Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Kodaikanal-An unforgettable trip!

When I heard about the tour plans to visit Kodaikanal, I was eager to be a part of the excursion. The reason - I wanted to relive my 12th std. tour. The memories of that tour are still fresh in my mind. All the 26 students of our class went and enjoyed every moment of the 3 days journey and sightseeing in Thekkady and Kodaikanal.

I thought this time too we all would have a blast and cherish those moments for life.
Now, I think I have had a bigger blast than I had ever imagined…and thus made it the most memorable of all the excursions I have ever been on with my friends.

I will come to the “memorable” part later.

On the D-day, 24 March 2005, everyone was ready with packed bags and full of energy to dance and scream during the 12-hour travel in the bus.

And here, Meenakshi and I were waiting for our technical interview at AU.

Meens was sure not to miss out on the fun even if it meant traveling with her friend and joining
the others at Kodaikanal the next day. But I had left it to my fate to decide if I am going or not. If I do get to join the party, well and good. If not, then I will spend the 3 days blogging. Anything was fine with me.

Everyone was waiting for our arrival at Tambaram right from 2.30 p.m.
We had our interviews scheduled for 4.00 p.m. and 4.30 p.m.

Every now and then we got a phone call asking if our interview was over and if not when would it start, how long it will take, and ‘all-the-best’ wishes.
As usual there was a delay of one hour before our turn came, and as I came down the stairs after my interview at around 6.15 p.m. I saw Meens talking to Rajesh over the mobile. The expression on her face screamed out that all had lost their patience waiting for us and we had to hurry…I mean HURRY!

We ran for our lives towards the exit gate in AU, wondering how everyone would react when they see us…we could imagine all shouting at the top of their voices, but we didn’t really know ‘what’ they would say…a joyous welcome like “Yayyyy! They have come!” or “Hmph! They have come!”, mumbling curses under their breath.

After a long time, bargaining with the auto driver, we were on our way to Tambaram. We swept our purses clean, fishing out every rupee note and coin to pay the auto fare.
As we reached our destination, we were relieved to hear the former welcome statement accompanied by a good applause by our friends. We felt like heroes…to be precise, heroines.

By, we were on our way to Kodaikanal, leaving all the tensions behind us.

I found that everyone in the bus was more exhausted than us. Obviously, waiting under the hot sun for 5 hours would drain anybody’s enthusiasm.

As we all were settling in the tour mood, a group of friends started chatting with our M’am about our dreams, ambitions and how the past 4 years at college has ruined us intellectually.

That was when I was surprised to find that Rajesh, the most popular guy in our department, and I think alike. And that too just 5 days before the last day at college! Sigh!

Later, at around 9 or 10 p.m., we heard from the AU volunteer that I was ‘almost’ selected at TI. Now, I didn’t know what that ‘almost’ meant…was it like I almost got the job and there is still another interview to attend, or that I almost got selected but didn’t make it. Neither did he.

Pushing that thought into ‘I-will-think-about-it-later’ box in my head, I was looking forward to seeing Kodai.

25,March 2005.

Early morning the next day, there was a feast waiting for my eyes. As I woke from my slumber, I saw we were going uphill, leaving the hot and steaming terra firma behind us into the land of icy-cold-minus-the-ice, 2030 meters above the sea level.

We checked into the hotel, which was the very next door to where I had stayed with my school friends during the trip here 4 years ago.

By around 11 a.m., all were ready to go sightseeing.

The first spot we stopped at was what they called a “waterfall”.
Well, just because water falls and cascades down the rocks, it cannot be termed as a waterfall. It was nothing but gutter water making its way down to some river. Since the slippery rocks gave one the ‘adventure factor’, many were trying to get to the top most point possible and take snaps.

The next stop was at Dolphin Nose. The road to reach this place gives you a tummy rolling drive in your vehicle. But we were in the safe hands of a seasoned driver with 15 years of experience driving on such roads…so no worries. The Dolphin Nose is the edge of a cliff, which has a few rocks jutting out resembling a dolphin’s nose.
The view was breathtaking…literally. By the time you reach down to see the Dolphin Nose, you are out of breath. I hope I got some really good snaps of that view. I’ll post them all when they are ready.

Beyond this point there is another place called Echo Rock. I didn’t go there.
It took half an hour or more and an Amul Badam milk and a coconut water to reach back to the top. The amazing thing I noticed was that the roots of the trees lining the path down to that point posed as a flight of stairs…and a very strong one at that! Mother Nature!

After an adventurous trekking, we made our way back to the town, had lunch and got ready for the next thing to do- boating and cycling.

We went on boating first…in a boat that wouldn’t move how much ever force Vijay and Sudarsun applied on the pedals. I was the navigator. Deepika was the passenger.
We couldn’t go far enough in the lake…our time was up by then and the rescue boat and other staffs of the boating club were calling us again and again, distracting Vijay’s and Sudarsun’s attention from their concentrated efforts to pedal.

Then we went to get our cycles for rent and go on a 5 kms. trail around the lake. It was dark by the time we returned, so we decided to come again the next day… Now I feel that it was not a good decision. You’ll know why.

Later in the evening, on calling our placement head, I learnt that I had been called for the HR interview at 7.30 p.m. the previous day but I had already left by then. This meant I had to meet her at college on Monday and know the details about when and where I have to attend the interview. God! Help me!

26,March 2005

The next day again we left the hotel at 11 a.m. for this place called Silent Valley.
This place was really beautiful. From the edge of the rock we were standing on, we could see the colorful flora down below, which looked like the florets of a cauliflower.
Also the face of the rock is so steep that the clouds hitting the rock are pushed upwards like the smoke of a chugging train. It looks like a chimney and someone is cooking such a big feast down there that the smoke never stops coming.
I was trying out my photographic skills to capture the sheer beauty of the valley, which I really hope comes out well.

The next place we visited was the ‘Thoppi Thooki Paarai’. Given the right pressure and temperature, the cap thrown from this point will come back like a boomerang. I thought there would be vendors, selling caps for 5 or 10 rupees and refunding us if we succeeded in our attempt to bring out the aborigine in us. But surprisingly, there were none. Maybe this was not the season for throwing caps.

I witnessed another of Nature’s innumerable miracles! From a particular position there, one can see the profiles of 3 human faces etched out on the steep face of the rock. The topmost one being that of a child’s, below that of an old man with a crooked nose and further below a middle-aged man’s profile. It was as if someone had actually climbed down there and carved out those figures on the hard rock. Unfortunately I couldn’t capture it on my camera as the sturdy rock shied away behind the curtains of the cottony white clouds.

Further down the road there was Berinjam Lake. This place is a real beauty with the mountains bordering the lake. The banks of the lake make a typical background for a romantic Hindi song where the hero and the heroine run around the trees and slide down the slopy bank covered with dry but soft leaves. But the presence of the pitch-black ravens was an eyesore… or was it a sign of something bad waiting for me..?

A few hours later, we were back in the town with our cycles. Then the dreadful happened … I met with an accident. But I won’t go into the details now else I’ll spoil the image of the ethereal beauty I created before your eyes.

I couldn’t attend the campfire due to the accident. Deepika and Sudarsun reached late only to find the others boarding the bus to come back to the hotel. That was like splashing a bucket of freezing cold water on Deepika ‘coz she had planned long before what dress and accessories to wear for the campfire.
At midnight, we celebrated the birthdays of two friends- Kanchana and Anitha Jasmine. We created so much noise that we had to be warned by the hotel staff to close the door before screaming.

27,March 2005:

We checked out of our rooms by 10 in the morning. We were to go shopping at the local market and visit Pillar rock and suicide point before leaving for Madurai.

There was nothing to see at Pillar rock as the rock itself was covered with clouds.

The same was the case with the suicide point. But I did notice some difference from the last time I saw this place, 4 years ago.
Then: There were banners here and there to make the people coming here with the intention of suicide, change their minds .For e.g. Just before you reach the suicide point, there was a huge board, which said, ”Jesus loves you”.
Now: There is a huge hoarding of a jeans brand with the words …believe it or not…”No Escape”.

Then: The end of the flight of stairs led to a space with just a small wall with no other barrier.
Now: The suicide point has lost its meaning ‘coz it no longer seems to be a place where one can suicide without being distracted from the home made chocolates or the wooden showpieces. So
Many tiny shops have mushroomed up that the authorities would have to consider extending the ‘suicide point’ to accommodate them to prevent any accidents due to overcrowding in the shops.

Then: I remember a group of people cheering a couple of very ‘busy’ monkeys who were used to the humans peeping into the privacy of their open bedroom.
Now: I saw a monkey and its young one, symbolizing the universal bond of a mother and a child. This time I photographed it. Hmmm…I wonder if it is the same monkey I mentioned above.

Time to come down the slopes of everlasting beauty…

We stopped at this place with a funny name, Batlagunda, I suppose, for lunch. That was when the driver of our bus started bickering about going to Madurai Meenakshi temple, as that would delay our journey back to Chennai. At last, we decided to go to the Samayapuram temple near Trichy. We had a good darshan of the Lordess and I reached home contented that the trip was “fine” and I managed to be back in ‘one piece’.


Dilip said...

I also visited Kodai in this season .. Surely we can call it as the Gem of Hill stations..See my kodaikanal
My diary

Anonymous said...


hey deeps
i think u can try ur hand in writing travel articles for the news papers. the blog was good.

hey, i gotta tell u something important. This guy Rajesh in the first paragraph seems a very good person in the passage. i think u shuld keep in touch with him. Something tells me that this guy rajesh is seriously impressed about ur blogs or else he won't be talkin abt ur blogs with his friends. poor people they didn't have a clue about what he was talkin about ha ha ha.....