At a significant hour when the clock struck it’s first hand for a new day, we started. Well, I am beginning this narrative in a very unusual way. Predominantly, the time 12 O clock is adulated only on a New Year. But with a boisterous army of 9, one doesn’t wonder!
The “Project Tour” (Oops, I did use too much to the TCS flavor here) was officially decided 3 weeks before we made it happen!
However, let me tell you that we were still unconvinced on Friday morning. The project schedule, the weather conditions and a highly volatile trip plan became our eleventh hour villains. We disputed as to whether we start in the night or early dawn. Moreover, it also depended on the taut (tight) personal budget we were operating in! Eventually the outspoken demand by a few souls, for no compromise of the team’s spirit to money value of any measure, enthused us all to begin our trip on Friday night.
Two days, were simply insufficient for the ambitious plans we laid, that within a few hours of start of the never-ending brainstorming session, the idea that it would to conclude in a unanimous collective decision making, vanished into thin air! Yet, we did traverse the entire breadth of Karnataka’s treasure trove of beaches, and water falls and wildlife and hills and what not in those drawn to scale maps and naturally behind the scenes, in those flights of imagination moving in our minds!
I’ve digressed a lot more than I had to. Let me fast forward the reel to the timeframe which shows an hour’s travel to destination Nagarhole. At around 4 am all but two had tea and snacks at a motel. One pal, teasingly remarked that all have changed to a wild* lifestyle, while the two still had much of civilization with them!
At early dawn (5. 10 AM), when the sun was still sleepy to take its night blanket off, we were in the vicinity of well-preserved nature and wildlife for a change! We waited for 6 o clock to chime, the time when the security guard will open the gates of Nagarhole Tiger Reserve to the outside world!
We saw an elephant few yards away from us. It stood mingled with the darkness of the night, but alone for its gleaming eyes were visible and there we stood brave but nervously wondering if the elephant was on the loose! As we amusedly watched the elephant endlessly eating some unidentifiable vegetarian food (shrub!), we heard the “tup dup tup dup” coming from between its hind legs! much to the equally witty way one of the team members put it, ‘the elephant’s cow dung is falling to the ground!’
Alas, we missed the morning safari as the session allotment got over. We drove to an estate we had booked in advance. After completing the appropriate rituals applicable to all genders of the human race! We headed to explore Irupu falls until mid-day. I was imagining if could fold that endless waters gushing down the mountains into a tiny droplet and take it everywhere with me! So whenever I feel like being close to the pure and fresh bounty, I would behold the elixir in my eyes, hear its noise, feel its presence; and is sure to make my thoughts melt with the flowing waters. Practically, all this is like asking a wish at the swish of a wand. A waterfall is a waterfall in all its sense and essence. Need I say more! Coming to our report, the guy’s troupe was having a dip in their Batman briefsJ, while the girl’s squad was playing and chirping under the sun.
Post Lunch, the Nagarhole safari, happened in a royal van (Wasn’t it an apt gift to the vehicle disposal yard or the date raisin peddler!). We traveled into the wilds, as we jumped high and low in our seats to the tunes of the crest and trough of the smooth red muddy slush (not roads you see) An hour’s drive passed, yet the forest did not reveal its famed carnivores of any size. All we saw was herd of deer that soon looked omnipresent! Amused by the large number of deer, one of the pals was teasing if there is a planned dramatic being staged by sending the same group of deer actors from a centralized hiding place to every route we went in the forest J
The no-sign-of-wilderness began to bore us, until the moment the van driver admitted that he lost track of the route back out of the forest. My folks were teasing that one needn’t be afraid of animals even if we stayed all through the night there, only if one girl, promised to carry her hullabaloo, a scared-shriek-scream action she is famous for! Just then, we had to stop from moving further as a tree trunk had fallen in the path we were going. Our guys had to put their Sakthiman efforts to move the tree trunk away from our path. We girls were ceased from exhibiting our super-woman capabilities, but we took positions as picture takers and cheering squad of a heroic account! What a wee bit of adventure we had in the 1 and 1/2 hour long safari
Disappointedly, that was exactly when we started in full fledge to wildly banter on every single animal, human or object that our eyes laid on! It turned out to be an exciting affair that would stay atleast temporarily in our little grey cells, for the list was crazy, exhaustive and endless! To name a few from the ‘call of the wild’ theme: wild van, wild mosquito, wild monkey, wild water, wild lady, wild bottle, wild road etc. A few energetic souls went to the extent of calling wild food and wild bed! I wonder if they had a good night’s sleep!
But considering the action-packed day we had, sleep came without a tranquilizer!
Wait; let me give a more interesting twist for I hear whispers to reveal the sweet nothings, oops the real action that happened (if at all) in the dark. While some were in a mood to shake a leg to the Latino tap and rap! (Mind you, they were a trifle serious in mastering those art forms dating back to …. What?…..… none other than dating purposes) A few danced intoxicated in their fantasy lands, while one pose an equally hot temperament that took only minutes to dissolve.
Some words seemingly convey an unpleasant meaning just by the way it gets twisted in our tongues! “Voodoo” and “I can even strip you” were the mere accidental slip-up of that kind and much to my surprise; it got captured in the reels of film for a recap of the momentary memorabilia. Our videographers did their job way too well in a mocking way
Early morning had us organizing who will bathe or spray first! Perhaps it was done in the decreasing order of time taken to do make-up or rather the decreasing order of smell emanated!
Raja’s seat at Coorg, was a splendid view of the town. We had enthused trekkers who went down the down the rocks to gather flowers, with which we took black & white pictures with red color effect given only to the flower we were holding. But to all our wonder, the photos appeared as if we were afflicted by some kind of rash skin disease! Skinny boned femmes like me are constantly succumbed to light weight (oops vein!) teasing wherein, despite providing all safeguard while hiking down the hill, people were wondering if I would fly away!
Abbey falls, lay amidst the rich coffee plantation of the Western Ghats. Unlike others, its scenery was spoilt and filthy; much to the dismay was the ‘Capturing Moments’ advertisements showing the nature calls made by few of our cronies (associates)!
Nisargadhama, the tall green and handsome lush was a refreshing delight! It was a cool serene picnic spot. Although not with a veterinarian passion, we diligently gave ourselves to the elephant ride and the deer & rabbit feed.
Now and then, we had to chew the vociferous guy’s only good sermon (bad talk!) prudently well out of girl’s earshot. Reminds me of a famed for its name, London clothing brand, FCUK!
Namdroling monastery gave us an insight into the Tibetan culture, their thanga painting, long robes, shaved heads, strange offerings/prasads (theirs resembled colorful sweets in varied shapes enough to tempt chocoholics of any age) and fiery gods among which resided the peaceful Buddha.
By now, we were exhausted enough to return to Bangalore. We wondered if it would be just the snore or the grunt that we would hear on our way back! I don’t remember how it all started, which was when I realized that we were in verge of discussing something serious that could have been recorded and aired in the ‘We the people’ in NDTV or ‘Hard talk’ in BBC! We drifted and deviated from discussing the pros and cons of arranged marriages, a tailing of revealing our first love/crush lists; to listen to the Doctor Hitch role played by an experienced member of our gang, and then to whether guys or girls are the cause of break up in Indian love marriages (an unreasonable question I would say yet that was what it looked like!) to…………….Hmmm Ho I don’t remember more, I give up that it was argumentative and that’s all! Fine, it left us exhausted and mind boggling or was it eating the brains kind as one pal remarked!
All came to end at the very significant hour we started on November 25th 2005. So AS** when are we gona pack again?
**I am not permitted to expand this abbreviation!, given the ethical agreement I’ve signed with my fellow team members, for it needs to tail so long until we are around!