Walking in the ruins that dot Hampi during a hot afternoon, I stopped to see an Indian bushlark (Mirafra erythroptera) putting on its spectacular aerial display. This consists of it flying up to a good height, and then diving with its wings and tails held out. This told me two things: first that it was a bushlark (generally I’m very confused about larks), and second that early winter is the mating season, at least in the middle of parched Karnataka. I managed to get a few photos of it as it paused between displays. The Family and others spotted the female that it was trying to impress while I was busy taking photos. Unlike a skylark, it didn’t pour on us a flood of harmony. Its call was melodious but simple.
On the other side of the path, three horses waited patiently under a tree, ready to be photographed. This looked almost like they were deliberately posed there with a motorbike. It wasn’t a shot that you could let go. Something nagged at me while I took the photo. As I reached into my backpack for a bottle of water, the spark connected. This looked like a scene from the sets of Sholay, the half-century old blockbuster. The incongruity of a motorbike and horses, and the parched landscape. That movie had been shot in Ramnagar, just a five hour drive away.