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Wander-birds in the night: Night-Trek to Makalidurga

Filmon ki tarah,  kuch Real-life ki adventurous kahaniyan bhi ‘train ko miss karte-karte’ pakadne se hi shuru hoti hai! Hum chaar log - Sreemoyee, Sucheta, Shilu n meri night-trek wali kahaani bhi kuch aisi hi shuru hui……

5.50pm: (Shilu n me - at Majestic bus-stand) Chal! Time par toh pahunch jaayenge. 6 ko milna tha na.? Any idea train kab hai? After a slight pause- 6.10 ko shayad…(skeptical look at each other) OH SHI**.. literally ran outside the bus-stand!!! (and then..after a failed attempt at the barricade-jumping) Yaar..under-pass lena tha. Yahaan toh pura U-turn marna padega. No time for analysis! Just run!

6.00pm: (somehow..inside the station puffing and panting!) Canara Bank ATM kahan hai? Shayad wahaan..there are many ATMs over there..’hey hi’ {Sreemoyee appears from no-where, in her ever-cool n yo-dude avatar --- totally unaware that we were actually running late}. ‘Where is Canara bank ATM?’ [all 3 in chorus]. ‘where are the rest’ (again in chorus!). all 3 were clueless. Ajita ko call lagao (one of us). Platform 8 par aana hai. Train at 6.10 confirmed. Hurry up! [and we pull Sreemoyee in our run]

[somewhere close to 6.15’ish]: (still running)..Yaar..train miss na ho jaaye..(fingers crossed - relied totally on Indian Standard Railway timing and prayed the train gets late). Tension situation. (bhaagte-bhaagte) ‘bhaiyaa platform 8 elli?’ – and we blindly trust the guy & run to where his finger pointed to. Time kya hua? (no answer). Phew! koi train khadi hai..Sree spots a familiar girl ‘hey, that’s WOW girl ..WOW girl’ (it turned out to be the same girl who overtook us when Shil n I were attempting barricade-jumping to get to the Railway station. :D)

BTC junta kahaan hai? (now 4 pairs of eyes meet quizzically!) Dunno, but they are somewhere around here. Ye wali train hi hai na pakka (Hindupur rail)? lekin baaki log kahaan hai? BTC ka ek banda bhi nahi dikh raha!  [one more call to Ajita and confirm]. Get inside. [somehow knowing that we 4; and the rest of the BTC folks were at totally opposite ends of the train, we decided it wise to ensure we were got 'inside’ the train first – meeting & greeting could be done even at the destination]

We 4 climb into some random bogie (away from the rest of the folks) just-in-time! Catch our seats. And the train starts! PHEW!! We breathe out a sigh of relief and give each other a  ‘woh-kya-tha’ wala expression, followed by a  burst of brilliant laughter [the last few minutes had been a real commotion - totally filmy - one slight wrong decision - and the 3 would have missed it!!]….nevertheless, we consoled ourselves saying that we were meant to make it - 'Sab likha hua hai' :P..our journey had already started an ’adventurous' way - bhaagte bhaagte…. :D

Makalidurga Railway station [at around 7.45pm]:
Reach Makalidurga. Finally, meet the gang (giving a big relief to the Organizers). Had a brief intro round and started walking close to 20 minutes to reach the hill-base. The sky was already clear and starry. Surrounding was perfect serene and silent. and weather - just pleasant. It was comparitively darker due to crescent-moon. With  our torches on, we started ascending as per the sequence planned by the organizers.
The trek-path here mostly has large stones [you need to watch out for loose stones - that you might tumble upon] Few tumbles here n there did occur that urged our Captain Ajju to keep looking out for any 'retired-hurt' at every break :P [Thankfully, none!]. As we were comparitively a huge number [close to 30 people] - we kept the pace moderate [and focussed more on the whole team being together and safe]. Took sufficient breaks -- had breath-taking views -- did our regular leg-pulling sessions -- @times totally silent (listening to the crushing dry leaves as we tread uphill) -- played with torch-lights -- and thus accomplished the rather tiring climb to the peak..

Peak & Dinner-break:
It took close to 2.15 hours to reach the peak. By then, it turned pitch dark (only torch lights helped). The team now safely dispersed in our respective sub-groups to explore the surrounding. After a while, when our hunger-pangs turned obvious - we gave up our detective-giri and all assembled at a common spot for the much-awaited - DINNER time!
While the guys gathered around the fire to 'cook-food' (read: 'boil water' :P); the gals enjoyed watching them and eating up the snacks (read: 'starters') that were left over after the climb :D. Highlight was our 'Master Chef' Umang who cooked 'bread-maggi' and almost took Sucheta's life with the dish! :D {Lesson: if you've not lived a hostel-life, you are most likely to not appreciate weird food-combos :P}.

Camp-fire & Dostana-style Lungi dance :P
By the time we finished our dinner it was close to the zeroeth hour. The weather slowly turned freezing chill [apt time for a camp-fire]. We lit the camp-fire and started our 'fun-activities'. Fun began with our Organizer Ajju (supported by Virander also :P) ragging the first-timers among guys for dance. The guys were a real sport and entertained the entire team with their talent ;)

Antakshari me laga di 'Ma' ki: [before you judge this title, please read below ;)]
Post the dance numbers - we started the traditional BTC game - Antakshari  {Boys v/s Girls this time, going by the trek's theme}! 

The game that started just as a game - turned into a 'word-war' with each side bending & breaking rules - arguing and accusing each other of cheating (that we actually did :P) - proving / disapproving the existence of few songs (that were never heard before) -- All this, just to ensure that the opponent gets only the letter 'ma' to sing from :D.

3 hours went by only singing songs from 'ma' :D This session was truly hilarious and fun!

Descend:
Both the sides almost exhausted our list of 'ma' songs - and started to lose interest in the game (after a 3 hour non-stop galata :D). The descend was to be started at 4.45 am, and very less time was left for starting off. After a short story-telling session (by Captain Virander's on his escapades to haunted houses), and back-packing activity, we started to started to descend.

The morning got misty and chill. Descend was more silent than ascend (probably cz we all were half-tired, half-sleepy after a sleepless night) It literally felt like we were some notorious ghosts escaping to peace after a terrific night! We still needed the torch-lights as it was dark. It was still all calm and serene. 

After a good 1.5 hours of descend - helping each other - figuring out the right way -- we reached the base right at breaking dawn [6.15am].

Back on Track:
After a short photo-session, we were made to walk on the railway track by Captain Virander till the station. This too, was, a new experience - experienced the ever clean Indian railway tracks and its aroma :P

Reached station. Had a short feedback session. Kept waiting for the train to arrive.

Farewell:
Train arrived {late by an hour}. Team dispersed - after successfully accomplishing the 'first-of-its-kind' & memorable event from BTC...[once again proud to have been a part of this :)}

No matter how crappy, busy, mechanical your weekdays are - a weekend with BTC - and your world changes!

Credits:
A biig thanks to Captains Ajita and Virander for having thoughtfully planned and organized the event. Congratulations on its success :):). Thanks to each and every fellow trekker for being a sport. Team work - was excellent!!

Written By        : Swathi Iyer
Original Blog     : OUT-OF-THE-BOX: Wander-birds in the night: Night-Trek to Makalidurga
Organized By    : Ajita & Virander
Date of event    : 22nd Feb 2014
Members Count : 27 (14M, 13F)
Place                : Makalidurga
Pictures            : BTC FB Page
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