Organizers: Ansar, Biju, Manoj, Rajinikandh & John Anand
Written By: Muneer
I walked into Ansar’s office and the first scene I saw was Ansar and Biju talking nonchalantly, making others around them ROFL and Mohan sleeping like a child in another corner, unmindful of anything in the world. Little did I know that I’d have a deja vu of this scene many times in the next three days. Also, little did I know that I’ll take back home bagful of memories and heartful of friendships.
We started a little late and reached our destination very late because Ansar’s car broke down in the middle of nowhere. This gave an opportunity to lie down on tarpaulin by the roadside and watch the stars at 4am on a full moon day. Bliss, I say. When no help came by, it was Scorpio towing Scorpio. And since Ansar – The Speed King was involved; even the towing had to happen at 60kmph.
We stopped at Ambur for lunch. The food was top notch. And it would stay that way throughout the trip. Ansar’s car broke down again and had to be taken to the car hospital for the second time in 12 hours. Most organizers would have called off the trip then, but not our man, Ansar. It had to continue because the-giving-up-gene is not built into CTC’s DNA.
We started off again and reached our destination by 3am. The whiff of fresh air, the sight of the first deer, the drive through the 41 hairpin bends – which from the top looked like a giant curled up python taking a siesta after a heavy meal, and the sounds of chirping crickets made all the tiredness of having slept for only a couple of hours fly away.
Day two started with a drive through what looked like a Sequoia forest. The setting was just right for a well orchestrated symphony. Vocals were by the birds and insects. BGM was by the waterfalls. Human laughter added to the effect. Music from the car speakers sounded like cacophony. We took it all in standing on the rails of our speeding Scorpios.
The Indian Niagra was up next. Truth be told, I was a little disappointed with the falls as the volume of water in the falls was lot less than what I had expected. But that din’t stop us from splashing around for an hour at the source of the falls. Note to self: Visit Athirampally after the rains.
But to compensate for the disappointment, we had a camp fire. And boy did we have a blast. The after-party TV shoot in which John, Biju, Ansar, Rajini, Uday and others spoke to VJ Shareef about the spirit of CTC, the comradeship of sticking together during times of dire straits, and the passion involved in this brotherhood gave us goose bumps. Am sure Leo must have been very happy with this shot. After the parting we rested. No, not in a regular hotel but in a renovated clay-roofed old house. The house reminded me of my now demolished ancestral house in Kerala.
Then came the usually most hated part of the week, Monday morning. But since this wasn’t any monday morning, we spent it at nature’s spa. The creek was about 100m from where we stayed. The strong current made sure that our tired muscles were massaged well.
The trip was almost coming to an end. We were in the slog overs. And like every good team, we made maximum use of the slog overs. Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to Offroading. For people who suffer from lack-of-rush-of-blood-to-the-head, this is a recommended treatment.
In a sense the offroading experience is a metaphor for life. Only the ones who strive and persevere to climb the seemingly impossible steep terrain that disguises stepping stones as obstacles, reach the top to enjoy the view.
The view from the top of Nelliampathy Hills could rival the Eiffel. The strong breeze was cool. The yellow sun turned red with envy, not realizing that she was only adding beauty to an already picture perfect setting. Like in the final scenes of Stanley Kubrick movies, our trips final scene too dint need much dialogue. The visuals did the talking.
The journey back was what made friends out of the acquaintances. Everyone in our car who stayed awake shared their ‘Autograph’ stories. Stories one would share only with the closest of friends. Unable to hold our eyelids open after 4am, we fell asleep. John-The Warrior kept driving (without a Redbull :).
We woke up in Chennai on Tuesday morning. It was Back to office, Back to pollution, Back to the concrete jungle, Back to the mundane world.
I enrolled myself for this trip not knowing any of the participants of this trip. But I’m glad I did, not just for of the awesome experience but also for the kind of people I met during this trip.
I’d like to thank the organizers, for having spent the time and effort to plan and execute the trip. Special thanks to Leo, VJ Shareef and their crew for making a show out of our trip. We’re going to be on TV. Yayyyy 🙂