Sunday, May 31, 2009

Night Trek and Cave Exploration @ Antargange

A fortnight from now our PS is going to end. Our enjoyment observed no bounds. Along with trips to places like Hogenakkal and Mysore we were used to movies, parties, treats and get-togethers atleast once every week where veg people turned nonveg (courtesy to our great connosouir of food-- Mayank) and people like me experienced the taste of sea monsters like octopus, squids and crabs for the first time in life.

This weekend we wanted to do something different, unusual, something adventurous. And it was me who proposed an idea of a night trek and cave exploration to Antargange. Adventures started from the planning stage only. First it was a big NO (as most of them hadn't experienced it before), but the enthu of gals and my description of a night trek made the guys to reconsider their opinion. Suyash called six of his friends and Latchumi called 4 of hers.. and now we had a big group of 15 people with two big disjoint sets where most of them din't know people from the other set. Me Kvk and Mayank were the common people, from which Kvk happened to "conveniently" slip and hurt his leg..saale ne lite le liya, leaving two of us. After a verry
loong discussion of whether we should actually go or not, some had a lot of enthu as 'now' it was a prestige issue for them (they had told their friends) :) ..we finally decided to go for it. Booking a cab had also adventures involved in it.. which are to be censored due to personal requests by some :). Finally we settled on booking an 18 seater van. We hired a guide named Raghu from the Bangalore Mountaineering Club and embarked our journey at 10 pm.

Everyone got acquainted with each other, thanks to DumbC. We realised that it was an awesome group with varied characteristics, all just getting mixed up with each other so easily. DJ suggested Tejaswini's dialogues to be broadcasted on All India Radio for public entertainment. (Now you would get a hang of the characters in our group). We reached the base camp at around 11:30 where we had a formal intro with each other and with Raghu. We climbed stairs till we reached a Mandir, where there is a source of pure water, whose origin is still unknown, thats why the place is named Antargange (unknown source of water)

We started the trek. Aman, as usual, was the most adventurous guy in the group, and urged people to switch off their torches. Moon was not seen and I scared off Vaishnavi saying that it was 'amavas ki raat!!'. She din't realise that there are these things called clouds that can hide the moon. But no worries.. Suyash was their to help her at every step ;) (i don kno who will help ME after Vaishnavi reads this!!). Despite of Mayank's cursing ("Bhad me jao salo, muze vapis sahi salamat jaana hai, mai torch laga raha hu!!) we succeeded in keeping most of the torches off and slowly everyone got acquainted to the natural light. There were millions of stars above
where Mayank kept on searchin Orion, which I think is the only constellation he knows :). After a trail in woods for an hour we reached the top, where we saw Hyder Ali's dargah.

The adventure was yet to begin. Now we had these two verry huge, collosal rocks in front of us. The road was blocked. We thought we lost the way, untill when Raghu made us realise that we were at the mouth of nature made caves at Anterganga..n this was the only way in. We stared at each other.. Impossible, we just can't go through this. The was a 20cm gap between those two rocks from which we had to squeeze in sideways. Raghu took the lead and he was followed by each of us, one by one, slowly. Fortunately, no other creature like lizard, cockroach or snake came in between.. warna to maza aa jata.. hilne ki bhi jagah nahi thi!!.

It was just the starting. We went deeper and deeper, into the crevices. One by one we were sliding, crawling and squeezing through. N this was not once or twice, but at nearly at all the places we had to adopt the same strategy. Raghu was guiding each of us, telling us where to keep our feet, how to grip the rock firmly and pass through the openin
g. While I was being hit by people (ye koi time hai saale.. chup kar!!) as I was singing.. "right leg aage aage, left leg peeche peeche' from Rab ne.. There were instances where we had to take hold of a hanging root of a creeper and cross a rock. We usually passed our bags first and then tried to pass ourselves. We then waited in the place created by rocks, for other to come, and if the place was exposed to sky, Mayank looked for his Orion. 

It was 3:45 am. We finally came out of the caves. We all sat on the top of a big rock. Break time, all were hungry. We prepared a special recipie of Alu Bhujiya sandwitch which was a big hit. Played some songs on the cell phone, relaxed for sometime with Mayank still searching for his Orion. We started again at 4:30. Ladkion ki awaje ayi.. "fir se wahi rasta nahi hai na!!!!! :D.. Jayashree seemed to be just exhausted, but regained her enthu with the philosophical but energetic words from Shantanu.:) Only I experienced this as others were busy jumping from one rock to other, to skip a deep, dangerous ravine in between. Without the Rock Climber Raghu, the trek was just impossible.

The sky was beginning to light up. We left the caves and started descending the mountain. This was simple. At the break of dawn, we reached our base camp, the Mandir. I was the first one to
reach followed by Arpit and Shantanu. Hang on, it was still not complete. We were relaxing on the stairs for the others to come. But before that we were attacked by "the others".. Monkeys!!!.. Stealthily they approached us from all the sides and from the trees. For me this was the most scary moment in the whole trek. Meri to phat gayi thi. One of them, a big one, was just behind Arpit's bag. Before they actually took away our bags and scratched our faces, we had to
make a move. We stood up and just started running.... After this "Majja Run \m /" when we realised that none of them were follow ing us, we searched a place to sit, and waited for people to come. Everyone arrived withing few minutes.. we had a group snap and started our journey home!! This is the best trek I have ever experienced!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Guns n Roses..

"In this post.. the whole applying process for graduate studies in US is compared to a warlike situation where getting shot by someone signifies a reject and getting a rose from a beautiful lady means an admit..(time frame doesn't matter). I have quoted my experience, what I felt and observed about the whole after-appin period.. This post might be more appreciated by ppl who have experienced the appin process, n more by bitsian mechites.. "

Past few months were like a battlefield, with students from EEE EnI Mech  n CHEM were on the field surrounded by the soldiers from different universities. We had our turn, and now exhausted with all the ammunition were busy in dodging the back firing from the opponents. 

It was a total chaotic situation. We could see the gun shot coming but can't really judge for whom it was meant for. Before we identified and lamented on the loss of one, we received a news of another and another n it went on... There were some instances when suddenly an apsara came and gave a rose to a student. That night generally passed in revelry, and if that apsara was an high ranked apsar
a.. then that student would generally leave the battlefield with good memories of apping!!

This continued, and till feb end all the EEE EnI guys were either dead or satisfied with one or more apsaras. Some lucky ppl also got additional cash with roses (funding).. a way to lure them to accept the proposal.  I had got one rose from Clemson, but I was still on the field. Majority of Mech ppl were still waiting for their apsaras to come. It was really frustrating for us that we waiting n waiting n waiting.. n all other guys had already finalized the university they desired to go to.  

We started hearing in the month of March. All gun shots :(.. Irrespective of the rank of the university.. if the student is from Mech... he was fired. We were all very scared. Words like.."yaar kya hoga!, Mech walon ki to lagi padi hai bey!!... etc etc could be heard everywhere. I could see a Skirmisher coming towards me. I recognised it was from MIT. It came and wounded me on my legs... But I had expected that, as I knew I was not adequately equipped to defend myself to MIT, still had taken a chance. My legs were hurt, but I had the instinct to
 fight more. But then, it followed by my worst nightmare, I had never imagined this to be happening.. A cavalry archer from Stan came and fired a straight Head Shot.. I was dejected, thought everything is over, we have lost the battle.. 

Soon I realised that Stan had shown no mercy on any Bitsian Mechite, rejecting all the ppl irrespective of their Cg, Projects, internships and publications. This massacre continued with we getting mauled by the battalions from UTA, Ohio State, UIUC and even Purdue. But then after this vendetta, we saw some apsaras at the horizon. Hurray!! we shouted.. "Mech walon ke admits ane lage". 

Soon an apsara came near with loads of cash with her. She came and proposed not one, but three Mechites.. Vinay, Rahul and Daniel. Yes, she was from Minnesota and these three of my friends readily accepted her with her cash. Then it was Vikram's turn. He was proposed by  apsaras from Arizona and NCSU. Wow.. now that was an happy dilemma, whether to go to technically advanced NCSU or to the "land of apsaras"--Arizona!! Pagal hai ye banda.. saale ne Arizona ko reject maara!!

I was still wondering about my fate when I saw one from Purdue coming towards me. But she was accompanied by her bodyguard. I was confused, what does that mean?? The guard approached me and said, she likes you, but the king (graduate officer) has told that he would agree only if someone from his kingdom (Purdue) would recommend my name to him.(I was on waiting list!!) Now this was tough, muze aur ek fight marni padne wali thi. But I liked her, and I accepted the challenge (started mailing the profs@purdue) Meri khyati itni fial chuki thi ki muze kafi saare replies aa gaye and I could see Purdue doors opening for me.

But soon I realised, there was more for me. My dream gal was still not seen anywhere. The battlefield was nearly empty now and I could clearly see a Ford racing towards me.(Yes, Ford on a battlefield.. see how advanced they were!!). It came straight from Detroit, the Auto hub of this world. The nitro-boosters were switched off, it gradually decelerated and came to halt just few yards in front of me, after a breath taking drift. The doors slid up. Someone got down. The atmosphere was dusty and I could only figure out that it was a female figure. I was relieved. Not a gun shot again. She came closer and offered me a rose. I was overjoyed, I couldn't really express what that meant to me. It was a dream come true. Now I was not eager to hear from UTA, GATECH etc. I readily accepted the offer and left the field with her, straight to University of Michigan- Ann Arbor. 

([1] ye chitra daniel ke blog se churaya gaya hai!!)