Nagala West, 21st & 22nd May 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Trek Writeup by Gayathri

The Best Trekking Experience of My Life
Nagala West, 21st & 22nd May 2011
It was the first overnight trek for me. 29 of us left Chennai at 6.00 a.m. in six cars. I had with me, in my car, Rahul, Carey & Naomi along with Saravana Kumar whom I picked up at Madhya Kailash. We joined the rest of the group at Guindy and Koyembedu. A Chevy Spark was the lead car and I was mostly right behind it. At times I forgot not to overtake the mighty Chevy (goes with a winky)! Breakfast was as per the itinerary mailed to us – at ‘Hotel Saravana Bhavan’. Though the breakfast destination including its ambience took us all by surprise, the taste of the food was unbeatable, so much so that it was even better than that of the authentic HSB (Hotel Saravana Bhavan). It was at the breakfast halt that most of us got to interact with rest of the crowd. I basked in the glory of compliments on my driving skills, especially from the male drivers! Many of us had tea after breakfast, for me, it was my daily quota (though it wasn’t enough, it was nevertheless something!). God, how much I enjoyed it??!!

We resumed our journey and reached Nagalapuram in an hour. All the cars were parked at the foothills. We had to carry food supplies for one and a half days and this contributed significantly to our baggage. We had a wide range of food articles – from cadbury 5 star & horlicks nutribar to apple & rotis. Food distribution was such a fun event. We started at around 10.00 a.m and we trekked along the stream. Within the first half hour, we reached that part of the stream that had to be crossed to continue with our trail. First sight of the stream held us enraptured in awe of the beauty and serenity of the flora around us. The stream water with its sweetness tasted much better than mineral water.

Upon reaching the first pool, the crowd went berserk. Before anyone uttered anything, many of them were already in the water, swimming away to glory! I always feel at peace and experience immeasurable joy when I am in touch with nature. The moment I set eyes on the small waterfall, it was love at first sight (later, after the second and the third pool I came to terms with falling in love all over again)! I was making calculated and measured strides into the pool as I was assessing its depth with every progressive step of mine. Though I’m always passionate about swimming, it has been quite a while since I have been in water. Once I entered the pool, I was mesmerized by the warmth engulfing my soul against the cool water washing away my sweat-soaked body. It was awesome fun. We then moved on to the second pool. This was shallower at the entrance and we could thus sit on the small rocks without getting submerged. All the non-swimmers were involuntarily more relaxed in this pool. I sat down in the pool with my shoulder and neck above water. The pebbles and small stones there seemed like jewels set under crystal clear water reflecting off the sun, which kept me contemplating the magnificence of nature!

I could see every face at its glorious best – we were like one family with a single purpose – to create and spread joy!

The third pool was the deepest of the three and was seemingly created just for diving. The swimmers of the group had a whale of a time. Once in the pool it was next to impossible to keep track of time. Even those fun-loving non-swimmers had amazing fun diving in this pool (of course with their swimming tubes on; they would not have dared to otherwise).

As dusk was fast approaching we got out of the pool, changed into fresh clothes and were out collecting firewood. Though there was some initial struggle, the campfire was started successfully. We then had a round of ‘introductions’ by all members of the trekking family. Thereafter we made and had the yummiest Maggie noodles ever, thanks to Saravana Kumar, Saravannan and all the other volunteers. I must make a special mention of the secret that Vinoth, Prassanth and I share, with respect to opening the Maggie and its masala packets!!! A group of 6 members joined us later in the evening as they were delayed by pressing matters that required their attention – ‘office work’, Innavil being the leader of the gang! Madam came and conquered the rest of the crowd like a whirlwind! Finally came the much needed hour of putting to use the thermacoil mats that formed part of our baggage throughout the trekking expedition. We spread out our mats at places where the surfaces were reasonably even – the most even of surfaces that were spotted, would still rank as the most uneven of surfaces back home! But, that’s the whole point of a trek – being in sync with nature and to experience living with it – what our ancestors once considered home!

The entire group laid in complete disarray at random spots that were campable. Some of us were dead beat and hit the sack immediately after dinner, few were up till 12.00 midnight playing anthakshari (a game of music) and making merry while the rest of us were yapping away to glory till 1.45 a.m. Despite going to bed thereafter, thanks to two adorable little darling kids in the group, most of us in their vicinity trying to catch up with blissful sleep failed miserably at our attempt till around 3.30 a.m.

Dawn happened for all of us at 7.00 a.m. Black tea was being served and soon after consuming it we had our morning ablutions to take care of – presumably the reason for people fleeing in different directions with only their water-bottle in hand. We stayed at the third pool till afternoon and then moved onto the second one. We spent the last few hours of an unforgettable trekking experience getting our portrait photos taken by experts in the field. I am truly amazed at the way they changed my perspective with fluid grace, on being the subject of a session of photography – from one of loathing to that of excited anticipation! Hats off to you guys – Karthick, Praveen, Rajanna & Ravi!

I must say I thoroughly enjoyed my romance with the fish in all the pools. They were so damn loving and giving. Their, oh so ticklish kiss and peck on the feet has turned out to be something of an obsession that I still crave.

We reached the parking lot at about 5.00 p.m. Most of us were tired and hungry from the 2 hour trek back to the parking lot and thus raided our remaining store of food in cars. Accounts were settled and numbers exchanged. With the promise of staying in touch and sharing all the photos we said our byes!

Though most of us were completely exhausted and eagerly awaiting the welcome of the velvet softness of our beds, against the uneven hardness of the camping ground, all our souls felt lighter, more refreshed and absolutely recharged to face the challenges of our mundane, yet dynamic lives!
Trek Writeup by Buvaneshwari

The trek huh? As soon as it ended, I wanted to write about it. However, perspective matters always. So, I decided to write after I figure my perspective. Now I have one and I want to it write before I forget what it is. First, why did I even come for the trek? I mean please, my idea of physical activity is going to the store to grab a bite to eat. So for everyone who doesn’t know the truth, I came because I wanted to meet new people. In addition, my mum wanted me to shed some of my beautiful layers. So I also came because I love nature. You can call me the WORDSWORTH (inside joke intended). So when we came to the meeting point and we were divided into gangster groups, I concluded that two people were abysmal, because they didn’t say much (humph). Now we were on our way to the mountains. And throughout the way all I could think of was the Grand and Majestic building of Hotel Saravana Bhavan (pun intended). Oh, I forgot to mention that throughout halfway not even one person spoke in the car, I mean there were loads of jokes about other cars and Saravanan’s mails(To Saravanan: Very funny my man :D). But no, Not a conversation. So, back to the story of the hotel. And far from my imagination, stood a place where I cannot even put my toenail into (too small). *CRASH*…what...Oh that...That is just the sound of my hopes shattering. But man the food was great.

For me food is always food. As Shakespeare said, a rose is a rose is a rose. Same way, food is food is food. Anyway, after the food , conversations did happen….wait for it….they are not the kind that you would wanna listen very intently to, if you are 17 years old (yea people, that’s how old I am….stop making jokes now). After all the boring political talk, we FINALLY (thank god!) reached the foothills. Now the second part of food distribution starts. The menu was ok. In fact it was absolutely fine..Until I discovered that I had to carry it myself (Only for me though). After all that, we had a verrrrrrrrrrrrrrry long instruction session. At last, we start the beautiful journey (By the way I tripped twice when we started walking and the worst part is I tripped over nothing!).
FINALLY, people were beginning to talk. The abysmal people were great, they made good conversation. So until now I knew my car mates (no comments), Mumbles, two Abysmal people, and one ironic person (she wrote the very first write up). And for descriptions about the trek from there to the first pool (one confession, when they said pool I was actually imagining a finely made pool for tourists). When we reached the first pool, I was sweating. So obviously, I would want to bathe. Now I go to the edge of the pool to put my feet into water, *HONK!* Saravanan comes marching and says, “WHERE IS YOUR TUBE?!”…OOPS…I took it out with a sheepish grin and I started inflating it…My god I was drained completely of energy. I put on my sad little girl face and Saravanan offers to help me out. So now, after I had snogged the tube and myself to death, thanks to Saravanan my tube was round (YAY!). Just as I jumped into the water, I heard a voice shout…”All RIGHT people start winding.” I groaned and cursed my luck and had a very quick dip and rushed to move with the others. For the details about the trek to the second “POOL” please ask someone else as it is boring to type with the usual descriptions about thrills, trails, and tramps (Whatever!). This time I jump into the pool with my tube saying “HAHAHA….BEAT YA SUCKERS!” and this time I had a long nice float :D…finally . After, I think 2 hours we resume our journey to the third pool.

For details not me! We reach pool three. This time I am sick of water, so I didn’t get in the pool. People were urging me to come and join. But I didn’t. I did regret it later though. So now as the first writer mentioned we had to collect firewood and so I got up with a groan to go and help them. The dinner process starts out and suddenly outta the blue some starts a headcount. Someone starts cooking and someone starts singing. We all follow and then we had an introduction session. Everyone introduced himself or herself and when it was my turn, I was ragged to death. In the middle one more group joins us it was mysterious and fun, Cuz the group as soon as it came settled in, while for us it took the entire day. I was amazed. After dinner (over which I burnt my tongue and gave three quarters my share to prassanth), we had to settle to sleep and I was annoyed because I really can’t sleep before three. And thank god someone came and told me that we are gonna play bonfire games. I leapt from my bag, and ran to the bonfire (what?!...oh….I meant sleeping bag). We played anthakshari, we had a solo song session, we had a group song session, and then after sometime we all go to out random spots.

There guess what I found? Certain rejects that didn’t wanna come by to the bonfire, making conversation. They were talking about someone’s love affair and they chased me away. So now am even more and I get a very emo text message from my friend, so I try replying to that, but no signal. So I started listening to music until someone thankfully engages me in conversation. Slowly people join in. They talk till eleven pm. And slowly drift off to sleep. Now I got no company and suddenly mumbles wakes up from his beauty sleep and we ruin peoples’ sleep : D. Then one of our sleepers reaches her peak tolerance level and busts us. I am moved to a far corner and so is mumbles. After that, I hear people’s snores and suddenly they all stop snoring...AT THE SAME TIME. I freak out, I fall asleep slowly, and I wake up at seven in the morning over hushed voices. First thing before even the black tea, I go and jump into the pool. I stay there until my skin gets soggy and I come out change my clothes and go again. Oh, I forgot to mention the water was so DAMN SWEET. I even stored a bottle to show people I wasn’t lying. After a while, we begin our journey back and we reach the foothills and start driving, homeward bound.

People asked me what the things I learnt in the trip were. To be honest there was a large number of there was a large number of things. I was actually overwhelmed by the fact that people actually listened to me when I spoke. Not only the people I felt the entire forest was listening to me and giving me pointers. I found all the people in the trek kind and nobody was judgmental. I had new experiences in the trek as well. I was neither euphoric nor depressed. People liked me for what I am. I am looking forward to meeting all of them again .

So the moment of truth all my hidden characters are as follows,
Abysmal 1: Praveen Lawrence
Abysmal 2: Saravanan Rathnavel
Mumbles: Rahul Shankar
Midnight Buster: Gayathri Chandrashekar
Write up motivator: The Midnight buster :D Ciao



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