Standing at Raybag Railway station, I carefully listened to the announcement being made over and over again in 3 different languages. Train no. 51461, Meerut Belgaum Passenger will be arriving shortly at platform number 2. But no matter how hard I looked, Platform number 2 stayed invisible. I was travelling to Ghatprabha, located 34 kilometers south of Raybag in Belgaum district of Karnataka. It was a beautiful Saturday morning. But soon enough, rain started to pour down on us and platform number 1 became crowded by travelers huddling together for shelter. Seconds merged into minutes and the wait for Meerut Belgaum Passenger continued. No one seemed bothered by the delayed train or the nonexistent Platform number 2. Relaxed conversations easily flowed all around me. Everyone seemed to know everyone; the concept of strangers was totally unheard of in this land. Slowly a commotion started and people started to get down and went and stood near the second railway track. It was time for me to ask around and find my mysterious platform number 2. I smiled at an elderly couple and tried to inquire about my train. They couldn't understand Hindi and I didn't speak any Kannada and yet somehow we understood each other. Platform 2 was right in front of me, hidden in plain sight. I hopped down onto the railway tracks and went and stood with everyone else. As the fates have decreed, Karnataka, a state in south west of India has become my home for the next few months. I have yet to discover all the surprises this state has to offer, but so far my first experiences have been a delightful mix of sweet and salty. Raybag Station was no Kings Cross and Meerut Belgaum Passenger was definitely not Hogwarts Express. But this land is magical in its own way. Nature is not the background; it is the theme of this land.[caption id="attachment_3965" align="aligncenter" width="950"] Nature at its best[/caption]Green and brown and blue are the prominent colors; the houses, the roads and the people, everything merges in with the surroundings.[caption id="attachment_3979" align="aligncenter" width="2000"] A house surrounded by greenery and fields[/caption]Though the most commonly spoken language here is Kannada, I've discovered that human expressions and emotions is the most easily understood language and it is spoken in each and every part of this world.And a smile always breaks through each and every language barrier.[caption id="attachment_3961" align="aligncenter" width="640"] An innocent smile[/caption]I’m still learning and discovering this beautiful land; but I've concluded that what makes this south Indian state truly beautiful are the people. Genuinely warm hearted and welcoming Kannadigas personify the concept of Atithi Devo Bhavah.
My first week in the land of Kannadigas