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Cloud 9: The Skandagiri Night Trek

How is it to feel on Cloud 9 – literally?

Its peak midnight. You are on the top of a hill. All you can see is just passing clouds around you. Chillest winds of the nights are blowing, yet you feel a strange sense of peace. You are in a group, yet its just ‘you’, living ‘the moment’. There is utter silence! And it all feels like heaven…

…and we felt that slice of heaven –  in the midnight, at the peak of Skandagiri!
Well..that was one of the highlighting experiences of the Skandagiri night-trek, something that is not captured in pics…hence I chose to start this post from that particular moment.

Rewinding back to the start of trek now…:P
We 22 shortlisted BTCians [including 2 organizers – Abhi and Hiren] boarded the Chikballapur bus at 6pm. After a hilarious attendance session (where every guy in the troupe was recognized as ‘that guy’ by Abhi – we never understood why :P), we started the ragging session. This time, for a change it was a ragging session for the organizers :P Abhishek was the first scapegoat. Starting from his recognition of ‘that guy’, to making everybody his ‘personal friends’, to appreciating his art of identifying all non-BTC people – the participants had an amazing time ragging Abhi that finally he got fed up and shouted out ‘Everybody rags me’ :D phir sabko daya aa gayi, and we decided to give him a break, and moved onto some chit-chat and munching session till we reached Chikballapur.

Reached Chikballapur at around 8.00pm and started walking to find an ‘Isolated place’ (Abhi’s choice for introduction session). Post the introduction round at the isolated place, we started walking towards the trek base.

Trek karo – break lagao – phir trek karo:
The ascend was a full utilization of the dialog – ‘take 100 breaks’ :D. Considering the first-timers (first-time organizer Hiren too!:P) and the ‘moderate-level’ of the trek, Abhi kept the pace of the climb a little chillaxed. Also, since it looked like it had rained recently, we wanted to play it safe and cautious. His fettish for finding an ‘isolated-place’ now turned into a look out for every other ‘open-space’ for having a break! Everytime someone would call out ‘open space aa gaya’, it would follow by Abhi’s ‘chalo break lete hain’ :D – and that followed by narrations of previous trek experiences and some people stories…and then again climbing, till we finally reached the peak.

All about sharing, caring dinner :P
It was already 12.30 am when we reached the peak, and the last meal most of us had was lunch [and some snacks in between here and there], and so naturally our hunger pangs got the better off us. With no shame, we un-civilizedly (if there is such a word) attacked every lunch box that was opened in the group – first the Roti-walas, second the bread-cheese walas; followed by distribution of veg fried rice prepared by Prathyusha in ‘prasadam’ style – all very instantly!! Well…with this experience, I can say that BTC folks bond very well over foooood – that for sure:D Post this, we settled to a lesser windy location on the peak, and had a proper maggie-break. And the ragging session during the Maggie break now turned towards our co-organizer Hiren, who had escaped the brunt all the while ;)

Camp-fire and the insane fun!
After dinner, few trekkers chose to take rest (smart Abhi also slept off to avoid further ragging:P), while the rest of us (despite sleepy) chose to stay awake and have fun over a camp-fire.

Now, Hiren was the next bakra for getting ragged. After a lott of pleading and shouting, we finally managed to get Hiren and Purvik do some garba steps, on a gujju dandiya song. This followed bhangra by Kanvar and club-dance by Gaurav. The dance session easily broke the ice among us, and it made way for Dumb charades (BvG :P). Did I just mention, dumb charades?! Well..yes..with Gaurav – the man! :D

Must say that dumb charades is one game that has truly no age-bar..no bar for that matter! Every time you play it, you come up with something funny to cherish. And the same happened to us when we 6+7 awake people, started to play. Gaurav’s pose to attempt ‘Albert Pinto ko gussa kyun aata hai’ and the hilarious guesses on Hiren’s attempt to jump on camp-fire, for ‘Ghulam-e-mustafa’ got our tummies hurting outta laughter :D
We wanted to continue the game further, however since there was derth of sticks for the camp-fire, we stopped the game at two movies each side (that was hilarious enough) and then the scene’s background dimmed.

In the dim midnight (with no torches or campfire light on), we half-sleepy zombies formed a straight circle to chit-chat about grave encounters! Kanvar, Sreemoyee and Gaurav’s stories convinced us that ghosts can be funny too! [well..yes..if you don’t believe ask Kanvar and Sreemoyee about the ‘chakrasan’ story and ‘the feel’ of it ; and Gaurav about the ‘fish-fry’ with mirch and nimboo :D]. The grave encounters turned into such a boisterous session that almost 2 hours we continued laughing and commenting :P. {later in the day, we got complains that roars of laughter were heard every 5 seconds, and people were not able to sleep properly :P}

The view, on the other hand, turned spectacular – with the clouds passing by us every now and then giving us an ‘out-of-the-world’ feeling.

It was close to 4.00 am in the morning, when we decided to get up and explore the surrounding, and here’s is when we experienced the ‘heavenly’ feeling [described at the start of my post ;)] – an experience truly unspeakable!

Returned after this breathtaking experience, to our original camp-fire spot. There was 1.5 hours to go for the sunrise. We Btcians – still fighting our sleepiness, for no particular reason – continued our chitchat session. And all the gossips felt like we were some hostelites, talking utter nonsense in the middle of the night. Gaurav’s ‘tippaNi on Bruhaspati’ was the ultimate topic of discussion throughout the dawn:D

A Special moment captured in just hearts – The WOW Surpriiiiiiiseeeeeee!!
As with all the night treks, the Sun-rise was a magical feeling this time too. And an icing to the cake, was the surprise that actually cannot be described in words. Anyways, with the least that I can…

It was close to 6.00 am. By now it was only Hiren, Monu, Shilpa, Sreemoyee and myself awake. We were just staring at the rising sun and clouds, when we heard the screeching sound of the dry bushes behind us. Monu and I turned back to look above, and we spotted 3 girls trekking down towards us. We were confused! I blurted out ‘Only girls?’ to Monu [BTC-WOW is the only girl trekker gang I know of], my mind dazed for a couple of seconds, when suddenly I happened to recognize a familiar face. It was KIRUBAAAAAAAAA [BTC WOW organizer] waving at us. And just when we started jumping and howling out of joy we could see Jyothi (WOW trekker) and then Captain Ajju announcing ‘Girls, do you like Surprises’ in her characteristic way. Having them with us so unexpectedly, swept us off our feet...and the rest was all howls, screams, shouts, emotions and hugs :D. Our howls were literally like an alarm clock that woke up the rest of the folks (and scared a few too!), and there was a wave of energy in the group! [yo..so BTC organizers do love giving their folks a surprise :D]. This experience truly added the ‘WOW’ element to the entire trek – another moment that only our hearts could capture J - ah! watta day!

Pack up and Descend:
Post all the morning hungama, we had a short photo session and then we headed towards the base. The path was little slippery due to mist, and we had to be cautious while descending too. Took our time, made fun and aaram se reached the base, thus completing the trek successfully.
With the sun rising further, we zombies who were  blabbering the whole night - suddenly turned into some ‘civilized gentlemen and women’ wondering what and how did we come up with so much of crap to spend the whole night :D another ‘woh kya tha’ wala moment :P :D

A big thanks to Captain Ajju and Sayeesha for having helped us with finding autos till the bus stop [the 4km walk while return was spared].

Stopped over at a restaurant for breakfast, caught a bus to Bangalore, and reached safe with a truly ‘Cloud 9’ feeling!

Coincidentally – this was my 9th trek with BTC too! No wonder the cloud 9 ;P :D

Thanks to Abhi and Hiren – you were the coolest dudes throughout the trek bearing all our ragging cool-headedly; and yet managing things with diligence :D. And as usual, it was a team effort, so thanks to the entire group for having taken care of each other.

Written By       : Swathi Iyer
Main Blog        : Out of Box
Organized By   : Abhishek & Hiren
Date of event   : 10th May, 2014
Members Count: 22
Place               : Chikballapur

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