Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Here we go!!

The invites were sent
The party hats stood tall..

The goody bags were filled up
With toys and candies for all.

The balloons were arranged
In purple, green, yellow and red..

They had two gold ones among them
With teletubby-stickers decorated.

Ofcourse there was a cake
All set in the teletubbies theme..

And then there was me
Looking my best in colour cream.

All were taken to the party hall
To bedeck the place for the party..

Then people arrived and cake was cut,
They sang, wished and dined for me.

I smiled, I jumped, I had fun,
I played, I ran, I laughed and cried too.

And thats how my dear friends,
I, Snugster the twister, turned two :).

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snoogli bear turns two :).

There is a sweet ache in my heart. Time is flying so fast, that sometimes I want to shout at it to stop, to be more like a gentle breeze than a speedy wind, to take a breather and let me gather the moments that are scattering everywhere like petals from hundreds of blossoms. But does it listen? Do I even want it to listen? There is content attached with that sweet ache somewhere. Content to see the little bud blossom into a tiny flower, a talking walking tiny flower ;-), that occupies each and every moment of my existence. Do I want the little flower to go back to its budding stage? No. But it doesn't mean that I don't miss the bud :-\.

So goes the train of thoughts in my mind. Two years ago, I remember holding Snugli as a small squirming baby in my arms. You cannot imagine how much I miss that and as I even think about it, how I feel tears making their way to my eyes. It feels like so much has happened since then though it has been only two years. Yes, there are captured stills from different phases here and there, but I feel that I have missed to capture so much more. Many oh-so-many moments that I didn't manage to get hold of, that have now drifted away in memory so far that I cannot help but think of "if onlys". I know the moments are there somewhere within me, playing hide and seek, tormenting me since I know I can never discover their hiding place.

The infant in my arms has now grown into a toddler who still, thankfully, wants to be in my arms some days, though sadly, my arms now get tired more easily in the effort of holding her. Once unable to speak, now she has something new to say every minute of every hour of every day that she is not sleeping (well, there are exceptions in sleep too some days :-D). Just an year back, she wasn't even able to walk properly and now she runs and its not easy to catch a little gazelle who while making me feel out of breath, has more than enough strength to even laugh while running. An imp who is always interested in everything, so much that I hesitate to introduce a new activity just because I know I will get pestered again and again as a reward ;-).

As Snugli turns two years old, I celebrate my 2nd motherhood anniversary with lots of pride and a sense of accomplishment. Yet, there is still a part of me that wonders whether I am a good mother. Do I do everything that needs to be done, say everything that needs to be said and leave somethings unsaid when the occasion requires it? I can't say I do. Many a time I feel that I am ignorant, for Motherhood is such a vast subject that it can't really be learned by studying, can't be automatically gained just because I am literate. It has to be lived each and every day and sometimes I feel that I switch off, some circuit in my brain slacks and I do not live up to my true mother potential. As another year comes near, I can only hope that I am able to face up to the challenges of a troublesome two year old with more patience and more volume control ;-).

The sweet ache in my heart wrestles almost constantly with overwhelming joy, which in turn usually dominates and makes me forget all the aches and pains. Joy at how Snugli is growing up, gratification at the way we have been able to bring her up (nobody has any experience in parenthood until they have a child) and amazement at the miracle she has become in our lives. I had loads of doubts about how we will be able to teach her little things and somehow somewhere down the line, we got attuned by an inner instinct, so much that teaching isn't teaching but a natural way of bringing her up. But more amazing is her learning spirit. Its a miracle how that little brain processes and remembers, practices and sustains. Simply said, its beautiful :).

Happy 2nd birthday my little sweetu Snoogli bear. May you continue to be the miracle you are and brighten the lives of those around you. And happy 2nd parenthood anniversary to Sri and me. May the experience continue to be as rich and rewarding as it has been so far...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

An airplane away to autumn..

Have been meaning to write about this trip of ours for days now. I mean it is more than 2 months already! But as you do see, I had other things on my mind, mainly the BTFYA series (the incidents I had to write about all happened during this time, so well, you have nothing to complain about as you were getting more than enough posts from me :-D). But I haven't been able to get to the trip post at all and I am glad to get to this, believe me. Now this post is going to be a treat because for the first time on my blog, I'm putting up videos of my own :).

You know that fall is my favourite season and we usually have had trips just to see the colours. We always have wanted to head to the North-east US since the time we heard that fall colours are really impressive there. Finally the time for that arrived this year :). We actually planned the trip towards the end of October where we were getting a great deal on flight tickets and we would be able to stay there for 4 days. But later we found out that fall colours would peak somewhere in the second week of October there, so well, our "plan" didn't make any sense. So we actually booked tickets for 2nd weekend of October. Sadly this meant that our flights were timed in a way that technically we were able to be there only for 2 days. Plus we weren't getting a direct flight from Cincinnati (as per our earlier "plan"), but a 1-stop flight, that too from Dayton :(. But we had no choice :(.

And so on 10th October 2009, we left Lexington around 9:30 AM and drove north to Dayton. We had to catch a flight to Detroit at about 12:30 PM and from there to Boston, Massachusetts. I had packed Snugli's lunch and we picked up something for us to eat on the way. Again, I was worried about how Snugli would handle the flight, but she mostly slept through one and was pretty okay on the other, so it wasn't as big a deal as I thought it'd be. The cold hit us as soon as we landed in Boston and due to day-light savings end, the sun sets much sooner, so it was already dark when we landed there at about 6PM. We planned to drive to Manchester, North Hampshire which was about an hour away and planned to settle there for the night.

One thing we thought of half-outsourcing this time was Snugli's food. We did book hotel rooms with microwaves just like the Seattle trip, but this time we wanted to introduce her to outside food, if not the bland American food, atleast that available in Indian restaurants. So we planned it to be microwaved rice (curd rice with boiled veggies that I had packed and carried from home) in the noons and outside food in the nights. Since she is okay with a cheerios (a type of cereal) and bread, breakfast was fine and we bought fruits and biscuits for snack time :).So on the way to Manchester, we stopped at an Indian restaurant and fed ourselves and her some rotis and curd rice. The rice is a bit harder in the restaurants (not as soft as she is used to), but if requested, they heat it up and it may come to some type of mashable form :).

Next morning we set off on our Fall colour viewing drive to the White Mountains in the northern regions of North Hampshire. The drive was beautiful, as you can see ;-) (mute the player before you start off, since Sri is shouting something to Snugli :-D).

Our first stop was the Cannon mountain aerial tramway, just because we thought that the view from up should be pretty good :).

Here's the actual tramway:

When we arrived at the top, we found out that it was freezing! it was 2 degrees below 0 degree Celsius. Thankfully, Snugli was covered from head to foot, but we couldn't say the same for ourselves :-p.

We thought we should be able to trek for 1/2 a mile to an observation tower and back, but on the way Snugli got very quiet (probably because she was getting cold) and so Sri went back to the warm restaurant (the entry point for the tramway at the top), while I made a solo trek to the tower.

The view was pretty good all around, but sadly I can't say the same about the colours. The hike was pretty exerting and once I was back at the restaurant, we agreed that the colours weren't really as good as we expected them to be (atleast from here). Well, we were at the top, so we had to take the photos right? ;-).

After getting down the tramway, our plan was to drive on a scenic highway to see the colours all around the place. The drive was wonderful..

Its not that the colours were any different from the Smoky mountain ones, but these were more extensive. There were more stretches of colours together. So it was enjoyable. We made a couple of stops, but couldn't really stop at many others we wanted to, since the scenic highway became a two-lane road after a certain point and hence traffic literally stopped at a couple of places.

So we actually lost out on a rail ride on the mountains and a couple of waterfalls that I wanted to see. Oh well, that was it for the day.

Next morning, our plan was to drive through Boston and head to a bay south of Boston to do a whale-watching cruise. We had thought that if possible, we'll catch a quick break at the downtown Boston too. But on the way there, we found another place which was just half an hour away - Glouchester, Massachusetts hosting one of these type of cruises. So we headed there instead. The small town had a lovely bay..

We, especially Snugli, had a nice time walking around. We did go to a beach, but the water was brrrrrrrrrr-cold, so simply came back :).

I had lots of worries about the cruise as such. First, the water was pretty cold and hence the wind would be very chilly in the middle of the Atlantic ocean :-p. Second we just had our lunch and didn't know how Snugli would react to a boat trip in the swells of the sea right after lunch. There were restrooms on the boat, but it'd be difficult to handle her in there, since there were no changing tables as such. Also once we were on the way, there was no way to get off for 4-odd hours (that was the length of the cruise). But well, no sea sickness happened and we (make that Sri) were able to manage her pretty well.

The whale watching happens in the gulf of Maine which is supposedly a whale conservatory (fishing is controlled and absolutely no whaling is allowed) and there are lots of whales spotted there usually in summer to fall. The guide on the boat was a whale researcher and so were some of the crew members, so there was a loads of information that we got from the guide as such. The whales usually habit the gulf during summertime to feed and later migrate south in winter to breed. Since they don't feed at all in the winter, they literally guLum tons of fish during their stay in the Gulf of Maine.

And the whales, wow! That was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. They were soooo cool, literally and whimsically :). When we got the tickets, they had this statement saying that if there was so whale-sighting then they'd give us replacement tickets for some other time. So Sri kept saying that they'd probably show us one from far and then their obligation would be over ;-). But we encountered a group of 3 whales right away.

This was a group of 3 female whales, one named "Salt" - one of the earliest named whales, another named "Cardhu" and yet another, the guide couldn't recognize. They are named according to markings on their tail fin (and some other markings on their bodies) and each whale's tail fin is unique. They were quite fascinating to watch, blowing water through the blow holes and splashing their tail fins, obviously used to the people watching them. One even put its head out of the water to say Hello, which the guide assured us, was pretty rare :).

The way we kept the whales in sight was also pretty fascinating. The whales would stay around us for quite sometime (8-10 min) then plunge down into the depths of the ocean with spectacular dives. We would be unable to see them for around 5-10 min, but we would be on the lookout for them. Then they'd pop out of the water quite far away from the boat. Then the boat would speed up to catch up with them and slow down and cruise along with them :).

The sheer size of these creatures was mind-boggling. I mean if they chose to do something about the pestering boat around them, it'd be a piece of cake for them ;-). And its worth mentioning how less we know about these creatures. It seems all our studies are based on the time they spend above water (which makes up only about 10% of their lifetime) and no wonder, scientists still don't have concrete evidence of many of the gestures and sounds that the whales make (they do have theories).

After the 3 whales with whom we spent a long time, we got to see around 3 more individual whales, one of whom was named "Bat", again a female whale whose spectacular dive down I was able to capture in my camera :).

Meanwhile, Snugli loved the whales. I was hellbent on taking the photos, while Sri was carrying her around. When we pointed to the whales and asked her what it was she said "Bhale" (she didn't know the "va" sound :-D). Later for a couple of weeks she'd recall that we went on a boat and saw whales :-D. She saw them for quite sometime but later her afternoon nap caught up with her and she fell asleep in Sri's arms. We had good seating arrangements, so we were able to place her comfortably where we sat.

And that was about it. She slept almost until we got back to the shore and we just had a quick dinner at an Indian restaurant and retired for the night. We had an early morning 4AM flight from Boston to Detroit and then caught a late morning one to Dayton and had lunch at Cincinnati. I surprised myself on the 4AM flight, since I slept right through it (I have always watched the flight take-off and land in every flight I had been in until then and this was the first time I didn't :-O). In fact all of us slept right through it :-D.

The 2-day trip just didn't seem enough. I wish we could have been there for a couple more. We didn't get to see Boston at all and I wanted to visit the MIT campus atleast from outside :(. Also later we found out that the colours in Vermont are even better :-\. So maybe there is a next time ;-) :-D. But the best part as I said in my earlier post, was Snugli's potty training. She surprised me by asking to go to the restroom every single time when we were outside. She hardly used 1-2 diapers per day and it was totally thrilling. Well, you know what happened when we got back :-p. But right now she's almost back to that same level - she asks to go a couple of times per day and we take her the other times, so we are down to 1 or 2 diapers per day :).

Thats it about the trip. Before I say Au revoir, let me leave you with one of my standard road humour photos taken inbetween Dayton and Cincinnati..

Everyone needs more roads I say! Even the roads :-D.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The intrusion..

Well, its said that when a black cat crosses your path, you get bad luck. What happened when a deer crosses your path? You get a beautiful, beautiful moment :).

We have this golf course near our house which we don't drive by that often. But these days, since another road is usually blocked by holiday traffic, I usually drive through the golf-course road on my way to YMCA. On Friday, I just took a turn into the road, when a deer with beautiful antlers, made its way through an opening in the golf course, crossed the road and jumped across a fence to the orchard on the other side of the road. We have seen a baby deer on the same road some 2 years back, so seeing a deer wasn't really a surprise. I was thankfully quite far away from the deer, so by the time I pressed on the breaks, the deer was already clear :-D. It was such a small moment in the big picture of life, an unexpected encounter which brought a smile to my face :). It felt like a big HI from Mother Nature herself ;-).

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature" - Anne Frank.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

BTFYA 6 - To be or not to be in love :-D.

5 years ago, the song "Mujhe Pyar tumse nahin hein" from the movie Gharonda by Runa Laila was constantly on my mind for a long long time (love it btw).

Tumhe Ho Na Ho Muj...

Enough said :-D.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

BTFYA 5 - Self-doubt is the best doubt ;-).

5 years ago, around this time, I was in full panic mode. I think it was the worse I've ever felt in my life. I didn't know what to think, what to feel. I'm pretty sure, my parents, especially mom can give you a better account of how weirdly I was behaving. I was questioning myself, my judgment and there's nothing worse than that - to not be sure whether what your heart is telling you is right, to think of the what-ifs and lose the confidence you had when you actually made the decision. Maybe some of it was due to PMS, but that excuse is rather convenient according to me and so I would like to place the blame sorely on a girl who was trying to make sure that her decision was for the best, in this case myself.

I don't know if every girl goes through this phase, atleast I haven't heard any of my married friends talk about it - the phase of doubting the decision of marrying a guy once its been said out loud. Usually a girl knows that the guy is the one and thats it. No second thoughts, no self-doubts, only them and their happily ever after. Well, I was different to say the least. The second thoughts started only hours after I said "Yes" (I said it straight to Sri) and as time passed it grew steadily into total panic. I literally remember how I went from "Oh my God! I finally said Yes and he is the one" to "Oh my God! What have I done!". The next few days kinda were a haze of tears, blind hysteria and pure madness..

Oh yes, Sri was perfect, if only whatever he told me about himself was the truth. But what if it wasn't? I had heard too many horror stories about women who went into marriages where everything sounded hunky and dory and later it turned out that it was a far cry from that. Women who were told that they'd have freedom in the marriage only to find out that they wouldn't be allowed to set foot outside of the house. Women who were promised by men that they'd be together all their lives only to find out that they'd not even live with them after a month. Women who were given the green light to a career after marriage only to find out that it was all about the money. Women who were promised heaven and stars only to be brought down to earth with a crash into the worse kind of hell. I didn't want to be one of those women..

It was not only that I didn't know whether to trust him, but also the plain fact that I didn't know whether to trust my judgment. How do I know whether what my heart was telling me was right? I knew in my heart that he was a nice and truthful guy, but my brain kept questioning it. It was the age-old conflict between the heart and the mind and there seemed to be no way to resolve it. I was paralyzed with the fear that I was making a wrong move, but how to even determine that it was wrong?

My parents, though a bit dismayed by the way I was behaving, were somehow supportive of me. Mom even said that she'd call Sri's parents and tell them "No" if that was what I wanted. But strangely, I didn't want that either. As I said earlier, I couldn't be sure that my decision was totally wrong either. Finally what dad did was to find out more about him through whatever ways he could. Most of what we found out seemed to confirm what Sri had told us. But obviously professional stuff could be confirmed, but there was no way I could know about the personal until I took the plunge.

And one day suddenly, I woke up to a bright morning with a clear head and told mom that yes, I was ready and I wouldn't really worry about it anymore. Yes, he was the one and no matter what happened later, I didn't want to lose the present with all my "worries". Come what may, I would face it. And somehow that was it, I really felt a huge burden lifted off my heart. It didn't really mean that my worries and doubts were over. They lasted well into the marriage, but I didn't let them overwhelm me like that again. After a few days full of terror, I felt free. It was my choice and I would live with it. And that was okay..

Much later (actually much much later :-D), I did tell Sri about the whole madness and we have laughed about it together :). As you know, Sri didn't turn out to be a scallawag ;-) and is mostly honest :-p, hehehee :)). And I'm certainly glad that I am not one of those women in the horror stories. It all worked out wonderful for me, but I still believe that the phase I had 5 years ago, was some sort of defense mechanism that kicked in. It was a healthy dose of reality that kept me grounded even when I was being swept off my feet ;-). I guess my mind wasn't really willing to let my heart go that easily and belong to another :-D. Even today, I say that marriage is a huge gamble and you never know what the true nature of a person is until you have lived with her/him. Its just that my gamble paid off :).

Monday, November 23, 2009

Baa Baa bak bak ;-).

Snugli possssssssssssssssssssttttttttttttttttt :-D. Been a long time since I wrote a post about her. I actually thought that I'll let Snugster take over, but well, these days she yaps so much that I knew she'd be out of control, hehehee :)). Maybe some other time ;-). What are we waiting for?

  • She talks and she talks. So much that I actually wonder whether about-to-be-2-years-old talk so much! She imitates just about anything we say - the other day Sri said something about logic and she immediately says "logic". She doesn't differentiate between simple and complicated words, tries to say everything! Its on one hand amazing, but irritating on the other - imagine somebody trying to imitate you when you are doing some serious talking :-D.

  • Whats worse is that we have to watch our mouths all the time! I hardly ever use bad words, but one day I dropped a fragrance bottle in the bathroom (which shattered) and said "Oh sh**" and guess what, she repeated the word 4 times. I was mortified, hehehee :).

  • Other times its like a continuous commentary. Sri and I have lunch after Snugli, so she usually is around us when we eat, commenting on everything we do. It goes something like this - "Amma anna, Naana anna. Amma saaru. Naana saaru. Amma Saaru mammu khaali. Amma Mosaru. Amma majjige" and so on (translation - "Mom rice. Dad rice. Mom rasam. Dad rasam. Mom rasam rice is done. mom curd. Mom buttermilk". Mind you, this is just a gist. Sometimes its wonderful, but there are times I am grateful that she is asleep when we have our dinner :-D. We don't really have to struggle to understand her as she says almost everything that needs to be said, but there are still times when we are stumped by some words :-D.

  • And its not only that she talks - she understands most of the things she is talking about. She knows our names, my parents and in-laws names. She has some 5 books about fruits veggies etc and she recognizes 90% of the things in the books and relates them to real life. She listens to sounds of trains and planes and immediately recognizes them by name. If she hears/sees a baby cry, she says "baby oowaaaaaa" :-D. And sometimes it ends up surprising both of us. She suddenly brings up something that we might have casually referred to earlier - for example, during her bath, I keep referring to things so that she learns and whenever I soap her feet I tell her that I'll wash it immediately so that she doesn't slip or "jaaru" in the tub. One day I soaped her feet, but forgot to wash them off and she literally shouted "jaaru jaaru" at me :-D.

  • She has all of her baby teeth now - so the total count is 20. Her 4 final molars haven't come in fully yet, so she still has some amount of irritation. But thankfully she isn't biting us/other things as much as she used to earlier. On the other hand, brushing her teeth is a pain ;-).

  • She's a cleanliness freak! Not in the matter of cleaning up her toys though :-p. No food particle should fall on her high chair table and even if it does it must be cleaned immediately (or she'll protest until it is cleaned up :-p). Also she'll find some minute particles and bring it to us so that we can dispose of them - its literally as if she's mocking my cleaning skills :-D. One day she actually found a crawling worm and was afraid of it - kept pointing to it and running away from it :-D (these days I have some of my potted plants inside the house, so some bugs are common). But as I said, when it comes to her toys, she doesn't put them into her box even with pleading/scolding/whatever :-D. Doesn't find the big toy, but brings a small speck of a paper to us ;-).

  • Some of the things she does are so funny. Whenever she doesn't recognize a sound she hears, she puts a finger on her chin, taps it and its as if she's wondering whats that ;-). Whenever things fall, or something happens that shouldn't she says "uh uh" (or Oh oh) and "Mmm Mmm" :-D. These 2 learnings are courtesy of her dad ;-) :-D. And when she says something complicated, we usually say "AmmO, you said that wow" and these days she says a complicated word and adds "AmmO" herself :)). Whenever she says no to anything I make it a point to ask her "Sure aa?" and these days, yes, she says "Beda." (meaning "I don't want it") and then reaffirms "No. Sure.", before I even think of asking her. Hehehehee :)). She's a constant source of fun :).

  • And then there are other things which make us feel as if we are revisiting our childhoods in a whole new way :). She stomps her feet in the wet bathtub, splashes water from the bucket, absolutely adores bubbles and tries to hug me when she's totally wet (I don't know whether to enjoy it while it lasts or scold her :-D). Whenever we even mention going out, she says "Tata" and shouts at us until we take her out :-D. Even when we are in the car, she enjoys everything - "Birdie", "Chaama" (chandamaama - the moon), "Taak" (Truck), Car etc. Its something akin to seeing the world from her eyes and it feels so good to see her enjoy the simplest of things.

  • I've also started to see a streak of independence in her these days. When I'm bathing her, she insists on pouring the first few mugs of water on herself. She insists on drinking water from the glass herself during mealtimes, though she still doesn't have full control of the same (usually takes her eyes of the glass and there goes the water :-p). These days she even wants to eat breakfast like chapathi/poori/bread - whatever can be eaten by hand herself and recently is insisting on even the eating-by-spoon items. So it kinda a double work for me - have to hold her hand holding the spoon and push it towards her mouth :-p. I'm not really finding it difficult to let go, I actually like the independence, but it usually ends up being tedious since I can finish the work much faster if I do it all on my own ;-).

  • And finally her potty training (PT). As I said things were working out okay for us until we went on the North Hampshire/Massachusetts trip (I know, I know, I have to post on that). She surprised us on the trip by saying potty whenever she needed to go everywhere! In fact I think we took half a suitcase full of diapers and hardly used 1-2 diapers per day! It was so amazing that it was totally a letdown when we got back home. She stopped asking to go to potty completely. Imagine how disappointing that can be. These days, we are making sure we take her every hour or so and yes the diaper usage is wayy down. And she does ask to go to potty whenever we are away from home. Its like she's too distracted at home to do that. Well, just don't know what to do about it for now, we are just biding our time and hoping that she'll do it at home too :).
I can't stress enough how overwhelming her each stage of growing up is for us. Its wonderful seeing her become her own individual. I was recently holding a 3-month old and it seems like ages since Snugli was that age - so lightweight (I can't carry her for more than a few minutes these days :-D) and so still and quiet, hehehee :)). Obviously, its all worth it and more :).

Monday, November 16, 2009

The bag..

You know you are obsessed with your baby when:

The first thing you think when you are going shopping ALONE is "Now where is the diaper bag?" :-p :-p :-p.

Friday, November 13, 2009

BTFYA 4 - The happily ever after :).

Fate certainly had other plans :). At this particular time 5 years ago (it was about 5-6 PM in the evening when Sri and his parents came home to "see" me), I had no clue that my life was about to change in a very drastic manner. I was tired of seeing the same old guys who were hardly compatible and thought that this would be another re-telecast. There must have been a little hope somewhere, but I don't really remember that now. So I was looking forward more to the trip to my chikkappa's house (for the Deepawali Balipadyami celebrations) than to the guy-seeing ceremony. So to say that Sri was a pleasant surprise just doesn't seem enough - he was so much more than that :-D.

We talked lots and lots about ourselves (imagine we had to decide to commit to a person in a matter of about 2 hours alone in a room just an eavesdrop away from our parents :-D) and one of the things that impressed me was that he was encouraging about my so-called trekking adventures, sharing that he had done hang-gliding in Himachal Pradesh (albeit with an instructor). That part was certainly good - taking limited risks ;-). I am still a bit jealous that I haven't done it yet ;-). It was the most positive guy-seeing experience I ever had, but somehow I blocked off the decision making process. Maybe because it was so positive, something in me just didn't want to believe he was a great guy and wanted to confirm it by seeing him again. Some switch in my brain flipped to "meet-again" and refused to continue the signal to any sort of decision :-D.

I did learn a lot of things that day but I learnt more from then on as time went by and even now, each day is a revelation :). So here are my enlightenments -

  • Next time we met, the first things I learnt were that Sri's height is greater than me in my platform shoes and that his dimples curled just the way I loved, hehehee :)).

  • More importantly, I felt like a cave woman next to a very sophisticated modern man. We went to a pizza place for dinner and Sri actually used a fork and a knife to eat the damn thing, while I chewed away at the pizza holding it in my bare hands :-p. After that there was many a time where I have had the thought "Why does this guy even want to marry an uncouth like me?" ;-) :-D. But well, I have to admit he never really used a fork and knife to eat pizza after that, but he sure is always much cleaner than me even if he does eat with his hands ;-). Till today I tease him that he was showing off and he is nonchalant about it as if it came very naturally to him :-p.

  • Some of the first things I asked of Sri seem a bit silly to me now :-D. I told him flatly that I didn't know how to cook, but that I'd learn (and I did learn :-D) - he said he cooks, so that was alright :-D. That I didn't really like to wear a saree (even now I am not very comfy) and would like my clothes to be my choice, he just said okay. That I'd call him by name (instead of the various Kannada hubby-addressing-mechanisms like "Ree", "Ivre" and "Enoondre" :-D) and "Neenu" instead of "Neevu" (in my defense, we have only 3 years of age difference between us and it felt like a generation gap to call him "neevu" :-D). He said he didn't have any problems with that. Many a time while saying such things I have felt that maybe he must have thought me foolish, but he took me seriously. He never laughed it all off as a girl's fanciful stuff or treat it with disdain. And in 5 years he has never brought it up and fussed about anything (despite the fact that I refer to him as "Avanu" or "Ivanu" i.e in a singular context in front of my in-laws too!). It kinda showed me that he listened to what I had to say and respected my choices :).

  • One of the things we are totally opposite in is that Sri is hardly excited about anything - whilst I keep jumping up and down at every little thing. I guess most men are like that :-D. They are supposed to be the steady rocks when their wives are the rivers :-D. But I get frustrated even now about it, because sometimes its impossible to guess his reaction to some of the things I blurt out. I think the only time I've actually seen animated expressions on his face is when he is doing/talking about something related to technology :-p. I still haven't completely learnt to read into his expressions, so he is as enigmatic as he was 5 years ago :).

  • I really appreciate that Sri never imposes his opinions and philosophies on anyone. For that matter I don't even know whether he has any philosophy at all, except to take life as it comes. My sweetheart's a smooth sailor ;-). He never acts like a know-it-all, never dictates things to me and is always willing to learn from me. I love that about him because I don't like being bossed around, thats usually my prerogative ;-) :-D.

  • I have to mention something about Sri's forgetfulness. I'm not talking about him forgetting important dates/events (well, how can he do that? :-D), but more of a day-to-day stuff. For example, he may forget what I cooked the previous day :-D. I keep pulling his leg saying that if I'm not around for a few days, he'll not remember who I am :-p. Sometimes its a boon (he doesn't really remember any mistakes that I may have made ;-) :-D), but usually its a bane. I usually ask him to remind me something and usually end up regretting it. He's getting better, but I still haven't learnt from these types of mistakes ;-), hehehe :)).

  • Once Snugli came into our lives, I started seeing Sri in a totally new light. I have always admired his patience but the word takes on a completely different meaning when it comes to Snugli. He never ever flares up on her, never gets frustrated no matter how frustrating she is or in turn I am and is always like a calm lull while I'm the raging hurricane. No wonder she never takes his scoldings seriously ;-) :-D. I love to watch them play silly games and I'm proud to see him take care of her without complaints. He even misses her fluttering around us when she is sleeping (while I heave a sigh of relief ;-) :-D)! As I see her grow up, I learn new inspiring things about him. He leads by example, making me a better mother and a better person :).
I feel very strange when I write these types of posts. Whereas you get to know me through my blog, you get to know Sri through only my version of him and the way I feel about him. Its as if you are not getting to know the person but someone's idea of a person. Weird :-\.

Anyways, as you can see, I found my tall, dimpled, sophisticated, ever-listening, respectful, enigmatic, non-preachy, forgetful, patient and wonderful-father-material man, 5 years ago on this very day and learnt the difference between infatuation and love :). I have many blessings in my life that I count daily and am very much grateful for and Sri is the greatest blessing of them all :). This is how Saturday the 13th actually turned out to be the luckiest day of my life :-D (coincidentally today's Friday the 13th :-D).

Happy 5th day-we-met anniversary my love :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

BTFYA 3 - Yedukumeri trek :)

Back to 5 years ago :). First of all, this whole post is simply based on the memories I have of the trek, unlike the post for Bisle trek since I didn't really note down anything. I think we went to Yedukumeri in August 2004, but certainly don't remember whether it was before my birthday or after (I guess it was after since I am pretty certain I'd have remembered having banged up knees on my birthday :-D). A little bit of history before we start off. I have always loved the train route between Bangalore and Mangalore. The sad part was that the trains were overnight trips, but I would be awake just to see the tunnels and beautiful bridges on route (it's be a treat whenever there was moonlight, the part between Sakleshpur and Yedekumeri). But sadly, the trains were stopped giving the elusive excuse of metre to broad gauge conversion and the system has only recently gotten back on its feet again.

Well, on the Bisle trek, I did have many chances to interact with fellow trekkies, but there were 28 people, so couldn't obviously talk to everyone. But I did find out about 2 wonderful treks - one to Yedukumeri and another to Kemmannugundi. Once I got back, I think it was one of the things I ALWAYS talked about. I must have troubled many a friend with that tale :-D (in my defense, I was just trying to get them to trek with me :-D). My mom really loved the Bisle saga and told me that if ever I'd go on the trek to Yedukumeri which would be basically walking on the railway track, she wanted to join me, since it'd not really have any climbs and be a flat ground trek. So I kept calling Kamesh to find out when they were planning one.

Finally I got to know there were 3 more takers (all my aged girls) for that particular trek to Yedukumeri, and so we'd be 5 trekkies + Kamesh and his assistants (Raj and Naagu). So we set off one Friday evening from Bangalore Majestic bus stand and caught a bus to somewhere near Sakleshpur (a little further away from Sakleshpur but sadly, I don't even have a clue about the name of the place). I only remember that we landed there at around 4 AM in the morning, setup a tent and slept right there at the bus stop until about 8AM in the morning :-D.

Later got up, walked till we found the railway track and cooked a breakfast of Maggi :-D. We finished brushing our teeth, washing our face, having the breakfast and exploring the bridge until then (if you notice carefully in the following photo, you'll find me and mom somewhere towards the left on the top of the bridge :-D).

Then we started walking. The trek would be totally for about 35km (17.5 km to Yedekumeri and another 17.5 km back)!! And the specialty of this trek was that there was no base camp. We had to carry every damn thing we had and that was a challenge..

That was us at the first tunnel. Walking in a tunnel is somehow very enigmatic, though practically there is nothing mysterious about it ;-). For me, the whole concept is a thrill - we'd make these sand tunnels using our feet when we were young and its amazing that the real ones are actually dug in mountains and make a pathway where there was none earlier :). The first tunnel even had a side opening through which we walked out and saw this beautiful waterfall somewhere in the valley below..

The photo is courtesy of the digital camera of a trekkie from a totally different group :-D. The route has about 19 tunnels and more than 25 bridges, so each one of them, big or small were absolutely enjoyable..

Except one thing about the bridges - they were my downfall, my pain in the neck (actually knees :-p), my nemesis, so to say :-D. It had rained the previous night and that Saturday was still partially cloudy and rainy, so it made the bridge logs pretty slippery. Somehow everyone seemed okay on them except myself :-p. I think I must have slipped and banged my knees on the logs about 5 times that day, so much that I was very scared the next day to even step foot on a bridge, but well, that part of the story has some more time to come ;-). Some of the bridges had an iron strip in the middle, so it was easier to walk on them, but most of them didn't, so the only way to cross the bridge was to cross the gap between each and every log (so we had to be very careful). Which means its very difficult to know whether the next log is slippery, we can only set a firm foot and hope that we would not slip. Well, as for me, I never got the "firm" footing right that day :-D.

Here's another tunnel which has wild banana (kaaDu baaLe) growing on top, almost like nature's very own thOraNa :-D..

I loved it all (despite the torn knees :-D). Thankfully there were no leeches around on the railway track, though we did find some around on the wet mud beside the tracks. Each time I walked through a tunnel I'd be reminded of the saying I have on the bottom part of my blog - "Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel was just a freight train coming your way!!" (Metallica in their song "No Leaf Clover"). Loved it, loved it, loved it :-D.

On the next bridge, Kamesh picked a spot for us to rappel (!!!) and decided to setup the equipment (yes, they carried the required ropes) then and there. I didn't even know what rappelling was until that particular moment :-p. The concept was pretty simple - they'd tie a set of ropes onto the logs of a railway bridge right next to a pillar and with the help of the pillar and ropes, we had to slowly rappel down. Practically, it was a different story. Yes there'd be a harness, but I was very much afraid to put my full weight on the ropes (I half thought the ropes would break :-p). This photo is just before I did it:

Again, the photo is courtesy of the digital camera of the same from a totally different group and we actually met that group at this point and they also enjoyed rappelling with us (one after one ofcourse :-p) and I remember asking the guy about the camera and finding out that the Olympus digital camera costed Rs. 20000 (that fact left my mouth hanging open :-D). We took several snaps of the deed in our analog camera but well, none of them are that good :-p. Anyways I was petrified at the moment you have let go of your foot from the ledges (the fact that I'm grinning in the photo has nothing to do with it - its actually a I-must-be-crazy-to-be-doing-this grin :-D), but rappelling turned out to be fun :). The ropes were a bit irritating, but cruising down the bridge with no care and then swinging on the ropes like a monkey (:-D) was really a highlight :). We (me and another girl) later had to cross a mini jungle and then climb a hill to get back to the bridge.

Mom was at first very hesitant to even try it. In face she flatly refused to. But Kamesh can be pretty persuasive :-D. So she decided to give it a try and actually did it. Sadly, I only have a blurred snap of her rappelling and thats one of my major regrets. But I can still see her rappelling down if I close my eyes, so the memory is locked in my head forever. I was (and am) oh-so-proud of her :)). She did have some difficulty in climbing back, but she did that too :)). It was one of those my-mom-is-so-cool moments for me :-D. Soon everyone was done and we wrapped everything up.

It actually started raining while we were crossing the next tunnel, so we stopped to have lunch (I think Kamesh and his assistants cooked up a quick meal of Avalakki oggaraNe :-D).

There was another ominous bridge right next to the tunnel and I took the opportunity to take a snap :-D (I think one of the girls actually lost her torch here - I don't know whether it was retrieved, I remember Raj doing some circus antics to get to it). Also I think I even graced this bridge with another of my falls :-p. (BTW see what I mean about the iron strip in some sections? You can see it in this bridge).

We reached the Yedukumeri station by evening. I don't even know whether there was a nearby path to any village or the highway (didn't bother finding out as we were heading out the way we came), but it did feel like there was no civilization around - the station obviously wasn't being used.

For the umpteenth time, the photo is from the same guy from the other group. We freshened up in a nearby stream first - that was fun :). We planned to put up tents on the platform and later cook there, but the rain had other plans. It came down heavily which caused the tent to literally fly and get completely drenched. Well, we had to settle for one of the sheds like the one above where we setup everything, including the place for cooking. As nightfall came in, the rain stopped, but everything was still too wet to set it up outside, so we even cooked inside.

We made pooris together, Kamesh made the bhaaji and we all enjoyed them a lot. I remember singing loads of songs and some of of my favourites - "Kahin door jab din dal jaaye" and "Gul raha he saara manzar" (by Shankar Mahadevan - it really jelled well with the fading sunlight) outside on the platform and feeling blessed for being there. This phrase from "Kahin door" fit my personal situation so well -

"Kabhi Yun Hi Jab Hui Ojhal Saansein
Bhar Aai Baithe Baithe Jab Yun Hi Aankhen
Tabhi Machal Ke Pyar Se Chal Ke
Chhuye Koi Mujhe Par Nazar Na Aaye, Nazar Na Aaye"

The frustration and hope combination was never ever defined so beautifully :). That night we slept with uncomfortable blankets on hard floor, with never tiring conversations, tired and aching bones (I think I even ran a fever for which I took tablets), a running rodent inside our room :-D (all of us ladies were in one room and some of them, not me or mom, actually screamed at the intruder :-D) and Kamesh voice scolding us from another room to get to sleep :-D.

The morning arrived with a beautiful view :).

We finished our morning rituals and I think had some bread for breakfast and set out.

Here is the entire team of 8 people just before we said goodbye to Yedukumeri..

Just after a few minutes of walking, we took a right turn to find this amazing waterfall :).

That was one of the times I felt the need for proper roads to such a place. Only people who knew the place knew that there was a waterfall there. In US, there are smaller waterfalls and they all have trek/hike paths and you can find most on the internet with maps included :-p. Anyways Kamesh setup river-crossing here and this time I was able to complete the entire route and back :).

Even mom went about 3/4th the way :-D. Did I mention how proud I am of her? :-D.

After everyone had their turn, we packed up and started back. At the first bridge, I was scared out of my wits that I'd fall again, but it was sunny and the logs were mostly dry, so we were able to spot the slippery parts and tread around carefully. I didn't fall at all that day and yeah, that was an achievement :-D.

The following is the longest tunnel enroute - 572m.

Everything was perfect until that point, but at about the next tunnel, there was a break in the path that we were treading on and mom, not noticing that, fell and twisted her ankle. Kamesh immediately wrapped her leg in a tight bound bandage and from then on Naagu carried her backpack. I knew she was in lots of pain, and I felt so bad, so terrible and so guilty of not watching out for her. Our pace obviously slowed down after that and we were able to get to the highway only after nightfall.

I remember us waiting for a bus for a long time and then flagging down a lorry. I remember climbing onto the back of that lorry and us girls having a lot of fun jeering at people and behaving like taporis :-D. And I remember that we finally calmed down when the lorry driver requested us to ;-). We got dropped off at Hassan, had our dinner at a hotel and then caught a late night bus to Bangalore. We said our goodbyes early in the morning and scattered back to our own lives with the enriched memories.


1) Mom was okay after a while, but the whole thing bothers me to this day. One new thing I learnt about myself this trek was role reversal. I was used to mom (in general, my parents) worrying about me all the time. But for the first time, it was the other way around. I worried whenever she walked on the bridges (even though I was the one falling), when she rappelled and river crossed. Later when she hurt her leg, I felt like a mother hen clucking around her chick :-D. It felt like a taste of what parents go through everyday when they wait for their children to come home and worry about their well-being constantly. Well, a very good beginning to whats going on now ;-). And mom was wonderful, she wanted to join me on a Kemmannugundi trek if I went on one and she even tried to convince dad to :-D.

2) I'm so glad we made it to the trek when we did. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to before the train service restarted, but we made it. They have the trains back on now and I believe they have day-trains these days, so it would be fun to ride on one and see a glimpse of the route again :). But thats in turn bad news for the trekkies, its certainly hard to walk on the bridges or tunnels confidently when you know a train can come in anytime (even if you know the train timings - Indian standard time delays :-D).

3) The trek was a test to my and all of our endurance. We had to carry stuff and walk, walk and walk. I found out that we can push our bodies to do things and it was an achievement of some sort. I found out that the more we go on, the more we wanted to go on, the more our determination and strength grew. I remember feeling victorious and invincible when it was over and couldn't wait to get back. But as you see, fate had other plans.. (To be continued)..

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The shot..

Yesterday we got all of our H1N1 shots done :)). Snugli's doctors had gotten only a few quantities and there was a registration process associated. We did send in the forms, but were informed that we better not wait and go in for the public clinics organized by the health department. And the extra advantage would be that even Sri and me would be able to get the shots if we went in to the clinic. We found that one was being held yesterday at a nearby high school and decided to be done with it. Sri read that usually for such clinics, there will huggggggggge queues, so we thought we'll head out as early as possible for the 9 AM clinic.

Its another story that we reached there only by 8:30 AM. We were outside the building only for about 10 minutes, but the queue inside was still pretty long. It was our first visit to a school here and it was nice to see the campus from inside. We were there till about 10:10 AM when we reached the nurses who were giving the shots (so the wait wasn't as bad as we had anticipated). Snugli was her usual self when she got the injection (cried for a few moments and then forgot all about it). For adults we had 2 options, a nasal mist with live virus and the usual injection with dead virus. Sri took the nasal spray and I went in for the injection. And that was that :). Snugli really enjoyed seeing other kids screaming when they were given shots, hehehee :-D (One little boy screamed and screamed and twisted and all that - I'm already dreading what'll happen once Snugli becomes aware of the whole injection concept :-D).

I was very much impressed with the way everything was organized. The lines were perfect, only wish they had some seating system since there were kids and old people there, but I guess chairs would have only made it more crowded. Even the volunteers were very helpful, giving info whenever we asked for anything. In addition, Sri and Snugli didn't suffer any side effects and everything is fine as per now. I did have some headache all day yesterday and still have an arm ache, but it should be fine soon :). We have to go and get a second shot for Snugli after a month (children younger than 6 years have to get a double doze to boost their immunity), so depending on her doctors, we'll have to see where we get it done..

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

BTFYA 2 - Bisle trek :)

Its strange how the brain stores information that it needs and simply discards that it doesn't. Well, thats certainly not helpful when you are writing about a trek you went on more than 5 years ago :-D. In fact I didn't even remember the month I went to Bisle, leave alone the actual dates. I knew it was in the summer from March to June, but didn't know exactly when. How did I find out? You won't believe it, but I had penned one particular day's experiences in a .doc file thinking that I'll send it to my friends once I'm done. I never managed to complete the document, but still had it archived somewhere :-D. Guess my budding blogging instincts were already alive and breathing :-D. So, thanks to ME :-D, I can tell you the exact dates I went on the trek and how I found the trek group I went with :-D.

Just a note to remember before I start off, I still didn't know what a digital camera was then, so all the photos are courtesy of the Analog Cannon camera that has served my dad well for more than 20 years :). I had scanned pics of the same but of lower resolution (5 years ago 800x600 was the monitor's resolution! :-p), so had to get them scanned again to even write this post (thanks to dad). I had some other photos thanks to fellow trekkies, but sadly they are too low a resolution to be even featured :(. The point I'm getting to is that the photos may not be as good or as clear as the newer digital ones :-D. You have been warned. Also want to say that since there were a lot of people in the trek group, I won't be mentioning names (not really worried about copyright as such as it is my story, but somehow am hesitant to).

Maybe I always wanted to trek in some corner of my mind, but never actually had the urge to go at it alone (I remember I went on a trek to Saavandurga hill with my Yoga group when I was younger than 12 years and I took Darsh with me. But that was just a day trip with no overnight stay). What made me go for it this time, I'll never know (hey, if I haven't figured it out till now, then never :-p). Yes the frustrations I mentioned in the first post of the "Back to five years ago series" were a major part of it. But for a person who never travelled without her parents, it was a big step.

I found out about the trek to the Bisle forest through our newspaper. Bisle forest is part of the Western Ghats and has several peaks and tributaries of the Kaaveri river. The trek was being organized by a group called Nature Admire - so I called them repeatedly up to get all the details of the trek (wanted to make sure that there were a couple of girls/ladies going on the trek). The Nature Admire people came to know that another group called Mars Adventures was going to the same place and hence they decided to send whoever was registered with them with the Mars adventures group. And boy, am I glad they did, in hindsight. I also found out that there were totally 28 of us going. That helped me a lot in getting over my initial nervousness (not to mention my mom's ;-) :-D).

I met the group at night 8PM on 21st May 2004, carrying a backpack with me full of stuff that we were advised to bring - Ablution kit (Soap, towel, toothbrush and paste), a couple of clothes , a Rain coat, pairs of socks, canteen (plate, tumbler, water bottle 2 liters, a blanket, a torch, and a pen. I also carried my mobile (eventhough it was useless in the forest) and my dad's camera. We were also instructed to put everything in separate covers and put them all in a bigger cover (to protect them in case the backpack got wet). I met some of the members - a group of 4 s/w engineers (they are everywhere!), a couple, 2 children and a couple of familes! I also met the head of Mars adventures Kamesh and his 4 assistants (Vinay (fondly called Vinoba), Purushottham, Naagu and Hema). We climbed onto 2 vans and were off :).

It was early morning 5:30 AM on 22nd May 2004, when we reached Kukke Subrahmanya. It was drizzling slightly, so for a first time trek, this was turning out to be a rain trek ;-). We had only half an hour to complete our daily morning routines - so quickly completed those, had a cup of tea and were off to the place the vans would drop us. They dropped us on a road from which we had to trek downhill to the basecamp with our backpacks + oddities like utensils and sleeping bags. On the way, we found a hanging bridge we had to cross to get to the basecamp and it was literally hanging!!! There were a couple of logs which were floating away to glory, few which were blissfully submerged in water and others which were missing altogether. Moreover the logs were slippery due to the ongoing rain. We had to hold on to the railing of the bridge and sometimes even climb on to them to get across. Phew!!! The adventure had begun :).

We reached the base camp soon enough. The base camp had several huts and a platform which was an advantage - we need not carry all the things we brought with us. We dumped our back sacks inside the hut, Kamesh got the hut secured (since it was raining, there were lots of leeches around and we certainly didn't want them hiding in the backpacks :-D), had a quick breakfast of ganji and bread and listened to trek instructions from Kamesh (for Eg, if you encounter an elephant, you should run uphill and not downhill!! Also if you get lost in the forest, the best thing to do is find water and follow it upriver/downriver because you are bound to find some life near water). Our plan that day was to trek and climb a hill. The trek would be 8km uphill and then later 8km back downhill :-O.

Let me tell you for a first time trekkie, 8 km is certainly not a child's play (though the children who were along with us made it feel like one :-D). By the time we crossed 1.5 km, I was feeling really tired and wondering whether I’ll be able to make it :(. I wasn’t sure why I really decided to trek anymore. I even remember thinking “I cannot believe that I paid for this torture” :-D. It was raining on and off and since we did wear raincoats, the rain wasn't really a problem. But the leeches couldn't so easily be dismissed. They seemed hell-bent upon getting into our shoes and enjoying their meal. All of us had sticks in our hands to pick the leeches off our legs (can’t lift them off with hands, as they attach themselves to the hand and start sucking :-p). It didn’t matter that we had smothered our legs with odomos, tobacco leaves, stuffed our shoes with salt and what not!! The first time a leech climbed on me, I was like “eeks!!!” and somehow managed to get rid of it. Soon, we got the hang of it. You just had to keep moving fast to avoid them. Whenever we needed a breather, the only way to stop was to find a smooth rock with no leeches on it to stand upon. Yet, one lucky leech (unlucky for me :-D) managed to crawl its way into my shoe. I couldn’t even remove my shoe as there were its relatives waiting to attack my leg ;-). So just went on :(.

After sometime we stopped caring about the leeches. Know why? We started seeing snakes. There were orange coloured leaves everywhere and these snakes were small and orange in colour. It was our plain luck that none of us stepped on one :-D (BTW my document on this trek ends here, so the rest of this post are actual memories :-D). Kamesh and his team were wonderful, divided the entire group of people into sub-groups of 7 each and would shout to each other to find out if everything was alright (so that if one group stopped for any reason, the group ahead would be notified). At almost the peak, the climb became steeper. One of the assistants did some rock climbing to attach ropes, with which we all pulled ourselves up to a precipice (it was damn scary). But the view beyond was worth it :).

We sat there and had some biscuits and eatables just enjoying the view.

The climb down was obviously easier and faster, but scarier. Somehow when you are climbing up, you don't really notice the steepness ;-). Yup there were a couple of muddy falls, but oh well, thats expected on a muddy downward path right? :-p. Once we were back in the base camp, the first thing we did was remove our shoes and check for leeches. I did have a couple of bites and one leech stuck in my shoe, but it's stomach was already full, so it was not interested in me anymore ;-). I think one man had the largest number of bites - I think it was somewhere inbetween 18 to 25!

We all washed up in the river, helped setup the camp and soon had a campfire blazing :).

I think we did the usual Anthyakshari, sang lots of songs, had some dinner (don't remember what now - some type of rice) and headed to sleep off. I slept in a hugggggggggge tent they set up on the platform shown above. Some people slept in one of the huts and others in sleeping bags. It was not very cold and the rain had stopped, so we had an open tent and I think it fit some 10 of us. I remember being worried that the leeches will climb onto the platform and get into my hair and that I wouldn't be able to get them out (it seems funny now, but at that time, I wasn't really crazy about that thought :-p). But as I lay on the hard ground staring up at the opening of trees which revealed the brightest stars, I knew that was precisely where I wanted to be :). I think that was the moment when I knew I wanted to do it again and again (yeah pay and get tortured :-D). It was awesome and I loved the adventure of it all :).

Next morning we were up early and had the usual breakfast. This was our big tent:

Our plan for the day was to leave by noon and get back to Bangalore within the night. But before that we want to do some river-crossing with the help of ropes on a smaller branch of the river. So we had to cross the main branch by foot first..

I love nature, especially gushing rivers and waterfalls. The previous evening I spent a long time just sitting one one of the boulders and feeling blissful. To be in the middle of nature with no touch as such to any technology is indescribable. It makes you feel so much awe for it all, such a meagre mortal in front of a tremendous force :). Anyways, we headed to the smaller branch where Kamesh setup the ropes for river-crossing.

It looks easy, but its not really. You have to pull your weight on the ropes and well, since I am not easy on the weight part, the arms get tired easily. I made it about 3/4th of the way and back. But the fun was that each and every person from age 9 to around 60 actually did it :).

After that, we headed back and actually had lunch at a hotel on the way. As I said in the earlier post of the series, the trip helped me a lot in finding out a part of my true-self and recovering from a lot of frustrations I had building up in me :).


1) I am a fan of Kamesh and his troupe for life, though I went on only one other trek with the guys. He was so strict about cleanliness (asked for the trash to be picked up in the trek) and so careful about our safety. The best part was that his assistants were poor kids he encouraged and trained to participate in rock-climbing competitions (so in other words - sponsored). They just had a Yahoo group from which I'd get mails updating about treks till a few months back, but recently they have a blog in which they write about all the treks! Here's the blog - Mars Adventures: Climbing in Bangalore and they have the contact details in case anyone is interested. Recently they posted about a trek to Kemmannugundi and man, I was so jealous. Before I got married, I wanted to trek with them there, but well, Sri was in a hurry :-D. Hopefully I'll get to do that once I'm back in Bangalore for good :-D.

2) I wanted to write this post to relive the trek, to kind of tell myself to get back to it :-D. Since we have Snugli, things have obviously slackened on our part. Trekking means we have to carry her, which is not a good idea, believe me :-D. We thought we'll atleast go camping this year, but now its too late. But have to go next year sometime :).

3) I also wanted to compare how it is to trek in India and how it is here in the US. There its more rustic, with the basic necessities and more of becoming one with the nature. Here you can chose to do it the rustic way (which is what the real trekkies do), but its easier to give in to the fancy parts. Camping with parking right on the campsite, having eatables just a mile drive away and ready-made firewood for a price somehow just doesn't cut it. Its like camping in your own backyard :-p. Though I like it that the forests aren't really "planned" in Karnataka, I am sad that some things are so under-developed. There are so many beautiful spots for trekking/hiking there, yet there is not much encouragement for it. The roads leading to the areas aren't really good and it feels like its in the middle of nowhere. I know I'm being contradictory, but I feel there should be a balance between convenience and the rusticity, so that more people can enjoy the getting closer to nature part :).