We shifted base from the Goan corner to its neighbour “Top Secret Riverview Restaurant”. Although there is nothing top secret about it, the riverside view is a treat.
Huts with thatched roof forming a single file with hammocks swinging in front of each would give you a very beachy feel. The double bed with white mosquito nets is very honeymoon-y though. The dining area is laidback to the extent of lazy. You could even sleep there if the food gets too much for you to walk up till your room. Elevated platforms serve as the table and you get to sit of mattresses with pillows by your side. Such comfort, much wow!
Imagine, lying around with good food and good music on a couple of hammocks lined along the edge of the restaurant and a wicker swing chair hung from the trees… You better not miss it!
And there’s one more thing that sets the place apart from the rest. It is their Banoffee Pie. Ambrosia might have descended from heaven and gifted mankind with it. From the looks of it, you might make out the chocolate sauce and shredded coconut. Inside, the pie is very soft and mushy. The banana base gives it a gooey texture with just a few nuts, not spoiling the smoothness of the pie. Needless to say, it melts in your mouth.
Swiss cuties, Mirco and Claudio had some shopping to do so we three joined them to visit the Hampi market on the other side of the river. It doesn’t have much indigenous stuff, just the kind of things Firangis look for, like hippie clothes, chillums, fancy stones and junk jewellery. They got a lot of those to take home as a token gift bought during the “India” tour and said that it was all Shi-Shi. In Swiss German, they say it meant junk. In Urdu, Shishi is a small and slender glass container mainly used for storing Atar.
In the evening, we visited the Monkey temple. After climbing an awful lot of stairs uphill and almost killing Deep, we reached the top that housed a Hindu monastery – A Hanuman temple with a Paathshala attached to it. Young boys sat obediently in rows reciting their lesson out loud in unison after their teacher. Opposite to it were huge boulders with directions painted on them. Just in time for sunset, we sat silently watching the sun go down; this time from a different part of the town.
We woke up the next morning with plans and tickets of returning to Bangalore but destiny had other plans. Destiny had Timo in mind. A German by birth and a hippie at heart, Timo arrived in India 5 years ago and decided to call it home. Having been in Hampi for 2 years, he is the man you need by your side for the real Hampi ride.
During breakfast, Amit and Mowgli mentioned a secret place far from the town that very few people knew about and that it would be an extremely sad thing to have not been there. And there was only one man who could take us there – Timo!
Faced by some major dilemma, we finally gave in and decided to stay back yet another day in Hampi. We got talking to Timo and the guy turned out to be an artist. The dude even went to an art school in Germany. He had a folder full of sketches and drawings and has been lately designing his next tattoo.
When you see the guy you see a ponytail made of dreadlocks, you see a faded undercut, you see a thick piercing in his right earlobe, you see a tattooed body with loose-fitting clothes, you see a funny laugh and a funnier walk, you see him filling buckets and fetching you warm water, you see him changing the sheets but, the guy is more.
He is distinct. He is the lost yet seeking-something look in his eyes, he is the listlessness in his walk, he is also the well treaded paths of Hampi and he is the art in that folder. Nothing about Timo will let you even fathom what comes out of that folder. You have got to get in to get that out.
In the evening, he took us to what he calls the “funny place”. The entire walk he kept talking, of which I could make out very little but we religiously followed the German with whom we were, slowly but surely, falling in love.
We walked over rocks, climbed boulders and brushed past shrubs to reach a clearing. Timo paused and said, “Don’t look anywhere. Just walk straight with you head bend down.” We did as we were asked and in a few steps, he halted and said, “Turn around.”