Letters to Heaven (#5)

Dear Chotte,

I am writing this to you out of sheer throwback.
So there’s this app, timehop – tells you what you were upto on this present day.  It may sound a bit cheesy but it’s like waking up/starting your day with memories of the past; collects any activity shared over social media and posts it every day. Fun, no?
Anyways, it does affect me. Today started off like just any other day, looking back at how time had hopped so quickly. Santosh first shared it, which made me share to the rest of the group. It got me a bit too nostalgic, hence the post.
Last year around this time, we celebrated Rinku’s birthday by doing the midnight trek to Skandagiri over the weekend. 2013, Dudhsagar happened. And I will tell you why/how is it another special trek/travel for me.

2013 itself was one fantastic year in terms of travel - Kodachadri, Malvan, Delhi, Dudhsagar. Karthik bhai had been planning Dudhsagar for over a year, it is quite a task to get permission from the authorities. And given the fact that it is a beautiful camping spot there were some 50 plus entries and we had blocked our spot 2 months in advance. There were two batches that did the trek on two consecutive weekends, and believe me the second batch had an absolutely different and opposite experience compared to ours.

September 13th, 2013 – Departure from Bangalore at 8 pm.
Mode of transport – Train!
Alright, so we were informed about our coach number and train number. I got there on time, waiting for Nilesh and Priya. The train was delayed by a good half hour which we were all so thankful for. Bangalore did not surprise the couple that night, they took an hour to come from Brookefield to K R Puram. And typical Bollywood entry; the train had already started, Nilesh just said “Ek train hai, abhi nikal rahi hai". And there, I saw them faintly as they hopped on to the moving train. Their adventure had begun already. The rest of the lot joined us at SBC; my description of Manju to Santosh – You’ll find a tall guy with rimmed glasses, floaters, simple backpack, moving around in his world, chilled out. You will know him when you see him.” Yes, he found him instantly! Rinku’s entry was a surprise. He wanted to balance the account of us surprising him for his birthday, so he surprised us by booking a tatkal ticket and joined us. Our happy family was reunited!
Train journeys are nothing new – this too was as fun as it could have gotten.

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Sept 14th – Castle Rock.
One stop before Dudhsagar, the trek begins from here. It is basically a long walk along the railways tracks, cross all the tunnels, take a dip or freshen up with some spring water from small streams until you see the magical falls. It was nice and sunny when we started, no signs of rain at all. And we had no deadline to meet, so all of us in our own worlds. 
On other treks you have to huddle up, stay together etc. But on this one, I won’t really say we made groups as such, each of us gave the other their space. The Kumars were trekking together first time, Aonu had got Deep along, which left me with the brats; We were all just loose, uninhibited, uncontrolled, free.
My first hour was tough. Like I said, you got to look down and walk, even though is it one straight trail. And you know very well what would make me go blank. Watching Aonu hold Deep’s hand and walk was lovely.


Most of the trekkers had adhered to the rules of getting their own things, of which plates were one, we nutheads plucked some banana leaves. Bhabhi had sent her love across to us in her classic poha ready mix. All set, instant cooking didn’t take too long. And just as lunch was ready, it started raining. Unlike other days, nobody ran for shelter, we enjoyed the slightly rain-soaked lunch. 

Also, en route the trek, I realized 5’2” is actually not that tingu. Lambu Manju had a bad time with those long legs and Santosh too was uncomfortable with bending the knee that often. The distance between 2 slabs was perfect for me, I even hopped over a few. On the other hand, a few of them lost their shoes to the stones. Priya and a few others had to use their chappals all the way.



It was a sight to watch the falls. Massive.  Spectacular. Unreal.



Cleared up the mess so we could get started with making dinner before the torch lights could make it all difficult. Settled by 8 pm, moonlight party began. It started with a card game Manju was trying to teach Santosh, while I poked my bones in sooner. Plainly, we all seemed like freed animals, chaotic in a fun way, screaming and singing Bollywood retro. 


The rains eventually shut us up and we called it a night by taking a short walk alongside the falls. Again, huge! And like always, Nature surprised us again; in the dark, under the moonlight, we heard a train approaching. It was amazing to watch it pass by us so quickly, especially the sound of it.



Sept 15th

We woke up to a misty morning with a frog in our tent! Yes, it was fun. Returning back from a campsite, letting go that disconnect is never too easy. It was very obvious given how scattered we all were. 

The three of us happened to have walked a little too faster, that we reached the station almost 2 hours prior. No sign of anyone around us, thirsty, hungry, nostalgic, we were a bit disappointed.

After a good wait, we starting looking for some civilization – We crossed the railway platform where we found 3 local ladies unpacking their food. It smelled like home and I noticed Jola da roti! I dragged Santosh along and requested them to offer some. Yes, I was too famished to be shameless. A few steps later we realized we were at the Goa border! (Mann mein laddoo phoote).

To be accepted for what you are, who you are, is something that does not happen too easily. It is this acceptance that has bound us together so tight, till date. Between us, (add Aonu, Nilesh & Priya to the list as well), life is so free. No questions asked, no demands, no expectations – just be yourself. Even at that moment, we just knew what we wanted. A good half an hour binging on real cheap local food, while Manju had his usual Manchurian, it truly felt like we had earned every bite.

Santosh says it was an epic trek for him, Aonu had a sentiment attached to it. I can assure you the rest enjoyed it equally. Light rains along the way, endless bakchodi throughout the day, away from chores and noise -  another perfect disconnect.


Comments

  1. And its beautiful!! I just closed my eyes and the tracks, the tunnels, the landscape, the fun, the antakshari and the late night nothingness in front of the falls.. Just came alive.. Bhai's (Souvik) and Priya's (Arunita) first long trek.. The poop along the way and the magical waterfall... Feeling so empty right now..

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  2. This is magic, it reminded me of the whole journey and brought all the sweet memories.....u r amazing. Keep writing....

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  3. Glad you enjoyed it. Thank you Kasif. :)

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  4. Yur blogs Viji !!.. Its like I am living a moment with every sentence I read :-) thankyu fr sharing.. Abhi toh feel aarahi hain ..dodhsaagar..B-)

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  5. Waow I saw it live through your words girlllllll

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