Monday, October 19, 2009

Trip Down South!

There's this thing about reporting something. It's never true. I mean seriously! Not matter how much you try, you can never hide that hint of exaggeration, that bit of hypocrisy, that iota of prejudice and given that the 'truness' of any statement is binary, nothing one 'reports' of an event is true. And you know what, one shouldn't really. I mean, what if you somehow tell the story from your point of view. So what? You were there, and you have every right to paint whatever picture you want to, and the if readers haven't been there it's their fault. After all, there's always, "Conditions apply". The audience knows this. You now that the audience knows this, and the audience again (only the smart ones) knows that you know that they know it. Smarter ones go further into the abyss, but if I have to spell it for you, then I guess we all know where you stop.

The same applies to blogging, in fact to a much higher degree, because the facts cannot(in most cases) possibly be verified. Again the audience knows this and of the consequent loop. So even if the blogger tries his/her best to be true to the facts, the audience is always ready with it's jar of salt. So what you have is a conundrum of the highest nature. It's much easier for a single blogger to actually stay true to himself and the audeince and his experiences, as compared to an honest newsreporter, who is 'worried' by a boss, who is in turn 'worried' by TRP ratings. But the audience can hardly be discerning. So it's the poor old blogger who has to bear the
brunt. ME! I can say that I didn't exaggerate anything about my Singaporean odyssey, my first marathon, my kayaking down river Mekong in Laos, or bungying down Macau tower. For all you know, I might have been hiding in a cave in Jhumri Talaiyya(hope it's spelt right, English spellings can be so darn stupid sometimes). But the problem persists. I recently returned from a wonderful wonderful trip meandering the southern Indian peninsula, and I have to think twice about blogging about it, for fear of the usage of condiments by my readers. So I am going to rid myself
of prose this time. No similes, no fruity language(flowery is so cliche, so yesterday), no words of embellishment, no sarcasm(stop smirking, I can do it, seriously I can, just watch me do it, or read it, rather)

Here goes, but a few facts first. We took photographs, lots and lots of photos(2066 in all over 5 days). So many that, Paris Hilton bhi sharma jaye(dammit!!). So I am going to use a Key. An asterix[*] in the text implies that we took photos at that point of time. Then, yeah it was a 2500km odd trip by Qualis, driven by Mr.Ramachandran, who started off as a grumpy old man but in the end we became beer buddies(without the beer! alright, alright. I can't d
o it).

1. On 29th September, me(serial photographer), Spanish Surd, serial photographee(Sabbu, urf Sabeshwar), mard ladka, and Bandeshwar left Bangalore at 8 am or something.

2. Went first to Hogenakkal waterfalls.*.Not very impressed with the arsenic glued, black bottomed, circular boat ride, so went on a short death defying trek on sharp rocks, with water gushing around us, where a single wrong step could leave us bleeding to death, all the usual guy stuff. We didn't take the 'tel maalish' as
the dark and bald people seemed to have been taking it their whole lives, without any improvement in terms of fairness nor hair growth.

3. *.Reached Coimbatore that evening, to pick up ladakh-returned, who as his name says had just returned from a 15 day trip Ladakh. (Yeah, he works for a company, and no he's not fired, at least not yet). He had a D-SLR which alongwith my Olympus mu-1040 made up our arsenal of digital shooting.

4. That night we had a little party. Chicken Chettinaad(it had some 4 types of chillies), and chicken kadhai(in a real kadhai) and some liquid to cleanse our insides, in preparation for the long trip ahead :)

5. Reached Marayoor and stayed the night. We could have gone to Munnar, but there were wild elephants on the road, and we decided that we'd had enough adventure for the day, so we let the elephants be.

6. Morning, around Munnar.*.Cutting through Echo Point,* and Mattupetty Dam *, we reached Top Station. Saw a brilliant rainbow, ****. On the way had the most orange carrots ever and home made chocolate. Munnar is famous for its huge stretches of tea gardens, and is in the Kerala district of Idukki.

7. We wanted to go south to Kerala, but one of ladakh-returned's friends, had said that Madhurai was a nice place so we took the next left into Tamil Nadu. Sabbu lost his cool and stomach and its insides on several occasions, on account of the rough roads and his smooth tummy.

8. Asked a posh hotel for a cheap place to stay, and were directed there with a smile. When we went inside, our smiles vanished.

9. Morning we got looted at the Madhurai temple. Hinduism has some 2 million Gods. So you either pray to all of them, or pay others to do it for you. This temple is spread over 15 acres, and is dedicated to a form of Goddes Parvati, and has the most colourful Gopurams. ** inside and ***** outside the temple.

10. Near the temple is a place where you get wonderful traditional halwa. But the shop opens only after 11.30 am,which we found that the hard way.

11. Next stop Rameshwaram. Inspected the site of Ram Setu, to see if things were going fine. They were. There was a very very long beach, which made the place seem lke an endles desert. Here, *********************************. We visited the Rameshwar dham, and so after my dupki in Haridwar, quarter of my sins have been atoned for. There's too much to write about the dhams, so just google it, its an interesting story.

12. On the way to Kanyakumari, we had another round of stomach cleansing. My tummy was especially troublesome, and so I took an overdose, which turned out to be just that.

13. Woke up in Kanyakumari, and guess where we went. We gussed one island because it seemed too rocky. Went to the other by ferry and *****.

14. Now we started up into Kerala. On the way is a famous temple that has Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, all in a single place. This is supposed to be the only place for this. And a 20 foot hanuman statue too, which that particular day was white with ghee.

15. We had a slightly disappointing day here, lots of anticlimaxes. So we just drove on, and got to a beach. Some of us needed some more cleansing, but mine was already clean as a whistle. Thankfully the accommodation was nice.

16. Early morning at 10am we left the place and drive towards the backwaters. Ellappy was the destination and there I fell in love with Kerala. A 4 hour long boat ride along the backwaters, left me mermerised and inundated with joy. It was quiet but there was music in the air. I had never been to this place but I felt more at home than in Bangalore. If then you had said that there were floods and we were stuck there for a week, I would jump with joy.(Actually, around this time, there was in fact a flood scare in Kerala and an actual flood more to the north, that we all know of now) *******************

17. This was Saturday now and we went as far as Cochi. There looking for KFC we found a local FKC(Fried Krispy Chicken) where you get Chicken baskets and Zinker burgers. Our table was a battle field, between 6 hungry battleworn soldiers and about a dozen chickens. I don't think the waiters or the other witesses can ever forget us. I think you might find a photograph of our table hung over the wall some day.

18. Now we had two options, either sleep in a cozy room in Coimbatore, or drive all the way to Bangalore and sleep in the car, where we might break our backs and necks. Guess again what we chose.

19. Back to Bangalore, Sunday morning. Dhan Te Dan.

All the facts about places, I remember, and am not referring to Google or anything. But then, you wouldn't believe me. We might have not gone for a trip at all. But then, you would have to admit, Jhumri Talaiyya is one heck of a place.

JOSCO ROX!! You won't get this one, unless you were there. Right guys!!

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I am Arjun P. Kamath, and I am a nice guy to know.