Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Joys of Spontaneity: A two wheel ride to Kaigal falls

Its year 2006, and its one lazy afternoon.  I had just finished with 2nd year engineering and it was summer vacations time. And the place is Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), some 100 kms near Bangalore.
Oh my, it’s been eight years now. But this is one trip which is all so very clear in my mind.

Srinidhi, my school pal had come home. Initially we were chit chatting. We had lunch. Slowly boredom creeps in. And that calls for some action. During school days we had heard of a waterfall nearby. Kaigal falls. We got to do this. Let’s go to this place, is the call. Now comes the planning phase. First of all how far is it? Ok that we both aren’t sure. So we call up some pals. Some say its 20kms some 15kms.

Its 3pm now. And the plan is clear. Once we start we should cover the 20+kms by 5pm. We'll hang out there till 6 or so. And then return back home to have some good food.

I start of on my bicycle which is the same one which I used to ride to school. It’s a Hero Devil which has gotten quite rickety now. It has no bell no lights. But then there’s something about your first love. Right? And sure I loved this two wheeler. 

My almost brand new Hero Devil :)

No bell, no lights not a big deal because the part of the ride where there would be no streetlights should be covered in daylight itself i.e. by 7 itself. And the brakes are pretty good even now. Ditto said my friend. So we start off for the ride. All excited. As always. :)

So en route we already knew that we are going to pass by a small town called VKota. And this water fall should be somewhere nearby this town. We keep on riding some 15 odd kms to reach VKota.. We inquire from the locals in VKota and they are like Kaigal falls should be another 20 kms from VKota.. When the first person tells us this we just think that this person doesn't really know about Kaigal falls.. But it so happens that after every 10 minutes that we ride we keep on hearing the same thing. i.e. Kaigal falls is another 20 kms to go. Its already 4.30+ so we got to decide what needs to be done and recheck our plans, That is, we either return back home or keep on riding and reach Kaigal itself.

We are like now that we've come this far we should just go to Kaigal falls. It’s a waterfall. So there should be a hotel or some facility to camp out there, where we could stay for the night and then return back the next morning. After all, it’s a famous tourist spot was the reasoning. ;)  So I call home from a PCO booth informing that I wouldn’t be returning home on that day. Next issue to be solved is food. We don't have anything to eat and drink. So we buy two bottles of water, two glucose packets and biscuit packets as we set off riding. After passing by VKota the views around gets really picturesque. I dint know the name of the place then but googling for it now it’s probably Koundinya wildlife sanctuary  that we were passing by. I tell my friend that probably we could come to this place itself some other time and camp here. Coz this looks like a nice beautiful place to trek. We are sipping off the water and pedaling the two wheeler away to glory. It’s about 6.15 now. And it’s quite a forest-y kind of an environment. Very few vehicles around. Lot of birds chirping. At times we do hear some voices which do sound like forest-y animals.

Some road signs and inquiries lead us to a mud road to Kaigal falls. As we approach near the falls, nature has DJ'ed in lot of music into the background. There are birds chirping as they return back to their nests. Different kinds of monkeys also seem to be in the mood to riaz(practice music) off, their vocal skills. The sound of the water falls is getting louder and adding to our excitement. One issue is there doesn't seems to be a soul around. Instead we do spot rabbits, hares hopping and running around. Cool it is. Riding along the mud road we reach the spot beyond which we can’t ride a cycle. Hmm, so we walk a bit and finally spot the falls. We are so very happy. So after raising a glucose + water toast to the beautiful place we decide that as its getting dark we should first find the hypothesized hotel/camp site to spend the night through, before playing around in the waterfall.

After some exploration of the place around we are yet to find people. Also our hypothesis about hotels and accommodation around seems to be completely wrong. But we were relieved to spot a bungalow kind of a place nearby. And lucky for us there's a bulb outside the house that’s glowing. We reach there and we start knocking the door but there isn’t any response. After about 3-4 minutes of trying to find a soul there and constant knocking with awesome natures background sounds. Nobody comes out. No human voices heard and to our horror suddenly the bulb switches off. Damn! We both are like running as fast as we can to our cycles. And we don't stop till we reach the end of the mud road. Either there was a scared soul inside that house or there’s immense potential of lot of TV serial like stories around what happened.

Its almost 7.30 now. And we again start planning about what needs to be done now. We decide to ride till VKota town and stay there for the night. And with no light source in both our cycles we knew it’s going to be tough. Also the road had an interesting condition, the sides of the road were very steep. So just in case we slipped from the tar road to the muddy part on the sides, while getting back to the tar roads there were lot of chances that one would fall, depending on the kind of tires, which was again screwed. Hence, both of us fell. I was the slow cycling champion at school but when I fell I realized that after a level we are slaves of the kind of terrain we ride in. There was no light at all. We had to rely on the few vehicles with their headlights on, that passed by to get an idea of the road that we need to ride by. Slowly and steadily we battled out and reached VKota at some 10 or so.

Weird town/village VKota is. They seem to religiously follow the first part of the "Early to bed, early to rise  ..." quote. The few hotels which were there, were already closed. We did wake up some of the hotel owners. And enquired about the rates and availability. We considered the option of taking a bus to home, as there dint seem to be enough value staying at a hotel there, the hoteliers there dint seem to be interested in hosting us either. There were quite a few policemen in this place coz of the area's geography. This place is in Andhra Pradesh and is border to both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The policemen were quite suspicious but they suggested to take a bus back to KGF. So we waited at the bus stand to find a bus back to KGF. Out of the few buses which were going to KGF most of them dint allow us to load the cycle on bus and take us along. Finally at around 12 at night and some amount of convincing we got lucky. We put the cycles on the bus. And the bus went on at a wonderfully slow pace. We dint mind at all. We were too tired to talk, both of us took a nap and reached KGF bus stand at some 1.30am or so. It was another 7-8 kms from the bus stand to my home. But this was a well-lit route. We reached home finally at some 2.30 or so. I dint want to knock the door to wake everyone up and get all the scolding’s. So, I went to my brother's room's window and I called for him to open the door for me. He, like a good, sleepy, zombie boy just opened the door dint ask any questions and went back to sleep. :)

I gathered all the stuff that's there to eat at home. We finish hogging. And finally it’s time to sleep. Amazing day of adventure it’s been. It’s been scary at times. Had the share of fun moments. Lot of good decisions, lot of crazy decisions. This was the first of the marathoner kind of an event for me. I had cycled more than 70 something kms in a day for the first time. I almost felt like superman! Finally it’s time to tell goodbye to the day gone by. I lie down in the bed. This is the wonderful quote which sums up my thoughts about life and such adventurous events that happens in life.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
― Hunter S. Thompson(Probably)