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The hills are alive...

Updated on February 13, 2013

With birdsong, with dry leaves crunching under your feet, the splash of water as the dogs dive into a pool, the wind in the trees and through the grass, the pebbles dislodged and rolling as you climb and most of all....the stillness between the sounds.

I’ve always loved the sea and when we moved inland twenty years ago, I knew I would miss it. The hills were for holidays – a break from the heat. Now I wake up in the morning and look out at the mist covered hills as I wait for the kettle to boil and its magic touches me, every single day. There’s something soothing about the ridges of the hills against the blue sky but the best part about the hills is that you can climb them. And when you have two young, frisky dogs like we do, it’s a joy that is many times multiplied.

In Pune, where we live, you’ll find people of all ages climbing up the hills that are so much a part of its geography. From seven to seventy, this is where many come for their daily exercise, away from the pollution and the grime of the traffic-ridden roads. These are its green lungs and they provide a wonderful view of the city but in the wake of beauty, there will always be greed. Slowly but surely, the hills are being encroached upon and though they are supposed to be green areas, overnight, there could be a structure that comes up, blocking a bit of the view with its concrete opacity.

So the only thing one can do – besides sending in letters and taking part in protests - is to enjoy it while it is there. The magic of the hills is best experienced when you take the paths less trod. We go with friends who bring their two dogs too and there are stretches where we don’t see another soul. The dogs love to splash in the little pond that’s tucked away in an unfrequented corner and there’s nothing quite like getting to the top, huffing and puffing and breathing in the fresh air. Of course, our kids, when they do come along, just run up with the dogs just like we would have done a few decades ago.

I wonder how long we’ll be able to enjoy the simple pleasures of life around us. For us, it’s the hills, for others it could be a walk in the woods or the beach, away from the madding crowd, just you and the beauty that Nature offers freely and so generously to you. I really do wonder.


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    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 5 years ago from India

      Hi oliversmum - how nice to see you come by! I do hope you've settled in to your new home - Oliver too :)

    • oliversmum profile image

      oliversmum 5 years ago from australia

      Shalini Kagal Hi. What an absolutely magical part of the world you live in, So beautiful and peaceful.

      The photograph,s are breath taking.

      Your dog,s look like they are having A whale of a time.

      Thank you for sharing part of your world with us. Voted up and beautiful. :):)

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 5 years ago from India

      Thank you, savanahl - I'm glad you felt the peace!

    • savanahl profile image

      savanahl 5 years ago

      Very beautiful piece. It really put me in a calm and serene state, which is exactly what I needed right now. Thanks for sharing.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 5 years ago from India

      Thank you Jaspals - yes, the hills really are beautiful.

    • Jaspals profile image

      Jaspal Singh 5 years ago from India / Australia

      Enjoyed reading like a long walk on hills. You conveyed a massage in nice way. I too have passion of being on hills. Thanks for writing such a wonderful hub.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

      Thanks for reading, Ruchira! Yes, I do hope more people wake up before it's too late!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 6 years ago from United States

      Beautiful message conveyed here, Shalini.

      Yes, nature is bountiful and is giving us in plenty but, it is human's reckless behavior that is putting mother nature in danger.

      We better wake up now than late...everything will be lost, including us.

      Good awakening call here! voted up as beautiful and sharing it as well.


    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

      True, Geetika - I wonder how long the hills will survive though, what with the frenetic pace of construction!

    • geetika iyer profile image

      geetika iyer 6 years ago from India

      Thanks for sharing your beautiful experiences of the nature walks in Pune. I could relate to the Pune experiences I had few years back when I used to visit my in-laws. A way to escape the city hustle bustle, even if its for a while.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

      Hi GL - thanks for reading! Appreciate it :) Yes, we have ringnecks on the hills too but they are found in greater numbers near homes - especially ours! There are around ten of them that have made a tree in the garden their home and they screech away to glory much to the dismay of our dogs! But they are such beautiful creatures - the green when they are in the wild is so different from when they are in cages.

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks for a beautiful glimpse of Pune; the hills, the trees, the meadow, the ponds; I could even hear the birds singing. I'm so glad you can enjoy it now with your family and friends. I was just wondering whether the Indian Ringnecks lived in these hills. You had mentioned them a while back while commenting on a hub :)

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

      Hi quicksand - the fun is in getting lost! :) Yes, music - of a different kind! Thanks as always for reading!

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 6 years ago

      Great stuff Shal! This one reminds me of the Sound of Music. As a child I used to wonder what gives on the other side of the hills, but I never dared to wander, lest I "get lost!" Awe, fear, and ... music!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

      Thank you for reading, Hello, hello - it's always nice to see you :)

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for introducing us to this beautiful piece of country. Even from the photos you could feel the peacefulness.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

      Shil1978 - it's always great to see you - thank you for stopping by to read!

    • Shil1978 profile image

      Shil1978 6 years ago

      Shalini, what a pleasure to come across this hub. Beautifully written, as always! Soothing to see such wonderful pictures of greenery and nature, a pleasant change from the concrete skyscrapers that seem to surround us now. I look forward to being surrounded by such stillness - where I can pause and reflect.

      Thanks for offering the insight - an absolute pleasure it is to come by your insightful hubs!!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

      Story Page - indeed, it would! I do hope better sense prevails with the powers that be all over the world!

      Wesman - true - it's sad to think that so few bother. Thanks for reading!

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Most certainly our natural world is under attack. We've got to all change, but can we? Probably there is too many of us now to stop the decline.

      Beautiful pictures.

    • Story Page profile image

      Story Page 6 years ago from England, the UK

      What a pity it would be if the beautiful hills and open spaces vanished, I hope that they will remain as they are now for you, your children and for your children's children. Voted up and interesting, I enjoyed reading this.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

      wheelinallover - every place has its own beauty, doesn't it? Must be a wonderful view from your deck!

      Habee - appreciate you coming by and reading!

      magodis - I was born on the tea estates in Demodera, Sri Lanka :) But I did spend a lot of time living by the sea in India - now it's back to the hills! Yes, we really should raise our voices against pollution.

    • magodis profile image

      magodis 6 years ago from Colombo, Sri Lanka

      I was guided by Habee, Thanks. Yes its really great experience. But for me, this is two an half hours drive from Colombo to Kandy.

      I really enjoy the unpolluted forests like Sinharajaya - a world heritage rain forest in Sri Lanka. But unfortunately I recently learnt that some forests in the hilly area are getting pollutions accumilated than city areas. So the environmetal pollution would destroy all these beauties if the things are on the same pace. So we should shout against polluters.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Simply beautiful - the photos and your words. Voted up!

    • wheelinallover profile image

      Dennis Thorgesen 6 years ago from Central United States

      After spending years on California desert I am happy in my hill less Oasis. The only encroachment I have had in my 11 years here is the replacement of rail road tracks with a rails to trails.

      Late nights and early mornings watching the herd of deer and groups of wild turkeys from the deck is pure enjoyment. You would never believe I am just two blocks from the main highway in town and fast food row.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

      Thank you whatarethenews - I do hope you find your rainbow soon!

      Thanks HPR for reading and commenting.

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 6 years ago from Guwahati, India

      Hills are not alive but your beautiful writings with pictures have made it alive. Thank you – a good display.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

      Hi Punam - great to see you here - when do I see you?

      FP - I must go look. Yes, hope it stays this way for a long time!

      Paraglider - I'm sure!

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 6 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Yes, the desert has its moments too :)

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 6 years ago

      Today seems to be my day for reading 'The hills are alive' hubs! (Have you read drbj's latest?) I just watched a beautiful sun rise over mist covered hills...and gave thanks that Pune has not completely lost its charm!

    • punamdharkar profile image

      punamdharkar 6 years ago from India

      Shalini, I know exactly what you mean by leaving the Mumbai sea behind for the hills of Pune. Beautiful article. Reflects the grace and poise you have.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

      Thank you all for reading!

      Pearldiver - thank you for the very pertinent advice :)

      I'll take care not to let one leg grow longer. And yes, we do try and take different paths up each time - and I can see your point about doing that mentally too. You take care too!

      MM - thank you! I've been lucky to have been surrounded with so much - so the wonder is thrust upon me :)

      Marie - yes, it is quite beautiful and magical - and brings out the best in all who wander there. And right in the heart of the city!

      sofs - thank you - yes, there is a peace you can't find anywhere else.

      Paraglider - you must miss it! But the desert has its own beauty too, doesn't it?

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 6 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Very enjoyable hill walk, you took us. I also live in hill country, but only get to see it for the few weeks a year I spend at home. For the rest of the year, I have to put up with flat desert. The pictures with the water lilies are beautiful.

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 6 years ago

      The beauty of the hills and the peace it affords are second to none. I love climbing hills.. but those are just patches of my life during holidays... in the plains I enjoy the trees and flowers and all that is around me.. lovely hub..I quiet enjoyed it!

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 6 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Shalini, this hub with the words and photos relaxed me, put me in a nice space of appreciation for the beauty of life. As Mighty Mom commented:It's MAGICAL.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      In a word: MAGICAL.

      What a delightful glimpse into your lifestyle, dear Shalini. I suspect you would find natural solace and wonder around you no matter where you -- and your frisky dogs -- find yourselves.

      Cheers and enthusiastically voted UP (as in climbing UP those hills alongside you)~! MM

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      There are two things that I learned about hills when I was young.. that there is always a great view at the top and that if you run 'around' them the same clockwise or anti clockwise way every time you use them for exercise.. then never complain if you find that one leg has grown longer than the other!

      Very nice article Shelini, that really does provide a great view of your earthspace. Thanks for sharing this work and always remember to always mix up the ways that you run around your hills, even if you only do so, mentally. You take care.