Thursday, June 24, 2010
One Night @ Chorla Ghat
Komal: A CA student, wildlife enthusiast, my classmate since 8th std, we've been together for many treks- in Goa and in the Himalayas. Quiet, generally non fussy, average in stamina, a team player!
Sharvani: My best friend, non fussy, high stamina, high enthusiasm, when excited- talks a bit too much! a Bored CA final student .
Sangam: Our wildlife expert that night. Supposedly knows the ghats inside out. A fellow Geminian, calm and composed, the only guy amongst us with a SLR that me and Sharvani eye all the time, I call him "Pappa."
19th June: We spent the saturday night at Khokral, Maharashtra at Manerikar's Residence.
20th June: On sunday morning we visited a waterfall that was close by. We weren't tired since we hadn't walked too much and as I was to leave for Bangalore in 2 days, I wanted to do more than just 1 trek. So I , coaxed Sangam ( pappa) to coax the other 2- Komal and sharvani to come to Chorla Ghaat.
And so the adventure began....
We crossed the Swapnagandha Resorts and the Wildernest Resorts in the Goan side of the ghat and crossed over to Karnatak side. The roads were bad, full of pot holes and at around 6.40pm, one of Estillo's tires gave up!
Apart from trucks and state transport buses, there were very few private vehicles passing by, mostly on their way back home on sunday night after a well spent day in the Chorla Ghats.
And so we left the car near the main road, and trekked down to the waterfall. All we had were 4 mobiles which were all out of range, 1 umbrella with torch and a jacket.
In the forests, as opposed to a rear view mirror of a car, images that appear close by are actually further away.
When we finally reached the Jacuzzi, we couldn't dare to enter the water which in the dark looked scary, dark, mysterious and so was the rest of the forest....suddenly the horror of the situation seeped our brains about what Pappa had been telling all along.
"Pappa, we'll reach up to the road in time no?" I asked cautiously.
"Don't you dare ask me this question now...you girls have no idea how dangerous this area is at night.....!"
Janaki: "It's not night yet...we still have plenty of time to get back!"
Pappa: In the forest, when the sun sets, it is night! Understood?
We quickly took a U-Turn and decided to head back to the car. By now, there was no sunlight, thankfully it wasn't raining though it was foggy and there was sufficient moonlight that at least let us spot each other.
It had been almost an hour we were walking back and we hadn't reached the road. We could hear the vehicles pass by on the main road but could not find our way up. It was around 8.15pm when Pappa hopelessly declared: We are lost!
This was followed by a long tense silence. Such statements have different effects on different people- Komal went into a shock, Sharvani started the blame game and I was over excited about the prospects of getting a new adventure experience.
Sim: Sangam you said you know this area well!
Sangam: Yes! That's why I begged you all not to get down the main road, but you wouldn't listen.
Janaki: Wow! We are actually lost! I remember that song , Is kaal kaal main hum kare dhamaal!
All: SHUT the F*** UP!
Another half an hour and we still couldn't track back our way up. And then it started raining heavily. We took some shelter under a huge tree. We were by then completely wet, my cell battery as always was out, I always forget to charge it. And it's my Sony Erickson that has the most powerful light facility, others all had their fading screen lights now to guide us.
While we waited for the rains to slow down, I thought it would be a good idea to entertain the others to distract them a bit. So I chose some special stories my grandma told us which I always found creepy.
Janaki: You know my Grandma once told me a story about this one girl who went out into the forest at night and the leeches sort of all attacked her and got on to her , you know in all creepy places in her body!
Komal suddenly started scratching her body all over...
" I don't think it's a good idea to stand in one spot for such a long time. We are inviting trouble with those leeches!"
Sangam: And while walking if you step on to a snake , then? At least the leeches are not poisonous!
Janaki: And do you know, how those leeches finally had to be removed?
Sim: Shut up...you just shut up! Is this a kind of thing to tell at this time? You are scarring the hell out of us Janaki.
Janaki: Bravery lies in one's heart Sim, you either have it or you don't!
Sim: Yes I can see that! You are the one most protected with a full pant and a jacket. We are in 3/4th's here!
The fog was making it increasingly difficult to step anywhere and so we decided to spend the night under the tree till favorable circumstances allow us to find our way. We all wouldn't dare sit down after the leeches story, so we stood in silence, watching the night eat up the forest , and the rain drops shunning all other sounds around us.
Suddenly in the dark, we could hear some sounds, the breaking of some branches, soft rustling of leaves.....My imagination started running wild, the party and the adventure excitement was now over....my heart was beating so fast, I could hardly breathe. Sangam stood in front of us shielding us, I was really scared so I chose to stay right besides Pappa, Komal followed me , Sharvani remained at the back. While Sangam was trying to see into the dark with the little light that he had, Sharvani was subconsciously stepping behind in fear of what lay ahead!
Suddenly Sharvani screamed so loudly, we felt our ears go numb for a while. She ran in the opposite direction, Komal followed her saying "avois , avois" and other exclamations in konkani . There were sounds from all directions, and I did not know where to run but I knew I had to make a move, so I ran.
I kept running. Behind me, I could hear Sangam asking me to stop ,saying that it was just a herd of Bisons. In a few tense moments I'd actually climbed a difficult terrain leading to the road.
I brushed through some bushes and branches and could see a house-like with lights in front of me. Others followed behind me.
Later we found out that it was some Gopi's Dhaba.
The dhaba was closed. We walked to our car, finished the job of changing the tire and the 4 of us cramped up inside the car to take a nap till dawn.
We woke up to the sweet whistling of the Malabar Whistling Thrush at around 5am, and started our journey back home.
I've been lost in jungles before, but there were more people and we were well equipped so the situation wasn't as bad as this one. Now that I am back on safe ground, I can look back at this experience and add it in my "Most exciting days of my life" List!
Some more clicks of our trekking days: