January 24, 2010

Going Down Mullayanagiri Lane ...

January 24, 2010 Posted by Vijay , , No comments
Since my post way back last year about my memorable experience at Thekady, I haven't been on any trekking sojourns for various reasons. Prime amongst them was my vulnerable health which ebbed and flowed with the summer and then the winter season. Other personal and professional reasons did come in the way.

But what struck me as very demotivating was the lack of trekking companions which I had made over the past few years. It is difficult to replace a set gang of trekkers who tend to be on the same wave length and set off for on the fly treks. I lost such companions either to marital bonds or an increasing workload. It looks like an unavoidable transformation, as one gains in experience at the workplace and finds oneself at the altar of marital life (pun intended).

I have been trying to come out of my own self confinement for the past three months, but either my personal compulsions or those of my rarely found trekking companions', would come in the way. One such personal compulsion is already engaging me in gauging my marital instincts. It was imperative for me to test my physical and mental strength of overcoming my inhibitions, and also to tread on paths which couple of years back I would have done gleefully. Besides, it is always better to inhale those last breaths of bachelorhood before the marital instincts take control of you.

And so, I set about Mullayanagiri once again. I am never tired of this wonderful place to trek, which is set in Chikmagalur, and is the tallest peak in Karnataka. Having done this trek five times no less, calling it familiar terrain would be an understatement. But it is always better to put yourself to test in familiar terrain than be anxious and worried about how your body copes up in unfamiliar paths. Not only does the familiarity encourage you, it also gives you the confidence of your capabilities and draws on your strengths once again.

I conjured up mental strength to call up couple of my trekking mates, and inevitably as has been the case last couple of months, one of them dropped out. I was already getting dejected, but there was one person left to accompany me. Ratheesh, who was one of my trek-mates to Tadiandamol last year. As usual, I bought bread, biscuits and water to chomp along the trek. The tickets were ready and I was walking back home with the snacks I had bought. Pondering and wondering if my health will indeed hold up to the cold weather in Chikmagalur. Not to mention the trek itself which is not difficult, but a test nevertheless.

With the snack pack I was headed home along the dark bylane near my home which is now familiar territory for me over five years. But as luck would have it, I tripped badly over an ill-placed stone and fell forward heavily on my knees. For a moment I was cursing my fate, for I really did not want any further doubts in my clouded mind. My knee was hurt, and for a few seconds I was lost in thoughts. I thought to myself - "Oh, not again. I don't want to get injured and give myself another excuse for not going for this trek!". I obviously had to stand on my legs again to atleast assess the damage. The knees were my worry and I gave them a few bending tests, and walked a few yards. Once I felt my knees were alright, except for a few bruises, I got really determined to defeat my doubts and make the trek for sure. I wanted to prove to myself that come what may, I can and I will do this trek.

I was pumped up now, and was looking forward to the trek. We boarded the bus and reached Chikmagalur the next day morning. We hired a van to Sarpandhari and started the trek. I was still concerned for my health, but the familiar Mullayanagiri terrain egged me on. The first half hour was very testing, what with the heavy bag with mineral water and snacks to carry in it. I was breathing heavily and was little unsure of myself. But, my determination helped by familiar territory pushed me along, and before long I was finding myself enjoying the trek.

We finally reached atop the Mullayanagiri temple, which has been completely renovated since my last trek in 2008, and looks well sheltered and constructed. This trek was even more important for my photographic instincts which had been starved for almost nine months. Mullayanagiri provided me the perfect starting point for refreshing my love for photography and my trekking interest. We completed the trek, and by the time we came back, it was noon time and we headed back to Bangalore the same day (i.e. Yesterday).

Not only was it refreshing to see Mullayanagiri bathed in sunlight, it was also a trek which helped me gain in confidence, both mentally and physically. It’s the perfect trek to serve as a reminder that trekking can be fun, but is not that easy either! Though it was not an entirely satisfying trip photography wise, I had no complains in atleast having had another starting point. Yes, it was tiring and fatigue had set in quite quickly after the trek. But the fatigue was a very small price to pay when compared to the satisfaction it gave me before I run out of trekking options. I would be running out of options due to an impending lifelong en-gaugement you see :)