Friday, July 27, 2012

The night that never ended...

It is more than half a year now since me and my friends went for a trek. As I have mentioned in my earlier posts, I love the forests, the mountains and the rivers, so this time off we went to the Western Ghats. It was to Kumaraparvatha (KP), Karnataka.  Anyway I am not going to write about the peak or the beauty of the Ghats in this post of cause that is just not possible.

 The KP trek was unlike the usual one day treks we do, this one was an overnight trek. We are usually a group of 3 for the treks or for the travels, but for this we had 6. For all of us this was the first experience of an overnight trek. We were equipped quite adequately. We started striking out the items of the checklist, 4 litres of water per person, veg pulao, cookies, bun, candies, blankets, extra pair of socks and briefs, extra t shirt, sweater and jacket, blankets 2 each, a 4 member tent, a 2 member tent, medicines, swiss knife. Done. Set to go.

We started our trek at 8 on a fine Sunday morning and we made it to the peak by 5 in the evening. We were all good and happy at the peak. It was windy, cool and beautiful atop the peak. By around 5.30, we devoured on the vegetable pulao we had packed in the morning. I am not a major veg freak, but the pulao with chutney, sambhar and curd was enough to give me a palatal orgasm!

The Signs – part I
After a small round of sitting around circles and cracking gross jokes, by around 6 pm we pitched the tents at a fairly neat place, but windy. Not more than 45 mins from then it started raining. The rains were okay, not too bad, but first signs of trouble started showing up, the tent wasn’t capable of holding up against the wind. It was almost dark and the rain subsided for a while as if to tell us, get a place to pitch your tents soon dodos! Started scouting for a new place to pitch the tent, this time we were better experienced than 1 hour ago. We looked for a place with some sort of bush or wall to one side so that it would act as a barrier between the wind and us. In the next half an hour the tent was fixed. In one tent 4 people and 2 bags, in the other tent 2 people and 4 bags. We spread the bed sheets inside the tent, wore our sweaters and monkey caps and started talking about the trek and the descend next day sounding serious and charged up. Not too comfortable, but at 5400 feet above sea level, this is a luxury. So there atop the peak were 6 men, darkness and the some square piece of land to call a peak.

The Signs – part II
It started raining again, this time stronger than before. The winds also started blowing hard...and now we knew we are in for trouble. In the next 15 minutes the first red signal stared us in our face, water was getting inside the tent!!! And in a few minutes afterwards our tents looked like a bad maintained pool with leaves and leeches and stuff which we couldn’t figure out. Resigned to fate, we just sat tight hoping the rain God would show some mercy on us and slow down a little….nope, nothing. It poured and poured until our tents, us, our clothes, our sweaters, our surrounding and everything which could be was wet and dripping. I called out to my friend in the other tent “Aliya (a mallu version of macha) whats the scene there?” His reply “we are swimming along with the bags”. We checked the time, it was just 11.30 pm, it’s the time I should be watching The Departed and having a beer at home! But here I was waiting for it to be sunrise next day morning so as to escape the terrible ordeal of the night.

The Culmination
It was pitch dark with the occasional streaks of lightning. Thunder and storms sang us a lullaby, It was below 6 degree Celsius and needless to say, cold. Wet to the bone and shivering, there was nothing much we could do; we started singing songs to live through the night. We hugged each other for body heat and sang one after the other in all possible languages. We promised if we made it through the night we would go back to our life which we wilfully put at stake for a while and ask the girls we loved out, eat good biriyani, bring more focus into life and beyond everything, we just hoped the night would end, that the rain would stop, that we would see the light next morning. Finally at 4.45 am, me and 2 others left the tent, got out. It was cold to say the least and pitch dark. We kept on jumping so that we wouldn’t go numb. At last at 7 in the morning the sun showed up…we had lived through the night.

I have heard about nights that never end, but for me atop the mountain was the night that never ended. It took more than sheer physical endurance to make it through such a rash night, it required an amazing sense of humour and a zest for life. It is experiences that make a man and KP stands by far the corner stone of my experiences. One might be able to quote a zillion authors who have written about life, but I understood life better, I understood myself better, I understood my friends better, I understood my people better, I understood my aims better, I understood my confusions better, I understood what its truly to face the wrath of nature better, I understood the crux of what Marx said better that “Philosophy is to the real world what masturbation is to sex” (you should get screwed from all quarters to understand that better by the by)

On some nights like this, I am pregnant with a deep desire to travel and then I think about my life so far…I have less to complain, after all I have survived KP and the night that was. I couldn’t have asked for better people to travel with; The man who works for the World’s best Bank at B’lore, The immaculate Financial Consultant at Pune, The Engineer for Infosys at Sree Padmanabha’s blessed land, The quintessential Kannur guy who works at the Big Blue and needless to say The dude who quit a French company to serve Indian soil better…Blessed am I to have been in such company!