13 February 2007
Meghane trek log - I
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 :-)
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.
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.................