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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Kumara Parvatha Trek - Day 01

For a traveler, the destination is never important, but what matters is the journey. What best than a trek could completely define this? So when Subbu and I discussed a plan, Kumara Parvatha was on the top of the list, it was one among the toughest trek in the state, it was interesting because we would take a different route to descend, into a different district. Within few days all was planned and 6 more joined our enthusiasm. We rented sleeping bags and 2 tents from Wildcraft, Marathhali. With our backpacks consisting of 80 chapati’s, 50 Mangalore buns, fruits, biscuits and other personal needs we assembled at Bangalore railway station at 8:30 PM on Nov 13th. The train to Mangalore arrived at 8:55PM, on time. After a few leisure talks we went to sleep, all excited about the day to come.

Early morning, at 5:45 AM, we reached Subramanya. A jeep drive to the temple (12kms for Rs250), hunt for a descent room, negotiating one for Rs225, a quick freshening up, amazingly quick visit to temple which was least crowded at the early hour of dawn and a good breakfast got us ready to start our trek. The distance to the peak is 13kms, Mantappa- 8kms, Bhatra house – 6Kms. I called Bhatru (9448647947) and placed a lunch order for 8.


At 9 AM we started our ascent. Within few minutes we got our first warning, a man running all the way back and all he had to say is – “Leeches, beware of leeches, they are plenty.” Well, all I could think of was this was the best trek to overcome my leech phobia. :-) Back in 8th standard, when I trekked mountain Valikunja near Karkala, I had brought back home swollen leeches and bleeding foot, which left a mental block in me, against the species. But now with few encounters, I am perfectly out of the mental block; my funda- keep walking, don’t stop near damp areas and wear shorts to spot them clearly , in spite of that if you have a bite, come-on it’s just a little blood. :-)

In few more minutes, another group was returning with same warning. But it did not bother us since we had expected leeches anyways and had some snuff along with us to sedate them – Blood or snuff? Who gets to win? :-) On the way, we met several groups. A group of men aged around early 50’s with their big tummies where (physically) spread all over the rocks, drinking alcohol and were fascinated by their recent discovery that without any luggage they could climb easily. Another group had a very jovial person who greeted everyone with a smile and invited us for a chat. We named him CM for his idea to improve the trail with better roads if he would become a chief minister.


Bhatra House

We reached Bhatra house at around 1:00 PM. We had a good refreshing meal. Narayan Bhat, his elder brother and an old lady stay in this house. They have a nice farm, several cows and many relatives in and around Mangalore. :-) They charge Rs50 for a lunch and also arrange breakfast for the next day, if needed. Bhat travels up and down the hill to trade milk in only two hours. They sure are the best example for oasis in the dessert for we trekkers.



After relaxing for a while, we followed a forest guard through a short cut to the forest check post where we paid a trekking fee of Rs115 per head and left home address on several records. The next stretch till Mantapa was very refreshing. For some reason, I always find the below tree-line trek very tiring and suffocating. So once we had crossed the tree-line, for me it was a nice trek with light breeze and drizzle. We reached Mantapa at around 5:00 PM



View Of The Mantapa

Forest dept has done a neat job to maintain the trails, by creating campsites, arranging trash cans and also creating water storage from the streams. But when we reached the campsite, all of them were reserved by other trekkers. So all we were left with was the Mantapa, which is at a height and has room for only one tent. So we decided to pitch one tent and the rest of us decided to sleep in the mantapa. After a quick dinner at 6:00 PM, nothing else to do in the dark, we decided to call it a day. Along with three others, I decided to sleep at the Mantapa. We tied a big plastic sheet to one side of the Mantapa which was tied to a reasonable big piece of stone which held the plastic down to the ground; stored all the bags and covered it with the spare tent and slipped into our sleeping bags. At around 11, heavy wind and drizzle woke us up, bags dropped, tent collapsed, sleeping bags got wet, the stone tied to the plastic flew all the way near our head. The next few hours till dawn had several breaks to check if the heavy wind had blown away the waterproof cover of the tent. With all that excitement and still got some good sleep we woke up to a beautiful dawn.


Continued Here - Kumara Parvatha Trek - Day 02

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sponge!

Virginia Woolf said - “The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.” So true this is. Few months back when I went through a similar experience, I had to break free from it through expressing it out as an article. Here is a short read –


Sponge


“A sponge, when squeezed, lets out a gush of water”, a busy person would say with the least possible time and thought involved; a tired employee would see it like sweat pouring out of a tortured body, where as a day dreaming poet might see a river or a natural spring erupt from an invisible source. For someone who may be colour blind (or someone willing to ignore the colour); a depressed perhaps, it may appear like blood from a traumatized soul or for an environmentalist who would love to relate everything to nature and man, even by ignoring the physical states, would call it a pathetic and disgusting act of man to shamelessly extract out natures every available resource from the very core. So, there can be as many different perspectives as the population of humans on this earth, of course considering no two people look , think and feel alike except when they are standing before a mirror (If that is not true and two exactly similar people exist, according to me they should never meet in a lifetime). Some of these are good, several bad, few funny, little ugly or from something very less in sense to some pathetically nonsense; but again either of these, on the basis of your own perspective. What perhaps should be more important is that at times when we are squeezed out like a sponge, all we need to remember is to get back in shape and begin absorbing things that our soul is touched by because at sunset when you are left alone without your gown, all that matters is what “you think” is right. So never allow some external force to make you feel that you are wrong. Even if you budge for few minutes, don’t forget to recollect your confidence because only you who can decide what is wanted and not some opinion formed by a perspective, alien to you and the emotions that the soul has absorbed.

Ajeya.
26-Aug-09

Friday, November 06, 2009

Eventful Weekends!

From Kinnaur we headed to Mumbai to my sister’s house. With enough of travels up north all I wanted to do was relax in the Navi Mumbai apartment for few days. Visited a few relatives and watched “Wake Up Sid”. The movie I thought was good but too many such movies are being made and stories and direction seem repetitive. Both Konkana and Ranbeer are my favorite actors and they were excellent onscreen.



From Mumbai, we headed south to Mangalore. Visited an aunt in Old age home, attended a friend’s wedding and took a bicycle ride to the beach. Back in Bangalore, it was a cleaning day continued with routine.


Mother In Between A Conversation.

"Our House Or His?" :-)

Weekends since return have been extraordinarily busy. Travels to Mangalore twice for weddings of friends; Deepavali celebrations etc. We celebrated Deepavali at home this year, though I am not a big fan of crackers I enjoyed the flat kids burst crackers and realized how outdated I was with respect to the fireworks and did not know the names like – Comet, Animal, Butterflies. :-) I do not encourage polluting the atmosphere with bursting crackers but the happiness on the faces of children is priceless.

On one of the days during Deepavali, My friend Subbu and I went to a function organized by an NGO run by his friend and family, which on this auspicious day donated musical instruments to a group of very talented blind musicians. Many from the group displayed their talents during the event.

Life is going to be more eventful with more travels lined up...