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The (almost jinxed) Trek to Tadiandamol

Tempo Traveler + vehicle breakdown + Tadiandamol + rice puris + sleepy trekkers = Awesome Trip
Having wanted to go for a longer trip with BTC, the trek to Tadiandamol seemed an ideal one for me. So on Friday night, accompanied by Deepthy, I reached Shantala Silk House. Soon, some new and some old faces arrived. After a brief introduction round, the 12 of us, which included Virander, Deepthy, Sucheta, Prince, Gautham, Vipul, Raghav, Sneha, Neer, Lakshminarayanan, Shilpa and me, settled into the Tempo Traveler. 
This was the first BTC trip for me in a TT, having previously missed one due to the driver not being able to make it on time. Same was the case for Neer. Also it was Sneha's 5th attempt to climb Tadiandamol. Everyone was psyched about the trip but decided to sleep to be all set for the next day. After just a few kilometres away from Majestic, however, our TT was stopped by the traffic cops. After some confusion, it was revealed by the cops that the TT driver was drunk, however he was not. Should we have taken a cue from the driver's T-shirt which read "Leave me alone. I know what I am doing"??? The halt seemed forever. Doubts started creeping whether this trip was jinxed since two of us had already missed a TT trip and one was attempting for the 5th time to reach the same place. The cops soon let go of the driver which brought back some relief and belief. Anyway since we couldn't take a risk, the driver's brother soon replaced him. 
Here on, the drive seemed to carry on without any glitches but not for long. After crossing Mysore, somewhere on the outskirts, our (except Shilpa’s) deep slumber was broken by a loud noise. The scene seemed like that from a movie. Smoke surrrounded the TT due to engine breakdown. The driver soon gave up on reviving the vehicle. So Deepthy and Virander decided that we should rather try for a public transport. With jokes about the jinx restarting, we stepped on to the highway at 3am. Trucks passing by got us excited about some more adventure. Fortunately, a bus soon stopped for us and we cramped in. The ride turned out to be quite a bumpy one especially for the ones sitting on the last seat (except for Shilpa who slept soundly :P). 
Soon Virajpet arrived. After freshening up, we started for Kakkabe. The weather was pleasant which made the journey more beautiful. On reaching Kakkabe, we stopped for breakfast at a small restaurant. Unexpectedly, the dosas and omelets were really tasty. After getting rice puris parceled for lunch, we left for the Tadiandamol base. Soon the climb began amidst greenery of the coffee estates, colourful plants and creepers. While some of us hanged back clicking all possible photos, the fast trekkers marched ahead. On stopping for a sip of water, we all noticed leeches, thankfully, only on the shoes till now. From there on everyone started running ahead. We soon passed some fresh elephant dung and so had to keep our mouth shut for some time for the danger of attracting an Elephant. The temperature was dipping down slowly and fog had started to appear. 
When the peak was pointed out, it seemed far away looming over us. To reach the peak we had to cross a forest part, where the roots of the trees formed steps. The surrounding seemed moister than before. Soon we came on to an opening where visibility was reduced to a few meters. We were inside clouds!!! The adrenaline rush was enough to propel us through all the tiredness. It was now the peak of Tadiandamol we were standing on! There was no difference between the sky and the surrounding...everything was pristine white. One couldn't make out where the sky started and ended. Amidst the cloud stood a man with a sickle, warning all trekkers to descend before dusk as Elephants had been spotted but he ended up looking more like a slasher himself :P. While there was no end to imagination for photos, Virander started working on his laptop (for photo sake of course)! The clouds shifted continuously, changing the view around us. It soon started drizzling and so we decided to descend while stopping for lunch midway. The path had become slippery now and one had to be careful with their footing. It was soon time for lunch. The rice puris with gravy were really tasty but had become so hard by then that everyone got a good jaw exercise! 
With jokes and fun abound, we soon reached the base and decided to visit the Nalknad Palace built in 1792. The palace had two levels with low doorways and ceilings decorated with paintings, much different from the idea that a palace usually evokes. After a small tour, it was returning time to Kakkabe. Now in the evening, a small stall had sprung up, selling Maddur vadas, aloo bondas and biryani. Everyone ate to their heart's content. But as we were tourists, an exorbitant amount was charged. As the Kannadiga trekkers argued with the sellers, the non-Kannadigas stood behind confused and trying to make sense of the argument. After Sneha taught the sellers some multiplications and additions, they realized there was no point in fooling us. Triumphed, we got into the bus for Virajpet and got off at the stop but……12 minus 1. Shilpa had slept off in the bus! Thanks to the bus conductor, she got off the bus some way ahead and we all heaved a sigh of relief. The trip had become too eventful! After dinner, a feedback session was held followed by dumb charades. Since we had long given up on the TT, we decided to take the state transport bus. Once seated, some slept like logs while others prevented them from doing so! Finally we were back to Bangalore.
As Earl Nightingale (I doubt how many of us have heard about him before but there are always first times :P) had once said: All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.
The destination (Tadiandamol) had remained the same but the journey was far from what we had imagined it to be. All the surprises had made the trip even more memorable. The trip was after all not jinxed! Sneha could finally climb Tadiandamol peak but I still have to experience a complete BTC trip by TT :P. Hope to have such an eventful trip once again!
Till then Hasta la Vista!

Written By     : Nasreen Choudhury
Organized By : Deepthy & Virander
Date of event : 13th & 14th, Dec 2014
Place             : Coorg
Photos           BTC Facebook

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