Excellent Narration from Priya
How many of us would expect to have good food on a trek!!
My mom’s first concern was “Hey trek lam pora,saapda edhavadhu kadaikumo kadaikadho, nalla saaptu po!!” :P
Interestingly I was spellbound by the items we were distributed to carry along during my first trek! It didn’t stop there. They cook like they live to eat! Amidst nature, its the best thing that could ever happen! A slice nature, whiff of fresh air, sound of the waterfall, clothes dripping with water after the hour long pool fun, noisy chats of previous trek experiences, new friends bullying each other, holding a hot plate of Biryani! That’s how we Trek, The EMPERORS STYLE!!
If its hard to believe that’s been the sole motivation for first time trekkers who are lagging behind. “Hey seekram pona, Biryani kadaikum..” and “idho 10 mins dan!!” are the ideal words u can come across quite often from any CTC organiser. Though I cant assure the the later, I can wholeheartedely vouch for the former!!Having earned a reputation of this magnitude, a Foodie trek from the Emperors came as nothing but a celebration of their food and the phenomenal impact it has had on our fellow trekkers. Also to hail the fact that CTC had arranged a series of treks to 19 locations on its 4th Bday! Having conquered the Nagala Territory, we were least surprised to Trek to Nagala West for our Foodie mission!! Besides Nagala is unquestionably CTC’s first home!!
A last minute decision to join a group of 40 hungry souls began on Saturday evening. Took us quite an amount of perseverance to crawl through the traffic of chennai to reach the common meeting point. After exchanging quick hi’s and hellos, nalan visarathal to a few Trek frens, we headed to the foothills of Nagala Around 11 Pm. The only thing that kept us going was the menu our organisers had leaked out to let us keep going stopping nowhere.. Strategy :P
At that time of the night, were a bunch of crazy people running around the foothills to get wood logs for campfire, setting the grill for barbeque (yess, that’s how we started the foodie trek!!), getting the watercans and big vessels out of the cars. A glance of the seasoned chicken attracted a crowd of mouth watering fellow trekkers who went all “WOWW”!! Pardon me if I miserably fail to come out with the exact feel & taste of the non vegetarian food as am a pure vegetarian. From what my frens recounted, pls imagine the impact a ten folds higher than what I bring out in the write up :D Parellely a bunch of people were up for preparing hot tomoto soup. Hot soup, by the campfire, ocassionally glancing at the grill to check if the food is ready, it was a perfect start to our mission in the freezing cold. Vegetarians had teamed up to save their dinner with spicy Paneer & mushroom grill!
It was hard to resist the temptation to taste, for many of us, as every now and then someone yelled out to volunteer tasting to check if d chicken was cooked. Well, it was or wasn’t, chicken pieces went missing continuosly! :D
After completing several rounds,we were finally done with the chicken & paneer dishes.A surprise, off the menu savory dish was presented by Sridhar, special thanks to him. That was all we needed to end a perfect dinner.
A freezing night finally came to an end. We woke to the daylight and immediatly rushed to the campfire to get warm. It was time for Hot tea and rusk, a few chit chats and we we were ready to start for the day! Our mission being very clear, little trekking, unlimited eating, maximum fun, we headed quicklyto the second pool and spent an hour or so. We had chappathis, preheated at the foothills just before we started, with yummy pickles, jam & condensed milk. A few others made an instant sandwich with Bread, previous day’s chicken, chips & pickles. Clearly we sticked to our mission to the letter T and found all possible means of making it interesting.
Stomach full, we continued to trek to the third pool where we had planned to have our Main course lunch cooked. While a few of us remained to be a part of the cooking and tasting team, another team went up to the Mini kutralam, many would agree to be the best spot in the westtrek!
The cooking team were all up for chop chops!! Menu being Emperors special Biryani, we were extra energised to make it quick. The main chefs took over from us after all the chopping of potatoes, onions, tomatoes were done. There was spicy potato fry specially for the vegetarians. On the other side was the non veg delight, mutton gravy, its hot spicy aroma filling the entire forest!! ;)
At the other side were the real trekkers, having absolute fun in the pools, diving from above, with the onlookers cheering and the shutterbugs clicking every jump of theirs. “Hey this ones for my profile pic”shouted those diving only for the photographer to miss the brilliance of their jumps. Well, this went on & on. The rest of us, non swimmers, though clearly pissed off by the swimmers & divers for the fact that it was hard for us to move with ease even with our swimming tubes on :PWe were back to the cooking area for the tasting session. It was doubtful if there would be any potatoes left for lunch as every now & then someone went about silently stealing a few pieces. A few others were unpacking the chips packets & onion pakkodas, again preference priority to vegetarians. For all those who had doubts in their minds about a foodie trek for vegetarians, it was proven wrong without any second thoughts. Kudos again to the organisers.
Finally, Biryani time with hot spicy mutton gravy & potatoes. We were queuing up to ensure we all got a plate full. It was heaven to be having a lunch that tasty amidst nature with like minded people which CTC has helped bring together.
We kept going back for various rounds, missing the count, really. The spicy mutton gravy, I heard was absolute yumm. The biryani got over in a matter of 10 mins. The whole lunch eating session was over in less than half hour. We really were a crazy lot!
We were all far too tired to even get up after the wonderful lunch we had. After relaxing for an hour or so, we started straight to the foothills.
One thing that’s absolutely disheartening is to see the beauty of this place being brought down to a dumpyard. Its proud to know that though there is a trek to Nagala almost every week, CTC hasmade it a point to dispose off trash and not let a single paper lying around. This is precisely the reason why the place still remains a heaven to us.
The first pool looked a total mess with all the paper plates and covers thrown by the villagers following the maha sivarathri celebrations at the temple there. We decided to do our bit of cleaning, collected the trash, disposed it off and brought the same to the foothills for clearing them.
Back from the ultimate foodie trek, it was time for introductions, againthe emperors style, where each one knows about the other so well that it turns out to be a total fun session. We realised we werent done with our mission yet. We were served sooper sandwiches with tomotoes, sauce and cucumber and soft drinks. Woww!! It was time to part. After exchanging our fb ids and propsects of next trek meeting, we headed back to be a misfit into the real world. What an experience it had been. It was one full day of absolute food and fun!! Just all we had expected & definetely more than that.
Oh, we still werent done!! We were asked to stop for a tea near Oothukotai dam. Side gap la we guys in Balaji’s jeep, stopped for a delicious paal guava!
After a hot cup of tea and a quick group photograph and final bye’s, our mission truly accomplished, headed straight to chennai.
An idea so tempting and exceuting it with so much precision, thanks to the organisers for giving us all such a wonderful time. Thanks Masu, Arun, Senthil, Bharani and every single soul who contributed in cooking us all a delicious extra special food throughout!!A special mention about the youngest trekker of the lot, 9 yr old Krithish, who was brilliant, am sure soon would surprise us becoming the youngest organiser! :)
Looking forward to more such fun treks from the Emperors!! You guys rock!!