Post Trek Mail - Nagari trek Apr 21-22 - Lonely night in the dense Forest

Saturday, April 28, 2012
Write up by SUNDAR

I met guru & co in besi couple of weeks before the trek, I had cycled for an hour(back & forth) for a 10 min meet. Something struck me back then that this trek will be memorable(wasps, bees, swimming & ferrying stuff across stream, hot weather, little water) & as it turns out, the trek will be remembered for something none of us expected. 
As usual I didnt find a single auto on the night of the trek and had to rely on people giving me a lift in the middle of the night. After reaching nathans I found guru with quite a few bags full of goodies. Luckily this time around, the van came on time and we started for nagari on the dot. All I can remember after boarding is that we picked up ram from puttur(not sure at what time). The air in nagari was a bit cooler and drier than what one experiences in 'singara chennai'. And after picking up some of the goodies, we started and somehow struggled to reach the temple. 

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Taking bath in the stream near the temple was a great thing and none of us wanted to really get out of the water that soon. After having delicious poli, we departed having filled our bottles. Had a small photo session in between. 

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We reached a point where we had to ferry our bags using a makeshift raft prepared from sleeping mats & safety tubes. Harish, raghav & ram did bulk of the ferrying. It was kind of cool to take a dip and some of us were really enjoying the respite from heat. All of us danced our way through Guru's shoulder / neck nearly hurting him to get to the top of stream. 
We had lunch and reached camp site marked on GPS only to find a dry stream. Me, guru & jai were going around in circles because of the GPS. After a few futile attempts, Guru asked me to check whether i can see anything straight ahead. I went a few steps ahead & I thought I heard sound of water stream flowing. We were all very thirsty, and with a sudden burst of energy went straight ahead only to find the sound coming from the leaves. I then retraced my steps or atleast I thought i did, but I couldnt find these guys. I tried shouting a bit to no avail. I went back up and then tried to retrace my retraced steps. I guess I was going deep in, and after going & searching to my left as well as my right I realized I was lost. My shouts were also not really audible as the place I was in was a bit thick. 
The sun was setting and I made a dash for the peak to see if I could spot these guys before its dark. All this while I was shouting and running. After catching my breath and checking the top out, I started shouting in all the directions. Remembering that the guys might also be looking for me, created a flag kind of thing using my tshirt and started waving in the wind. 
Meanwhile, they were searching for me and the sun had set. Later I heard a whistle from one of the guys and since it was getting dark and I was not really sure which direction the sound was coming from, I didn't move. Their shouts were barely audible due to the wind blowing in my ear. After it became dark, I saw two torch lights coming in towards me. It gave me hope and thought I would after all not spend the night alone. 
I started shouting "Up" & "Peak" to direct them. Since they were scaling hills the lights  would disappear for a few minutes and reappear again & it only made me all the more anxious. 
A little more than half way through the light vanished for one last time. Initially I thought something had happened in between and thats why they had stopped. I was shouting my lungs out all the time in regular intervals. At some point, I had sort of created a rhythm for shouting & i started doing it like a involuntary action such as breathing. 
Later it started sinking in that they had abandoned the search & I will have to spend the night alone. I didn't think going after the light source when I first saw them was a good idea since there were many boulders along the way. Being a new moon night the visibility was quite bad. Injury was the last thing I wanted at this point. 
Something that I haven't mentioned till now is that I was without water / food / anything. The last meal I had was a soup around 2. After 5-6 hours without water or any form of food I started searching my empty pockets to find a used 5 star wrapper. I licked whatever chocolate was left(very little as I dont normally waste when I eat) stuck to the wrapper. My stomach was making all kinds of noises & I had abandoned shouting thinking that doing anymore of it was only futile. Now I had to find a place to sleep & it was quite windy and becoming cooler by the minute. 
I found a big rock which was sliding in both the directions, choose a side which was not in the direction of the wind. The night sky was extremely beautiful and it helped a great deal in distracting me from thinking about food & water. Thoughts of loved ones & what the plan of action for next day would be started doing rounds. I dozed off pushing those thoughts off. Somewhere around 2 in the night, the wind shifted & it became quite chilly for me to handle. I shifted places and just sat leaning in to a side of the rock away from the direction of the wind. 
Thought I had damaged my throat with all the shouting I had done the previous day. After I saw the first ray of light, I tried giving a shout & was surprised to find it alright. The tongue and throat was extremely dry. I thought I will lick the dews(effects of watching discovery channel) formed in leaves & didn't find anything as the place was extremely dry. I started walking slowly in the direction of last position where I had seen torch light. Shouting from the previous day had sort of become a habit and was doing it at regular intervals while moving down. That day morning, the luck was on my side I guess and my shouts were going in the direction of the wind. One of them reached the camp and the guys came literally running. 
I heard a faint shout "SUNDAR" and dismissed it as some kind of hallucination. The next time it came, I was elated. Started running in the direction of sound and climbed the boulders to spot them. I was doing this every 50 meters, and the sound came nearer & nearer. They asked me to stop & and wait for them to come to me. Then later enquired whether I was injured & when I answered in the negative, asked me to come to them. I just dashed at them and jumped on harish & ragav, almost taking them both down. Guru, Jai, Harish & Ragav had come for me & had bought water, glucose & chocolates. 
After nearly 14 hours without water & food, let me assure you the water never tasted this good. After drinking water & glucose we returned to the campsite. That feeling of relief and bliss is still with me whenever I try to visualize that moment & only brings a smile to my face. Though I kept my cool, there are lot of things that could go wrong and its not fun to get lost & be all by yourself. After meeting all of them at the campsite, we went down to the stream. Purushottam & jai prepared refreshing tea & yummy noodles with ghee(yes it was added in the second installment). Food brought some color & energy, and really appreciate the guys for doing it. 

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After doing morning chores and taking a few photographs we headed back. The return was uneventful and Guru took us through a new route which was quite short & a bit steep through a dry stream. We had lunch at the start of the stream & khakhra hasn't tasted this good for any of us. We literally devoured whatever was left in our bags. 

After reaching the temple we were all elated and jumped into the pool. After relaxing in the pool and giving different poses we headed back to our bus. 

We had our fill at a dhaba and who would believe that in the middle of highway we would get ice cream. Guru I guess for the first time slept well, and all of us in the bus were exchanging their love stories(spl. thanks to Purushottam) & philosophies. 
I have not written about a lot of things that went on after I got disappeared, & I am sure others will be in a better position to fill those details. 
This trek is one of the most memorable I have done so far, and will always remain special for me. I can still remember the relief in the faces of all the guys that day and am really humbled by their actions. 
I would like to APOLOGIZE to everyone for spoiling their trek and causing physical as well as mental agony esp. to the organizers Guru & Jai. 
I really appreciate the trouble taken by everyone to search for me in the night & to Guru, Jai, Harish & Raghav for doing so again in the morning. 
You guys made my day. 
Thanks to everyone for making this a memorable trek. I have certainly gained many friends after this trek and am certainly going back a better person. 

My offer for beer still stands. 



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