Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gokarna/Karwar Beckons !

"Sair kar duniya ki Galib, yeh Jindagani phir kahan...Jindagani gar rahi tou ,naujawani phir kahan" !

On the advent of New Year, here I am sitting in office thinking what lies ahead of me in coming year. Somehow the gourmet lunch at Indijoe in the afternoon is not forcing my grey matters to work any faster as my whole body is asking for its share of doze. Nevertheless I have decided to jot down the experience which I had this Christmas weekend when I went to Gokarna/Karwar for aqua sports camp from Bangalore Mountaineering club (BMC).More than Gokarna, where I had been 3 times earlier, it was aqua sports event at Karwar that pulled me towards this trip as this was the first time I was about to try Kayaking,Canoeing in sea.

As per the initial plan we were about to leave at 8:30 pm from Bangalore on a push back 40-seater Bus. But destiny had some other plan as Bus didn’t arrive on time and we were rescheduled to leave around 12 midnight from Bangalore on three 13-seater Tempo Traveller. I and Carthik boarded the bus from symphony Theatre, MG Road at midnight and when you are calling people to MG Road on Christmas Eve midnight there is bound to be some high spirit(ual) libation in spite of mentioning it in the instruction list and that too right on top. So we took the bus in much needed high-spirits only to seat imprudently in the back seat (I am still repaying for the mistake in the form of backlog sleep, 3 days after the trip finished).Later 3 more girls joined us as we left Bangalore at around 1 am. When we left I was sure we would reach Gokarna by next day noon considering the traffic and distance which kind a made me a little judgmental about the whole trip. After travelling for some time I gained complete consciousness to realize back seats are not push back and this is going to be one of those insomniac nights. I switched on my iPod and started watching Anurag Kashyap’s yet to be released maverick movie called ‘Paanch’(a must watch by the way).I slept only for few hours later in the night after watching the whole movie only to be waken up by Sathya the next morning.

We reached a small town some 300 Km from Bangalore and had our much needed breakfast there. After boarding the bus we got introduced to the other members of the bus. It certainly looked an interesting bunch of people(m being politically correct here). First we played Dumb Charades for some time and then Sathya taught us a new game called Murderer. Murderer was indeed a good game and we all enjoyed it very much. Surprisingly I thought gals were much clever and swift winker than boys. After playing some more games we were a bit exhausted of travelling specially after ghat section and wanted to reach Gokarna at the earliest. We reached Gokarna around 2 pm and checked into a hotel for freshen up. We took lunch at the town and straightaway left for OM Beach. Though I have been to this place 3 times before, somehow the beaches in Gokarna still gives me goosebumps.The sight from top of those magnificent Rocky mountains amidst vast expanse of sea all around looks just picture perfect. We went to the beach and had a much needed bath to drained off our fatigue of travelling all day long. After spending some time in OM beach Carthik,Rahul ,Ravi and I left for our next destination Kudle Beach much earlier as we wanted to reach there before sunsets for another round of bath.Kudle Beach is believed to be much planer and good place for bath as compared to OM beach. Once sun was set we waited for others to join us there. When we didn't had any sight of them for sometime, we decided for a round of much needed spirit(ual) retreat. We thought of adding another B with two other Bs(namely Beach and Beauties) already around us in the restaurant. After sometime the whole troop joined us as they came to the beach in night with torch in hand. We tried to lit bonfire their valiantly but in vain. After many unsuccessful attempts we wrapped up things and left for Karwar.We took our dinner in Kamat and checked in the hotel after reaching Karwar, expecting an exciting day ahead.

I woke up next day morning pretty excited. We took breakfast and left for Rabindranath Tagore Beach in Karwar.It was quite an aloof and less crowded beach, quite unlike what we saw in Gokarna, if you know what I mean.Instructer gave us life jackets and gave us instructions of how to do Kayaking. Earlier I had seen Kayaks in Andaman but my parents didn’t allow me to do that that time. In a small way this was my moment of reckoning. The good thing about life jackets are after wearing them you normally lose your fear of drowning which forces you to do every possible stunt in sea, what you saw firangs doing all these years. After sometime I took one kayak and went on a voyage of my own. Towards the shore it was kind a hard to control the kayak but afterwards it went smooth as I started going away from shore. At times I felt like Tom Hanks of Cast Away with no one around and shore very far from my Kayak in the middle of the sea. The sheer adventure and pleasure of being on the sea all by myself gave me enough adrenaline to go more. I met some of the troop members along the way and everybody seems having a nice time. After some time one motor boat came to pick a guy whose kayak got drowned as he told me not to go far as wind direction is about to be changed after which it will be difficult bringing kayak back to shore. Thank god I payed heed to his advice as I saw how far I had come from shore. Now the arduous task for returning to the shore was about to began. After rowing for another half an hour or so I somehow felt I haven’t moved at all as shore still looks very much the same as earlier. But there was somehow no other option but to go on valiently.I increased my speed and pushed myself harder. After another half an hour or so I saw the yellow flag, in the middle of the sea, which was kind a much nearer to the shore. After rowing for some more time finally I reached shore only to be found toppled from boat by Carthik and Rashi.In all it was really an amazing experience altogether which I thoroughly enjoyed and will probably cut this from my bucket list.

After spending some time relaxing and playing football Ravi,Rahul,Carthik and me went to a nearby restaurant to have some local fish delicacies, which Karwar is famous for. After sometime things got a bit fishy and fish became a mere side dish to a bigger plan. We came back from there a bit high but only to be brought back to ground after we took our first dip in the water. Later in the day we tried Banana Boat ride which was really an amazing amazing fun. We tried hard to balance our boat but in vain and all of us fall in the water thrice in the whole ride. After spending some more time in water we waited for sunset. We left the beach after sunset towards our hotel. In the evening also we had some relishing sea food in the nearby restaurant. While coming back from Karwar ,Carthik got all pumped up and got the party started in the bus.We danced to some dance numbers in spite of the space crunch in Tempo traveller. Everybody had a nice time as we stopped in Kamat for Dinner. Next day we stopped somewhere near Tumkur for next day breakfast. We reached Bangalore around noon singing and dancing in full throttle. Somehow the amazing junta in the bus made our trip much shorter which relatively seemed very long while sitting in back seat of a Tempo Traveller.

At last I would like to thank everybody right from BMC,Sathya,Guru to all the travellers of the trip for making this a memorable one. I sincerely hope and wish our crossroads crosses as we go along the path of a bigger journey called Life.

Ciao and have a Blast this New Year !

P.S :- Last seat of Tempo traveller is not a push back. Kindly beware of this when u r going for trips around 500 Km long. This was issued in public interest.Belive me, u don’t want to be at the receiving end of this!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Raid de Cauvery in Cycle !

Its been a while I have blogged as I am forced to take a small hiatus from writing .But certainly a lot is happening in my life in last one month and I have been keeping a little busy these days(finally I have reached a stage in life where I am able to write this).Today only I returned back from a Christmas trip from Gokarna/Karwar and when you have travelled some 1000 odd KMs travelling in last seat of a Tempo Traveller in a span of 3 days, there is very little things you can do but write.But Believe u me, at times it is theraupitic.But this post is not about this trip as I am yet to conjure my thoughts in places which will take some time.

This post in particular is regarding the cycle trip to Cauvery Fishing Camp,situated some 120KM from Bangalore which I took some few weeks back.Perhaps my likening for cycle started when I went to Ladakh last August.There I saw few freaks who were cycling from Manali to Leh(477 Km) and some who were cycling in the highest motorable road in the world from Leh .That time we brushed any remote urge whatsoever there saying it is ony possible by firangs.But at the back of my mind I had a strong inclination of taking such a trip before I leave Oracle(Yes it happend finally! But it will be in different post in details ).I conveyd my plan to Suresh saying , “Abhi nahi to Kabhi nahin”.Finally we fixed a plan as Pratap,Gaurav,Vani and Kapil also hopped in.We researched for shops who rent cycle in Bangalore and found one near my place in J.P.Nagar itself.We bought some Energy Bars, RedBull and Gatorade for the D day.

We had plan of leaving Bangalore at 5 am as we wanted to cover maximum distance before sun rises.But we finally started at 6 am on a Sunday morning and somehow I am very glad about this.We started with full throttle as we crossed first 20KM in no time.Suddenly 110 KM seems very much attainable as I thought of streching our trip for another 40 KM to Shivasamudra.After crossing some 30 KM along the way we took our first break partially thanks to Suresh. It was around 8 am on a rather lazy morning in a small town at the outskirts of Bangalore ,people wake up to a rather subdued metallic sound.Suresh tripped over as he was trying to avoid the bike which came in front of him.There was something funny about the way he tripped as I could not resist my funny bone.After a small break we started again and decided to take breakfast in the next available dhaba in the Road.

(First Break before a placid lake during early morning sunrise)

(Surprisingly racing bikes does have side stand.BTW the leftmost one is not ours).

During this part of the journey it was nothing but urgency of breakfast that was pulling us all as I dropped my Shivasamudra plan gradually.But this breakfast juntion didn’t came soon as we crossed Kanakpura situated around 45KM from Bangalore.Finally after cycling for another 20 odd KM we stopped at a local theka where we took our much needed breakfast.Here we refueled ourselves with RedBull ,Gatorade ,local Dosa and Choclates.It was not so much the journey but the cycle seat which was bugging us all.I couldnot understand the reason behind making such a narrow cycle seat.It was our bums that on the saddle which was paining as we were paddling through the journey.Somehow I rememberd Saif Ali Khan sitting on top of the pillow in DCH and could understand the motivation behind doing that.
(Another halt before jungle section began)

As we were paddling through the journey Jungle section began.This was perhaps the best part of the journey as we were paddling through the road in the middle of Deep Jungle.Trees on the roadside was giving us much needed shade as Sun was blazing in its full glory.Suddenly in the middle of all the twists and turns on the road we again heard a familiar metallic thud.Suresh tipped over again but this time there was no bike which came in front of him.It was rather situational and momentary and he was able to recover within no time.Guess someody said it correctly, ‘Practice makes the man perfect’.Finally after pumping ahead for somemore time we reached Muthathi and could able to see river Cauvery.Seeing the water level of the river we immediatly felt Rafting is not a possiblilty.We reached Cauvery Fishing camp at around 1:30 pm. Finally the pain of exhaution was replaced by joy of accomplishment.It was certainly not an easy task considering we all were novic as far as cycling is concerned.

(Draining off our fatigue at cauvery water)

After spending some in camp we returned back to Muthathi.We crossed the river in Coracle and went to the opposite shore.We took much needed bath in Cauvery as we drained off all our fatigue.We loaded our cycle in Tempo traveller as we returned back to Bangalore by evening.In all it was my first attempt at cycling and I must confess it was a wonderful experiance alltogether.I am pretty much sure there would be many more attempts in years to come and who know you might catch me cycling in Khardungla,the highest motorable pass in the world in Ladakh pretty soon.

Bye for now.Its time for some serious ZZZsssss !

Ciao :)