Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 2 of the trip...

I meant to write about this sooner but it has been a crazzzy three weeks! My cousins from the States had come over for two weeks (they were here from 11th of July till the 25th) and they were just too adorable to not play with (I have an almost six year old sister and an eleven year old brother!) So even though it had been constantly on my mind that I had promised to write about day 2 of the trip, I somehow wasn’t able to.

Moreover, my lectures finally started on the 13th! So that week I was “professing” (as Joey puts it :-p) in the morning and in the afternoons (will elaborate on that in a separate post) and therefore I’ve been busy. I’ve not been teaching during the last two weeks but have just been plain lazy to write and because of that it has taken this long for me to write about the second day of our trip.

Well, it’s never too late. So here goes…

Please click on the images to see the full sized versions.

Waking up...
The following morning we woke up with massive body pains and it felt as if someone had put a heavy load on our legs! It was seemingly impossible to lift one leg without experiencing shooting pains in our thighs and the simple activity of walking which is easily accomplished even by a three year old with such grace and perfection was beginning to feel like a task which we would rather not do for a few days! (Wow! That was a long sentence!)

We had to drag ourselves out of bed and even though it was nine thirty in the morning by the time we woke up we still felt that it was early; well, at least for me!

The guys had slept well since they had fallen asleep as soon as we all came back to our rooms after dinner. Also they had the fan running in their room all through the night! Jyothi slept well even though I was coughing hysterically every few minutes and there was no electricity in our room. Kamya and I were up almost till three or four in the morning; me – because I couldn’t sleep due to the cough; and her – because there was no electricity in our room.

In the morning, we chatted for sometime before we decided to go down for breakfast after which we went to the terrace of our hotel and hung out for a while. We talked about quite a lot of stuff, discussed the previous days events (the guys cursing all over again while talking about how long the climb took and it seemed as if we would never reach the peak) some secrets were revealed and I ended up embarrassing myself more than I had ever done before but still didn’t shut up till Jyothi actually put her hand over my mouth and asked me to ‘Stop Talking!’

We finally decided to start our day and went back to our rooms to get ready at around twelve thirty and were off by around one fifteen. There was this waterfall that we wanted to see and were all ready to have a bath once again if we all felt like it; although the thought of being pounded by water falling with tremendous force from a great height on our already hurting bodies was not my idea of what I wanted to do on a holiday.

The Drive...
It was almost the same route that we took to reach Bari village but we took a diversion some where in the middle for Bhandardara and the view was just as beautiful as it was enroute to Kalsubai peak! I took three videos of just the road much to the annoyance of the entire gang. They were of the opinion that it would be better if videos had people in them so that we could see familiar faces when we watched the videos once we were back home. They said everyone would get bored looking at the road and the scenery around it and no one would want to see the video (which is why I am not posting all the videos here) to which I responded by saying that I was shooting them for me so that I could remember the entire experience and enjoy the beauty of the place :-)

The Dam...
We had to ask a lot of people about the route as we didn’t know the way. Soon enough we reached this place that had a huge dam and it was called Wilson Dam.

The dam is on Arthur Lake which is formed by the waters of Pravara River in the Bhandardara region and is a few kilometers from Igatpuri. The Wilson dam which is situated about 492 feet above sea level was built in 1910 on the Pravara River. The water from the dam is used for hydro electric power generation. The main dam area is closed for tourists. The Arthur Lake is a picnic spot attracting tourists by the hordes. The image of Mount Kalsubai which is the highest peak (5,400 feet above sea level) of the Sahyadri range in Maharashtra is beautifully reflected in the backwaters of the Wilson Dam. From the Bhandardara region one can also see the Mahuli fort which has seen many fierce battles being fought here.

The Waterfalls...
We wanted to see Randha waterfalls so we went still further and were there in about twenty more minutes. We also discovered that a waterfall is called Dhab dhaba in Marathi (thanks to Aditya!)

Here’s some information about the waterfall…

Placed in the Igatpuri region of the Sahyadris is the Randha Falls. It is 45 metres high and is 11 kilometers from Wilson Dam. The water of the falls is used for generation of hydro-power. The falls is a tourist spot at Bhandardara.

10 kilometers down river, the serenity is zonked by the thunder of the Randha Falls. The Pravara River plunks 170 feet down into a gullet and creates a breathtaking sight. This is the third largest falls in India. On the drops behind there are nearly a dozen huge beehives which are very interesting to watch.

Once again it was a beautiful sight to watch and we had our share of fun looking around, clicking loads of pictures and it was almost three thirty in the afternoon by the time we were on our way back to the hotel.

Drive back to the Hotel, Lunch and Winding up...
On our way back we could see the Sahyadris and were wondering how the hell we managed to reach all the way till the top; especially me – who almost collapsed ten minutes after we started the ascent. At this, Madhu asked Amit if someone gave him fifty thousand Rupees, would he climb the Kalsubai once again today (that is immediately the day after we originally went on the trek…) at which Amit said things I can’t post on the blog! :-p

At that point (with our bodies still aching) all we wanted to do was go back to the hotel, have some good food and come back home. We reached the hotel at about four forty five in the evening and immediately placed the order for food. It was five thirty by the time the main course actually arrived and close to six thirty when we were done.

We decided to wait for a while before we started off since we had just eaten and as the road was winding down hill it could lead to motion sickness and no one was in the mood to throw up. So we went back to our rooms, relaxed for a while, packed all our belongings carefully and ensured that we left nothing behind when we realized that Amit’s camera couldn’t be found.

We looked everywhere and tried to recollect when the last time we saw it was. Jyothi and I realized that we had kept it in Vishal’s backpack with her camera and all our phones and wanted to use it to click pictures while we were at the waterfalls but couldn’t find it in the bag and had to use Jyothi’s camera since it was right there when we opened Vishal’s bag.

We searched all our bags, all the drawers in both the rooms to ensure we hadn’t kept it there by mistake. We were positive that we had kept it in Vishal’s bag and wanted to be extremely sure before we could report theft to the hotel authorities. We decided to check Vishal’s bag once again and thankfully found it in some corner of some section of the bag where it wasn’t supposed to be! No wonder we couldn’t find it!

To celebrate that nothing was lost (as opposed to Amit’s wallet being stolen in the train early in the morning while disembarking at Dadar Station when we were on our way to Harshgiri Lake Resort, Asangaon in December 2006 and Omkar’s wallet being stolen just before we were about to return from the same trip!) we decided to click a group picture and a picture of the hotel!

On our way back Home...
So we went Ganpati Bappa… Morya once again and began our journey back home. Two bottles of 7Up (300 ml each) were still left from the previous night and everyone wanted a sip. Amit, Jyothi and Madhu were at the back with the soda while Vishal, Kamya and I were in the middle of the car and Aditya as usual was in the front with the driver. The three of them at the back each had a sip and passed on the bottle to Vishal when he said even he wanted some 7Up and then I did the most natural thing; I took the bottle from Vishal and took a big swig myself only to realize that there was Vodka mixed in it and only 20% was actually 7Up!!

The minute my expression changed, everyone (except Aditya who didn’t know what was going on) burst out laughing! I had no other option but to gulp it all down. When the first bottle got over the second bottle was being circulated, it again came from Vishal to me and this time I decided to check before I drank as Vishal warned me not to drink and said that there was Vodka in the second bottle as well. I shook the bottle a little to see soda forming bubbles in the bottle and was satisfied that it was in fact 7Up and Vishal was only kidding.

Kamya asked me to wait for a while before I opened the bottle to avoid spilling the entire thing in the car and I agreed. I waited for a few seconds for the fizz to settle down and decided to be doubly sure and checked the seal of the bottle which appeared to be intact. Once I saw that the bubbles had become lesser I slowly opened the bottle to let the gas out little by little (which in my defense did come out as it does when you open a new bottle of Coke or Pepsi) and had an even bigger swig than the last and was duped again this time making everyone laugh harder at my foolishness!

Vishal laughed that suggested, I told you so, which he had so I felt all the more silly but let it pass. I later found out that the guys had planned this the previous night itself when I did not drink and apparently three fourths of what was remaining in the bottle of Vodka from the night before was mixed in these two bottles of 7Up (after drinking most of it to create space for the Vodka) so it was as good as having it neat!

The laughter went on for a few minutes and died eventually. We were getting bored listening to the same songs for the last two days and wanted a change so we decided to play some games. We tried playing Chinese Whisper but since everyone was seated at places which weren’t strategically conducive to play the game we decided to play something else after one round of Chinese Whisper.

The new game was such that one person would start with a story, say a few lines and the next person would continue the story in the way he/ she deemed fit. So Madhu started the first story about a guy who was working in his office and steps out for a smoke. From there the story went on to say that he went to a massage parlor, was locked in Jail at the police station where he had to perform favors in order to get out of there and the guy ended up having such a disastrous experience (an experience nonetheless :-p) depending on the creativity of every single person in the group!

So we decided to end the story and the ground rules for the next story were laid – no nonsense, no homosexuals and no unnecessary sex in the stories; and we were worried that these rules would make the stories dry and devoid of fun. Fortunately we had Jyothi who took care of that problem in the second story which I started and was about a guy named Santosh (after our guide who climbed the Kalsubai with us) who was a wood cutter in a village. I said that he was cutting wood one afternoon in the forest when he suddenly heard someone wailing and the sound was coming from somewhere nearby and he went on to see what was happening (hoping that it would turn out to be a horror story with some ghosts!)

Vishal who was to continue the story right after me said that when Santosh went on to see who was making those noises, he discovered that it was in fact a dog and when Santosh got closer, the dog bit him (this, after being bitten by a dog himself just a few days back! Vishal wanted someone else to go through the experience of being injected every few days as well and so our character was his guinea pig.) So Vishal ended by saying that Santosh went to the doctor to get treated for the dog bite.

Jyothi was next who said that since Santosh was poor and didn’t have any money to pay for his treatment (there were no doctors in the village apparently and he had to go all the way to a hospital in the city) the doctor asked him to sell his kidney to which poor Santosh agreed! Now can you believe that? She made him sell his kidney!

From selling his kidney the poor guy went on to discovering that the dog that bit him was a creature from outer space that could change form as and when it desired, that there was a racket going on in the hospital and it traded in kidneys, etc., being captured by aliens and taken to another planet where they performed research on his body to be able to make Humanoids (like The Terminator was.) Also, he discovered that aliens on that planet were planting kidneys, hearts and lungs and trees grew that bore more kidneys, hearts, lungs, etc. that were used to create the Humanoids (silly… I know… but who said the stories made sense???) Unfortunately since it has been so long since it happened, I don’t remember more details from the story or how it ended but it was very very funny.

There was a third story too that kind of inspired me to write a short story so will not give out details. Pretty soon we were bored of story telling as well and normal conversations were starting to take place and by ten thirty that night we were all back home and we discovered that we had saved a total of almost fifteen hundred rupees (thanks to Hotel Darna!!) compared to what we had estimated during the entire trip. So we decided that we would spend the amount the weekend after that by going to a movie or at dinner and said our bye-byes to each other.

Kamya and I stayed at Jyothi's place and the first thing I did after I had freshened up was transfer all the photos and videos from the cameras on to the computer and took a copy of the entire data on my phone (8GB phone memory is a boon!)

I couldn’t resist so I saw all the photos and videos that night before I went off to sleep. Jyothi had slept early since she had to get up and go to school early the next morning (she’s a teacher in our school now… temporarily filling in for one of our teachers who resigned this year) where as Kamya was watching TV! So I was in the living room by myself (didn’t want to disturb the other two another night with my cough) and slept there.

I didn’t even realize when those two woke up and left as it was almost ten by the time I woke up. Only Jyothi's mom was there. So I spent sometime with her and then went to Madhu’s place (who lives just across the street) where Amit and Jyothi arrived in sometime and was there till evening to see Madhu off to Hyderabad for a few weeks and came back home to start writing about day one of the trek ;-)

- Nikita.

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