Warning: Post is very long, very funny*, dont risk reading it at the office for both reasons.
We had left off the narrative at the point where our six intrepid explorers, had been faced with an almost hostile attitude from all around (all those around the Chickballapur main road at 12 30 in the night that is). Despite this, we saw that through the skilful usage of their mobile phones, they had managed to secure the directions to the peak they had vowed to conquer that day.
This having done, they set off with new hope in their hearts. Before they reached the base camp, they had to trek through a long narrow road that threaded past a muddy lake and several little hamlets, unaware of the dangers that lay ahead. As they approached the first of the hamlets that littered the otherwise dark and barren lansdscape, our adventurers were trying to shoot photos in the dark with a camera which that night was producing images of them more resembling yeti than humans. Thus occupied, they failed to hear the barking of dogs that grew steadily louder. It was only when they found themselves in a little clearing, surrounded by the beasts, did they become aware of their predicament. However, luck was with our adventurers, as the person in the front was of a build which didnt need a faulty camera to remind one of a yeti. Through the course of several episodes in his life, he had come to realise that he was never at an advantage when he attempted to run. Thus while the reflex action of another might have been to break into a run, our man merely continued to walk at the same pace, pinning his hopes of survival on prayer rather than any misplaced confidence on his speed. The others, although might have been able to run to save their backsides, followed his lead, assuming he knew what he was doing, and thus they got past the first of the pack of dogs that they were to face that night.
When they ran into the next pack, larger with more vicious barks, our travellers were alarmed, as the possibility of there being at least one dog who wished to sink his teeth into something seemed high. However, once again their fortune was good, as an old man ambled along, seemingly out of nowhere. Although initially the dogs didnt take note of the newcomer, they did so, when he proceeded to demonstrate a surprisingly strong arm and a good aim with the aid of stone lying nearby. Put on the defensive for the first time, the pack scattered, and cleared the way for the group to rush through, profusely thanking the man as they did.
Finally, after another half hour of trekking, they reached the base camp of the hill. Here, they paused for breath, took another shot at getting the camera to shoot one clear picture that night, laughed at a tout who advised them that without a guide they couldnt find their way to the top and at last began their climb. In a couple of minutes however, they were puzzled to find themselves enveloped by a field, with a small temple nearby, but no sign of a path to the hill. While they were pondering this turn of events, the tout suddenly appeared and muttered something in Kannada. Although none present understood the language, no one was in any doubt about the general idea behind the statement. Quickly, the tout was hushed by engaging him as a guide, and the party proceeded on the path towards the peak.
At first, everyone was intent on reaching the top as soon as possible and enjoy a campfire. However, as yards of mountainside fell away, breaks to ‘appreciate the view’ kept getting longer. It was at this point that the group noticed how dense a fog there was. Light from a torch shined, would stop a couple of metres ahead as if it had hit a solid wall. (At this discovery, there were attempts to produce several silhouettes, including that of a dog, and the batman symbol). Apart from these temptations, what also made the going tougher for the group was the fact that the number of torches was limited, causing the person leading to invariably stumble on or into something, alerting those following. However, they persevered, and even doubled up when they realised that they were almost at the top.
The sight that greeted them there however, baffled all of them. Driven by adrenaline, they had set out on the trail of adventure. Although they had had it in some measure, they were disappointed to find a small but bustling town atop the peak consisting of trekkers who had arrived ahead of them, and enterprising traders who apparently stayed there. These proceeded to offer bread omelettes and tea to the group. Weariness overuled pride, and they tucked into the offering, before splitting into two parties to scout for some unoccupied land to pitch their tents.
Unable to find a tract suitable enough, they decided to only pitch one of the tents, which didnt need pegs to hold it down if instead something heavy was placed in it. As they unfurled the canvas however, they realised that they had underestimated the wind. It raged as if bent on rolling even the most solid boulders. It was so fierce, it took the concerted effort of eight well placed legs to pin the tent down, while four pairs of hands tried to pitch it up. After a mighty battle, with several large blocks of stones roped in as allies, the tent was finally up. Exhausted from the effort, the weary group made its way to the campfire set up by the other two, who after attempting to scavenge for firewood, discovered someone willing to sell it for a consideration. Transaction duly completed, the bonfire was set up to provide what warmth it could.
As the explorers rested at the bonfire, a few metres away from the tent, they noticed that it seemed to be rapidly fading from sight. Although they first thought this was due to the fog, one of them realised with a start that it was actually the wind blowing the tent away, with the supporting rocks and all. A quick reinforcement however settled the matter, and after an aborted attempt to view the sunrise, which took its own sweet time, they just settled to sleep.
After a fitful sleep, in which those of the group who slept outside the tent had well founded fears of being swept off, especially with their hands inside sleeping bags, the group woke up to a freezing cold morning, and hurriedly packed up in an attempt to get away from the chill as soon as possible. It was at this point that they caught sight of group of girls wearing clothes that might be described as closer to sleeveless than half sleeved, gallavanting around the peak taking pictures. Incredulously, our adventurers watched on with frozen hands, chattering teeth and shivering bodies covered by several layers of woolens as they girl seemed unaffected by the cold. Some tried to shake their heads in disbelief, but they were frozen stiff, so they just packed up and left without looking back.
Back at the base camp, they found an autorickshaw driver not just willing, but insisting that he would take all six of them with their luggage in his vehicle meant for half that number. After a brief consultation, they agreed to this offer to get them past dog country. Although they were tired, one felt something amiss as they sedately travelled past the battlefields of the previous night and by the end of the journey felt that a walk might have been worth for the adventure. The autorickshaw did provide a moment when it suddenly lurched to one side, almost throwing one of the group’s number who was precariously perched, out onto the road, but it passed, and they agreed it wasnt quite the same when you hire something on a trek.
*Conditions apply. Valid only when you’re so tickled, anything can make you laugh.