Post Trip Writeup – Tree Walk at Yerrangadu Arboretum

Stepping OutWrite-Up by Jolly James
5:30 am IST. All assembled at Guindy. I was rushing from home thinking that I am the only one late. Reached the spot and the first person I met was Nambi, a guy whom I knew only by his name. This was my first trip with CTC and didn’t know anybody here. Was to spend the whole day with complete strangers. But my head was completely blank at that point f time. Went ahead and met Kumar sir. There I saw a girl coming. Looked a lot like school girl but later realized that she is a school teacher, Archita. Well a close guess. Then came a voice from behind introducing herself and meeting us. Gayathri, a very warm and friendly person who knew how to strike a conversation. These were the first set of people I met that morning. This eased me a little. The dawn broke and world started shining and my eyes went to the clock and it was going to be 6:00am. I was wondering why weren’t we starting now and suddenly we started. We were told that some 6 people are yet to come from Tambaram. And in no time we reached the first destination. There I met Nandhini, an amazing lady who defines what is being young at heart. Seeing such people makes you realize that age is just a number. After that I came to know that 3 people were late. This gave a window for a biscuit break (a break even before getting started) because the breakfast was going to get a bit delayed. But as always the journey is the fun part. I was enjoying the scenic road to Madhuranthagam. We had a little halt for tummy refill and again back on the road. When I turned around I saw half the crowd drowsy. Even though it was a bumpy ride people managed to dose off and their bags seemed to be good cushion to them. 
Finally we reached our destination at 10:00am and it was already hot outside. We all marched inside the farm which had trees of all sorts. Never thought that these many different varieties of trees existed right next to me. As kids we learn about flora and fauna in science and we learn how many different species are there. In those days I always felt that these all exists only in forests but I was proven wrong when I walked among the most exotic trees of the world. Let me name a few like the – Fox tail palm, The Golden Palm, The Seashore Paala, The Breadfruit Tree, The Galabash Tree, The Kadamba Tree, Ebony, Bitterash, Ashoka Tree, The Sand Paper Tree and so on. All had their own peculiarities and were amazing in their own way. Never knew Palm had so many varieties. In fact the farm had 21 varieties of Bamboos alone!!! To name a few – Golden Bamboo, Vietnamese Bamboo, Bengal Bamboo, Chinese Bamboo, Red Shoot Bamboo and the Tripura Bamboo etc.               
We are so busy earning a living that we forget what is living. When we go away from the commotion of the city we realize what we are from the inside. One never grows up in life, they just adapt to the situations. But once we are put into a place where life is all about having fun we actually start living and breathing for a change. Taking a step outside the easy life we live gets us to go around the world, meet new people and make new friends. Have you ever wondered how much fun the people in the channels like NGC and Discovery are having? Ever wondered how to get that kind of living? Well, I have wondered and the secret is simple – STEP OUT.
As the sun started going to the top few of us (including me) rushed to the pump shed to have a shower. After ages did I go to such a place and all the suppressed craziness jumped out. Suddenly all were not a stranger anymore. Felt as if I had known them for ages. I guess that’s what happens when liked minded people meet. Never thought wavelengths can match like this. After having fun in the water we turned around to see when were the others gona come and within the blink of the eye the power went off and others missed the fun.
This is one of the major problems faced by the farmers – power supply. They don’t have enough access to electricity. They get power supply only for 3 hours a day. They are unable to draw enough power to water the trees. This is an issue that needs to be resolved so that the lives of these trees are kept safe.
All were worn out after a hot day and were eagerly waiting for lunch. And at dot 1 lunch came just as planned. Went and sat under the shade of the paradise tree. It surely was paradise beneath it. It was huge enough to give shade to all 35 of us. Tummy savored the simple delicacies like sambhar rice, kaara kozhambu, rasam, moru and not to forget the applam which all were snatching from one another just like school kids. Well this made the Hindi phrase come true – Dil toh bachcha hai ji (Heart is still just a kid).
After resting for a while post lunch, we proceeded towards the next farm which was supposed to be a mangrove. But instead we ended up in a Coconut farm. Again our exploration began and we found a huge well. The perfect place for an ultimate dive. When I realized the height and depth of the well I decided to be a spectator. One of my biggest fears is snake and this makes it easier for me to spot one very soon. I spotted a beautiful golden colored little snake happily slithering in the well. This made me double sure not to get inside it. 
I started hearing loud noises. When I looked around I saw the guys getting ready for the dive. I was surprised and shocked at the same time. I had seen such things only in cinema. Before I can even process these thoughts guys started jumping. Then came the amazing lady, Chitra, the only lady who dived. This made me feel why not try the jump but then I said to myself, “please remember, you are just a beginner level swimmer. Don’t you dare put yourself and others into trouble.” So silently I rush down the steps and demanded for the tube. I somehow gathered enough guts to get inside the well even though I knew a snake is lurking around. Wasn’t even able to swing, Rajsekar had to push me to the other side. But even this little thing felt so damn amazing that I don’t have enough words to describe that feeling. When I came out of the well I was having new set of friends, new nick names, lots of giggling and fun. I don’t know about others but surely did find my wishing well.
Then we all gathered and introduced ourselves and talked about our experience. This session helped breaking the ice between all and we found a part of us in each other. A flame of greenathon was lit among all got and got all of us much closer than what we were in the morning. 

In the return journey I was back in my talkative mode and the people who were complete strangers to me became people whom I can call buddies.
So, at times you just need to step out of your home and see the world around. Its full of wonders and amazing people. One doesn’t need to be hero to go for adventures. All one needs is passion towards life and the world is with you. Hakuna Matata.

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