Friday, December 24, 2010
18 Dec 2010
A tour from office had been planned to Hogenakkal water falls.
I did not know if it was the right season. The rains had stopped. But then, it was an opportunity to have the society of my colleagues, most of whom I do not yet know very well yet.
A KSRTC bus had been booked. In fact 2 of them. But it turned out that many of them dropped out in the last minute. So one bus was enough.
The tour had been very well planned. Coordinators had been appointed to help people and they went the extra mile to make it as convenient to us all as possible. They gave wake up calls to each one in the morning, called up again to inform us of the bus’s arrival to our stop, picked us up, cross checaked with a central coordinator to make sure they missed no one and waited at stops when people delayed and bought food packets for everyone for breakfast and more...
The two buses having picked people along two different routes, met at the crossroads of Nice road and Kanakpura road.
After a few hours, the landscape changed and we found ourselves in the midst of hills.
I though this place was in Karnataka, going by its name but it is actually in Tamil Nadu in the border region. All sign posts were in Tamil and people spoke Tamil too.
We were accosted by women who were trying to see home cooked food to us.
Having had lunch in a restaurant, we started walking towards the waterfall.
All of us waited while one of us bargained with the coracle boatmen.
Finally, it was agreed that for rupees 150 per head we would all go for a coracle ride where we would sail on the Kaveri and shown the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka water falls.
Starting point of our sail.
Soon after we had started, we disembarked from the boat for some sight seeing.
On one side, the land was covered with rocks and water in between them.
On the other side were the water falls. These were apparently Tamil Nadu water falls.
The fall wasn’t very high but there was much water gushing through rocks and roar made it seem mighty.
We walked some more and the view became wide as it opened to the main stream of the river to which all the falls joined.
We climbed up a vantage point. This was the view on one side. Our coracles that had carried us, were once more on water ready for the next lap of the trip.
This was the view on the other side.
The landscape is full of rocks and creeks into which the river divides itself with the result that there are many small waterfalls at different points, small distances, making it very fulfilling. You get the experience of seeing many waterfalls.
We started our second lap. Our coracle first went close to the fall where water sprayed on us and then we sailed on the main stream, tranquil and serene, appearing innocent as if having no memory of the roar and bounce, foam and spray it had caused just some distance behind.
The vantage point from which I took these pictures above.
Our boatman in blue amused us by turning our coracle round and round making it seem to an onlooker as if we were caught in a whirlpool.
The scenary in the distance became complete and we had a panoramic view of our surroundings. When our heads ached, we begged him to stop and he did.
The flanking the river rocks were different in their colour and shape.
A vendor of snacks … reminded me of Dal Lake in Srinagar.
This was our second stop.
From here we walked till we reached a point where we had to ford the river on our feet and get to the other side where we would see the Karnataka falls.
Perhaps the water was not deep enough for a coracle to sail on. The river bed had sharp rocks and I realized it was my mistake in removing my footwear.
We walked and reached this vantage point.
The river after the fall.
When the river swelled in rainy season, these rocks would submerge and the fall would be more beautiful.
We returned the same way and walked to the next stop from where our coracle would take us close to the banks where the bed was sandy and we could play all we wanted.
As we began sailing, I asked our man in blue if I could stand in the coracle, to which he said I could if I could keep my balance; he would sail without any difficulty. So I stood for a while and then sat down as my friends implored me to. In retrospect, it was such a risk!
Thats life! In retrospect, so many things we did seem like such a big risk!
I haave often wondered if the present is the right time to evaluate the past. More about this later.
We sailed on and suddenly our oarsman jumped down into the water and we realized it was shallow there. All of us got down too. After some hesitation, I sat down in neck deep water, first fearful and then comfortable.
Half an hour later, we jumped back into our coracle again, sailing towards the banks.
I bought a change of clothes from a shop and joined my colleagues for some tea and biscuits.
Each one enjoyed in their own way, depending on their individual stage of evolution.
What’s most important is to let others enjoy too. Shouting and hooting, screaming and guffawing, surely make enjoyment sparse for the sensitive among us who seek the sound, sight, touch, smell and feel of nature alone.
We all need to jolt ourselves out of noise and wake up to hark the sounds of nature – of birds chirping, of water spraying, of the river murmuring, of the trees swishing and swaying and of the silence of the hills.
As we enter the abode of other beings, of plants and animals, let us walk in soft steps, let us talk in whispers, breathe gently even, so that they see us not as intruders but as guests come to meet them.