It was 8pm on Tuesday evening 25th Dec 2012. In the enclosed space of my room, I lay there in my bed, my eyes closed; all the bones in my body yearning for some rest and sleep but my mind and heart drifting away to the previous day – Monday evening 10pm; that’s when I met this group of wonderful people for the first time, assembled together for an awesome night-trek to Malekal-Tirupatti Betta in Arisekere, Hassan.
I heard about Bangalore Ascenders (BASC) a week before from a friend; after checking out the site and reading the blogs, I blamed myself and my sheer luck for why the hell haven’t I heard about it much earlier like in 2010. Anyways I tried to register for the next event (this trip) but registrations were over. As luck would have it, on Monday ‘the trip day’, 2 guys opted out – I mailed our organizer and got confirmed. Just 5 hours left to go, I was all too excited thinking how fun would it be – read the itinerary again – perfect it was – just the kind of trek for a first timer.
So, there I was along with other 21 Ascenders; some from different ethnicity but it all felt like one. We had a beautiful and talented singer ‘Pallavi’ as our organizer and equally talented singer ‘Sunil’ as co-organizer and guide for the trip. The first fun part was the introduction session where pallavi had this set of rules which she was very strict about – each Ascender had to introduce themselves, give themselves a ‘DaBBa’ prefix/suffix name and either sing or dance to the tunes of ‘Gangnam‘ sytle – well, the only guy who actually danced was the energetic Niranjan ‘Junglee/Mugli’ who was on his 5th trek this month..wow!!! Pallavi saw to it that the ascenders really gave themselves some really Dabba names like ‘Paper Sudeendra’ ,’Illegal Shruthi’, ‘Rowdy Rama’,’Barfi Naga’, ‘Rascal Rohit’, ‘Chinki Rahul’ (me) ,’Baba Ram’ – to name a few; Youngest of the lot was a charming ascender ‘Sappe Sapna’ who just got eligible to vote. There was also a jugal-bandhi in kannada between me and Shruthi which ofcourse i won :-). Some nice kannada song were sung by Pallavi, Sunil, Vishwas, Rama, Nagendra ( the Singers’ of the lot). And by the time all this was done, we took some rest and reached Arsikere around 2 am.
1250 Steps seemed pretty easy and decent; We all started climbing the steps in packs and when we reached 250th step, our eyes were blessed with a majestic view of Arsikere Town.
We started trekking again, stopping now and then after climbing every 100 steps; the Singers’ lot of the ascender’s would sing whilst others would just take some rest. Me and the Singers’ lot were the first one to reach the top. It felt so great. Mere 1250 steps wasn’t so easy for fatso like me 🙂
On reaching the top, we took shelter in the temple verandah and started cutting ‘Capsicum, tomato and onion‘ for cooking Maggie
While some of the Ascenders were busy cooking and so were warm around the fire, rest of us were trying to shield ourselves from the fierce wind covering ourselves with blankets, sweaters and whatnot. Suddenly, ‘Sappe Sapna’ and her sister ‘Marimuttu Sadhya’ screamed shooting stars and that was it, I was glued to the starry sky while they were humming ‘Airplanes‘ Song; I did see a shooting star 🙂
Soon enough Maggi was done and some of us started eating with fingers (fork was misplaced 🙂 ). Now, while we were eating I saw some-one who was wrapped around in a sleeping bag, i woke him up asking him to eat maggi, he gave me taunting look and slept again – he was ‘Kappa Arvind’ – the ‘Kumbkaran’ Ascender. Sapna suggested this would be a nice maggie moment story for ‘Meri Maggi Contest’ – Sweet 🙂
Some of the ascenders started gathering woods for camp fire while I along with others again tried to sleep the freezing cold off without any luck. While I thought Arvind was the only one who was sleeping peacefully, I was wrong, turns out that Sandhya, Arun, Jagdeesh, Rohit and Pallavi were dozing off too.
6 am it was. The sleeping heads were forced to wake up for the sunrise. Photography really was savoured in the form of some excellent stills by our Professional Photographers – Sunil, Raju, Ashutosh, Jagdeesh, Vishwas , Rohit. Then we hoped around for some beautiful group photos; the ‘shooting star’ sisters were so photogenic that even an amateur like me got myself some good clicks.
We bade good bye to the temple which I didn’t visit (Can’t seem to recall why) and soon we started trekking down.
We reached base point and started for the next leg of our adventure – stopped at a near-by temple and then at the Shivalaya temple – a stunningly beautiful mix of Hoysala architecture and art. After enjoying the stunning view and taking blessings from ‘Lord Shiva’, Pallavi came up with some excellent idea for the girls to do some ‘Nritya‘ poses – it was fun and exciting to watch for the guys and for other visitors in the temple as well 🙂
Left the temple and went to a restaturant at Arsikere Town for feasting on surplus amount of breakfast and the final leg of our adventure began – next visit was to a lake exactly 1km before the entrace of the town to experience ‘Theppa” (Coracle) ride – fantastic arrangements by Sunil. First three groups went on the Theppa’s while others did some jumping photo-shoot ( forgot to do ‘gangnam‘ style inspite of me reminding everyone) and we too went for the ride later – the experience was amazing. Some of us (me, Jagdeesh) did try to row the Theppa and ended up circling it 🙂 ; there were cries heard for the fear of camera being damaged when the ascenders in all three Theppas were playing water wars. While going back after the ride, we did come across herds of lamb/sheep – and it being a Christmas day was nice to see.
Finally, it was the end of a such a memorable adventure; after the awesome Theppa ride, we all boarded the TT and left for Bangalore; on the way we stopped for some refreshments and lunch; exchanged contacts with a promise to meet up for future treks.
From somewhere distant, I could hear a buzzing irritating sound; I tried but couldn’t help not opening my eyes and to my dismay found the source of buzzing sound – it was my alarm clock – 7 am, 26th Dec 2012 on the trot – I was shell shocked if I dream’t the entire thing ? – but thankfully my rugged clothes, a new torch and my body-ache made me realize quickly that all of the beautiful things i dream’t did happen 🙂
Tons of Thanks to Pallavi for organizing such a wonderful trip and to co-organizer Sunil who hailing from Arsikere itself was the perfect guide; last but not the least Thank you to all the Ascenders for such a memorable trip – it will linger in my heart and mind for a long long time.