My first trek experience around chennai

the trek to nagalapuram on days 31-Dec-2011 and 01-Jan-2012
Ok, now that a couple of post trek write-ups are in, i am forced to keep my promise and write up… Since,it(the trek) was a last minute get-out of jail act for me , i’ll stick to my mental states(mostly affective) during the trek* .

To begin with, i was both excited and nervous about meeting a group of strangers and going on a trek with them. Not because, I haven’t done it before, but because i hadn’t done it in about year and a half(meeting a group of strangers face to face). Hanging around in IRC doesn’t count as meeting strangers, given the anonymity and protection of a computer and internet in between. I have been in my nerd shell for the last couple of years.It was my re-entry to trekking and social life(as in meeting and spending time with a group of people, not to mention sleeping :-)) Anyway after having been in a social exile* for close to 1 and a half years i bit the bulllet and went for the trek.

Anyway,first side-effect of it was fitful short sleep. So there i was out around 3.45ish planning to walk till vadapalani(from valluvar kottam)**.
Well, luckily, i hitchhiked instead and there i was at vadapalani just about 4. Now begins the frustrating wait, as these things go, whenever there’s a cab involved almost always it gets delayed, infact the earlier the start the longer the delay. I know this for sure now, and had a hunch before i started that early, damn if only i had followed my hunch. So there i was waiting for close to an hour, oscillating between going to koyambedu in one of the share-autos and waiting, well you know which side won out.(the lazy side, which demanded little thinking/work of course…:-P)

At the end of the trek,i.e the 2nd day, i was singing out aloud in that uniquely out of tune way i do. I mean the last time i can remember singing aloud in the presence of a bunch of people was also in a trek.. though i can’t remember which one… And my last trek before this was atleast a year and a half ago…

On the other hand, it also brought to me the reason i like to take responsibility and do stuff for others(aka philanthropy/social service) is because i have left over energy(only on the second day, did i really volunteer to help out, though it turned to be not necessary.)
Finally, i get in the cab, i find among a bunch of new faces, just introducing ourselves, to whoever is the nearest and focussing on getting the hell out of the mad,crazy,noisy,concrete jungle that is chennai… And SN is in the lead, with a google map for help and figuring out the route.Being barely awake, i can’t remember much of the discussion that was going on at that time.
Now we finally leave from vadapalani and go to koyambedu, where we pickup SV and a couple of other guys. Well, the moment we got down, we had sethu looking for anand, and somehow he didn’t register me telling him i am anand must’ve been my mumbling accent:-).. Anyway, i introduced myself twice as anand and things were fine..

And on we went till ottakavi where we were joined by the trio from bangalore. Now this was around 7.30-8.00 and this is where i starte my first mistake of not finding a breakfast right here.. and going for a chips packet instead #$#@$%***…
Anyway, on we went towards nagala till the road metamorphosed first into mud-filled maattu vandi paathai and later into not a road at all. At this point there was a small trickle of water flowing across the path and we decided to start walking from here, and not risk push the TT further…So as we get out in the hot sun, we split up the food and stuff, i chuck all my extra luggage i was carrying,Also making the mistake of throwing away the towel i had. i guess that makes me a bad hitchhiker in the galaxy….:-(

Now about half a kilometre in and the road (nay mud-path) became less of a path and more of a slushy land.about half a km more and we hit the dam we climbed up to see there’s no Dam wall or rather it has been flooded with water and is invisible, that must have been the first sign for previous trekkers to think that all is not well and going according to plan.Either way, they didn’t give any sign of panic and we started moving around the dam, instead of across as has been the norm in the past.

So as we started off pretty boringly or eventlessly, we reached till the first pool within no time or perhaps no events.. i can’t recall much going on except the usual chatter.
Ok, i’ll spare myself and you of repeating what others have already written and fast-forward to the end..
At the end of the trek,i.e the 2nd day, i was singing out aloud in that uniquely out of tune way i do. I mean the last time i can remember singing aloud in the presence of a bunch of people was also in a trek.. though i can’t remember which one… And my last trek before this was atleast a year and a half ago…

On the other hand, it also brought to me the reason i like to take responsibility and do stuff for others(aka philanthropy/social service) is because i have left over energy(only on the second day, did i really volunteer to help out, though it turned to be not necessary.)

Anyway, if this was a social psychology experiment, this would be the report/analysis of the results..

The results are in:
1. I do enjoy preaching and indulge in it as often as i can (just ask VR, how many times i launched into a lecture, when he tried to even make a minor suggestion :-P)… I want to say teaching but am not sure that it the difference is subtle.
2.I am about 10-20% less fit than I was 4-5 years ago and it’s time to s tart working out just to maintain the current fitness. and hopefully work my ass off to get back to that old fitness level.

3.And my love/cate relationship with limelight continues**

4. I realized why i loved aval as a favourite evening snack when i was a kid.. The high fibre-to-calorie ratio.Darn it’s one of the stuff with high fibre content that can hold of the digestive acids for a long time. Clearly a bowl(200g??) of (raw)aval can hold off about 60-70% of my lunchtime hunger…That’s darn amazing…given how little it looks and weighs..

5.Oh for all my fantasies about having grown up i still have trouble resisting a race/competition for alpha/leader status.. The fast climb from the first pool and my attempt at trying to keep pace with the leader and getting slowed down extremely later because of that overexertion earlier.

OTOH, there are some areas where i can compete, without The climb to the 50m falls on sunday… long, bare-footed,treacherous due to the slipperiness and stream.. Well i still couldn’t keep pace with SN, who was way ahead of me, but i had the endurance to keep following him and not fall behind. Wise of me not to quicken up to match his pace..:-) Clearly my sprinting abilities are limited, at the moment and i should really train for high speed activities… instead of endurance activities. My endurance abilities seem to be on par with the average, while sprinting is not..

6. Also am not as ‘living in the present’ as i would like to fool myself into. a,Losing the wallet in the TT, while getting off to home, b, Not picking up the change of clothes/memory card in phone/towel at the start of the trek..Oh and also not discussing with SN before the trek about using floaters and ignoring the shoes part.

Also, I better watch out on how to manage my hunger. When i have gone hungry for too long a time, i tend to take too many risky shortcuts.(The attempt to take lead on the first day during that steep climb up from first pool, after breakfast, The river crossing while climbing down on the second day towards the first pool.)
Luckily for me, in general there’s a huge safety factor built into my system, that i can pull it off, but i would rather not have it linked to my hunger,but would like to be able to choose to do it deliberately. In other words, i still maintain that i could have pulled off that river crossing, and could have pulled off that climb rate 5 year ago…

On the good side, i did show signs of tempering my first reactions with relatively neutral exceptions…(i.e that argument with S about amount of food i eat, first reaction was to swear, instead managed to turn and pick up more food and walk away.)

Also, when L fell down and people were shouting, i waited to try and have a look at what the actual situation is… Ofcourse that doesn’t count, because i didn’t know swimming anyway, and couldn’t have done any much by instinctive reaction, which was to just jump in(as stupid and cavemanish as it is Darn…..:-)

Overall all of these lessons + a couple of days away from the hustlebustle of chennai, for the price of a few cuts and bruises, sore shoulders and stiff neck, hell, let’s do it every weekend……It’s a great deal….No one can beat it, if you think you can go ahead:-)

And my perceptive ability to sense how others’ feel about a conversation is out of whack indeed. .Just remember the number of times i went on about something with S(good vs bad me quoting steve jobs obliviously) and VR(Branding, why a post-trek has to be edited brand image gyaan etc..)
Honestly, the social exile has worked in that sense of becoming indifferent to other people’s feelings.. Remember the argument with VR towards the end of the trek at the river crossing just before the first pool.

Anyway, i ended it up on a high note after all. As i said, i don’t remember singing aloud(as horribly off-tune as only i can) in the presence of people in atleast a couple of years, so it was quite refreshing.

** — Sigh..Looks like am doomed to be dogged by it throughout my life.. Ah.. well i might as well face it and enjoy facing it..:-P Seems it’s the same case with rigour and/or discipline.

* — Well, in the sense of the amount of
contiguous time i spend in the company of others. i.e to say less than 10 hrs in a room.

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