March 20, 2007

Chilling Out In Ooty

March 20, 2007 Posted by Vijay No comments
After 3 consecutive weekends of trips and treks, a long weekend could not have been spared ! First it was Mudumalai (or famously renamed as Malaigudi by the new age Columbus), then it was the Yelagiri Hills (Bangalore-Chennai Route), and finally Pakshipathalam (Wayanad, the other side of Brahmagiri). Physically taxing was the common refrain by the core group which ventured in all these 'expeditions'. Not surprisingly, I was the common factor in all these trips, and was about to join in the fun once again for the long weekend.

Ugadi, the Kannadiga and Telugu New Year fell on the 19th, a Monday. Though I was adamant and kept making statements "Mujhe Jungle Jaana Hai", I couldn't muster enough support to go on a trekking expedition. All had gone into relaxation mode. My only point of argument was, that if relaxation was the intention, sleeping at home in Bangalore made more sense than packing bags and going all the way to a Hill Station. But, I was willing to go with any plan, since a weekend Getaway was all I wished for.

Alok, Renjith, Anil, Nandini and I set out to make this trip happen. Renjith's suggestion of Ooty was and will remain a masterstroke, since we had apprehensions that the climate in Ooty in the month of March may not be that cold. I could't lay much claim to this theory since it had been more than 6 years since I last went there, and wasn't sure about the weather conditions. But we were in for a pleasant surprise, though not Renjith, who knew all along what he said.

Nandini had become famous through our earlier trekking expeditions to Mudumalai and Yelagiri, by bringing in the "gudi" factor. Not everyone can confidently walk up and tell an experienced traveller (which her tech lead was), that she and her friends were going to "Malaigudi". That she claimed to have found new territories in the sanctuaries of Mudumalai, nearly gave her instant fame of being Kalyug's new Columbus. But, the ground reality was, that Mudumalai had been nicknamed with the gudi factor prefixed with the Malai in Mudumalai. Not to mention where the "gudi" factor came into picture. From none other than the famous Malgudi Days' TV show from the good old days of India's Prime Channel of the 90's, Doordarshan.

The Gudi factor notwithstanding, Nandini was determined not to make a Columbus like claim on Ooty and rename it as Ootygudi. The trip went very much according to plan which was laid out 9 hours before we finally decided who all would go. Booking a vehicle and booking rooms at YWCA was done smoothly. Being a long weekend we weren't sure if we could get accommodation at the YWCA in Ooty. But Renjith again proved all of us wrong and got a 4 bedroom and 2 bedroom accommodation at YWCA and we were all set to embark on our journey to Ooty or Udhagamandalam as it is also called.

The route to go to Ooty was the same one which we took to go to Masinagudi, where we stayed for our Mudumalai trip. Mysore Road - Masinagudi - Ooty. Of course, this meant we would go through the wilderness of the Bandipur and Mudumalai sanctuaries once again. We were thinking aloud that we had been along this route just a couple of weeks back, and taken so many pictures of the deer and peacocks. The deer may have started thinking to themselves - "Haven't these folks taken enough pictures of us already?" We passed by the same weirdly colored houses on the way to Bandipur.

The onward journey to Ooty was not without incidents. We started early morning at 8 from Bangalore and were encountered with more than slight skirmish on our Qualis, by a youthfully excited bike rider, who managed to hit the rear lights. After 15 minutes of discussions our driver managed to get 2000 bucks from the riders for repairing the lights. Soon, we were heading towards Ooty at full throttle, watching the same Bandipur Sanctuary, embarrassingly sometimes to be taking pictures of maybe even the same set of animals as the last time.

We reached Ooty at around 3 in the afternoon on Saturday, 17th and checked into the YWCA rooms. After having lunch at a local restaurant, we headed off to the lake for boating. Boating was more an excuse atleast for me, as Honeymooners swarmed all around the lake's premises. Whether all of the so called couples were legally bound was another question altogether. What mattered was they had come to Ooty for their share of fun, which sadly enough, I can't claim I've ever had. Outside of these polished perverted thoughts, it really didn't matter if any God Gifted female was married or not. After all, beauty is to be appreciated, in all its forms. The form it took for one such object of my attention was its rear side. Since it is polished perversion that I am adhering to, it is best left to the user's understanding to make out what the rear side of an object of attraction in this context implies.

Typically, when one alludes to a person being fat, it is often said he/she has a prominent paunch. That the paunch has been transferred to the rear side, was not something I expected to witness. Not that I had any objection to it at all! The evidence to this was made starkingly clearer and weirder by fluorescent covered clothing which in this case was a denim. This, to be adorned by the object of attraction, made it a good time pass for me and my friends alike. The color of the denim reminded me of the orange colored candy which is so commonly available across the length and breadth of India. Perversion had come to an extent beyond which in the presence of Nandini, it couldn't be continued further.

After the boating experience of a fluorescent kind, we headed off to the Botanical Garden for more such colorful sights. We took a round in the Botanical Gardens and took some pictures. We headed back to our Hotel not before dropping by at a Cafe Coffee Day outlet, where we saw the India-Bangla World Cup Cricket match live action. Contrary to what people and critics allude to as a shock defeat for India, from the way Mortaza bowled and the Bangla Tigers fielded, it was obvious who the better team was on that day. We headed back to YWCA for the evening dinner there, while still hoping against hope that a miracle would see India cross the 200 run mark. But a spate of wickets, as bad as 5 wickets falling in the space of 2 runs, shattered any such hopes.

We headed off to watch the initial half of the match to hope for a turnaround when India started bowling. It was all lost as 65 runs were scored in the first 13 overs. In the meantime, we were shocked at a scorecard which read 126-8 for the Pakistanis against the minnows from Ireland. We didn't know which one to call an upset. Definitely a bad day for the subcintinental powerhouses was on the cards.

The next day morning the news of the defeats were the topics of discussion amongst the locals at YWCA. Both the matches being won by the underdogs, Bangladesh and Ireland. After digesting the news with a bit of difficulty, we planned to go to the Red Hills. That plan suddenly changed, as we were out on a rescue mission. Renjith's close friend, Boban who had drove to Ooty all the way from Bangalore, had a Car problem and was stuck on the way from Mettupalayam to Coonnor. He had nowhere to go, and being a Sunday we had a tough time getting a mechanic. We finally got one and after about 3 hours reached the rescue spot. The mechanic did some temporary fix to the car and went along with Boban and his wife, and we chalked out plans to go to Kotagiri which was 20 kms off Coonnoor in our vehicle.

We headed off after lunching in the Qualis, to Kotagiri. Kodanad view point was our destination and it was still 18 kms off Kotagiri itself. The view that unfolded in front of our eyes as we neared the Kodanad View Point was amazing. It almost resembled the Grand Canyan, because of the sheer beauty of the mountains around. The Nilgiris and the Moyar river were faintly visible from the view point. We spent about an hour at this less explored scenic place, and headed off to the Beulah Farm, famous for its wines and Jams.

On the way to the Beulah farm, quite an embarrassing incident happened. Asking for directions is a good idea. But in a country where there is free reign for the male populace to literally pour out their excess water storage through naturally gifted accessories, one needs to be sure what a man standing by the wayside might actually be doing. Oblivious to the heavenly relief that the man was experiencing, I told everyone in the vehicle that let's ask him for further directions. Seconds later, almost by sheer magic, this man was able to produce water! Though his magic wand had to be used in a sheltered place, his urgency seemed all too overbearing it seemed. All of us roared in laughter and I was extremely glad I didn't actually ask the driver to stop beside the man to ask for directions. Lest he turn around while the process was still on!

Beulah Farms though ,provided Anil, Renjith and even me an opportunity to go wine tasting. But first came the yummy jams, varying from Marmalade to Strawberry and Peppino from South America. All were so good, we wanted to buy them all. Then came the Wines. The variety here was even more amazing. Guava, Grapes, Peach and even Tulasi! They all tasted good, except maybe the Rose One! After buying 3 each of the Wines and Jams we headed back to Ooty, to our YWCA rooms. We had dinner at Kurinji restaurant and headed back to the rooms. The plan for the next and last day was to visit the Glenmorgan's view point and hopefully take a winch ride there.

We packed our bags and checked out of the YWCA rooms on the 19th morning. The pleasant and cool weather of Ooty had restored a sense of tranquility in all of us. It was almost addictive and given a chance we would have stayed there for a couple more weeks. But office work beckoned and we had to move on. On the way back we took the Gudalur route to Mysore. After taking some snaps at the Hindustan Photo Films on the Gudalur Road, we went to the Glenmorgan's Viewpoint.

Our hopes of getting a winch ride went for a toss, as we learnt from the guard that they had stopped the service. Even cameras would not be allowed inside the premises of the viewpoint. We went around the viewpoint without the cameras, and caught some beautiful sceneries of the Nilgiris. It was an amazing experience we were going to leave behind us. After spending more than an hour at the view point we headed off to the Pykara Lake to have our lunch. We instead had our lunch in the Qualis itself and moved on, having missed our detour for the Pykara Lake.

It was a quiet return journey without any incidents. Yet again we passed through Bandipur sanctuary. The same scene of deer and monkeys were there. The scenes though one thought had to be censored, for what had to be private moments of a honeymoon couple, were in open display by the closest resemblances to humans, monkeys. And the deers nearby were coolly loitering around nonchalantly! I wonder if the animal kingdom would charge those monkeys and jail them for obscenity in public.
We reached Bangalore by around 9 in the night. It was the day of Ugadi in Karnataka. We had had a memorable and fun filled weekend. An Indian World Cup victory against Bangladesh might have been the icing on the cake I thought. But we were glad we had all of the cake, which was Ooty in this case.