Write up by Siddharth
Started with Bhai kadai biriyani and ended with Dindugal spl biriyani-And this is just the tip of the ice berg-Emperor's Team 3 trek to Kodai~western ghats was awesome!!!
The trek was a complete package- like our own favourite biriyani:P Some stretches on the trail were smooth like a child's play for most of us.Some other points really tested us-Some of them were bruised and battered,but carried on,thanks to the team , its spirit and the support!!!During the Senji temple renovation trip everyone was speaking about the 9-trek weekend..I was excited and and started waiting for the invites!!!After a long wait,the invites came in-As every place on the weekend's list was new to me,I din't have any probs like choosing the trek for which i should sign in:PI picked this trek and signed up,hoping to get shortlisted.And fortunately,I was shortlisted-Thanks to Bala and our accountant Ankit!!Until around 3 days before the trek, there was no sign of it at all...then, mails slowly started pouring in and on the day of the trek, all of a sudden, everything was in place:-) I was supposed to coordinate at perungalathur and so, the super excited soul in me kicked me out of office at 3.30 pm-one more reason to enjoy ctc treks-I can lie to my boss without my conscience pricking me too much;-) A CTC trek is worth 1000 lies at office:-D After a super heavy sleep and a slightly heavy dinner, I set out to my boarding point, reached on time and called Sai-who told he was about to have his dinner.His reply, fuelled by the spicy aroma from all those fast food shops around, drove me to my second dinner after some slight snacks:-P Btw, sai, murugan and sankar joined me and we called up ankit and bala , only to find that the bus would be late , very late in fact.We started peeping into the neighboring shop to get glimpses of the csk match, but at last ended up seeing almost the entire match there-the bus was late by almost 3 hours=-O
Finally, at the signal,ankit and bala welcomed us aboard ,for our 'trek de western ghats'.We were all greeted with huge smiles from everyone, like air hostesses welcoming passengers on a flight:-P I got the privilege of sitting near the ' kadhal mannan' of our trek-rajkumar:-) then it was time for biriyani-couldn't resist bala's offer-superb biriyani and of course a nice innaugaration ceremony for the trek;-) Later at some time after midnight,our photographer Malan joined us near dindivanam and we had a couple of stops in between for refilling and refreshing.Next day, steel body saravanan and srikanth joined us at dindugal.We had almost reached our kodai, when the van pleaded for attention.we stopped at some workshop and this time was utilized for unpacking and distributing the common goods and I started off my photo session with malan;-) As I was going to sweep along with ankit, bala gave me a big , brand new, terrific knife:-) sadly, I dint get any chance to use that till the end of the trek:'( And then we again set off on our vans.I dozed off and woke up exactly on hearing bala's call for breakfast:-P delicious coconut polis brought in by Kalyan were our breakfast.(one secret-there was one poli left unattended at last and after a long time, after heavy persuading, rajkumar agreed to share that with me:-P ) Later learnt that lunch was also ready:-D Pooris were picked up at kodai, wen I was deep asleep.After negotiating through the heavy weekend traffic @Kodai, we.atlast reached the road from were the real trek was about to start.
The van stopped and we disappeared in a giffy into the forest.The initial part of the trek was almost easy and everything went on fine,until the predators-The Leeches started their attack.Now we began to slow down,stopping for each leech that climbed on to our legs,not knowing that they would soon reach unmanageable numbers and it would be difficult stopping everywer.Ankit succesfully drove off some 36 leeches(Until he stopped counting:O) .By this time,everyone started feeling hungry and the pooris lost their lives!!!We settled along the stream and began to munch down.There were some photo sessions going on here and there and saravanan was busy showing his arms all around:P There were a couple of slips and falls-and hari was the inaugurator!!Leech repellent (Mooku podi:P) packets were distributed to everyone.I missed out on one and later happened to realize by EOD- wat a huge mistake that was!!!!!I dint visually see any leech entering my shoe or socks and so dint find any reason to remove my shoe and check at each resting point.
As the day progressed and so did we,the vegetation and the tree cover kept on increasing.The light was becoming lower and lower and everyone was in a hurry to reach the final resting point,where we could settle down,lay our tents ,set up the camp , rest for the day and of course have DINNER:PThe trail was becoming slightly tougher and we had to slip and slide down a few places-Bala patiently waited for us at every such point and then rushed back to the front to lead the way.Malan and kalyan were also helpful throughout-in finding easier walkarounds,helping people or more accurately lifting people up at some points!!I couldn't believe it was kalyan's first trek!!!Finally ,we wre nearing the spot-The stream was opening up,bringing up our hopes of having neared our base camp!!!While everyone of us rested and started collecting firewoods (with photo sessions,of course:P) Bala moved up further and brought a sad news-The water flow was heavy and we had to take a detour:(We couldn't proceed along the stream:(We again climbed up and moving slightly away from the exact trail!!To our horror, it was darkening up and to add to it, The GPS was out of battery and no one could open the cover to replace the battery!! I was amazed at how Bala reacted-he never lost his cool, relied on his instincts, got hold of some animal trail and soon we reached a safe point where we could move down the stream to our base camp. This climb down was again slightly difficult and Bala had to travel twice everywhere-he would first lead some five of us to a safe point and direct us further and then go back, collect the rest of them and move further. Finally, at one point, we men won over the wild(:P).The stream opened up into a huge valley and there was our campsite!!!A beautiful scenic location!!!!
I was pretty worn out and jus for once decided to check out that slimy-itchy feeling that was nudging me inside my shoes for the past 2-3 hours. After removing my shoes, happened to realize that the slimy thing was one big, huge, dirty, ugly leech which had had its heart's fill by then. And ya, it had brought along with it, many many frens. About a dozen of them fell from inside my shoes :O Almost a free leech manicure :P Just made someone crush the biggest of them all and proceeded for collecting firewood.Some people started sleeping inside the tent and we started chatting around the fire-singing songs,cooking.Inny akka and Bala made some soup and we soup boys had 3-4 servings each:DNow it was time for the main dish-Ghee rice with vatha kolambu ,pepper rasam,puliyodharai and lemon rice paste,topped by onion gratings was the menu for the day and it was wonderful!!!!And after hearing Bala's instructions on how to react in case of a flash-flood,everyone became over cautious-continuously monitoring the water level!!!After dinner,happened to realize that the leeches had not yet lost their love for me:O Seems it was time for their dinner;) Bala helped me burn them off with the fire and Ankit helped me clean and cover up the wounds.It was time for sleep now.And as expected,my last minute packing played the spoil sport-I hadn't taken even a single blanket to cover me and it was severe cold all around!!!!Sankar came to my rescue-shared his blanket and we happily settled.We woke up early morning,finished off our duties and started preparing tea-Everyone was shivering and gladly accepted several glasses of tea!!It was now time for a dip-the water was ice cold:O It was kalyan who took the plunge first,followed by sankar and rajkumar.Then myself,ankit,aditie,raja,malan and saravanan ventured down to those small small pools and falls and happily posed for snaps:P Maggi was ready for us.After gobbling down ,we again went for a dip,this time with everyone.Bala led us further down ,where all of us posed for snaps again and again and again:PJumped and dived into pools-experienced the real freshness of water!!Had never seen kodaikanal from such a viewpoint-nature at its best!!!
After a quick intro session,we decided to pack up,as some kind of bees started stinging people.Quickly gathered our baggage,packed our tents,picked our trash and left the place.the climb up was now a little easy,thanks to the rest that our legs had enjoyed.This time we stopped at many points,had enough time and rest and progressed slowly.At one point,the group had to be split up-so that bala could lead the first lot of people to kodai and then come back and take us.Bala came back in a jiffy,and we started moving back towards civilisation-honking cars started whizzing past us.The first group had sighted some boars-we missed it:(We settled down at a small road side culvert,waiting in hopes of getting a bus.Bala was sharing his trekking experiences and his bear encounters.
At last,a bus came and stopped for us.We hopped in,with no heart to leave the jungle:(Soon,we were at Kodai,where Bharani joined us.Went straight into a hotel for lunch,half heartedly settled for something less than biriyani(meals:().After lunch,we started hurrying towards the van,as Inny had promised a treat if we help her reach office at 8 am the next day:DThe van journey was superb-with that terrific antakshari session.Inny was the sole singer from our team and she somehow managed to put up a tough fight!!!!The next point on our ajenda was Biriyani @ Dindugal-venu Biriyani was waiting for us-Got everything packed for us and started moving.Btw,bharani departed on the way, and srikanth and saravanan left us at dindugal.After buying something for the veggies,we settled down at some spot on the highway,finished dinner,and boarded the van.The trek,the biriyani and the non stop shouting during the antakshari had taken their toll on us.Everyone dozed of within a few mins.Early morning,Malan got off at dindivanam and we knew,soon we would reach chennai and part away from our new frens.
The next day,11 AM,I was there at my office,sitting in front of that dumb electronic machine and staring at it aimlessly.What a contrast:(Not even 24 hours and that was a huge change to get accustomed to.I guess the senior trekkers would have experienced this everytime after a trek!!!!!The trek was a huge learning experience!!!!!It was fun sweeping with Ankit and posing for Malan's cam.And a really great work by malan-Shared each and every pic in all possible formats-Sema Machi!!Kudos to Sankar for the early,on time superb comprehensive write up!!!Summing up,It was a great time guys with all of you-enjoyed to the core!!Hope we can recreate the magic in future treks too.Stay in touch!!!PS:Sorry guys for focusing on everything from the food point of view:PAnd really sorry for the huge delay-was a bit busy last weekend!!!
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