Monday, February 28, 2011

Believe you can!

“We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

When Emerson the famous explorer said this statement, he probably was reflected on the fear that we have to open up to the future and create our own identity.

Each one of us in unique - unique in our own way, our talents is different and what we do using these talents are clearly distinct. But, the big challenge we face today is moving above the ordinary, rising above the fear that is so prevalent. The thought that this is not tried earlier – I may not succeed, I may fail; the thought that - I would be wasting my time chasing the dream I have.
If, Albert Einstein were to believe that he was a dull student as said by this teacher; or Thomas Alva Edison were to believe that he was incapable when thrown out of school by his teacher; we wouldn’t have seen the scientific advancement due to relativity today nor would we benefit from the inventions by Edison. The life and achievements of such great people stands testimony to the power of individual dreams being created in-spite of opposition.

Don’t limit yourself with the thought that I am an only an imitator; believe in your abilities; you are an innovator, an inventor. Stretch your imagination. Reach for the skies. Pursue your passion. The whole world is your playground provided you are ready to play – explore it.

As you begin the new phase of your life - entering the professional course, take it upon you to follow your passion. Get interested into aspects of your specialization that most interest you. It is good to be completely involved – it helps you specialize better than others. Be the best in your favorite area.

Pursue your identity – realize you are best as you not as anyone else.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I stood the autumn

I stood the autumn

I flew with the wind, not knowing where I would go…

Left I went and sometimes to the right,

As the winds settled, I landed down,

Not knowing where I was, what I was to do…

As the soil fell on me, I felt I was done for good.

Water moved on me, wetting me, dirtying me.

I felt this was the end of me…

Seasoned passed, I grew –

From dust and dirt to see the sun;

Sky’s the limit I felt, all but to know there were taller people than I.

Seasons changed – summer to winter, heat to cold;

When the sun was hot, there was no shade – I wanted to run but couldn’t

When the rain drenched, there was no cover – I wanted to run but couldn’t

When the winter froze, there was no blanket – I wanted to run but couldn’t

I lost my precious breath – I was hopeless what was next

My hands folded – nowhere to move, fighting for each breadth I stood

I just stood just believing I needed to stand, I had nothing but to stand

Stood I, as the birds flew, stood I as the heat increased, Stood I

I believed I would stand the autumn,

As my Breadth returned!

I knew, I stood, I knew, I stood the autumn.

- Chi


I have used a metaphor of a tree to indicate the state of mind of an individual, right from the birth to growth. It signifies the importance of strength of mind in surviving hard times. This is my interpretation but is open to various other interpretations too.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kudremukh Trek - 1

Kudremukh Trek

Treks are a very lively and living experience. If you dream of a trek for quite some time, and it is realized after a long wait, the feeling is just ethereal. Kudremukh trek for me has been a dream since I began my trekking. I would see it from my hometown in udupi and wish I get to its peak – today the dream is a reality. I have climbed the Kudremukh peak.

This trek and hence my dream wouldn’t have been possible if my friends – Niranjan and Bipin weren’t getting married (Jan 24th one at Udupi and the other at Dharwad) during this period. I dedicate this blog to their indirect assistance in helping me realize this dream.

When I realize that the 24th Jan was a Monday, I was wondering if I could get some company over the weekend and we could climb the Kudremukh. I shared this Idea with Naveen G S, who was Niranjan’s ex-colleague. His office members were planning to hire a tempo traveler and make this trip, however as it would be, there were last minute walk outs from the plan and the field was left open. There were only 6 members all boys and enthusiastic to trek. Naveen put across the idea and it was accepted. We decided to leave Bangalore on 22nd Jan Night. Naveen booked the tickets and the team was right there at the KSRTC bus stand game for this adventure.

The bus was an Airavata to Kundapura, and we got down at Karkala. Just before we boarded the bus I called up another old pal who had recently been to the trek – Nagendra Mayya and asked for any contacts. He sent the contact of Satish Mullodi who promised to make the necessary arrangements. He suggested we reach there by 1030 am and it should be an easy trek. He also suggested it was an easier getting to the place if we reach Kalasa – however this route was out of question.

We boarded the bus and got down at Karkala – at 5:00AM. A call to Satish and he told there was a bus at 745 AM and that would take us to Balgal at 9:45AM. He would later arrange the jeep to his place. We were wondering what we could do in the mean time in the bus stand. We freshened up at the bus stand and were still wondering.

One of our fellow trekkers – Madhu was a resident of Naravi, a small town just 30 minutes away from Karkala. After some discussion we decided to use the service and booked a Force Tufaan which would take the 8 of us to Balgal. We had time till this vehicle would come down to Karkala. We decided to have breakfast in the mean time. There was one hotel that had just opened up and was giving “avalakki” and “uppit”. We got in and hogged as much as we felt. By the time we were done it was 6:30 am. We were still waiting for the vehicle, we called up Satish and got the information updated – he suggested we come in the vehicle as far as possible on the mud road from where he would assist us get to his home.

At 7:00 am the vehicle was there at the bus stand and we were ready to get into – a few kilometers away from Karkala and we had the first part of the adventure – the vehicle had a puncture. Driver Santosh cursing his bad luck quickly changed the tyre but suggested we get the wheel repaired and left, the nearest place for this was Hosamar. Given that the it was a Sunday many of the puncture shops for such vehicles were shut. We all agreed and we reached Hosamar at 8:00 am and the repair work began.

With such a long break, we had time to discuss on a wide variety of topics ranging from politics to science to politics. It took around 40 minutes to complete the repair. We got back into the Toofan and we began our journey. We were already an hour and half behind the plan and my mind was busy calculating the possibilities. I didn’t want to miss this chance of realizing my dream!

We traveled to Bajagoli then S.K (South Kannada) Border and then Kudremukh Township towards Kalasa. We passed the check post, the place where we need to alight is named – “Balgal”, this is around 2 km from the check post towards Kalasa. There is a mud road which moves over a small stream, this is the route that one needs to take. Generally there are jeeps which are arranged to take you till Satish Mullodi’s home and they generally charge Rs 500/- for a trip. Since we had our vehicle, we moved ahead with the same as far as we could. We probably covered around 4 km out of the 7 km stretch to our Base camp – Satish Mullodi’s home.

Having covered the 4km through the vehicle, we parked it by the side of a small falls and continue the remaining part of the journey by foot. The scenery around was a treat to the eyes. At this point our team had split into 2 groups – one which was full enthu and the other which was occupied with clicking pictures and moving slowly to Satish’s house. A bit over a kilometer into the journey, we spotted a green snake on the path – the group that went front skipped this and had moved ahead. We took our time understanding is it was in an attacking mood or not and clicked snaps of the snake.

We moved ahead into the journey after this photo session and finally reached Satish’s home just moments before 12 noon! We were almost 2 hrs behind schedule.

As discussed over the phone, Satish and his family had prepared our breakfast! (Ya it was almost lunchtime!) – Idilies prepared of boiled rice. We also had tea before we began our trek. Satish had prepared Puliogare as our lunch. He packed them up in separate cover and handed them over to us. After a 30 minutes break, refilled cans and tummy we resumed our trek at 12:30 pm. He has also arranged a guide at Rs 350/-.

Our guide was a 9th Standard student – Rakesh. He probably knew the terrain and had guided hundreds of teams by this time. It was really exciting to have him along in our team. Our team was now 9 members and it was absolutely scorching sun at this point of the day that proved to be our biggest challenge.

We began moving upwards taking the jeep track beside Satish’s home. We could hear the stream below the edge of the hill where his house was make a lot of sound. There was a small falls that this stream was making which created this sound. We continue our trek along the route, which now had slowly grown narrower and uphill. We could spot Kudremukh peak at a distance. We continue along this route till we found a lone tree – the base of the tree had a nice shade and a seating place in case some trekkers were tiered already.

The next part of the trek is taking a left at this tree, the path is along the side of the mountain and, you can savor the beauty of the Western Ghats and its streams along the side. This narrow path then takes us into a small shoal forest where we need to cross a small stream. These streams are rain fed and generally dry up in the hot summer; however we can surely see a shoal forest flanking any such water stream banks.

The terrain is pretty much the same for the first one third of the journey – you move along the side of a narrow path on the hill surface, them crossing over to the adjacent hill via a stream. We pass through two such streams and then the surface opened up to a beautiful hill
beside the Kudremukh.

We could spot a way to the peak of this falls, this too like Kudremukh was open to the sea side, and am sure would give a very beautiful view of the costal district. We didn’t take detour there and continued our trek along the Kudremukh route.

We passed through another forest cover before we opened up into an area which probably was used for cultivation some years back. This is where we get to spot two old houses – also called the Lobo houses. One of these is a bit off the main trekking route while we need to pass beside the other. The house that is farther from the route is in a better state compared to the one that is closer to the route. The closer one has almost collapsed. The area in front of these was probably the farms of the residents of these houses. The route this far since the first climb beside Satish’s home was pretty plain and almost negligible elevation what followed was a quick increase in the altitude.

We moved through the small forest beside lobo house and we found ourselves open up to the vast grassland lying on the slope of the hill. We could see the Kudremukh peak very distinctly from this point. It was getting closer! How close we didn’t know. It had take us an hour and three fourth to reach lobo house and it was all through the plains, now it was climb to the peak.

I had been carrying the heavy bag on my back; it had begun straining my shoulders and my back. I decided to shift my bag to some other team member and continued the journey. I continued clicking the snaps of the beauty that was at offer. We continued the climb, the edge of the hill, the ridges, the green slopes, the far off townships; etc all offered beautiful scenery. It was a treat on offer for me! I enjoyed every click here.

We continue along the side of the hill, and then into a small forest area. We had a small falls; the source of this was the peak of the Kudremukh. The stream had almost dried up but there was trickling water. We were just below the falls, but there was a challenge still at hand, climbing the last mile.

We moved out of the forest and continued the climb which finally opened up along the steep slope of the Kudremukh peak. We found a group of forest department return along the path here. While were resting along the small stone protrusion, we realized it was almost just a few minutes away from the high spirit of having reached the peak. This excitement got us moving along the surface, we moved slowly yet surely as a team.

With a 10 minute climb, we reached the relatively plain surface atop the peak; it was very easy move from here. I was involved in clicking snaps of the trek all along; the high spirited members ran to the edge of the peak and dropped down there for some fun filled moments. One of our team members – Nikhil had completely cramped himself, and I spent most of my time just around him to ensure that he is not the only person left behind; this also gave me a lot of time to click the snaps, and reduced my strain of climbing in a hurry.

We finally reached the peak at 4:00 pm. The sun which was above our head, now shown on the west side, but atop the peak there was no shelter.

We took the much essential break at the peak. We had our lunch – the packed puliogare here. We also emptied some bread and bun that we had carried along. This recharge was a really necessary one. Post the lunch we had a small photo session and then we begun our journey back.

In our effort to climb to the peak in a hurry, we had ignored the church at the peak, I am sure we wouldn’t have noticed it if Rakesh our guide hadn’t mentioned about it. As we moved along he showed us the remains of this old church. It is covered by weeds all over, there is no roof and is in complete ruins.

We continue the trek back, the sun now was preparing to set, and the shadows of the large mountains were growing pretty quickly. We moved quickly with longer paces and covered up the distance quickly, we reached the lobo house pretty quickly. We rested a small while before we continued on the trek.

We had covered around 4 kms to Lobo house from the peak, but the remaining 6 km to Satish’s home had to be done quickly, I was still in mood of clicking picture this far, I decided to do away with it as far as possible.

Another 45 minutes of trekking through the plains and the streams and we finally reached Satish’s home at around 6:50 pm. As I thought back about the initial thought while I began climbing, we had performed better than expected. We climbed the peak in 3 and half hours and got back to the base camp in 2 and half hours. It was a great record for the team.

We had a cup of tea and returned to the vehicle where we had parked. We reached the vehicle and begun our journey. As we reached the entrance to the check post, we decided to have small Tiffin. There was the commentary running of the final India-South Africa match on the Radio. We enjoyed the crackers that Yusuf Pathan was providing with Zaheer Khan.

We got back into the vehicle and continued our journey back home. Exhausted most of us were asleep in the cab except for the driver. We reached Naaravi, where our host Madhu and his family had prepared a grand hospitality for us. We thank them for all the support they provided us with.

This trek would remain in my memory for a very long time, I shall definitely return to this place; coz there is so much I haven’t explored here. I will get to them soon.

I think many people don’t have the contact of the people to get to the peak; here is the contact numbers of 2 pretty helpful people here.

Suresh Mullodi - 08263249595

Arun - 9481578065