--trip organizers and guides for Jungle Lore!

After I did the Durshet Forest Lodge site visit, which included inspecting the zipline, rock climbing wall, 40-foot mountainside where our students will rappel, and lunch, we hopped into Ayush’s car once again.

Lunch served at the Durshet Forest Lodge: papad, chapati, paneer, daal and gulab jamun.

The car hurtled up the bare rocky ground, winding, speeding, never pausing until we stopped by the school house. I opened the door, stepped on the bare ground and inhaled the fresh mountain air.

We walked into the village and I spied a woman wearing a bright yellow sari wrapped around her gaunt body. She stood beside a hut, manufactured from soil, cow dung and dried grass. She was gulping water from a tin jar.

I lifted my camera, arm weak, unsure if it was permissible to take a photo of her. Sunil spoke to her in their vernacular language and told me it was okay. So I snapped a photo of her while she continued to glare at me while drinking from her tin jar.

Close up view of a hut made out of mud and cow dung.

More on Durshet in tomorrow’s post!