Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Meruthi – The lost world!


It was a very dark horror night and I looked at my wrist watch, it was almost 8.30 Pm and freezing cold. We are sitting in front of a departmental store at Basrikatte waiting for our other six team members to join us. I said ‘hey let’s see the photos in our cameras’ and Srivathsa said fine. We went back to the previous night when we started our journey; Black Panther drive in the night; taking long breaks; having coffee and tea during the breaks; cracking PJs and a lot more. It was the Independence Day and we were on our regular freedom trek plan. This time the place was Meruthi Parvatha near Kuduremukha. We had planned for this since a month and uneventfully we succeeded executing the plan. Eight of us totally that includes seven men and one woman reached Basrikatte in Mudigere taluk of Chickmaglur district on the early morning of 15th August.

What should we do and where should we go?
As we were going through the photographs, we did not realize the time. But by the time we finished it, it was already 10 Pm. It is 10 Pm and the others have not joined us. We were all supposed to reach this village after getting down from the peak. We convinced ourselves by thinking that they will be slow because of Sudhee and Divya or they may have their dinner on the way itself and come back. We carried on with our conversation. The reason why we were so early to reach was because of the conversation we were having about responsibilities and commitments in life. It was a kind of stories exchange mela! We ended our conversation abruptly as we did not see any signs of our folks coming towards the village. I looked at my watch; it was close to 11 Pm. This made me a bit nervous and we started worrying about what might have happened to these guys. I got scared and all types of negative things started revolving around my mind. We both did not have any other choice but for going back and searching these folks. We went a few steps forward and switched on the torch; but we hardly got to see anything because the light beams could not pierce through the fog that was created. We thought going inside the forest at this time is not a good idea so thought of shouting at them and even tried to wave the torch light so that they could see the light beams from wherever they are; but it was of no use. We were then sure that they have lost their way in the forest and they cannot make it to the base. The only confidence and comfort for us was that they had the tents with them and they can pitch them anywhere until they see the morning light.
But! What about us? Where should we go? What should we think about these guys? What if something would have happened to them? What can we answer villagers if they ask us? What the hell is going on with us? Why are we getting into all wrong things since morning? We were totally dumbstruck and started worrying about them. I looked at Srivathsa; he was equally tensed as I am and both our expressions were just not right! We thought it was not our day as this was the second disappointment for the day.
The first disappointment!

Yes! The first disappointment was even worse and horrible. After all the funny moments while driving down to Basrikatte, we reached the Merthi Kan Estate at around 10.15 am in the morning. As we reached, we enquired about the two routes connecting the peak: one through the estate and the other through the route from Basrikatte village. Many of the workers at the estate recommended us to take the route which goes through the estate. But we had heard from our friends that the route that connects from the village is good to climb and we will enjoy the climb in that route. So we told them that we will take the village route to climb and we will climb down through the estate route which gives us both the experiences. They all got convinced and gave us directions on how to reach the peak from the village. We parked our car at the estate office and packed all our rucksacks and left from that place by 11.15 Am. We had to walk 5 Km to Basrikatte. Even though we had enough delicious food stuffs for 2 days in our sacks, we wanted to have lunch and start the climb. So we finished our lunch in a small hotel (hardly looked a hotel) at Basrikatte and started our journey up!
We were all excited after looking at the peak from the base and the greenery around the place made us feel heavenly. We could see the mighty mountain ranges of Malenaadu that would create a new 2 day life for all eight of us. It was a very easy route inside the coffee estate up to 3 km and then a small mud route inside the thick forest. We were told that there are not many wild animals but there are many snakes and other small creatures. And the forest was full of leeches which made us climb faster. We enjoyed every step and there was no hurry in climbing as we had plans to stay at the peak itself for the night and we had enough time left with us to climb. Our target was to reach the peak at round 3 Pm and to pitch the tents by 4 Pm before the sunset. Well! Plan remained as a plan.
Where is the route?
We were almost half way as we could see the peak in front of our eyes coming closer and closer. We were over joyful that we will reach the peak soon.But with all this excitement, we did not realize that we have missed the actual route to the peak. We ran into a route which took us to almost a dead lock state and we could not find any way forward. We tried looking back but we could not connect ourselves to the point where we lost the route. Since the peak was in front of our eyes, TS and I thought if we cross the forest patch for the next 15 minutes, we can easily reach the peak. So TS said let us make our own route. Luckily we had taken the axe with us, so TS started cutting the bushes and started making the way for us. It worked; as in we could somehow manage to cross the forest patch and could see the peak more clearly. But the steep was very difficult and we started wondering if all of us can make it to the peak thinking about Sudhee and Divya. We thought let us proceed.
Even though the steep was very difficult, slowly we started climbing and started enjoying the scenery around. It sort of took off our tiredness of the climb. The steep was so tough that we could not stand at any place and we had to just keep moving making our way. We could see many rocks and we were sure that there will be many poisonous snakes. We slowly progressed and the steep was becoming much harder and we were finding it very difficult to climb. All of us were getting exhausted and many of us were not ready to climb.

I somehow managed to take the steepest path and climbed up easily with the help of rocks as I could easily get good grip for my climb and Srivathsa followed me in the same route. I reached the first peak soon and dumped my bag. The peak top was very small and had less space as it was made of rocks. We waited for the others to join us at this peak so that we can climb the next one. Then we realized that we are at the last peak! We were supposed to climb from the east but we are climbing from the west side of the hill. And the main peak was the third peak and is at the middle of the range. We were in a very bad shape because the peak we had climbed was the wrong one and we have to climb the 4th peak to reach the main peak. But climbing the 4th peak would’ve been much worse because that was much steeper than the one we had climbed. So we waited for all others to join us first.
Sudhee Rocks again!
Sudhee Rocks! Again! Yes he could not climb up. He was finding it very difficult to climb up with the heavy rucksack on his shoulders. So he dumped his bag at some point and started climbing without any weight. In a way it was hilarious that he said ‘I cannot get the bag; see if you guys want to get it or leave it’. Since TS was near to him, TS picked his rucksack and fixed it to his front (he was climbing with two rucksacks!) and started helping Sudhee to climb the peak slowly. They were shouting at me to get down and bring Sudhee up. So I got down some distance and took Sudhee’s bag from TS and started pushing Sudhee to climb up. Finally I managed to bring him to the top. All of us made it to the peak and rested for a while. They all looked at the next peak which we were supposed to climb and they immediately decided they cannot do it.
We were at a point where there are no other options left with us but for climbing that to reach the main peak. TS and I discussed on how to proceed from there and where can we find it difficult to climb. But we realized that we took more than 4 hours to climb so far and we are still not even near to the destiny. It was 4.45 Pm in the evening and we had to take the right decision before we could proceed from there. Doc and few others suggested that let us get down from here and reach the safe point so that we can pitch our tents. Else we may have to sleep at this place without tents and proper flat surface. Sudhee and Divya both did not agree to our idea of continuing our climb to the next peak. So the ultimate decision was to get down. It was 5.30 Pm by the time we decided to climb down the same way.
Climbing down was not all that easy. It was much difficult than climbing up the hill. But Sudhee did his best to climb down in his own easy way. He just sat down and started skidding. It was kind of sliding down the hill. He was so good that we could see a clear sliding path down the hill as he was moving with his ass jammed to the hill. Whoever climbed down after him would have fallen many times because of the slider route Sudhee had created. It was absolutely hilarious the way he climbed down. TS and Divya were very good as they climbed down the stretch very fast and reached the route where we can easily trek back to the village. Srivathsa and I waited for others to join us so that we all can walk back together. Sudhee again gave too much work to Raghu, Doc and Krishna as he was totally exhausted and was taking good amount of time to even slide down. By the time we all got down, it was very dark so we had to turn on our torch to see things. There were too many leeches and hence we were not even comfortable waiting for these folks but we had no options left with us. But Sudhee made his mark both on the peak and on the clothes he was wearing!
The lost six!
With this disappointment, we all walked back and reached a safe point where we could see the mud route which takes us back to the village. We decided to go back to the village and reach the place where we had parked our car and sleep there for the night by pitching tents. So we started walking down the hill with the torches in hand, the disappointment in our faces and the horrifying forest route in the night. We were again somehow unlucky as this lead to the second disappointment of the trek.
Srivathsa and I were discussing on some issues, so we were very fast in walking back and we reached the village at 8.15 Pm without missing the route. But the other six could not find their way. They got lost in the forest. We waited till 11.30 Pm in the village but we could not see any signs of these guys returning. We were scared and could not think of anything but for worrying about the lost six. The village was absolutely silent and if we talk, it would be audible enough for the whole village. We thought of waking up the departmental store owner and ask for place to sleep as we did not have tents with us. But the guy did not open the door. So we were even more worried as to where can we go and what can we do at this point?
I decided to go back to the place where we had parked our car thinking even if these guys get their way, they have to reach that place somehow. So Srivathsa and I started walking towards the estate at 11.30 Pm and it was a 6 Km walk from Basrikatte. It was horrible enough in that dead silence and allowing the wild dogs to bark at our torch lights with heavy luggage fixed to our back! We finally made it to our car and with the scary feelings; we sat inside the car and we could not stop thinking about the lost six.
6.30 Am in the morning, we decided to go back to the peak in search of the lost six and drove down to Basrikatte. Villagers were staring at us and they were curious to know on where are the other folks? We explained them the story and they all started worrying. But we gave them the comfort by saying they would have pitched tents and will be safe during the night. So we started walking up the hill again and walked very fast shouting all names all along the way. TS, Raghu, Sudhee, Doc, Krishna, Divya… my throat went for a toss!
We went all the way till the place we all had climbed down in the night; we did not see anyone nor did not hear any response for my shout. So we got down from there and took the route where there is a deviation from the original route. That route connected to a village and we enquired in all the houses about these folks. Nobody had clue about it. We were totally lost and did not know what to do but walked up the same route till it connects to the road which goes to Shringeri. This junction is 7 km from Basrikatte. We did not find them yet. We walked back the whole 7 km on the main bus route thinking we would get them, but no! We finally reached the village.
We were worried like hell and many negative thoughts started coming to our minds. By then the whole village got this news and they were trying to support us. Finally one of the village guy said they are walking back on the same bus route which we had took just now to walk back. With the sense of relief, we drove down the road and saw TS jumping from the estate gate!
Meruthi – Washed off with rains
After all the fighting on the lost event, we were back to the normal state and decided to spend the second day at peace. But we were somehow unlucky again because we could not find the correct route to the peak even from inside the estate which is supposed to be the easiest route. Villagers said, ‘because of the heavy rains, the routes have got washed off and it is very difficult to search them’. The only compensation for us was that we had at least climbed the last peak!
But we did not give up! We wanted to atleast climb up till the Ganapathi Cave.

We had watched TV9 news on Ganapathi Cave and the fact that no one knows that it exists in this peak. So we enquired with the estate workers, they gave us the directions to reach there. Sudhee, Divya and Krishna wanted to rest and were not ready to take any more chances with their lives. So only five of us, Srivathsa, TS, Doc, Raghu and I started climbing the hill again. This time, fortunately, we were moving on the right path and after a while, we discovered the Cave. We enjoyed being at the cave and after some time and we headed back. On the way, we could even discover amazing water streams and many waterfalls which were a spectacular sight for our eyes and great captures for our cameras. So finally we came back with the sense of achievement and started driving back to Bangalore in the night.
Extremely delightful takeaways from this trek to me was the steep climb up and climb down the same way; thriller night experience; searching for the lost six in the night and the early morning; awesome shots clicked by my shooter and Srivathsa’s golden eye and experimenting with our cameras; Trek to the Ganapathi Cave and discovering a few waterfalls; my non-stop talking throughout the camp; Eating Neer Dosas at Kottigehara; driving in the night with PJs cracked by me (the co-driver) to make sure that the driver is attentive while driving.
So that was our dreadful story of our Independence Day - freedom trek to Meruthi Parvatha. Although we have walked round the peak, climbed up and down the other peak, Meruthi Peak (the mainpeak) is still the lost world for all of us. But I am very thankful to it for giving me this Thriller-Killer experience in life.
Srik
________________________________________
THE PLEASURE OF GETTING LOST - Written by Doc Manju (one among the lost six)
THE DECISION
We had a tough time descending from the first peak at the last stage.Sudhi was tired and darkness was approaching fast.Srikanth had his leg sprained and was walking with weight on his other leg.I asked if he wanted to be picked up by the car as soon as we reached a pickup point, but he said he can walk alright if he reached the jeep track in the coffee estate.I waited untill Sudhi,Raghu and Krishna came close to me and we descended with torch shone brightly on the bushes.Raghu and Krishna backed me up to bring Sudhi to safer place.As none of the others were sure of the route to descend I took on the responsibility to get us all down.Sudhi wanted TS to come and help him but our shouts could not reach TS nor anybody.We were very happy when we soon found TS,Divya, Srikanth and Srivathsa.Little did we know that our joy was short lived!
We again lost track of Srikanth and Srivathsa who were a bit in front of us and we realised that the jeep track we were following was not the track on which we had ascended.We tried to go back and looked for the turn from where we had lost track but nobody was sure of the tracks and from where we came from!.Our minds were working slowly as we all were tired and drowsy.As we realised that we were lost and could not find the original track, we woke up from the drowsiness to the bitter reality!. Everybody now looked at TS as if he was the leading light who would lead us from darkness to light(literally!!) and TS showed us all at the end that he was truly the leading light we had expected out of him.
Sudhi and Krishna were the first to voice concern as we were lost.TS was in his best as usual and cracked jokes(which were his past experiences in trekking in jungles, and the jokes were mostly boothwala jokes or wild animal jokes).I think nobody enjoyed the jokes except TS! We all felt uncomfortable and some of us requested TS to stop joking.TS showed real concern when he repeatedly worried for what had hapenned to Srikanth and Srivathsa.Initially we tried to put TS back into his good old spirits by telling him that as we were lost, most probably they must have found the right path.TS began to shout for Srikanth and Srivathsa in the coffee estate.Not hearing any response TS's voice(we could not see each others face until somebody put his torch on that person!) showed concern.I think that was the point where the rest of us felt as if now was time to worry, our pillar showed chinks!!
After we walked for some more distance, once trying to follow distant lights as per TS's instict, but the track ran parallel to the lights and it was also ascending,and Krishna,Raghu and I felt that that was not the route to be followed.TS hastily decided to take a path which would descend and which would and felt, should lead to the Basrikatte-Sringeri main road.Some of the group members felt tired and wanted to rest and wanted the rest of us to go in search of the road.I wanted everybody to stay together whatever the circumstances and got suppot from TS on this point.It was already past 9pm.The point was agreed upon by most of the members, so TS asked if everybody was fine if we camped at that spot overnight.Taking everybody's consent TS searced for a place which was dry, flat and where it would be less windy.We soon found a spot and Raghu unpacked the tent he was carrying.Sudhi unburdened his bag with a sigh.



SETTING THE TENT
TS knew to set a tent but a 'dome' tent was new to him.TS got inputs(Divya providing 'technical' details was very much useful) from the rest of the gang members and in the next hour set the tent up.Though Krishna and Sudhi wanted the tent to be built quickly as they were hungry and tired,I wanted to make the tent survive the night and pegged the metal pieces deep into the ground and put the ends of the metal pipes of the dome into their sockets at the corners(this took most of my energy!).It was 10.30pm and we were having hunger pangs and getting dizzier from drowsiness!.I had never seen a tent before and was happily surprised at the tents simplicity and comfort it provided.TS was a through gentleman as he removed his shoes, folded his pants up and searched for any leeches on his legs and pants, finding everything clear he got in and cleaned up the floor of the tent and put sleeping pads to cover the floor.Divya wanted everybody to make sure of themselves that they dont carry any leeches inside the tent!.(She said she could tolerate lizards and cockroaches but could not tolerate leeches!).

Grand dinner with Camp fire: I was hungry but TS and Divya wanted a camp fire! We all searched for some twigs and leaves as TS and Divya tried to build a fire going.We burnt some paper, lit a candle, and finally put some 'theertha' into the 'homa' but the fire would not build and a lot of smoke erupted.TS said "benki illade hoge baralla....andre illi benki ide antha!",everybody laughed and TS continued to make fire.After trying for some more time TS and Divya stopped playing with fire and everybody opened their bags for food items.We drank whatever drinks we had carried.We ate chappathis with Sudhis pickles,jam,sauce and chatni pudi.I had taken dry oggarane avalakki and Krishna gave us all some buns.Snacks were there too,cup cakes,bingo and dry masala peanuts flowed into our tummys.After packing all the remaining food into our bags,each us moved into the tent after being inspected for any leeches.
Sleepless night: It was a four men tent and we were short of space, so we all had to sleep on our sides!As we tried to close the zip of the entrance of the tent it would not approximate the two sides (as the tent was streched and taut) and a hole was created just above my head! If any animal came it would first catch my head in the hole! It took some time for all of us to settle down(in side positions!) in the tent and I kept listening to all the jungle sounds.I remembered some old hindi movie with that typical night sounds.
Waiting for the dawn: I woke up suddenly as I felt droplets of water on my face.I soon realised it was raining a bit.As everybody was asleep I tried to wake up Raghu and said 'Raghu, male bartha ide', Krishna answered me 'Male alla adhu...manju, eega karagi beeltha ide', Sudhi asked what time it was and Krisna said it was nearly 5am. At that time somebody gave a shreik 'yehhh...belakagthide", another voice came up and said to hush up! I asked Raghu if he would come out of the tent with me, I kept quiet as I did not get a response.Now everybody was silent and waiting for dawn.Every body was sleeping!
Granny and the UFO!. I woke up at about 6am and took a walk along the jeep track for some distance.This was a very good feeling as I saw tiny streams crossing the track and heard chirpy sounds of the forest birds among the freshly washed up coffee bushes.I walked in my bare feet(keeping myself away from any leeches!) and sensed the feeling of the moist earth.It was a wonderful feeling and I clicked some snaps with my camera. Now in a short time I was already feeling hungry.Divya,Krishna,Raghu and Sudhi had woken up and as we were all talking near the tent a granny came till the curve of the road and seeing the tent and feeling as if some alien object had landed on the track, was about to run back when she noticed us sitting around and looking at her.She approached us hesitantly and Krishna asked her why she had stopped on the road, she flashed her betel chewen red teeth and tried to laugh and said she was scared to see the tent.We laughed and explained to her why we were there asked her the route to Basrikatte.She said it was close by and Krishna and I followed her for some distance so that we would not loose track this time too! We were very close by and about 200mtrs from the Basrikatte-Sringeri road and about 2kms(about 20mins) from Basrikatte village! Krishna and I came back and helped TS and the others to pack the tent.We left soon after and when we came close to the main road we saw Srivathsa's Black Panther comming towards us on all fours at full gallop!
Though not a thrilling experience, the night we spent in the tent was awesome and we certainly enjoyed the night to our full capabilities. Three cheers to TS as he was the person who made the night safe for all of us.I thank all my group members for supporting TS and each other to make the Independence day night a truly memorable experience in my life.
_______________________________________________
PS: I hope Doc or TS would post on their experience of the thriller night as a comment to this post.
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19 comments:

Srivathsa said...

Nice trek! Very much memorable.. Sri, as usual nice writeup.

After all these ups and downs when we headed back to b'lore thought all those difficulties are finished and now the smooth ride to B'lore.. But......... But nature didn't want us to complete our adventure there. I started driving (2nd round) from Hassan, the rain was so heavy that I was hardly seeing the road. On the same road I drove 120-140 earlier, but now i was at 60-90.. Only I and my black panther knows how was it. :) When we reached home it was 2.30.. I have no clue when I slept and when I woke up.
On Monday morning had to drive again to return rented tents and but traffic jam!! Phew!! 7 O'clock I left home and it was 10:30 when I reached office. Couldn't even sit at office. Came back home and slept at 4. U believe it or not was sleeping till next day morning 6:30.. I think that was the longest sleep I ever had in my life :)
BlackPanther again proved him self and gave very good company to us.. Looked like it was more eager to go for this adventure than us.. Had to apply breaks more than the accelerator :) Poor guy! Got hit on its wheel and it lost its knee cap(wheel cap). Today I have hospitalized it (I mean for service). Hope it will recover fully and will be back with full energy :)
Yeah!! Even after all the up and downs, had really very good time and had lots of fun.. Just like last time we had Kodachadriga... this time I got caught with.. 'urkondu rocket' aagogtare.. ha ha ha.. I am sure.. after going through snaps, blogs neevu ella urkondu rocket aagogirthira.. :) Enjoy!!

Vaishnavi said...

Srikanth, this sounds like the creepiest but the best experience ever! I can imagine you shouting out their names, trying to find them! Very adventurous indeed! Were you two guys able to sleep that night in the car? And what did the rest of them do, when they were away from the two of you? Pitched tents?

Srik said...

Yeah! It was the best experience! I am hoping my friend Doc will write about their experience in the night and post it as comment shortly. It will be good to hear from them. Yeah they comfortably pitched their tents and slept throughout the night. Unlucky we! We just sat inside the car fearfully until we saw the light in the morning to again search for these guys!

sajana said...

oh my God! I must really appreciate you guys for your guts and confidence!

Each time you go for a trek you have so many things which are nice and scary to share...but when i think of the scary stories i sometimes feel you guys have gone nuts..but on the other hand i appreciate your guts! :)

yes i must not forget to appreciate Sudhi..he is the actual HERO i must say! with so many difficulties he goes through every time he still manages to come with you guys.

The Team,Black Panther,the camera..kuddos to all!

Sudhi said...

Yes Srik, you are right, I gave a lot of work to Raghu and Krishna.

It was really thrilling as well as scary experience. Eventhough we carried tents to use in Peak of the Hill, used it on a road since we were lost the way and not had energy to find out way in that dark night.

I would like to thanks everybody who made this trek a memorable experience.

Cheers!
Sudhi

Manjunath said...

Lo Maklla Bit hodrallo Nanna...

Raghu said...

Wow! It was truly a freedom trek by all means: starting from taking the route of our choice, climbing the hill at our own pace, climbing down at our own style till walking in the midst of forest in the night in our own route.

Yes, I really appreciate/thank the efforts of Sri and Srivathsa to find the lost 6 and the efforts of all lost 6 but specifically of TS to pitch the tent in the night.

SuZ said...

I hope you guys did not get lost because of the instructions that you got from me :P. Nice depiction of the events.

The route which we took was, we got into the Merthi Kan estate and then took a deviation from inside. Then we climbed along the ridge of the mountain range to reach the top. I guess because of rain and dense undergrowth you guys lost the way.

But reading the two versions, the ppl who were 'lost' had a nice time and you both had horrible time :)

Srik said...

Hey Suz! you are absolutely right!!! Thanks for taking time and reading the story.

Don't worry! your instructions were very much correct! :) It is because of the rains that the routes got washed away.

They enjoyed! and we both saw all the 5 peaks in the night!

drmanjunathbd said...

'AWESOME' is the one word to be used to describe this trek.
I would like to thank Srikanth and TS for inviting me to this trek.
I also like to thank Raghu, Srivathsa and Srikanth for their photography.It is very exciting and evocative to see all those wonderful photos after coming back from the trek.I thank Srivathsa and his Black Panther for their contribution to the trek.Black Panther has always been a faithful partner in our expeditions and he has proved himself again.Srivathsa's driving is always enjoyable and it's a pleasure and learning experience to hold Black Panthers reins.I'am thankful to Srikanth for letting me write in his blog.I enjoyed this trek and hope my writing has provided the necessary details.

I learnt a lot of things from this trek.This is my personal opinion and it may differ from my group members. I hope that they will contribute to this list.
-Stay together in a group,atleast within visible or audible distance.
-Trust in other group members and take their consent before proceeding.
-Never get scared, for there is nothing to be scared of(except in horror movies!).
-Plan, never mind even if it fails. Have a plan B and be ready to implement plan C!
-Decide early and give a margin for error(time and distance).
-There may be a Rate Limiting factor, find that out and try to overcome it quickly.
-Encourage team members to contribute, and expect constructive criticism.
-Believe in yourself. Always.

Doc Manjunath

Narasim said...

Bravo! Freedom Trekkers.

The detailed evocative stories of your adventure/disaster makes for a fascinating read. It is good to know that the people who get lost so easily on a pathway are not so lost when it comes to making up stories.

Srikanth, Doc Manjunath, and Srivatsa - all three of you have the potential to follow in the footsteps of Arundhati Roy. Knowing this potential, Roy has given up her literary talents to pursue political pamphleteering. You three should strive not to disappoint her.

The photographs by Srikanth, Doc, and Srivatsa are technically excellent. The candle lit tent is romantic indeed. Ganapati Cave is just grand. I am envious that all eight of you had such an aesthetic feast while one person I know was toiling away. I am surprised that not many people know about it. Maybe, it is better that way. Otherwise you will find trash that appearrs so commonplace atop Mount Everest.

Now we all know that the only way to prevent Srivatsa from speeding is to pray Varuna to send down rain.

Six who got "lost" were not lost at all. The Great Helmsman, T. S. Manjunath, deliberately misled the five followers so that the six could have a grand time without the overbearing SS watching over them. As we all know, leaders have a way of proving that they are indispensable.

SS raced ahead of the "lost" six just to show off. If you believe that SS were so deeply immersed in discussing weighty issues that they did not know the "lost" six were not following them, you will believe that the Brahmana king Ravana had ten heads.

SS say that they worried all night, got gray hairs worrying, and roamed in search of the "lost" six makes for a good tale. We have to ask, is it believable? Where is confirmatory evidence. According to one villager who saw them in the car, the two were sound asleep after a hearty late night dinner followed by a generous helping of soma rasa. I thought the grasses from which soma is distilled does not grow in Afghanistan any more. Obviously, I am uninformed. Indo-Europeans must have transplanted the grasses to Meruthi Parvatha surreptitiously.

Anyway, the eight of you deserve high praise for safely returning home. Reading the postings made me uneasy. I am glad that no great misfortune befell you.

Take Care.

mathangi said...

Hi Manju,

Amazing story and excellent photography.

T S said...

This trip was really awesome and thrilling as usual… “Same old wine in new bottle” but kick was more & good.

Thanks to Srikanth and DoC..! for their wonderful brief about the trek.
This freedom trek gives us real freedom to get lost in the forest..!! I am the happiest person to lose in that forest. Before starting a trek I met a person in Basarikatte, where we had our lunch and had a discussion about peak and to stay there with tent. He said that it’s a risky job and also we will struggle a lot to reach there without any guide, I replied quietly saying that we will enjoy such moments, little adventure and thrill should be there in trek otherwise it will be like normal as others do. I don’t prefer it; then he replied I am feeling like to join you people, you will have good time. He is head master of the school in Basarikatte. As I discussed with him it happened really.

In this trek we all become “Vaskodagama” and “Colombus” to find new path to peak also when we got lost in the dark night. It was really thrilling experience to all of us and we enjoyed that tent life to full extent with our fire camp and dinner with theertha and prasadam.
I really appreciate Divya for her spirit in such a situation. She was the first person to start fire camp initiation and we enjoyed a lot. Hope Srikanth and Srivatsa have missed it. As Doc commented we can learn many things in such situations, thank god I didn’t forget anything which required there..!! As Narasim Katary commented it shows as well as realize our leadership skills and (in) capabilities in such situations.

Even though we left right direction in right time, we took right decision in wrong time. Thanks to all 5 people who were in normal condition in abnormal circumstances.
I like most of the situations in this trek: photographs of our folks, the long walk of mine and Divya’s in forest, Independence day celebration at Kottigehara primary school, beautiful waterfalls in the estate, PJ’s of all team, Same troubles of Sudhi while trekking, little adventures of mine and Doc while finding the route to peak and Ganapathi caves, Giving sweet candyman candies to the school children, the effort and learning to pitch a tent in dark night, struggle to fire the wood in fire camp, attention position sleep with full tension etc.,
Totally it was successful trek with little failures.. Hope all our team enjoyed the trek. Thanks & congrats to all because, though we have got lost in the green forest, we got success to find ourselves in the concrete forest on Monday morning…!!

Cheers..!!
T S

Machikoppa said...

hi
there is an easy rout to Merthi-not confusing-easy one-through Badnekan estate.

Srik said...

Thanks Machikoppa!

simon said...

Congrats guys atleast you have tried to climb that Hill which is called as MERTHI GUDDE,not as you say Meruthi hill.Though Basrikatte is my in law place,I could get a chance to climb.All the best dear my fellow Bengalurians.

simon said...

Congrats guys atleast you have tried to climb that Hill which is called as MERTHI GUDDE,not as you say Meruthi hill.Though Basrikatte is my in law place,I could get a chance to climb.Merthi Gudo as we call it in our konkani langauge,most of my relatives whoever visited Basrikatte,they tried and succeeded but not me so far.My relatives who went to the peak of Merthi Gudo recently,took many pictures into their cameras, those photographs are with me.I am proud to say atleast my fellow Bengalurians succeeded climbing the Merthi Gudo.

simon said...

Congrats guys atleast you have tried to climb that Hill which is called as MERTHI GUDDE,not as you say Meruthi hill.Though Basrikatte is my in law place,I could NOT get a chance to climb.Merthi Gudo as we call it in our konkani langauge,most of my relatives whoever visited Basrikatte,they tried and succeeded but not me so far.My relatives who went to the peak of Merthi Gudo recently,took many pictures into their cameras, those photographs are with me.I am proud to say atleast my fellow Bengalurians succeeded climbing the Merthi Gudo.

Shiva Kumar said...

Can we do this trekking?
Can I get any contact number ?