Memories...they make my world; a small world of surprises, love, breakup, lifelong friendship and a dead dream!
What if I say that I saw a 20-year-old man crying badly for missing an opportunity to fulfil his dreams? What if that was me? Yes, this incident happened exactly 6 years, 1 month and 23 days before, from then I never missed any opportunities that came my way and privileged to boast my smile on all social networking sites. I hope to continue the same :)
Okay, let us dive deep into the Memory Ocean to travel on a lane, which made me what I am this day!
Standing in attention, hands folded, head facing down, eyes closed, pounding heartbeat and offering small prayers to God, all for one reason: will that person call out my name?
…and he did!
I was on seventh heaven. I silently thanked God, my parents and my closed ones as I got a job :) Without any second thoughts, I called my close friend Sandhya on her phone and revealed the happy news, which made her and her family happy. I flew to my home and we had a blast there!
That night we planned for a road trip as Sandhya, Shaskshi, Arun and I wanted to celebrate the happiness of securing a good future; a future that we longed for years. Sandhya proposed a 3-day road trip from Chennai to Kallakurichi, her hometown and then to Yercaud. We agreed. She had a Tata Sumo car, maintained in an excellent condition by her dad. Also, she had a good control over the big machine and I can exchange the seat when she gets tired, though I do not prefer driving at nights. She listed out the places to visit and I compiled the list.
1. Her grand grandmother house in a small village – a place that teaches you what life is.
2. Karumbu Thottam (Sugarcane field)
3. Megam Falls
4. Yercaud – a hill station in Salem District.
As planned, we met in her place. Everybody had a big bag that accommodated our dress, trekking shoes, woollen blankets, tents, emergency medicines, toiletries, paper plates, water can, etc. We had a laptop, reliance USB internet connection and Google maps to guide us through the trip. We fed the car with litres of petrol, music cd’s and a fragrance to make the trip pleasant. And we were all set for a perfect road trip; of course, I had my camera to capture life as it happens, but I never thought of penning down in future.
Shaskshi and Arun sat in the middle, Sandhya took the control and I sat to her left. After a small Puja performed by her dad, we started…a memorable trip that I could write about even after 6 years, 1 month and 18 days, though I don’t have photos to recall or retrace the trip as I lost my precious hard disk when I left to London.
For the first one-hour or so, she was driving at 40kmph to escape from Chennai Traffic and once we hit the highways, she constantly hit ninety and above. In the meantime, Shaskshi and Arun went in to a romantic mood...just in words and the romantic fragrance did the rest. We stopped at a roadside Tea Café near Tindivanam to refresh our gears. No tea could be better than a Chai at roadside Café in Tamil Nadu. And to our surprise, it was a full moon day (Pournami) - the pretty woman was in good shape, her round face lit up the dark sky and the stars twinkled around her. I clicked a few snaps – first our pretty woman moon, next we wrote our names using matchstick and clicked adjusting the shutter speed, and of course we, the fantastic four :) We resumed our journey.
In about one and half an hour we reached Kallakurichi, Sandhya was tired by then and yet she was fully charged on seeing her grandparents, uncle, aunt, and her favourite house. But I was wrong. Just before to bed, she said that her home was 3kms away and has only a pathway to walk. I was excited! And we slept on the terrace.
The first rays of the sun grace the earth. Before our eyes, the clouds become lit with a warm light as the rising sun announces the coming of a new day. Birds chirped in unison, cows and goats announced that they are ready to be milked, chilled breeze perfumed by new born flowers made the morning bliss. Soon after, we four went on a walking tour to her home. On the way, we had many wonderful experiences. We met three six-foot cobras on their way to home. I was scared to death. But the villagers who were standing on the crop field claimed it to be usual and we could see more, if we go to the nearby temple. We saw a big well that had footsteps to climb up and to go down where some young kids contested for the best dive. I must say everyone was highly and equally talented. I clicked a few snaps.
We entered into sugarcane field where we sipped of different flavours of sugarcane. As the field was managed by Sandhya’s grandfather, we had a special reception. Shaskshi and Arun went crazy as they posed for photos standing like couples in 1980’s. It was fun to watch them run in the crop field, holding hands around a coconut tree, holding sugarcane posing like a Palani Andavar (Tamil God). I was excited on seeing a group of banyan tree. I went crazy like a monkey!
After all the fun we had, we reached Sandhya’s Home at eight in the morning. Was that a small house? That was what I felt after looking at the front portion of the house. It is not! The house was built in a periodic fashionable manner. The roof was racked with Panai Olai (Palm Leaves), the doors, windows and the pillars were made of Theku Maram (Teak Wood). First two rooms were built for guests with a cement roof; next room is a small pond with an open roof, which houses different specimens of fish and ducks, one master bedroom and two large bedrooms, one big kitchen and all that I could not recollect was some Tamil names of different rooms. I was astonished!
Around 30 people lived in that house making it a home sweet home. Her grand grandparents were too strict but at the same time, they were good at heart. We were served a fantastic breakfast – Kali Urundai with Karuvattu Kolambu. It was definitely Sandhya’ s Home :) We packed many food items for lunch and dinner and started our journey back to her house. We were accompanied by Ramesh, Saravana, Anbu and Surya, who are cousin-brothers and cousin-sisters of Sandhya and Ramesh’s soul mate Reka to guide us to Megam Falls.
We loaded all we wanted in our car and crosschecked twice. Ramesh, Saravana, Anbu and Reka sat in the back seat; Surya, Shaskshi and Arun sat in the middle; Sandhya and I sat as usual. We proceeded to Gecherapalayam, a place at ground level of Kalvarayan Hills, which is a 6km drive from Sandhya’ s House. We had tea at a roadside Chai Café clicking a few photographs with our gang. We headed to Megam Falls with great difficulty in climbing steep roads and hairpin bends. On the way, everyone was happy seeing natural scenarios and routes in the hills. I must say Sandhya had an awesome control over the car. We parked our car running down road to Megam Falls and started to walk.
We had a mini lunch and loaded our bags with all we wanted for trekking. Though trekking was not allowed there, still we took a dangerous decision and started walking. Since Anbu and Saravana know the route to the top of the falls, they took the lead and we followed. Shaskshi, Arun and Surya held hands together; Ramesh and Reka, Sandhya and I followed Anbu and Saravana. The path was full of water and huge stones, which we climbed holding hands with other and that’s the power of unity!
Shaskshi and Surya fell here and there, now and then, but Arun was in full control so we were happy. Ramesh and Reka destined to be together forever had a fantastic time. They had their moments of togetherness right from kisses on cheeks to all they wished. Anbu, Saravana, Sandhya and I were enjoying it to the core as we danced in the water, splashed water on each other’s face and at times, I climbed a few trees. At around four in the evening, we had our lunch, as we were tired. We then setup tents and other preparation for our night stay in the forest. We know it was not safe, but still we wanted to have a fantastic time at the cost of calculated risks. It took us around one and half an hour to setup everything and, we prepared our dinner. We then took bathe in the fresh water that flowed and had a fantastic dinner dancing to the hard rock tunes of old gold Tamil songs. We slept around early due to over tiredness. At around two in the morning, I suggested a change in plan and that is to continue the journey to the exit near the top of the falls and to continue the journey in the car and we executed that.
We thought we could make to the top easily but the dangerous forest route made it tough, Shaskshi and Surya fell down here and there at daylight itself, so you could imagine the amount of effort Arun had to put in. And nobody was an exception other than Sandhya and I, but even she fell down just before the exit, which was the worst thing happened in our trekking, as she slipped while crossing the fast running water. Everyone shouted, “Hey Pathu Pathu di…” (Hey be careful) but she slipped and fell in between two rocks. Only God saved her as I held her hands tightly and lifted her up. She was absolutely fine. She did not dash into any of the rocks though she slipped between two big rocks. She thanked me smiling big I am okay idiot. And after that, we made to the car in thirty minutes. We continued our road trip and I drove the car to Yercaud.
After three hours, we reached Yercaud – a hill station in Salem District is an enchanting and picturesque hill stations in the Eastern Ghats. Everybody slept off during the travel, as all were tired due to trekking. Sandhya occupied my thoughts and the moment I held her hands, otherwise it would have been a big disaster, which I cannot even imagine of in the wildest of my dreams. I did my return :) We then stayed in a hotel we booked online to refresh ourselves.
Initially, we thought we would first go to Killiyur Falls, but later due to tiredness, we skipped it and went to Yercaud Lake. Surrounded by green gardens and well-wooded trees, it was a beautiful treat for our eyes. We spent a few hours there enjoying the mild sun, and clicked a few snaps of our big gang. We then went to Pagoda point: another vantage viewpoint where we spent a few hours and even offered prayers to God in the nearby temple. We had our lunch there itself and as they say, “unda mayakam thonthanukkum undu” That I second as most of them slept off in the car.
In the evening, we went to Lady’s seat – a high peak offering fantastic views of the plains. Being a lover of panoramic views, I had a fantastic time there. Is it the beauty of the place or am I a great photographer :P? I was flabbergasted!
On the way back to hotel, I had one of my dreams come true. Yes, I lay in the middle of the road for five minutes during the busy hours. Many started clicking photographs of my mad act and almost three to four car drivers yelled at me for the foolish act, but I was happy. That night we had a fantastic dinner in the hotel with campfire. Everybody moved their body like Rihanna and Michael Jackson to the hard rock music played by the organizer. We had an awesome time. The best part of the evening was Arun went down on one knee and proposed Shaskshi again. He asked, “Will you be my permanent girlfriend?” and she blushed. It was so good to see them dancing like Jack and Rose of Titanic. Ramesh and Reka were in their own world of kissing. I wondered how mad they were about kissing each other.
The final day of our trip started with our visit to The Servaroyan Temple - The temple is a narrow and dark cave having the God Servarayan and the Goddess Kaveri inside, which are believed as the deities of the Shevaroy Hills and Cauvery River. A Divine Day! Later we had a difference in opinion about Heaven’s sledge and, we ignored the plan, drove to Kallakurichi to have our lunch there. As soon as we reached there, we unloaded everything from the car and washed it, so that we can have a safe journey back home.
It was so boring after lunch so, I initiated the idea of playing dumb sheraz. It is a game in which a person has to enact the name of a movie in any way to his teammates without moving the person lips for the name is given by the opponent team. If the person is able to communicate the name to the team and if their guess is correct within decided time, then the team wins otherwise they loses it. It was fun, fun and fun as we had many wonderful facial expressions for unheard Tamil Movie Names. We had our dinner at Sandhya’s place and after which Ramesh, Reka, Surya, Anbu and Saravana left to Sandhya’s home and we started back to Chennai.
Shaskshi and Arun sat in the middle, Sandhya sat to my left and I drove. For the first one-hour or so, I was driving at 50kmph as the roads were small and once we hit the highways, I constantly hit ninety and above. Shaskshi and Arun were recalling all the sweet moments that they had in the last three days and I was listening to Sandhya’s sweet experience in 1234 words. We stopped at a roadside Tea Café near Villupuram to sip another wonderful Chai, which would make it a perfect day. We resumed our journey and in about half an hour, a strange woman was standing at a distance, which I noticed at the last moment and I applied the break powerfully.
Ufff she must be an idiot to cross the road like that? I said only to realise that she is not she, but something else. I then sped up the car to escape from the strange woman shadow. I know driving at nights is not my cup of tea, but that was not expected and by God’s grace, we reached Chennai safely. Everyone said that it was a perfect trip just after getting placed in the top IT companies of India. As it had everything right from a small surprise and love to all that we experienced till we reached Sandhya's house.
Indeed, it was a perfect trip! That is why I am writing a post of 3000 words even after 6 years :) We live in the IT world where we hardly have any time to spend with your close ones or to speak with them. Now, Sandhya is married and she is pursuing her Masters in Information Security, Arun and Shaskshi broke up before two years and, now Arun is in Scotland, Shaskshi presence is unknown and I am in Hamburg. And trust me life cannot be better than now and, at the same time life cannot be worse than now, the credit goes to God. Life has changed so much, from fantastic four to strangers who talk occasionally on phone. I wish we could plan for such a perfect trip once again.
If any of you are planning to go on for a road trip, don't forget three things. 1) Make sure you always have your music switched on 2) Keep the car fresh by switching on Ambi Pur. I prefer 'Lavender Spa'. For more flavours visit here - FB.com/AmbiPurIndia 3) Never let your closed ones sleep :P