To not travel, in the words of one of my best friends, is a crime. Coming from a family of travel-freaks, I nod whole-heartedly in agreement. I spent my childhood staring awestruck at the Himalayan peaks, trekking up to Karnala fort (during the monsoons, no less!) and watching the sunset in Kanyakumari (I arrived really late into my parents’ lives, else I would’ve covered the east too!)
So, it was really sad that I had spent four and a half years in Bangalore, and had never seen Nandi Hills. Yeah, okay, stop laughing! Come on, it’s not that big a deal! So when the office organized a walkathon up Nandi Hills, I was one of the first people who registered. Was I daunted at the thought of walking 7 km uphill – yes, I was. But I didn’t care. Even if I fainted along the way, or got lost, I just knew I had to take this trip (it was to be my first real trip in years).
We received an instruction mailer telling us to wear warm clothing, and stay hydrated. It was a competition and 92 teams participated (I think my team finished last!) But when we reached the foothill, we realized how warm it was and the warm clothing was just extra baggage that we had to carry. We were all really enthusiastic for about half a kilometre in the beginning, after which we all went “Paani! Paani!”
Our five-member team quickly split up and two of us reached the peak before anyone else. But three of us lagged behind. But we were determined not to take a lift from any of the volunteers (who kept going up and down in Wingers) Finally, I saw a milestone that said Nandi Hills – 1 km. At that moment, I swear, I wanted to kiss the milestone. But there were monkeys around, who might have attacked me and of course, kissing a milestone is just plain weird (even by my crazy standards!)
Then we reached a point where there were a lot of steps. We weren’t sure where they would lead. There was no network, so we couldn’t call anyone to find out if we were on the right route (we were about half a kilometre away from the peak!) So we sat there for a bit, when this huge monkey came out of nowhere and jumped on my manager. It was so scary that I pulled a Mohan (from the bear story that we read in kindergarten) and ran and tried to hide behind another friend (a really bold lady who was carrying a stick) I felt guilty about it instantly, but I guess, some kinda survival instinct had just taken me over. We decided the only way to go on was go up the steps, despite the fact that they looked like something out of Temple Run.
We finally reached the top, only to be told that there was a road which was shorter and easier than the steps! And of course, we were the last ones to arrive, thereby successfully extracting the chance of winning the trophy from the two guys from our team who had reached first.
But we were proud nevertheless. We had completed the task at hand, without any aid, except for a bottle of water, and without taking any shortcuts (hell, we took the longer route!) And I was particularly happy cos I had finally seen Nandi Hills! Some pics (click on them for a better view):
The ones that did not come first!(All pics except this one were clicked by me)
Back at the foothill, we were shocked to realize that we *actually* walked up to that peak that you see in this picture!