Saturday, 15 September 2012

Venkatagiri Trek

After the fitness test in pallavaram hills, we had the shortlisted members. It was 23 people and 4 cars. That was the plan. To start from Chennai Friday midnight and reach back Sunday Night. So I went to Guindy at 12 AM and met few people there. Then I Picked up 3 IIT kids and headed straight to Koyambedu. It was raining very heavily on the way to Koyambedu. After reaching Koyambedu only, I came to know that we were actually 19 people and only 3 cars. It seems others have pulled out. So 5 in My Ikon, 5 in Tirth's Indica and 9 in Bala's Safari. Bit of introductions started here and then we all started driving. Bala to lead, Me in the middle and Tirth to be the sweeper.

Came the FIRST JERK. My Cars driver-side Wiper broke off and it was raining damn heavily. I couldn't see a bit. For sometime I was managing with the other wiper and alternatively used cloth and reached outside for the glass to clean, to get atleast some view of the vehicle going in front. But it became difficult for me. Came Arul in the front seat who was till now sitting behind. I call him 'Man who can't say NO to anything'. He was giving me the directions - 'Leftla paathu Leftla Paathu' , 'Rightla lorry.. Leftla vaanga' , 'Side Side Side' .. But still even after him telling and me wiping through one hand and driving with another, I could sense the drive was not stable. But I seriously wondered how the 3 IIT kids sitting behind could debate about quantum physics when their life is in 50:50 Mode :P I Appreciate you guys for the confidence you had in me. Then what. The other wiper which was working also stopped working. I told Arul 'I can't drive now. It is very risky. We will wait and then start after it stops raining'. This guy didn't tell a word and he just put his ass in the window and started leaning in the glass and moving the wiper. And it was still raining heavily. But i got a clear view of the road and kept on driving. We were laughing, driving and it was fun. One more name to Arul's Kitty - 'Man with balls'.

Along with all these happenings, it was Bala and Bala who were trying all possible solutions for driving a car in rain without wiper. They first tried oil on the glass. Then they tried applying shampoo and then they applied soap. Innovation you see. Only in need, you are compelled to innovate.

So after some 1-2 hours, it stopped raining. Now the SECOND JERK. Tirth's Car got punctured. So we all returned to the place where their car was parked. And we all were surprised to hear that they lost the spare wheel when they were trying to replace the tyre. In the meantime, Many slept in the highway itself (First it was Bala and Murali). We searched for the tyre till the sunrise, in the bushes nearby but in vain. Now the plan, Tirth and Amrita will tow their vehicle for getting a new tyre and return back to chennai. So now the team has shrunk. 17 members and 2 cars. 6 in Ikon and 11 in safari. I am quite sure, even if the Ikon had been punctured that time, we all 17 would have went in safari :P


So after locating the place, we got the help of a localite for parking the cars and he was showing us the route till the base. It looked quite a dry place full of thorns and bushes. Now all set for the trek, we all started walking. I could sense some urgency in Bala's face. He kept on pushing everyone 'Guys Fast Fast' . 'Keep moving Keep moving'. It was Murali and Uncle Bala who were coming last and they were dehydrated and very tired even before reaching the first halt (1/3rd of total distance). But it was Ravi who kept pushing them that they can make it. It is this optimism which makes a person differ from normal beings. We all were totally drenched when reaching the first halt. It was humid, no wind and sunny.

We all started again.Now Murli and Bala have energised themselves. From this patch there was mild wind and breeze. Mostly everybody were refreshed and started clicking pictures and posing. We moved at a brisk pace and reached the second halt. It was somewhat at the base of the fort. That was a nice place to relax. From there we could see the peak. 

We started trekking to the peak which was quite steep and there were many loose rocks. So we made sure there is some considerable gap between 2 people. We reached the peak and it was such an amazing feeling after a strenuous effort. Added to that the wind. It was very heavy and the force was pushing us . It was damn good. I never expected anything out of this place. But it was just beautiful place to spend a night.

Bala was helped by Hari, Pratik , Arun , Alagappan , Raja to make the tarpaulin as tents. I will not say tents. It was a 2-layered mat, so that we can sleep in between. Then the best part - FOOD. Raja , Bala and Ravi prepared soupy noodles first and an awesome biryani with pakoda as side-dish. Well done guys. By the time we finished dinner, it became very cold. Me and Hari were the first ones to roll inside the tarpaulin and sleep. Though many in the morning said that they couldn't sleep properly, I had a very nice sleep. After all it's been 2 days since I slept. 

Morning. The Culprit was Burma Bala. He just shouted TEA. I was in no mood to getup at all. But thought, i'll have the tea and then sleep for a while. Even Hari got up with me. We looked for the tea like a dog searching for a pole. Despair :(

The winds now were even more strong and we all posed some group photos and then we got down to a cliff patch nearby and clicked lot of pictures there. In the meantime, Bala and Arul prepared Tea and Noodles. Let me not forgot Malinga, Varaprasad, Alagappan and Arun who went to fetch water from the source. Needs so much patience to fill water dropping from there.

Now packed all the stuffs and ready to head back. The return was pacy.We never stopped anywhere till we reached the base. Here comes the NEXT JERK. Nobody knew the route from the base to the Exit. It was Bala leading and Ravi sweeping and we all weeping :P
Though we couldn't figure out the correct way, we figured out that we were in the wrong way. Wherever Bala found a trail, he moved on keeping the mountain as a reference point. After a while, we found a jeep trail and just followed that. In some half hour, we were there at the exit. Relief !!

Cars are still there. More Relief !!
Then we all headed to the pumpset for taking a dip.  Awesome it was. Very refreshing. So Packed all the stuffs and all set to head back to chennai.
Came the LAST JERK. Bala tried to reverse his car. But Safari's tyres were like 30% inside the surface. It rained that night, so the place was marshy. We tried our level best to push the car out, but the best we can do was to break the waterguard in the window ;)

First we tried lifting the car using the jack and put some dry leaves under the tyre. But in the meantime, some villagers came with iron roads and equipments to help us. They cut the surface just behind the tyres. After heavy effort, the car came outside. At last. 

We had put all our seats in the seats and then started our journey. I could just laugh and say 'what is going to be the Next Jerk ?'. We stopped in an awesome place for dinner :P (Recommended by Ravi). It was a combo of Restaurant (for humans) and Lodge (for dogs) ;)

By 11, we reached Koyambedu. It was time to part our ways. We wished everybody goodluck and headed back home. 

We know some people for 10-20 years, still don't understand them. But we meet some people for just 1 or 2 days and get to know about them nicely. How true it is. That is the beauty of the trek. By Human nature, we bond with people more, only in difficult situations. I hope you all get so many difficult situations in your life and make some 'friends for life' out of it :P

Happy trekking people :)

P.S -  The day we started for the trek, I got my offer letter from HCL. Though I don't believe in sentiments. I can just say Venkatagiri trip was memorable to me for this reason also.

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