Tuesday, October 26, 2004

A Trip to Coorg - Part I, Day 1's fortunes & misfortunes

Oct 21, 2230 hrs

My cellphone rang and the person in the other end said "Change of plans". Yes. Our plan was to stay in Mottai's (Bharath) home that night and start early the next day. But now plans are changed and we gotta catch the train to Mysore which starts at 2345 hrs. Again my cellphone rang and it was our bals who was in the line. He too confirmed the plan and was ready to join us in Majestic Rly station. Me, Bharath & Jaiga started by 2250 hrs and engaged an auto rickshaw. The auto was going real fast but near the corporation circle there was a huge traffic jam. It was very odd for a traffic jam to happen as that road has four lanes and it is one-way. Also I heard from Jai that even in peak hours there is only a small chance for a traffic jam there. This was our first Misfortune. We three felt as if all the mighty gods are playing against us and we gonna lose the train. But soon the traffic cleared and we made to the Rly station just 5 min earlier to 2345 hrs. This was our first Fortune. Since Bals had bought the ticket for all of us we carried on straight to platform seven. Again there was a huge surprise waiting for all the other three except me. The train was crowded so much there was very li'l space even for one to stand (Misfortune 2). I am very much accustomed to this sort of situations as I was a regular traveller in Trichy Rockfort express which is even more crowded than this train. What else can one expect from a train whose ticket costs just 100 bucks for FOUR. Anyway we made it in time b4 the train started. To our agony the train (Blr - Mysore passenger) didn't move even after 15 min past 0000 hrs the next day (Oct 22). The temperature is getting hotter and hotter and a lady in the train switched off all the fans near us saying that she and her co were feeling cold. Atlast the train started by 0020 hrs.

We felt relieved by the cool breeze that came thro' the open door. Somehow we four managed to cling on. Though we felt sleepy we were in no position to sleep. Even though the trip started so badly there was a good thing about it, it kept us awake for the next 4 hours (Yes!!! the train took 4 hrs to reach Mysore). We just made fun of ourselves and others and were all laughing throughout the train journey. I can't stop thanking Jai for his sense of humour which kept us laughing throughout the entire trip for 3 days. Me and Bals felt that Jai & Bharath filled the void created by Ulu's absence. Jai was as humorous as Ulu and Bharath was as strict as Ulu (Fortune 2). Thanks to Bharath whose strictness made us get up early the next 2 days and see more places else this trip would have been like our earlier trip to Goa where we spent most of our time in the guest house sleeping and watching the cricket match.

Atlast at 0415 hrs the train reached the Mysore station and we got a place to sit!! We sat in the train for 2 min and then went out proceeding to the station exit. We saw a lot of people going towards the bus stand and we just followed their way. I can see more and more people overtaking us while we were walking as fast as we could. We reached the bus stand and found a bus to Madikere. This time we were fortunate enough to get seats to sit and sleep. I don't even remember how long the bus took to reach Madikere. But it seemed to be very fast. We 4 went to a lodge called "Chitra" and couldn't find any vacant rooms out there. We were told that we won't get any rooms for the next 2 days there in Madikere. But Bals was very hopeful and said he will take us to a lodge called "FortView". There too we didn't get acco. We were roaming in Madikere streets for almost an hour when we found the hotel "Popular". Though the charge was twice than normal days we had no other option than to take it. The hotel was nice and the restaurant below was even nicer.

We checked-in and had a small sleep then one by one everyone got ready to go out. By the time we went to the restaurant it was around 1000 hrs. We all ordered our favourite breakfast and Bals got his breakfast immediately and I was the one who got my order delivered last. This was not the only time, throughout our stay there Bals got his orders first and I got it last. It happened the same way even when I asked the same dish as Bals ordered. Surprisingly it frustrated Bals & Jai more than myself since I started eating their dishes :) After a good breakfast we went back to the room and started to Abbi falls. Since we were going to falls we didn't take bath in room. Also we didn't want to take the camera for Abbi falls which Jai brought for the trip. The cam is a nice Canon S1 powershot my favourite with 10X optical zoom. Yes!! 10X optical.

We engaged an auto and went to Abbi falls. There waits our third Misfortune. Two curious men tried to show off their guts and talents two months earlier and fell down and Abbi falls is closed for bathing. I felt that those 2 should be killed again for making us stranded out in that beautiful falls instead of taking a good shower over there. OK... We can't just wait and stare on that falls. We went back to room planning to visit Talacauvery. Since we were dead tired due to the overnight journey and our misfortunes for searching lodges and Abbi falls, we took bath in the hotel room and went back to restaurant. After a good lunch (Yeah!! again here... I ordered for curd rice and others ordered meals. My order came late and Bals got his meals first among all of us), we started our journey to Talacauvery the birth place of cauvery. We didn't know another misfortune is waiting for us in the form of bus.

We 4 walked up to the private bus stand nearby our hotel asking for buses to Talacauvery. wait wait! I forgot to mention one good soul who helped us throughout our trip. Its a lady in the restaurant cash counter. She was very helpful in telling us about the buses and places we can go. OK, now back to our private bus stand. We heard that there is no bus which directly goes to Talacauvery. We have to go to Bhagamandala and from there we have to take a taxi or auto to reach Talacauvery 8 Kms up in the hilly region. To our surprise we found a bus to Bhagamandala waiting to start in another 15 - 20 mins. And we 4 got consecutive 2 seater rows. Talacauvery is around 48 Kms from Madikeri and distance divided by speed gave us the time to be atmost 1.5 hrs but to our Misfortune 4 the bus goes round and round not directly to Bhagamandala. It takes the route of Nagerhole and covers Munrad and somewhere takes a diversion towards Bhagamandala. The bus traveled at an average speed of 45 kmph in the hilly region and sometimes soared up to 50 kmph. We 4 were in the back of the bus and we were flying whenever the bus hits a speedbreaker sort of things. The bus journey was one memorable thing happened to us. And in one town the bus stopped for 20 min adding more fuel to our burning souls. One good thing happened in the bus... A beautiful gal in black churidhar. She kept turning back facing us every jiffy of time. Myself and Bals were fighting that the gals is looking at me or Bals. When we asked Jaiga to settle this, Jai said we 2 r mistaken and said she is staring at him. Bharath was the only one who didn't say anything but just admired her glances.

She had to drop by in the place where the bus stopped long. But she kept going in and out of the bus till the bus started again. With one sad look me and bals gave a parting look at her. hmmm... our only entertainment in the bus just left us and we all 4 drowned in deep sleep. The bus was going fast in the narrow roads and had slowed down for a stop when another bus over took and sped past the way. Now started the race between these 2 buses in the curvy, narrow roads. The bus which was going in front of us was going very fast and our driver didn't give up he was chasing him as if he was in Indy Car racing circuit. In the race we were the unfortunate people who were bouncing up and down making our stomachs turn. At one stop our bus overtook the other one and went ahead and then our driver created pains for the other bus by slowing down and not leaving way. Like this the bus atlast reached Bhagamandala after 2.5 hrs from start. We were almost broken and wanted to take an auto. Myself, Jai and Bharath went to an autowala and were negotiating when we heard the acute sound of Bals vomiting nearby. A dog went running to eat the things which Bals just let out. Thus bals was given the title "Vomit Vallal" and was called by the same title throughout the rest of the trip. My conscience poked me that my stomach fire might have upset Bals stomach. Whatever... he was fine after donating his mid day meal.

We took the auto for 100 bucks for a roundtrip and went up the hill. Talacauvery is a very nice place, serene, calm & cleaner than many other places. Once u enter the gates u can see the small pond which is filled with muddy water and behind that pond there is a small cube shaped trench which is believed to be the cauvery's source. It was unbelievable to see the birthplace of such a mighty river which is causing so much trouble between two states. On oct 16 or 17 at an auspicious time one can see the bubbles of water coming out of that small trench. My main aim of this trip was to see Talacauvery only and after visiting the place I felt so much relieved that my main thing in that trip got ful-filled the first day itself. But still I could not believe how Cauvery flows from that small opening without any way. I read in a stone carving there which said that it disappears in the pond and reappears magically in some other place. I can hear the song "Shriranga ranganatharin paatham vandhanam seiyadi.." from the film Mahanadhi playing in my ears and mind. We didn't have much time there to visit the temple up in the hill. So we went back down in the same auto and reached Triveni sangamam, meeting place of three rivers. And took lots of snaps there in Jaiga's cam. It was Ayudha Pooja that day and all the buses and bikes were clean and decorated with flowers and everything looked nice and good. The bus which we gotta take back to Madikeri was offered pooja and as a result we were getting Pori and Aval (Avalakki). We made sure that the bus was going straight to Madikeri and not taking any detour. Even if the bus took any detour we had no other chance than to take it. For our Fortune... No more counting of fortunes and misfortunes... the bus took us to Madikeri in 1.5 hrs and we all were sleeping in the bus when it reached Madikeri. Myself and Bals were still drowsy and were feeling like somnambulists sweeping the streets of Madikere main road while walking. Suddenly we all felt refreshed seeing the crowd out there.

You know something... The crowd is full of energy. One can see happy faces all over the place. Did I mention that Coorg gals are beautiful? If not I will tell u now. All the gals over there are above average in looks when compared to other places I have ever be in. We all were flaming literally for not having gfs and instead spending such a night with the other 3 thadi pasangal (guyz). Hmmm.. nothing can be done about it. We were hungry like anything that time and went directly to room and in another 5 min we were sitting in our favourite restaurant down our hotel. We ordered lots of items (not to mention again Bals got it all first and I got last). After we finished our dinner we can see the restaurant was closed immediately :) We chuckled remembering the tamil version of "Lost World" where someone will be shouting "Adhoda amma varudhu ellaarum odunga" (Everybody run, its mom is coming). Like that everyone will run when they see us the next time.

Atlast we thought the day is over. But it's not yet, the TV reminded us. Bals turned on the TV and was browsing it. It was friday night 2300 hrs when we retired in the bed. One channel caught us all to a fixed gaze. It was Hallmark. I remember Bals saying that he never watched that channel but now he could not change from it. The movie is "She's too young". Not to mention more on the film. We finally retired one after another and Bals was the last to sleep. At 4 or 5 am Bharath switched the TV off. But Bals is adamant in his stand that he switched off the TV b4 sleeping. Who knows what he did while watching the film. I think he wud have fell asleep in between. Am I right? LOL. Thus the day 1 of our trip ended with mixed fortunes where the lucks outweighed the bad lucks we had.

I am too tired to type more about our next days experience now. Will tell u all after sometime. Itz not a story or humourous piece, itz just a record of what happened on day 1 in our trip to Coorg. Forgive my grammar mistakes just read out. Will attach the snaps soon we get it downloaded.