27 February 2007

Me waiting....

I was traveling home late yesterday and I was riding fast.

Sometime, I felt like some one sprinkling water over me, thought someone is spilling it out of the window, manner less fellows.

In order to escape, accelerated...but the sprinkling continued...

My helmet doesn’t have a wiper..so...opened its shutter...

Felt like some one pricking my eyes....

I stopped my bike and opened the helmet with anger...suddenly I had a beat over my head....

I looked up...Felt as if pearls were hastened over me from above...

My anger got reduced and I felt as if I was floating in heaven!!

Yes, I experienced the first shower of this season's rains :), yesterday!!

Oh! Rain........ I’m waiting for you!!!!!

There's this rain that everyone is now busy getting drenched in Bengalooru. Go ahead!!

22 February 2007

DREAMS AND TAGS!!!!!!!

Kalam sir says “Its not when you sleep you dream. Its one which doesn’t let you sleep”!!

Yes, Dreams are as important as that. These things give a meaning to one’s livinghood. As far as I see, a combo of the following three is a verymuch necessary ingradient for a successful life: Dream, Plan and Hardwork.

OK. Let me not give you any Gyaan on these things. I'm here to answer the tag that Prashanth has given me today.

Here I list some dreams that haunted me…still haunt me… I take it as my day dreams but still…..

1. Me traveling all over India, trying to meet every person, living in every village, visiting every temple, learning about their compulsions, traditions, living conditions…..And finally reporting to the Govt. about their requirements and working towards it!!! Weird, I know. And weirder is the fact that I am traveling on a bicycle :)

2. Me reading all the books of all the writers of all the languages J is another weird and un-accomplishable dream.

3. Me starting a company and employing 1 crore people, across the spectrum, from a mechanic to an MBA, start many schools from the profit, build houses to those living in slums…..

Oh!! Kanthu….Stop Dreaming!!!!

Now my turn to tag :

OK. Let me tag….
1. Beloved DS(December Stud)
2. Serial oooops Silent Killer(mouna)
3. A doctor who wants to learn flying(reborn)
4. The fundoo finance master(m o h a n)
5. Wide variety OI(Opinionated Indian)

I am doing one more thing extra to the tag given by Prashanth. I am adding a tag to a Photoblog. So, from now on…it has to be 5 bloggers and 1 photo blogger. My Photoblogger choice is
None other than our Pantulamma (Veena Shivanna).

You know what…I had not taken RK’s tag a few month’s back. Its due now!!

OK let me take that tag aswell. [Since this is a pending tag, I don’t wish to tag anyone on this!! If someone wishes to take this from me, let me know thru destinationsrik at yahoo dot com].

OK…Here are the 8 things about me that you don’t know.
1. I have a very bad attitude of taking everything that comes my way to be granted, and thus taking it easy.

2. I have this habit of representing the under-represented during any discussion or a show. I mean, suppose during a tennis match, if world number 12 is playing against no.100, I vie for 100 to win, and if 12 is playing against 1, I want 12 to win!!!! Weird and true. I mean, I like to be with those who are not well supported.

3. When my sister got married, as soon as my BIL was tying the knot, I was feeling like going and hitting him for taking away her :-(

4. I like reading novels or fictions, but discussing philosophy. On the other hand, I don’t like discussing novels and reading philosophy.

5. I feel I am emotionally, physically very strong, but the former has been proved many a times wrong. Later, Yes, I am and am proud of it.

6. I wanted to be a doctor, to serve people, mainly to be interacting with hundreds of them, study their features and be in the company of 100s that’s it. But landed in IT, where mostly I have no company :-(.

7. I had been to a Mutt recently near Sirsi. I had been there for a family celebration. My whole family was around, cousins and all. We cousins decided to take bath in a stream that flowed near the temple area, had to walk a bit though. Morning we were to be ready by 7 for the ceremony to start. Got up at 6 and saw everyone sleeping still. I woke everyone up, they got up one by one. And I asked them to start for the river, they were all shivering because of the cold environs of the Mutt. It was decided that everyone will take bath there itself. Discouraged by the development, I walked down to the river alone, and got myself washed with the cool waters. It was cold like hell, but I didn’t care. I introduced this story only to tell you that if I plan something, even if no one accompanies me, I dare to do it, even if it is risky and un-welcome.

8. I give this one to you. Let me know what you guys have to add to my personality that you guys have been “observing” from quiet a time. ;)

21 February 2007

Meghane trek log - VI

25/12/2006
06:30 AM :
“Tea ready” screams were loud and un-welcome. All got up, some brushed, some didn’t. Everyone came out with their lotas (glass/cup). Had steaming tea, felt relaxed, throwing away the early morning blooos;). It was decided that we will trek to the falls, comeback and then have breakfast. The family head himself agreed to accompany us and show us the way to falls. He walked bare foot all the way.

It was an hour-long walk across the fields, green lands, forest and grassland. We had to cross a section of forest where water flows across the road. Had to carry the shoes across. One good thing about this trek was that there was no baggage on the shoulder.

I was in the very front, talking to the local head himself about the life in the forest, their cultural celebrations, familial occasions etc.

He said Deepavali was their major festival, and they worshipped Goddess Durga and Lord Ganesha in the village. Marriages at home consists of a three day long celebration with many people coming from all over and staying at their house all thru the season. Celebration happens at home itself, most of the times with the stuffs they grow, unlike the cities. His household had seen all the marriages, he meant all his children were married off, and his family had 8 people including three young children. Their prime food was “AKKI ROTTI” (rotis prepared from rice gram)

He also said that the forest officers and cops strained them by saying that they had occupied forest lands and they could be executed for the crime. When they carry a wood log, foresters come calling them, and wont return until these villagers bribe them. He expressed his displeasure over the behaviour of these officers.


We had to trek thru a thick section of forest where large trees were accompanied by little thorny shrubs, mountain kind of area and the shoals (sand breaks), slippery. It was getting more exciting and challenging, when we came across a river line, which we had to cross to reach the other side. Nayka asked us to walk bare footed from then, leaving away the foot-wear there itself, which we did. With pricking stones, thorny road and muddy lands, we walked bare footed to reach that corner of the road where water from mountains and forest assembled and fell from atop.

A three stepped, single threaded water fall fell from a distance of a few hundred feet at the first part, on to a big rock, then fell again taking a break, to a larger area where a lake was formed, where one could swim across. From there it would fall much deeper to much larger land and flow across a vast valley. Other side of the falls was a lush green mountain surface that waved as if to welcome us in a “Mexican wave” fashion with the wind that blew them off gently. To our astonishment, we saw water carving big rocks to make it hollowly structures with their sheer force and energy. Nature at its best was in display for us. All stood under the water fall which washed away our sins and negative thoughts, which blew away our tiredness and pessimism. Some people also swam across the lake that was formed with water falling on to the land. I couldn’t take part in this, even though I wanted to, because, I experienced a strange and sudden blanking of my eyes; everything seeming so blur and a happening in a different world. I was just inches away from falling unconscious. Dwarka advised me to keep my eyes shut and sleep for some time. It was tough to believe that I could be so much weak. I did as Dwarka suggested, and in mins time, I recovered.


We trekked back to Padu Beedu, took the same road as was taken during our forward trek. It was an exciting waterfall at Godangundi. Reached home, prepared avalakki and ate as if we never had food in last few weeks.



Prepared our bags and said Good Bye to the hosts. When I said that I would like to be their guest for three days every year, the man was happy and welcomed me by saying warmly “KHANDITA Baappa” (Please do come).



We had to trek back to Kattina Kaaru, 5KMs away to take a bus to Sagara. We started our walk at 12PM. This time though it was thru forest, it seemed more like a country road with landscape on both sides. During this journey we found a few prickles of Porcupine (Mullu Handi/ quill pig), which were shared among Usha and Manja. Usha also collected a peacock feather from somewhere. We reached Kattina Karu exactly at 1:30, when a bus flew away honking. We thought we missed the bus, but locals said bus was at 3:30 and we had to wait near the bus stop to get it.

Meanwhile, there was a bike that stopped just in front of us, with the rider wearing police uniform. He enquired all about us and after learning about Nayana and a few references he gave, cop stopped being inquisitive and kept defending his action. We let him pass off and headed to the bus stop. We waited for the bus till 4 o’clock.

A well-broken bus came our way. We all got in. Driver was struggling hard to change the gear and put the breaks, it was such a Dakota bus which could’ve broken down anywhere on the way. Road it took was phenomenal as we were traveling by the outer cover of Linganamakki backwaters. Bus was traveling very slow, so we had ample time to say bye to the catchy valley that treated us with its warmth and unpredictable’ness.



We reached a place called Kogaaru where the bus dropped us. We were still around 30Kms away from Kargal from where we had queried a vehicle to pick us up. While waiting for the same, we prepared maggi at a nearby hotel and had it with contention. All squeezed inside the 10-seater trax when it arrived. Reached Kargal at around 5:30-5:45PM. We boarded a bus to Sagara from there; no one of us got a seat, as it was crowded.

Reached Sagara, waited for trip organiser Mahesh. He had booked for the 10:30 Rajahamsa. Collected tickets from him, and freshened up at the same hotel, as Subbu and Manja decided to stay back at Sagara for that night. We all used their room for freshening up. Then took auto rickshaws to hotel Harsha Paradise for the dinner. It was an awesome dinner; brilliant soup was in store for us. All exchanged their experiences and gave some suggestions to Mahesh for better organisation of such treks in future. All seemed to be contended about the organisation, places covered and the way it was carried out.

That’s why they say life’s uncertain. Barely a few hours ago we were walking, had no association of people, but in a matter of few hours, we were again in the company of a crowd, were relishing hot and sour soup, visualising a lot of houses and some noise. Experiencing both of them same day, we were there.

We boarded our bus and were back in the maddening city by next morning.

It was a very much educative trip for me, where I met a host of good people, spent invaluable days in the company of forest dwellers, wild animals, cheering birds, rushing waters, cloudless skies, millions of stars, beautiful mountain ranges, artistic lands, and all the other exquisite things.

All in all, a refreshing trip, bout of much welcome change of environs, a wonderful experience of vanavaasa for three days :).

Concluded.

Disclaimer : Hope my account was not boring and wrong. Intension was to recollect all the minute details of it. I have hidden the host’s names purposefully.

Picture courtesy : Ganesh Kudva and Usha/Dwaraka.

19 February 2007

Meghane trek log - V


24/12/2006
07:20 PM :
After reaching a point, Nayana asked all of us to switch off our batteries, as that might warn the animals and they might turn violent, also, the artificial lighting would limit our vision to only one part of the road, and it doesn’t help us be wary of what’s happening around.

That was a great suggestion in fact, we got adjusted to the chauti(fourth)-moon’s light, and it was a great experience to be walking amidst a thick forest in the darkness of night without any artificial lighting. The experience showed us how addicted we have been for the artificialities of life and how good life is without them all!!

After the night trek in the forest for about 1.5hrs, and thru the flowing water on road, and thru an old woody small bridge, accompanied by some songs and jokes, we were at the gates of our palace for the night. Suddenly, there was a very big noise, emerging from a thick bush of shrubs. We stopped. Nayana predicted it to have been made by a few rabbits. Poor fellows must have been afraid of these unusual invaders thru night.

08:35 PM : We entered the compound, and searched for the house of Nayka, where we were to reside that night. Padu Beedu was the name of the village. It must have been 18-20KMs trek that day which took us there. Family members of Nayka were surprised and felt happy to find us there at that time of the day.

Probably they were preparing their beds to say quit for the day. The family head himself sat by us guiding us where to and how to make fire and all such things. We first prepared tea and had a few gulps each one of us. By the time dinner was ready, we made the bonfire in the porch leading from the front entrance of the house.

We made a full circle around the fire and tried to identify a few galaxies and stars amidst that sky. The sky looked so different from that we encounter in the city. Millions of galaxies were up there, we neednt go to a planetarium to watch them live!!

Food was served to all the very hungry people, we had a leisurely dinner at 10PM, and prepared the spreads and pullers to sleep. But the bonfire that was afloat didn’t allow us do it. There was a session of songs. Sandeep sang very well. Manoj also presented a song.

All the married men, Sampath, Dwarka and Ravindra gave tips to the bachelor boys on how important is the savings, and how good it is to start well ahead of marriage. Some said real estate, some said mutual funds or equity linked plans, but all of them agreed on to a point that investment must be smart and secured. It must be retirement plan, not for the immediate gains or something.

Next thing was the introduction of one and all, in detail this time, on how one spends time, who does what basically and habitually. Everyone seemed to have impressive back record.

Sharat seemed a brilliant student, excelled at studies and had secured university ranks in a few subjects. Applauses!! He also turned out to be a good painter.

Subbu turned out to be an outstanding student too. He had secured a rank in his batch too, also, he had an experience to share, that he had been a student at Dharmasthala Manjunatha hostel which is a popular residential school, situated at Ujire.

Datta had a peculiar interest, in Vedic hymns, while Rajsekhar had a strong interest in Vedic mathematics. Usha shared an interest in Sahitya, while Dwarka, a BahurupiyaJ. Ravindra shared some of his Japanese experiences. Dwarka and Sampath shared some of their strange experiences from previous treks, including a detailed account on religious conversions among the tribal.

Everyone in the team turned out to be a champion, hard worker and immensely interested in Indian and Kannada culture, literature and philosophy. Very much impressive account and time of the trip was this moment. Everyone shared similar tastes and interests, discussed varied topics thru the night.

There were discussions on how our ancestors drew Rangoli, encompassing many modern laws of geometry and trigonometry in them. How Indian astronomers fared well ahead of their times. There were a few moments dedicated for astrological sciences, astrology as a science. It was nice to be discussing great things with learned people. There was a talk about automobiles too. How can one miss out the topic of nuclear treaty with the US and other political happenings when learned people are around. Much and little were discussed about the Indian views of cosmic energy and how Indians follow Bhagavadgeeta in their daily lives, knowingly or unknowingly. It was a time well spent. All was going well until one of us had a look at his watch. It was 2:30AM next day!! That played the culprit and we all went in and slept for the night. Nayana and Madhu were already on their mats. We found some place for everyone and rested our minds reeling in the joy of coming all the way, enjoying every moment of it. Joy had one more reason that there was only one more day to be spent, before being back at home.

One thing was missed out in the previous account. Its nothing but a small amount of impressive talk with the people inside the house. They were discussing many stories of the forest and how they live with no amenities, where do they study and all such stuffs. There were 10 houses in the village, each house was at a fair distance from each other, had to live with all the wild animals, and had to trek for 3-4Kms for a primary school. One interesting story was that of a villager getting busted by a wild bear. It had dismantled his face and skin, it seems, he was taken immediately to a city hospital. He recovered slowly, though.

P.S. : Pictures are a recap of the previous post.

To be concluded…………

16 February 2007

Meghane trek log - IV


24/12/2006
08:20 AM :
We were up on the heel again. This day’s scheduled trek covered nearly double the previous day’s distance in KMs. Even though we had to trek more, it was less strenuous and less exciting.



It had its share of fun as well. We had to trek down the hill to reach a place called ACHALU, a small village, cut off from the world in every way. We took a right turn here and moved. The descent was good, since we had to virtually slide down because of its steepness and had to be warring against the stony lane in the forest.





We took a break as soon as we reached CHATAKA, another small village of over 6 families staying in. I played there with a small two month old kid while everyone had some water, fetched from a well. There was a strange godown called “Kanaja” in the local language. This makeshift godown was made of dried paddy straw, with a closure made of other stronger wood. This structure contained paddy that was grown and harvested very recently.

Then with the help of a local boy, we found the road to Basavanabayi (Bull’s mouth). Basavanabayi was again a 7KMs trek up-hill. There was a sensibly bigger road, but was un-fit for motor transport or anything. We could just trek up the hill using the road, which was full of stones, shed leaves from neighbouring trees, small flowers and insects. Some places had up-rooted trees as in the other part of the forest as well.

This trek was not much eventful as of the other day inside the forest, barring only a few incidents where we were crossed over by a few villagers with an amazing speed or when a couple of local buffaloes were taken up-hill for alimentation, I guess.


Before reaching Basavanabai, we came across a fallen old fort like structure that might have been used by some rulers in the past for their residence or for whatever reasons. Its in a very pathetic state today.

Since there were a few people running atop hill, we were sure that we wouldn’t be alone on top. When enquired, they told us that they belonged to the neighbouring village Sangeethapura (Hadu halli) and they trek the hill once a year to offer prayers at the temple atop.

There was a small Ganesha temple on top of the hill. A Bhatru was preparing naivedya to the Lord. We got instructions from the localites as to which road to take for the waterfall and then we took to that place. We were requested not to take bath at the waterfalls directly as the water from falls was directed to the temple for use at temple.

We, so, had to search for other parts of the stream for the much needed bath. It was relaxing and refreshing. Everyone came and enjoyed the wash. Then we trekked up to visualise the original waterfall.

It was a fabulous watch. A thin ray of water as if it were a stream of milk was flowing down from a height of over 80-100 ft. Three fold water falls had created a pond-like structure from where water flew down forming more streams and then flowing down to reach Sharavati.

By the time we returned to the temple area, we were treated with a meal of Puliyogare. It was well prepared by Nayana and Madhu. The villagers also offered us rice and sambhar that they had prepared as part of annual feast. It was a fantastic treat for all of us. We had all of these and also some payasa that was offered as a Naivedya to Ganesha.

With heavy food after a breath-taking trek and a refreshing cold-water bath, we were all drowsy and sat lazy for a few minutes. We would’ve continued in the same state, had Nayana not warned that we were getting late for our next journey.

04:00 PM : We said bye to all the villagers who were also ready for their de-trek to the village. And continued our ascent to an unknown place. Nayana and Madhu were leading us thru the grasslands that made a great landscape considering the fact that it was getting close to be dark. Sun was moving fast west wards, and we too were moving in his direction.

Nayana and Madhu were enquiring for the directions to “GUDANGUNDI” at the localites and leading us there. We trekked non-stop for about 2 hours and at 6 o’clock had to break. We found a beautifully located Govt. school to rest our sleeves a bit. It was a village called NAKKALU. Very beautiful as the name of it. We found no house in that place, though.

After about 15 mins, we were up again in the right direction with renewed spirit and hope to reach our destination faster. Darkness was soon arriving, as we marched un-interrupted. A few KMs later, Nayana went inside a compound (which was the only one visible around) to enquire for further road to be taken. Immediately they called out loud for all of us. As we went in, the man of the house came out with a jug full of cane juice, saying, “its our Dharma to offer the visitor something” or something like that. We all had the fresh juice. The family was doing an “aalemane”, where they extract jaggery from sugar cane in a country way. Two oxen will be used to extract the juice out of sugar canes, and boiling the extract in a big basin to get Jaggery out of it. Our taste buds opened up a little more than needed, and were contended at their offering. We were really speechless at their hospitality. Relishing on the same, we footed forward to our destiny. We squished thru turns suggested by Nayana, and curves inside the forest, it fast turned to be dark. We still had another hour or two’s distance to be treked to our destination, and it was dark already. So, all our torches were taken out.

To be continued……….

Meghane trek log - III


















In the pics : A few snaps of the descent from yesterday's post.

23/12/2006
06:20 PM :
Myself with Nayana and Ravindra reached the residence of Mr. G, family head. The house consisted of a small cattleyard at the entrance, where a few buffalos and a few cows were residing in. Further down there was an open bath room with a big container called Hande, with fire burning the logs under it. This is the water boiler. The bathroom was opening to a very huge porch or an open veranda. This porch was totally covered with thick coat of cow-dung (sagaNi). The porch had an entrance to the house which opened into a backyard and then the jameen (lands) extended till the compound.

A dog welcomed us with its tail movements and the phenomenal eery sound. A small puppy came rushing to us with a waging tail, kissing our feet. We sat down in anticipation of others, and thought of getting freshened by washing our faces. A lady was washing some utensils at a small pipe from which water was flowing. I asked her where shall we get water to wash our faces and get freshened up, she instructed us to use the same pipe with running water. We freshened up, I then asked her where the water was flowing from, for which she answered that the water was flowing from the mountains. After the use, I asked her in a very urban way to hand over a stopper to stop the flow of water in the pipe, she said, “let it flow, we wont be closing it”!! “Save water” slogan has not reached this village yet, I thought.

Everyone came, tired and exhausted. But one thing that made us all happy was the fact that there was no more trek that dayJ. As soon as we all assembled, first thing we did was to spread the mats, fasten the shoes and sit on them in a very leisurely way.

Lady of the house also told us that the village had 54 families living in it. It recently had a few provision stores opened, and all in the village belonged to same caste called Kudubis (tribals living there), who spoke distorted Marathi with Kannada words in abundance in between. G came and he continued the story. Meghane was geographically situated at a different part, in Sagara talluk itself, though. When Linganamakki dam was built as a Hydro-electricity project across the river Sharavati, Meghane was submerged by the backwaters. Government allocated this declivitous down-hill region for their living. These people accepted it gracefully, de-forested the region and shifted whole of Meghane here. It had been 60 years since the move. His is the second generation to be living here. His father generation had to live there without electricity, road, school or any other civil facility. It doesn’t mean that the current generation is exposed to all the urban things easily. They still don’t have electricity.

Yes, those people who sacrificed their everything for the sake of power generation to be supplied to whole of Karnataka are devoid and deprived of elctric supply!! What an irony of our lives. We cherish their sacrifice, and they are compelled to do the same sacrifice even today, again and again.
But they have no complaints. They’re happy about it and their lives. Probably these people are the inspitation behind the Bhagavadgeete of Vyasa Maharshi.

Realising all these, govt. very recently distributed solar power generators to each family there, it seems. Stating the fact that maintenance would be a problem, if they laid electric lines amidst the forest, these peopleare given one domestic solar power generator per each family. This power is used by them for lighting the household for a few hours in the evening. They can hardly light four lamps for three-four hours. Once the generated power is lost, they have to use batteries for rest of the night, for everything. And in monsoon period, when Sun is out only briefly in the region, they must spend the nights in darkness.

The village is at a 5 KMs distance from a main road where there is not so frequent transportation to Bhatkal, the nearest (a coastal) town. So, these people have to trek 5KMs in time or wait for the next bus for hours and visit the city for everything, and come back before it is late. Can some urbaner imagine such a life, at least for a day? We cribble for everything from traffic to medical facility, from the distance we have to travel to office to a short power cut. Would we have lived bearing such a great negligence?! We might have not. But these people are very much content about how they live. I rate their lives superior in terms of quality and contension.

We went for a stroll inside the village, to a small provision stall, where many men of the village had assembled for a light evening discussion. All of them seemed out of control, heavy with alcohol. Reason behind it could be attributed to the lack of any other entertainment programmes. These people, we learnt, would prepare sarai (alcoholic drink) in their backyards for domestic use after a day’s hardwork.

We had a magnificent dinner prepared by the duo of Nayana and Madhu, and went to sleep in the porch, in front of the house . We slept at 10 o’clock, against very nature of us all. Thus ended one of the beautiful days of the year.

We slept cherishing the beauty of Meghane, forest, the hills, the peak, magnum view from the peak, villagers with good humility, their hospitality and their never-say-die attitude.

24/12/2006
06:00 AM :
Nayana screamed “Tea ready, get up you all”! We had a relishing hot tea at that cold morning, then finished our morning duties in nature’s company and then waited for the break-fast. Yummy Upma was being prepared and by the time we changed our attire for the trek, it was ready. Had the break-fast and started on our journey up-ward.

Here, we had a problem. Sharat’s swollen ankle troubled him and he wanted to go out of the team and return to Bengalooru. Sampath tried convincing him, but he didn’t seem to be moved. Nayana announced, “If you are going back, then all are. If we are trekking, then you too. We can not break the team”! Sharat agreed and continued to stay on. It was accepted that Sharat’s luggage will be shared by the team to make his journey easy.


To be continued…………..

14 February 2007

Meghane trek log - II


23/12/2006
11:30 AM :
We all started.. but not before taking the vow that "No plastic will be thrown in the forest."

It was instructed to us that the organization we were trekking with would not tolerate people indulging in smoking or having alcoholic drink or non-vegetarian food in the forest or during our stay in villages.

There was a clear-cut instruction to us not to harm any animal in the vicinity, and not to spoil the serenity of villages by making loud noises/playing music or by any other abnormal thing.

It was also communicated that the trek leader would be the first one and the second leader would be the last one to be on the move.

Well..It was all agreed upon and the ascent begun.

Ascending would be an inappropriate word for this peak, I guess. I'd better use the word climbing(!) instead.

Yes, Believe me..The hill was dead steep, damn scary, naturally mystic, heavily gifted with thick trees, wonderfully mangled with the long vines around them. It all seemed so much exciting and inspiring for us.

Western Ghats in Karnataka is the most un-tamed part of the whole of Western Ghats, I think. It has been commercially very much utilized in Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamilnadu. But Karnataka has preserved it as it is. May be sheer negligence of authorities or may be lack of proper planning, whatever the reason is, it, hence, is a heaven for nature enthusiasts from everywhere.

In the pic, the Meghane top looks awesome. Yes, thats the peak I am talking about


The ascent began and everyone started heading up-ward. First few meters were thru a sufficiently enough space(road)...but the road narrowed down as we dented further. That explains that no person used the route for a long time.





The monsoon that ended a few months back had uprooted some huge trees off guard. These trees were lying across our pathway. We had to either climb on fallen trunk of some of them to surpass or had to creep thru the space these left with the land, for we were really unable to get on to them and jump off side, or had to jump across to cross if these were smaller ones. It was really a delightful and debilitating exercise.


As mentioned earlier, road had narrowed down to allow only one foot to be kept ahead, it sometimes became so narrow that, on to our left, was a steep mountain, and to the right, was a steep drop downward..we would have to balance ourselves with the passing trees or small wooden sticks or some one's helping hand... It was taking our breaths away.

In first part of this travelogue I had mentioned that Ganesh is a photography enthusiast. He just continued with his newfound hobby. He took the snaps of every cliff and tree, every dirt and stone. Remember he had to continue with it by balancing himself on to the road, carrying the huge luggage he carried. Others too were taking some snaps, though.

The forest...I must admit that it was really dense, mystic as said earlier. It might be housing some dangerous species of animals and snakes. It certainly housed many colourful flowers and had a distinct odour about it. There were different varieties of fungi that looked like artwork by the creator. Uprooted trees, blunt vines, varieties of orchids, lines of ants spread across, and what not..

Best thing about the forest was the absence of mobile phones, a blessing!!
Second best thing though was no honking, no hurry-ups, no red lights, no policemen...!!
Third best thing was that not many people were seen, literally, we were the only trace of humans in whole of the forest, a true blessing again!!

We could listen to varieties of tunes by formidable birds. These divine tunes turned our attentions from the Herculean climb towards these excitements. It was really getting exciting as the time flew.

Since there were different set of people in the group, (by different set, I mean, people who are on to their first ever trek, people who were recovering from some small illness etc..) it was very difficult to maintain a constant synchronization among all the members in terms of pace. This caused a virtual split in the team in terms of the distance covered. I was with the first set of people on move, with Nayana and Madhu leading, Ravindra, Sandeep, Rajashekhar, Manoj and Subramanya in my league.

Now, how do we know where the others are? Its by screaming out loud "Oh! Hoy! Hoy!!" If we get a response, we'll know that they are right there. And also, the direction of sound will help us identify whether the next team is heading the right way. (This is a common practice in such treks). If we feel they're not on the right path, we again scream out "left thogo" or "right thogo" (Take a right/left) as the situation demanded.

At one point, there was no pathway at all. All we found there was a steep slope with trees on the cover, some big, some small. The slope was so jittery that anyone could fall off any moment. We had to catch hold of a branch of the tree in front of us by hands and then with its help, put a step ahead to reach there. It was such an exhaustive journey that no one could hear the sounds of other people or birds or the wind movement. All one would do then was to concentrate on strategics of how to reach the top.

At this moment, Sandeep, who was carrying an extra luggage in hands, the food packet, found it difficult to trek carrying that. It was decided that he passes it to the one in-front of him, by throwing it, and that person keeps it safe with the balance of the stem he was standing at, and Sandeep marching to that tree to get hold of it. All this exercise needed was Sandeep throwing it properly and the person ahead catching it and keep it there, which could be recursed until the terrain is passed.

I was the person to be catching it. He threw it at me, suddenly I had a slip and couldn't get my hands on to it at right time. So, it fell off guard..since it was a difficult slope, it went on jaggedly down wards with such a pace that no one could ever catch with it. But suddenly it stopped at a tree, Thank God! a tree stopped it. And now it was Sandeep's turn to get down to it and bring it up, or else everyone would have to be starving that afternoon. He finally went down like a flier and got the packet up, with much difficulty.

And then after some more struggle, the difficult terrain was over and we found a feasibly flat piece of land. It was decided that we wait for everyone's arrival there, a blessing in disguise where we could have a quick rest too.

1.00 PM : One-by-one all assembled there. as soon as one arrived, he threw away his luggage and put his back to it, which displayed how much tiresome the journey was.

Meanwhile, Sharat had an ankle twisted while ascending with a heavy baggage. His was the heaviest bag amongst us. Ganesh also had a heavy luggage, to add to it, he had collected that antique looking fungal remains on a piece of forgone branch of a tree. It looked awesome, but at the same time, for a man who was carrying his luggage with breath-out, this must be a commendable thought to have carried it home.

With almost everyone tormented by the hill, this was a welcome halt.

Some suggested we having lunch there itself, but Sampath ruled that out since it would become more strenuous to do the rest of ascending after lunch. And also, the peak seemed un-conquerable so easily. Hence that sounded acceptable and all started again.


As everyone gained some energy, we were up on our heel again. And due to various factors already discussed here, the team again got broken into many small teams. This time, Ravindra, Sandeep and myself accompanying each other was the first team in the trek. Nayana and Madhu staying to give directions to others. They had already instructed us about the route to be taken. Dwarka and Sampath being the second leaders, had to wait for everyone to cross.

As we were on our heels, suddenly Ravindra stopped. He was scratching a wood log, I was surprised and asked him the motive for this act. He didn’t reply, but pointed his support stick to what he saw. Yup. It was a Viper, a small venomous creature that was sleeping behind the log of dead wood on the road. I was taken aback. He said, don’t wake him up, just pass him thru. We tried to push the reptile aside, but since he didn’t care to move a bit, we carefully stepped off side and passed him thru. This made us plan our next steps more careful and guarded.

Now wherever we saw, we could find these vipers. Under the shed leaves, off side of the dead log, or on the branch that we were about to touch. But it was just a part of the trek. So, we moved on, shouting as a siren for others who would pass by.

We three were close to a part of the hill that seemed next only to the Sun. I mean, we thought we were reaching the peak. The path was getting tougher as we climbed higher. A cool place was in the vicinity, as it seemed. We could feel it. And there it was, a small pond-like structure. There was very little water in it though. Place was cool and highly serine. Out of the world!!

Here, we were welcomed by an unusual bird, green necked, orange skinned, small in structure, it was a fantastic watch. The sounds coming thru all directions were brilliant, the ranting of the birds, moaning of the crickets, low train of the flowing wind. It was heavenly refreshment after the absorbing trek up-hill. We were all thrilled. As soon as we reached the place, we decided to stop and wait for others. And then we were on our backs in no time. Sandeep said, "Istotge Benglooralli yavdadroo hotelnalli chicken tintaa iddidre yestu chennagirtittu"(He was depicting the ironies in the world, one place we have all the mortal joys of the world and on the other hand we have a place where the serine joy is only attained after shedding some sweat). We tried catching some sleep in this divine atmosphere, but the adventurer in us was not yet satisfied. We tried hiking to other part of the water body. Hecked somethings that were plying there. Awed at all those we saw. The view itself was real, rare and charming, at least for computer professionals like us, who always live in a virtual world.

2:30 PM : All joined us in this celebration, everyone exhausted and bating for their breath. The joy of taming the shrew was visible on all the faces. First thing one did there was to throw the luggage away and put the back on to the ground. Nayana alerted everyone, and declared to everyone's joy, "we'll have food here!!". The Bread-Jam combo seemed heavenly. There were traces of some animals visiting the place as well. The dung that we found there was identified to be that of a bison, the footprint on the sand was assumed to be that of some deer or something.

After freaking around and some boyish giggles over each other, and resting a while, we thought it was wise to take off before it’s late. Nayana announced that we were to stay at Meghane village for the night and to reach there, is again a horrendous task of another 2 hours down the hill. Usha's shoes were giving away first hint of what was coming ahead. The sole of one of them had opened up. Dwarka did some quick fix for it, and she could and had to manage with it for rest of the day.

4:30 PM : It was another 20 mins trek up-hill. voices of hooters and bats coming from a rear end of the forest was an indication that it was getting late. This time, hike was less troublesome. Everyone almost simultaneously reached the peak. It was a grassland, opened in to from a thick bunch of forest. The grass was dried since rains were stopped long ago. We reached the peak, enjoyed the light Sunrays piercing from the top. This grass pitch made the mountain look like a baldhead over a macho man.

However, view from this grass top was incredibly amazing, whole of Sharavati valley being showed from there. We were just a small point among the whole lot of things that was visible to our bare eyes. Gods must really be crazy for creating these beautiful views to teach us the lessons of life in this cryptic a way.


Shrubs on this grass pitch bore some unimaginably beautiful flowers with magnanimous colours. We were thrilled at the treat that was offered to us by Mother Nature (Prakruti Maate). I suggested we stay back till the Sunset. Nayana refused and said before sunset we must reach the village or else... we understood and reluctantly continued our journey further.



We were awed to see a golden line across the horizons in a far off place. First glance we thought it was Sun rays streaming over a beautiful cloud. But a deep look at it had a different story to tell. The bright golden line was the reflection of Sun's elegant rays over the Arabian sea. It was the sea that was visible. I think sea was at a fair distance from Meghane top. But that was visible to bare eyes in this awe-inspiring manner. It was an amazing sight. We were, but, dumb struck at this wonderful view of nature.

Journey downward was not as eventful as that of the ascent. But we had some breath taking scenes here too, with the valley dangling between our strengths and efforts. The steep downward journey had its share, as the pathway here was terribly small and distinct. Path also covered a set of a "SHOLA", a bit of brownish grassland, a piece of plain land everything. We again "Oye Oye"ed and carried on till some one down there smiled looking at Nayana. Nayana greeted him and said "Anna chenagidira?"(How are you?) That man replied with a smile "Aakulge Kotge soppu kitkondu hogakke bande"(I've come here to collect some leaves to be put as a bed to the cattle). Then I was told we were staying at his house to spend coming night.

I was thrilled to find a village, green areca trees, a rural house and a few traces of men!!!! It seemed ages we were away from them!!

To be continued.....

13 February 2007

Meghane trek log - I


22/12/2006
9:15 PM : Left home to Usha and Dwarka's house.
(a little bit of flashback)
* I was back home exhausted after a huge phase of product release to UAT. I was involved in it big time, so it was a special release and special experience for me. I was literally running against time with huge pressure of delivering it better. And I did it on Thursday, it was late night when we finished the integration, testing and demo. And I rushed back to office on Friday to make sure it has been done with no issues. Fixed the issues found while integration as soon as possible, and sent a mail that release from my end is done and left in anticipation of peace to the Jungle.*

9:20 PM : we asked an auto driver to drop us to the bus stand, as any other auto guy in Bengalooru, he either refused or asked for an astronomical sum of money which Dwarka refused to pay. We would've still hired him, but for the bus that came right at the moment. It was empty too, so we didn’t have a second chance to talk to that rude guy, but ascended the bus carrying all the luggage and ourselves. My sleepless previous nights was showing up in the form of drowsiness. I was yawning till the edges of my mouth expanded. But that bus was so less crowded and fast that I was unable to continue sleeping, for I was bumping into the air with my luggage at every speed breaker.. During this journey Dwarka started asking me, "did u pack this?", "did u pack that?"! This conversation made me realise I had forgotten to pack a blanket for the stay and a few other essential commodities like a torch...

Oooh okay... let me not continue with my stories, but however, I guess, it tells you that I was literally tired and needed a loooong peaceful rest, which I was hoping for in the forest :D.

10:20 PM : We got down the bus at Mysore Bank Junction itself, as the traffic in front of us refused to move, even at the rate of an inch/minute. We walked to the bus stand all along, as we didn’t want to miss the bus because of the traffic. Since we had anticipated it coming, we had come sufficiently early. So, time was not a problem...found the platform, and after a few mins of frustrating wait there, we found our Rajahamsa and settled down on our seats.

11:15 PM : Dwarka was so nice in leaving me the last but one row's seat while him opted for the last row seat. I know he was also tired with loads of work and pressure.

I don't know what time I slept that night, I could sometimes feel the bumping of the bus and sense we all jumping in the air, but none of them made me lose the precious sleep. I was so desperately sleeping that none could make me break it. But some time during the journey, donno the time (as I never carry a watch with me), I opened my eyes, with interest had a glance outside the window. Oh! My college! Rubbed my eyes and looked at other side of the road...yes, same old Aunty shop... Hmmmm..It was all illuminated with colourful lights, searched for reasons behind the celebration, but failed to read anything as the bus was traveling pretty fast and it was so dark to catch up with anything.. Hush.. but lucky I could see my college again :-)

23/12/2006
7:15 AM :
I checked the time on my mobile when got up. I usually do this, and this day too I did. We were about to reach Sagara, our destination for the moment.

7:35 AM : Dwarka called up someone, asked for whereabouts and then we were guided to go to some room at a lodge, which was just opposite to where we were standing. went in, dumped the luggage, and since there was a huge rush for the lone toilet in the room, Dwarka suggested we better get it all done at the public facility in the bus stand. Sounded pretty decent, and we went out for that. By the time we returned, everyone was getting ready, Usha being the last one was in the change. Everyone introduced themselves to me.
List is as follows :
Sampath, the team leader.
Ravindra
Rajashekhar
Manoj
Subramanya
Sandeep
Sharath
Ganesh
Datta Ram

Of course, Dwarka, Usha and Srikanth.








8:00 AM : Break-fast time at Gajanana hotel where we had a plate of Idli each, some opting for 2 and some four. And a few of us had a plate of Buns each, a seashore delicacy.

8:20 AM : Met Mahesh, the trek organizer and his two guys, namely Nayana and Madhu. Nayana and Madhu would lead us in the forest during the trek. We got into a bus that was destined to Jog falls. I was wondering whom Sampath was talking to, and we(the first timers) realised about Mahesh, Nayana and Madhu only later.

9:30 AM : We got down at Kargal, and were told that we had to get into BhatkaLa bus. In no time, a private bus came, to our disappointment, it was crowded like hell. The cleaner of the bus asked us to dump our baggage on top of the bus and get in. Suddenly some of us shouted, lets sit at the top. And reluctantly the bus people agreed. We 14 climbed the bus top with complete enthusiasm and profound energy. Little we knew that some one had spilled oil thru the top there. We ignored. Some spread a sheet of paper and some didn’t care.





It was an event filled journey. We were spread thru the top, isolating us, those sitting front, from the discussions that was going on in the back. Well we had our own set of discussions..Since everyone was a stranger to everyone else, except for a few exceptions, it made a good beginning. Ganesh took his camera out and went on clicking the pictures. Sharat and Subramanya guiding him. He virtually took every rock, every tree that made an appearance on our way. Nice introduction of him. Subbramanya was talking a lot. Only later that I came to know that Sharat and Ganesh were strangers to him till a day before. Sharat also was a talkative man. Sandeep remained silent. Sampath, Usha and Dwarka sat at the back, Dwarka leading the loud discussion. Extreme end of the other corner sat two guys whom we didn’t know. Well..we sang, screamed, chilled and bated thru this 48Kms journey of over 2 hours. Another interesting point of the journey was we had to be so much awakened to see to it not to get hit by a passing electric wire, that were laid out low in some places, not to be turned down by the curvy steep roads amidst the beautiful ghat region and not to be fooled by the bended branch tips from neighbouring trees.

11:30 AM : All of us were asked to get down as soon as a tollgate came our way. I thought we were to get into the bus as there mite be some police troubles for the bus owners or something. But Sampath announced that it was our destination.

Well.. we were all happy and excited to start our way into the Jungle in search of refreshment, colossal happiness and to leave behind there some daring foot steps. The two un-identified guys who were sitting behind Dwarka turned out to be our guides.

We were asked to ascent a few steps that were leading to a British styled structure. Later the guides told us that it was IB for the forest officers. The groceries guides carried from Sagara were distributed equally between everyone. Some getting rice, some getting bread and maggi, some getting vegetables.. and me getting milk powder, tea powder and sugar.

Well.. we freshened up at a neighbouring house(Believe me there was a house with a few people living in it, oh! those dare devils;)). And all formed a circle, introduced each other and to the Guides. Madhu hailing from TaLaguppa, some place near Sagara and Nayana coming from Heggodu (popular for NeeNaaSam of K V Subbanna) in the Sagara Taluk.

And there.. it all started....the ascent........ooooh nah not yet..... we were stopped by a couple of men, one in police uniform and another in civilian dress. They said they were from forest office, one was giving charge to another and they kept on saying no one could enter the forest without prior permission and such stuffs. After learning about Mahesh and fellows in Sagara, they kept quiet and responded in a positive tone. First hurdle crossed. Second one was most challenging, and fascinating too...the peak.






Nayana described that we were about to climb the highest peak in the whole of Sharavati range, which was named Meghane hill and nearly 3000 ft above the ground.



To be continued.................

A new attempt

Friends,

Some of those who read my Coming soooooooooon post wrote to me and suggested having a new blog created for it would undermine the existing one. And thus I decided not to deviate my attention from the backbencher’s page and trouble you by making you click on the numerous links. So, the stories would, however, pour in, but with new labels, rather than on a new page.

Bear with me. And enjoy the stories, trip logs and experiences.

As a first part of this attempt, I am posting a travelogue that I compiled some times ago, of a trek to Sharavathi valley, during the Christmas weekend last year.

Thanks for your inputs and support, friends.
Srik.

10 February 2007

BACKBENCHER’s DREAMLAND!!

Its some time now, I started another blog, a daily photo blog!!

If you have not visited it yet, please do that and be a part of the BACKBENCHER’s DREAMLAND!!

A sample…..

05 February 2007

Coming soooooooooon

Hi all,

I am sorry for not being here regularly off late. I had been put thru some hard times at family front. Also at work, I was spending some sleep less nights. Now, things seem slightly better. I hope to be back again with some good stuffs.

As a first exercise in this regard, I have a travelogue ready now with detailed update on my days in a forest. I will post this as a series. This will be a new experiment with blogging as far as I am concerned. Daily one new story or a continuation of some story from previous day. In this way, at least I will have a constant flow of posts on my blog. Backbencher’s ramblings will continue to be un-affected with this new effort of mine.

Hope you will receive it well and shower upon me your encouragement.

People, I’m coming soooooooooooooon. Just watch for the experiences and experiments of a backbencher in a new avtaaar.

Thanks
Srik.