April 9th and 10th-This date has a special connotation in my life. This day the year prior was the first time I realized how a trek can be more than a
combination on effort and views. It was also about common sense. I will let the suspense be and get to the job now.
As usual pickups happened at different locations some delayed,some so early makes you think if they slept at that spot the previous night.I had
completed midnight cycling with the team ,had around 15 minutes of sleep and was at Tidel in time for Pandian anna’s cab. A few known faces,
many new.In fact almost most of the crowd was new.That surprised look ,not sure whats in store,how to behave and feeling of being picked up in a dog van!
Introductions were made,met a few friends only to know that they were part of another trek.Looks like Nagala attracts more trekkers than cinema
theaters on weekends.
I got into the accountant role and did my collections,piercing people with looks who did not pay as yet and the same story of the “ATM got burnt
near my house,Rats are coming out of them etc etc etc” Anyways ,all geared up,bags checked ,people wondering why they bags are so heavy,maybe
due to that one pair of extra underwear ,but no place to leave it back outlook.
Then we started.The journey to heaven.Start of an awesome time to come.As usual being the lone trekker I am ,started walking by myself
concentrating on all the sounds around but no matter what never able to figure directions.Third boot camp in a row ,god alone know
what I learn.Everyone is a better explorer after the sessions,never me.
We reach the first pool,a few jump into the pool,boys take off their shirts,suddenly transformed into water buffaloes (Guys !Please accept
that not all are V shaped!) ,girls daintily dipping their feet wondering the same what I mentioned( Maybe even worse).
Water has always has its magic.Without a heart to leave but an assurance from Muthu and Vishal that we will come across a lot more of
them we started our journey.Sun was scorching ,but the weaving of branches formed above helped us from the sun giving us an opportunity
to enjoy outdoors and not get burnt in the process.Nicole,Thomas and Ben stuck out like a sore thumb all whities,but excellent company and
very helpful throughout.
We came to the next destination the sliding pool.Every single one had to get into the water now.Non swimmers with tubes,swimmers and
some others who did not know which category and had to be pulled out.Manu-Next time you will swim !
Time flew,lost count of seconds,minutes,hours.Only came to senses when hunger struck.Time to fill in the tummies.We packed up and settled ourselves further up with the booty.Each one opening up their bags to bring out what they thought was trek food.Sharing and Caring abundance we get going again.I had a feeling trail was intentionally made tough coz a lot of newcomers looking very promising.Aishwaya tried the toughs ones first ,Dhivya,Shravya ,Prashanth and lot many made it look that it was an easy journey.We were quite close to the campsite when we decided to take a break and get into some team bonding.Amidst fun and galore,people got to know more details of each other,were exposed to the public Paparazzi of question and our photographer Murugan kept clicking these moments.
We finally reached pre-campsite and settled down to cook the elite noodles and soup.A few got into star grazing a few others holding bowls and sharanya and assistants got the food going.After eating we moved to the actual campsite and settled down in our spots.Bliss! Surrounded by the cool breeze,and the million stars above we slowly dozed into oblivion.
Brightness forced us to get up from the slumber,but to the lovely non-polluted fresh environment!No words for the feeling.People finished morning duties,freshers wondering if this was normal and oldies going about wrapping up.We all had a quick snack of the ration and some great herbal tea along with milk tea and we got going.Again carefully put together by the organizers and Jack as usual the lead man we slided across different terrains ,obstacles ,learning to tackle as we passed them.We were ferried across at few instances,stopped by 50 metres fall to admire the formation of nature and the abundance of it at Nagala.
Lunch was at the picnic pool.This is my favourite of all.Thanks to a few good souls,they had Upma packets which we cooked as an alternate to Noodles and soup.Everyone enjoyed in the water.Shravya had the guts to jump in even as a nonswimmer.Guess it was the confidence of the CTC guys .
Muthu wanted to give the team an experience of rope climbing and got us to this deep but safe place we could try it out.Unfortunately Ruthira pointed out that he had viewed bees earlier .Both he and Jack went and checked for us and came back declaring it unsafe.We sadly started moving forward.We now reach the infamous dead end pool.The entire team working together ,helping one another .It was excellent to watch all of them collaborating so well.
Suddenly we were all asked to keep quite as two hives were very close to where we were standing.But as you know in all groups some
guys started thinking it was a joke.Started yelling on top of their voices.Paid no heed and any guesses what happens next?Our bee friends make a dive for it.Attacking the source of noise.We all ran,me out of experience took out my huge blanket and went under it.
The sensible organizers had already informed everyone to keep a towel/bedsheet out so all were covered and safe.We lied low for
almost 30 minutes.A few non swimmers jumped into water to avoid stings,but were transferred into tubes by people standing below in water.
After we realized the zone was clear we all got u like flowers blossoming ,fear in all eyes as to what can happen next. We rested
after sometime recollecting the entire episode.We were also shown the juggling antics of Ben.One girl from other group was severely
bitten,but managed to be calm which helped the situation. Ruthra as usual trying to make a joke of it to ease all.
We finally were on our way back to exit,each one to their own thinking,some talking politics,some non-politics,none about bees!
We got into the cab and headed for dinner in the dhaba and the job of dropping back people came to an end.
Accounts were settled,Vishal lead by example and ensured he paid up and all followed suit.I cycled back from Tidel with Mahesh accompanying me for safety
BTW I will never forgive Ben for thinking Accenture is a company that makes shorts!
This two days gave each one an experience of a lifetime.All each one had to invest was 48 hours and very less money.
Be or let it be!Fun unlimited.Bye for now!Bee careful!😁
Write up by Prashanth
Whenever asked to join in an adventure, expedition or exploration, whatever you might want to name it, my mind always wavers between a yes and a no. Even during the trip, I get myself into thinking “why did I even agree to come on this trip?”, until when I finally lay back on my bed at home after the adventure and think to myself, “Ahh, I want to do it again.” That feeling completes me for a while.
Mother Nature is beautiful by herself, be it the glittering streams, roaring waterfalls, scaling ridges and spectacular gorges. But,
a few things more beautiful than Mother Nature were our passion to explore, kindness to look after one another, perseverance
and rigor to scale varying heights, and on top of all that, the thought of not forgetting to smile.
What gives you more joy than meeting people with like minds and lovely hearts?
From being apparently smiling acquaintances to being close friends, we must thank Mother Nature for bringing us together. We must also thank Vishal, Muthu and everyone else for making this adventure eventful.
After all, memories are the best souvenirs you bring from the trips you make.