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Mission: For New Dudhsagar

1. Captain Virander [Specializes in cracking AHDEPJ (Absolutely Horrible, Disgusting and Extremely Poor Jokes) every 3 mins]
2. Agent Hiren [Specializes in making animal sounds. Whenever a dog barks or cow moos, Agent Hiren will always answer back!]
3. Agent Sonali [Specializes in walking for 10 minutes and posing for the next 20 mins]
4. Agent Raja [Specializes in saying ‘Oh man’ in every sentence and collecting random stuff from railway tracks]
5. Agent Ankit [Specializes in capturing all the drama and action of the team, except when he is hungry]
6. Agent Sreemoyee [Specializes in getting freaked out by every damn thing in the universe and believing in the weirdest superstitions]

It all started with Sonali's hair. She had applied eggs and all that morning so it was extremely silky and I could not stop playing with it. The guys made fun of us and cracked stupid jokes but they had no idea what an important role Sonali’s hair would play in the next two days...

Ears, Eye brows and Cheeks: After a super tasty dinner of Aloo paathas and cakes, there was a hilarious competition of facial movements. While I proudly showed off my talent of moving ears, Sonali took it to the next level by raising her eye brows one after the other. Hiren turned out to be the most talented one as he could move one ear at a time! In the mean time Viru was trying his best to take part in the competition. He gave intense expressions and kept on asking ‘mere kaan hil raha hain kya?’ but failed miserably. As the chit-chat continued, I had casually mentioned that I believe in a stupid superstition according to which, if u get slapped in one cheek you won’t get married. So, in order to get married you have to ask the person to slap you in the other cheek also! (This was the biggest mistake I made in this trek). As you can guess, my lovely friends made sure I was slapped on one cheek for the next two days. Anyway, by this time Raja had already yawned 50 times and Ankit was giving 'Guys-Shut up-And-Go-to-Bed’ looks, so we decided to call it a day.

Feeling and Seeing Doodhsagar (DS): My day started with abusing Viru as he was happily slapping me on one cheek to wake me up. Soon the entire gang was up and the usual leg pulling and pushing started. The train reached Londa on time and like last time, we had a lovely breakfast of vada pav and idly. With a happy and full stomach, Ankit got the camera out of his bag. And bas...click click click...

Last time we had taken a train to Castle Rock from Londa and walked till Doodhsagar from there onwards. But the new plan was to reach DS directly and proceed towards Qulem. The moment the train left Londa we forgot all our worries and were transported into an enchanting world of lush green hills, clear blue sky, numerous waterfalls and dark tunnels.
Except Ankit all of us had gone to DS earlier with separate groups and hence, heated discussion started on which group had got better views...Raja, Hiren and Sonali had gone together and argued that even though they did not get clear view they ‘FELT’ the furious water force of DS. On the other hand, I stated that even though I did not feel the force, I ’SAW’ the falls. While this ‘Seeing vs. Feeling’ debate was going on, we reached DS and all fell silent. The majestic waterfall welcomed us once more. We forgot the debate and enjoyed it together this time. Around 50 photos were clicked in a span of 5 mins. Being bhookars, we had a second breakfast of bread-omelette and chai.

Raja at his best: Then the trek began.  Railway tracks presented us variety of shit once again. As there was no tension of reserving spot for pitching tent, we walked in medium pace clicking numerous pics, playing antakshari with random groups, cracking jokes and of course, Viru kept slapping me one cheek! Meanwhile Raja found a fancy pair of shades on the rail trek and happily claimed it. Poor guy had a hard time for the next few hours as he was teased badly whenever we spotted any discarded material on the track (slippers, clothes, bottles etc).  In no time we reached Sonalium and the forest trail began. There is something special about this trail which, like last time, made people sing. Hiren and Sonali were lead singers and sang a variety of songs. Raja joined only when they were singing ‘Sun raha hain na tu’ (something’s fishy!). It was followed by a short training session of bengali abusive words. All of them took keen interest in learning bong galis. Soon the forest trail came to an end and again the rail trek began. Hiren and I were sharing funny stories of our experiences with drunk people when suddenly Raja spotted a trail running parallel to the railway track leading to the dudhsagar river! (I am not sure whether it’s really called doodhsagar river).
Water water everywhere:  We all got really curious, left behind the familiar railway track and walked towards the river. It was beeaaauutifuul!!! The water was green yet clean, the river bed was full of pebbles which added to the beauty. And the best part was there were no body else except the six of us. The guys immediately jumped into the water. Sonali and I were in two minds. Finally I decided to join the guys while Sonali chose to be the photographer. Being a fattu, I could not rule out the possibility of snakes and hence made myself comfortable in shallow water where I could see underneath. The guys were having a blast. They behaved like 13 year olds, screaming, shouting, pushing, splashing and what not. There was another competition of holding breath under water for longest time, which Hiren won (This was his second win after facial movement competition). In the mean time Sonali was doing an excellent job with the camera. Her continuous encouragement made the guys pose like models shooting for 2015 kingfisher calendar! The photo shoot was definitely dominated by Ankit, who posed in at least 50 different ways. After spending an hour or so we again got back to our original rail trail. In another 30 minutes we reached chota doodhsagar and again back to water!! We made a pact that nobody would urinate and comfortably sat in one of those natural Jacuzzis. Suddenly Raja excused himself and we thought he had gone to attend nature’s call. However, he returned with a packet of spicy cornflakes chips! We could not have asked for more. I do not know how to describe those moments. In one word, Happiness!

The Haunted House: By the time we reached Qulem we were starving. After filling up our stomach with garma garm chapati, mix veg and dal fry, we took a jeep to reach our final destination- Tambi Surla temple. The journey was through forest. The scenery was so beautiful that even Viru kept his mouth shut and enjoyed the view. In another 45 minutes we reached the spot. We took the number of the jeep wala bhaiya and asked him to pick us up at 2:30 next day as there was no network coverage. Once he left, we checked the surrounding areas to find a place to pitch our tents. It was around 5 pm. There were two cars parked but no people around. The temple was nowhere to be seen. However, there was an abandoned house inside the jungle. I did not want to go there, for obvious reasons. To my horror, the guys started walking towards the house and asked me to follow them. By this time, I had already started chanting hanuman chalisa (for those who do not know, hanuman chalisa is a mantra which protects you from spirits and ghosts). The door was open and the guys entered first. I could see from outside that they seemed pretty happy and excited and asked us to come inside. Now, you already know that I am a highly superstitious person. The moment I tried to enter, my bag got stuck to the door knob. My heart skipped a bit. It was a bad omen, a sign from universe to not enter the house. It was dark and filthy inside. There were paper plates scattered all over. We went to the so called master bedroom. The plan was to spend the night there. To be very honest, I was freaking out. I have grown up watching Aahat and other horror shows. 6 friends, dense jungle, abandoned house, night time – what else do you need to invite ghosts??????
But the worst part is yet to come. Viru suddenly pointed out in a different direction and guess what was written there in blood: “Main kal phir se ayungi / I will come again tomorrow”!!!!!! My instinct told me to run away but these guys kept on joking. They tried to convince me that it was a prank played by some people and that it was red paint and not blood. In my mind, I started thinking about home, my parents, will they ever find my body etc etc…

It does not stop here. We kept our luggage inside and went out to check the area properly. We saw two people near the cars and assumed that they had come to visit the temple. They looked a little nervous. On asking we got to know that their other friends were missing!!!! They had searched everywhere but could not find their friends. I could not take it anymore. It was too much to handle for me. I told my friends that I was freaking out and would not be able to stay inside the house. They understood my situation (I think they could make out that I was about to cry) and finally pitched our tents outside on a bridge. Phew!!!!

Mature and Immature Talk: My mind was finally at peace. We were camping on a bridge and could hear the stream below. The other two guys had also managed to find their missing friends who were inside the temple. Dinner was cup noodles, knorr soup and cup cakes for dessert. Soon we were engaged in a very serious conversation about aliens. We all shared our firm belief in existence of aliens. However, before going deeper into the topic, Sonali suggested that we stop this immature conversation about aliens and paranormal stuff and do some mature talk. We agreed and the ‘mature topic’ for night was funny experiences of errrr….passing gas and attending nature’s call!! For privacy reasons, I would not go into the detailed stories but all I could say is that there have been very few moments in my life where I have laughed this much!!!

The Massage Train: Soon we started yawning and felt sleepy. However, Sonali and Hiren were in no mood to sleep so early. Ankit went inside his tent and the rest of us went inside Hiren and Raja’s tent as it was the biggest. As I have already mentioned, Sonali’s hair was extremely silky and whenever I got an opportunity I started playing with it. I gave sonali a head massage, Sonali gave me a back massage. Now the guys started feeling jealous and did not like to be left out. And that’s how it started. Soon we formed a massage train. I was massaging Viru’s head, while he massaged Sonali’s shoulder, while she massaged Hirens back, while he massaged Raja’s head. It was lovely. We tried to make weird sounds as less as possible, but it was so daaaamn relaaaaaxing…At around 1 am we went back to our respective tents and slept like logs.

Into the Wild: The next morning we found out how beautiful the place actually was. Our tents were on a cute little bridge. Clear stream was flowing below and dense jungle all around. The Tambi Surla temple was few metres away and from early morning few people started visiting. A small shop had opened also from where we bought water and bananas. Since Viru was having a very serious conversation about life’s philosophy with the monkeys, they spotted the bananas and took all of them. The plan was to trek to Tambi Surla Waterfall. It was a 1-1.5 hour trek through dense forest. Just before entering the jungle, Hiren sneezed and Ankit very sweetly pointed it out to me that it was again a bad sign from universe. I tried to ignore it as much as possible and the trek began. The forest was extremely silent and I had a feeling that there were dark creatures who were watching us silently. We had to cross several small streams. At times we had to bend right to pass through a narrow space, sometimes left, sometimes even crawl!! It was fantastic and definitely one of my most thrilling forest trails ever. We did not talk much and kept a close watch on surroundings. Viru, who was leading the team, seemed to have an excellent eye for spider webs. He would randomly stop at a place, use a stick to remove a web and then pass. Had it been me, we all would have become spider men and women as I could not locate the webs at all. After 45 minutes or so, we got used to the dense forest and were enjoying the walk thoroughly. But then I saw it…out of nowhere a deadly red coloured viper jumped on the rock where I was about to place my foot. I ran…
I don’t really know what happened next. I was standing far far faaaar away from the snake and praying, while the others were trying to deal with the situation as the snake had blocked our way. With all due respect, the snake turned out to be very stubborn. It did not want to move. In fact, it was ready to attack. For a minute, we considered turning back. But then, it moved a little and gave us little but enough space to pass. Walking through that narrow space, with a deadly snake just a foot away was perhaps one of the most ‘toofani’ things I have ever done. Suddenly the trail became uphill and we reached the waterfall soon. Strategically hidden inside dense jungle, the waterfall felt like treasure!! Nobody could have guessed that there was such a huge and lovely waterfall inside such thick forest. However, before we could enjoy it we had to go through another ordeal. We suddenly realized that we were standing in an area infested with leeches. These tiny little blood suckers were all over us. Yukkk! We removed them as fast as possible and moved to a dry space. The water was flowing in steps. We chose a safer step and went into the water. It felt like a well deserved prize from nature for successfully dealing with deadly spiders, leeches and the red viper. This feeling was different from that of chota doodhsagar and doodhsagar river. Those spots were also secluded, but this Tambi Surla waterfall is unique. It felt far. Far faaaaar away from our camping spot, far away from Bangalore, far away from civilization. Just the 6 of us in the lap of nature.

For some reason, I felt braver after the bath. However, I did not get a chance to show off my bravery and safely came back in an hour or so. There were around 35 leech bites in total. We were extremely happy as our trail-finding mission was successful!

After freshening up we visited the Shiva temple. It was very pretty and dates back to 12th century. We had planned to take a photo where all of us would be wearing the BTC shirt/pullover. The guys very innocently requested an extremely pretty lady to take that final photo (and acted as if they did not do it on purpose). Soon our jeep arrived and we were on our way to Qulem.

Home bound: Again we had a grand lunch there and boarded our train to Londa. On the return journey, Sonali gave extremely helpful tips to Ankit on how to talk to your potential bride. Raja and Hiren took a small power nap while Viru kept on cracking AHDEPJs! While waiting for our next train to Bangalore we started looking at the photos. We searched for the pics where somebody had a weird/funny expression and had a good laugh. There was a feedback session where it was unanimously agreed that this Tambi Surla trail is way better than the original DS trail and that from next year onwards BTC would start organizing treks here. We finally boarded our Bangalore bound train and again, for one last time, formed the massage train! Our co-passengers definitely thought we were nuts!

All’s well that ends well. And it’s even better when you get Dharwadh ka pedha unexpectedly! Thanks to Hiren who got down at the station and got it for us. We reached Bangalore on time next day and as usual, Monday blues. On top of that, I got one last slap on one cheek from Viru!

2015 Monsoons, please be nice and come soon!

Written By    : Sreemoyee
Organized By : Virander Sirohi
Date of event: 6th Sept 2014
Place            : Castle Rock
Pictures        : BTC FB Page
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