Ek Kathak Aur Uski Kathayen

Monday, December 19, 2005

Wild wilderness, a few wild creatures...

... along with dark, damp long tunnels, some abandoned railway stations and scarrryyyyyyyyy bridges!

Aloha people!
It’s me, with a brand new post.

And something which I certify as "worth posting", which does imply that this won’t be one of those posts where I end up asking what’s making me post and the like!

This is a story of a few people. Wild people… wild creatures ;-)
And one of them, is Me!

I, Me, myself and a few otherselves….!! Yes, that’s the crowd that one fine Thursday afternoon decided to go on a railway route trek! This trek route used to be a meter gauge rail track very much in use, and will soon be a broad gauge track very much in use again; but the point is that currently it is quite abandoned and wild!

Wilderness has its charm, and if you want to experience it, you must walk right from Sakhlejpur which is about 220 km from Bangalore city (give or take a couple) right upto Gundiya - which is another village/town! You could alternately start from Gundiya and walk upto Sakhlejpur. Ideally though, what you should do is Start from Dondigal (about 10-12 km after Sakhlejpur) and upto Gundiya! That of course ladies and gentlemen and the august readership of my blog, is what you should be doing ideally. The keyword here being "ideally". But we don’t quite live in an ideal world, and you and me are not ideal and neither do we have an ideal semi conductor or an ideal metal that transmits power without losses. (Oh boy, I know I’m now a software engineer, but I still swear but electrical and electronics! )

Which should be enough to hint at the fact that we did screw up!
And we’re glad we did.
Else there would have been experiences missed, which makes a rather sad story!
And enough of background building and down to the dirty details ;-)
Here Goes -

Friday evening, at 5 pm after an awesome Pizza lunch with my team and practically no work, I decide to leave office early to get going! So, 6:15 bus on to BTM has me and my bag, my partners in crime and a lot of excitement!

The 22:45 bus from Majestic to Mangalore has me and my bag, and my partners in crime and a lot of excitement all over again! The 10:45 bus duly leaves by 22:55 or so and that’s gee-oh for GO!

It’s surprising, that in spite of being such good kids - no screaming, no shouting, no playing around et al, at 3:30 a.m. on a cold Saturday morning the conductor tells us, he needs to kick us out. And at 3:40 we’re standing below Manjirabad fort with nothing more than (I’m sure you know by now) our bags, our excitement and… well… us - the partners in crime! Some hot masala-nilgiri-mindblowingly-awesome tea follows and up we go. Climbed about 200 steps only to play door-keeper door-keeper to Manjirabad fort that doesn’t open until 8:00 a.m. for visitors! It didn’t matter that we had Mr. Tipu Sultan who incidentally was the creator (?) of the fort and Mr. Prithviraj Chauhan amongst us! Sorry people, esoteric joke. My apologies again! After day break which means after an awesome sunrise from the east and calibrating of my cell phone compass which we wouldn’t need and speaking a hell lot of crap that only voluntarily sleep deprived individuals can talk we headed onto Dondigal station about 3.5kms to the west.

8:15 at Dondigal, we head eastward towards Sakhlejpur where as in fact we should have been going westward towards Edakumeri. But we’re glad we walked 12 km eastward, else we would have missed the most awesome and the scariest bridge of our lives. Full with oil, dew and slippery shoes. Nothing on the right, nothing on the left, nothing in between the steel planks. One step you miss, and it’s a direct upward journey, defying Newton and all his laws! This was steel planks, at other bridges, there were those wooden ones, and some were shaking… like a horror movie wooden plank! At 11:00 am we realize we need to go westward, and so, at 13:00 hours we take a lorry that runs on rail tracks which was supposed to leave at 11:20 and then at 11:45 and reach Dondigal back at 13:30. Life they say, comes a full circle, and to Dondigal’s credit, it is the most dilapidated station on planet earth - or at least on that much of planet earth that I can vouch for…!!!

Destination next: 25 kms (give or take a couple) to Edakumeri. More scccaaarrryyyy bridges, looonnnngggg tunnels, beautiful wilderness, lizards, butterflies, flowers a fall on the tracks a cramped calf muscle, a hurt elbow, a bridge or two crossed after sunset and a few more tunnels and some bats and a moonlight walk - and by 19:30 we were at another excessively dilapidated station Edakumeri! Which incidentally happened to be our halt for the night. It was a no human other than us in one dark scary room along with a one off mouse night and next morning off we were again!

Sunday morning 7:00 am of we go - destination Gundiya. A flop cooking fire, some snakes and assorted creatures along with bridges and tunnels and a five hour walk later we were at Arya Betta! Now we had two options. One was carry on another 10 km to Gundiya and then get to the highway and back home, OR and a rather more interesting option was to get into those tippers that carry huge stones and small stones and sand to and fro mountains and get down 10 km - and we took the more exciting option; the second one, that is! Band bang banging our heads and hands and legs and whatever else you can conceive and think of against every other part of the tipper with a driver who was a first timer and every turn seemed like the last one of our lives we were, miraculously at Gundiya! A 5 minute walk, scrumptious set dosa’s and another 100 meters, we were on Bangalore - Mangalore highway.

That was almost the end of the adventure if you discount the two hours we sat on the steps of the KSRTC "dabba" bus which was quite an anticlimax from the luxury bus we were in on Friday, but it was an equal anticlimax from the tipper we were in some 40 odd minutes ago! And boy, those steps were comfortable, to corroborate their comfort is the fact that I slept like a baby on them for some 15-20 minutes! And 10 odd minutes of the journey was spent standing in a moving bus near an open door! That was where the adventure started exponentially decreasing because you soon get a place to sit in the bus and then fall asleep for another two hours…. Nah… that’s boring, innit?? Lol!!!

I left Bangalore with me, my bag, my partners in crime and a hell lot of excitement! I was back, with me, my bag minus the biscuits and chocolates, my partners in crime, a hell lot of excitement, bruises and muscle aches and an expanse of memories too vast to capture in 20 odd photographs!

Back to Bangalore with a Bang people, and to office with loads of work!

That’s life eh?

Destination next: Kumara Parbat, in another 15-21 days, work permitting!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

MIcro Story #4

Information Overload

Inspired by an information collector in my office.
Clocky loved collecting information about everyone. We call him Clocky for want of a better name. Personal information to be more specific. You know everything, down to the dirty details!

One day, Clocky was sitting. Just sitting. Talking. Smiling. Grinning; and so on. And suddenly. Just very very suddenly his head started hurting and bloating up and and and BANG! There - it just burst open. With all the information rolling away from Clocky. Roll roll roll rolling!!! Poor Clocky - with all the effort he had put in gathering that information; and it was rolling away from him. Clocky wanted to run, but soon realised he couldn't. He was no more human. He was reduced to an open and empty grocery bag with nothing inside it... ... ... ... ...!!!!