Writeup by Harish
So I was asked to draft a write up for the trip "FotoPrem-II" and as I sit to write, I was completely blank. Like an writer who has a writer's block. But only that I knew what I had to write, but couldn't find the words. Any ways, as the write-up follows, you would understand that this is more than a travelogue. This is me conveying my thanks for the wonderful organizers who make great friends. And actually, I see them as two sides of the same coin, but I will get back to that later.
PC: Ranga & Vishwa; EC: Noel
And this is also a write up to say hi to some great people I got to meet for the first time, and some other friends who I met for the second time, and got to learn about them more and hence growing a deeper relationship. Never the less, this is a write up of what the trip meant to me.
So as most of you have came to know about the trip through email, I did as well. And as I saw the names Pramod and Noel, I decided that this is a trip I will be making. With regards to what I said before, about the organizers, being the two sides of the same coin; Pramod is a little like me, an anarchist and Noel the opposite being structured and planned.
From what I had heard from the game, the trip locations and minor details are planned by both of them, with Pramod being a spear head. And then during execution, Noel gets over and organizes things. It is like he has a compulsion to stick to schedules and a time frame to make sure we do not miss anything. Which is great, because if he wasnt so, a group of twenty people would be lost, without an action plan.
So having decided that I am going to attend the trip, I had not made any plans or even packed anything for the trip. The previous evening I called up Noel to ask what I must bring along with me, and his reply was; "everything is arranged, your presence is enough". And that was it. These two geniuses had everything planned that I did not even had to bring a spoon or bowl, because my brothers and sister; Naan Sundar, Manoj, Udhay, Karthik and Subha were there to feed me. :P like literally. I didn't need to even wash my hand. But we will get back to that later.
So on the planned day, that is 1st Aug, I started off to pick up Anish on the way to Tambaram; our meeting spot. And as predicted we all became late, but thanks to how the group plans, that delay was probably expected and calculated for by the organizers and we were all set by 4PM at Tambaram Rly Stn. to ride over to the Theneri Lake; and if I am right, we were on 4 bikes and 2 cars and 2 bikes joined us later on. Making a total of 18 people at camp site.
Once at the campsite, Pramod spearheaded and we pitched the tent. The volunteers, myself included, trying to help but with no clue as to what we must do. After a lot of untying and tying we finally got the two tents upright with help to Kamaraj's Fazer and my Avy; and three good trees lending us support.
Then Kathir and Prakash ji actively helped to collect palm leaves for campfire only to find it difficult. And being rescued by Promod; who came, got hurt, went back and brought us a cover and newspaper for protection so that we do not get hurt like him :P. Surya, Dinesh, Steffy, Srinija and one young lady with beautiful smile, Vasavi helped us with dry twigs.
While all this was happening, Pramod managed to get us a tractor and tanker full of water to be used for watering the plants and domestic/campsite usage. And Noel along with our cook managed to get the utensils and logs needed for cooking.
Once everything was set, Dhevi along with Subha and others began to make fruit salad and cooking preparations. A group took off with the camera and flash equipments to play on. Noel once back, gave us a brief introduction into photography explaining the exposure triangles. And all of us played a bit with our cameras.
Then comes the feast. The cooking team, primarily Subha and Sundar along with friends had cooked us a wonderful dinner of spicy tiger-rice and white-tiger-rice. Which when mixed became delicious tamarind rice. Add a dash of curd, and we soon lose our senses regarding what we are eating, but that is irrelevant when the food tastes good. A little fight for some chips n' curd, and I realise that I have finished dinner. But soon found out that it was just round one. I once again joined the chef-gang to have round two and as mentioned above, the gang was sweet enough to feed me <3 .="" font="">3>
And soon later, we began to cozy around the campsite taking photographs and chatting up. Karthik's Enfield acting as a model; and the camp fire acting as a light source and a model at once.
And the multiple attempts to take a group photo at the camp fire was something worth mentioning. All of standing upwind the campfire, and close caused a few intense and hot moments, but luckily no one as burnt thanks to the brave souls, Saravanan and Manjoy, who took the front row seats ensuring that fire doesn't blow past them.
Somewhere in between, I realized Kathir was angry with me but I guess all that was playful, and it was confusing at first. But later found out that it all was just a part of having fun. So the time passed on, with the rain crashing in and interrupting. Forcing us all beneath the tent, cept for Noel, who was lost outside the tent doing god knows what.
We had a great chat about Madras! Courtesy: Manoj. And also an awesome story by Saravanan although it was old rice in nature :P Well the story goes like this, for the people who were in the other tent, “one upon a time there was a man, and he sacrificed a goat, and another one witnessed it and THE END”. It was meant to scare us, but thanks to Manoj, the story ended up being one for a laughter. And then Dhevi akka starts to feel sleepy and soooo, cajole everyone to sleep. The devil! So, we slept under the make-shift tent. Dinesh alone, sleeping almost outside. But surprisingly, that dude slept the best!!
And I am not going to talk about the night car ride that was not done by anyone, which I was not a part of, as I had no clue what had happened, except that I heard midnight coffee is good at Kanchipuram. And that the drive back in the night can be quite an adventure, especially if it is raining. For further details, do not contact the drivers. ;)
Then when we all woke up, the ladies were all ushered to a school building where they freshened up, once again thanks to the awesome planning of organizers. And we guys well, we did what we do the best. Frolick around in the tanker which would surprise even the primitive cave men, if we told him that we were bathing. And thanks to Pramod's encouragement, we both dove into the tanker to have round 3 of bathing.
And after all that, we come to business. Kathir drove around the tanker, and we all took turns posing and watering the plants. Hey, as long as the plants get watered; it does not matter if we look good doing it.
And for day 2, we all packed and started off to Sanjivirayar Thirukovil, Ayyangarkulam. Which was a good 3 hour drive including a breakfast break in between. And that was an experience in itself. The moderately priced restaurant which served great vada and dosa became a great place to eat and talk.
And once we reached the temple,, I realized that the place was tranquil. Old and high, the tower stood telling us that the place carried rich heritage. Walking into the temple and talking to the locals made us realise that the temple's initial structures was at least a few thousand years old.
The large pillared veranda at the back side of temple was a great location for our lady companions to pose. The small mandapam, became a podium for some stilettos thanks to groovy poses from Pramod and gang.
Circling around a few kilometers and being dared to ride down a steep rocky slope, we reached an extension like spot of the Sanjivirayar Thirukovil, which I came to know was a shooting spot for Naan Kadavul. Repulsed by the smell of bats, but welcomed by our curiosity and thirst to take photos we descended the flight of stairs and took some awesome photos, mostly selfieees and some random clicks.
Then again we started off to the Kailashanadhar Kovil, Kanchipuram. It was a majestic palava built temple, if I am right. It presented a great photo opportunity because of the beautiful architecture. The warm shaded structures put us all in a photo-taking-mode where we started to take photos without realizing that it is the location that was influencing us to take more photos than usual.
Once the praharam was opened, the darshan was crowded but worth it. And we were informed that the unique thing about the temple was an inner praharam, where the person crawls into a small opening at the left side; where Dhevi akka got stuck, panicked and we all had a laugh about it, and walk around crawl out from a opening in the right hand side. This action would take away our bad karma, explained the locals and poojari.
Coming out from darshan, we met a super-model and her sister; two super adorable kids who were born for the camera. After cajoling her into posing for us, we all went into a photo frenzy mode once again, smothered by the absolute cuteness of our super model. By the way, I have the email ID of our super model's manager; I suspect that it is their aunt. And we should be emailing them the photos soon.
Coming out, we decided to eat before starting off to Chennai. And so we crashed into a dhaba in the highway. It was a small place that served some great non-veg and veg dish which we all enjoyed; and enjoyed again in the second round. Along with the food, I also did enjoy the refreshing argument with Vasavi about sanity and morality. Looking forward to doing it again.
After paying the bill, we realized that we had ingeniously locked a car with the keys inside :P and while the organizers got to work trying to open the car door, we all took off taking photos once again. Selfies with the sunset behind us. And planning a food walk for the future.
Coming back, our more than capable accountant, Steffy handed us some good cash. At first I was confused, then realized that it was the surplus cash; being divided among everyone. And so after that, bidding farewell we all started off on our respective vehicles. Anish with myself, joined Kathir and Sundar on their bikes and drove off to Chennai after a wonderful trip.
Later that night. After reaching my office for a night shift, that night, to cover for someone else. I sank in my not so comfortable office chair, gazing into my thoughts only to realize that the weekend was one hell of a ride. The awesome friends I met, the wonderful new friends I had made, the beautiful smiles and tasty dinner would be a cherished memory for a long time. And so I wish everyone enjoyed the trip as much as I did.
If I had forgotten to mention anyone's contribution, please do forgive me. This is a purely a single perspective description pertaining to what I had experienced. And hope we can do the same once again in the near future. -Hk
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Writeup by Kathirvel:
Fotoprem II, Photography session has been planned in Thenneri, where CTC has planted many trees. This events part of agenda is to maintain those saplings as well.
We have all gathered at Tambaram and started towards Thenneri. Since we have reached little delay then we expected at thenneri, we immediately started doing the camping as it would be big problem when it becomes dark. With the help few volunteers we have done the camping and all set for photography session.
As the basics of photography have been started, Dhevi, Sundar and Shuba has started to prepare the dinner as it gets late. There were Q&A sessions after that everyone started to explore the night photography. As time moves on everyone started to feel hungry and at the same time it was about to rain. The cooking may have delayed but it came out really out. It even though spicy many didn’t feel it because of their hungry and few managed with the milk rice (since there is lack of time didn’t prepare the curd rice) and fruit salad.
It’s started to rain now, exactly after we finished our dinner, camp fire and group photos. Our plans may have changed because of the rain, but still we felt happy because the saplings are poured with enough water and our morning sapling maintenance work has been considerably reduced. Since we stranded in the camp due to the rain we almost not sure what to do. Thanks to Dhevi for the most entertaining speeches and stories. Whole night it was raining and we somehow managed to sleep in the tent. Thanks to Pramod for rigid tent that withstand the horrific wind due to the rain.
As it is drizzling in the morning everyone got up one by one and prepared for sapling maintenance. As we finished, watering and sapling maintenance we started to our next destination which in in almost 20km from thenneri. As the organizers know it is going to be quite a distance travel, they have decided to take the breakfast, Initial plan of making Pongal on our own has been cancelled due to the rain. So we decided to take the breakfast on the way and it turns out to be better decision. Everything came out from the hotel has been delicious and we almost emptied the hotel.
After our breakfast, unwillingly everyone started to travel towards Kanchipuram – Vandavasi route to our next destination Sanjeevi Raya Hanuman Temple, Ayyangarkulam. It was like almost a small road trip getting into small villages curvy off road driving that leads us to the Ayyangarkulam. We had the photo session, intro session and crazy selfy session and also we get to know about the history of the temple.
It’s almost noon now and everyone is feeling tired, but still the event has one more place to cover Kailasanatha Temple Kanchipuram.
Kailasanatha Temple is the most scenic place to take some beautiful photos. We were sharing the photos and our memories to everyone. Since it become too late we decided to stop for the lunch at Punjabi dhabba . After we completed our lunch everyone shared their contacts and waved their hands with good memories.
The way the event has been designed is to cover various aspects. If you looking for one core activity like photography or Tree plantation then you would be disappointed. But if you would dare to explore all the things then this is the trip that you should not miss in future. Thanks to Dhevi, Noel and Promod for all the planning and efforts all the time.
Thanks, G Kathirvel.