Friday, May 4, 2007

Chapter 17
Trip to Shimoga

This was the best of the 3 trips. Reason, it was more adventuresome.

Had a great fight at home only to get permission for the trip. Atlast, got my bags packing and left for Busstand. Caught the bus at around 11:45. When waiting for the bus, met 2 new friends who had accompanied us on the trip - Mapi and Adi. Others were Chubby, Sibin, Karthik Sr., Kishore and myself on a mission to conquer the peak of Kodachaadri. So, our journey started off on 11:45 on 27th Apr night. We were laughing all the while in the bus cracking PJs. We were specialists in that. We reached Shimoga at around 6am. Journey was pretty tiresome. Then we thought of having our breakfast and then leave to a place called Nagara where we had booked a forest guest house.

We couldnt find a decent hotel anywhere near busstand at 6am and had to settle with some khaakha hotel. After that we got to know about the bus which leaves to Nagara from some locals. The bus was pretty much crowded when we left Shimoga. Nagara is a place outside Shimoga which is around 75kms from Shimoga. They said it was around 2 hours journey by bus. So, the bus left at 8:30. We had to stand in the crowded bus. Wow man..... It looks like that they show in some movies, completely packed with people, people sitting on top of the bus and enjoying the drive. After a struggle of 3 hours, we finally got a place to sit for however short period the leftover journey was. We got to sit for only 15 mins. We thought the journey from Bangalore to Shimoga was tiring, that was nowhere near to the strain we underwent in this journey. It was 3 hour long stress. We got down and directly went straight into some bench kept in the busstop and slept there. It was that tiresome. Only then I got to know about my mobile. Shit!! I lost it in the bus. We tried our best to track it down but in vain. This was the only bitter part in the whole of my trip.

Then we moved into forest guest house and thanks to that forest ranger who helped us a lot in the entire trip organising places to visit, arranging food, accompanying us etc etc. Atlast we were provided some beds to rest our body. It had gained so much potential energy just standing in tht crowded bus. We then waited for the first person who gets up and starts getting ready.. No one was in a mood to take bath, ofcourse, everyone wanted to rest. After a loooong wait, Aditya went to bath. Then everybody else followed. After getting ready, we were dropped to some hotel around 3 kms from the guest house.

I hadnt described the guest house right. It was somewhere in the midst of jungle. Pretty close was some deserted house which looked scary even at day times. The entire forest area was inhabited by naxalites(that is what forest rangers claimed). Man, we were pretty lucky, we didnt meet any(Or rather should I say, they were lucky?). The guest house was in an island. There was only one road which led to this guest house and it was surrounded by a beautiful river. We fell in love with this place at the first sight itself.

Coming back to the trip, we had our lunch and left for Mani Dam. Dam was beautiful. Spent sometime over there, got to know how electricity is being generated. And left to visit a water fall. We reached some highway by around 5:00. The supposed to be water fall was on the footpath of the highway. That waterfall was quite huge but if there was some water, then it would have been better. It seemed like tap water flowing from hilltop.

We tried to climb the steep hill using the roots and rocks. Sibin and Mapi did it successfully but I dont know what they were. Spidermen or something?!!! Mapi is real spiderman. Clings onto anything and everything.. climbs everything... never gets tired... I dont know the secret behind his energy.. But hats off to his skill. He climed onto a steep rock.. Almost 90 degrees to ground very easily. I still dont understand how he could manage to do it.

Coming back to climbing the water fall hill. Sibin and Mapi had almost climbed up and were out of sight and also werent responding to our calls. Me and Chubby had started a rescue mission and starting to climb the hill. Rescue mission because, we had heard enough of Naxalite stories over there and were worried about the naxalites ofcourse ;-) God should have saved them if they had met Sibin. After we started rescue mission, we heard Adi calling us and said Sibin was not worth the rescue mission and asked us to get down. We got down and waited for them in the road. After around 30 mins of waiting, we saw them running down the road. They had actually reached the top of the road.

We then left back for guest house. Just then it started to rain light showers. We reached guest house and it was damn beautiful sight. Sunset was awesome and also to see the lightning in the twilight was amazing. No words actually to describe the scene. Sibin and Mapi had gone to town to get ball and some snacks. So, rest of us sat outside, enjoyed the nature and started cracking jokes, talking about our school days etc etc. It was fun. Then we walked to the town after Sibin and Mapi came back to have food. This was after the drinks break ofcourse ;-).

We walked to only decent hotel which was in the town and somewhere close to 4 kms from guest house in the dark. We came across 2-3 deserted houses. They looked damn creepy during night. We finally reached hotel. Had our food, came back to the guest house and slept. Everyone were damn tired. Everyone slept like a log.

Day 2
We got up at around 6:00 am. Man, I had the best night's sleep in previous night. Got ready by around 7:30 am and left for kodachaadri. We had our breakfast and then left for kodachaadri - around 40 kms from guest house. We reached the place by around 8:30. Started our trek instantly. The path which led to tht peak was very dusty and it was too steep. Because of the dust, we thought of going midst jungle. Actually we got lost once or twice. It was hot sun. The place was dusty. No signs of water, no one around. It was really difficult for us. And on top of this, it was 120 degrees steep, and we had to go on like this for 9 kms.

The place was quite slippery as well. After a long trek of around 3 hours 30 mins, we reached the top. Thanks to those cab drivers who gave us some water inbetween. We were totally exhausted and also dehydrated. We got some place to sleep. Water was superb. It almost tasted like amruta at that moment for us. Some people suggested one more trek place which was around 2 kms from tht place. But me and karthik preferred to stay back. They returned at around 3:30. We had our food and then we booked a cab to go down. No one had tht much stamina to go down walking again. I didnt have any.

So, we reached the car, which was waiting for us at around 4:15 and we left for some place where we could take bathe. He took us to some temple which had a beautiful pond. I played with water till it was time. Time for me to get back home. I had chosen to come back on Sun and they had planned to continue their trip as it was holiday for them. I had office the next day. :-(
So, I bid farewell to them and wished them so that they have a great trip and came back to Nagara. From there same old 3 hour crowded jorney, same old bus, but only difference is tht I dint have a mobile to loose.

I reached Shimoga at 10 and had my dinner, met my colleague there. And more to good news, he was a proud father on the same day. Good for him. Came back to bangalore at 5am. and got back home at around 5:30. slept for a while and then had to run to office. That whole day I was dozing off at my desk as I hadnt had enough sleep for 2 days. Thus came to and end of my story.
Hope you enjoyed reading it.
Chapter 16
Trip to ooty

My college friends decided to go on some trip anywhere on earth just to get their minds diverted from the projects. They chose ooty for some reason. So, planning, preparation and execution was done in 3 days, not like my previous trip. I confirmed that I will be coming on that trip just 1 hour before the departure, had to make up a lot of stories to get permission from home. We finally left for ooty. For the benefit of my friends who read my blog, i'll make this short, not like my previous post.

We were 7 of us, Tan, Abhi, Su, Sagy, Rash, Raghu and myself who left to ooty at around 10 pm on a friday night in a cab. We had a cup of tea in some khakha shop near mysore, and had a great drive till ooty. Man, the roads were quite pathetic. We reached the place at around 4am and as we hadnt booked any accomodation, we had to sleep in the cab till some rooms get checked out. At 4 am in the morning, in the freezing cold, you cant expect us to roam around searching for hotel rooms. We tried our best but in vain. So, decided to sleep in the cab itself.

We then got up at around 7:30 and then went to hunt the rooms. Atlast we found one. The condition of the room was very bad and there was only one 2 bed room available without hot water and the cost was also too much. Somehow managed to do our morning duties in that beautiful room, played some cards and then left in search of other room. Atlast we found a pretty good rooms for 7 of us, booked it and left for Pykara lake. We reached the lake at around 12pm, the view was superb although the water was polluted.

Then we left for Pykara falls. The same water was flowing down - I am referring to the polluted water, but who cares as long as you can play in it right!!! We stayed there for some 1 hour and then had our lunch. Guess what our food was - Watermelon. :-) Had to sustain with it as there was nothing else available worth eating. Then we left for Doddabetta which is supposed to be the highest peak in ooty. View was simply outstanding and to add to the beauty, the weather was romantic. We were all cursing ourselves as we had didnt have girl friends. :-( Did some horse riding over there and waited for the sunset.

So, stayed there till the dark and then left back to our rooms. Reached to our new rooms and then watched TV for a while, and then went out for dinner. We separated because some people wanted non-veg food. So, they went in search of a non-veg restaurant and us in search of a veg restaurant. We got a decent hotel with a first class food, we liked the food - a typical Gujrati food, and then ate an icecream. Came back to hotel, watched TV for a while and then slept nicely.

Got up early next morning, left for Coonur tea estate. The sight was simply amazing. We visited a tea factory where we were served tea. I had never tasted better tea ever before in my life. I thought of gulping the whole of vessel then and there itself. We left tea factory and then left for coonur garden, spent some time playing mafia over there and then left for bangalore at around 5pm. We had our dinner at around 11pm in some dhaba outside Mysore, and then reached bangalore at around 2pm. It was pretty tiresome trip.

Then I got down as I had almost reached my house. I packed my bags, just then my friends asked my to wait. They had bought a beautiful gift for me. It was a crystal kind of glass with a swan embosed in it. Got bumps from Tannu though. Bidding adieu to them, reached my house and had a nice sleep tht night. Thus came to the end of Trip 2.

Next Post - Trip to Shimoga

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Chapter 15
Trip to Kemmangundi

This was first of the 3 trips which I had been recently. I had almost spent 3 weekends on
trips itself. This trip was with my teammates in my previous company. You all should be knowing by now that I shifted the company recently.

About the trip
Preparation: I was chosen the leader to organise the trip to ooty(planned before). There
were 2 other people whom I have to thank for their constant support in helping me organise
the trip. I forgot to mention - I was the Fun lead in that company. For those of you who
dont know what the hell is Fun lead, we are the people who take complete responsibilty of
easing the work stress of the entire team. Not to be confused with "Jokers". Back to the
trip topic. We started planning(almost prepared draft) a month ago from the actual day - man
being software engineers su**s. We were made to run around whole of bangalore to book
travels, arrange food etc. Organising a trip for software officials is a pain. And whoever
want to do that, my sincere advice is that please drop that idea.

After all that pain, it was almost finalised and the day had come when we about to leave to
ooty. Final suggestions, final advices, things to carry etc were being discussed when
suddenly we got to know that there was a state wide bundh being announced in Tamil Nadu on
the day we were leaving. So, what do we do???????? We changed the whole trip plan to
Kemmangundi(near Chikmagalur) in 2 hours flat. We could draft out the places, get the
accomodation, travels etc. within 3 hours.

Execution:Time had come when we left for Kemmangundi. I got the bus from depot and we went to the place of departure. We saw people waiting over there. My manager was quite happy with our efforts. I had got my bike to office and didnt know where to keep the helmet. So, asked
my manager if I cud place my helmet in his car. I kept in a brand new white Maruti Zen car.

And then we left the place at around 10:30. Atlast we started the trip. Thank God, my job
was almost done.

We played Anthakshari, Dumb charades etc etc inside the bus. This went on till everyone were
tired and soon fell asleep. We reached Chikmagalur at around 5 a.m. It was pitch dark,
weather was very chill, we straightaway went into the rooms. There, we caught up with one
more drama. My PM was dissatisfied with the ambience of the rooms. He decided not to stay in
that room and we were not getting any rooms anywhere else. Man.. You should adjust
sometimes. I was completely pissed off by his action.It was a peak season and there were no
rooms available in the entire district and my PM, in 5 am, wanted us to look out for rooms
in other place. We somehow managed to get a decent room for him and we decided to stay there
in the same place.

Bababudangiri Hill Top

The Jeep drive to Bababudangiri

We got ready, had our breakfast and left to Bababudangiri hills. The place was quite good,
but pretty hot, would have been great if we had gone there on Monsoon season. The road which
lead to Bababudangiri hills and Kemmangundi were pathetic but hats off to the driver who
made it look easy. We then left to Kemmangundi and there we had our lunch. We decided to
trek down to Hebbe falls which is around 8 kms from Kemmangundi. My Tech lead also decided
to trek down inspite of his back problems. It took around 2 hours for us to reach that
place. It was the most beautiful falls I had ever seen. The water was freezing. We were
pretty suprised to see water at almost 2 degrees even in summer. We played there in the cold
water till it got dark. Then we trekked back to the place where cab was waiting. Actually I
forgot to mention, only half of crowd had trekked down and other half had chosen to take the
jeep. So, while going back everyone were so damn tired that we all agreed to take the jeep.
There were only 2 jeeps available and 8 of us thought of waiting for the jeep to drop the
rest and come back.Hebbe Falls

It was pitch dark, in the midst of the jungle, a haunted hut right next to us, and people
talking about scary things, uff... it was damn scary. We also had a dare that someone should
go inside the hut. But no one had the guts to go. It was a memorable moment. Infact this was
the only memorable moment. Atlast the jeep arrived. We got back to the bus and we had our
dinner, reached our rooms at around 1 am.

Next day, we got up, got ready, had our breakfast, left for Belur which has a famous temple.
The architechture of this place is simply superb. You should hire a guide and get to
know the speciality of the temple. The place is worth visiting. This temple took around 100
years to get completed according to history. And their efforts are simply outstanding.

We left the place at around 3pm and had our lunch in some hotel on the way to Bangalore. We
reached back at around 8pm. Atlast or should I say Alas! the trip was over. I asked my PM's
car key so that I could take my helmet. Remember, I mentioned, tht about the white Maruti
Zen where I kept my helmet, my PM said his car was maruti Esteem and not Maruti Zen. Fu**, I kept my helmet in the wrong car, and I couldnt find that car anywhere near that place too.
Anyways, there is always a sad ending to a great story. Thus came to an end to the story of
trip to Kemmangundi.

Next post - Trip to ooty