I was cycling for the past 6 kms. sweating out and had a few kms. to go on. I was on my way to Koyambedu (Nathan's Cafe) at 2.00 in the morning, on the way to my first CTC cycle trek to Shevroy hills Salem. The idea of cycling in the beautiful, scenic, peaceful Shevroy hills, for two days (a relief from my books and my classes) was thrilling but the 'loser' in me was worrying about the fact - me going alone without my family members, going with people whom I have not even heard of or seen before, except Peter Uncle whom I had heard about from my Dad's previous trekking experiences. I had finished cycling those few kms. and had reached the meeting point where I met 5 other cyclists, standing promptly with their shining cycles and waiting for the others. They were so totally different from me. Obviously I was the only girl and the youngest in the whole group, (which I realized later), but this was not what was disturbing me. The fact that me, going alone with absolute strangers was a bit unnerving for me. My father introduced me to those five cyclists and after exchanging a few pleasantries I was left off to myself to fight the tug of war with my 'loser'. I waited and waited for about 54000 millisec (well only 15 Minutes) for the others to come. They finally came. They made a grand 'jing-bang' entrance into the sleepy place of koyambedu. People getting down from cars and a van, which was parked somewhere in-between, shouting at one another and laughing had turned the sleepy place into a busy one. When all this was going on in the background, my father introduced me to Peter Uncle(the busiest man on earth at 3.00 in the morning).
After the introduction he left us and went about with his work of loading the cycles into the van. My dad then introduced me to Kannan Uncle and then he left to help Peter Uncle in his work. Talking to Kannan Uncle made me feel at home. We had an easy conversation till the loading of cycles. Later a big group had gathered around a tall person whom I came to know later was Sathya Anna - the accountant 'thala' of the group. He was busy collecting the expense amount from everyone. After things got settled it was time to part with my father. I bid an apprehensive farewell to him and got into the front seat of Peter Uncle's Car. I was on to my first trip with CTC at 3.30 am.Peter Uncle made me feel comfortable and pleasant by enquiring about myself. The small talk between the others in the seat behind became my lullaby and took me into my dream world. After a smooth three hours drive, we stopped for tea-break at the crack of the dawn. After a further 3 hours drive we stopped for our breakfast. While I had hot parottas the other settled for additional half-boiled and full-boiled. After the breakfast together I mingled with the group and the 'loser' in me lost the battle and the 'winner' triumphed all the way. At this point of time we got the news that the van carrying the cycles had a developed a problem with its gear-box and was so moving slowly. We had to wait for the van to join us and this waiting time was wisely used by Peter Uncle - who took a power-nap. I now shifted into Kannan uncle's car and we left for Yercaud. Due to the problem in the van we had to stop at Salem, where we had a juice-break and we restored our journey.At lunch time we reached Yercaud and had lunch in one of the hotels after crossing the lake. After lunch, we got the news that the van was unable to climb the hill because of its gear-shift problem. This was when I noticed five new guys who had come directly from Bangalore with their shiny gear, glossy goggles, bright hand-gloves, new sneakers, colorful helmets(specially Srini Anna), He looked like a professional cyclist straight from the Olympic Velodrome. Peter Uncle waited there but didn’t want us to waste out time. So he offered his Cannon dale Trail 5 cycle, which I joyfully accepted and started off with the others who had their cycles. Then began my tour - cycle riding in the Yercaud hills.photo 1 :Shevroy hills
We had to circumnavigate a circular loop of 30 Kms. Driving the Cannon dale cycle at 1500 Meters above MSL was like having a journey on the clouds. Driving in the pure oxygen-rich greeny atmosphere accelerated my happiness to great heights and I was practically on cloud 9. My first friend during the cycle ride was Girish Bhaiyya who made my uphill cycling easier by constantly chatting with me.Photo 2 :Me & girish bhaiyya through d uphill
By this time it started raining and it added to the thrill of cycling in the hills. I experienced heaven on earth. We both crossed the Kauvery peak after cycling for about 16km and continued eagerly expecting to meet the others who were supposed to come in the other direction. After 3/4th distance of the trip on the loop road, we met the others who had got their cycles after a long delay. This time Peter Uncle took back his cycle and gave me mine which I had to accept though half-heartedly. Driving a Cannondale does such things to you. We all started back together to Kauvery peak. After Cannondale, pedaling my Hercules Rodeo seemed to be a tougher job. I was already exhausted and the cycle added to my worries.Photo 3 :Pedaling my Hercules after cannondaleEverybody went zooming past me and somehow I drifted to the last. Bijesh Anna came to my rescue by accompanying me through the whole way and we became great friends.Photo 4 :Bijesh anna & me
We both reached Kauvery Peak and to our surprise found none of the group members over there. I became frantic. Bijesh Anna's company was the only solace for me. We both went about enquiring with the local people if they had spotted members of our group. After 10 solid minutes of searching, we spotted Balaji Anna looking for us. We waited for the rest of the group who had gone to explore the un-explored(we the CTCians). After the return from the exploration, about 8 of us left in search of the camp-site near the village temple as instructed by Peter Uncle. Searching for the camp-site was the best part, next to cycling. We had gone all the way in search of the temple in the village not knowing the fact that there were two temples in the surrounding vicinity. We got lost under the stars in the long endless night. This was a wonderful experience. The long search ended when Srini Anna and Balaji Anna finally found Peter Uncle, who gave them the news about his meeting with the villagers who demanded an exorbitant fee for sleeping in the open near their temple. Peter Uncle finally found a beautiful camp-site overlooking a valley in one of the estates, But we were later asked to relocate to a school by the estate owner due to the non-cooperation of the villagers. The dilapidated Govt. school building became a five-star lodging to the CTCians who immediately settled down at 11.30 in the night.Some with their sleeping mats, some preparing to light the camp-fire and a few of us including me became busy preparing the dinner. Balaji Anna an expert in cooking (learnt after marriage - lucky wife) had guided us in cutting the vegetables for the late night dinner of hot soup and noodles in the chilly night.
First hot Soup was prepared and served by Sailesh Anna and a few others. Majority of the guys after having soup, cozily settled in their mats and were past their dream world immediately. A few of us had a full dinner of soup and noodles and went to our mats to lie down peacefully under the stars. (actually below the broken roof of the school)Photo 5 :Our five-star accomadation for the night
I woke up to a world full of snores. I thought that I stopped in the middle of a traffic-jam and people were honking behind me. But later I realized it was the tired CTCians snoring in their sleep. I was the first one to wake up before the day break and cursed Srini Anna, who was snoring the loudest and was the closest to me. After a while, Anand Anna woke up and saved me from my boredom. We both went on our own mini-trek in search of water and joyfully found a water source(village well) about 500 mtrs from the camp and we filled our water bottles, quite excited to inform others of our discovery. Our enthusiasm diminished when we found our friends still in their own world, dreaming of ???..... Slowly one by one they woke-up and left to the village well.Photo 6 :Our early morning water source
After wards about 8 of us agreed to be 'subjects' for Bijesh Anna and Balaji Anna for the photo sessions along with our cycles. We went round the kauvery peak where we were followed by Girish Baiyya who came in search of his 32K cycle(who treated it like his girl-friend. During the night he ensured that the cycle would not go missing by keeping a leg on it throughout) which was taken by Bijesh Anna. We finally finished our photo session and came back to the school.Photo 7 :Girish baiyya & his 32 k
We packed our bags after a refreshing breakfast of milk and corn-flakes.Photo 8 :Sathya anna collecting firewood ?????
Photo 9 :our morning breakfast-milk & cornflakes
Photo 8 :Our photo session
and continued our return journey from kauvery peak to Yercaud. In between we went off-road cycling to the Shevrayan temple and to the water-falls.Photo 9 :Offroad cycling to shevroyan temple
Photo 10 :shevroyan temple
Photo 11 : the 3-idiots!!!
Photo 12 :a splash in the waterfalls
On reaching Yercaud, we had lunch at a hotel. After a quick lunch we took a route with the least traffic from Yercaud to Salem for the downhill ride. This was the best part of the whole cycling trip. Our cycles raced past buses, cars etc. we went at a life-threatening speed of almost 50km per hour. Speed thrills but leads to accidents. This is for my favorite Sathya Anna who had a pretty bad fall on those roads.
Every happy part has its own worst. This was when we had a tough up-hill in-between. Half of us couldn’t do it and we got down and pushed it along. Thanks to Vijay Anna who pedaled my cycle in the last part of the up-hill and I was allowed to go freely with Bijesh Anna in the bike. After a break here and there, clicking a few pics here and there
we reached our final destination where our cycling fantasies came to an end. It was time for me to bid good-bye to my favorite Bangalore Annas, though I had to, my mind was not willing to. Peter Uncle again became busy loading the cycles and Sathya Anna with the accounts.
After things got settled we had a group photo session.
I bade the Bangalore Annas goodbye with the hope of meeting them in future treks of CTC. It was around 7.00 pm when we started the return journey. After these exhaustive events I dozed off in the car dreaming about the moments spent in shevroy hills. I was so full into the sleeping mode that when woken-up by Sathya Anna for a late night dinner at Vellore, I refused to even budge from my seat. Sathya anna patiently woke me up and brought me to the conscious world and then I realized my acute hunger and immediately agreed for the dinner. Again I slept off on our way back not realizing that my dad had already spoken to Peter Uncle enquiring about our whereabouts. This time I was woken up by my father. After seeing my father I thought I had dreamt about these two wonderful days in shevroy hills but when I saw people out of their cars, packing their stuff and unloading their cycles I realized that the past two wonderful days were in fact true and that they had come to an end. I got down from the car and took my cycle from the van and prolonged the moment of farewell with my CTC friends and later started peddling back home at 2.30am. I realized how stupid my fears were two days ago. These two days definitely topped my list of the best days of my life. Now I was worrying about the fact that I will be missing my CTC friends and was hoping that I would join them again in some amazing treks in the near future. I had come back to Chennai, to my home, to my books, and the experiences of the last two days got etched as sweet memories in my brain.