Wife has blog too : http://chitra11.blogspot.in/
Saturday, July 02, 2016
As we waited for the flight to land in Chennai, among about a 100 other people, an elderly lady handed us two sweetmeats, another touch of humanity, my mind leapt back, jumping right into the last one week - A hidden expanse of nature's pristine beauty, dotted with grazing herds and lazy clouds, I lay on the soft, moist grass, chewing a straw, no thoughts in the head.
For such precious moments, our planning began six months before, in the month of January, when we decided that we had finally marginally moved up our fitness and deserved to do a harder trek. An assumption, which would be overruled, along the course of our journey. Along with Sreejith and Milon, we setup and confirmed dates, made travel plans, got leaves approved and waited with anxiety for the days we were counting down for. We tried as much as we could to run, jog, walk, swim, cycle, so that we finish the trek well.
Finally, when we were a day away, a hurried trip to Decathlon, a night long packing session followed by 2 hours of sleep and off we were, back with the huge bags, hoping they were lighter this time. Landing in Delhi, we spent time with Mrinal at his place, lugging the bags, hoping against hope that they get lighter our our shoulders gets more powerful. Late night, we got into the Last train to Dehradun, which was full of trekkers. As I dozed off to glory, I was awoken from my beauty sleep by Chitra, informing me that we were still at the Delhi station. And there we were, as the boards said it, right on the same platform, 3 hours after departure time, due to faulty A/C. Our train finally reached around 9 AM, much to the frustration of co-passengers, more to the frustration of our waiting team at the station.
Dehradun was no different from Delhi. Heavily polluted, hot, noisy, different from the Dehradun we visited last winter. Meeting Sreejit and Milon after one whole year was good. We enquired if we could get Gajendra bhai-"Tum se na ho Payega". (Our last driver who had given us full confidence of our incapability to finish two treks back-back )But no, he was dropping people for another trek. Thus started our journey with our co-passengers being Parikshit and Manish. A nice small break for 1/2 kg of litchis for breakfast and a lunch on the way and finally we reached Dhaula. A wide ground of grass surrounded by hills with pines on all sides, just by a growling Rupin. A few introductions later, much needed sleep would take over after a yummy dinner. It was a group of 19 people, with me and Chitra skirting the edge of the age groups, along with Pushan,
A searing reminder of the news we had seen was the burning forest in the background, creatively moving around, forming beautiful patterns, but burning out the green, day and night.
Morning tea, ablutions, packing, and we were green to start. On a burning day, sweat dripping away like the multiple water falls at Rupin, we crawled through the “trails”, wide mud roads from Dhaula to Sewa. A 2-floor wooden homestay was the place to crash for the day. This was where we found the abundant growth of marijuana plants, right as it is called, weed. I met a smart kid called Prem Kumar, who would write down any new name he heard, citing poor memory. Then, he would keep calling the person, attempting to extract chocolates, biscuits or any new eatables. As the kids played cricket with Chitra, Parikshit and Manish, I walked around to take photos of any birds I could find. The result: Poision ivys leaving rashes all over my legs. I did get a consolation shot of a hopoe. An interesting creature all along this terrain was something between a garden lizard and a small iguana.
The second day’s walk was not very different. From Sewa to Jiskun, a village which had a post office. The route demanded a long walk as we moved into Himachal from UK. It started with sighting a majestic vulture. Brisk walks across thick jungles and then
Friday, November 20, 2015
All ready on Friday afternoon, working from home to avoid the rain, we left early and reached the station for our super ac express. Not kidding, that is the real name.
The non stop monsoon delayed our awesome train trip and we arrived around 4 am delayed by 2 hours. Reaching our hotel Aiswarya, a good budget hotel, we fulfilled the remaining sleep required and had breakfast at Kempu Veg. Keep in mind we have just walked from the station into our hotel. A nice long bath, check out and a cab trip to Oberon mall for the race kit through desperately full roads. A move lunch in the mail and back we were near the boat jetty, four rupees to the government and we boarded our first 'water bus' which was a novel experience in itself as we reached fort kochi.
Solar cafe, just outside the boat jetty, served for a neat meal. Arafat's rent a bike on princess street was the next location where we walked to, got a bike for ourselves for the day and off we went... Slowly crossing Wellington island and reached Riviera suites for the night.
A good night's sleep, and we were back to getting ready, this time for the marathon. Reflective stickers, caps, banana, all set. A short pleasant ride along Wellington island and we were there thanks to the rented bike.
And a good marathon it was... But that is another story altogether... This is just the pre and post...
Once the marathon was over, we went back, rested aa bit, checked out and off we went to fort kochi... Going round and round, we went to the synagogue, the dutch palace and finally settled for a late snack at Kashi art cafe. Submitting the vehicle, we were finally back on foot to the boat jetty, a little boat ride back to Ernakulam and another meal at Kempu...
One final thing, we met Shaheer, after a little less than six months after our trek. Glad he came.
Here are some pictures:
Photos from the boat trip from Ernakulam to fort kochi
Solar cafe, near boat jetty, fort kochi
Mandatory picture of Chinese fishing nets
The interesting Kashi art gallery
Motivational quote helped me finish