Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A trip of a kind - the SM India kind.. :)

Finally the day arrived...
Saturday- 13th Oct 2007- the day when the SM India Team was to go to Kundalika river for rafting, followed by an overnight stay at the Durshet Nature Trails Forest Lodge. I tell you- we all were waiting for the trip since the day we decided it.

Come fast people!!!
Most people reached the pick up point well within time. By the way- I think it is worth mentioning that we were to reach office (the bus pick-up point) at 5:30am, which by no means, was an easy task. But I am glad to say- that most people made it... However- somethings got delayed- and it was almost 6:45-7 am by the time we started off. The driver looked morose- he said we won't be able to make it till 8am- which was the time at which the rafting was supposed to begin. Everyone was a little concerned....

But well- we're incorrigible optimists :)
And so- hoping for the best- we started our journey. :) People sitting towards the back of the bus were in full form- wanting to sing songs and have fun. I was a little sleepy initially- wasn't really in a mood to sing and all. But it was not much time before the excitement caught up with me- and others. And soon- we were belting out old and new Hindi movie hits one after the other. Everything from "Roop teraa mastanaa" to "Beedi jalaile"... The journey ended before we knew it.

And then the tense concern returned....
It was already 8:30am by the time we reached the site. We missed the correct turn the first time around and ended up coming around a bit, which added to the delay. As we approached the rafting site- everyone was silent- "Has the rafting started...? Are we too late".

But you see- the optimism worked!!! :)
The water in the river where we were going to raft is controlled by a dam. The dam authorities had not released water from the dam that day till the time we reached. So the rafting had not begun!! All of us shouted in joy "We have not missed it!!!"

After having some (meager) breakfast and some tea- we all waited for the dam gates to open. Time passed by- 9am - 9:30am - 10am. No sign of the water gushing in. As we whiled away our time sitting in the stationary rafts wearing the rafting gear just to pose for the camera- we all knew that it wasn't happening. I guess optimism != miracles...

Disappointment can't catch up- we're too fast for it.. :)

Nothing can kill a joyous team spirit :) Well- we can't raft- but we can go into the river and have fun splashing around there!

And that's exactly what we did- we just splashed into the river dragging everyone in the team into it playing all sorts of weird games. We kept on scaring each other saying "What if the dam gates open right now and water comes flooding in...?" We clicked dozens of pictures in all funny poses... :D

Time for another trip...
Finally we reluctantly came out of the river- it was almost 12:30pm and we had to reach the Durshet forest lodge till lunch time. We quickly changed into dry clothes and started off from their. All that splashing around had left us exhausted- and really really hungry. No one sang or even talked during the one hour to Durshet- everyone caught a few winks and woke up when the bus screeched to a halt at the Forest Lodge.

"Durshet Forest Lodge welcomes you!"
Everyone yawned, rubbed their eyes open, picked up their luggage and walked upto the lodge. We were given the keys to our rooms. Earlier we had planned that we would go for lunch following a bath. But everyone was so hungry- that all we did was- dumped the luggage in our rooms and rushed to the dining hall. The food was absolutely delicious- and our hunger made it taste totally exotic!

After a filling lunch, we all retreated to our rooms. Some people just fell on the beds and fell asleep. But the others just took to an open ground over there and thus began the sport which rules every Indian's heart- cricket! :D The game started with a stripped down version of the actual rules, with only 5-6 people playing. In about an hour or so- everyone else joined in too and soon almost the whole team was shrieking and shouting- "Howzzat... "... "Hey that was NOT out!!" It was sheer fun... :) Every time the cricket ball used to go out of bounds- Shriram used to go hunt for it- he was unanimously named the cricket-ball-debugger :P

After a hot and sweaty game of cricket- the swimming pool suddenly looked inviting... Almost everyone jumped into the cool blue pool... The ace swimmers were trying to teach novices like myself and others how to hold your breath under water and all the other tricks... We played some pool volleyball and brought the whole place down with our shrieks...

Food- bring us more food!
And of course- then we were hungry again! We quickly changed into dry clothes and went to the cafeteria for some evening snacks, wherein a wonderful layout of mouth-watering pani-puri was awaiting us. I ate more than I could ever imagine- and I guess it was the same for everyone else.

It was around 5:30-6pm or so already... The sunset was beautiful and romantic... And the breeze was slow and silken... The butterflies were flitting around as if they were completely unaware of our presence there... Away from the glaring lights and the inhuman sounds of the city- it all felt soothing... A perfect getaway....

And then they ATTACKED
As we returned to our rooms- we felt their presence- and increasingly they would not let us walk straight. I am talking about none other than the monstrous mosquitoes which hovered around us making us dance while shooing them away. Thankfully, the lodge caretakers got some smoky solution to the problem and the mosquitoes left us in peace.

Two fat majors.. 8 and 8 is 88.. And a shake..!!
Yeah- then it was time for a game of Tambola or Housie!!! Prasanna got this wonderful portable tambola kit and I became the number announcer... Nehal took away three of the main prizes- I guess it was really her lucky day :)

"Jungle hain aadhee raat hain...." (It's midnight in a jungle..)

Then it was time to go for a nature trail- it was a perfect time to do that. It was pitch dark and a guide from the lodge was going to lead us to the Amba river shore- which was hardly some distance from the lodge. And thus we began with our flickering torches- walking down those shaky steps in the middle of the jungle... And a series of suspense movie songs made the situation just perfect for the weak hearted :))

And that moment, my dear friends, was Magic...
As we reached the river shore- there was not a light in sight. We all switched off our torches- and that is when we could see it in all its glory- the clear night sky with trillions of stars glittering like diamonds. Everyone was silent- we were so taken by the beauty of it all- words seemed like intruders in those moments. The sky was so clear- we saw at least 5 shooting stars. And the fireflies glowing in the dark made it even more magical- as if we had come into some kind of a fairy tale land... We were a bit sad when we turned back to go- but hunger got better of us... :D

More more more... Food... :)
I tell you- that place served amazing food. We had an awesome dinner and if it was not for the limited size of the human stomach- we could have kept eating forever. I think the cafeteria people must've heaved a sigh of relief when they finally saw us leaving ;)

Old wood- new flames... :)
Then we all gathered for a beautiful bonfire. All of us exchanged random stories and thoughts as we marveled the flames which slowly consumed the wood- and in turn passed their luminescence to the dry wood as it glowed ferociously. We let the warmth of the bonfire massage our hands and feet long after the flames died out..

Finally, as both the hands of the clock met each other- just to separate again- all of us retired to our rooms.

"knock knock... Knock Knock... KNOCK KNOCK.. WAKE UP!!!"
I stirred lazily in my bed and as I strained to see the time- I saw that it was almost 9am. I jumped out of bed and opened the door. Breakfast was going to be served till 10am someone told me.

Wait for us... We're coming right now!
Well- the cafeteria people did wait for us and served us the most sumptuous breakfast consisting of Idli-MeduWada with chutney and sambhar, Shira-pohe, Bread with butter and jam and bananas. Given that I had eaten so much the previous day- I was surprised at how hungry I was as I gobbled up all the food.

Photo session
Following the breakfast- every one got ready, got their luggage together and came together for the one last grand group photo. Well- so much for that. Before that one grand photo- we took all sorts of funny pictures with people climbing over trees and in the bushes. All the wild animals over there must've nodded their heads thinking what fools we were. But well- we were totally absorbed in having fun. We were like kids playing in the park- oblivious to all adults around.. :)

And there we were....
All of us- feeling happy and light and relaxed... As we started off to come back to Pune- I was thinking to myself- the main reason we planned this trip was for the adventure sport- the river-rafting. And we did not even get to do that. But there was absolutely no sense of disappointment as we made our way back in the bus. Because we did what we had really planned to do- be together- get to know each other a bit more- lets some walls of inhibition come down- and most important of all- HAVE FUN! And boy-o-boy did we do that or what!

Here's to the SM India Team- the best team that I've ever been in!


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Blogger Yashraj Bhawsar said...

oh man...i missed the trip..i wish i could have been there...looks like you guys had a lot of fun...keep it up...great team !!

8:06 AM  
Blogger Ravikanth said...

Cool description...

But come on, you need to add more pictures. At the least there should be one with Priyanka's dazzling smile.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Priyanka M said...

Haha :P Thanks Ravi :) Am waiting for pics from all cameras to get consolidated- so that I can select the best one of me ;)


10:18 PM  

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