Now and again thousands of memories
arrange themselves around a central idea
in a coherent form,
and I write a story.” – Katherine Anne Porter
Have you had distinct memories that you think you will carry for a while. That the people that were there, you would remember them not because you knew them but because the journey made it all very interesting. A good getaway does not mean batman’s bat mobile but a scenic place, a great and enthusiastic set of people and good food(oh ya,thats a must!!).
Twenty five people were going on this trip and there can be twenty five accounts of it but this is my account, the twenty fifth one.
I had two wake up calls from two guys who did not trust that I could get ready in time (meaning me being a girl ). We reached SLK close to 6, had bloody good chai at the bhatti angadi across the road where if not anyone else at least the chai shop wala is definitely going to die of secondary cancer caused by all the cigarette smoke !! agah !! After a lot of tug afore about who gets into which of the 2 tempo travellers, I got into the traveller which most of my team mates had stepped into. We picked up a number of team mates en route and the driver kept losing his way, man! Him, my team mates christened highway harisha (harish being his name!!) lol. Both the tempo travelers stopped at a small hotel on the way to get breakfast and then we were off to the fishing camp called Galibore.
Galibore is a quaint little forest area belonging to the govt of Karnataka, located about 16 kms from Bheemeswari. It is located on the banks of river Cauvery and has lots of trees surrounding the fishing camp. The camp protects an endangered fish called as Masheer. During fishing season, these creatures can be caught. From what I heard, they are put back into the river once the pictures are taken.
The ride there was mostly uneventful except that everybody on the trip had some weird name affixed to him/her. Kannada adjectives(english also) like Tarle, Junglee,Slum,Psych,Kalla, Mental, Bandh, Rollcall, etc etc were used profusely in tandem with each name.If you know my team mates,you’d know who got what name. Did anyone mention me…As far as i am concerned , I wasn’t on the trip.
We got there at elevenish and went down to the Cauvery lake flowing past the camp. Many of us got in upto our knees. The sun was up in the sky and the water was reflecting all the light. It was like a shadow dance of the water trying to push the light way. We then made our way back to the camp and we had trainers with us who gave a brief lecture about taking play seriously. Err..!!What ?. We then played our first game.
It was Dodgeball only different..
There were 2 teams divided on a selection basis. We have 2 top bosses, there was one on each team. Hmm, that made it interesting. Putting equals on opposite sides always makes them competitive…The objective of the game was one team forms a cirlce inside the cirlce of another and any person on the outer circle had to hit the oppsite team member after calling out their name. If they forgot, they were outta the game. Atta boy!! for that rule.Both teams strategized and strategized about how to defeat the other team. But when we started playing, all of it was forgotten because we needed to remember the names of opponents whom we were going to hit. My team was the target first. We started moving in a cirlce so that we can’t be sitting ducks. A few of us whose names were called out got hit. Mostly, the other team forgot the names of the people they passed the ball to or it. All of the other team were out. Time for us to take revenge. ha ha(wicked laughter ). The minute we started hitting, we forgot names too but a few of the guys had damn good aim and many of the inner team got knocked out. There were only 4 of us remaining in the outer circle. We girls kept passing to the guys (coz our aiming sucked big time !!). We finally nailed the job of getting more people out than the other team. That win felt good.(even without much contribution he he he).
We had 2 other games, one with 5 people in each team where we needed to get to a hanging rope located at a distance. That, in my opinion required architectural skill and a one tall guy please. We had dearth of tall guys. So, you know the outcome of the game. The next game was a rope game involving a figure eight knot with about 12 people on each team where once a person holds the rope at a certain position can’t let go till the eight knot is done. Our team came up with the idea of having 4 people on one side and 8 on the other. We lost to the other team. Just guess what they did !!
We then had this game with numbers inside a circle. We needed to touch the numbers in ascending order where not more than 1 person could be inside the circle and could touch only one number during that duration. We were able to do this in close to 15 seconds. This was achieved with good strategy and lot of laziness !! That was because most of us did not go into the circle to touch the numbers, we did it from outside. voila !!
Onto the next game, it was the palm and feet game. The objective of the game was we had to keep only as many feet and palms on the ground as was told to us. Man !! this probably created the loudest volume from all of us. We all had our viewpoints on how it could be done and none of us backed down. If somebody had a thermometer, the temperature would have been really high at the time. Imagine a 16 10 (16 hands and 10 feet) hmmm.. and a 24 0 .This was dreadfully painful, I had cramps for two days. It was nothing short of gymnastics. Also, there were many times the guys had to bear other heavyweights.Ouch !!
By the time this was over, we were all longing for a nice cozy bed.(which we did not get..we still had half the day left.) Murphy’s law prevails, you know. Thou shall get everything ..except what you ask for .
The last game of the day was blind man…An intricate maze of rope was laid out by our trainers and our task was to cross the maze without touching the ropes. Fair enough,right ? Wrong.,then came the catch…we had to do it blind folded. Me and another guy took first shot at it, it was one navigator per blind folded person. We had a number of fouls by the end of it. But it was an interesting game.Maybe, we needed a common language instead of english. YOu never know. By this time, many of them had already tried with a different approach through the maze. Then i took a shot at the blind fold. Its a different feeling of being led by just a voice and not knowing where to go. Sounds distinctly like life. Scary, init ?? It was like the teacher and the student and how well we listen to them. If it had been one of my engineering lecturers, I would have done the exact opposite of what they instructed. I would do so either because I don’t trust them or purely out of spite(he he he).
The serious play was done( what an oxymoron !!) ..So we went for the coracle ride. That was simply out of this world. It was so breathtakingly calm on the river. And out on the horizon the setting sun shone and was letting the night take over. It was a sight to behold, the valley with the coracles slowing flowing down the river cauvery. All thoughts had gone out of my mind and it was a blissful river ride. Pity, I dint have a camera. The boatman told us about the crocs. Said that they needed it to be deathly quiet to come out. So also the elephants and the deers. But the birds were there, beautiful migratory birds and thats all we got to see.
We reached the shore and I took a frenzy of pictures like some photo maniac. (yeah well, one does not get to see such beautiful evenings so often, not in the city atleast) We went back to camp and had hot tea by the river. Imagine that! I wish words were like our eyes that can capture every detail and retain them. But we can’t and any description wouldn’t suffice for what was in front of us.
We had a nice singing session by our very own kannada sanga and tamil sanga. It was loud and went on for a long time in the rope jhula where at least 15 of us were sitting. We girls were scared that it was going to give away. Then finally when it was time to eat, everyone got down. The snacks came out along with the drinks. Drinkers and non drinkers got divided. I must admit those who were drunk had more fun than us teetotalers. We had to make do with only 2 real fruit juice cartons. For lack on knowledge on any drinks, let me say litchi juice tastes good. yumm…And then there were many an interesting conversations that either I can’t write in this blog or don’t know about. There were conversations on an entire interview round,applied mathematics,stem cells and about the surface area of a bottle.(that must have got you thinking). It was a beautiful night, with a nice camp fire and with a nice spacious tent with a cozy bed, sleep crept in on me and cradled me in a peaceful slumber.
Early next morning was even more beautiful and very calm. This was nature without human intervention. Had tea by the riverside with only the sound of the rushing river for company. Most of us geared up for a trek and started on a man made path behind the camp. After half an hour of trudging, we could see the course of the beautiful river from the top. We had gone there with sticks for support. We all ended up looking like shepherds out to graze sheep. To prove the point right, a teammate climbed up a tree. He looked right at home. lol.
It felt very good there, too bad we had to get back . On our way back, we made a world record of maximum number of slides and falls for the shortest distance and some good conversations .I must say, it is the loneliness of a trek that makes you get to know the person in fornt of you and behind you.
Then we had breakfast. Other conversations came up, about one of the guys being renamed as God, whether lacoste has a croc tail up or down and the guys’ night time trek. ( I wonder if they knew where they were going ). For further story details, contact my colleagues. Well, after the scrumptious breakfast and bath, we were all set to enjoy ourselves, but our trainers had other plans. moan !!
We were gonna play a new game. Two teams again, and a cross section of ropes that crisscrossed to make small compartments. Objective of the game – all members to go through the gap between i.e. the compartment. We were like, you gotta be kidding me. But, hell we were going to try even if only to lose. We tried once, and fouled.Then, the other team tried and fouled. You would say, why not take the lowest path, it would get everyone onto the other side easily. Here’s the catch, we could not use the same compartment twice. We played this game for a total of 3 hours. uffff.. We had to lift people and get them to the other side. We even had a ganapati bappa moreya “nara” after a while. But however long it took, we learnt to keep our emotions under wrap. Sometimes, it does not help being excitable. The wise tortoise’s route of slow and steady made us win. .
We then had a what did we learn from this session where we expressed what we felt. We came away with more friends and more acquaintances, lessons learnt and a beautiful memory that would make us smile each time we remember this. I would say the objective was achieved.
After lunch, we headed back to Bangalore carrying with us luggage and memories for a lifetime.
Somehow, somewhere its how we perceive a journey. Its was like we sometimes let ourselves go our creative batteries run low. As for me, I am on a roll and onto changing things for myself rather than waiting it out. I think the others would vouch the same.
To end with, here’s another quote-
“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways – Chardonnay in one hand – chocolate in the other – body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO, What a Ride”