Into the ‘Wild’
Lakshmi Sundari Agoramoorthy
Who Am I? A lazy fatso techie who prefer movie marathon rather than real marathon. How did I register? For my best friend; she pushed me and I can’t see her Orangutan face that she keeps when she is upset. My previous trek experience? A big Zero. My fitness level? Well, I thought myself fit until I took fitness test.The test, though I was not up to the mark, but it was the real motivation, first time in my life I felt the feel when you accomplish something pushing yourself from the comfort zone. That’s the time I decided to go for the challenge and was praying desperately to get selected. And yes! Next day the inbox popped up with the short listed participants with me in it, that’s how I started my first trek with a bag of optimism, determination and other essentials.
The day finally came, me and my friend, Monica Gellers of real life, checked, shared and packed the essential items as on the prep mail, reached the pick-up point a little too early, that we made friends with the tea kada anna, the dog next to him and countless mosquitoes. After some time by 5 am the van came and the real journey began with 19 of us in the van and the lovely French couple following us in their car, by 6 am we left Chennai.. We had heavy breakfast on the way in Varadhapalayam and reached Tada 9.30 am.We had formal security check-up near the gate, then travelled 2/3 km in van to the start point.
The First Climb:
After walking few meters through the woods, at the start of the trek point, got the instructions from Nambi and Rajasekar, the organizers of the trek a.k.a my life savers. Clambered my first elevation, by beginning I was enthusiastically climbing up, with lot of statistic plans in my head to reach first. Every plans got dead, when wheezing hit me, I started to breathe heavily and my heart felt like triggered explosive, as pushed myself so hard to climb, my friend, the aged French couple were crossing me and climbed so high. Deep inside felt ashamed but also I wanted to make sure that I shouldn’t make Nambi/Rajasekar to bring me in, is wrong. So I tried my best, to move up with motivating voices inside my head. Finally with lot of struggle I climbed the 540m elevation and the price for it, was the beautiful small water pool in middle of the wild. After having good fun and relaxation, with full energy, was ready for the next step.
Moving forward, through the flow of the stream, was rejoicing, as you can spot small pools, where the water is so HD clear (as Akash always mention) that you can see the algae and kelp inside it.Then we settled for lunch again near a water pool, it was a scenic beauty; we had fun swimming and witnessed Bahubali acts of Rajasekar, as crane was not available to lift us out of the pool. With good chit chat and laughter, the journey continued. By this sequence of the trek, I got adapted to the condition and was making it quick without any trouble.
The Lost Series:
But oh yeah! Did I mention ‘without trouble’? Curse on it, as the real trouble welcomed us with its evil smile. Around 3.30 pm, we lost the trail; we lost the people before us. The group spitted into two, one with Rajasekar and the rest with Nambi. From then the trek got more interesting, the lost series began. Me, my friend and seven was with Nambi. Since it was a new trail, the things got harder, we were moving forward in the plateau chanting Rajasekar’s name, hoping to get a response, but all we got was echo, it was like nature replying ‘ Have fun!’.Nambi, Sudarshan and Sravan, the other 2 experienced trekkers, sometimes made us wait in a place and check for Rajsekar.At one point, Nambi alone left, in full-fledged search mode, leaving us with Sravan and Sudarshan. For the actual scene going on, we guys should be in tension mode right? But we weren’t. It was like a time knowing more about us, eating, playing, teasing and making fun. The panic started to fill us when we realized rain clouds nearing us. Luckily we had signal, several time we tried calling the other group, but they couldn’t be reached. As we were thinking what can be done, Netaji came up with an idea of making smoke. Even though it was a bad idea for a highland, but we don’t want to take chances, so with the dry grasses and leaves created smoke, well! It was a mosquito repellent at least. It was getting dark, we were out of water, and there was no sound of Nambi too, so Sravan with Savanna went to fetch water if any chance to find waterbody nearby. That was the time Rajasekar called Sravan, and then quickly we shared our location.Whoof! It was a relief, after a long wait Rajasekar came so is darkness and rain. We quickly filled our bottles with rain water and sealed our mobiles in rain proofs, took our torch and all ready for following Rajasekar, in that pitch dark and rainy land. Something is missing! What was it! No who was it? The character Nambi was missing, his mobile was switch off, since it was dark and raining we decided to move the camp place hoping that Nambi will reach us. Walking through the thorns and the shrubs, we reached the camp site by 8.00pm with our wet dress and hungry face. My dreams on having Maggi was ruined,’ Thank you again for it RAIN!’.Since tarpaulin got stuck with Nambi, we managed to build an affordable tent, quite enough to cover all of us. The rain got stopped by the time and we went to sleep after having some food. The night was so cold, somehow we managed to sleep with our wet clothes between the insects and weird snoring’s.
The Thirsty Day:
After amazing first day experience the next day began with the warmth of the sun. I had many first’s during this trek, one of them was eating without brushing teeth, due to the shortage of water. There were only few bottles left for the 5 hours of journey, so we had to be so stingy in preserving it.The next stop was the ruined fort and I was so disappointed on it, as it was nothing but was like a broken well. The disappointment didn’t continue until they took us to the view point, it was awestruck, felt like was on top of the world, the purpose of the trek got fulfilled. Back then, I felt some changes in me, I didn’t feel normal, though I was on the very top and wanted to enjoy but couldn’t, something hindered me.I thought I could manage , without any excuses I started for the next pit stop waterless. Most of us were dehydrated, as sun was giving it’s over affection to us, at some point most of us started to dream about water. Rajasekar lead the thirsty group, pulling each of us saying that it was only few meters away and took us to top of the steep elevation. By that time I totally lost my energy, due to dehydration and improper diet made me sick. Getting down the hill was easy but was little tricky, everyone with water in mind started to go down. We were going down and down, but there was no sign of water, it looked like forever to get water. As the time went, I felt sicker, I could feel my eyes were going up and I became so desperate of water. I started to slow down and then got separated from the group. Then with the help of Karthick, Iyyamperumal and Rajasekar I reached the water point, No, Heaven is more appropriate to be told. Everyone waited for me (I’m really sorry for that guys!) and we halted for lunch near the forest Temple. In the entire second day series, did we forget something? Like a person who went to help us? Yes, Nambi was back again and the crew was complete. Everything became normal and we started for the end of the journey. Due to my sickness, Rajasekar took my bag added to his bag and he was back me till we reached the plain land. (That was one of the most caring acts someone has ever done to me, Thanks a ton Rajasekar! It meant a lot to me.)Reaching the plain land, we had to travel 7km for the village, I felt alright but at the end, I struggled again and Sudarshan was there to help. Finally Nagala!
So that’s the end of my first trek, the entire two days was a roller coaster ride. One of my most unforgettable life event and was a learning experience; the word ‘Thanks’ won’t be enough to express my gratitude for the people who was next me. The quote ‘It’s never too late to start’ is now driving me, soon you all can catch me in next trek with high fitness level! Till then Ciao !!!