Thursday, July 3, 2014

BTC Organizers Trek - to Tadiandamol [Coorg] - June 21st & 22nd

Will it rain? Wont it rain? What to pack? what not to pack? which seat to catch in the TT? - lotsa thoughts! Finally, gave up on each thought - sought people's help and prepared myself for my first ever Organizers Trek.

June 20th , evening:

     With a very responsibly packed baggage (ok, so again only some of my friends can comprehend why I the word ‘responsibly’ here :P!), I headed out for Shantala Silk house in my Shikari Shamboo avatar; and met the rest of the BTC organizers who had already gathered at the destination. Must say, it was a confluence of different personalities – again; people from different cultural backgrounds, different mind-sets, different thoughts and views on adventure.

     While we waited for few others to join us, Channa inaugurated the Fun by opening the churmuri packet he had got from his native. We – the bhukkads (I mean the whole troupe, none specific) dug our hands at the poor plastic cover to get maximum share of the churmuri :D. This followed the distribution of ‘lauki-ka-halva’ (took some time to explain gujju bhai Hiren that its duddhi-no-halvo :P) brought by Viru.

     Cracked jokes. Saw Channa, Deepthy, Sangu and Viru’s bag-packing techniques.  Chit-chatted for a while. Had some more of snacks-eating sessions (lonavala Chikki from Sush), and started in our TT that arrived an hour late!

     Journey was more peaceful one (considering that most of us were from IT sector, and had arrived after a week full of facing computers).  Passed our time talking about various things : drink-n-drive cases, signal jump fines, elephant-chasing experiences n blah blah blah. Stopped over for dinner at 11pm (after a hiatus on finding an appropriate place to hog :D). Continued our journey to reach the destination.

June 21st :Morning:

     Enter Coorg. And our organizer Abhi’s prayers were answered! The place welcomed us with rain showers. Got the TT stopped outside the Virajpet bus stand, for refreshing ourselves. After brushing our teeth (..and i sound utterly insane here!) (on strict instructions by Abhi – else some of us junglees did not really care – it was gonna be a jungle exploration, after all :P!), we headed out for breaksfast. Got our lunch parcelled, and started for our first destination  – Chelavara Water falls. The ambience here already had started to captivate us, as we walked our way to reach the Falls. The falls was even more mesmerizing! Some of us stepped onto the chill waters (thanks to Deepthy n Sush for handholding me); and later gave some work to our photographers – Anthony, Ritz and Channa :P

Chelavara Falls

Chelavara Falls - 2

BTC organizing team

     Took our time to take in all that the place gave us. Finally, we all had woken up completely (after a refreshing experience at Chelavara); and then headed out for another view point – Choma Kunda. Thanks to Sangu’s hilarious music dedication session (Ritz and Sush were the DJs) – our journey from Chelavara to Choma Kunda was much more lively and active :P

Choma kunda viewpoint – a walk into the Clouds!

     Got down from the TT, and again – the rains! The way to the base of this viewpoint was equally beautiful. Throughout this passage, Viru kept his notoriety on, by hopping and splashing water on every possible targets (some of us – Abhi, Hiren, Ritz, Sush n I - literally ran away to escape the brunt – while the rest were attacked :D!)

     Post the fun-walk, we reached the base of the viewpoint and started to trek. The climb to the peak was a bliss – with just the green on our path; and the fog-white and chill winds blowing around. Abhi’s dhyaan-mantra seemed to have really impressed the rain gods, and the showers went on and off all along! From the peak we witnessed the clouds gliding above from the valley below (yes! You read it right! They glided above from below indeed!) – and this was really a heavenly experience! At some points, the clouds cleared out giving us spectacular sights of the dense forest at the valley down below. We howled, clicked pictures and moved to another part of the peak where we enjoyed heavy rains.  By this time – I was totally lost into some peaceful world – with a stream of memories with childhood-buddies enjoying out in the rains, gushing in from no-where and catching hold of my brain! Of course, this lasted for a short period of time, and then we all started out to touch the base.

Walk all the way to choma kunda peak
A click from the Choma-kunda viewpoint

     Took a different route for the descend. Had a brief but interesting conversation with Hiren on life as a Gujju, and life as a Bangalorean! The conversation was abrupted by Viru’s intentional attempts of distracting us with ‘yeh duniya kaisi hai’ rut; and the photo sessions mid-way until we reached the base :D Sangu-Channa pair were all time the ‘solo-picture-perfectoss’ :P

     Had no clue about what time it was [we had barely seen the sun since the time we were up, and were too engrossed in the fun and nature], but our tummies signaled that it was time for us to take a lunch break. 
     Drove for some more time with another round of music dedication, and cracking more jokes, until we reached a school outside the Nalknad Palace. By now it had turned into a ritual that whenever our organizer – Abhi - stepped out of the TT, it inevitably started to rain heavily! :D We halted outside the school, where we decided to have our lunch. Even post the lunch, we had to wait for the rains to stop – but since Abhi refused to get back inside the TT (oops..i mean since the rains refused to stop :P), we had to postpone our plans of trekking to the forest peak. We explored the palace (that felt more like kannada movie Aptamitra’s haunted house), had a photo session again and wandered around wondering what next to do (rains hadn’t stopped still!)

     Felt like it was dusk (again with no idea of what time it was) and Viru, Channa, Sangu and Abhi chalked out plans on halt for the night. With a bit of investigations, we zeroed in on a place and boarded our TT. We halted on the way near a shop and then came an announcement – ‘We will have an Introduction round’ :D Piyush instant comment – ‘subah se sabko dekh toh liya, ab kya introduction lena hai’ got us chuckling, nevertheless, we had to finish the formality :P. After the formal stuff, we headed out to a house for the night-stay.

     Sushma’s Takeshi-castle act was a super funny one :D (poor thing had confidently got out of the bus without rain cover, but the moment Abhi stepped out, again rains started showering, and I had to quickly wrap her inside the rain cover that I thankfully had handy – well.. letting only her head sneak out of the cover :D. Wonder how did she manage to walk all the way from the TT to the house with even her hands wrapped inside the cover – or did she manage to pop out her hands on the way?? :D). Thanks to Subrata who threw the light on our way (while we were struggling to get our torches in those heavy rains, reluctant to open our bagpacks!)

in-house camping (uncaptured in photos) :P

     Ok! So we are different! And so what if the rains tried to spoil the sport..we dint blame it and still made our way to camping – inside the house :P the owners were kind enough to let us set up a camp fire (mainly to cook our dinner).  We 4 girls urged our organizer to set up a tent inside our room – one of the craziest decisions made (just wanted to have a tent-feeling, as we had missed it), and our organizer set it up with no complains :D

     Had a nice sharing-n-caring dinner, cracked jokes, countered Viru’s ‘ye duniya..’ saga, watched Abhi’s fun chase and shooing away the owner’s cat out of the tent; and then called it an adventurous day…

    Everyone retired, we girls retired into the tent – the suffocation that Deepthy and I felt inside the tent, led to a series of comedies (ok..not blaming the other 2 :D), and we both decided to sleep out of the tent (wanting some fresh air) letting Ritz n Sush have a peaceful tent-sleep :P. it felt more like Dip and I were guards to the queens resting happily inside their palanquin :D![yeah..guards..because the next day morning we realized we and our sleeping bags had got all wet due to water dripping down from the roof :D, the tent-ers were spared of this...hmmm...;)

Day 1 – the end…

Day 2:
     Rains hadn’t stopped still! It had been a continuous pour since the previous evening. Again after some brainstorming, the organizers tweaked the day’s plans that felt safer - considering the weather conditions. After thanking the house owners (who were really sweet and all smiles at us), we packed and set out for our first destination of Day 2 – Talakaveri.

     Day 2 was a more active one in the TT – when even Subrata and Piyush (who were more of silent spectators the previous day) joined in the fun by discussing stuff about biking [and later paired up with Viru - to pull Ritz, Dip’s and Sushma’s legs by calling them ‘Indicator’ :D]. well…i was busy pulling Hiren and Abhi’s legs [Anthony, Sangu and Channa had nice entertainment, I guess :D]

Talakaveri – a nice rainy walk till the entrance reminded me of Diddy’s song – Home Coming. Anthony was at his comedy best. :D As soon as we entered the place – Dip, Hiren & I turned into kids and started splashing water on each other (yeah…insanity inside the temple). The weather was all gloomy and on-off rains.

The series of 'mannat-buildings' :P

BTC folks with their 'wishes stones'

loved this pic!  return from Talakaveri..walk towards TT

     Peak was an amazing place. Its believed that this is a place for asking ‘mannats (wishes)’. You have to lay pieces of stones one over the other and ask for something, and it shall be granted. Sush, Ritz and I – sparing no chances – busied ourselves by constructing stories of stone buildings with wishes :D (not only for us, but for others too :P). In the end, we realized that my ‘mannat-building’ had disappeared. Concluding that someone up there had really picked it up, we returned to join the rest of the folks (who were busy taking pictures)

BTC (mock) Family and Abbey Falls:

     The journey from Talakaveri to Abbey falls was hilarious. With all intentions of ragging Abhi to the core; we created a nice BTC (mock) family – with Abhi, Sush, myself, Hiren, Deepthy and Viru as characters [keep guessing who’s who – I mean ‘wild-guessing’ :P]. Anthony – the all-silent chap in the team opened up with little dance jig :P

Abbey falls somewhat reminded me of Iruppu in terms of its aura. Again, the casper in me played up its prank! Had a gut feeling since the beginning of the trek that I was gonna bump into a known face somewhere in the journey, and lo! Bumped into a friend’s friend! The Falls in itself was a beautiful sight (the rains adding to the experience). Channa diligently managed to ask for umbrellas (to capture the moments even in those rains) :D

Abbi - The Falls

Click with Abbhi - The organizer :P

Mandalpatti :

     The return from Abbey falls again indicated it was time to fuel ourselves again.  After lunch, we journeyed again with some travel music on inside the TT. Realized that we actually had good singers in Hiren and Sangu :P ([and thanks guys for letting me listen to ‘hosanna’ – never spared any gang / group from the song :P] Reached the start point to Mandalpatti.  The bikers viz Piyush, Subrata n Viru chose to stay at the base for some reasons; while we set out to explore. After an arduous 4km walk, we took onto a jeep ride on awesome roads to meet the viewpoint.   

Climb to the Mandalpatti Viewpoint

Blissed out - on the top of the tower

The spooky (Ritz term), mystifyin (my term) spot! reminded me of Kung fu panda set up and Master Oogway!

Viewpoint – was equally scintillating as the previous one (except that nothing was seen but for the white clouds :P – it was the weather that did the magic!). We chose to experience this chillness and the cold rains on the top of the tower; and again clicked nice snaps. Hiren did a brilliant ‘Sholay-wala-Veeru’ act from the tower (when the rest had got down); until we had to accept Dips as his Basanti :P [ok..i spill some beans about the BTC mock family here :P]. The jeep ride back to the base was again hilarious – the heads of BTC mock family (Abhiyum naanum :P) had got silent; when the rest (Dip, Sush, Sangu and Ritz) continued commenting. Sushma’s comment ‘bechaara beta baap ko nahi pehchaan paa raha’ – was the ultimate one :D

Coorg monstery [The ‘WOW’ memory]:

     Again, it felt like dusk after we had returned from Mandalpatti. With no other places in mind, and lot of time left to return, we went to the Coorg Monastery. Ritz and I instantly went down the memory lane reminiscing the first ever BTC WOW 2-day event :D [just that this was evening time we were inside the monastery]. Missed Captain Ajju big time here! However, had a great time with the troupe. Did some nautanki, again clicked pics [Anthony, Channa and Rits – got too technically deep into photography – and the rest of us happily posed:P].

End of Journey…

     Thankfully the rains had stopped on day 2 evening [finally saw some stars on the sky]. We set out for our return journey, post a fulfilling dinner. Reached Bangalore the next day morning, had a feedback session, and then bid each other adieu and returned to our abodes….The 2 days had been awesome, yet another feather in the BTC cap!


     Well..with BTC – the word ‘thanks’ is losing its lustre (need to find a similar term with bigger magnitude!)! But anyways, a big thanks to Abhi for organizing this trek. There was a lot of learning from this trip. Kudos for planning it!

     Hats off to core BTC folks for establishing such a diverse team of weirdos :D Looking forward for learning and contributing in the weirdness :P


Note by ‘the-blogger-at-heart’:

     Well..i would have loved to name this post as a sequel to my previous posts ‘How-do-we-meet-them : Part 3’ [the first 2 parts written way back in 2010]. It had always been a wonder on how we bump into people and places (we have had really no clue of); and picks up experiences and lessons outta them! The entire event reminded me vividly of childhood days and BBSR folks [KE4 was always in my mind].

     Sealing the post with a quote – “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move” [Robert Louis Stevenson]

Exploring more – thoughts, people, experiences…

For now, signing off..

A Wanderer – in resonance with ‘Life’!

The blogger’s theme song for the event: ‘Dekha hai aise bhi’ from Lucky Ali.

 P.C: Ritz and Channa