Sunday, August 7, 2011

A trek in the forests of Infinitum


There is an old adage which says "if you want joy, do not go in search of it". The trek in the forests of Ananthagiri made me realize it. The greenery which seemed like it spread to infinity manifested joy from within. The gentle rain drops came telling if there is a world beyond, thy shall experience it now. When there is joy brimming from within, you do not keep it to yourself. You share it. I guess you now realize why I am penning this one down.

Let’s start with the very first step. The weekend expedition was organized by TCS in association with Great Hyderabad Adventure Club which is run by freelance enthusiasts. Though being an outsider I was lucky to get into one of their weekend trips because of my friend Anup, who of course works for the company. He had nominated me as family! It was 5.45AM on 31st July 2011 and I was in no mood to wake up especially after my facebook friends hanging on to chat till 00.30. I heard a wakeup call from my phone which I could shut down. After a few minutes, this time it was Anup and I couldn’t shut him down. Hours later I told him- “I owe you one, for waking me up”.  The group of 19 assembled at 7AM at TCS office in Madhapur, Hyderabad which they call as Deccan Park [DP]. We were briefed about the Do’s and the Don’ts as a custom and then we hit the Hyderabad Mumbai highway, moments later it was the boulevard leading to the Airport. We then diverted to the Vikarabad road and the mountains it seemed were awaiting our coming. After a nice breakfast [which is very essential for a trip like this] we were welcomed by the serene Mother Nature herself with gentle drops of rain as if it were being sprinkled on our heads. What more does a mortal ask for?

The 19 strong spirits were now ready to scale a mountain. Chandan, the guide from the GHAC was an experienced person. He had done over a 100 treks before in this mesmerizing forest. That came as a relief and well as a confidence booster. After that it was a mode of self discovery. The greenery around made me introspect, the uninterrupted buzz of the insects made me loose in the space-time continuum and the tall trees made me realize how small I am in front of them. May be unadulterated joy comes at a premium, the power to look within. All through the 14 km long trek, I made new friends. I could have met these people in a corporate office years later, but the brimming intensity of an adventure would be missing. We saw spider webs of different magnitudes, snakes of different lengths and water streams of different colors. The pictures bear a testimony to it.

We had several pit stops, since we were not habitual trekkers. We did not leave a single moment to pass away without being immersed in nature’s beauty there. It all brought back those dreams alive. The shoes immersed in ankle deep mud were proving hard to walk. But every turn brought us to a water stream and this helped us clean the mud. The water ran away with the mud every time with the same intensity leaving us the lesson of selflessness behind. We climbed at least 6 cliffs before exhaustion overtook us and clock hit 3.00PM. Now, it was only the belly that was talking. Hunger can be a real awakener. The next stop was the APTDC [Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation] resort at Vikarabad. The lunch was sumptuous.

The destination was the Nagasamudram lake now. The pristine waters and the serene weather made the visit memorable. Not everyone got into the water due to their own inbuilt fears and reasons. Well, when it comes to me- I was tired of swimming! Well, really! In a distant land we could see the rain drop from the clouds, the clouds journeying through the skies. It reminded me of Kalidasa’s Meghadootam, which I had read some 6 years ago. I couldn’t ask for more from a day. After a good hour and a half of spending time at the lake we were struck by the causality of time and in a hurry we packed our bags to the last place of visit- Ananthapadmanabha Swamy temple.

It was truly a culminating point of the day’s activities. I was wondering why the hills were called Ananthagiri. When I entered the temple, it struck to me. Anantha in samskruta means infinite. Swamy means the lord. Giri means hill. The hills were named after the residing diety of the place. The one that truly signifies infinity, the one that makes us realize the concept of infinity by rendering us very small in front of it. We bowed down to the God and thanked him for the wonderful day that he had given us. After that we bid goodbye to the hills for the same cubicles were calling us for work and our daily bread. Well, what’s a trip without antakshari? The whole hour’s journey back was reverberating with Kishore, Mohammad Rafi songs to Daler Mehendi and Mohit Chauhan. We sang till our breaths went out which gave us that pure fun!

What more does a mortal ask for..?