Monday, July 6, 2009

Bheemeswari: the fishy fishing camp..

As always, the biggest challenge for making the road trip was getting the final count. People came in and pulled out. This went on and on till late Friday night. But when the numbers finally came in, I have to admit that I was astonished. We added up to 7. Now, this might not be much but for our small group - this was the biggest number in the history of road trips!

So at 6:40am, everyone was outside NGV- our rendezvous point. For a 6 am target and the variables 7 people bring in, a delay of 40 minutes was decent and fairly acceptable. The majnoo Red Avenger, the Black Pulsar 200 and the blue Pulsar 200 waited at the NGV gate. A tiny dot in the rear view mirror and the distinct 'thump' nearing meant that we should start our engines. The Thunderbird had refueled and arrived!

Oh yes, there were people too- SidC and Kundan on the Royal Thunder, Gaurav and Anjlin on the Avenger, Rohonesh and I on the blue P-200 and Praddy keeping all the power to himself on the black P-200.

We took the Kanakapura road and having started early, we were outside Bangalore in no time at all. After the NICE road underpass the Kanakapura road transforms into a speed-way. You can easily cruise at 80 KMPh without compromising on safety. The skies did not look very friendly from the moment we had started from Bangalore. However the clouds were very kind to us: for not sending down showers and for providing a beautiful cover. The lush greenery thanks to the previous showers and little sun made a spectacular view throughout the way. You also pass a couple of lakes called 'Tank bunds' on the way. We stopped at one to take a couple of pictures. Actually most stops were made by Praddy and Gogo. Such stops were necessitated to allow the rest of us to catch up with the speeding maniacs. It had rained just before we had hit this highway. The wet tarmac slowed the mere mortals -read SidC and me. However, these Earthly matters were of no significance to Gogo- who was leading the way. Hence we continued speeding between 80 and 3 digit speeds. Speeding on the wet roads, Rohonesh realized that a wiper installed on his spectacles would not be such a bad idea. As Kanakapura approached, we saw a couple of places to eat. We decided to have our breakfast in a proper place in Kanakpura. All our hopes were shattered when we entered the town. Seeing the state of the place it was silly to expect a good restaurant here. And so it was- in spite of lots of searching we crossed the town eventually with disappointed stomachs and Gogo at the on the brink of (Gogo needs his daily dose of morning tea; any scenario pertaining to gogo dissatisfied is potentially dangerous). Gogo- being the only Kannada speaking fellow amongst us did most of the talking to find us a superb route. The rest of us were of little help for directions. At one instance, Praddy managed to confidently bypass the security, a couple of monstrous buses and a chaotic crowd to find himself inside the Kanakpura bus station. We finally decided to stop a couple of KM's outside

Kanakapura at a small tea stall. A heads up for travelers on this route: The only eating places you will find are on the 10km stretch just before Kanakapura. This is your last chance to grab a bite.

After a couple of queries, we took a left turn from the NH. Now we were approaching rugged terrain. The population density was minimal and the road was in a bad state on a few stretches. Still the speeds stayed above 50 and we reached the Cuavery fishing camp in 30-40 minutes. We stopped a couple of times to take pictures of the clouds eating up the hills. Our star photographer Kundan was at his best.

Upon reaching, confidence, illogical reasoning and stupidity struck us.

I'll explain that in detail..

Confidence: I was confident that we'd be able to indulge in some activities at the camp. We did not book since we did not have an affirmative headcount till 11pm last night. However my confidence was coupled with stupidity. Stupidity of not finding out places to book. I had assumed that they will entertain an entry after some arrangements on the spot. This is where illogical reasoning comes in. The Fishing camp registers bookings only at Bangalore or Kanakapura. I have to say- this kind of arrangement is difficult to dream of.

Not to be deterred, we decided to scout the banks on out own. One of the lovely spots was taken over by monkeys and as we reached the other one, we found a couple of humans with monkey-like behavior. I say so coz a bunch of guys were washing their bikes inside the Cuavery waters. Ok, that doesn't sound too bad but their actions were highly comical. There were repeated instances of their washed bike falling into the muddy area making all their previous efforts insignificant. Their semi drowned vehicles took ages to start and I don't want to think of the damage those fools must have got to the engines.

Now that we were here, we decided we should something more than photography. We saw a couple of coracles (those small circular boats) on the shore and decided to take a ride in the river. It was a shock for us when the boatman invited all 7 of us on a single tiny boat. We had assumed that we would be taking 2-3 of those things. After losing the debate with the boatman, we started stepping in. When Gogo got in, he announced that he had discovered a leak. It was quite a sight- the water entering in the form of a beautiful fountain. We soon found out that similar leaks were present in decent numbers in our boat. Though the boat rocked each time one of us

hopped in, the boat man skillfully got us in and took us into the river. The river was calm though we could hear the fury of the rapids at some distance. I am told that there are only level 2 rapids here. Having conquered the level 4 at Rishikesh, I was not very keen on rafting. You may point out the grapes are sour story but that's the way it was. In around 10 minutes, the water inside our boat was a couple of centimeters deep and everybody was wet in no time. No attempts were made to save the precious bottoms as any movement was sure to capsize the boat. We also got a merry-go-round move in between. By the time we got out, the water was at least half a foot deep in the boat.

We started and made fewer stops on our way back. The climb was treacherous in the ghats but the bikes managed pretty well. We stopped at a few places in search of food after Kanakapura. At one place we were asked to select from either chicken or rice. Since we had a breakfast mind at this time, we left this place. Convinced that we wouldn't be able to get anything on the way, we decided that it'd be best our stomachs wait till we reach Bangalore. The bikes were pushed almost continuously without a break for the rest of the journey. The only event was the invisible speed breaker that propped out of nowhere. The height that I achieved from that jump was around half a feet and I am sure Rohonesh made a jump of one and half foot from the back seat. Today, I think he values his life more and is looking into the purpose and all. Later we discovered everyone had had the same experience. We finally stopped at the Shanti Sagar near Metro.

When I look back, we had a chance to be close to nature, admire it's beauty, experience serenity far away from the maddening crowd, got jacked at the camp, a boat ride which got us philosophical (it happens when you have near drowning experience) and had a superb drive! So enjoyed every bit of it thoroughly and as always: am raring for more.

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