On 7th March 2008 we bunked from our office at round 4pm as we were going on a trip to Mudumali Hills(it means “First Hill”) near ooty through Accentuate Travel Club.The members of travel Club truly believe in excursions and adventures.
Me along with 4 other females (2 from Manila) and 2 guys from our team enrolled ourselves for this excursion.
We were given some instructions to be followed during the trip and the Do’s and Dont’s . Guys were requested to make this trip as a DRY DAY on account of Women’s Day( it was actually done to avoid any mishaps).We were asked not to litter plastic bags in and around the forest area. After the speech we were anxiously waiting for the shuttle that would take us to to our destination.
We had imagined our mode of communication as a luxurious 2*2 push back seats,air conditioned ,video coach etc etc.
All our rosy dreams were shattered when we saw series of 12 seater Swaraj Mazda standing proudly in a line one after the other just like military commandos.
For a moment I had a feeling that we were going on some war instead of some fun excursion.
8 hours long journey in those small buses looked painful coz of space crunch. We started the journey with usual antankshri and later everyone dozed off.
At 4 in the morning the buses took a halt. We got down and took rounds of hot tea as it was very chilly outside. The chills went down our spines making us go motionless.
Around 6AM we again halted for another tea break. By that time dawn broke ,sky was all orange,man it was such a beauty,greenery all around us ,the smell of different flora getting into us,the cool breeze that blew our hairs ,it was just so refreshing. Our entire hangover of the journey got instantly relieved and we felt that we were refreshed up to our souls. From this point we had to march towards our base camp,with our bag packs over our shoulders climbing up the hill and then going down to the camp was little tiring but then it was also a great fun for all of us.
At last we reached the base camps. There were concrete rooms and few tents were also set up (those were donated by some rich NRI).I wanted to exp. staying in tents in extreme cold but those tents were meant only for the couples (damn why dint i have a boy friend).Hence all 5 girls got into one room. The room just had a bulb of hardly 40 watt and there were no points to charge our mobiles( obviously no one can expect 5 star luxury in the place inhibited by the bisons and wild elephants).
The forest staff was really friendly and they gave us a warm welcome. They served us the most delicious breakfast of idlis, boilled eggs and hot wadas and ofcourse very special masala chai.After forcing ourselves to eat more than we could we set on to our mission. We had to climb up to the Mudumalai Hill which lies to north western side of Nilgiri Hills. It was like a huge family out for trekking and it gave me a feeling of oneness. As we started the trek was pretty flat but soon it became more and more inclined. People helped each other by holding hands and sometimes pulling each other on some higher steeps.
Gradually the initially charged up batteries in us started to discharge. We all took a halt sipped water and started of again. It was good to see people encouraging each other to climb and not to loose hope. Slowly sun started shining brightly and half the public started backing out. But our trek lead by his encouraging words instilled new energy in us and we started again. We made our path through narrow lane and by removing bushes and shrubs that came in our way. One bush that came in my way was really adamant and it refused to listen to me,as the path was very steep i could not keep balance and i skid but someone not only helped in clearing the bush but also helped me climb that notorious steep. This is the beauty of such excursions you get to meet so many people from different places ,different background all with a common aim to conquer the mudumalai hill. In the middle of trekking we realized that some people were missing,we called out loudly ,shouting our lungs out but still there were no sign of them. Panicked striked us ,we were worried also our cellphones had no network.
We had a tedious task of finding our mates in a dense forest and it looked like an herculean task.
Hence our mission to trek was put aside and we went in hunt for the lost people. We had lost hopes that we would find them.
The only way was to go back to the base camp and wait for others to return. A fun trip was suddenly vanished and we had mixed feeling of anger of not getting to the hill top and fear as we prayed that no unpleasant situation might have occurred with them.
But somehow we did find them and fortunately they all were safe. They had stayed back to click pictures and they had full quota of their fun while we all the time were scared to death (not fair)
After hours of our efforts we were on the hill top,Yes we made it,for a moment I felt that time has stopped and entire world is applauding for our victory.
That day I understood the real meaning of the phrase “fruits of labor”.I realized that nothing comes free. And sometimes in life the best comes to us through the toughest way. The only way to get over to bad times is to never-give-up-attitude and a-will-to-move-on.
The normally peaceful hill top was converted into a party and merry making place. And all us trying to get the best clicked picture of ourselves to be put in Orkut and facebook 🙂 The strong wind kept blowing and from the top the huts down in villages looked like small dots. The entire world seemed to covered under a thick green blanket.
It was refreshing moment and all of us had an feeling of self satisfaction which we dint feel in ages all together.
After spending some time there we started to climb down the hill. On our war back we met the forest ranger and got to visit his house. Few of the walls had horns and faces of dead animals which proudly said that they are mightier yet innocent than we human beings.
By the time we reached our base camps we were tired and completely worn out. The forest staff served us the mouth watering lunch,we ate so much that we could hardly move and slept like a log. We got up in the evening and few of us the most energetic once decided to visit Ooty. We hired the forest jeep and set to Ooty.
The city filled with pleasant fragrance of nilgiri trees welcomed us. Though we were tired but the aura of Ooty refreshed us.
We went to Botanical garden which houses some of the oldest trees .It has wide variety of flora and all species from plant kingdom ever know to mankind.
We also bought some home made chocolates which is a specialty of Ooty. Ooty is also famous for its spices and also saffron.
The ride back to our base camp was not easy as we have to go down the steep. It was dark and the forest jeep hardly had any lights. Also it was very old (probably as old as the forest itself) and we feared that it might break down anytime.
At night we had dinner and enjoyed the bonfire. As it was very cold the fire gave us the much needed comfort. We played antankshri later at around 1 AM we all went to sleep in our respective rooms. Though the forest staff provided us with the warm blankets,it was still so cold and we spent the entire night shivering. Early morning next day we all gathered near the last night’s bonfire and sipped the special masala chai.
After the breakfast we went to a water fall on the other side of the hill. The scene there was awesome. With greenery all over, the chirping of birds,the cool water making its way through stones and sweet smell of flowers made me realize that I was so close to nature. Each and every thing seemed to be God made handicrafts and it was just so perfect. We sat down there and surrendered ourselves to the nature. The nature has got an immense power to cure us from all mental tensions and worries.For a moment all us forgot our tensions and instantly felt relaxed and refreshed.
Later in the day we bid good bye to Mudumali hills and started our foot back to Bangalore. The two day stay there gave us enough strengths and positive energy which we would cherish for a long time to come. On our way we got to see lot of forest animals that included elephants,deer and bear. We clicked their pictures. There was also a herd of cows crossing and my friends from Manila thought that even cows were rare animals and started taking their pics 🙂 The simple reason for that is in Bangalore one would have a tough time in finding a single cow.
That day I realized that its high time we human beings should pledge to save our mother nature and preserve this planet for our future generations.
We have got it from our forefathers and its our duty to take care of our earth and pass it to the next generation,thus maintaining the heredity.