By Dominic Sahayaraj
GOD!!!! Time already 4.58, I am still at Velachery… Karthick’s call informed that they are already at Guindy railway station, drove my bike like mad and ran like hell and huffing and puffing I reached the van time 5.15AM. Sorry Guys for the delay, my sincere apologies and will see it never happens again.
Nivya said a curt hello but didn’t look irritated, she very had the right to be but it did not show, I guess that is why is she is such a great organizer.
The Van had a very decent interior and seats were also very comfortable the diver was very alert and courteous (a rarity amongst drivers……I recommend we use this guy for future trips but organizers choice is final).
The van by this time had picked up groups from Tidel and Guindy, the next pickup was at Olympia Towers.
At Koyambedu the last group got picked and we were on our way and as I mentioned earlier the seats were very comfortable everyone was dozing try to catch up the moments of sleep which was lost by waking up 3am/4am etc.
We made the first pit stop for breakfast and myself and Sunil (my last trip organizer) sat chatting together joined by Swetha and Mukund. Mukund informed that he had been very active in CTC earlier and then went into of hibernation and joined this trip after a long gap. For Swetha this was the first CTC activity and she is from Hyderabad and Post graduate from IIT Rookee and working in Chennai as Civil Engineer and doing research in TAMIL Language (not literature) like counting the no of alphabets in TAMIL which ja ka ra is missing etc.
After about hour, we reached our first destination Vallimalai and while walking towards the templekulam, I got know two more budding photographers Aruna and Swapna. The Group has a good photography session of the picturesque place while Group were busy clicking away, I was waiting for the famous photographer Thirumalai (Thiru) to arrive and he too arrived and started his usual antics.
Then began the ordeal of climbing the steep temple steps to reach the main temple where I came to know another enthusiastic person Pramod who showed some great dance moves which was in synchrony with the chants made the climbing those steps easy and finally we had reached the top and the view from the top was fabulous and fantastic and worth all the effort.
By this time I came to know the other members of the group we had Dhaval (Gujarati settled in Chennai), Karthick (Cognizant), Avinash (Tata steel Tada), Anoop (Cable and Wireless), Shree Hari, Hari (Sai Engg Student), Ajay, Gowtham, Vinod (Organizer 2), Murali.
We had a great time on top of the hill as it was a real photographer’s delight and everyone had a share of their antics. Pramod kept posing like climbed Mt. Everest and pestering everyone to take his photo followed by the antics of Thiru you couldn't ask for more. Swapna was so enthralled by the lotuses in pond that she bent precariously for clicking some shots. (Thank god she didn’t trip and fall). I sure we going to hear more about Swapna and Aruna in times to come…
Karthik had used me as model and promised to pay me hope he remembers the promise.
The descent was not that tough as climb and that were the group got separated and I was with the one which went to van and on the way we had some soft drinks from the nearby shops….poor swetha could not fulfill her choice of having golee soda as none of shops had it and the one which had it had store it in such as way that even swetha who claimed to have a good immune system refused to have it.
The other group finally arrived and they had their share of fun at the Jain caves which we missed sadly.
The next stop was Somanatha and Cholaeswarala Temples which was unfortunately closed for lunch, hence we could not enter inside but it did not stop the group from having some fantastic fun taking Group photos on the lawns using karthik’s tripod and Gowtham trying directing us like Gowtham Vasudevan Menon.
As there was a dried up river nearby one group which want have some fun in water went that way and others stayed behind in the shade.
Pramod, Thiru were up to their usual antics using the boys as the models while Ajay, Gowtham, Vinod had their share of fun by taking a dip in the pond. It was hard to spot Gowtham among the boys as he also looked like one of them….
Swapna and Aruna too were busy clicking, Swapna did some gymantics and jumped from the bridge on riverbed which motivated me to do the jump. Swetha wanted to try but could not said she had some sprain while she was walking/running on the treadmill (sprit was willing but the flesh was weak) so she took the longer route. Swapna sitting on bridge was used as model by our photographer Thiru.
Our next stop was for lunch at Vellore. (I still have to pay Ajay a balance of Rs. 5/- as I did not have change). After lunch while some were having ice cream and some were having juice, Swetha got robbed of her juice by Parmod and Ajay by putting their straws in her cup.
We came to Jalakandeswara Temple near Vellore fort and group had a great time clicking way Vinoth was mentioning that he won’t mind spending the whole day here as the sculptures were so beautiful and I too keenly follow these kinds of sculptures and carving and try to decipher the message/meaning behind them. Attached some of them
Chinese Version of Bodidaraman
(You too can create your own interpretation.)
Here, Thiru and Gowtham scared a tiny tot with their cameras (no matter of cajoling giving chocolates would stop the kid from crying).
From Jalakandeswara Temple all of us walked to the Vellore Fort and got a good view of the landscape. Here again antics of Parmod and Thiru came to play and here also we had a good fun taking semi Group photos.
Then I suddenly find everyone is started clicking in one direction…. the beauties of CTC Heritage trek were together Nivya, Swetha, Swapna, Aruna it got stopped only when the Thiru stood alongside (..like a beast). Thiru was complaining when I stand no one clicks when girls stand everyone clicks. (Well Thiru have a heart…the world always has a soft corner for the fairer sex).
As this was our last spot in our itinerary, we all walked back to our van and I and Pramod did some bit of horse riding which led to some grumbles inside the van for delaying them.
On the way back, we were treated to some refreshing tea and coffee by our generous organizers Vinod and Nivya (treated because I did not pay for them). Also, we had a hilarious self introduction near the tea stall. My only regret being Anoop coming and telling that he didn’t hear my introduction. (Well I was the first to start Anoop).
During the rest of journey back, Pramod kept us entertained through his dance moves with Ajay, Gowtham, Swetha, Aruna, Swapna and Nivya too shook a leg.
Also during the drive back, Aruna gave gyan about white light balance, shutter speed etc which really very informative and really these girls are really going to go places.
Finally, the van dropped us at the pickup points safe and sound.
I would like to mention that this one of the most memorable trips I had after very long time and thank the organizers for arranging such a magnificent trip and looking forward to joining in future trips.
It was a very lively group. Special thanks to Karthik and Pramod for helping us with co-ordinating in the pick up points. Thanks to everyone in this trip for the wonderful spirit to volunteer for any activity.
Please post your comments and feedback in the following link: