Hoganekkal Falls

First of all apologies for the delay in posting the Hoganikkal Fall details.  Delay is an understatement  because I  by this time don’t even remember the dates of our travel.  

We were to meet at our BWS administrator Vinayak’s home at 6:30 am (BTW they have thrown me and Sanju out of BWS and am really upset about it. Not that it really matters but my ego is hurt big time. I am still mending it hoping an apology from any one of the BWS administrators. Vinayak are you listening?) .  We got late because of the lazy Saturday start. Sanju, me, Vinayak, Sunil, the 4 of us started at 7 am and picked up Ayan from somewhere (I don’t remember the name of the place and I am not the only one, I asked Sanju and Vinayak, they also do not know the name of the place where we picked Ayan from) then the gang of 5 musketeers started their Hoganikkal bound journey. 

Lola gets started.  Ayan singing along to some Bangla song, getting photographed by Sanjukta, Vinayak driving, Sunil sitting next to him and then I give a performance on “Namak Isk ka” song and get video graphed by Sanjukta again.  

As we started very early we had to stop somewhere for breakfast, so we stop at a run down shack on Krishnagiri road  scaring people away at that shop with our dancing  and our singing skills. I and Sanju jiggled on “Khaike Pan Banares Wala” and a small child (Look at Vinayak’s Hoganikkal photo) who was doing her homework there, packed her bag and fled.

After some ruckus, we hogged on some tea, idly and egg dosa. The food was ok but we still had each other’s brain which we could chew to wit’s end. Ate, ate, ate, then took a lot of pictures, everyone modeled and Sunil fell down with his jumping jack pose. Cuddled a small cat and fed it dosa, idly left overs. 

Now it was Sunil’s turn to drive, and I wanted to sit next to him to see his driving. But fate had something else planned, as we sped at 60km/hour, little did we realize that the Quails standing just about 15 meters away from us would be our reason to shell 1500 bucks and later half a lac as repair charges for Lola. Poor Lola could not stop and hit herself. Luckily we were not hurt, managed to convinced the owner of the Quails that we don’t have much money to give him, that we only have 1500 bucks which we eventually gave away.  

Started driving again, Sunil was feeling all apologetic and we all tried to cheer him up.  Stopped in the middle of the road because I wanted to run in the paddy fields as Vinayak went the other way to see some butterflies. Later we all had coconut water where a goat was drooling and tried its best to have my coconut. The Coconut man almost fell in love with Sanju and came to see her off till the car.  

We started again and reached Hoganikkal, went inside a very sad hotel to have some beer since it was very hot outside.  The bartender looked even more sad at our sight and reluctantly served us beer and fryums from a bucket.  Sanju and I sang, “kaise rahu chup ki maine pee hi kya hai, hosh abhi tak hai baki” to the gentleman hoping it will act as an anti-depresseant. Sunil all of a sudden wanted to become the barman and I joined him and asked everyone, “What would you like to have sir?” Later was corrected by Sunil, and was asked to rephrase my sentence as, “Try this sir, try this sir.” 

Later we all sat outside in the sun under a shade. In some time Beer started making calls; Nature calls.  Vinayak and I searched for a loo, which we found after 10 minutes of convincing to the hotel receptionist that we actually, truly, deeply, madly wanted to go to the loo. 

After sometime, when the sun was a little strong, we started for the falls by foot and the moment we were outside the gate we started our hogging sessions by trying out fish fries and some other kind of idly I don’t remember the name of. 

Shopped for some shorts and Tees, haggled, bargained and ended up looking like one  loser “chaddi gang” member who must have gone out to break someone’s house but later got caught and was chased out of the village. So there we go, reach the river bank, hop on to coracles and start our  journey in water.   

Guduk, Guduk, we go everywhere, take a merry go round ride, get splashed and then park ourselves at a safe fall side. “Safe” will not be a right word to use because Vinayak almost lost his knickers. While he made desperate attempts to save his chaddis like a man in a rescue team trying to save a dying, drowning, helpless man, I see Sunil and Ayan making out. Sunil towering over Ayan, making ecstatic faces while Ayan, from behind making strange moves loudly screaming out the “F” words.   

After 2 hours of getting machine washed in a natural Jacuzzi, we coracled to the mouth of the fall to shoot the sunset. Man what a sight!!! The monsoon was blaring and so was the fall which was at its full frenzy, gushing out oodles of water as if there is no tomorrow.  The sunset was amazing. It was dark and we were the only people stranded in the river. But I must say that our coracle man was an expert who got us back to the mainland in that pitch darkness with no safety regulations whatsoever. 

Evening ended with omelets, fish fries and cups of chai.  By the time we were ready to leave for Bangalore, it started raining again.  We called it a day with cups of coffee from CCD at the Bangalore Airport and some fond memories of the trip which ended in no casualties. J   

Hope so far :-)

A word of caution to all readers, “This is going to be one long post.” Mainly because, I think, this is going to be my last post for 2007 justifying, why, this is going to be a long one.

 No, don’t want to start this with, “Happy New Year” wishes. This post is going to have something more.

As I turn back (hoping my 30th birthday would come in a reverse order  :-P) I feel amused.

Lot had happened  in 2005, more followed in 2006.  2007 came like a pleasant surprise as if 2005, 2006 and the period between 1992 to 2006 never happened. (don’t ask me the details now, I don’t remember anything)

2007, has been really a year of learning, loneliness which ended on a happy note.  A note which reads finding love in Bold, Italic, Underlined letters. Vinayak has definitely  been the discovery of the year  🙂 . My getting married to him exactly after a year’s stint in Bangalore, a city with which I share a love hate relationship.

A companionship which is full of loads of love, bliss, peace and happiness (touch-wood) for which I am thankful to 2007. (by the way, Numerologically, 9 has always been my lucky number and 2007 adds up to 9 :-))

 After the wedding, had gone to Delhi, and roamed on the streets of Old Delhi with Vinayak, where he saved me from a pickpocket too :-), went to Kolkata after 15 years and was truly mesmerised with Flury’s, a cafe on Park Street where my husband spent many happy days with his late father, his late grand parents, eating delicacies whenever he would come for a haircut as a child.

 I ordered Darjeeling tea, sandwich, a small cake and a cheese cake. The food was nice, so was the staff. The ambiance made me very nostalgic, I was missing my dad who would have loved Flury’s. The violin and the keyboard were adding to the nostalgia which played many English, Hindi classics. The old world charm of “Bangaliana” and Kolkata was getting on to me big time.

My recommendation, if you are in Kolkata, Flury’s a must visit for some nice, quiet, Friday evening with a special someone or a close friend. It will definitely make your trip to Kolkata a fond one. 🙂

Christmas started  in Goa.  Vinayak initially thought of a trip to Wayanard, but I was more eager on travelling alone than in a group reason being was with a lot of people because of the wedding, so wanted some solitude. Finally decided to go to an island resort in Karwar called the “Great Outdoors Island Resort” which turned out to be a damp squib mainly because of the hot, sultry weather on the island. The water sports which created a “wow” factor in my mind also never happened. We went to the swimming pool sized, pin drop silent but clean beach of the island, tried to have some fun but there were hardly any waves. Saw a broken water scooter and given my water phobia, gave up on the idea of water scooting, thought will do archery and angling but that also did not happen. In the evening, after the dinner, we both lay-ed on the hammock under an almost full-moon night and kept talking about different things.

Next day started very late.  Seeing the dehydrated co-habitants of the island who came after a boat ride, we immediately decided that we need to do something which is more fun. Over breakfast, spur of the moment we decided, we want to go to Gokarana, immediately took a bath, took a boat to mainland, boarded a bus to Ankola, another bus to Gokarna, roamed around for a hotel room. In the evening, went to the beach, had beer, food and enjoyed the sunset and  the full moon walk along the shore.

Next day, boarded Konkan railways train to Karwar and again spur of the moment decided that for Christmas eve we have to be in Goa.  We could have taken the same train to Goa but had to go to Karwar island to pick up our stuff. The Gokarna station is again a nice place to be, it was breezy and quiet with a “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” kind of a feeling. On our next visit, we plan to stay with a tribal family for sometime in Gokarna.

Reaching Karwar Island, we immediately checked out and left for Goa. It took us 3 hours by bus to reach Vasco. We decided to check-in in Vasco because of the room availability factor there over north Goa. Next day was spent in Panjim, the entire city was decked up as if it was Diwali in Delhi. We again had some Goan food and beer at some small time restaurant, went to a bakery shop run by an Aunty. The shop had a very homely element about it, where women came, bought cakes, chit chatted with the owner, a complete “Muhalle Ki Dukan and Pados Ki Aunty” feeling. We had brownies and a yummy coconut cake, bought beach clothes, rented a taxi and headed off to Baga beach.

Baga was fun, Vinayak looked too cool in a bright blue, flowery shirt, he kept calling him self Uncle Tom and I, in a faun Short skirt  re-christened myself as Aunt Philomina. 😛

Enjoyed the sunset, sitting on a lazy chair, with beer, tandoori shark, prawns and a Hookah which towered over us over looking the mellowing beach filled with partying tourists, banana boats, water scooters, para sails, Rajsthani women selling beads, men insisting on giving you a message, young boys selling “light-wala” helicopter and some arbit toy which looked like a small stick to me and off-course our Hookah man, who was extremely courteous and seemed like a fresh graduate of a soft skills college on customer service. The party had just started with the entire beach filled with shacks which threw themselves open to all for beach parties, playing different songs ranging from “World Hold on” to some old forgotten MJ song to our own Desi Himesh. It was a “mix chaat” of chart busters everywhere.

After a lazy, unwinding, sinful time, we decided to start our party hopping, our cash was also dwindling so walked 2 kms to the nearest ATM but the entire place was full on partying, never felt that it was late at night. Auto walas sucked as usual asking for 180 bucks for 2 kms coming and going, we decided to walk, my feet hurt so was treated with Baskin Robbins Almond Coffee ice-cream by my considerate husband which made me feel good.

Jiggled a little at Tito’s Mambo, which was over priced and not happening at all. Again went for a Hookah, spent the whole night outside on the beach with festivity. At 4 a.m. walked to a 24 hours CCD for some coffee. Took a Taxi to Panjim then a bus to Vasco, had Goan food for lunch, boarded our flight which we booked after landing in Vasco on 23rd because of non-availability of trains. Got a good deal for 6.6k for 2 people in Kingfisher.

Now back in Bangalore, home is sweet as usual, office is depressing. Suddenly the world looks so beautiful 🙂

Never knew 2007 will end like this, it started on a good note with lot of hope and I am happy that it did not disappoint. Let me not talk about 2006, 2005, 2004 and all the years back ward till 1992, want to forget all of it. May be I have forgotten all of it already, thanks to Vinayak. 🙂

My thanks to all the people, all circumstances, all the moments that added value to my life. (Sounds like some Oscar Speech).  Sanju and I even after being childhood friends were never this close. Today she is a family. Found wonderful people like Vinu, Sunil, Supriy, Ayan.

If I may say “I am lovin it” 😛

Fresh Air

Before leaving for a very important assignment, she wanted to close all the open ends.

She was relocating, moving to a new place, she had to dump all her past, useless baggage in the gutter.  

She did exactly what she had thought. She e mailed her ex boyfriend to let him know that she was getting married and she expects good luck from him.  She e-mailed her another loser ex-boyfriend, how much thankful she is to him because it was because of him that she knew how ass holes were. She smsed “FYI” to the school friends who she was always fond of but who gradually stopped keeping in touch because of various obligations in life.    

She threw away the baggage, and felt light, all set, ready and hopeful for a new chapter of her life.

The bitterness was not completely gone but now she could taste the nectar too. 

A breath of fresh air and a surety which she never felt before. A mind so free of questions and doubts which surprised her.  

A hand extended which she is going to hold and run away to an open sunflower field, to a sea shore, to a rocking houseboat deck in the river, under an star spangled open sky, a light drizzle and the same extended hand to cover her head from getting wet. 

Dreams were coming true, in her mind as she closed the door while looking at the room one last time to check if she was leaving anything behind but realization struck soon. She had nothing to take from there, she smiled to her self as she looked up squinting at the sun  as if to thank someone then looked down as if trying hard to think something but she had nothing to think or worry about.  She closed the door, heard it make a click sound, put the lock and left for that extended hand  without leaving a trail to be followed back, in the December sun.