Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Motorcycle Diaries - Che Guevara

Traveling to different places, seeing the famous sites of the region and soaking in the varied culture is a desire present in all humans albeit in varying degrees. This compelling diary is a first person account of the journey undertaken by Che Guevara and his friend Alberto on the motorcycle named La Poderosa II. The journey lasts for more than 8 months and covers the length of South America.
The journey starts of just like that, with the one of them expressing his desire to go to North america on their bike. They seal the deal then and there without much thought on what it would take go on such an excursion . With an amount hardly sufficient to last them through a month and a bike which was as reliable as a sick horse they set out.
The travels take them through the five countries of Argentina, Peru, Chile, Columbia and Venezuela. The account of their incidents range from complete hilarious situations to deep contemplations. For most part of the journey they are dependent on the generosity of the people they meet, some help them out of compassion, some out of awe and some do it grudgingly. The two of them also tried to work their way out in most places, working as Doctors, Butlers, Fire fighters, Chefs and even going to the extent of cleaning the lavatory to secure a passage through a steamer.
The book also dwells into the life and culture of the people of the country through which they travel and also covers the history and geography of some of the famous sites like Machu picchu, Cuzco etc.
Undertaking such a journey without any bother of money or where you are going to put up requires a lot of courage and acceptance of things, something which currently I'm lacking in, but still I could sense the freedom and the accelerating sense of adventure both of them might have felt during this journey.
A paper had aptly commented on the book saying that " Che's trip might have been the trip of a lifetime - had his lifetime not turned into a much greater adventure". Will strongly recommend this book to all the trekkers and hikers out there.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dabbe falls trek

Chethan as usual called up, a day before the commencement of this trek, to cancel his tickets. We knew that the vacillating mood of Chethan was always going to come to rest, on this time and tested decision so we were not surprised (Except for maybe Pramod who booked the tickets :)).
Shimoga express was scheduled to leave Bangalore city junction at 11:40 pm, I arrived at the station quite ahead of time, and found Praveen sentinelling the gates. The others took their time in coming and finally when they reached the station they barged in towards the platforms without waiting or calling us up. After a lot of thought I attributed this discourtesy to maybe the traumatic incidents of Mumbai, everyone was scared to spend time waiting in the station and become sitting ducks. Our bogey was fixed next to the engine so I had my fill of the trains whistles and chuggings, enough to drive out any lingering nostalgia about them.
The next day mornings event set the pace for the trek, The train had long stopped at Shimoga station, almost all the passengers had got down but many in our group were still pleasantly slumbering, including myself. Only after Pradeepa frantically confirmed that this was indeed Shimoga town and not some outer station, that we got into action. But by the time we had packed our things, the train had started moving, A mental picture of a hike from some railway godown was in everyone's mind, but luckily the train parked itself on the next track and we had to jump across one track to reach the platform.
Shimoga station resembled Sholay's Rampur station to the tee, there was total sanaata(silence) around. The railway station is located at around 4-5 Km from the City bus stand, but instead of Basanthi we had to make do with auto rickshaw guys. We boarded a rickety government bus to Sagar from the bus stand and reached Sagar in good time. After a sumptuous breakfast of Idly vada and Palav, we decided to give a thought for our destination. After some enquiry we boarded a bus going towards Jog and got down at a place called Kargal which is about 20 Km from Sagar. Here started the round conference discussion's with the Taxi guys, Our representatives being Pramod and Pavan. After a successful round of negotiations, the vehicle was produced before us only for us to find that we were to be herded like animals as there were no back seats in it. Instead we decided to wait for the Bus which was due in 15 minutes. The Bus going towards Batkal finally dropped us at Hosagade and the time was 12:15 in the afternoon.
The trek route started off with a jeep track but soon after we were at the mercy of the villagers for directions. The path has many forks, deviations and runs through many peoples farms and even across small streams. Once near any house, Satish(Being a native of this region) sported his hoi-hoi call to get the people out of their homes to show us directions. People were very friendly and helpful and some even came down with us for some distance to make sure we take the right paths. A check dam built on a small rivulet was a wonderful spot.
Finally after two hours of trek or rather walk through semi forested terrain we reached Manjiah Gowda's house, also popularly known as Dabbe manne. Here we unloaded our baggages and went for the falls, The path towards the falls is a very steep climb down, In most of the places the incline is close to 70-80 degrees. Only with the support of the overhanging branches and protruding tree roots it was possible for us to reach the bottom. It took us more than 1 hour to make it to the base.
The Water fall was a fantastic sight to behold, It was majestically falling off the mountain side all alone in the wild but having a lot of pride in it. I made a dash at the inviting water and was under the whipping water of the falls in no time.
The moment was one of exhilarating action, Sitting under a water falls is altogether a different adventure in itself. After the play and frolic we climbed back, the climb back was much faster, it took us around 40 minutes. Again by the time we had finished a fulfilling lunch of Bullet Rice and Sambar at Dabbe Manne , It was already 5:40, Our plans of trekking to Kanoor kote's doctors house which was some 8 Km from dabbe manne looked not feasible, that too without a guide. We then decided to trek to a house, 4 Km from this place, who had an Omni for hire to take us back to Sagar.
The next day we hired a Qualis and spent our time in visiting a couple of waterfalls, more about this in a later post.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Under the Moonlit Sky

Under the starry dreamy sky, in the dark of the night,
came out the moon in the whispers of a knight,
The myriad darkness was swept asunder,
gleaming the earth with tones of soft silky silver.

A cool breeze blew from the horizon,
rustling along the leaves in playful oblivion,
The moonlit light twirled along with the breeze,
chilling the night with an embracing squeeze.

The silent silvery stream flowed on,
caressing the stones with its lovely silent song,
The late night air was rent with creaks,
with the lovelorn calls of creatures in the reefs.

There, near the flowing stream stood she,
as a serene silent goddess of the night,
Waiting under the moonlit sky,
shimmering with a radiance of alluring beauty,

I chose to hide behind the hedge,
enjoying the yearning in her lovely eyes,
The night was still very young,
with the sweet smell of her jasmine,wafting.

Her face was a twinge of pleasure and anger,
when at last I alighted unable to hold any longer,
Bliss was how it felt, clasping her in my arms,
the night now turned into a celebration of rapturous joy.