Two day trek to Nagala West with Chennai Trekking Club

Trekking is not at all in my wish list. As far mountains are concerned, I am a regular to Tirupathi Temple and whenever I go on pilgrimage there, I am particular to go up the hill only by foot path. The trail is a well laid foot path which has all the basic amenities such as Toilets, Medical Support, Eateries, Drinking Water. Coming down from Tirupathi depends on the group with whom I might have gone. May be by walking down the hill or else by the bus. That’s what I am close with the synonym of trekking.
Then, three years back I had gone to TADA falls with my friends of Chennai Photography Club. It was a one day trip with little trek on boulders.
I have been on the Online group of the Chennai Trekking Club for over two years and get to see emails calling for new treks. Post trek experience shared by the wannabe trekkers are the awesome reads that I ever get on the CTC forum. But chance of getting into a trek is impossible for me as I live far off from Chennai. Going for a 2 days trek will need me to take a 4 days leave. This beginners trek was scheduled on Aug 13 & 14 and it rightly preceded the Aug 15&16 Pondicherry holidays. I immediately signed up for the two day trek to “Nagala West”.
While reading the mail, we were informed that this trek is an Easy+ and was meant for freshers. But, I sure did not know for real, how big the + was, which trailed that word “Easy”.
I opted for the pickup point Tidel Park which had the scheduled time of 3.00 a.m. on Saturday the 13th August. Friday was Varalakshmi Nonbu at home. So I took leave on 12th as well as 13th.  Varalakshmi Nonbu is an important ritual at home and all the rituals were finished by 4.00 p.m.
By evening I went to shop for things that are needed for the trek. Bought the chappals (floaters) meant for walking at the wet camp sites. Then went to the sports shop and bought a shorts (half trouser). Earlier during the TADA trip, I had bought a cotton Shorts in a textile shop. So, there are two trousers with me. Then bought a couple of batteries for the LED torch light. Came back home and filled my back pack with the things. Had dinner and as planned, I left my town Cuddalore at 10.00 p.m. on Friday.
Reached Pondy and got an ECR bus to Chennai. I was optimistic of having packed all the needed things for the trek. Some thing struck my mind which made me to take out the checklist and have a read. The bus plying away from Pondy. Realized that I have missed taking the bowl and spoon needed for taking food while on the trek.  Sent a SMS to Venkatesh the fellow trekker who comes from AnnaNagar.
The bus reached Tidel Park by 2.00 a.m. There was a gang of nearly 10 people in the trekking attire with sleeping mats. Started a convo with them and asked if they are Chennai Trekkers and the reply was YES. They asked my name. I told that I am Srinivasan and have come for the trek. The person conversing with me was then in a little confusion. There was no such participant name in his attendance checklist. I told them, that I had come earlier for the 3.00 a.m. pick up for Nagala West trek. Then they replied that it was an exploration trek and were heading to the Eastern Ghats. Had the opp to meet Peter the founder of Chennai Trekking Club and tell a ‘Hai’. The group then went off in their vehicles.
The Tidel Park was buzzing in activity with lot of people hopping on and off from their office. There was a person selling tea on the bicycle, had a cup of tea and continued waiting for catching up with my group of Trekkers meant for the “Nagala West”. 
It was 3.00 a.m.  called up Venkatesh and Jayanathan and let them know that I have reached Tidel. Venkatesh obliged that he got my SMS and has taken the bowl meant for me in his back pack. It eased me a lot.
At 3.10 a.m. my group of trekkers arrived in a Van and they picked me up for the next point Madhya Kailash. We signed the Disclaimer form and gave it back to the organizers. Tried completing reading of the disclaimer, but it was too long and I could not finish it. We continued the journey, now Sriram’s Swift car gets added up to the convoy followed by Gokul’s Santro car joining at Le Meridian hotel.

After some 45 minutes the final pickup point Koyambedu Nathan’s Café was reached and the entire bunch of trekkers assembled. Now there was more number of vehicles than was actually needed. Then two of the car owners opted to leave their vehicles. After a few minutes everything was ready and the trip started.

An hour and half into the journey, we reached Uthukottai and had the breakfast. 4 Idlis, a Vada and Pongal filled the hungry stomach. After having the hot food, felt brisk and we left for the mission Nagala.
After some one hour, we were there at the hills. It was learnt that earlier week, one of the trekker in Ritz car had been victimized. His car window was broken and valuables looted. As a follow-up, Gokul went to the person who is issuing parking fee ticket and asked for what all was happening and Why? We in the van went to the parking space and waiting. I changed my pant and shirt to a Tee shirt and shorts. Left those clothes packed in a plastic cover and left it at a corner in the van itself.

Gokul and group in the car reached us after making sure that the local guy does have the real feel of the losses by the people visiting the place. Sriram and Ajay parked the Swift car. Ajay got his sleeping mat for me which was very much useful throughout the trek.

Now the cars were parked and all the people hopped into the van. The van got jam packed with people standing and hanging on the foot board. The remaining about 1 km of journey was a pebbled road and after some 15 minutes we reached the final point.

The organizers distributed the food supplies for the trekkers. One packet of Chappathi, Sweet Boli, two bananas, three guvas a few bars Chocolate were given to us. Trekking with a back pack with things needed for two days was a new experience for me. Felt some what a heavy pack on my back. Now, another problem for me is having the camera. I was wearing the tee and shorts which never had a pocket. So, I kept the camera in my back pack. Walked a few meters ahead, then felt that I should snap the scenic greenery in front of me with the trekkers moving fast inside the forest. Then, offloaded the pack, opened it then took the camera out and clicked. This was a cumbersome process which built up a little pressure in me because I was the last man moving in the group and I am totally illiterate about the trail.
The pebbles ahead in the trail are of size half of a soccer ball and its anew for me walking on them. So, I have the probability of fear of falling. So, kept the camera inside the pack and moved on. Any how I walked fast and caught up with the people trailing in the group going before me. Now I joined Sindhu and Karthik. So, had a feeling of ease after having pep talk with them. There were plants on the path and we need to trail ahead in a zig zag.
After moving a little inside the bushes, there were thorny plants which rubbed on. After some half hour into the trek, we some 5 people have grouped and there was nobody to be felt like going before us. One of the guy in our group, gave a shout and there was feedback from another guy who shouted back. So, this gave us little moral boost that we are on following them correctly.
We then moved on. There were too much of bushes ahead and we walked to our left following a narrow trail. To our happiness, there was now a jeep trail going on and we started walking in it. Now, we realized that the group which was moving before us were off from the correct trail and into the bushy area. Now a guy gives them a shout and they come in our direction and joined us to walk ahead on this jeep trail.

After some time walking, I pulled out my camera from the back pack and clicked interesting photographs of the people walking. Why I am happy is that there is sufficient sunlight from the West falling on my subjects which gave me good results in capturing the mood of the people trekking their way Westwards into the forests.

Then encountered  the first water crossing our trail. Offloaded the bag and sipped the tasty water. It was soothing and relaxing.

Now we had the reassurance that the group is now bigger and we are in the right path. Now there is water stream flowing beside the trail and the sound of the flowing water pushed down the boredom in me. 

The sound of the gushing water was a music to hear and boosted my morale up as we kept on trekking those moderate heights.

Now we reached the first pool. Everybody threw off their back packs, removed their tees and jumped off into the water pool. I first kept my back pack safely in one place and removed my shoes. Walking on the rocky terrain bare foot gave me little punches from the sharp stones. My knees were aching. Then my foot got into the chill water and it was somewhat hard to move ahead.

Anyhow removed my tee shirt, took the sleeping mat and went into the water pool. I was confident  that I could use the sleeping mat in place of a swim tube. So I had earlier decided not to buy a swim tube. At my fist step the into the water pool, it was too cool and was hard to go next step. After dilly dallying myself, I went waist deep into the water. Then, used the sleeping mat and tried floating on it. But I am anew for such an experiment. At first I managed to lie on the rolled mat and had succeeded floating on it. But, few seconds later, I could not balance. Resultant is that I went into the water and the mat is now above me. Now caught hold of the mat and managed to float with my face up in the water. Though there was little fear inside me. I managed to stay floating for some more time and had to fight myself a little to lower my legs into water and then managed to come to the knee deep water. After some time, Karthik lent me his helping hand. He taught me on how to balance the roll of the sleeping mat. Now I recognized that I have toppled since I had not balanced it.
Now with the learning from Karthik, I managed to balance the mat and stay afloat. But it was hard and after some trial and error I came out of the pool. The fishes are now swarming around my legs. The feel of the fish bite was anew and at first it was similar to a small voltage passing into me from a live wire. So I shoved away the fishes.
After some half hour, the organizers gave the call to windup. All the people were off the pool and some of them munching chocolates and guvas. Then, I wore my shoes and took my back pack  and started the trek ahead with group trail. 

There was one high rock which needed climbing and it was too difficult for me. Climbing such an height without any accessories was never a cuppa so far in my life. I was there in queue and the guy before me had made it. Now its my turn. People were there up and lent me their hand to lift me. Once up that rock it was a conquer for me. It was a morale boost that engulfed the fear that I had initially in the trek. Support from the fellow trekkers is free flowing; whenever its needed;  people are supporting. What a team work!! WOW

Within the next half hour, we reached the second pool. The experience in the first pool was a reassurance for me to take a plunge in a faster way. I removed my shoes and tees. Took the sleeping mat and went ahead. I stay assured that trying to swim with the mat is a futile exercise. So made myself clear that swimming is not my cuppa. I went walking till its waist deep. Immersed myself a little and then came out to the bank and sat on a rock immersing my leg knee deep. The fish started their biting of my toes. The experience was awesome. As two more guys sat beside me, the number of fishes giving me the bites decreased. With many of the trekkers disturbing the calm water around me, many of the little fishes went away from me. Now, I decided to go for a change. There was one swim tube floating around and I grasped it. Worn it and tried floating in the water pool. Woaha! It was a nice experience. First time I am floating on the water which is too deep. Tried splashing my hands. Wow, I am moving forward. Then splashed my hands in a rotating manner. Now I am turning around. Wow, what an experience. Then I managed to move myself swimming to the other side of the pool. It was fascinating. After some time we were given instructions from the organizer that we need to windup. All of us came out and packed off for the journey ahead.

There was long walking ahead. Finally we reached the third pool. The hills surrounding this area were too high. The water pool had a depth of 25 feet. 

The rocks on one side of the pool which is above some 50 feet provided a diving pad for the wannabe swimmers. People were jumping in and the thud of the water was so loud. I got to keep my back pack in a corner and took out my camera. Sat on the rocks which gave the excellent view to catch the people making their dive into the pool. Two more people joined me and we did the interesting photo shoot ever. The interesting thing here is that, the person diving into the pool should be first standing on the rock. Then we the three photographers need to get ready for shooting him. Then I got to give the signal for the dive to start. 

We freezed the moments of the people in the air. Wow.

After some half hour, some of the people were out of the water pool. There was a swim tube lying on the rock. Then I packed my camera into the bag and wore the swim tube and went into the water pool. Karthik helped me go nearer to the water fall. The water nearer the falls is flowing against me and it was hard for me to swim further to the falls. Karthik pulled me into the water fall. The fresh water falling on me gave a massaging effect. Thank you Karthik. After this, I tried swimming around the pool. It was very easy to swim along the water current. But, once if I tried against the water current, it was too hard. Anyway it was enjoyment. But I had to bargain myself over to enjoying the fish bite rather than swimming. I went to the rocks; sat  and enjoyed the fish bites. Then, came out of the water pool and changed my clothes and dried the wet shorts. Now changed to another which was a older one bought couple of years ago and this was a blunder I have done on adding it on my itinerary. I should have bought a new one instead of taking this one for the trek. Let me tell you further what had happened.
People were found sleeping in the shadows. Bit hungry myself, I took the sweet poli for the lunch. Stomach got filled and I went to the shadows to have a short nap.
So far trekking up the hill was little hard for me and this rest was a much awaited one. I was of the mindset that, we rest here till the night and have dinner and go for sleep here itself. This was my thought because, I could not find any trail going higher from this point. After some one hour, realized that only some ten people are there around and remaining folks have gone. Afterwards, I got to know that there is a trail high above the rocks and I need to climb the rock. The trail  was so steep and narrow. I gave my back pack to Kahan and managed to climb up successfully.

Trekking further up was damn hard for me. The mount is too inclined and keeping the next foot forward on the little boulders gave me fear of possibility of a fall. The rocks on the right side are slanting and 30 feet down it is the stream flowing down to the third pool. The fear forced me to concentrate more on my next foot. Finally the slanting trail had come to an end and it was boulder walk ahead. Sometimes the trail is too steep.
Meanwhile, only three people were moving with me. The people who had gone ahead of us were nowhere to be seen. The walking ahead was hard with steep climbs in between. The  rolling stones, slipping black sands and dead woods on the trail were giving us enough challenges.
Finally the people who were ahead of us; who were so far not seen; we were able to hear them converse up above the hills. Then we reached this place. I was glad that we got to catch the group ahead. But, the fact on knowing “Why they were awaiting there?” drew me down of my spirits. The trail which they thought of reaching ahead is not existent. They have encountered a dead end. So far, all the people were too tired and envisioning that this spot should be the point where we would be summiting the mount and then going down on the other side. But, hitting a dead end made us too tired. Realized from Bala that,  earlier in our walk, we all have climbed bit higher than the needed. After a short while, it was decided that we need now to go down. 

Then came the Mini Kutralam aka the 4th water pool. Now I direly wanted to have a refresh. So, went ahead and got drenched in this water falls. Some time ahead, there was a call to windup and start the walk further. Most of the people in the group had already left the place and were higher up in the slopes. I started the walk ahead with my shorts being wet. 

The shorts being a older one, and that too wet and the trail being so steep without any resting place ahead it was too much difficult to move ahead. The trail on this mountain slopes were encountered with rolling rocks, thorny plants, slipping slopes. I really am disgusted at this point on why the organizers mentioned difficulty level of this trek as Easy+? 

At least I should have changed from my wet shorts to the dry one. At the most I should have worn the new shorts while on the upward trek. These are lessons for me. As I was toddled my way up the difficult trail in the tow day trek, my old shorts started giving trouble. Bit by bit, it was getting torn. There was no way in the midst of the slopes to take out the back pack and changeover to the new shorts. 

Trekking further up was bit difficult; the trail was too steep with rolling stones found here and there giving disturbing moments for me. Sindhu was preceding me, Venkatesh who was preceding Sindhu was fast and he has gone up fast. We were the last people and Hari was the sweeper for our group. A sweeper in a trekking group is a person who trails behind the group and ensures that everyone has moved safely. Here and there Hari gave hints on using the roots to climb instead of the rocks. These tips helped me a bit. 

Somewhere up above I could see the people ahead moving on. After hard efforts we moved to the top. Then the peak of the mount was about to be reached. So far we were told by Hari that once we reach the peak that was the end and we could meet the people waiting there. I was of dream that it was the camping site and that my aching muscles would be getting enough rest for the remaining part of the day. But once we reached the peak, there were hills far away and we could see the valley before us. The mountain is then sloping downward. But, what Hari said that people would be there. Such a fact seemed to be a fallacy and many of the people have moved far away downwards. Anyway this is the tactic of the sweeper to motivate the people to move faster.

Now Hari tells us that the people are staying some 1 km ahead and we could reach there. Then, the trail was so slanting downwards and the difficulty has eased. We were now getting enough wind. Myself and Sindhu are the only persons trailing behind. Hari was encouraging us to move forward.

After enough of aching and walking, we reached a stream. Venkatesh was there taking rest. We joined him. Got his water bottle, fetched the tasty stream water and quenched my thirst. I am bit relieved. Now I changed my shorts and from now on, trekking was comfortable. All these time, post the 4th pool, the steep trail, thorns, rolling stones coupled with the uncomfortable torn shorts gave me toughest ever memories in my life. From now on, that was a story.

We now took a bit of rest and energy level has come up with the fact that the trail is flat though with boulders. There were loose rocks and dusk was fast approaching. Hari and another organizer were keeping watch of we the new trekkers. They ensured that we had torch lights for further walking ahead.

And finally we got to see Divya, Chandru, Sanjeev and others strolling on the stream. We went past them and further through the stream we got to witness the whole group camping at the end point of the trek. 

There was a small stream of water with a small pool preceding it. The place was surrounded with 150 foot tall mount on one side with greenery spread all over it. This was the place where we stayed for the night. This has been my first ever experience to stay for a night inside the forest.

Opened my back pack, took out my mobile phone to realize of the couple of missed calls from Dad and Brother. Luckily the camping site gets AirTel coverage, added to this is that roaming charges make my service provider richer. I called Dad and conveyed about the trip. He was bit worried of my first ever jungle trip. He asked if there were people living there inside the jungles. I clarified him the negative and that I am in the midst of the mountain and there were experienced group of trekkers leading us. He clarified if I have safely reached the base and signed off from me with half a relaxed mind. I assured him back of the fact that The Chennai Trekkers visit this place every week and its not anew. Bit assured, dad bid me good night. 

Then, took out the wet clothes from my bag and dried on the branches. Camp fire followed but since there were insufficient space, cooking process was started with the available firewood. Jayanth and the group came up frying out pop corns. It was tasty. 

Then soup was prepared. For this the stream water was used and the soup was tasty. Cooking of Maggie noodles followed. The dinner was tasty.

After dinner, I could not see many of the people. Realized that most of them have settled at different camp sites for a good sleep. The trek I had just completed has resulted in my calf muscles sending out telegrams to the brain to take rest. The rocks at the place were too uneven and it was hard for the aching legs to walk as desired.

Myself with two other trekkers found out a place little bit further to sleep. This place was flat and a tarpaulin was spread and we kept our bags aside. Two of us had sleeping mat and we laid it down. The sleeping mat was very much comfortable. The time was 8.30 pm. Another group of people were resting nearby. After some time there was a convo from the other group that there would be rain in the night. Though I heard this, I did take little care to take note of the forecast. The aching muscles pulled me to sleep and within minutes we were in deep slumber.

But the forecast of a rain from the person in the next group did gave me a ring inside my heart. In the mid of the night, there were rumblings heard in the group next to us. One person was asking others to get up and another guy seeking for the  tarpaulin to make the tent. The time was about 12.10 a.m. But the fact is that though the wind was chill; there was not yet a single drop of drizzle to have fallen on us. I disregarded the happenings in the camp next to us and continued to sleep.

But, my optimism was given a toss. Exactly 20 minutes had passed and there was rain with thunder. The person who had predicted it got a high place in my heart. By this time the tent was ready. They gave a call to everybody to come inside the tent. Rain had started and the drizzle had gained momentum. It was raining man!! Wow. Whata Experience!!
There was a tarpaulin on the ground; we were instructed to keep the backpacks to one side. Then the sleeping mats were put up and all people managed to sit inside the tent. Venkatesh was sitting next to me. After some time he managed to lie flat on the mat. The rain was gaining momentum and there were little thunders. One by one everyone lied flat and it was a tightly packed space. Sindhu could not find space in the tent, she sat and continued her sleep leaning on the back packs. Though most of us were in deep slumber, couple of guys were awake and alert for any flooding of the stream.  It was dark; they kept a watch on sound of the water gushing in the stream. Luckily the flow of water never bulged, it was a great relief. Rain subsided by now the wind was too cool and we were not able to bear it. People searched for their backpack in the dark with their torch lights and took out their bed sheets and continued their sleep. There were too many back packs and mine was trapped below everybody’s. Sindhu realized me searching my back pack and after sometime she managed to fish out mine. I succeeded in getting my bed sheet and had a good sleep from then on. By about 3.30 a.m. rain God bid adieu to us and I was out of fear of any probable flooding of the stream.

Morning was so awesome inside the forest. I wanted not to get off from my sleep. After so long time I came out and had chat with the people. Walking a few steps out was so much hard as my legs are having muscle pull. Anyway managed with giving a warm up and then started walking bit by bit. Then, went to a far away place to finish off the morning routine.

Coming back to the camping site, tea was being made ready. Picked out my chapatti packet and ate one with pickle as the side dish. It was so good. 

Few minutes afterwards, got a call from Jayanth and Bala that tea was  ready. Finished the tasty tea. We were informed that lunch will be at the 3rd pool.

So, next will be the walking down the hills. This time I was particular not to trail behind the whole group. So, quickly packed up my things and got ready to join with the first set of people to leave the place. It was Chandru, Sanjeev, Divya, Venkatesh and few others who started the first of the sojourn. Since I am in the front, it gave me a moral comfort that even if I find difficulty in walking, I can take rest, join the people trailing behind. The sweeper will not push me to move forward similar to what happened for me the previous day. Moreover it was bit easier to go down. Enjoyed walking with the people.

Reached the 4th pool i.e. the Mini Kutralam did some photography and had ample time to take rest and wait for the people behind to join in.

No more steep mountains!! Now my mind is free and the fear has gone off. This is also a problem. After the 4th pool, I was moving on the boulders with laxity in myself; slipped on the boulder and had a little fall. Got mild bruises on my hands and legs. Afterwards this incident made me attentive in the further course of the trek.

The previous day, we were walking on the trail which was too slanting and very high above this stream. This day, I was particular to avoid that trail. We got to walk very much with the stream on the boulder rocks and this was easier. End of the trail, was giving me adrenalin gush. 

Pic Credit: Venkatesh

Here we needed to creep on to the rocks and move on.  I left my back pack on the rocks and continued my walk on the rocks. The trail is on the curves of the rock. The width was just 1 feet and its narrower at most of the spots. On its side is the water pool at a depth of 50 feet.

Anyway reached to the flat surface safely. I sought help from Sanjeev with telling him that I have left my back pack high up. Once he got to know of that, he immediately left out, climbed the rocks and fetched my back pack to me. Thanks Sanjeev

Continued with clicking the people jumping into the pool.

Sometimes there were three guys clicking photographs and it was fun being the director of photography and coordinating the people who are diving into the pool to synchronize with the shutterbugs. Often I was asking the cameramen, “Hey Are you ready?”. Then asking the divers “Are you ready?”. Then shouting One, Two, Three. Thud comes the sound with people jumping into the pool. The result from the cameramen are now making rounds in email with cherishing the memories of the trek.

After the group photo shoot Sanjeev, Chandru, Divya and Venkatesh left for the day.

After some time, I got offered of the swim tube from Sriram. Blew the tube, worn it and went into the pool. Karthik was there to assist me to go near the water falls. The support that I needed from time to time did not get dearth of it from people in the group. I enjoyed the trek just due to the cohesive support from the people around; lending their helping hand whenever I am in need. This made me overcome my tiredness and got me strength to make the move ahead.

The 3rd pool then witnessed the cooking of the Maggie noodles for the lunch.

There was a dog which was roaming around. Its usual that dogs join with the people during treks and usually people seek the guidance of the dog to know the correct trail to move further. You will surely reach your base if you follow this canine. Trust worthy formula.

The announcement of lunch was given out, I promptly left the pool and fell in the beeline for the food. The very reason was that, I should keep my pace ahead while the whole group starts the trek downwards. Finished eating, then it was time for us to leave. Anyway, the fact that we needed to leave the place after the last foodie time, game me some sad moments. But the trek downwards kept me busy. 

Second pool passed. Some of the people fetched water in their bottles, meanwhile I got to quench my thirst. I was dearth of energy and water was a refresher for my energy. I was particular to make my back pack lighter and was not carrying water bottle. Often I sought help from others to quench my thirst. Thanks Sriram for helping out in need. You carried that extra kg which we and mostly me who had quenched thirst.

The dog which was loitering at the 3rd pool had been keeping pace with us. Then came the First pool. We were about 10 people keeping ahead in the group and we had the benefit of taking rest till the people behind reach us. Few people ventured into the pool. I sat on the bank and tried to get the fish bite experience. Only two fishes were there to give me the fish cure. Then it was time to wind up as the people have reached us.
We were about to leave and one guy, a non swimmer caught in the mid of the water pool. Others alerted of the danger and the SOS call was immediately attended. Karthik swiftly went into the pool and sorted out the bad situation. The guy was safely moved out and we continued our walk.

We reached the final water crossing and had a taste of the crystal clear water. Anyway this is the last sighting of the water for us. We left after this five minute break. Continued walking on the flat trail which was free of boulders. It was easy going from now on.

At a point, we got good view of the Nagala hills. So everyone stopped there. After the whole group converged, we did a group photo shoot. Then continued reaching the van. 

Dusk was fast approaching. Then, I planned to do silhouette photography. 

The sun had settled down. If this silhouetting was done a half hour before, the sun may have been brighter and silhouetting may had been a more perfect one.  

We reached the van, the canine was ahead of us and it was seen waiting near the van. Expense calculation were done and we paid the extra amount of Rs.250. The total expense of the trek came to Rs.750/-

After getting changed in our attire from the trekking to the casuals, all the people hopped on to the van. It was a crowded vehicle moving on the road filled with pebbles. The driver was kind enough to accommodate. Usually van drivers turn down any crowd situation and shove away driving on improper roads. This driver was a friendly man coping with the timely need of the group. 

The car parking area was about 1 km away and we reached the spot. 

There was one car and one Royal Enfield bullet. Since Sriram’s car had vacant seats, I opted to go in the car. Once we people left the van, the localite who was waiting near there got paid of Rs.250. This is a goodwill amount paid to him in the hope that he takes care of the vehicles and prevent any theft. The van left the spot. We left the back packs in the car and got seated and was about to leave.

Alex was not able to start the bullet, just then knocked the window of the car. We stopped and knew from him that the fuel in the Royal Enfield was stolen. The localite was then asked why we need to pay him the money if they can allow the fuel to be stolen. Gokul rightly got back the amount after argument. The localite helped the people in guiding to a nearby shop to buy petrol. After some 15 minutes, Sriram’s car came back with petrol in a bottle. The bullet then came to life and roared with the thumps. As Alex rode ahead, we followed him on Sriram’s swift car. The local guy who was standing at the road junction was briefed about the bad situation we were put in. He escaped with putting an argument in his favour. There was no benefit of having a toothless argument with him, we pushed off from the village.

The road is free of any traffic and very few vehicles were making their presence. Gokul was driving the vehicle and cursing the oncoming few vehicles since they were coming with their head lights in high beam. Then only we came to know from Sriram that its offence in USA if you drive your vehicle with headlights in the high beam with an oncoming vehicle within 200 feet. Why not such good rules are promulgated in our country? More than 90% of vehicle users do not know the road rules in India. Even if you do not know any of the road rules, you can buy a Driving Licence in India with ease. The end result is the loss of precious lives due to careless driving of the people here in our country. Had there been stringent rules in our country, had the RTO take the task of penalising the offenders, had the system of Issuing licences without proper driving tests are curbed, we might have a comfortable driving experience. As long as corruption finds good time in our Regional Transport Offices, we need to encounter such bad road experiences. 

Further driving on the highways, we got to see Alex cruising on the bullet. Realized that he was still on the look out for a petrol bunk to top the bullet’s fuel resource. After some distance, he ran out of fuel and stopped the vehicle. This was Andhra Pradesh. Now came in search of petrol bunk in the Tamil Nadu area, found one nearby, filled the bottle with petrol. Went back to Andhra Pradesh, topped up the fuel for Alex to continue his journey further.

All of us then reached a town and found out a hotel, had enough filling for our stomach. From there Gokul preferred the Ponamalee high road, and we reached the outskirts of Chennai at around 10.00 p.m. Gokul got dropped at his residence and Sriram continued driving. We reached West Mambalam and Ajay got down. Once nearer to the Mambalam railway station I bid adieu to Sriram. I later reached  Palavanthal railway station by EMU train then caught an Auto rickshaw and went to my brother’s residence at Nanganallur in Chennai. The time was around 12.00 a.m. The feeling of having completed the trek successfully was so awesome. 

To have a look at the complete set of my photos, click here and here

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