Category Archives: travelogue

Trek to Nagalapuram

Am I the only person uttering ‘Nagalapuram’ in extreme low pitched deep bass voice. Com’on ! At least you might gave a shot once. Yeah! This brand has a witty slithering essence to it right. Whatever, Lets rewind !! Shall we?

Thursday morning (13th Aug), as I was sharing my dream with Alia Bhatt; I got kicked out of it when my smart phone screamed out loud. My friend it was.

“Where are you..??”

“Bed”

“Any plans on weekend..??”

“No..Not yet.”

“Lets hike Nagalapuram.”

“Assemble the team” I replied with my husky voice and hung the call.

Nagalapuram Trekking starting point
Nagalapuram Trekking starting point – © LifeofSamuell

We are kinda crazy fellas who plans a trip for an entire year and never executes it but a sudden plan will always turn into a wonderful experience. Phone calls everywhere and the trip is officially announced in Whatsapp. Nine people, two light motors, one destination was the plan. rs700 x 9 = rs6300 was the budget.

Things should get fucked up somewhere and this time it was the ride. One of the light motor was busy on the scheduled date and we had to come up with another solution and that was to replace it with two bikes.

Now we are good to go.

Saturday- 69th Independence day, noon we buckled up, filled the tanks and set the Google Map pin on Arai, Andra Pradesh.

I prefered bike ride. The reason is that I had been the rider and the pillion; trust me there is no satisfaction when you are the rider according to me. Every dot on the Google Map has an unique artistry, essence, music and aroma which you don’t get a chance to feel or live the moment if you are busy with traffic signal or balancing the clutch plate against the gear wheel or-else you get squeezed into the light motor with air conditioner aimed towards your skull and speakers with shitty song to your ear drum. Once an wise man said, “The Journey is the destination”.

After one-eighty minutes of bike ride with lot of pit-stops to stretch the quad and refuel the tummy; we reached Arai, a village with vintage touch everywhere. It was three quarter past, We are in the plan to nap under the stars that night so we left the rides back in the village and walked towards the lake near the foot of the hills.

Hike through heavy rain
Hike through heavy rain – © LifeofSamuell

We are pleasantly surprised thanks to the sudden rain from nowhere. Even an apocalypse can’t stop us that day. We still kept hiking towards the hills across the lake. The rain gave us the energy by not letting the sun to suck it up. We are super wet and really excited.

We encountered lot of IT clans on their way down the hill. Maari the trek guide, at his mid thirties,short beard, dark and athletic fit took the lead with the tent above his head. We followed. Not a hard trek I must say. We had to stop in the mid way since we are camping. The rain took a break.

Home sweet home !!
Home sweet home !! – © LifeofSamuell

Maari hooked-up the rope between the trees and set the tent which could fit 10 people. Wet clothes were dried and we decided for a fun bath at the nearest brook. Maari went up the hill gathered the woods for the fire. He and his assistant lighted up the campfire. We had a dependency issue since nothing was planned ahead for the hiking. After the fun bath we sat infront of the fire to gain back the lost temperature.

Sun left us back as it is time to greet the States. Within few hours we are surrounded by nothing but darkness. Very first rule of camping is always bring the torch light. We are nine in numbers and ended up with 2 torch lights. Few inside the tent discussing about the future and the present, few struggling with the fire and not let it die and few decided to take a small hike just to experience the unexpected. I was in the third category.

I was scared to death but I decided not to show up on the face. We hiked with a single torch light. Along the way we met a pedestrian trying to cross the path. He is nothing but a predator that stings with its tail.

We bumped into this creature when we hiked through Nagalapuram
We bumped into this creature when we hiked through Nagalapuram – © LifeofSamuell

“FUCKING HELL !! I’M OFF THIS PLANET” I pulled the other two and started walking back. Since the night hike fucked up we decided to find our food in the woods and eat like Bear Grylls does. You can ask us why such a decision?

Why not?

We saw a lot of fish when we had the bath so we ended up fishing. Since we are not prepared we used the lightweight bath towel and a torch. Since the goal is to experience the wilderness we decided to set our own fire from scratch.

Blood Sucker !!
Blood Sucker !! – © LifeofSamuell

We collected sticks, logs and woods from nearby and started setting our fire. It took us so long and we are about to quit but since it was wilderness we had no other option. We tried again and again. We burnt our eyes and fingers, sored our hips and knees, deflated our lungs over a million times and finally ended up with ashes.

“I think we must start over.”

“I’m done. I am ready to get stung by the scorpion but not this again” I replied with the jabbering voice.

“I think we should play low. Since this is out first camping we should start from rookie level. Let us use the fire made by Maari.”

“It is cheating”

“I’m dying”

“Why don’t we borrow some fire from our friends and we can return it back once we are done with it”

“Sounds like a plan”

We asked for some fire. They laughed back. We used some Bear Grylls quotes. They laughed more.

Campfire in Nagalapuram Trek
Campfire in Nagalapuram Trek – © LifeofSamuell

We set our borrowed fire and we struggled to keep it alive. By the time, the fishermen arrived with some fishes. We took a long stick to pierce the fishes.  We started barbecuing it.

The fish seemed dark and cooked. It looked awkward at first. I took the first bite and it tasted pretty good without spice or salt.

The land of Nagalapuram
The land of Nagalapuram – © LifeofSamuell

That night was not a normal routine night. We laughed on our own mistakes. We teased each other. There were zero technology. We spend the night talking to each other by gazing the stars. Sometimes all we need is a break from the stuffs around us and to look back the place once we came from.

Nagalapuram - The Fantasy land
Nagalapuram – The Fantasyland  © LifeofSamuell

You can think that we crazy people took a long drive, hiked in heavy rain, bumped into the venomous scorpion, slept under the stars but we had a different experience. We don’t claim that we really did something adventurous but we are pretty much sure that we didn’t do the routine stuffs.

“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it is lethal” – Paulo Coelho.

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Left or Right ??

One of my best friend lost his bachelor card in Wayanad, Kerala. We people with number of ten decided to set our foot on Wayanad to congratulate him and visit Wayanad. With lots of confusion and last-minute battle we buckled up in two rides. With two license holders in each car we left Chennai. Our ride started from OMR and another one from PARRYS CORNER. There is always someone who puts us delay when we plan to travel together and as expected we are behind schedule.The idea is to reach Wayanad at midnight so that we can have a nap and be there on wedding in good condition. So we decided to meet outside the city and travel together to save time.

I took the job which I had to yell out “TAKE THE LEFT” or “SECOND RIGHT” with Google maps. After meeting the other ride we started traveling together. I got a call from the other ride saying not to take any left or right but to stay on the highway. Within few minutes we got split up in traffic. At a point, Google lady said us to take the left which will take us away from the Highway. I asked them to stop the car and explained the situation. Either the bridge in front of us as instructed by the phone call or the road on the left instructed by Google lady. They left me to decide. Now I had to take a decision. Should I take the bridge or trust Google maps? What if we take Google’s way
1, We are not lost because all way leads to Rome, then why not Wayanad..??
2, Smart phones never lie.

“Take the left”, I said. My friend Guna turned the wheel left. One decision, just one decision took us in a different path, an entire different path.

Within few minutes the four lane turned into two lane, the street light started to fell apart, the straight road became bendy and crooky, level road turned out to be hilly and sloppy.

“Are we on the right path…??” Guna asked me.

“Yes, we are” I replied by looking at the screen.

The street light vanished away. There were no lights. It was pitch dark outside. Tall trees along the side, bright moon took the lead and we are taking orders from a machine. Rushing four wheels turned into sluggy eight wheels. We hardly saw family cars. We were literally lost.
“Are we going through a forest..??”
“Maybe” I replied.
“Are we lost..??” Guna asked.
A silence filled the space.
“Dai, look over there”
I looked up and saw a sign board welcoming us to Andra Pradesh. This is where I realized that we are lost in woods.
“I knew it fool, we are lost now” Guna in angry,
Lorries turned out to huge containers trucks. Guna felt hard to take over the container trucks because it is too lengthy to over take. He over took one and found a dozen infront of us. He felt irritated.
We were stopped and checked at two check-posts in Andra. The road took us to Karnataka. We again stopped at another check-post and they checked for drunk and driving.
After few minutes passing the third check-post Guna said ” I forgot my papers, I think it might be on the table in my home”
“What..??, No papers for the car..??”
” Nope”
.
.
.
Within few hundred meters…
.
.
“500 rupees for no proper papers. Either pay the fine or stay here”
“500 is too much sir”
“This is election time fellas, pay the fine or stay !! You got two choices”
“500..?? for just the papers…?? ”
” I can come down till 400, not less than 400 rupees”
Shiet !! No other go we had to pay the road tax to gear back on the road to Bangalore-Mysore-Wayanad.
Meanwhile the other figo took the bridge drove on the highway, on the highway, on the highway and reached Bangalore-Mysore-Wayand.
Before leaving Chennai, two figos traveled on the same way until one decision took naughty figo in an adventurous way with troubles, obstacles, pain and different experience.
In life people always say take this job like others do or take this higher studies like others do, so you will get a safe road in life with lights around,but in the end you don’t have a crazy story to share.

When both the ride met at Mysore, naughty one had a crazy story to share with.
Take risks, Trust your instinct and don’t forget to share the crazy story.

The Girl in Black Hoodie

Recently I was on a hiking trip to Kodaikanal with my buddies  and I experienced few life changing  moments which made me to write about it.

I was a couch potato until I got the golden ticket for the hiking trip which was already planned by my friends . The ticket was first actually offered to another person and finally it turned out to be me who was the extra seat filler. We were 6 of them including me. These guys picked me up near my room and we all bucked up and finally set to kodaikanal.

Next day morning we started our hiking. We walked and walked and walked and walked. I started feeling my knees shivering.  I started breaking down. After a long walk we reached the top of a mountain.

Its was a charming landscape. Blue mountains stacked up in rows, streaks of orange light gleaming through the clouds. This made me speechless.

I walked deeper towards the corner of the mountain and realized I was entirely surrounded by foreigners. People from different countries gathered on the mountain top. They gather around with african drums, guitars and singing. They are being what really they are. I hardly saw Indian hikers and trekkers around there.

While darting my eyes through the groups, an individual stole my attention. The lady in the black hoodie.

 “I’m a Talentscope” printed behind her hoodie. I went and sat behind her and that’s where I mugged this photograph.

the_black_beauty_smallimg

She was sitting all alone enjoying her fruit salad, highly energetic song from the black tiny box near her (you can see this on the picture near her), reading ‘The Alchemist’ and puffing her smoke.

She was looking at the sky in front of her dreaming, listening to the music and relaxing.

“What kind of life you were living..?? Being a couch potato and feeling so proud of it, what worthy of life u possess till now…?? Look around you moron !! What do you see..??” I started hearing questions deep inside me.

“When was the last time you really felt who you are…?? When was the last time you did what really you wanted…?? I can always hear answers “I can’t do that, I was busy doing nothing, I have an office work, I don have time” FUCK YOU !! Look at them. They did that, They too work for living, They find time in their busy schedule. Why  do you make reasons without trying even once.”

I felt shame of myself. I was looking at that lady without batting my eyes.

Man prays to God for a tiny place in heaven everyday but why they are keeping their eyes shut to enjoy the heaven God has already given. The mountain, sea, valley, rivers, plains, hills. Go out there. They are plenty of places God created for man. Go out there. See really who you are.

big_world

I heard the guide yelling at me “Bro !! its time, if you take time in all the places you will never reach the destination and you will sure miss the fun”

I took the bag and started walking. I chose not to look her face. Let her be The Lady in the Black Hoodie who taught me the most important lesson in my life.