Activities, and hobbies, Humanity, Life changes, Reflections and rumination, Travels & Treks

Tales from Banglore : Untill we fall in love (part 1)

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There is something primal inside all of us. Something that keeps humming in the back our mind, reaching out to our senses. This primal spirit makes men and women do things they otherwise wouldn’t. And when we do listen to it, we swim across the channels, sail over the oceans, and sometimes we fall in love. For me, this inner call has always been about the mountains. They have been my only destination for as long as I remember. When I go trekking on a mountain, I feel at home. I am not even sure if wanderlust describes it best. I love mountains, and I am very sure they love me back. At least most of them do…

One of the first things I did after I shifted to Banglore, was searching for the nearby trekking spots. I was disappointed by the internet search, I had gotten accustomed to the insightful information provided by deepabhi.tripod.com for all my treks so far. Nevertheless, I found out about Skandagiri, and it seemed like a decent trek. For the first time in a long time, I craved for company and wished this could have been a group trek. I tried to join some group for this trek, but then I just gave up. It felt like cheating.

So finally, I set out on a Saturday morning, on my own. My first goal was to reach Majestic terminus to catch a bus to Chickaballapur. This town is something special. It reminded me of Karjat a lot. Especially since its surrounded by around eight mountains ( Joy!). I will spare you the details of how I got to Chickaballapur. Lets just say, it took a lot of asking around near Majestic, to find the right terminus. After that it was easy as the breeze in my hair when I boarded down the bus. Chickaballapur is a highway town. The Banglore-Hyderabad National Highway passes through the town. I got down on the same highway, and asked for directions to Papagni Math, the base for Skandagiri trek. I was kindly advised to hire an autorickshaw. What surprised me, was my decision to do just that.

The auto driver was a character. I don’t want to give in to the stereotypes, but the guy was really right out of a bollywood movie. He kept talking incessantly about how the town is so great, and how he knows his way around it, he even offered to provide lodging services. I couldn’t help feeling a bit good about that. It was almost like being a part of the script. A new guy walks into town, in search of possibilities, and finds more than what he bargained for, but at the end of it, he walks away with triumph and love. Yeah, I sure as hell liked that feeling. My crazy train came to a stop when I looked around. Skandagiri was in sight now.

SkandagiriI was mesmerized by the sight. It had been long since my last trek, and this one was very important, as this was my first one in Karnataka. For some reason, the auto took a long time to reach the Papagni Math after this. It was irritating because I could see how close we were, and yet the road wouldn’t end! I have seen t his happen so often. The last part of any journey just tends to extend itself needlessly, like the ‘what-happened-to-them’ after the happily-ever-after. I was saved from making the mental list of all the other needless things, as the destination was here. I was in no mood to bargain, so I paid the amount he had asked for and started climbing.

First few minutes in any trek tell you a lot about the mountain. I have always felt that mountains are like people. You see a  beautiful girl walking down the street, you start filling in details about her that you don’t know. Maybe she works with little kids, maybe she is a struggling painter, a doctor with love of ice-cream. It’s the same with mountains I guess, you start filling in the blanks when you start. And just like with people, you start finding about how they really are when it’s a bit too late. My initial impression was a walk in the park, I thought to myself that I could probably get two treks done in a single day. As I started climbing, my notions about what should have been a simple trek changed.

An hour had passed, and I had only covered about one third of the distance. This was turning out to be a tough trek, I had slipped too often, scratched in the forest, and finally bamboozled about the right way. An impasse, which I had no clue how to resolve. Now, I think of myself as a mountain lover, and I have always managed to find my way, perhaps because mountains love me too. So far from home, completely on my own, on  strange mountain, I had begun to doubt the veracity of my beliefs. Men love the chase, we are hunters after all. So tough love is all the more sweeter. Except when it’s not going to happen at all. You can’t make someone fall in love with you when they don’t want you. When they detest the very thought of you. When they keep pushing you away…

Sometimes when you are to obsessed by the idea of love, you don’t know just when to give up. So you stay in the pursuit, and often harm yourself even more. That’s exactly what had happened with me and Skandagiri. Another couple of hours, a few more slips and many more scratches later, I had reached about three fourth of the distance. Again, there was no way I could have crossed the forest ahead without meeting a rather unpleasant end. So I sat down on a rock cliff and drank away some water in peace. This is just a ritual that I have, for when I get lost. Yes, similar things have happened in past. Usually I have relied on my in-built compass to navigate, and that has turned out well on every occasion. This time however, things were bad. I had changed route twice, traced my way back to a lower point once, and yet couldn’t manage to reach the top. Abandoning a trek is a sickening feeling. It makes you feel powerless, kind of like a break-up that you were not ready for. You keep sleeping in hopes that you would wake up to a different reality. Every time you wake up, you have a sickness in your heart, a sudden realization of everything that could not be. It’s the same feeling when you watch someone really close to you take their last shallow breaths. And you watch in absolute grief at the lines on the monitor that keep getting fewer and fewer. The stark naked truth never leaves your back. It’s the same feeling when you know you are not going to be selected after a job interview. Rejections, and failures tend to leave a mark on your soul. What’s worse, is the fact that every single one reminds you of all the previous ones. I did not like the the train of thought I was riding on, as I sat there. It was time to move on, and get down to reality. It was just an excursion, and not a life defining moment. That’s what I consoled myself with. Even if I had looked at it from my slightly grandiose version of a lovestory, I had to accept the truth. Not all love stories are pretty. Personally I have always loved the ones which are weird, slightly off the track, so why not look at this in the same way? Funny thing about rational thinking is the nagging feeling in the corner of your mind it can’t erase. This was going to be a long way down…

(To be continued)

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