Man Against Nature..

They are damn right when they say "Sometimes you just have to let Nature do the talking and wait to see how it surprises you in return." The weekend that went by was an absolute adventure with and against Nature..

Where         - Chomakund hills, Coorg
Head count  - 24
Duration      - 2 days
Team           - Nisarga (Nisarga Environmental Consciousness and Outdoor Leadership Trust)

With everything planned much in advance, somehow things were not in our favor from the start. From a 22 seater AC Sleeper coach, it came down to 2 tempo travels after some mind churning calls by Karthik. Now its always fun when the whole lot is together; the fun gets divided once split. With negative vibes until the day of the trek, most of us thought it almost got cancelled. Looking back at all that happened, I now wonder what  would all of us have missed out on..

So yea, the journey was a lil quieter than usual, all of us (in our bus I mean) dozed off earlier than expected. Thanks to the movie Evil Dead II! A fun conversation and we had to give the mind some rest for the power packed weekend ahead of us. A bumpy ride for myself and Chalu (Chalukya, you will hear more of him later) the backseaters. The eyes opened to a calm beautiful chilled morning. A small walk down to a water stream and we were all excited enough to kick off the exploration.. Again, there was a 'snobby' intervention by this man who thought we'd actually fall for his talks.

With empty stomachs, kicked off from base to get to the actual start point of the trek, which was almost a kilometer if I'm not wrong. What was supposed to be a warm up walk tired a few muscles already. A quick breakfast from our respective bread boxes, the picturesque view of the mountains and the rough ride began. When I was warned earlier for my wrong attire, I couldn't figure out why.. Neither did the height of the grass bring in any fear.. First it covered the feet, then came on to the knees, and at one point it was on our faces. Grass that you would usually walkover on, sometimes play and fall on, now slashed through our arms and legs.. Oh yes, it BURNS! A few pit stops in between to recharge ourselves with cupcakes and chocolates and we made to the peak in about 6 hours. Now we were informed there would a fresh water stream which would apparently be our source of water for both the days. What seemed like a pond from far turned out to be dry land.. This left us with 2 options - Go back to the city or dig for fresh water.. Of course we chose the latter, weren't we all on an adventure?

Courtesy - Kartik Srivastav
Some real hard work by our boys Dhruva, Chalu, Kasif, Kartik backed by a few others under that hot scorching sun, the sweat paid off when we finally filled one bottle of crystal clear chilled fresh water. All we needed was a polythene to filter the water, a pipe made our of bamboo and a stick/knife to dig the ground.. A few burnt necks and stronger minds, we had clear fresh water enough to serve half of Bangalore in less than 45 mins. A simple delicious 'Poha' followed and we were done trekking for the day..

Next task - Tent Pitching. In any other trek, once the tents are put up you have nothing more to do.. We were happy we got done much before sunset. But little did we even dream about what was in store for us.. Asta and myself headed to the 'kitchen', yes we had a small kitchen right between the trees. Halfway through cutting vegetables Karthik notices a forest fire = Danger! This meant tents needed to be dismantled and we had to move to somewhere safer.. Waited for a while hoping the fire would die down sooner and not touch our hill but Nature went against us again. The tents were taken down thrice while half the boys went up the hill to put off the fire.. By sunset things were getting back to normal, dinner cooking was in progress.. Thanks to Karthik and Chalu for their magic touch in the cooking, dinner was yummy yumm.. My partner Asta and I stepped aside for a while to freshen up and I must tell you what the view looked like.. The fire was still spread out at different places in the adjacent hill. It should have freaked anyone out but it looked beautiful to me. The sun gone down, moon not up yet, flames spread across a mountain... Looked amazing! And in just few seconds I figured things were getting worse when I saw the boys running up the mountain with leaves to put off the fire again.. Yup, it was serious now. Still wonder how they ran up the mountain which now had ashes all over, without any light.. Like Kartik said "Once the adrenaline rushes you do not look back, you just know its all in your hands to avert the danger". A one-on-one conversation with Kasif, Dhruva and Chalu will give you a better insight on how they actually fought against Nature.

All settled by 8, it was time to give the legs some rest.. Out came the fluids, food and fun under the moonlight.. Silly talks, some hearty moments to go along with the wind and for a while silence did the talking. The fun was interrupted by a dinner call, but the sight of people licking their bowls in hunger was to fall for! A bonfire to kill the cold and some yumm sambar rice for the hungry stomachs, everyone looked so adorable with their plates. Simple joys, I tell ya.. Stuffed ourselves with the scrumptious dinner and went back to the rocks to continue the madness.. The bakchodi continued for a while and soon we all managed to get into our tents which would have otherwise just flown away with the wind..

The warmth of sleeping bags resisted us from the chill morning and hence breakfast got delayed. Hot Maggi for the morning and the lazy bones dragged themselves to pack up. It took 6 hours to get up the mountain and just one and half to walk down.. Well, why not? Course you would just run down as fast as you could if you knew a waterfall dip was waiting for ya.. After all that hard work, one dip was just more than necessary to ease the muscles and well it did more than that.. Not sure if it was the excitement or the magic in the chilled fresh water that healed the wounds and relieved all the muscles.. AH! Perfect ending, ain't it!

A late lunch, simple dal rice happened at Hill Hotel Palace. The waiter got us glasses of hot water and our man Dhruva said "For a few days we will all think twice every time we drink water, now that we know how difficult it is to get it". Well that was a 'pull up your collar' moment looking back at all that happened in the last 24 hours. 

Back in our seats, headed back to civilization.. This time rolling over the seats watching Home Alone 3 and Fast Five.. Errrr sincere apologies for breaking the hawtness but hey! If the movie hadn't stopped,we wouldn't have been showered by gyaan on birds breeding, king cobra et all.

Glad Nature allowed us to see how greener the grass is on the other side..
Achieved/Learnt -
1. Spent one winter night with thermal and shorts, no jacket at all.
2. A stick and a plastic bag is all you need to dig out some fresh water.
3. Leaves and a strong mind to put off a forest fire.
4. Some sweet tender coconut water can make you high.
5. If bitten by a king cobra, do not think twice, just chop the bitten area/organ in less than 2 mins.

To each one of us who made it, Congratulations on the goal achieved and calories lost.. And to the rest, well you know whom to call when you're bored!

Midst all that madness I found my 'moment of the trip' sitting at the window seat- With Fast 5 playing in the background, my eyes just shifted to the winding roads, and then to the beautiful moon.. It was just the moon and I for a few seconds, talking to each other in our thoughts.. And yet another time, I fell in love with something unreal..

We Walked.. We Laughed.. We Learnt..

Life indeed is a long lesson in humility..


  1. I Love it! The way you told your story! And the vivid imagination I have i could play it all out in my mind! What an amazing, brave, awesome and Famous Fivey thing you've done Viji! Kudos to you and your friends! Keep posting

  2. Viji, way to go girl! The writing has a flow that shows... :)

    I missed so much fun and adventure!

    1. Oh Siva! I missed you more..
      Thanks thou..!

  3. we went as strangers....
    we walked, talked, laughed, shouted.
    We overcame odds by fighting, thinking,toiling, sharing an adjusting.
    Rough soil, cold night, heavy wind and twinkling sky,
    together we stand there undefeated among mystic Hills,
    and when we came back we had warm hearts and bright faces
    with lots of meomories and a bond of friendship nice narration viji keep it up

  4. woww...never thought experiences could be expressed so well... just awsome.... in words....! and sounds amazing,,,,, thank u so much for your great time.... on this beautiful script.... this great moment took a deep space in the room of frozen memories.... all the credit goes to the great team and the team work... in the natures cradle... ok now,,, foreword from the backseater... to the chilled water... fall.. just words cudnt describe those.... and the topic of MR. NISARGA on way back home,,,, was a super.... " KING COBRA BITE.... DONT THINK TWICE,,, "... ya offcourse i know difficult to hold laugh... and viji,, thats a great flow on words,,,,, thank you...

  5. A beautiful write up Viji...

    Yes, the trip was something that everyone is always going to remember, an adventure in the true sense of the word. The lessons, the experience and bonds made are for keeps...

    the coconut water reference was hilarious :)
    and loved the way the post is ended ... long lesson in humility indeed.

    1. Thanks again! I still can't get that look off my head, the look on your face drinking the coconut water.. Damn cute..


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