Started January 2013 onwards.
A trip which I wanted to do for a very long time and for some very known reasons, I was never able to do this at all for almost 5 years. This year come what may, this trip will happen and that is how I prepared myself. This also turned out to be a nice excuse to get all the things that I wanted for a long time. Well you will know that this is an overkill if you see my list below
1. Nice Swiss Champ Knife with 32 functions. Is it really needed ?
2. Super Fenix Flashlight with 650 lumens output (It lit an entire 15 x 12 room like a fresh and new tubelight). Is this really needed ?
In addition to these, I got high end rainwear, footwear, backpack and a whole lot of things which in reality is not an absolute necessity, but well make hay while the sun shines.
Aug 1 2013
Got my salary a day ago, but the excitement apparently does not seem to stem from that fact. 24 hrs to start for my long awaited trip, lots of undecided loose ends. We will stay at DDS, but where ? no idea. No idea if we will trek from CLR to DDS. No idea if we will stay at DDS. No idea if we will get a lift to Kulem. Oh no.. forget trek, shall we get down at DDS instead of CLR. Lots of questions, no answers. Well we decided to hell with all, lets all just go home and pack and get ready. It was a hectic day and lots of stuff to buy. We needed food for 2 days and after lots of deliberation, decided that 1 day stock should be enough. Your sub conscious always tells you , “Arrey bhai, just in case” and you always sub consciously listen to the sub conscious and ended up getting food that would last a family for an entire week, some of which are still at home !!.
2 hrs of shopping and 1 hr of planning, I ended up with a list like this. Clothes, Cosmetics, SLR, Point and shoot,Charger for SLR, Charger for PS, Cell phone and charger, Extra batteries for SLR and PS, extra SD cards, RainJacket, Rain trousers, Ankle shoes, regular shoes / sandal, blanket, sleeping bag, medicines first aid, flashlight,swiss knife, loads of food for 2 days, cooking utensil and well what not. Packed them all and found that I would need one more person to carry it for me. So off goes a lot of stuff and somehow managed to pack them all nicely into a single backpack. What really amuses me is that we pack so perfectly and once you start taking out things from your backpack, you find no place to put them back in. Somebody needs a lesson on free energy here.
It is 10PM now and all set. I want to sleep. I am desperate to sleep and in the excitement I did sleep around 4 am, when my body could take no more. Still those unanswered questions remained unanswered. Some wild instinct told me it will all fall in place. With that in mind, my body slowly took over my brain and dozed me off to a much needed rest in preparation for an exciting 2 days.
Aug 2 2013
The D-Day. Woke up early. Ran through the morning stuff very briskly and quickly. Got the Kids in time for school and off to work with a spring in my step. The first four hours of work was dedicated to finish the work for the entire day. Post lunch our confusion started. We were supposed to board the Chennai – Vasco express that night from YPR. All of us had booked from YPR even though KJM was close to us to ensure we get the YPR quota of 72 berths. And bingo we all got placed in S5. Anyway, now we have 3 groups of people
Group 1 will board at Krishnarajapuram (KJM)
Group 2 will board at Yesvantpur (YPR)
Group 3 will get the sleeping bags and tents on rent and board at YPR
I am a regular traveller on the Bangalore – Chennai – Bangalore line for more than a decade now and I know the pains of travelling on a Friday night to City Railway Station or KJM railway station. It is bumper to bumper traffic all the way from 4:30 pm onwards. Not wanting to take a chance, I decided to take the opposite direction and board the MAS – SBC ICE from Whitefield till KJM or the MEMU just before that. As luck would have it, even this route was congested and it took me almost one hour to reach Whitefield station, which usually takes around 30 mins. However looking at the opposite direction, I think I made the correct decision.
A colleague of mine was stuck up at Hope farm not knowing how to reach Whitefield station. After my expert tips, which included a since you are very late and may miss this last train to KJM, get under the bridge and cross the tracks and the station would be on your right, I assume that my colleague would call me once reached. As time passed and no calls received, I decided to call up and found out that my colleague just dumped me and took the MEMU to KJM, which included an expedition under a stable freight to the other side and not finding the station and a second expedition under the same freight train with a loaded backpack to find the station just in time to board the MEMU and later followed by me unloading a nice helping of my irritation especially on going under the freight train. However to get back in the spirit of the travel, it was lost in due course, but I still cannot digest the fact that the freight was crossed twice with heavy backpacks. My ICE came 20 minutes behind schedule and dropped me at KJM PF No 4 where I met the first half of the crew, which is 8 members including myself.
Our short stay at KJM was seen by Sanghamitra, YPR-Howrah and Tirupati-YPR ICE. We left KJM a solid 50 minutes behind schedule led by ED WAP4 and waited at Banaswadi for another 40 mins to let the YPR Puducherry GR to pass. After an eternity which lasted close to around 80 mins we reached YPR a good 30 mins behind schedule. Since we were in the YPR quota coach, we had the entire coach to ourselves upto YPR. As soon as we reached YPR, the entire coach got filled up in a matter of minutes. 64 of the 72 berths were reserved for the people like us who were going to CLR. You can imagine the time taken by people to settle down with their tents , backpack , food and sleeping bags. I got my dinner there and surprisingly the Veg Biriyani was quite good. By the time we could all settle down, the train was all set to take us towards Tumkur and was already moving out of the platform.
We decided to run through the train end to end and returned in 30 mins just to figure out that there were around 400 folks in the train going to DDS and almost 100 of them wanting to pitch up the tents at DDS and our unanswered questions came back to haunt us again. Another 30 mins of indecision and we decided to retire for the day as it will be a hectic day tomorrow. So once again as the train accelerated past Tumkur, I slept with the same unanswered questions, but the wild instinct remained.