The first thing that samiT ( the six-foot sloth of our trek team :) ) asks before we flag off any trek is, "do we get to see any elephants there" ?.. I remember the moment in MM Hills forest, when samiT was ahead of us all and we heard an excited shout "come here !!..soon.."..We were convinced that he had spotted an elephant..moments later, we were standing around a fresh elephant dropping !!
it's a different fun to see the wildlife in the real wild..in their natural habitat..and though we haunt many jungles, the most we get to see is pug-marks, droppings, remnants of kills.. Kaushik keeps telling me about his wild experiences in some core reserve forests..I am not so fortunate to be a part of the camera-trap mission from IISc, nor am I a relative of an IFS officer..Most of the times, we are not allowed to enter some areas of the forest and even if we are, not beyond certain times..that's when the wildlife comes out of hiding.. This sunday was special for me and mithun..We got to shoot ( photograph !! ) some wild animals in the real wild !.. I had seen a lot of wild animals up-close when i used to go for jeep ride with my uncle in Kudremukh..But, never got a chance to photograph 'em.. Mithun had arranged for a trek with his cousins and i agreed to join him..it seemed more of a trip and less of a trek..all our treks so far have been rusty..we never had the comforts of being dropped at the base and being picked up at the end by a tempo-traveller..Our treks usually begin on Friday nights..considering the fact that travelling in KSRTC buses is itself a kinda trek..
We ( 9 of us ) reached BRT ( Biligiri Ranganatha Temple ) sanctuary early morn..For the first time i was unaware of the route we were taking, for we had ample entertainment going on in the van..The folded seat besides the driver was the stage for us act out the movies..and we had 3 hours of non stop fun..
When we hit the beautiful ghat of BRT, our first spotting was a beautiful peacock.. my cam, which i've inherited from nagu, couldn't capture ( not to blame the cam ..am a novice myself :) )... I was looking like a desperate idiot with a cam around my neck, desperately waiting for an animal to pass by..Something which u can relate to the japanese photographer in the hindi movie "munnabhai MBBS" who says "i want to shoot people..poor people"...i wanted to shoot too.."animals..wild animals.."...finally, i got to shoot a pair of wild boars !!..
The trek began from the BRT peak and the weather was just great..it was long before i had seen a misty noon..I had to suffice with some macro shots and shooting the wild flora..
There were some excitements about hearing some trumphet and noises mid way, but no animal was spotted..the trek had no ascent, and within 2 hours, we saw the base !..may be the quickest of all..
Though the trek was short and not very exciting, we had a great time in the wild..the right kind of relaxation one would need after a boring week in bangalore.. The van took us back to BRT hill..picturesque views and funny monkeys kept me occupied with the cam..Mith, kishore and me went to the IB to get permission to visit some nearby place..a movie was being shot there..the scene : the hero, dressed as a policeman rolls and shoots at the camera ..hero : namma saikumar !!..i was relieved..for, i finally got something wild to shoot :) ..sai agreed to have a photo with us and we handed over the cam to a decent looking guy..gave him fundae and instructions..only to realize later that he was a MLA !! On the way back, the van suddenly stopped and everyone was "shhh..shhh....bison ..bison !!"...i remember snatching the cam from sonal, who was browsing the pics..and rush to the window..we saw a herd of bisons drinking water !!..it was a great sight..we came out of the van and tried to get closer, but none of our cams were equipped enough to fight the distance and poor light..But, it was a kinda satisfaction just to see them.. minutes later we spotted a lone bison..he was huge and masculine !..the van stopped in the proximity and he grew conscious..When, he started sharpening the horns by rubbing against a tree, obvious signs of charging, the driver cried "sir..if it bangs the vehicle, u must pay for the tinkering costs..!!"..very soon, we saw one more herd of bisons..this time the lighting was better and we got a couple of shots..
the sight of these animals gave us a sense of contentment... My mind went wandering over the thoughts about their survival in the coming years..human encroachment continues to take toll of these innocent beings..the guard narrated a story of a lioness, who died after falling from a rock, and that she was carrying 6 cubs !!.. It's a solace that the forest dept. is doing a good job by identifying reserve forests, anti poaching camps and stopping encroachment..We, as civilians can atleast help in small ways like not littering the forest trails with non biodegradable waste and more importantly, discouraging articles manufactured from animal hides and tusks..instead, admire their beauty and charm in the jungles, which is their habitat, their home... I was woken up from these rumbling thoughts when the singing session in the van had heated up..We kept singing old songs on the way..was reminded of our singing session in rajasthan trip from delhi to pilani..mith, kishore and me sang in our high pitch - which nandita found very difficult to cope with..sonal kept prompting me the lyrics, while sindhu was still staring out of the window ( the bison hangover - she calls it )...shiri, kaushiki and the king solomon slept off in glory...
we reached bangalore faster than i had thought....for, in good times, time flies only faster....
Reaching BRT : BRT is around 210 kms from bangalore. can be easily reached by KSRTC bus from Bangalore. The route is Bangalore to Maddur ( on mysore road ). then reach Kollegal en route malavalli. A right from Kollegal leads you to Yellandur. BRT from Yellandur is about 30 km. for more info on trekking in this place click here or contact Chamrajnagar DCF @ 08226-222059 and get the permission...
..Mom 'n dad had come down to stay with me for a while.. and all i had to do on weekends, was to be "at home" !! great food and no treks..waaw !! a fatal combination for my pot !! ;) .My parents decided to leave on Saturday night (all my attempts to postpone it to monday were in vain)..Saturday night meant i had to be in Bangalore..and no trek ! .
KK ( my college pal ) invited me for his brother's wedding in Tumkur..I was longing for some trek or a ride and i saw some opportunity here..I convinced my mom that i'll be going to Tumkur on bike at 10 in the night..the reason given : my friend's wedding :)
Convincing mithun was easy .."hey mith, we'll go for a ride..and if possible attend KK's bro's wedding" ( note here that the ride comes first ! )...and we were all set for the ride.. I saw mom n dad off and mithun was ready to pick me up outside the station..The ride wasn't too exciting except for tunneling through trucks lined up near Peenya..We were in Tumkur at 0000hrs..KK had booked a room for us, for we were the official guests for the wedding..KK was oblivious of our hidden agenda ;) We had plans to visit Madhugiri..but, The wedding muhurtam was at 0830hrs..We had to start very early if we had to be back in time..When Mithun said "we'll be starting off at 4 am tomorrow", KK's face was a sight to see :) ..We went to get some info about the route and distance to Madhugiri..We asked 2 lodge workers, each of whom suggested a route and started arguing that his route is the best..We realized they were drunk and we believed none..
We started off at 430 am from Tumkur without the knowledge of the road..and there was none to guide us..Off the distance we saw a shaky figure and in-spite of the last night's experience, we had to ask him..He turned out to be good guide..At 530, we were at the base of Madhugiri..It seemed "not that great" from the base..I checked out the sunrise time in my GPS and it said 0553 hrs..We started climbing as fast to reach a good height to get a good view of the sunrise..With 5 minutes left for the day-break, we found a raised gun-point..It was an architectural marvel..It seemed seamless with the rocks, an extension..The rising sun made the yonder hills more visible..
The muhurtam was at 0830hrs ! ..we had to climb real fast..If the time constraint had created a potential difference, the picturesque scenes were the resistance..Mithun was bent upon exhausting the memory in his cam..We reached a place where the wall along path was missing..there were iron railings to support on a steep side..
this is the place where a few guys following us gave up the climb..And finally, we made it to the top..i threw my bag, held the GPS and went to gauge the summit..i climbed a rock only to realize that we had "a lot more to go" !!..And we finally made it to the top this time :) ( i was still skeptical though )
The elevation of this point was 1198m, with a re-ascent of around 400m from the base..A bit taller than Savandurga..One good thing about the fort is, there's no temple on the top to attract pilgrims ( there's a temple in ruins ) and the ascent itself is kind of difficult..This has helped retaining the fort walls in a fairly good condition..The peak had a small fortress that had several rooms supported by pillars.. On the other side of the fortress ( the western side ), we could get the view of distant siddarbeTTa and channarayanadurga..The gusty winds on the top seemed to carry us..and occasionally we lost the balance too..There was a thin mist and we knew for sure, we were in the clouds..
The muhurtam was at 0830 :) ..We had to rush down..A few others were joining us for the wedding..When i called them up, it was their "wake up" call !!..and there was no way they could make it to the wedding in time ..The muhurtam was still at 0830, just that, it lost its significance ;) ..We informed KK that we'd be late too..and we had more time..We reached the base and went to a temple that was seen from the top..We enquired about the road to SiddarabeTTa..The shopkeeper gave us "written directions" for the names of the villages were confusing like "chinaka Vajra" etc.. The guy also told that madhugiri is the biggest monolith in Asia and not the Savandurga...I wasn't convinced though..He told that many doors in the fort have been locked by archaeologists and they house some mysterious secrets !! We reached Channarayanadurga after taking a deviation on the Madhugiri-KoraTagere road via Chinaka-vajra..This fort too seemed less damaged..We had no interest to climb this one..We proceeded towards SiddarabeTTa..This one seemed swarmed by pilgrims..When asked about the place, One lady said that it had some temples on the top..Later, Kaushik told me that there are caves on the top..got to check it out once..
A small pond filled with bloomed lotus was too beautiful to be missed out..There were some guys standing on the banks trying to fish out some flowers with sticks..Mithun succeeded in forcing the guys to venture in the waters and pluck the flowers with some psyching-up statements like "hey you guys are of no use..can't you go into the water and pluck 'em ? "..Very soon, there were dozens of flowers and buds in our hands :)
The muhurtam was at 0830..it was already 0930 !..We rode back with a few photo-stops.. We were at the wedding hall even before the rest of 'em joined us from Bangalore..A heavy lunch put an end to a foggy idea that was coming to my mind to visit Devarayandurga later in the day..
KK was hinting about him getting married..I was thinking "well..I can't wait that long !..i hafta find another reason to trek in this place"..hmmm..Do, i need any "reason" at all ?? :)
The God's own country had remained a dark area for our trek team..I'm not talking about the Godzone-New Zealand or the Australia..But, our own Indian version of the God's own country - Kerala...The long weekend after the republic day gave us a wide window for a big trek..
WyanaD, in north Kerala was the best choice owing to it's proximity to Karnataka border and it's picturesque locations..More planning went in this time..with better maps, great software ( google-earth ), and sophisticated gadgets ( gps )..believe me..i had spent more time checking out the relief of the Kundah Mountains in google earth than on the actual trek..
Malayalam seemed to be a barrier, more challenging than the 2100m high peak we were planning to scale..I got a hint of it when i went to book tickets to Kalpetta ( capital of WyanaD )..The guy sitting in the Kerala State Transport counter in B'lore bus-stand made me go through an acting session..Finally, i succeeded conveying him what i wanted, but at the end, my name was printed "PRAVINE"..sounds mallu !! Nagu, The only mallu guy in our team was our only hope..But, he had his brother's engagement to attend in chennai..Meanwhile mithun tried to boost his confidence of being able to communicate mallu..he spent half an hour over the phone with the kerala transport guy..and know what !. he lost the little confidence he had:) ..
The D-day arrived..The rest of the team - Shashwath, Nesara, Samit and Sumedha were all bagged for the trek..We had packed enough food and more than enough "good-life" milk..Our PR guy, nagu ( the reason for us to choose him as our spokesperson was obvious, He works for a marketing division and more obviously, he "knows mallu" ), was travelling from the east coast for our salvage..He finally made it in time..
We reached Meppady, the base of chembra at the day break , had tea and appams at the Taj ( un-starred ), hired a jeep for the Chembra estate and flagged off the mission.. a drive through the beautiful tea estates led us to the forest gate..We made a quick decision to dump extra resources in guard's house and disburden our shoulders..I had 3 plans in mind when we set forth Plan A : climb chembra ( 2100m ) and trek to Vellarimala ( 2240 m ) from there.. Plan B : If the forest is too dense, scale vellarimala independently. Plan C : if permission to vellarimala is rejected, scale a different peak in a different range.. the decision to keep a part of our resources at the base, ruled out plan A..We were on a mission to execute plan B..
The ascent was steep..the terrain was rocky, grass was burnt..the altimeter read 1000m when the ascent started..It was almost a kilometre of climb upwards !!..and with the kind of slope we were climbing on, exhaustion was evident on all our faces..half way through, we arrived at the heart-shaped lake ..who would expect a lake at this altitude, and to add to it, it has the shape of a heart !! ..after a brief session of photography ( most of them for matrimonial profiles ), the team went on..Nesara was complaining about his knee ache..but, his slow and steady pace kept him in the forefront..the climb became more steep..exposed valleys added to the thrill..the summit of chembra was clearly visible..
I have been experimenting with my gps for quite sometime now..and it shows a close conformance with the data from G-earth, some topo-maps and the actual place itself..to my disbelief, the gps started pointing in a wrong direction..and the chembra was showing up in the different direction..i concentrated more on my climb 'coz it was getting steeper..We finally made it to the peak..it was a great view from the top..the peak had a surprisingly less floor area on the top..the peak is indeed a sharp one !..
all the small hillocks were dwarfed at this height..Surprisingly, when i turned behind, i was definitely not standing on one of the highest peaks..i reached out to my navigation set, spread the map, turned on the altimeter device..we were not on peak 2100, the altitude was 1835 !!..the gps was still pointing loyally to a higher peak distant 2 km SE..THAT was chembra..and not the one on which we stood..We argued with a forest guard who was adamant that we indeed stood on chembra..the argument finally ended when nagu translated a local's statement as "your intstrument is not accurate"..i chuckled and gave up..
The google earth is not so bad..check this out.......
Sumit slept on the summit, Nesara was checking out the surroundings, shashwath was appreciating the beauty of hills while correcting his hair, mithun and sumedha had stuck their cams to their eyes, nagu socialised with the fellow climbers, while i kept marking our location in the gps..The Tom Sawyer in us took us further down the valley..we found a nice place to rest..and a water source too..I just wished we had not left our resources back at the base..we'd have trekked to the "actual chembra"...the lunch we had midst a small canopy was a wonderful experience..sleeping there was even more so..and believe me, at 3 in the afternoon, we were shivering with cold..
The actual chembra kept calling us, but we had to go... I remember nagu telling me on the way .. "i feel we'll be coming to this place again.." i dunno what made him tell this..this thought kept lingering in my mind.... the valleys seemed more steeper while descending ..We had failed to execute the first phase of our plan..Chembra was unaccomplished..
All the trekkers who go up there feel that they've scaled the chembra..But, it's not so..the locals know it that way..and the forest officials want it that way..'coz trekking to actual chembra means entering the reserve forest and encountering the wild animals..this is a ploy to conserve the wild life and at the same time satiate the trekkers..
..we descended with the resolution that we shall climb the peak 2100 some day..this means yet another trek in the pipeline...
..back at the base, a lot of phone calls to the forest officers and tourism council guys were deciding the shape of things to come....
" To see once is worth more than hearing a hundred times "..I had heard a lot about the land of Kings - Rajasthan..But, never got an opportunity to see it..Rajesh's wedding in the Pink City gave us more than a reason to plan for a rajasthan trip.. The 6 of us : nagu, kee3, sonal, aish , kisna and me, were game for this trip.. the air and rail tickets were booked 2 months in advance - speaks about the amount of planning that went into making this trip happen..after heated discussions via mails, chatrooms, in bistros and pantries, an itinery emerged..we had to drop the jaipur-Amritsar-Dalhousie trip due to the non feasibility and time availability ( i guess nagu's ability's are still working ).. the Jaipur-Delhi-Dharamshala trip aroused transient response and died out soon..We finally decided for B'lore-Delhi-Pilani( not decided )-Jaipur( sure coz Rajesh chose this palce to get married)-Udaipur(not sure coz it'd be an overdose of forts )-Mount Abu-Jaipur-Delhi-back..But, this was seemingly the most work-out-able plan as the team was OKAY with it..
Rajesh's status message in Google-talk ( 10 more days to go...9 more days to go..) would remind me every day about the approaching day..I was as excited as the groom himself ( think straight ).. for, this was the first time for me in many ways..i was taking off the ground in an aircraft for the first time, was crossing the tropic of cancer for the first time..and for others too, it was the first time of many things..like wearing his new kurta for the first time for kee3..wearing monkey-cap for the first time for nagu..riding on camel's hump and so on....
Lord kisna, as usual was busy with his holy karmas..and he dropped out, creating a "vacancy" in the team..Sumeet filled up this vacancy with his great PJ's, nice old songs, UNO cards, big smile and a bigger a*@ ( we 6 guys were a tight fit in all those autos and taxis..but, thanks to nagu's small frame )..
the D-day arrived..we boarded the plane..i tied my seat-belt as the hoistess gave instructions indifferently ..this journey was the longest in distance, but shortest in time..we were welcomed by 2 of sonal's buddies..We spent time discussing about the possibility of going to the first "undecided destination" of our trip - Pilani..what a way to start !!..We had enough time to think over this coz the Deccan aircraft on which sumeet was aboard, was wandering aimlessly in sky or was rather SIMPLYFLYing...and we missed all our dear buses to Pilani and Jaipur..Nikhil and Tabrez, Sonal's friends helped us get a taxi to Pilani..and our first road journey began.. .it was a beautiful drive in the moonlight and we sang the whole trip..aish's tam songs, sonal's punjabi numbers, kee3's and sumeet's oldies with nagu's "desi beats" ..very soon, we were in BITS pilani..and aish was home...
It was natural for aish to jump around here and there with excitement in BITS..we saw the campus till we were exhausted, while aish and sonal continued on their nostalgic expedition around the campus..we left for jaipur later in the day..
that evening we met rajesh at his residence..his blushed face was closely competing with his red kurta..a great food and slow dance of his uncles and aunts to retro-tunes was memorable..
we spent the whole of 26th sight-seeing jaipur..hawa mahal, birla mandir, jal-mahal, amer palace.. junta spent tens of grands shopping at RTDC..i really cant believe, we shopped so much.. a visit to Chouki Dhaani - a Rajasthani theme village, was a treat to our taste-buds and eyes..camel ride was the best..and people compared it to what not !! The next morn, we shopped more in the juari bazaar..aish did not shop, rather she demanded for the materials at the price she wanted and had them !!..guess this is not called shopping..whatever...Sonal wasn't too far behind with her convincing "bhaiyya.." ....
then came the actual purpose of our visit to rajasthan : rajesh's wedding..Rajesh looked like a kid and made the wedding scene appear like a child marriage..sonal's and aish's enthu drew us all to the dance floor..and i cant believe, that my shy being was dancing midst the prying eyes of the crowd..i was reminded of my college days when we used to dance ( am not sure if i can call it dance )...having loaded our tummies in sonal's aunt's house, we could hardly eat..we had a bus to udaipur at 11, and none of us were interested to move away from the wedding scene...we spent the night travelling to udaipur with the sweet memories of the wedding..it was a long and beautiful journey..
a hoard of auto drivers and hotel guys approached us as soon as we landed at udaipur..this lake-city aroused very little interest in us..the pichola lake wasn't as great as we had read in books or appeared in master card ad..and the city-palace was much a repitition of Amer..boating in fatehpur sagar lake was a nice experience..the most exciting thing that happened this day was, India winninng against S Africa..We left for mount Abu in a Rajasthan transport bus..
the bus climbed the aravallis while the sun climbed over the horizon..a temperature indicator read 4 degrees celcius !!..A localite, one Mr gaurav mehta was kind enough to guide us to a decent hotel and negotiated the taxi price too..it's difficult to find such people, but in a place like Rajasthan, it's not too difficult i guess... We enjoyed the views of serene aravallis..the temple of arbuda, the sajjangarh fort ( a kid-guide showed us the place..his Rs.20 package included 20-dialogues as bonus !! ), gurushikhar, the mind-blowing delwara temple made a perfect mix of trek, archaeology, devotion and fun..the beautiful day ended with a beautiful sunset at the sunset point..
After a taxi drive to abu road, we took the Ashram Express to delhi..While the rest of the junta in our bogie slept, we played UNO - what an addiction !!..Whenever the TC arrived, kee3'd hide his cards and sit silent..makes me laugh when i'm reminded of it..
our Delhi itinery wasn't fixed yet. Sonal had her train to Amritsar at 1.40..Aish had her cousin staying in Noida..I still believe that when nothing is planned, things work out really well..We went to Noida..and in no time, we had a Hyundai Accent and a chauffer !!..after droppping sonal at railway station, we set out to see the newly opened Akshardham temple..and who says Accent is a 3 + 1 ?..it was 1.5 + 1.25 + 0.75 + 1 +... all in all, we 5 and the driver !!..the ride thru' Janpath was amazing..and i had never seen anything more cheap than the stuff in SN market..and the shopping frenzy continued..aish continued with her shopp..err whatever...
Sumeet's flight was at 8.10, and though we left the market at 6.35, the traffic jam cost him his flight..we tried hard to get something done, but the "dhakkan" guys were too deaf to listen to us..sumeet bought a fresh ticket for a flight next morn..our flight was scheduled at 10.10..the 2 PVC pipes that we were carrying, which had the rajasthani paintings aroused special interest in the security personnel..i was flying back with mixed feelings..i wasn't interested to go back to my work place again..the sumeet's incident..or may be i was missing something....I saw Delhi's landscape soon turn into a golden jewellery, that slowly moved away..the captain anounced.." FYI, we're travelling at an altitude of 39000 ft, ie ~ 12 km above the surface of earth..at a speed of 740 kmph..head-winds of 120kmph....."....
B'lore looked more beautiful from the night sky..it was like scanning thru google-earth..Yet another enchanting trip had come to an end..
"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end"
Mysore was calling me for Dasara..but, Dasara was not the only reason..Staying away from home for the first time is very difficult for anyone..and for someone like my little sister, it's even more painful..So, mysore was calling me...to meet pallu..
Having decided to visit mysore alone, i planned to stay with my friend. Thanks to the overcrowded lodges and hotels..In the background, 2 of my dear friends had decided to join me, much to my oblivion !!..Sonal mails me that keerti and herself will be joining me !!..But, i dismissed the plan to take them along..thanks to the accomodation problem again..atleast for sonal, it was difficult..finally, we found a place for sonal..in pallu's hostel..
Next morn, it was sonal who woke me up at 5 am..and she was ready to go even before i had packed up !! and keerthi , as usual, came up with a surprise..he wasn't leaving home before 10..he had to attend some pooja ( no, not a girl )..I had to find out my friend's room in mysore first. So, i asked sonal to come along with keerti..I found out the house and met pallu too..But, keerthi's pooja still went on, with sonal growing more impatient..Everyting was set for the trip to be called off..but, sonal was too determined to let it go..and so was keerthi..they finally made it to mysore at 5 pm !!..me and pallu had already finished running around the zoo by then.. with very little time left, we could plan just one thing..and it had to be the the Great Mysore Palace..
The Palace was decorated and lit exuberantly for the occassion and was glittering with glory..walking with my head held high, staring at the palace, i had ignored the sight below..and what i saw was quite shocking..had never seen a crowd of that magnitude..unlike the crowd in a rock show, each one was moving in a different direction..pushing and struggling..a tumultous air with all sorts of music and announcements..To add to it, a puppet show was being staged on a makeshift stage on a truck..a scene of Goddess Chamundeshwari killing the demons was the plot..We were a witness to this great spectacle along with thousands others, who were watching it with great faith..I felt like folding my hands too..Having watched the struggle for 15 mins, with the daemon still giving a tough fight for the Goddess, we moved on to see the palace..
At the gates of the palace, people were gushing out like the water from a dam sluice..Comfort is always relative..I wish i were still watching the Goddess-demon fight..it was way better than this struggle..after a great deal of effort, we managed to enter the palace premises..I guess, if the generous Wodeyar had any idea that india would GROW so much, he'd have built bigger gates..and an even bigger palace itself.. We spent the rest of the day planning for the next day, savoured a nice meal and left for our rooms..
The D-day began with a trek to Chamundi hill..it was quite an experience to climb the hill in the mist with beautiful landscapes below..Inspite of the early timing, the queue for darshan was far stretched..we were patiently moving with the queue, and suddenly it stalled..the reason : the chief minister of karnataka, Mr. Dharam had arrived for a "special pooja"..it was time we lost our patience and the intention to quit the line came naturally, unanimously ..and in no time, we were in the bus stand..The "sea of people" of the last night'd scare any maritime voyager..I dropped my intentions to watch the famous "jamboo sawaari"..Instead, we planned to visit the KRS dam..For the fact that junta had decided to stay back for the highlight of the day ( the sawaari ), this place was spared from messing up..we had a great time walking along the dam.. with almost all the sluices open, river cauvery was flowing with all her might..it was fun to watch the water gust off the dam gates and was apparently giving a feeling that the dam was moving backwards, as if it were to be a huge ship sculpted of rock..( our brave keerthi found it scary !! )..
Amidst all this, the fact that we had gone all the way to the temple and pulled ourselves out of the queue for darshan, was building up a sense of guilt in us..Keerti was the first to react..when he told about this adventure to him mom, "how dare you guys... and something and something ..." was the reply..we HAD to go back to the temple now..but we had no time for it..I suggested keerti that we'd visit the temple some other day and it was okay to go ahead with our next plan..and afterall "Mysore is no far away"... We dropped pallu at her hostel..then decided to have lunch. ( coz great decisions are made with filled stomachs..said keerti )..tha's true..we, the indecisive lot, made the best decision of the trip..that was to "stay back"..Pallu's roommate was back, and my friend's room was no longer vacant..we checked into a hotel, deposited our luggage and took a bus to the betta ( chamundi hill )..we entered the temple without much struggle and an air of relief surrounded us..keerti looked relaxed..for all his guilt-feeling had washed away..he could go home and proudly tell his mom about his accomplishment ..Being on the hill-top, filled with a mixture of rain and mist, eating hot "bondas"..we guys can never forget that experience.....rain, mist, hot bondas and tea.....
The next day, Pallu couldn't join us ( colleges are more strict than companies )..we took an auto for the zoo..the auto driver smiled and said "the animals wont be awake so early sir..instead i will drop you at the art gallery"..the next few hours were spent admiring at the creations of masters, shopping, watching animals, scolding the idiots who were throwing stones at animals ( it was keerti )..sonal suggested that we meet pallu again..we met her, saw her campus and it was time to leave her and leave mysore..
Though I was exhausted, the memories of the trip were too heavy to let me sleep..Keerti was still thinking of the Chamundi hill accomplishment...and guess sonal was being disturbed with the thought of buses chasing her in the bus stand :) ..
I had never imagined that this trip would ever materialize, but it did..and turned out to be one of the best..
was the vacation of 8th std..as usual my alarm sounded at 5:30 am..I dressed up in my tracks, put on the shoes and was ready to welcome yet another day, with a jog up a hillock and see the sun wake up.. but, something was strange about this morning..things were seemingly not the same..no signs of light streaks midst broken clouds..no chirping of birds..instead, mongrels kept barking at my presence..but the urge to reach my friend's house and wake him up, kept me going ..not far had i gone, i heard a whistle coming from the direction of a dark street..this wasn't of course the "start whistle" for a marathon.. in no time, a night cop was holding me..seeing that he meant no harm, i sighed..he asked me politely :
"kid, what's the time?" .. i had no watch..like a weatherman who'd extrapolate the time based on wind direction and cloud formations, i started looking at the sky ( was cloudy, no signs of light..but, my alram had sounded 10 mins ago..and there was my animated reply..).. "must be 5:45 sir ??" .. i saw a smirk on the cop's face..which encouraged me to think that the cop was appreciating my child genius :) ..soon, the smirk turned into a scowl..his grip on my arms tightened and back came the reply "kid, it's 2:30..where do you stay?" ..
my shivering hands were pointing to my home, hardly visible in the dark..i don't remember how i dodged the dogs and mirk to reach home in record time.. i saw light in my home..my mom had woken up and she was searching for me..being a show off, I tried to hide my folly and said " get me a new alarm..it rings when it wants.."..guess i saw my dad grinning.. and no one except me had heard that alarm.. Now, i had to justify myself..to my conscience..that the alarm HAD sounded i checked the alarm if something was really wrong..it was flawless..it hadn't made a sound, more than the usual ticking.. when it was ringing at 5:30, i crossed checked the time with 2 other watches and made sure it was 5:30..everything seemed normal..
At times I have found myself doing things and later wondering if it was ME who really did it..
We just tend to forget how strong is a mind buried deep inside us, the subconscious mind..experienced by all of us, in varying amounts..sometimes scaring us and most of the times guiding us through.. the way we react to situations, way we behave when no one is observing us, is not a result of our conscious mind..the control sits still deep within..
now, let me come to the incident which is forcing me write this huge blog patiently.... very recently, i realized that i must be jogging in the morning..But, getting up in the morning seems impossible ( 'coz my subconscious mind drags my sleeping body to the alarm. shuts it off graciously, without my knowledge !! ). .So, i thought I'd take the help of my friend aishwarya in waking me up. a commanding voice on the other end "wake up..it's time"..really wakes me up ( I guess, till my subconscious mind gets used to it :) ).. 2 days back, i woke up to see my cell ringing I answered the call.."hello".. the voice from the other end seemed familiar..but, something was strange ( my preconscious mind was at play ) it was aish calling "hello..wake up.." I was about to thank her, my eyes fell on the alarm clock ..it was 1:10 am !! I trust my clock.. and aish's wake-up call, even more so.. i cross checked with the time on my cell..it was 1:04 am.. this is when my conscious mind took over.. I asked "whey're you calling me now? "... "because i'm supposed to........" was the reply !! ..if my roommate's snoring wasn't being heard in the background, i'd have had an attack.. I said "aish..what's the time? " .. "........5:15" ..the long pauses were scaring me..I knew something was fishy.. I now get the hint that aish was talking in her sleep.. to wake her up, i shouted "..you know what's the time..".. all i heard was sound of some keystrokes on her cell..a long pause..and "..5:15".. i was running out of ideas i shouted again "..you know what's the time now ?..it's 1:10 !!..".. she says .."ya, it's 1:00 ".. i shout "sleep now !!".. the phone is disconnected..
..The next morn, when i wanted to check if aish remembered any of this herself, i didn't mention her a thing. was giving her clues..she was oblivious of the whole scene last night !!..
and when i narrated this to her..she was laughing..not at herself..but, the one who had called me..
she says she had changed her alarm time from 5:00 am to 5:15 am..and guess she slept thinking about it..
i just marvel at the power of our minds.. the constant fight between the Id, Ego and the Superego..
i know few people who "programme their mind" to wake up at a particular time.. and they wake up !!..
and many a time, when i HAVE to wake up, i keep two alarms..one usual..the other hidden ( such that my lazy subconscious would not find it..)..and surprisingly, i never use 'em both :) ...
Every morn, on the way to office, seated in the office cab ( One great thing for which i like my company ), listening to the radio city, looking thru' the window, I get to see a common sight every day : local buses, themselves overloaded, unable to decongest the bus-stops...this leaves the commuters with a few options - board an equally overcrowded cab (where one's sanity is at stake ) ,or take an auto ( where one's fortune is at stake ), or give up the idea of going to the office altogether..
It's the fear of missing the bus, the fear of losing myself in that crowd, the fear of that struggle, that doesn't let me sleep beyond 7:30 am..it's this fear that gets my sleepy body to the bus-stop on time..But, today, this blessed day, my worst fear came true..I missed the bus. I was pressing my shirt (an attempt to look neat atleast on Mondays) and this unscheduled activity cost me time..very dearly..
I was barging in thru the crowd desperately trying to catch a bus. much like finding oneself left alone midst the barbarians ..and in one of those company buses,i imagined a Caesar jeering at me, stretching his hand, pointing his thumb horizontally, which'd go up or down and eventually'd decide my survival..the shouting of " Marathalli, Marathalli" too sounded like the " Maximus, Maximus " ..
I managed to fight for myself a 12" X 8" X 6' space in a mini-cab. When i came out of it, i realized, that i had better not spent time pressing my shirt, for it made no difference in the end...atleast i'd have enjoyed the luxury of sitting in my cab.
If I had to go thru this for a single day, I just don't know how one tolerates this every other day..the authorities seem oblivious of this common man's struggle..The roads just don't seem capable of handling the magnitude of ever increasing traffic..The Peripheral Ring Road, proposed by BDA would make no difference..coz, by the time it's inaugurated, the traffic would have grown manifold..it's time the B'lore Development Authority gives thought beyond the surface roads, to underground rails and Elevated transit systems..