Linger at Balur Estate – all about delicious idleness

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Linger

  • stay in a place longer than necessary because of reluctance to leave; spend a long time over something; be slow to disappear or die

Our experience at the 163 year old Balur Estate  part of Linger – do nothing vacations, was out to prove all the above three definitions correct. As you get closer to the estate you begin to cut off all strings of your city dweller’s life. First the traffic thins out, then the foliage gets denser and by the time you’ve entered through the gates of the 400 acre estate your phone network is completely dead.

These rustic bungalows with their white plastered walls and terracotta-tiled roofs welcome you to a world of blissful wilderness. Overlooking the picturesque coffee plantations (along with pepper, betel nut and cardamom) the bungalows sit at its pinnacle amidst varying hues of green. If it wasn’t for the enamel painted metal  of the coffee processing equipment and the greys of the concrete drying terraces, you would fail to identify any traces of human intervention in what is a scenery painted by nature.

The bungalows themselves are as much a part of this natural story telling as the 50-ft tall silver oak trees. The wooden rafters of the roof and the earthy fireplace in the middle of the living room remind ones of Balur Estates’s century old heritage. The elaborate spread cooked by care-takers in a homely kitchen reminds you of a time when happy guests were a matter of pride not pounds. The smiling face of that picture crazy child, whose spent most of his growing up picking coffee fruit at the estate reminds of the purity of a time that came much before (and went by far too quickly) today’s selfie syndrome.

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He loved touring the tea estate, but couldn’t wait to get back to our salon for a quick nap  before our elaborate dinner. It is hard to argue with that logic.

We walk through the paths in the estate, following meandering pathways through the hills  crafted by tractor tyres. Two equal strips of brown dry soil are separated by scarce vegetation in the centre untouched by the treads of the tyre. As you walk on these paths, you can hear an unfamiliar crunch as the soles of your city shoes stomp on dry leaves, you can smell the freshness of the green grass, you can talk to the shadows of the trees that are as old as the estate yet till date they stand tall, like an elderly wise man who has seen it all.
Suddenly the shadows begin to filter, the foliage thins out and before you could make sense of it all you encounter a naturally occurring spring of water. The sun shines through and reflects back, the greens and browns of the grass and thorny bushes slope down and disappear into blues of crystal clear water. As your eyes feast on the beauty of nature, the tiny waterfall, the thirsty birds and the distant running around of deers and rabbits orchestrate a symphony for your tired ears.

We return to our bungalow before dusk, where a bonfire awaits to warm us against the nip in the air and settle down to some sufi music, sip our wine, and marinate in the fragrances of the Karavali-style dinner being prepared for us next door. We have done little through the day, except snooze in the gorgeous sun-salon of our bungalow with chirping birds for company , have rambling conversations and challenge each other to a game of scrabble while sipping the coffee grown at these grounds.

 

You the 9 to 6 corporate slave you must not come here, cause you wouldn’t be able to check the cricket score or YouTube for the latest viral video. Your hands would twitch for your phone and then frown at the no service signal on it. You’ll long for everything curated and get only what’s been here for years untouched unadulterated.

 

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It’s nearing midnight and our care takers have slept but we linger on in the courtyard lingering over the bonfire, airing it,  adding more logs and more fuel hoping the fire doesn’t burn out just like the thoughts and experiences of the day would linger on in our memories for a long long time to come.

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A big shout out to the team at Linger  and the team of care-takers at the property – Rakesh and Premila for making this a perfect getaway for my birthday. I couldn’t have felt more pampered and loved.

 

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