He gave us names to call the clouds, imparted personalities to the myriad plants, revealed faces in the gnarled roots of old trees, showed us the sparkling laughter hidden in the flowing streams, taught us to savour the delicate breath of misty dawns and the slow secrets of the hooded mountains.

The coppery gold hue on the leeward side of the grandis trees, he magically revealed as a colony of algae, so from a colour, it turned to a mysterious little universe of teeming life forms, revelling in the moisture left on the bark, away from the evening sun’s rays. The seemingly reckless discernment of a finicky koel as she sifts through a bunch of twigs, discarding many before selecting one, is still a mystery.

The grand-sounding names of all the trees and plants that surrounded us, in contrast with our own meagre ones imbued us with awe and respect.

Defiant dense shrubbery and small stands of evergreens grow in the narrow valleys of the vast grasslands in Munnar, growing so because of the rich top soil which has been washed down the slopes and accumulated over the years. The Stillness Project draws inspiration from this marvellous phenomenon of resilience and survival against all odds.

In an age where many of the old ways are dying and values eroded-much like the top soil- it is hoped that this project will help arrest this trend, and perhaps resurrect these at least in the hearts and minds of the next generation.

-Arun Nalapat