It was 1:48am on Sunday morning. We had just reached the foothills of Skandhagiri. This was where the night trek was supposed to begin! We had a huge preparation behind this trek. From warm clothes, to trekking shoes, to water reserves, to food items to munch on, to cameras to carrying loads of energy and lots of enthusiasm to go up the hill on a clear Spring night. With cars zooming past us and the brightly lit Airport Road, the drive on our way to Skandhagiri on the B’lore-Hyderabad highway was no less exciting! Only that the excitement came to sudden halt when we reached the foothills.
There were several Policemen standing by the jeeps, carrying a stern look and that of suspicion on every vehicle that stopped by. They had some bikers stand in a line; had the pundit of the temple nearby with them too. They seemed to be threatening him and if put in softer words, rebuking him for some reason. As we stopped there, one of the Policemen approached us and peeped inside the vehicle. He looked rather cross with us from the very moment he set his eyes on us. Wonder why all Cops are Angry Men all the time!
Well, we slowly came out of our Qualis. And within moments, the two Cops came to our driver and started asking him to turn around the car and take us back! All this in Kannada, but you need no language to show or understand anger and rudeness… As they hit the roads with their “laathis”, we figured we were in no mood or foolishness to mess with the Cops there!
As we turned around Raghu immediately suggested we go up the Nandi Hills. Sounded like the perfect alternative to all of us. But the only problem was it was just too near and the main gates to go onto the top of the hill opened only at six!
Eight friends, sitting in a Qualis, some sleepy, some singing, have nearly four hours to spend in the darkness of nowhere…
Seemed just perfect!
To kill time, we stopped by at a kutti tea stall on the highway at around 2.30am. There were trucks surrounding us from almost all directions… our Driver was more interested in the tea than us, but slowly as the sleepy ones decided to get out of their slumbers we did get in a few cups as well. In all the strangeness, the only thing that interested Minakshi was the small TV screen strategically positioned in the tea stall playing apparently a Telugu movie – which she was rather excited to translate for us, only if she could lay her ears on it! Oh btw, I should tell you, she is one bong I know who can speak Telugu quite well.
After comfortably killing about half an hour there, just sipping over tea and trying to figure where the grapes were that KD brought with him; we headed for the Nandi Hills, at an unbelievably slow speed of about 25-30kmph covering a distance of just about 40kms! The only advantage of having driven so slow was the countless number of songs that were sung and played and enjoyed through the drive. One after the other, Raghu-the-DJ had to succumb to pressure of backseaters and give in to some of the most wonderful songs that Bollywood has produced in the recent times. We sang along and drove along our way!
Half way up the Hills, we halted to make some fire, enjoy some time star-gazing, playing catch-the-torch-light, listening to Amit sing some very profound songs… of course eating and clicking every now and then.
We talked about poetry, and philosophy – the understanding and not understanding of these two forms of writing, we talked about BITSian astronomy workshops, we relived the golden days of being seniors on campus and gained the age-old sadistic pleasure out of ragging the only junior among us – and she was a sport all through!
As the stars started to disappear, we took the final lap to the top, bought tickets and started the so-called night trek that we were supposed to have been doing only at 6am in the morning! And boy, was it not fun!
Of course it was. It was the company that mattered; and the versatility and randomness of our group made all the difference. Made the night more magical than we could have ever imagined!
Once at the top and a round of clicking was over, slowly for a while, all of us delved deeper into the silence that spelled around us. The vastness of nature, its beauty and its wonder – enveloped us with heavy winds blowing all over making us feel as if we could be flown away any moment. Into the open skies towards newer horizons.
The golden rays and cloudy streaks on a blue sky filled the heart with joy;
While the naughty monkeys ran all around quick and coy.
Something Apsara would surely agree with!
On our way down, we finally found the KD’s grapes and devoured on them. As we reached Blore, the frequent sudden breaks owing to city’s Sunday traffic woke me up to reality… and as the Qualis slowly started to get empty, our little adventure trip came to a close.
Oh btw, if you are wondering about the Cops and what happened with them… well, our small encounter ended right there. Thanks to Hindi movies! And we never found out what murder mystery they were after… I hope at least they did.