Post Trek - Family Trek to Nagala 28 &29 April 2012 - Preetha Kannan

Monday, May 7, 2012

The first Family Trek from CTC

It was a warm Saturday afternoon and Kannan and I were busy packing up for something that we had really been looking forward to in a long time. A trek with the children!!!

Yes, it was totally out of the blue some two weeks ago when the trek was announced and we just jumped and signed up!

All set to go to Nagala with a lot of eagerness, Arya (Age7) and Thraya (Age4) also got ready pretty quickly. We had communicated twice with our organiser Mr. Chella Babu, who had clearly given each of the families a certain responsibility even before the trek began, which was a great way to set the attitude of the trek.  We had a list of all the people joining the trek, their alighting points, phone numbers, everything!

We started in our car and proceeded to Madhya Kailash, where we met Bindhu, her son Manu and her sister’s daughter, Shruthi. We were joined by 4 more cars and all of us together set out to Nathan’s cafĂ© at Koyambedu. After another stop at Ambattur, all the cars (10 of them carrying about 60 people totally) set out for Nagala West.

Upon reaching the place, seniors, parents, children et all, we were asked to pick up some fire wood for cooking (We reached at about 8.30 p.m and all of us were extremely hungry!!). But before we could blink our eyes, a team got ready to cut veggies, a team making a fire to cook, a team making some yummy soup, a team quickly churning out some cheese sandwiches for hungry children!!! And we thought we were all strangers to each other!!! (You will get to know later about Malar – Chella sir’s wife who organised the whole food part so well).

By 9.30 we were all eating together like a big family that had gone together on a family event or something!!! Some yummy soup, some chappatis and Paneer butter Masala! What a start to a family trek!!!

After some games with the children – fondly organised by Chella sir and ably assisted by Shankarji, Vikram and Vinoth. There was a very interesting session on stargazing too! And the children were hooked, quite literally to the stars!
Good for them that they got to sleep under them as well. It was about 12 midnight when most of the group thought it was time to sleep and wake up for the next morning’s trek into the hills.


The next morning, most of us woke up to the voice of Chella sir, calling all of us to get ready as soon as we could so that we could get the most out of the trek. Some lazy bones needed a little knock, and the whole team was ready to ‘rock’ the hills by about 7.30 am -  after a great breakfast of rusks, chocolate milk with chocos (for the children, mainly) and Tea (for the adults).

All the common food items were distributed among each of the families and after Chella sir laid down the ‘ground rules’ of the trek we all set out!

Passing along the sand bund and running across a patch of open space, we reached a point when we were divided into 2 groups – one which was longer to reach and was full of large pebbles and stones – along a stream and the other – a simpler path which the seniors preferred.

We entered into a land covered with millions of stones, beautifully rounded and yet very interesting to walk upon. By the time we completed that part of the trek, all of us got pretty much used to walking on the stones. We were pleasantly surprised to see water flowing in many parts and the children were only too eager to wade through the water. The adults were not far behind in their enthusiasm and followed suit. Sometimes, we had the choice to take a land route and we still stuck to the water route!

The story until now is about reaching the hills!!! When we did reach the hills, the terrain changed a little and the little pebbles turned into boulders of different sizes. Our path was still along the stream – into a simple trail that exists because of trekkers like us.

The kids didn’t seem to show any sign of fatigue, and the adults couldn’t complain either! We then reached a lovely stream crossing, which people who reached early spent some time in getting totally wet and drinking up some water too!!


We then reached the first pool in Nagala – announced to every trailing group with shouts by the children!  ‘Hah! We’ve reached’ would be on everyone’s thought even if they were a good distance away from the cheer! It was lovely to see kids wearing different coloured rings around themselves plunging into the water in utter delight. We then realised that the first team (Seniors) had already left the place to reach the second pool (our destination). After a few minutes of relaxing in the first pool, we set out to the climb that would get us to the destination!!!

For those children who were cribbing about the lack of ‘danger’ and ‘thrill’ in the trek, this place was a good answer!! The pathway became much more uneven and challenging and it was really heart warming to see the seniors climb their way so confidently into those rocks, beautifully chiselled from the mountains. 2 or 3 daring moves later, we reached the second pool.


Only to see the seniors including chella Babu sir, joined by Malar setting up a mini kitchen by the pool.  And what all did they churn out!!!! (Well, that’s for a little later!)
To say that the children had a whale of a time is such an understatement. Each family had a blast in the pool splashing water on each other, playing, doing sommersaults in the water, drinking the water, running here and there. Meanwhile the mini kitchen got a life of its own and different families started to pour in to help as much as they could with cutting vegetables, making instant noodles. The highlight was of course Malar’s secret recipe – A great yummy Vegentable Biriyani  and Gobi / Mushroom Manchurian some Raita and potato chips. An extremely delightful and stomachful gastronomical delight indeed!

It was soon time to start the descend as we found some dark clouds hovering above us. The descend was far easier, as we were quite focussed on moving together as a group and walking as fast as we could.  Ably guided by our organisers (Chella Sir, Shankarji, Vinoth and Vikram), we could all make it quickly out of the mountains, and as if they were just waiting for this moment when we all could get into a safe zone, rain droplets started pouring over all of us, just as we were thanking the stars for saving us the day and the earlier night. The droplets became pretty heavy and the clouds showered their immense love on all of us – drenching us totally. Though unexpected, all of us seemed to love this. The only problem was that we had all promised to meet up at the end of the trek for an intro session so that we could continue our relationships outside of the trek too!!

We really have to thank Mr. ChellaBabu and his family to make it such an endearing and a homely trek...It was such a great experience for all of us and the kids have come back home with such wonderful memories. 

The kids really had a wonderful time doing so many things: 

playing together 
eating together 
seeing stars 
brushing their teeth with neem sticks 
eating and sharing some amazing food throughout the trek 
walking through the huge pebbles through the waterway 
helping each other on the way 
being in those wonderful pools 
playing, eating, walking and running 

The rain did play spoil sport from us getting to know each other better and probably exchanging contacts, but our group came back thanking the rain gods for the showers at the fag end of the trek (quite refreshing, actually) and not in the beginning!!!! 
I am quite glad that the trip didn’t end there and we all met again at the Besant Nagar Beach – Tuesday May1st being a holiday!!! This time on the seaside accompanied by a feast of bajjis, icecreams and endearing exchanges by everyone!

We had such an awesome experience and the kids want more!!!! 

Arya: 7 years
I had a very nice time in the trek and loved the time with Sanjana Akka and Manu anna. It was great to know them both and the second pool was superb. I love to swim!



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