Thursday, February 12, 2015

Jingalala Nagala NNNagalllaaaaAAAAA

When was the last you explored a new side of You?

When was the last you turned into that timid little child, sitting on an edge, blabbering strange things and holding onto your fears – only to realize that there’s a big bundle of confidence awaiting you on the other side!!

Woosh! Adrenaline rush! Trek to Nagala was all about it!

The 20 of us gathered at Terminal 3 of the Majestic bus stand on Feb 6th, and after a wait we got inside the bus to Puttur [..and that was the first-time ever I saw a Life-jacket in real… ‘go-with-the-flow’ – was all I said to myself :P!]. After spending some time hogging the gobi-k-paraanthas brought by Neer and then regular leg-pulling sessions, we took a nap until we reached Puttur. The next journey was an hour’s travel to Nagala from Puttur (again by bus).

Morning at around 6am, we reached Nagalapuram and waited for our Guide to open up the waiting rooms for us to freshen up. The wait-time was passed with random photo-session and hot cuppa bed-chai at a stall (that was playing old MGR-TMS songs, and made me feel home at the very arrival of the place :P :))

chitchat post Bed-chai time

After freshening up, and post breakfast – we packed our food stuff and got inside a tempo to reach our trek base.

Day 1 Journey began..

     Post the backpacking, introduction, rules and regulations – we started our trek. Much is said and heard about Nagala off-late! And trust me, it’s all too less to describe the beauty of the place. A lesser-explored region as it has been, the place is really pristine and gives you a totally out-of-the-world experience. As this was a bit off-season hike to the place, some of the streams were dried up and were now just a path with small boulders and pebbles. Nevertheless, the hiking was fun with the amazing group that we had, and the forest still charming us with its tranquility.  

Introduction round at the trek base

Stream-crosing at a small streamlet

We had skipped Pool-1 since it already was filled with a crowd, and decided to make it little quicker to Pool-2 and occupy it.

Pool-2, get-set, Go!

     Enter Pool-2, and we could sense adrenalines already rushing :P. Quickly, we dropped our luggages, put on our Life-jackets and got all set to venture into something New! [Non-swimmers had to learn the basics (on how to float comfortably using life-jackets) and Swimmers wanted to push themselves to a new level of jumps and dives.  Well – I fall into the former category viz. Non-swimmers :P )

     After floating through the easy waters, we decided to move into deeper areas (some of us were entering such depths of waters for the first time ever – thanks to the Life-jackets!). There were panic-attacks, flutters, inhibitions and hesitations – but at the same time – loads of motivation, encouragement and Pushes from the organizers and team mates :P. The non-swimmers successfully made it to the other end of the water pool (thanks to Srikanth and Sundeep – who turned de facto trainers for all of us non-swimmers :P !!). Li’l champ Vaishnavi was an awesome learner and performer! The swimmers were having their time diving, jumping from a lower rock and swimming; when our Guide suddenly made a spectacular jump off a 25ft cliff, giving us an awe!! Should I really mention that watching this, our BTCians got inspired and immediately started climbing up that 25ft cliff to attempt the same thing ?? ;) [I think that’s understood :P a bunch of adventurists that we are :P]

The motivation, de-motivation, black-out, 25ft- whaaa??, this is crazy!!

     Soon, a group of dare-devil BTCians gathered at that tiny space towards the edge of the 25ft cliff. The first ones to climb it (read Captain Viru and Aamir), were now postponing their turns to jump (well, you stand at that edge – and you’ll realize that sachme phat-ti hai :P). The mood was on. The photographers and videographers were all-ready with their cams. The non-swimmer spectators were all loud-n-cheer to the 25ft-gang. And Wooooshhhh – one after the other – the daredevils began to jump!! An amazing sight that it was, we, the spectators began to howl, clap, and cheer for the rest! (Captain Srikanth, was at his jumping-best, despite being a non-swimmer). Shwetha, who had just learnt how to float with the jacket, surprised all of us by attempting this challenging jump within few seconds of motivation! Shabbir’s ‘5-people-slapped-on-face’ description about his own dive and land-straight-on-face into the waters, got us all guffawing and then put us into mischief-mode (of course, the jump and pain wouldn't have been thaat easy!) Padma and Vivek were very quick jumpers!

yeah...that's 25-feet!! B-)
The motivating spectators, for the 25ft Jumpers :P

     Almost everyone were done with their turns, however, the 2 of them – Captain Viru and Aamir – were still struck on the edge – waiting for their muhurat [I repeat! Its absolutely normal! Sachme phat-ti hai :P]. All the attention now turned to the 2 of them, who had been procrastinating since quite a while. After loads of howls and shouts, Aamir finally ventured in, making the entire crowd cheer for him; and now it was Captain Viru’s turn.

 ‘abbey.. camera ka battery khatam ho raha hai’ ‘abbey..dhoop lag rahi hai, video nahi niklega, jaldi jump maar’ ‘Viru..u can do it’ ‘Don’t give a second thought..just jump’ ‘you’ll be safe..come on’ ….. 5 mins. Over. 10 minutes. Over. 15 minutes. Over. We-lost-count-of-how-many-minutes-gone-by. Over.

     When nothing worked, and Viru still stood on the edge staring at the water and contemplating, Shabbir n I decided to trick him into reverse-psychology [yeah..the art of motivating through de-motivation ;)]. ‘Viru..wapas aaja..tu nai kar paayega’ ‘guys..let’s go for lunch, he’s not gonna do it’ ‘tere bas ki baat nahi hai’ ‘camera band ho gaya, jump maar ya mat maar’..We had just started to flood him with a series of intentional de-motivating lines, when Splashhhhhhhh - the water splashed. And out emerged our Captain, finally taking his big leap of faith (the reverse-mapping had worked within minutes, you see ;) :P )! We all cheered for him finally and then – headed out for our pet-pooja :P

Trek post Pool-2 fun!

Peak / Magic pool:

     Soon after lunch, and a bit of cracking jokes, we started trekking our way towards our destination. Crossing streams and boulders was quite a challenging tasks, nevertheless it was fun! After close to an hour of trek, we reached the peak and dropped our bags at a spot where we were about to camp, sometime later in the evening. The magic-pool is just a 5 mins trek above this spot. The Magic pool has a 15ft water-fall, wherein you can slide and jump too!. [not sure, what held me back, but I decided not even enter the falls despite all the encouragement from the organizers and the rest of the folks!]. The group spent about an hour here jumping and sliding (this was comparatively a smaller rock, than the previous pool), and then we descended back to our camping spot.

That's the magical Pool!!

Camping – skygazing – asteroid fall- Astronomy vs. Astrology – anna daatas:

     [Around 7.00pm]  Soon, it grew darker. We all made ourselves comfortable at the camping spot, and took a nice break – spread our sleeping mats, sat together cracked jokes, chased the rats etc etc. Our guide Giri, brought dry woods and lit the fire for cooking. Our Annadaatas (the term plagiarized from WOW blogs:P) Rajalakshmi and Padma went full swing with their cooking talents [the rest of us helped them in other tasks : chopping vegetables, cleaning some vessels, fetching water etc]. A yum daal for 20 was cooked. Later, when Giri took the responsibility of cooking the 3kg rice for us; we decided to trek again to the top for some skygazing – as it had now grown beautifully starry!

     We all rested at places here and there. Some of us chose to silently sky-gaze, while the rest continued to chitchat topics ranging from movies, to politics, to astronomy. During sky-watching, some of us spotted a brilliant Asteroid-fall [I consider this spectacle an icing in the cake J] – and that triggered the topic of astronomy vs. astrology (which continued till dinner).

Group having dinner

     Back at the camping site, we hogged the yum daal-rice, puliyogare rice and then curd rice [a complete meal, I say!] for dinner (thanks again to our Annadatas!) and then sealed Day-1’s adventure with a peaceful sleep…

Day-2 and the ‘Enlightenment’ – the ‘chain-jumps’ and Lagoon exploration!!!

The ‘Enlightenment’ slide: On early Day-2 morning, the early birds (basically the WOW gang), trekked to the magic pool first in order to freshen up. Don’t know whether it was the freshness of a bright new day, or the realization of ‘no-regrets-later’; I suddenly ‘felt-like-sliding’ into the same waterfall that I had hesitated to even enter the previous evening :P [a gut-feeling had caught hold of me, you can say that!]. Raja Lakshmi too had got a similar feeling, and we rushed back to our camping site to pull our organizers (who were now pro-jumpers :P) for moral support (and of course, contingency!!). The photographers followed us with their cams, expecting something miraculous :P And yeah…my first slide was successfully accomplished - followed by Viru’s, and then Srikanth, and then li’l champ Vaishnavi, and then mumma Rajalakshmi, and then Jita (who got inspired by the whole jig – and later herself turned into an inspiration:P). 

     With our new-found confidence of facing the deep-waters, Jita and I took rounds of sliding and then moved on to next level – Jumps. With the crew’s motivation and Viru-Srikanth’s push; we managed to take 2 jumps into the magic pool. The sun was gradually rising up, and we decided to go back to our camp for breakfast (yeah..with the early morning hunger pangs, we had turned ‘ready-to-eat’ (I literally mean – we were ready-to-eat-anything-that-was-cooked!)..After hogging on the noodles, biscuits, rajma rice and kesari bath [be careful when anyone mentions ‘gajar-ka-halwa’ on an outing :P]; we packed our bags and started to descend.

Well..dont wonder, some of these had gone for the 'enlightenment-jump' :P

Breakfast and packing!

Lagoon exploration and Chain-jumps: Our next destination during the descend was another pool, that was covered with wide stretch of rocks. We floated and spent inside the pool, enjoying our time. A rock at a distance from the pool seemed like it was the end of the it, however a narrow passage to its side led to a lagoon (which according to Srikanth boss, was unexplored until we did it!). yayyyy! We had ended up exploring something new :D. After floating / swimming to the other end of the lagoon, we found a small water-fall with heavy currents (Credits to Aamir for discovering this!). The water-fall was a chilling experience (we took turns into the falls, since it was a small one). After offering sufficient back-massage into the falls, we climbed the rocks to take another round of jumps!

Day-2 Trek! trek!

the 'Chain-jumpers' selfie ;)

The big stretch of rocks on the side-ways offered a rather wide slant start-point for us to jump, and we, the ecstatic jumpers and divers, decided to do a ‘chain-jump’. Enacting the ‘rang-de-basanti’ moments by jumping one-after the other through the stretch (yeah..we had three rounds of Spectacular chain-jumps..and it was a hell-of-a-lifetime-moment!), we coiled back to individual jumps, swimming and floats.

Lunch and descend back to base:

     After spending sufficient time at this pool, doing-the-new again, we hiked back to our trail and halted at an open space for Lunch. Well, lunch was a random ‘snatch-and-eat’ jig with everyone digging into everyone’s boxes, packets, and hands too!

     After lunch, we descended back to our base (with few pitstops here-and-there), and Ahmed’s jokes (actually, more of witty comments:P) – that made our rather tiring hike a little lighter!!

The team! At the base

     By evening we were at the base, where the tempo had been waiting for us. We reached the bus-stop, had a chai-break at the same stall that had played old MGR songs the previous morning and then walked to the bus-stop, where we waited for bus to Puttur. Bus arrived, reached Puttur for dinner, post dinner waited for bus to Bangalore (scheduled at 10.00pm).

     Boarded our return bus, and post a feedback session, we all slipped into our own ‘unbelievable-dreamworld’ until the next morning; when we bid adieu to each other – after an amazing forest-trek!
Well, who said that Nagala is only a ‘swimmers paradise’. I believe it’s a learners-paradise; a safe and amazing place for people who are willing to learn and explore water sports (of course, Life-jackets zindabad :P)

     Thanks to the entire team for being a motivating-lot, ensuring each others’ safety and pulling up an amazing show. Special mention to Captain Srikanth and Virander for organizing it!

     And yeah, for all the inhibitions and fears that pretty-much the whole group had conquered within ourselves – the only theme song that comes to my mind is….

‘ …Tum ek dariya ke jaise, leharon mein behna seekho
Har ek lamhe se tum milo khole apni baahein
Har ek pal ek naya samaa dekhe ye nigaahe
Jo apni aankhon mein hairaniyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum….’

Har ek lamhe se tum milo khole apni baahein :) B-)


Photo credits: Ahmed, Sundeep and Vivek