Raiderz of the Water World – A true inspiring tale

Thursday, March 1, 2012
Author : A-Team       Published by : Koushick Vaidiya K

We were one of the first teams to get out of Chennai for CTC’s 4th Birthday treks… We broke out of our office cubicles as soon as we can to catch the Lalbagh Exp to Bangalore…But I hope many of them including me would have took off on Friday to reach station on time.I managed to reach the train along with my best buds sahaya and vivek 10 minutes before its departure…Unfortunately one of our friends missed the train , but he travelled by bus and joined us in Bangalore.I was eager to meet the whole team and start the celebrations. Celebrations started as soon as the train started from Chennai.We started introducing ourselves and got familiar very soon. The train ride helped us to gel well and we got down and took photos at most of the stations where the train stopped.

We reached Bangalore by 9.30 PM and boarded the bus which was waiting outside the station. After picking up some of our friends, we left Bangalore by 11 PM. We had fun playing anthakshari in the bus and we reached our water kingdom by 7 AM in the morning.

We were instructed by Ram(The forest dept guy) instructed us to change to swimwear as we were all set to conquer the water world..After a Yummy breakfast , we all assembled in the shore of the catchment area of a hydropower dam where we were about to perform our aqua adventures. Our instructor gave the safety instructions to all of us and asked us to swim and reach the island on the other side of the shore.People those who knew swimming were sent first and we people who didn’t know swimming were trained by ram to swim…(Of course with the life jacket on).When I moved certain distance , suddenly I was not able to feel the land below and a chillness ran down my spine…But got used to it quickly and made the shore after a long swim. We also did Canoeing and Kayaking after the swim.By 2 PM in the afternoon our luch was ready and obviously we were tired after the day long water activity. After a heavy lunch most of us slept under the trees and had power naps while others were chit chatting. By evening, again some of us went for water activities and we people at the shore were playing many games with a punctured ball :P..

By the time it was getting dark, we started to set up the campsite and campfire. We had hot herbal tea and chilli bujjies and started the campfire. Campfire was rocking as usual with people singing songs, people sharing many stories and experiences. Some people were lucky to spot a wild bohr very near to the campsite. We lied under the skies and had a peaceful sleep at the serene place.We woke up to one of the beautiful mornings with one of the most beautiful sunshines and we started gearing up for the trek.

After breakfast , we started our trek deep into the forest. We had many steep climbs and downs where we had to climb by holding the roots of trees .After nearly a 3 hour trek we were gifted by nature with a very beautiful and majestic waterfalls. The extreme force of water offered us a very good body massage.

Then we came back to a place inside the forest where the yummy sambar rice was awaiting our arrival. Everyone were in a hurry to grab their plate. Soon after a quick lunch we started to trek back out of the forest. Our next destination was to visit the Jog falls. After spending sometime in the jog falls, we went back to the campsite to have dinner [Tamarind Rice] and left the place. We stopped the bus 30 – 40 kms before our next day’s destination and crawled into our sleeping bags in a small temple. Some of us slept inside the bus itself.

On the final day , after a warm tea in the early morning we started proceeding towards our rafting destination , the varahi river. Here lied the twist in the tale…There was a road block due to an accident and landslide 15 kms before our destination and this made us to take a 100km detour to the place which delayed our schedule. But we decided to experience rafting to the fullest , rather than worrying about the delay.We were split into two batches and took to the shore of the varahi river. This sport was new to most of us..There were 2 rafts and 3 kayaks and soon after the guidelines from our instructors we boarded our rafts and kayaks…..First we started off with steadily moving water and then came the rapids where our rafts literally went inside the water and came out. 2 kayaks toppled in the first rapid and they were safely rescued by our instructors……We had 6-7 rapids like this and we thoroughly enjoyed each one of them with the instructions“ Paddle Forward…Forward…Hard………Right Back……Relax…..Zero……”


After completing our water adventure we started back from varahi and we knew at that time itself that we would miss our train at Bangalore. So we made alternate arrangements for that and started our journey towards Bangalore, We had a scrumptious dinner at Shimoga and reached Bangalore by 3 AM. We again took a bus from there and reached Chennai by 11 AM.

This is the Story of the Raiderz who invaded and conquered the water world successfully and returned back to their own kingdom.

MORAL OF THE STORY: If you love nature 100%, nature loves you back 200%. Preserve the forests and make way your future generation to love nature.

Photos Courtesy : Koushick Vaidiya,Sahaya Joseph , Muthuvenkata Subramaniyan


So, it all started on a Sunday evening, with a pre-trip meet scheduled at one of the most exotic 'Hangout' (in terms of navigation!) Couple of hours of fun, bonding, planning, and coffee, did indeed do wonders to set the foundation of the then forthcoming 3-day getaway. As the trip inched closer to the D-day, the anticipation of what's-going-to-be-in-store increased further and further. But I'll tell you this - Nothing had me prepared for all what I was about to witness in this Legendary outing. 

Day 0 :

So, the Lalbagh Express, scheduled to leave Friday afternoon at 3:35 to Bangalore and we see our watches, oops! it's 3:30!! Somehow managing to get to the bogie on time, without giving a thought to what random strangers on the platform would think about the madness behind this running, we made it! Snatches of random chatters, photography, leg-pulling, introductions, through-the-window gazers, books and music lovers...woah! you'd need more than 2 eyes to grasp it all! 

Made it to Bangalore by 9.30 in the evening..while 5 more were added to the troupe of the 32 adventurous souls travelling from Chennai, at the Bangalore station, we waited for the bus to take us to the blissful destination of Day 1, in the meanwhile, also waiting for Arun Nambi, the soul who missed the train and took the bus ride to Bangalore ;) 

The bus ride that late evening, passing via Jog Falls to reach our destination, irrespective of the lateness in the hour, witnessed an ear-splitting tam-hindi antakshari (Shashi aka Sagar aka Kadal trying to be the host and dost by trying to coordinate the 2 worlds [by mistake(?)]) followed by dinner at an offbeat eat-out with platters of sambhar rice, 'thattei' idly, curd rice.. :) 

Day 1:  The beautiful Backwaters 

With the dew settling and birds chirping, we made it to our base camp: the enchanting backwaters..plates of hot idli and sambhar clinking up for breakfast, we geared up for our ‘tasks’ (roadies style :P)..Good night's sleep, freshened up, tummy full, luggage stowed safely, cell phones out, lifejackets was time for SWIMMING in the backwaters!! In the middle of nowhere with a beautiful landscape, an island without an unknown soul, kayaks, canoes..hell yes! we had a great time!! :) 
The evening witnessed an amazingly refreshing game of dodge ball..Krishna's 3/4ths getting sacrificed in the process with a wide side split ;) 

Day 2: The legendary trek - Unnamed Waterfalls somewhere within Agumbe 

Treading on slopes, mud, and sun for almost an hour - all just to reach the base camp! Each one starting at their own pace in gangs of 4-5+ thereon, the Moderate+ trek began..steep slopes, boulders, tree roots, pit stops - all to get to the blissful waterfalls at the base. Notable incidents - Madhvi's sandals breaking apart in the last stretch of the descent, her sacrificing shorts on the way back up (Vijay - her life savior :P)...also, our great Kadal’s, 3/4ths unable to take the strain of the trail anymore and encoring the famous wide side split :D 

Day 3: White water Rafting at Varahi - (Supposedly) The last day of the getaway, but was it? 

So we had 2 options - kayaks and rafts..Split into batches of two, batch 1 rafted in 3 kayaks and 2 rafts, while the second batch, all rafts..Kayaks (as the name sounds more happening ;)), had more adventures associated with it, at the end of the day :P 
Kayak-ists (as per the pairing) - Mahendran-Sahay, Vishnu-Nishant, Jawahar-Instructor 1, Madhvi-Instructor 2.. 
Highlights - As we approach the first of the rapids, swisssshhhhhh and topple..Instructor 2 topples in the water along with the kayak, closely followed by Madhvi, losing another pair of chappals in the flow (eventually, she was asked to hold the oars and sit quietly :'()..and...another swisssshhh and topple..Mahendran floating along with the rapid while Sahaya tries to hold on, clinging onto dearest oars! :P 
Reaching onto the still waters after much struggle, awesomely awesome lunch, way too many group pics by way too many photographers before beginning the ride back, it was indeed rejuvenation at its best! 

As good as sure of missing the return train to Chennai, with the 'Bussssssssss' of the bus tires twice, we landed at the junction where it all began (Bangalore) by 4.30 early morning: Day 4 :) 
Making it back home sweet home (Chennai) by mid morning of Day 4 via yet another bus ride...yep! it was indeed worth it :) 

Kudos to the trip and the organizers folks! 



Like B’school placement seasons I need to start with Day 0 here as our adventures started a full one day before the official trek start date. Ofcourse our esteemed organizer Koushik Vaidya’s  classified adventures tales started much much earlier in sessions court. (but classified story can’t explain more).

Day 0:

The train was Lalabagh at 15:35 in central. At the precise time, I jumped out of the park station, and ran across the subways to a thrilling finish in platform  no.10 and thanks to our Indian Railways was greeted by our ever smiling organizers ( Jothivel and Sahaya). Boarded in train and bid Chennai bye.  Reached Bangalore at around 10:00 and soon boarded our friend for the next 3 days, Ambaari travels. With the bus suspension suspending us in mid air many times, we spent a night in the bus.

Day 1:

Our Early morning Pit stop, or Jothi calls it 10 mins of shopping time, saw many CTC veterans do the unusual. (Veteran trekkers bought tooth brushes…for those who had trekked with CTC often, know what an unusal sit this is). We proceeded through a scenic way onto mind-blowing Nature Trails, and with our Ambaari travels taking up the challenge for riding through the tough terrain. The hungry souls attacked the breakfast while bird watchers took their morning walk. We soon marched into one the fresh water lake (the guide told us it’s called oil lake due to the presence of plants from which oil is extracted). Life jackets On, team briefed and then the swimmers hit the water, while non-swimmers had their crash course on swimming. Anushka @ Ashok was the first to reach the barren tree midway, while after a close finish I had to settle for the fourth to reach. We dutifully waited for Nagul with his waterproof camera to join us and click it away.  After the short break, Mahi and I swam back to shore where some non-swimmers where still on their lessons and their coach (Ram) was off to his coracle ride. Crash course contd for Jothi, Kou and Vivek  by pro swimmer ( me of course), while Jothi and Kou managed all the way, Vivek got himself rescued by Ram in the coracle. I took the Kayak after seeing my students off, and managed to reach the other shore after many u and 8 turns in the water. Happily gave away my Kayak to Kadal (Shashi) and swam all the way back. Even managed to drag along Jothi half way along and dropped him in a coracle. Hearty lunch followed by a quick nap for some, a game of cards for some others. Evening session had some games (don’t know what its called), and some hit the water again with Kayaks and coracles. Tents set up, campfire on, herbal tea served followed by another round of anthakshari, some ghost stories and some Classifieds: P 

Day 2:

After  a breakfast, Jothi told us it’s going to be a very difficult trek in Agumbe. Most of us thought, it was yet another joke…. Well, for once he wasn’t joking. After a couple of km’s walk, Ram (our guide) turned to us and said, the real trek begins now and it did begin then. We had a sleep climb down, with the roots to hang onto for our dear lives.  Some loose rocks and ropes in between made the climb down narrow, slow and harrowing exp for some.
But of course, as always the waterfall below made it all worth it. Had some incredible water fun and the same challenging trail up. We had mouth water lunch waiting for us with delicious applams. Back to Base camp for dinner, and half the night in the bus.

Day 3:

The other half of the night or early morning was spent outside an unknown temple, which we vacated at 4 AM to reach our White Water rafting destination.  As fate would have it, the roads made us take 100 km de tour, the planned 6 AM first batch was still enroute way past 10 and then suddenly it happened psssssssssss…….puncture. Some of us were too happy to be able to relieve ourselves. We finally ended up at around 11 or so in the Varahi river belt. The first batch happily hopped out with Koushik’s Nikon cool pix for company with our veteran photographer Sahaya in charge. Sadly the camera went out before we could get the first few water snaps.  Veteran Kayaker Mahi  :P and Sahaya being the first too be saved from the water, our rafting team (Vijakanth(Mama), Kalai, Rahul, KrishnaTeja, Jayasheree, and me) went FORWARD FORWARD to all the challenging drops, while the other rafting team seem to be dodging from it. None ofcourse aweated out like Madhavi with her dry oars :P. After the brief swimming break, and some more distance down, bid adieu to our rafts for the batch 2.
Under the able guidance of Sahaya, sent some ppl to hunt for snacks to the main road abt a km away and hunted down the food waiting there for us with more stories and food shared.  Group pic, antakshari, another puncture , a long ride and not to miss a sumptuous dinner followed.  Reached Banglore early in the morning, shifted to another bus waiting for us and off to Chennai. Fairwell and fb friend requests followed as always, yet another conquer for Team A.


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