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A walk to re-member


I trekked, again, yesterday

Basic sketch of the trek? Bangalore Trekking Club (BTC) organisers, Dinesh Yadav and Subha Sundaram, chose the train route as the fastest means to get to Rayakotti with 2 meeting point stations from which to join together as a team in the train. From Majestic the train was delayed by half hour and started at 7:35 and we were joined from Byappanahalli by the rest of the team. After an enjoyable train ride, eventually getting to know each other better en route, we alighted at Rayakottai, Tamil Nadu, station at about 9:45. After a pack-your-lunch stop at a local restaurant, we walked to Rayakottai hills. We climbed for the up stretch of 2 km in xx:xx time (I did not note the time we took because I had so much to look around and be awed/stress-and-refind strength/discover by!). We got to the top, explored the different view spots, clicked a lot of photos, teased each other and had fun,
prodded/admonished/tricked/encouraged each other to stretch our limits, had lunch there and then descended to a cool cove amidst the rocks for some interesting games and then further descended to have some cool drinks and then catch a bus to Majestic so that we could all be in Bangalore by 7:30 max.

The above is the rough sketch. I love the details. The following is my learning-journal cum savor-as-much-flavors-from-remembered retrospection. Please feel free to dismiss if you have no patience for a long read as mine tends to be when I am all excited and digging into the opportunity of a thorough re-examination. Why miss an opportunity when there is so much to learn from retrospection, from examining and reliving an experience so that I can be amazed from retrieved info (and always be surprised by what my brain has been picking up while I was not consciously aware of its workings) and then pour the learnings thus retrieved into the blank timespace that is the present from where the future comes to be? This is my space and this is how I think I make the best out of the time and effort I would put/invest in doing this activity! (I hope the Reader enjoys/finds something to enjoy in/inspite of my, umm, rambling, back-and-forth style of doing so).

Following rhythms. (For those who don’t know me, I am a Body Intelligence Facilitator, and I study/observe rhythms in and of life to facilitate health). I had lots of rhythms to follow and explore and be surprised with as you would (hopefully) come to see in the following.

Yesterday, I trekked again. Rayakottai, the place is called. Historically, it was one of the favorites of the Tippu sultanate and that of his father, Hyder Ali. It has marks of its strategic build of structures in choice places and then marks of it being destroyed later, and now there are plants of interesting poignant silence growing everywhere around the crumbling structures and igneous rocks that stand witness to the passage of time.

We were 15 of us this time; 15 unknown people (2 of which I apparently knew – ‘apparently’ because we hardly really know even our own near and dear ones, very so often with our eyes clouded with prejudice, marring the chance to see their change through moments of time that is the present that changes the next moment. So, it was a walk to remember and re-member, at least for me, what lies beneath under the dust of Rayakottai and what we call as our known selves.

The journey started when I applied for it. ‘One-day trek’ said the invite, and I went (!). Then the difficulty status said ‘easy’ and I went (!!) and applied. Besides I had been getting crabby cloistered in the known almost hamster-in-the-wheel’ish and this in spite of my very varied Alice-in-wonderland explorative thinking-imagining mind, but it is mostly in my own space. I needed fresh material and fresh ground for my ‘rubber to meet the road.’ (I did not think exactly this way but perhaps my brain was doing that in the unconscious. You are what you think and you do even unconsciously what you think and have been thinking. Watch what you think has been the wiseman’s advice. I did not/don’t know how good/robust is my thinking and where/what I don’t know that I need to work on so that I don’t end up being pushy in my enthusiasm while there are miles to be covered in having the Planet be a humane place to live in. I certainly have work to do in this regard and am certainly ‘work in progress’ unto perfection, AND Rome was not built in a day but was certainly built with consistent everyday work). A trek is good enough. And then came what would it be worth the while for me at this point in time that would get the hamster-me out of the wheel. Exertibility, I decided. Muscle-power, but then I do have a pretty multifaceted brain, and so do we all, and mine added more to the list of want-to-have-wons en route and the following ensued.

Very serendipitously, the journey started by train; you know the cliche ‘we are all fellow-travellers in the train of life, we all aboard the train at some point and travel together in this train-compartment, spend some time together, and alight when our stations come to continue on in our own journeys.’ Well, we boarded at 2 pickup stations – Majestic and Byappanahalli – and alighted together at Rayakottai, Tamil Nadu. Crowded train with the inflow and outflow of every-age-group people, each with their concerns and aspirations, sometimes catching an eye over the expanse of the compartment, sometimes jostling by on their way in or out. Nice variety of currents in the flow of people en route. We boarded the train at 7:10, but the train-people had a mind of their own and started the train chugging at 7:35. I was so engrossed in the goings on, I did not note the time we reached Rayakottai; I was in the ‘live in the infinite present moment’ mindframe! We halted for a pack-a-potluck lunch briefly and then walked our way to Rayakottai – the hill proper.

She loomed ahead of us, with boulders of different sizes, a majestic big rock for her head, green shrubbery promising interesting nooks and crevices, and for decoration she had the trident symbol of the Tirumala temple fame painted across several of her rocks. A religious trek?! Well, I hadn’t planned on what to expect so, surprise! This was turning out to be a mystical trek as well. Well, that is what a journey is, ay? A determination, a road to traverse, a destination, and whatever serendipitous there could be en route. I purposefully did not checkout pictures or historical details or anything about this place as I also wanted it to be a journey to discover. Bangalore Trekking Club would prove to be contained space in which to explore new grounds this time too, I was about to discover.

The trek was supposedly short – about a 45 minute climb up and about same down – 2 KM each way. For me, with all the sights to take in and the mostly-sitting lifestyle with moderate physical exertion, the boulders challenged my physical exertibility. I huffed and puffed my way a few distance, then rest and find more stream and strength to go the next stretch. I don’t know how the body manages to get stronger with brief rests! For sure, rest is the secret to exertibility, if not performance? or at least, there is some of the magic in it. There were steps all over the place, afterall it was a fort of yore. I could not help sensing a sort of yearning or sadness or desolation in the serene, expansive, quiet air. The hill was certainly alive waiting for those who would come and attempt to know her better. She also had a little green pool amidst the rocks and I met a crab there, and another cove amidst the rocks where some one thought it beautiful enough to build a little brick and mortar structure – the roof is destroyed now but I cannot but wonder at the sense of beauty that someone or some people wanted to be a part of by living in there, I imagine (coz’ I have no idea what that structure was built there for). I degressed into reverie. You, dear Reader, should visit this place and then you would forgive me for degressing every so often here. It is so full of wonder! Good for exercising the imagination-muscle, so important to keep the ability to dream alive, for in dreaming is hope and the impetus to live a better life!

Interestingly, one way or the other, people seemed to be teasing each other about their names – some were okay about their names being called anyhow, some almost dismissively pronounced their last names, some did not have a last name. I happen to have trained in Systemic Constellations and had no plans of exercising my curricular interests during the trek but here inadvertently was names on focus, and we were on a trek to a historical spot, which basically is tradition (the fort has come about from people having lived there, which is why it is his-story’cal). How rooted are we in our ancestoral line, I had to wonder, for we were named by people who live now whose genes came from people who lived before them; our lives today came to be because there were people with genes that is in us today who lived such that they could survive what they had to live/survive through so that life could come to us that we enjoy by being able to be alive. Our names encapsulate that history – the story that has moved through the genes – encapsulated in our second names; our first names label you/I (we call a chair ‘chair’ to identify the structure; we call a person by name because that Name is the phonetic signature identifying only that one person and no one else). How can a name be allowed to be taken lightly or mispronounced even by the person whose name it is and if allowed to, what does that say about our own relationship with our identifying signature – our name? A walk to re-member, in deed.

“As you travel more, you start finding joy in small small things and you discover you dont need much to survive.” “You start relying more on yourself.” We had some profound conversations with some very interesting people. This is my second trek and I found the rich variety this time too. It is really interesting who embarks on a trek and why, and then with a club where the unknown variables are more. A responsible club accounts for variables in tried and tested ‘knowns’ as the structure by which the unknown is explored. I continue to wonder at the variety and the spirit that chooses such trails. The grit and gumption by which such trails are pursued and the verve it takes to conquer the unknown peak. This thought, of course, is a known for the regular trekkers for they are now dyed in the wool, imbued with what becomes possible through trekking, but for a second-timer this is a thought I am writing about and perhaps a thought that non-trekkers do not have available to think about.

There was so much hide and seek going on en route. Not literally but then in the persona of people. This is not new, of course, and one does not need to go on a trek to discover this. Personas in a person playing hide and seek is an everyday phenomenon. The little inner child exploring a line of thought or movement while having an everyday conversation, or a home maker trying a little extra of a spice in a regular dish or less and that ‘I dont know how that happened’ look is not really feigned but the dynamism of the conscious, subconscious and unconscious minds within the currents of the same person. The question is does one care to look? Does one care enough? Does one care. Period. And then, what does one do with the quantity/magnitude of care of what they care about. Is it just left as an insight? With a group of unknown people, that is another ‘variety’ I had to observe in this so-many-layers-of-variety trek.

The organizers, Subha Sundaram and Dinesh Yadav, did a beautiful job of syncing and coordinating between each other to hold the space together in which we participant trekkers could explore so much variety. Kudos to whatever they did to pull that off the way they did. They even managed to have a muscle-exertion reluctant me (read, resistent to climb up versus the easy descent) to climb up the same incline twice and I think I did it faster. Were they focusing also on increasing our cardiovascular efficiency or musculoskeletal strengthening? They may be coz’ the game of Ping-Pong involved pushups as a penalty for the wrong move. Improving athletic prowess must be part of the plan. Well, nevertheless, they did it well. (We reascended to eate lunch at the peak after we descended a little distance thinking of eating at the cove and then after the lunch, we redescended to also enjoy the shade and serentity of the cove for the game. We got what we wanted and they managed to get us exercise-stretch our limits too. Nicely done!

We had 3 youngsters amongst us – students. They brought an energy and a dash of modernity that is fresh and not the suave/polished kind that comes about with refinement but of a brand of its own. The new and of a spirit that is yet to dazzle but is in the making. It is kind of endearing to see this spirit in flittering hide-and-seek but also going through the motions of growing up – the doubts and trials and tribulations that is part and parcel of growing up. Only someone who is going through the motions of deliberate effort to grow in a desired manner would know when the actions or outcomes are not according to expectation and in those moments is where doubts and all those things mentioned in Kubler-Ross’ change curve comes alive and one needs to go through them before emerging better than before. It is beautiful and yet sort of heart-wrenching, much like you would perhaps when you see a caterpillar attempting to come out of its pupa in its attempt to become a butterfly and you want to help it but the caterpillar needs to go through what it needs to go through TO become the butterfly. How does one do it right when you dont know how to do it right though you know something needs to be done and you learn how to do it right only by paying attention to the feedback and the feedback only comes after you do it?! Do it, then rinse and repeat, I guess. I am sure the Sistine Chapel came about after many not-to-right compositions and those compositions were done for real on real canvas and then some feedback and criticism. The best is yet to be and the best is in the making, in the doing and in the constructive adjustment/accommodation of meted out criticism/feedback.

They did it again! Was it planned or is it in their ‘organizers’ manual’ if there is one on how to organize a trek that there be people of many levels of experience in a trek? I think most likely, considering there was so much lookout for first-timers. It feels like a well-watched-out for, watched-over learning, learning to be, and becoming space. It is humane microculture movement. It feels nice to be seeing this in retrospection. I dont think I would have really thought about this, spending so much time on it if I had just had an ‘aha’ moment of ‘this is probably what BTC is doing’ than with writing about it where I need to deliberate on what I did not know my mind was noticing. Yup, retrospection has multiple benefits, especially writing about the experience. I guess this is how ‘writing therapy’ emerged, where someone writes about difficult experiences and then the good and bad bits get sorted out and learnings emerge, so that a person is not stuck in the difficult bits of the experience but become stronger for it and better, and healthier.


For all of this good rich experience, I paid Rs. 130/- and that was calculated end of the day to include the travel expenses and food whatever may have been consumed as a group foraged en route. And I thought good ol’ altruism for better stronger human spirit was diminishing?! What was I thinking?!


Written By     : Bitha
Original Blog  : A Walk to Remember
Organized By : DY & Subha
Date of event : Jan 21, 2018
Place              : Rayakotta
Pictures          : BTC FB Page


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