Alice in Nagaland

Thursday, June 2, 2011

[written by Rajeshwaran from the Hungry Wolves pack]

It would have been a dragging and sultry weekend sitting in the office chair to make a few extra bucks amidst an unavoidable power cut. The weekend did take a U-turn when Ela murugan cited a vacant spot in the Treasure Hunt at Nagala on 28-05-2011 and 29-05-2011 for eastern entry. I quickly snatched the opportunity to confirm my spot with Ram, the team leader of hungry wolves.

Boy, am I glad I did not confuse my choices to spend the weekend. I have been with CTC before, but this time it was a smaller group. I met with ram to discuss the logistics. Ram seemed focused with a drill to start on time and discuss the right menu. He was more of a participative leader who got us involved right from the start.

The leader and Ela Murugan gave 9 missed calls to wake me up and get going at 3.00 in the morning. I was supposed to pick up not one but 3 Alices to the wonderland of Nagala. Like the Hare, I did a hippity hippity hop in to the shower and into the car. The first Alice was from the Adayar signal. I was in perfect time before the hotel coronet. The first Alice, Shailaja answered my call in a languid listless tone “ give me 5 minutes” . I was laughing within myself because 3.30 am can be tough on anyone. Anticipating a makeup and lots of mascara to hide the sleepy eyes, I calculated a time delay of half hour. I was about to message Ram on the delay when a wave greeted me with a silly cute comely smile. I was surprised to see Shailaja get ready so fast. She gave the notice that the second Alice, meenakshi had dropped out at 1.00 am. We introduced ourselves and picked up the third Alice , Jayanti from Cuthipara junction. She gave us directions by the compass to her location. She gave a short greet and a ready stready go at 4.00 am to the Koyambedu junction. Along with the 2 alice, I showed the way to the Koyambedu burrow. We peeked out sleepily and curiously at our other team members. I had met Ram (absolem), wise and always planning and panning to solve troubles . I knew Ela and Rajapandi ( tweedledee and tweedledeedum), so much made for each other as friends and still rebuking and knudging each other on small issues. So we started the journey racing into the crazy bumpy burrow of a highway road to Nagalapuram by a car and 2 bikes.

On the way to the wonderland, the 2 alice’s in the car were making continous conversation. After a few minutes, both of them tilted their head continuing their dream. I was stuck with a carnatic instrumental playing on the radio.

Once we reached Uthukottai through the Periyapalayam route, we met the Cheshire cat, Raj Jacob and the Mad Hatter Arun Sekhar in Raj’s bike. After a scrumptious breakfast at the nagala bus stand (Hot idlis and vada with spicy chutney and peanut chutney with tasty sambar), we were waiting for the white queen Keerthana. She arrived dainty and whitey in a blue tshirt with an elegant smiley. The shailaja alice started her complaints on telugu not being spoken in telugu city. Apparently, her 96 % of telugu was not so understandable to the locals who responded calmly in tamil. This alice is the most funny of the two. The other alice, jayanti seemed a bit gritty and not so looney.

The chesire cat Raj smiled to an acceptance to wait for the red queen Lakshmi kanth and invite him patiently to the Wonderland for a treasure hunting party. Since the red queen had caught her own steed from Bangalore, we had to leave the chesire cat to bring the red queen to Nagala Mountains so that we don’t waste time to go hunting. The red queen , Lakshmi Kanth was flying out to us in the slowest bus to show her esteem and power. J

We parked the steeds to the treasure hunt (a Maruti 800 and 2 bikes) at nagalapuram mountain base at 8.30am. We took our backpacks to start the treasure hunt. The black stallion ( Battered goddamn Honda Activa) of the twiddledeedum Rajapandi was the most elegant outpacing the other steeds and whistling to hold at regular intervals to show the way.

8 members lead by the Mad Hatter , Arun as the navigator and Absolem , ram walked in the wonderland of Nagala mountains. The air echoing the flowing stream amidst a moderate thicket of a forest, kept the party alive throughout the way. The rounded stream water had tamed some rounded rocks and these were the roads. We were hopping on and between all these rocks. We were stepping into the stream, stepping up into a steep climb and flitting through some thorny trees. We were aiming to go to the first pool for a dip and wait for Red Hearts Queen (Lakshmi Kanth) and chesire cat Raj. The Chesire cat seemed to have been unsuccessful to bring the royal highness in time. The delay gave us a good excuse to frolick around in the first pool and jump and swim. The clever absolem( Ram) decided to move on without lakshmikanth and Raj.

We continued the climb and we were still heartily whistling songs and fit as a fiddle to face more to come. Then came the Mad hatters twist in the tale. The Mad Hatter , Arun sekar, climbed on to a big rock and pointed exactly into the wrong path. We climbed further than what we were supposed to have. We kept climbing and got lost in big boulder rubble. The white hare became less jumpy. The white queen became dusky dusty . The 2 Alice’s , Jayanti and Shailaja became less talky. The tweedledee and tweedle dum were out of breath. All of us were angry at mad hatter for his directions. Then came Absolem with his tracking technique and his technology Ham and GPS. He used it to find a climb down to the Dead End pool. We were drained. We had a Feast, not just a lunch (chapatti , shahi khorma and pickles and cream buns and five star). Mad Hatter was still missing from this Merry Tea party as each one of us hogged on the food. The first Alice , Shailaja was robbing everyone’s quota of 5 Star . She was renamed 5 star pirate Alice. Keerthana was quoting how she was conquering the toughest of the treks she had faced. The white queen was giving us some of her experience on vellarimala trek. As subjects, we were all pondering over her looks rather than her experience books. I was meanwhile hurt with a silly fall. I managed to sprain the knee. Seeing the cute alice’s and the white queen, I was reluctant to show my pain and proceeded without resting the knee. This proved to be a drastic mistake in the day 2.

Then Lo ! behold ,reappeared the MAD Hatter, Arun sekhar in his stupid ham. We were getting ready to clobber him for his silly direction, when he gave us good news that he found the treasure, Red Bull. Since he gave his Mad hat excuse framed as a Proxy win, we spared the mad hatter without a whack on his bottoms. We were at the Picnic Pool. Finally glad that the mad hatter had found the first treasure alone and given a proxy. Although it does not count for 1st place,we were glad for this proxy. This sounds like a confucious way to win a treasure hunt. But we won.

We camped at the picnic pool after an evening full of wading and swimming in the clear pool with the backdrop of small waterfalls at the back. The Chesire Cat pulled and pushed the Red queen and lost trails 2 times . The Fuming Red queen was crying “off with the head “ to all the easy trails we had. The evening dawned in and we set down tired beside the pool gazing at the stars talking to each other sillies, made lots and lots of maggi and soup. The cook was the white queen, keerthana and ram and arun and jayanti. The 5 star pirate Alice came to the Maggi noodles after her 5 star. The tweedledeedee and tweedledeedum were teaching the girls some tamil. I helped them too. Tweedledeedee and the Red queen Lakshmi kanth were at their hearts best in their dash of humour and entertainment. Perhaps the swim in the picnic pool and the white queen’s presence had brought the temper down for the Red Queen. The night closed in with tired 10 as a team snoring and kicking each other in the deep sleep.

The next day started at 6.30 as all the characters in this wonderland story woke up to a dip in the picnic pool. We were all finally together as one. The greatest treasure of this trek was to find our own team as One after all that split up. We bolstered towards the treasure hole. The red queen , lakshmi kanth was full of zeal and went ahead to claim it. We did so, secured 4th place and shared the last few vochelle chocolates. Humpphh! The Red queen had audaciously finished the pack. Still after the treasure collection and sharing, the red queen was fuming “ Who stole my Vochelle Tarts? ” . We were all being quite more from the tiredness than the respect to this husky highness. As a consolation some fairy butterflies flutter and chirpy bird songs mutter congratulated us all with the forest god patting us with a cool breeze. After a few more dips at the pool, we returned back through the trail mustering up all the energy to come back to the start point. I was hurt and I was the snail in the team. Lakshmikanth , RP and Ela pulled me with my knee injury through the trail. I was piggy backed to a short distance, limping through a long distance with the knee sprain.

When we returned home, we had slayed the lazy jobbersweeeky dragon. The alice’s were all returned safe home. The Alice ‘s, jayanti and SHAILAJA were getting more talkative and cuter fairy friends. Boy, at one point, shailaja was talking in her sleep too. The queen, keerthana looked no more dainty , with her accomplished trek. RP, Ela, Lakshmi , Ram, Raj , Arun and me were all contended to a good active weekend trek. We believe what we shared is what mattered most than the treasure we seeked. The experience will remain at mind to better what comes next as a pack of hungry wolves repeat trek or outing




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