Dynamic decision changed my weekend! How was your weekend?
When was the last time you did not sleep? Well I will say every Friday nights are my sleepless nights! Not for my partying mood, it is just the fever of trekking. Thinking about the trails, pools and dive, CTC never allowed me to sleep. May be, they should provide sleeping pills for members like me who are suffering from this phobia.
Yah, back to the topic. It was a good Thursday and I was working in office. By noon, I had a chat with Radha asking me for joining as it will be more fun. But I had a strong decision that May is summer vacation from treks for me! Again, by evening I was talking to Peter and no wonder the magic pool topic cracked my decisions into pieces. Temptations are hard to resist. Friday, I was all set up with a small back pack (though mine was still in Nagala). I met Baskar and got his bike as I was last minute entry, I was not able to get my bike on track. I dropped Baskar @ Madhya Kailash by 4:35AM and headed towards Tidel.
After some longg time waiting, we got Gopal into Madhya Kailash and headed to Koyembedu. There we met all our previous trek mates and I found Hari and Nagaraj too! After the formal greetings, we headed to our mission. We reached Nagala by 9:30. On the way, Ramzaan had a slip on the road and his helmet saved him. Myself and Anand Chanduri dropped his bike to a local mechanic to get it ready for tomorrow’s ride. We started to trek by 10AM and it was damnnnnn HOT ;)
Peter, Guru and I know the destination well and rest of the people had no clue on what is waiting in the store for them ;) We crossed the first pool without getting in the water as it was so hot and late, Peter planned to push the crew to first dead end pool for lunch. Seems there was someone had problems in walking through the boulders. Peter decided to take care of that person while Guru and I walked ahead with other people. We reached the dead end pool by 1:30PM (?) and we started to ferry the back packs and people. First time ferry drivers missed couple of back packs and put them in the water. We finished our lunch and then headed towards our Magic pool. But it had a 2 dead end pools in the middle to cross by. We headed very fast and before the 2nd dead end narrow gorge, we turned back for a count and it was only 11 people with us and no traces of others. We decided to move this people first and get back to crowd for help.
On the first climb, Guru, Ford Bala and few others got down so fast where Maya, Krishna, Akshaya, Ravi and few others struck in the middle figuring out which way to get down. I was in the last and I came in the front showing up the people to get down. When the rest reached the stream, Maya and few others were telling that “Guru, we are not superman like you” With his usual innocent (?) smile. In 15 minutes we reached the Magic pool dead end and we reached there by 4:45PM. Guru was restless without the others. He immediately went back to check for others. Since Bala was there, I went over the pool where Guru swam across the pool. It was drizzling and we asked Bala to collect some firewood and cover the back packs with the sheets. I went 50mts uphill I saw a bunch of trekkers who climbed up instead of getting horizontal. We called them back and then made everyone to reach the pool by 5:45PM. The weather was warm and it was time to prepare the food. After many calls, the girls came into kitchen for preparing some noodles.
After having a tasty soup and noodles, many went into deep sleep. Few night hawks like Peter, Guru, Anand and some more people started to play the most intelligent game UNO! Soon, Peter bravely decided to sleep next to me even knowing the risk factors involved in it. I guess it was his great decision which is equally going to a DOA J Around 4AM in the morning I was feeling so cold only in my legs. I woke up and saw I was half the way in the water and when I tried to get up, the mat slide me more into water and thank god Guru’s legs were little nearby and I managed to come up with his support. We woke up by 7:30AM in the morning and I felt so lazy! Immedietly I went inside the water and refreshed myself. From 7:30AM to 12:30PM the fun lasted!
The rugby balls kicks, the jumps and the head on dive performed by Peter, Guru. So, all the non-swimmers joined them take a high jump into the pool. Check the photos from my cam and Hari’s. Meanwhile Florian and Maya decided to measure the depth of the pool by tying a stone with the rope and came up with the approx result of 4M depth. Just perpendicular to the magic pool, we heard some voices and saw Maya and others having a private waterfall fun. Soon, that pool also covered with CTCians and everyone enjoyed to max. Hot tea (thanks to Hari) and maggies noodles, rice served the hunger of all! By 1PM we said bye bye to the magic pool and started to return. Peter decided to stay with Priya who had problems in climbing uphill. So, the 1st batch was led by Guru which had 30 people and rest 10 of was with Peter. Soon, the 2nddead end pool with steep gorge, now way climbing down area came. Peter decided to get her down in that narrow gorge and asked me to climb up to take the photo of that. I went on top and joined Hari, Balaji to take a few snaps. Then, we re-grouped with the 10 people from our batch and started were Guru has already ferried people and bags with some volunteers in the first dead end pool. It was 5:45 and we 8 people came little ahead. There came the tough decision of taking a right and Bala took a wrong right to uphill. Since I had made this mistake very recently I waited for Peter to come. We joined him and got the correct trail. But fate started to play again were we missed a left to cross the pool and headed straight. The GPS got reset and after a few conversations with Bala, I decided to go ahead to find the people followed by TCS Ravi. Soon, I found the groups near the first pool were the crew was. I called Guru to help a few in this batch whereas Peter already reached the first pool. Re-grouping again, we all reached the dam around 7:30PM (?) with Guru leading. Cheering up with a crowd for a group photo, our taste buds were waiting to taste the dishes in Chennai Deluxe. By 10:45 around 20 people reached the CD and hogged the food as much as we can. Around 12AM, we sing a happy birthday song to Balaji whose birthday was on that day. We gifted him a bottle of Nagala water! (Guys, it is priceless and to get it, you all know what all obstacles you have to face) I reached home by 1:45AM. I downloaded the pictures from my camera. Me and Hari were discussing about the pictures next day (all the day). I just review them everyday and after long time, I had much time to take good pictures ;)
I first wanted to thank CTC for giving a valuable weekend. CTC made many youngsters to join and made them more natural lovers rather spending the weekends in the Chennai. Next to Peter for the magic pool topic, Guru for helping in the trails, Akilash (youngest in this trek), Nagaraj, Ananth, Mani and many others for helping me and Guru in ferrying people, Maya, Bala, Aki in helping the bags and many others for their volunteering tasks. One thing we always have to remember in every trek. CTC is for the trekking enthusiasts, by the trekking enthusiasts. So, team work plays a major role here. Everyone is responsible in a trek by some way and team work tasks are not just for others. It is for each one us too!
No two bottles of a Pessac Lognan or a simple Chardonnay / Sauvignon blanc tastes the same even if from the same vineyard...... But then ... therein lies the essence of reliving the better of the best of moments and asking for more from the second one when the time comes ... and hey... am never gonna complain if the third one tastes any different either ...
And so it was that Nagala befittingly came to my aid for the second time – from a wonderful client of mine who wanted to get mauled n pasted for petty reasons and close to being smashed on his head.. the murderous intent was at its peak when i finally got to hear from the team of my place for the weekend’s rendezvous ...
Nathan’s cafe was up and running when we moved outta the city and we started feeling at ease once we entered the familiar surroundings. A lotta new faces with a heady mix of veterans and a doc added to the fan fare and our familiar hoopla of jumping on the Scorpio and waving onto the haplessly curious onlookers on the Nagala Highway and our adrenaline was slowly pumping to dizzy heights when everything came to a standstill ... what looked like a regular follow up check turned out to be a little more than an adventure. One of the bikers, Ramzan had skidded onto the treacherous Nagala highway and had scratched, kissed the ground, missed by a few nanoseconds in breaking a few bones during the skid.
Waseem - the doc in our group was summoned immediately and he observed that all the injuries suffered were superficial and Ramzan was good to go. I would never have surmised after all this that Ramzan would go gung ho with all the injuries and there he was doing all things wonderful that only few of us were capable of.. a new hero for the club was born .. Not to take away anything from the rest – mind you!!! We were therefore late by a couple of hours and after a momentary impasse for rationing & instructions.. We set out on the foothills of Nagala, easily whizzed past the check dam and set foot on rubble n rock – the team was more than enthusiastic and we reached the first pool in no time.. and thankfully, there was enough shade and water to keep us moving ... the dead end pool was at our reach a little beyond noon ..
And in typical CTC fashion, all back packs and non swimmers were ferried across the pool; a quick lunch after crossing the pool we set our sights on the final pool – and for the third time, I landed up in a new problem altogether – it was cramps this time... and each step that i took later was reassuringly close to getting my calf muscles ripped apart and thanks to Waseem once again – his presence and walking the talk helped clear steer most of my pain at the moment. And by the time we reached the target point – our other mates had already jumped in the fray.
The enthusiasm and the fun that we had are for you all to see in the pics but I tell you what ey – you simply weren’t there mate!!!! Just weren’t there - to bear witness to the amazing time that was spent in the evening like jumping jacks with an add-on spring under our boots for extra fun.. And soon darkness descended upon us and it was time for cooking... Soup was served piping hot sumptuously followed by noodles cooked by the expert hands of Anita. A few games of Uno after dinner, while the rest of us went off looking for a place to crash..
A few minutes of search later, Doc. waseem, madhu n me found a good place to hit the sack and soon, I could see the highlights of the day on the skyline above flashing in my brain like a mini SD card and then ... Silence hit earth – ever so poignantly that there was no need for an instrument nor a vocal recitation – the water flowing through the valley was more than enough to soothe, cool and put ourselves to sleep. As luck would have it, my cramps had not given way and i had to get up to dowse my thirst every couple of hours.
Experience is a sore throat mate but what it can give you is the feeling of goodness that we could have not appreciated otherwise – I was so looking forward to the moon coming out of the rain clouds and what a click – that would have been – a full moon lilting the valley with an incandescence so romantic – no words can describe the feeling – and I was woefully ridden of such an event during dinner and a little chat with the other homies.. It was only here that i could fully appreciate my cramp as they kept me awake time after time ..
Midnight had come and gone in darkness and it happened all of a sudden ... it was like pure radiance had descended down upon us from the ethereal skies above; Ms. Moon had indeed arrived in full bloom and the whole place lit up in silver and white light... my laziness would not budge and I let go of his highness for another day to come by for the rendezvous – for a better moment and fully prepared i.e .. Wishful thinking ha!!!
Disturbed sleep indeed – but a glimpse of the skyline, the breadth and the expanse of what could simply could never seen from just one side of the line – and each time i woke up – the collage of stars, clouds n the skyline kept changing into an altogether dramatic window – n kinda kept me thinking – Life is indeed beautiful in an equally vast and immense proportion – its left to us to choose what we want to be every other time...
My tryst with sleep that night was a wonderful little ‘sore throat’ so to speak – the last I remember doing this was in my university years ago, whilst after dinner every night on a Sunday – me and few of my friends would simply walk to the basket ball court – lie down on the concrete base and watch the skies glitter in glory and all we could think was a vast ocean of Happiness up above us at that moment!!!
Some of the best moments in life just choose to be grand if you want it to be and here it was – a cramp , disturbed sleep, cloudy skies to start with , starry later and a full moon to show what light really means to us all and darkness yet again to put me to sleep n a few hours later – it was time for the Sun Gods to lilt the horizon. I had woken up at 5:30 – chose to lie down and relish the moment – it was twilight still and not an inch moved within my grasp of sights ... thankfully – none resonated the sleep induced harmonic symphony ala snoring – what a moment it was !!!
Imagine folks – Just close your eyes and Imagine for a moment - when nothing around you moves – you hear not even the creepy crawlies walking on earth or a whiff of the breeze blowing around you – and only water – just water - flowing a few inches away in a synergistic rhythm and the horizon slowly lights up in front of you and all the while keeping you in waiting of the surprises and the cheers that could just come up from nowhere –
Folks!!! - LIFE ... was unfolding in front of me –
A new day had just begun...
And in a flash of another aura of brilliance - the silence just gave way to an altogether beautiful decibel level – it was like an automated switch turned on all by itself – the insect world had come alive in seconds and was in-sync and harmony with the perfect opening notes of yet another grand morning at the jungles of Nagala. I so wished that nobody woke up and the moments lingered on into eternity..
My experiences were short-lived, however breathtaking they were – My bottle of wine was almost being emptied by the sound of human footfall on rock n rubble... I so wish you could wire my axons & the nerve centre to see through what I had seen mate – and i bet the world would not have been the same !!!
Back packs were set right for the return journey, volini was generously spread on my knees to keep me going and there i was – ready for yet another brilliant day with the CTCians... I chose to light the fire - chai time had come – black , lemon, and white tea with sugar was served alongside a breakfast of everybody’s choice.. Some chose to stay afloat on water while having their little cuppa chai -
Jumping Jacks were on the prowl again looking for new faces to join them and as i said earlier – you would never know what really happened unless you were there yourself - and yet the full story would never unfold – Until mate – you choose to be the moment!!!
I was the subject of an abject surrender to pain and the after math and although i would wanna curse myself for what i did - you would not have been able to see what my EOS chose to see ey !!!
After a brilliant solo encore of my Canon with the telephoto lens as well, I chose to take a dive in a safe n sedate pool nearby with a small water fall to gently massage us back to full bloom; a game of American football – the CTC way ala hitting the opponent with the ball if you can i.e. – was played in complete team spirit and those changing lanes were treated with equal respect – KD and Ananth would exactly know what this means folks.. They stand proof to being target practice and probably hit an equal number of times.. although pun intended...
And if you thought – we were to pack our bags and leave – it wasn’t over yet – folks just shifted from the safer pool to the diving podium with equal vigour – kicking the ball in the air became the new form of football – bicycle kicks , lateral n sidekicks and then there was catch practise too... during all this time – Balaji was patiently cooking dal rice – with cut mangoes by Radz, Maya n Akshaya for flavour – radz stepped in and chose to fill the rice with jalapeno n chilli sauce to spice up our taste buds – whilst me and Balaji were busy discussing a better way to cook rice with what we had , suddenly, from nowhere came the cabin crew member of BA – gave us a quick fire lesson on how to boil rice without burning it and boy – it worked to a tee – Maya – Am proud of your teachers and your Mom matey – mera bharat mahan !!! They have taught you the basics of heat transfer really well!!!
Peter – to me – for the first time did not think of the time that had passed by – a time that was spent well in helping people de-stress from the unnecessary work related hazard posed by targets set and an equally stress filled effort to achieve it that goes in vain sometimes .. Such was the case that even after the group click was done – Non swimmers chose to dive from even dizzier heights holding onto the safe hands of either peter or guru – and they just climbed back for more ...
The time was 11:30 when peter chose to call it a day and as time demanded – one cluster after another chose to climb the cliff and we chose to walk back in the afternoon sun – dehydration could have easily set my cramps on fire again – thanks to the doc yet again who chose to advice me to take lots of fluids – and i prepared myself a good mix of lemon - sugar – salt for rehydration and it helped a great deal to restore normalcy in me .. So much so – i chose to successfully dive and swim my way outta the dead end pool – which although sounds cliché at the moment was not easy for me..
And if this was not enough – how about losing your way in the jungle and find your way back in – courtesy – Guru – the bare footed giant of a gentle trekker – who kind of remembers every step in the trail – and we soon set sight on the first pool – a moment’s rest and we soon were trekking in the dark to the safety of the world that i would so love to lose for something more primitive even though savage sometimes would restore the human being and would help you appreciate what we are made of and made for .. and that our very purpose is to define this vision and ensure that we act upon it ...
And what better way to salute our Mother of all Mothers – Her Highness on such a grand scale, A wine bottle – that she is – would never empty out and every sip of her beauty n simplicity treats me to a completely different experience –
I wish you a great Mother’s Day - O Mother Nature and I have no words to thank you for showing us what you are within and thereby showing us the way within all of us...
Written by: Vikram, Hari Kumar Balasundaram
Organized by: Radha
Naveen - General
Naveen - Water fun