Saturday, June 28, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
It’s been more than a month since me along with 3 of my friends, AK, Daali & PP went on a 3 day exploration of Wayanad. (adapted from Quest)
9th May 2008 : In the morning we, me & AK, boarded the Netravati Express from Trivandrum Central station. We had planned to spend the night in the hostel and later on proceed to wayanad. Until now we haven’t even decided upon the tour itinerary which we planned to do when we all meet up at the hostel. On our way to Calicut, we were joined by Kurien( who left the tour on the first day itself) and PP from Thrissur.
MSN was supposed to join us in the morning when we set from the college but because of some unavoidable reasons he had to withdraw at the 5th hour. We all reached NIT Calicut by nightfall and after meeting up Daali turned to planning the itinerary. The night’s stay was in AK’s room which he was yet to vacate. After rounds of discussion with frequent interruptions from Kurien who was asking for a summary every time we came close to forming our tour plan. It was decided to spend the first day visiting Meenmutty waterfall, and proceeding to Kalpetta for the same in the morning.
Day 1, In Search of the water of Elixir
10th May, 05:15 am : Took a bus to Calicut KSRTC Bus stand from NIT-C, 40 minutes of travel.
From the bus stand we took a KSRTC bus to Kalpetta and reached there at around 08:45am. Had breakfast and went on to look for a room to rent. But we were disappointed because of unavailability of rooms (go for advance booking while visiting here). We went on to seek the details for visiting the waterfall from the town tourism promotion council office which was closed for the day being a second saturday (holiday).
So we decided then and there to visit the waterfall first (dragging our luggage along).
Meenmutty Waterfalls : Distance from Kalpetta – 29 km.
Nearest town : Vaduvanchal
Hired a rickshaw to the Neelimala Viewpoint from which we could catch the whole length of the waterfall. It is about 3 km from Vaduvanchal.
The trek to the Neelimala Viewpoint was through a rather steep mud road carved out of the hill. The sight of the waterfall was simply breathtaking (that explains why we were out of breath when we reached the top ;) ). I happened to see a wild hare making a quick escape from us, the invaders. After enjoying the deep chasm separating us from the other hills, we took on for getting a closer look at the water fall. We had reached almost a dead end, with the trail ahead covered with overgrown weeds and plants. By this time Kurien was getting agitated as he thought that it was too dangerous.
After catching the waterfall from the nearest point possible across the hill, we all were set to cover that extra km which separated us from the way to the magnificent waterfall, which we had learned from the literature written about it.
Meenmutty from neelimala
On reaching the path to the waterfall (it lies on the Ooty main road), we came to know that we had to cover close to 5 km to feast ourselves on it. Having felt that an arduous trek awaited him, Kurien choose to withdraw from it and decided to wait till we return.
The Meenmutty Waterfall :
The waterfall is said to be over 300 mt (not continuous) falling over three stages.
After walking a km, we reached a light refreshment hall serving curd milk Had to tread through this
n without it. We decided to take the middle, straight path. The trail soon became very steep downhill with only a foothold of space to walk on. One wrong step and you can see yourself rolling downhill until you bang against a rocky bottom or luck hold yourself against a tree. We thought that
we must be reaching the bottom of the waterfall until we reached an almost 90° trail downwards, which made our hearts race.
Daali felt the thunderous sound of the water crashing onto the rocks making him go senseless for a while. While waiting there thinking about the next step, a group of people came across us, who said that they had visited the bottom and they are going to the top. We didn’t have the courage to follow them through virtually invisible trails. We decided to walk back and take a guide with us and the return path too was also not without risk.
We went back to the refreshment stall where after a brief rest of 15 minutes, with a guide resumed our journey. This time the guide took us through the left path. Upon walking a little, we couldn’t see where the trail went as it wasn’t even visible to us. Nevertheless we followed the guide. AK was on 4 legs because of the grip less shoes he was wearing. Halfway through, he took off his shoes and decided to wear barefoot.
The 2nd fall
Crashing against the rocky bed
Daali, silhouetted against the silk draped rocks
We all reached the bottom of the waterfall and its beauty was fared far better than our expectations. I was picturing shot after shots in my camera of the silky water crashing through the rocks. After spending a little while there, the guard decided to take us to the top of the waterfall.
Moving on to the 2nd level
Walking through slippery rocks, dried under the hot sun, we reached the top. From there we could see the Neelimala point from where we had seen the whole of the waterfall. Again after capturing our moments there we were on the move again, tracing back our steps I thought, which was not so as the guide took us up through the tea gardens of an estate. All this while we were cut off from the world, by the wonderful sight we all chanced upon and the total lack of coverage of mobile network all through the trek ;). On reaching the top all four of us got an SMS from Kurien excusing himself from the rest of the journey as he didn’t have the courage to take such a risk (because he is a Middle-class, this was to be his explanation. None of us understood How). Altogether we walked more than 16 km down and up.
It was evening and we all decided to spend the night at Mananthavadi and spend the next day visiting Kuruva Islands and the Edakkal Caves. Returned to Kalpetta and from there to Mananthavadi where we each took a single room in a tourist hotel.
Guide – Rs. 120
Transport charges by bus very marginal compared to other rented modes of transport.
11th May 2008: At 07:00 am we had our breakfast and were set to leave the hotel. The hotel was pretty much crowded because of the bride’s marriage party who had taken room in the same hotel.
Leaving the hotel, we took a KSRTC bus again to Kartikulam
from where we had to proceed to Kuruva Dweep (islands). Being just 4 of us made it easier to travel in a rickshaw only.
We reached Kuruva much early before the entry counter would open as we were misinformed about the timings. Spend the next hour and half until 10 am roaming here and there. An alternative to go across was like this to which I and PP were opposed to and so the waiting game started.
Either cross like this
Reached the Kuruva Islands by boat, took the entry ticket and started our walk through the overgrown bamboo forests. The island is about 950 acres in area surrounded by the river Kabani. There was nothing except walking through the bamboo foliage, easy cool walk. Would have been ideal for Kurien (pun intended). After going like this for more than an hour, we decided to turn back. Saw our ancestors on the way to exist. Returned to Mananthavadi by another KSRTC bus.
Or by boat
Retracing the steps back
It was already past afternoon and we had planned to visit the edakkal caves too. But due to insufficient time we had to drop the visit. By this time the atmosphere changed to one those seen in the Amazing Race (in AXN), which Daali giving a long face. The whole of third day was to be spent in the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary. But on enquiring with the forest office we found out that it would take only 2 hours for this. So we decided that after Muthanga we would get sufficient time to visit Edakkal provided we stay overnight in Sulthan Bathery.
Mananthavadi – Kartikulam – about 12 km (by bus)
Kartikulam to Kuruva – Rickshaw charges Rs. 50.
Room rent @ Sulthan Bathery - Rs. 90 per head (rented a double room TV ;) )
For the adventurous visit Chembra Peak instead, Kuruva Islands is worth a skip.
Day 3, From the wilderness of the Jungle to the Top of the World
Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary
Started at .
We were first told that we had to reach the forest office at Muthanga by 07:00am but on reaching there before time, they told that 8 am start too also will be cool. So had our breakfast from the hotel near the forest check post and walked back nearly a km to the start point. Not to be late we had hired an auto instead of the bus which we could have caught without difficulty.
Nested in the tree
We were assigned a guide to lead us. Some trails had leeches hanging from the grasses. I caught a couple of them sticking onto my socks, unable to tear through my skin. AK wasn’t lucky enough and so was Daali (luckier than AK though).
Leeching AK Oozing AK
We happened to see a couple of deer at first and then it was herds after herds. Happened to come across leopard paw marks though didn’t sight any ;). Many hives of wild honey bees, wild plants, and a Kannikonna in the midst of the forest, bear trails, stream through the jungle – must be a water hole.
Call of the Wild
We were unlucky to sight a wild elephant herd unlike other days when it was a common thing, maybe Monday was a rest day for them after flaunting themselves in front of the Sunday crowd.
The guide told about stories about elephant attack, the tribals, leopards and bears. We were also enlightened on the Muthanga struggle which was led mainly by people that were brought from outside Muthanga. Our guide was among the people who were held by the encroachers who had ventured into the forest to put off the forest fire started by the protesters. This led to an erosion of support from the local people and the agitators had nothing else but to withdraw. Showed us the part of the forest where the so called pro-tribals encroached. It was a nearly 4 hour long walk through the moderately dense forest.
This was said to be pug marks of a leopard ;)
Which could be the path less trodden?
*Official time though allotted would be around 2 hrs, the guide can extend it if we are proactive. ;)
Wild honey is sold through a society outside the forest, high cost, less concentrated, low on taste, but may be high on nutrients.
Returned to Sulthan Bathery, had lunch, proceeded to private bus stand to catch the bus to Ambalavayal, the town nearest to
Reached Ambalavayal, took an auto taking us near to the bottom of the hill. The trek is about 1 km, arduous and risky. Jeep service is available that can take us to the bottom of the cave from where it is a steep climb of 1km vertically. The ticket counter is at the bottom of the hill, jeep stoppage point. Refreshments are available at this point. After going between the sandwiched rocks, on the other side is the rock drawing dating back to more than 1000 B.C.
The Cave Drawings
It had drawings embroidered on the walls stretching more than 4 m in length. In the cave one can see a boulder that is not touching the rock through which light enters the cave. We decided to see all this only on our way back after reaching the top.
We were on top of this hill Light streaming through the large boulders
The climb was very risky considering there isn’t any well cut out steps leading to the top. The path was spread with cement paste that was beginning to form a fine powder that would make any person slip. There is a rope fastened onto the rocks across a boulder that would lead near to the bottom of an iron ladder, after which the top isn’t far away. On our way top, the people descending told that there are people on the top. Hearing this provided the required boost to scale the remaining distance. We let go of our shoulder bags near the base of the iron ladder. While they were putting away the bags, I felt an impetus that made me go fast and well over the steep rocks in one go. I reached the top, photographed the 360° view from the top in every angle and waited for others to catch on. Not a single soul was there when we reached there nor anyone came as long as we were there. It is said that we could see the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka too from there. But as there wasn’t any visibly demarcated borders, we couldn’t make out. The breeze was cool but along with it came some of the suicide bombing flying ants that too after we were 900 m high from the ground below.
From the top of Edakkal, rock slide.
After spending sometime there we started our descend which was as dangerous as the climb uphill. Once on the top I had imagined myself falling in every way while waiting for others to join in, :D.
We had lost sight of AK, who was frequently out of breath because of his change in life style in the past 2 years while at college ;). We waited for him near the entrance to the cave drawings and after looking through the incomprehensible carvings we made our way back to Sulthan Bathery.
Returned to Calicut by a KSRTC bus through the dense foggy night, reached NIT-C hostel by 10:30pm.
Sulthan Bathery to Muthanga – 15 km
Rickshaw charges about Rs. 100 (take bus instead)
Sulthan Bathery to Ambalavayal – 14 km
Amabalavayal to Edakkal by rickshaw (bus also available)
Edakkal to Sulthan Bathery (bus available)
Total Cost per person- around Rs. 1500 (including food). Highly economical with most of the travel by bus and some 4 rickshaw rides.
Next day I returned home after a 3 hour stopover in Ernakulam where I met Virus probably for the last time…..
*Adapted from Spy Kids 2 ;)
talkin abt my story.. i landed in chennai on 14th mornin.. sat.. read on..
we first got a single bedroom lodge room thanks to lankan help.. we reached on sat morn btw.. by sunday evenin we found a nice place.. 2 bdroom hall kitchen 2 bathroom wrk area n backward balcony.. plus tv fridge washin machine 2 lpg stove.. all kitchen utensils includin puttu maker n ammi plus a double cot plus beds for 5 plenty of pillows.. tv stand dinin table two comp tables.. two almirahs.. buckets.. n many other.. mixie was one thin missin.. n iron box too.. we bot the latter..
rent 15k plus current bill.. 24/7 water... only prob that i can see is tat it can get hot.. in summer..
we're stayin in a big middle n upper mid class colony.. we have a private beach half km from us.. (naren said it was private).. as we move closer to beach the class moves from midd to upmid...
ya.. there's a hyundai colony near by.. so lot of chinkies.. the beach.. lol.. its a neat place.. no shittings in the 1km length.. families here come even at 10 pm... we (me lanka basil) went for mornin walk today mornin..(yeah we do it evryday).. n we walked all along the beach.. the two boundaries are visible.. thanks to the shitters.. those guys shit n wait for the waves to clean thier ____.. call it hands free comfort..
we spotted a buildin which seemed like a.. b a r.. but on closer examination i found out sadly that it was not a wine glass but a brewin cup of tea shown on the logo...
ya.. work place.. its 20sec plus 4 min share auto plus 5 min walk to our office.... share auto is a great concept.. upto ten plus driver can travel in one.. each has to giv 5 or 7 bucks.. the other autos u cant get into.. thier strtin price is 40 or 50.. no wonder rajni became a superstar.. if he was in kerala he'll still be a driver..
work place is good.. the same nitc feel.. thanks to the ratio.. at present all the eleven freshers r from NITs n r boys.. finally after a week we confirmed tat we are into the networkin division.. called NGDC meanin Next Generation Datacom Center.. sounds good? havn found out wat it is.. but i think its somethin related to networkin.. As of now.. its one week since we joined.. n we're trained to type n browse n chat.. because.. they are plannin to increase the batch strength to 25 (hopefully better ratio).. by the look of it.. i think our trainin wil start only in july first week.. it also means i hav enuff time to learn somethin abt networkin.. hopefully..
our division head.. a lil old guy. he was in RnD in US for 18 yrs.. now here.. malayalee.. big funda guy.. like KSK.. though a lil more humane.. (dunno wat exactly that means.. i meant lil more frenly).. he is calin us each seperatly n interviewin us.. abt.. u din guess it.. our mini n majr project.. after coll.. i threw away thos reports n deleted it too i think.. now i find the mini report is in ammavan's comp.. which is in mumbai.. n major.. in vv's but his fren lost the usb.. n no net ther... fun.. the big brain he is.. vv he still remembers a lot abt it. n helped me.. i hav somethin to tell the head wen i meet him..
food.. we hav cheap but good canteen in our office as wel as in our buildin.. this is an IT park btw.. we hav two other good IT parks... Tidel (behind us) n ascendas ( in btw our place n NIFT which is .5km away) ascendas is our CC (first c bein chic) these two places hav superb food courts.. tho costly.. all KFC, pizza hut mcdonalds.. n lot more in ther.. weekends. nice place to hang out..
we did go to spencers last week.. lil far from here. 7rs bus.. we hav MRTS train from our office to main railway station.. btw.. we also hear tat we are shifting to our own spacious building in a month or two.. sounds good.. its two stations away from our present place .. some 5 6 km.. or so.. but the not so good part is that we hear its near a waste dumpin place.. velachery.. will find it out soon..
btw.. in our home.. we did the paalukatchal in our kitchen... not the warrier type.. the traditional.. we made coffee on monday nite.. n more coffees... havn progressed beyond that.. i realise that cookin can be fun.. but the cleanin part afterwards is not.. really.. hmm thats abt it i guess.. wud lov to hear from u guys too.. KIT (wow.. new invention.. means Keep In Touch.. lol)
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
From Thrissur to Banglore
Such is the twist of fate and the horrors of truth that often truth becomes stranger than fiction. Now this is not an unbelievable story or anything. This is what just happened to my life for the past one week.
I had got selected in IBM GBS through the campus selection from my college NITC. I was planning to go for higher studies. So this job seemed to be a good option as a buffer. And the brand name IBM installed so much confidence in me that I didn’t or rather didn’t try for any other company. When one has one job in hand, why bother with one more.
And this went on till the start of March when we received news that IBM is not planning to take people this year. Rather its like an extension of our offer letter. We have the job, but not now. There were so many of us, dejected and cursing IBM. But I took it as my fate and tried to think optimistically. If the offer letter comes late, then I will have time for studying for MBA which was my long term goal. And hence I started a leisurely life, going to parties, studying here and there for CAT, visiting relatives, playing badminton and table tennis and visiting friends etc.( like the trip in the previous post)
It was on 22st of may. The time was around 5.55 pm. I hadn’t checked my mail for two days. I had given my resume in different job websites. My father asked me to check if any mail from any company had come or not. Was thinking of checking it in the night. But by some sheer luck I decided to check then itself. And what did I find? There was this mail from IBM sent the previous day informing us that there was an aptitude test on 24th May at Cusat, cochin. And I had to confirm it by 6 pm that day. I replied immediately and informed warrier too. All night I was wondering about what the test will be.
Friday evening warrier came to my house and we decided to go together the next day. Since they had mentioned about refunding, we decided to go by ac coach in train. We got on from Punkunnam and sat in ac. We reached Ernakulam on time and made our way to cusat. We were skeptical about what we will find there. After walking a long long way in and out of cusat campus, we reached the place at last. There were many students present there but no IBM official. We waited and waited and waited. The test was supposed to start at 11. But due to some reasons it started only at 1. So we went to virus’s house to kill sometime. Sandesh and Ephrem and dj were there from my college (Btech). There was Jathin das too but we didn’t see him after sometime.
The exam was easy one. It was a 15 minutes exam and then there was an English test too. We had to call a no and talk to a pre recorded voice. All this went well and were informed that the results will be announced within 15 days. All well and good. But there was no time to spare because I got a call from IBM the next day afternoon informing me that I was selected and had to join on Tuesday. And that was 2 days later!!
Everything after that went in a hurry. Shopping, buying, packing, meeting relatives, getting blessings, everything. There was no time for anything. I got a ticket in bus barely and that too back seat. So I somehow made it to banglore and reported for job on the required time and date.
I just wonder. Just one week ago I was in the mood of Kerala trip and now I am a regular employee working 9 to 6. All of this in just one week!!