Thursday, July 5, 2007

Some Trip (..or why you should just walk it all the way)

My office-mates scattered all over India (Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Ahemedabad 'n Bangalore to be precise) had decided to meet up in Madras for a nice holiday over the weekend. The itenary involved visiting Thirupathi followed by a trip to Yercaud.
Yeah, I wish!

This trip would have been just another trip if we had planned it meticulously for which I sincerely advocate people to plan their holidays in future in such a way that, they are unplanned to the last minute.
Chaos is good fun, I've discovered. :D

Before going about this journey, let me introduce you to some of our key players in this trip.

1. Pradeep - our mystery bus that did everything but move.
2.Mr. Muthu, the Bus owner-Who seriously ought to close down this incompetant bijjiness of his and perhaps join another software company. I’m talking to HR-TCS for a fair opening.
3. Fate (without which this trip would have been just another trip)
4. Us crazy juntha-Need I say more.

12:30am Thursday : Night out at Anchal’s.

Bombay, Guj, Calcutta ‘n Delhi guys turn up at Anchu s place…Takloo (who was not yet takloo), his friend Sudheep, Sahil, Tosh, Chacha, Raman, Paro, Bhaumik, Yudee, Chirag, Nikhil, Chirag Patel,Anchal Surosa Shyamala ‘n me..
boy, seeing everyone under the same roof would never feel the same. After doing some exuberant screaming, shouting and catching up we head to the nearby TCS office for tea at some ungodly hour 4am. The bus is expected to arrive at 5am. We re all ready leave.

Thrusday, 7am
Its 7am We’re STILL ready for the bus to arrive. Calling the bus-driver seems tougher that talking George Bush into joining Indian politics.
But oh well, we have our cameras and ourselves to have some fun.

Some one ‘n half hours, 21 phone calls and ten photos later, the bus finally arrives.
And following that, is the grand entry of Saaaaaaaaaaaai ;) (Applause, applause!)

Friday 10AM, Pradeep
We re on our way to Thirupathi…. It feels nice not to be cramped up in a bus like we used to in Trivandrum. Lots of space….lots of talking..and a bit of sleeping. (Sahil also caught up on a bit of sleep if I do remember ;) )

Friday, 12:00 pm Thirupathi
Blore guys arrive…PayDay, Naveen, Jimmy and Veena (PD’s friend) are welcomed with much excitement. We move to the local bus-stand in Thirupathi to board another bus which will take us to the hill-top (the temple being on a hill). Topic of discussion during our ascent up the hill was Jimmy’s new sexy cell phone-one in black with one of those tooth-pick types you can poke the screen with.
Some good fun there.

(flanked by Naveen, Raman, Bhaumik 'n Tosh)

3pm Thirumala, hill top
It isn’t too cold, neither is it too hot. We walk to a public hall where we can keep our stuff in lockers and freshen up. We’re all set to head to the temple after that.
But not without some lunch at a nearby restaurant. Sahil-saab very dutifully took our orders and we were all now really ready for the temple J

Friday 5pm, on our way to temple
2 official takloos originate at this hour.
Takloo and Parimal (like one talkoo was not enough in our gang :P)
Chacha, I presume will now be the style icon in Mumbai ;)

The queue is long.

Very long.

Free-dharshan has a notorious reputation for making people wait forever to see the lord. What follows the long queue is a room which houses something like 200 hundred people and makes us wait for another for 5 odd hours.
But trust me, waiting has never really been this much fun.
Imagine 20 people cramped up along the steps which can customarily seat 12 people. Absolutely no space to even lift your hand and scratch your head.
Activities during this wait, involve fervently discussing Tosh’s romantic engagement [;)], Chirag’s 4 day wedding, Sahil’s childhood love stories, and hitting Jimmy’s face every 3 mintues. (ask chacha)

Friday 8pm, inside waiting room
Paro faints.
She feels bad about it later….sweet girl
I seriously don’t know why she feels guilty.
I’m sure all of us would have dropped in that claustrophobic ambience in some time anyway.

Friday 9pm, inside waiting-room
We’re tired of waiting but we still have to. So,now we all plan to sing. I sing Lukka Chuppi which sparks up some laughter for some unknown reason. Unknow then, known now (reasons please contact chacha and Takloo)
We’re still waiting for darshan.

Saturday,12:30 am, Temple
Darshan time.
We scramble in the stampede to get darshan. Its just some 9 seconds of viewing the magnificent lord in his chamber, but the darshan was worth all the waiting. Defintiely.
We move out of the temple and have dinner at a place that’s ready to kick us out in any moment. I don’t blame them. It is really late.

Saturday, 2am, bus-stand

We move to the bus stand there and do what we do best.
This time, we re really bugged as its night, its dark, we’re tired and we have no roof above our heads…waiting isn’t exactly what we like doing now though we’ve gained enough expertise in it.
Some try to sleep..some continue playing an exciting word game (I like word games J )while some just stare into space…wondering if there is a bus that’s going to pick us up after all.

This was taken that night when no one even bothered to look at the cam :)

3:30 am, in bus-stand

That’s it. No more waiting. Some action here please…so Sahil/Chacha/someone goes to a nearby public hall so that we can rest in it while we wait. We all rest and almost sleep.

Pradeep arrives. Talk about perfect timing.
On our way to Salem, then on to Yercaud….yaahoooo!!!!!!!

Satuday, 9am, in Pradeep

We’ve left Andhra and are at some place in Tamil Nadu I’ve never even heard of before. (Yes I’m a Tamilian, not further questions )

I wake up to see a load of people still sleeping in the bus. Chacha apparently hasn’t had a wink of sleep all night.
Poor fellow…. This guy ‘s an organizer all the way. Peedee,Veena ‘n I promptly leave to the wash-rooms in the bus-stand nearby and later realize, that was a futile waste. I cant brush my teeth there and that fact disturbs me to a great extent.

The bus moves from there VERY VERY slowly…and soon breaks down.
Fine, no problem.. happens to buses, so no problem. We get down, and wait for the driver to be back.
I discover that the place we’re in is called Thirupathoor.
We call Krati (whos in Yercaud now) and tell her we’re on our way and we ‘ll be there in another 3 hours max.

Saturday, 1 pm broken down bus

After an hour of waiting the driver takes the bus and we’re off. But this time, we move MUCH slower. Sooner than later, he bus breaks down. Again.

This time we’re really pissed off. The driver begs for one more hour. JUST one more hour and he promises the bus will be ready. We comply and decide to have our lunch.

Saturday, 3:00 pm, back from lunch

We return 2 hours later..the bus is still not ready. Driver begs for 3 more hours.
Anchu ‘n I frantically call up the owner, Mr.Muthu and ask him what the hell is going on.
Krathi calls up and we tell her we’re on our way to Yercaud. :D This game really was a lot of fun.

3:30pm, near the broken-down bus
We decide to send the entire lot in a TATA Sumo to Yercaud while the 5 of us (Anchu, chacha, Takloo, Sahil ‘n I) wait beside the bus and settle things out with the driver. We’re proud for having sent the rest of the lot “safely” on their way to Yercaud.
Krathi is impatient…but we tell her its just another one or 2 hours.

After some talking, yelling, thinking and agreeing…the 5 of us decide to send the bus back to Chennai and settle the money matter once we get back to Chennai.
We get into an Ambassador which we pay a fat lump of money to take us to Yercaud.

Finally, every one s going to Yercaud.
Or, that’s what we think.

Saturday 5pm, White Ambassador
Doing some major time pass in the white Ambassador, discussing quite a few thing. Good fun.

But the climax is getting a call from the Sumo guys…saying that their gaadi just broke down and even better, their gaadi has crappy brakes.

We (the white Ambassador juntha) laugh our gutts out thinking of their fate, while we merrily move on towards Yercaud.

Saturday 8pm, WhiteAmbassador
We reach Salem ,some 1750 metres below Yercaud (which is at the hill top )
The driver stops.
And tells us we can get down.

Ambassador Juntha: ummm….why have we stopped by the way?

Ambassador Driver:
Because we’ve reached the end of our journey.

Ambassador Juntha:
Umm….. Mr.Driver, hello!! We paid you for Yercaud didn’t we?

Ambassador Driver:
You paid me for Yercaud ‘Road’. This is Yercaud Road.
So please get down.

Ambassador Juntha: What the @#$%#%^!

After some yelling and shouting and tonnes of laughing (I think I broke a few bones laughing there) we pay that stupid driver and looked for other means to getting to Yercaud. I think I lost hope of reaching here.
Krati calls up..this time genuinely asking us if we’recoming to Yercaud. We tell her we’re on our way.

Saturday 8:30 pm, bus-stand in Salem
Finally a bus.
A bus.. that moves, a bus that wont break down, a bus that has brakes and most importantly a bus that’s taking us to Yercaud. Aaaaaa…we’re a happy lot. Meanwhile the Sumo people are luckily on their way despite their brake-less gaadi.

Saturday 11 pm, Yercaud, hill-top
All of us meet at Yercaud. Sumo guys, Ambassador guys and Krathi. (Krathi along with Dhari and Shreyans)

Everybody has something to say about the journey. Krati is thrilled. She’s waited the most. (14 hours to be precise).
We have a camp fire.
It rocks. Biggggg time!!! One of Sahil's rare appearances ;)

Next day.

Sunday, 9 am, Yercaud
We leave the cottage and have breakfast. The mini-van we’ve arranged for is such a darling. It takes us to places all over Yercaud without absolutely any trouble.
It doesn’t break down, it didn’t demand for extra money, it doesnt crash.
We have a mind-blowing time in Yercaud.
Trekking was just A-W-E-Some!!!!
Krathi leaves with her friend. The rest of us carry on.

I’m not gonna say much about the trekking part as I feel the photographs will do more justice J
(but just one thing though…a big thank you for those guys who helped me all the way up to the farthest point in the trek. It felt magical for having made it that far..Naveen,Raman,Chirag,Shreyans and the rest…couldn’t have done it without you guys!)

(At the top. No we arent lying down :D)

Sunday 6pm, Salem
We’re done with Yercaud and we’ve all made it to Salem in one piece.
The journey downwards exposed the Yo! side of Nikhil Ravi.

His Eminim-style rap ‘Dono maja karengae’ rocked….. though I had to get all that translated by Tosh later ;)

We have to bid the Blore guys good-bye. That’s is the tough part. But the tougher part is yet to come.
Arranging for transportation to Chennai was not going to be easy at the eleventh hour.
Running around here n the Railway station n stuff deprived me of a chance of saying a proper good-bye to the Blore folks.
All of you…u guys rocked yar…serisously!!
PayDay…sweetie, you’re a chocolate!

8:30 pm
Sahil, Anchu n I run frantically to the railway-station to book tickets…found them, paid for them… done! We’re gonna go ta Chennai, confirmed…hooooray!!!!!!!

Monday morning, we bid some of the Bombay guys farwell…I was incapable of being too senti then because of the tension for finding a decent means of transportation to Anchu s flat.
Love you guys!!

I stop here.
(I hear a sigh of relief but let me just pretend like I didnt hear that.. ;))
This was indeed a very long mail and I really appreciate it if you read it this far.
If you didn’t, no problem, I still love you guys no less ;)

I look back at the last 96 hours and I wonder in bedazzlement at the dynamic-factor in life and the enormity of unpredictability it has in store for anyone who is willing to accept it as it comes.

What I learnt or rather inferred, was that there are some things in life we have absolutely no control over what so ever, and in such cases we just have to patiently watch the turn of events – you’ll be amazed at the way things turn out when left to themselves.

It just goes to show that good times are not about what you do, when you do or how you do it; but just the people you share your moments with.

And now as I type this on my lappy listening to Roobaroo from Rang de basanthi with a smile on my face, I have a feeling of content and deep satisfaction that I have quite a bank of memories to dwell upon for some time to come and that I have some fabulous people to share them with.

Love you guys.
More than ever

6 Confounded-souls had something to say:

Abhinav Singhvi said...

Cest formidable !!!!


Give some tips to me too...

D:~ said...

sounds like a fun trip!
quite an adventure, i must say!

but the takloo part was most interesting for me... for i plan to go the same way very soon in about a month or so!

bharani said...

how did they manage you?

Bhaumik said...

i have no words to appreciate the way u have described our trip... It takes me back to all those places each and every time i read this stuff...
and ya, the trip was a sooper success for me.. cos i got to meet u all lovely people... and i have no complains for Chennai( i am mentioning this cos u were worried about it and were asking me when i was leaving Chennai)..
Hail these trips!!! Hope a new trip is arranged soon ;-)

MaYtH!! said...

@ Abhinav: Thanks yaar... Your pic with chacha rocks! ;)

@D: You going bald? hmm....this should be interesting. On a style spree or some other motive? ;)

@ Bee: I was on my best behaviour

@Bhaumik: Had an awesome time with you guys.... THnks! Looking forward to better times with you guys :)

Venkatesh A.R. said...

went thru ur blogs.. kalakara chandru.. u have an excellent command of language maa and patience to put down ur thoughts.. sooper
am short of words of appreciation!! :-)