Category Archives: Treks, Trails & Travels

Cycle. Lake. Cycle. Go-kart. Cycle. Sleep!

Yesterday, 5 of us went on a cycle ride and we covered nearly 60 kilometers! This was possibly one of the hardest and most difficult rides I’ve ever done.

We started off at 7.30, and by the time the five of us got together, it was 8.30. The weather was lovely and perfect for cycling. Cloudy and cool. We headed off from J.P Nagar and hit the Kanakapura Road, and rode in a single file to avoid getting to close to the passing trucks and speeding cars. After cycling for about half an hour (without breakfast), Vijey said there was a small roadside shop he saw where they were selling omelettes. We wondered if we should stop there, and finally turned back. We were all starving, and the food turned out to be great!

In the beginning                Pic: Shashank Ck

Our first destination was a small lake which is about 12 kms from JP Nagar. The cycling group has been there a couple of times before, but this was only my second time there. The last time I went there was sometime last July, and the lake was full after the rains. This time the water level was far less, and the land around was dry and brown. We sat around, skipped stones, and walked around the lake for a while. I was already a little tired.

Our plan was then to go from the lake to a go-karting place a few kilometers away from the lake,still further away from the city. I’m guessing it was another 3 kilometers from the lake. We started off and it was from here that I stared noticing the up-hills and down-hills. I was getting tired and while I was glad there was a downhill, I knew that on the way back, it was going to be hard to cycle up the slopes. I cycled at my own pace, and we finally got to the go-karting place. I was relieved. The place was empty. I’m guessing we were their first customers. I had never been go-karting before, and I doubted my skills of riding the toy car majorly. I was in two minds about going in the car and racing with four other boys, all of whom had done this before. Finally, after thinking for a bit, I said I was in! Might as well try it when I have the opportunity. No, I don’t do that always. Twice I’ve had the opportunity of going on some crazy, topsy-turvy, upside down, all-turning sides ride in amusement parks, and I’ve kept my distance. I prefer watching people screaming, with their arms flailing and hair flying, while they’re being thrown around by a big ass machine.

The lake

So, they we were, racing! It was great fun, and I don’t think I was bad at it at all. Twice I crashed, but everyone did at some point! Eight rounds around the track, and I wanted to do more! We sat around for a while, watched two other groups racing, and then started heading back. It was already 2.30, and we hadn’t had lunch as yet. One of my friends called his mom and told her were coming for lunch.

The ride back, I almost died! With the up-slopes I struggled, and I kept the four others waiting. This was possibly one of the most strenuous things I’ve done in a long time, and my energy level had reached its limits. My legs began to cramp and burn, and twice I got off my cycle and pushed it up the slope. Even the flat stretches became as struggle. Finally, I told them to just race ahead and wait for me. We stopped around 4 or 5 times. At one point I could go no more, and Ambar and I stopped to drink coconut water, and I ran to the petrol bunk loo near by. The go-karting place had an open “loo”, suitable enough for guys. I had to wait till then. I got a good rest, and drank two coconuts. Sitting down I felt good, but the minute I got up, my legs hurt and cramped! Maybe I should take an auto back I told Ambar. It was really killing me.

On the way back     Pic: Shashank Ck

Joining the others, we had another break. This time, I switched cycles with Shashank, and we continued, and ditched the auto plan.  Again, I cycled in my own slooow pace. Ambar was constantly cycling a few feet behind me (I don’t know how he did that!). This time, I was determined to finish, and I did. The ride from that point was pretty flat, and we kept at a constant pace. I wanted to make it, all the way to Vijey’s place, and I did, and I wouldn’t have if it was not for these guys being so patient!

We reached Vijey’s place and we ate and ate! The food was so good. We were exhausted, and I was ready to crash! After resting for a while, we headed our own ways back home. I was tired, but happy.

I came home, had a bath, ate dinner, and crashed and didn’t get up till the alarm rang.
The trip was worth every moment, however hard it was.


The rain and the sea

We returned from our beach trip yesterday morning. Though short, it was totally worth it.

Getting off the bus at the small village of Kumbashi, we were greeted by an early morning drizzle. Buying curd and milk for the next 3 days, we stopped a passing auto and headed straight for the beach house. The weather was lovely, and it wasn’t humid like I had expected it to be.

Over the next 3 days we cooked and ate a lot, apart from other things. The food was simply delicious. With each of us giving our own suggestions on how to cook, the result was great, and not once did we mess up a recipe, or make something that didn’t taste right! We were thrilled with ourselves! Personally I don’t cook too much, hardly actually, but this really motivated me to start. Let’s see if it continues!

The beach was so empty and deserted, and the four us had the beach to ourselves (well most of the time!). We walked along the sea quietly, and I was constantly reminded of the beach trek we did from school two years ago. Miles of the beach with hardly anyone on it. The first evening we sat by the sea singing songs and walked back home in the dark. The sea was rough and loud most of the time, and the tide was constantly changing.

Just us and the sea

Thinking back now, time seems to have passed so quickly. We read, we listened to music, drank coffee and relaxed. Every now and then it rained, and it rained heavily. On the second night it rained so heavily, I got up and went back to sleep. I love falling asleep listening to the rain.

On our last day, after a late lunch, we went on a walk behind the house where there is a wooded area. We crossed the fence and walked through the trees and we strayed off the paths.

Walking through the woods

At one point I was standing a midst the branches of a fallen tree, when suddenly I heard the rustle of leaves to my left. I turned, and around 10 feet away was a snake! For a few seconds I held my breath and I watched. It was slowly slithering through the dead brown leaves.  Was it a Rat snake or a Cobra? It was surely one of the two. I slowly lifted my camera and clicked a few shots, and before I could get a decent one, it had slithered away. I walked around the thick bushes, hesitantly at first, and went on to the side the snake was heading towards. I called out to my friends and one of them came. We saw it again, this time around 15 feet away. Then, it disappeared again. We lost it, but we walked back home content with what we had just seen.

The rain

Few hours before we left, we packed up, and got ready for the night bus back home. Getting ready meant two things for us. Not drinking too much water, and eating the right thing in the right amount. The ride back was bumpy, but we got back fine.

Once on the bus, it began to rain outside. After chatting for a while, we closed our eyes. We slept.


Finally done with my internship. It’s been almost a week since it ended. It has been a fantastic experience personally, and I’ve certainly learned a lot, both in terms of what I’m capable of and about how much there is out there to look and learn about.

On our school trip two years back- same beach

From the same trip

With just about a week left before college starts, a few of us have decided to go to a friend’s beach house on the west coast- I can’t wait. Can’t wait for so many things. To get out of the city. To relax knowing there’s nothing to do for a while. To swim in the sea. Bird-watch. Cook our own meals. Chat. Sleep. Go for walks.

And more.

We’re off. Tonight.

Elephant dung and Monitor lizards

The day before yesterday, my friend Chayant, his friend Xan and I went to Savandurga. We left early in the morning, and the air was still chill from the previous night’s heavy rain. We set off on two scooters, and stopped for breakfast four kilometers away from the base. After eating hot idlis, pakodas, and drinking a cup of sweet coffee (Xan had three!), we continued up to the point where our bikes could go no further. Then, we started climbing.

It usually takes about an hour and half to climb up the path that lies behind the hill(including stopping and resting). All the trees, plants and grass around looked so fresh and green. Amazing what a couple of showers of rain can do! Going up, we saw a lot of elephant dung. I’m no expert at telling how fresh or old elephant dung is, but I’m guessing what we saw was around a week old.

On the top!
Pic: Chayant Gonsalves

We had trekked up for about 20 minutes, and then I heard something that completely changed my thought processes for the rest of the trek. I heard elephants! Whether it was one or more, I couldn’t tell. All I knew was that it was an elephant. I like elephants, but encountering them on foot in the wild, that’s a different thing. Chayant heard it too at that moment. I panicked. Quietly at first. Then I said it. “Guys, I think we should go back down”.
Honestly, I was confused myself. We heard the elephant(s) from the valley below, and surely they weren’t that close, or that’s what I chose to believe! We sat there for 10 minutes wondering what to do. Chayant was pretty confident it was okay to go up, and Xan was hearing for the first time about how wild elephants can actually be dangerous. At the end of this, we decided to hike up anyway. Better to go away than towards! As we went up, we saw less dung, and the terrain started to look more like the kind of place an elephant couldn’t get through or across. I was relieved.
We had walked for a while longer and just when we arrived at a clearing we saw a monitor lizard on the flat rock, and then Whoosh! Before we knew it, it was gone! We ran after it, but there was not race of it. That was the second time I had seen one in the wild. We saw yellow-throated bulbuls and white-throated bulbuls, and a couple of raptors were circling high above us.
When we had almost reached the top, it was starting to get hot. Chayant tried to reach the top of the rock which has the pool through a  different way, and got stuck on the rock. It’s a pretty steep rock, and the grips are few. Finally though, he did make it down. We went and sat by the pool for a while, drank lots of water and ate some chocolates. It was hot, and there was hardly any wind. We couldn’t see very far as it was quite hazy. Even then, it was lovely to be on top.
The lovely school I studied in from my 7th to 12th grade is on the way to Savandurga from the city, and we decided to stop by there for lunch on the way back. We called a teacher and informed him that we would be coming. It was already 12.30, and we decided to head down. Heading down meant one thing, at least for me. Elephants! This was the first time I was genuinely scared of something in the wild. Well, apart from snakes actually. I did have a phobia for a couple of months, but even that passed! Before we started to head down, we called our teacher again and told him, that we were coming down, and that we heard elephants. “Okay, come down safely”, he said. What else could he say?
Going down, we didn’t hear anything, but that wasn’t enough for me. Until we reached the fort wall which runs at the foot of the hill, I couldn’t stop thinking about elephants and that they might be on the path. And when we ultimately did reach, I was so relieved, and so happy that we reached the entrance.  I didn’t want to think about this for this for a while. In a way it was exciting, but I was still shit scared, and I wouldn’t want to be in a situation like that again. At least not for a while!
We got on our bikes and headed straight towards school, and away from the elephants.
While riding back I was thinking- This is something I’ll never forget!

Trekking the Monolith

So, here’s my second article. Got published in the newspaper today!

Click on the picture to read, and see the article enlarged. This the printed version.
Click on this link to read what got published online:

This one’s about something I really enjoy doing- trekking! A little more than a week   back I was asked by someone in The Hindu to write an article about trekking on Savandurga. I said yes, the minute I was asked if I’d write about it.

Savandurga is a beautiful place to go to whether you’re a trekker, birdwatcher or historian. More details and descriptions of this massive monolith in the article!

Those who haven’t been here, please try to make a trip to this place. It’s certainly worth the long-ish trip from the city. And once you’re on top of that hill with that fantastic view, trust me, you wouldn’t want to make the trip down.

Hope you enjoy reading this!!


The moment I left for home this evening, the rain had begun. I knew even before I left that it was going to pour!
I was ready to get drenched. My friends stopped me, and made me put on my big grey poncho, and then I started to ride.

The rain got heavier, and the thunder was loud. For the first time today, I was scared a branch or tree would fall on my head. I drove slowly, wondering if I should stop and wait for the rain to pass.Two kilometers down I stopped at a signal. Next thing I knew, my bike wouldn’t start. Well, it isn’t really a bike that I have, it’s a scooter, but I hope to start riding a bike soon! So anyway, my Scooter stopped and I had to pull over to the side. The rain was
still heavy, so I stood under a small shelter watching my bike getting clean. I hadn’t washed it for a while.


Took this picture in Tamilnadu a while back

I watched the cars, bikes and buses pass. I hardly thought about the fact that my bike didn’t start. I hadn’t tried kick-starting it yet. Water collected and flowed on the sides of the uneven road. 5 minutes. 10 minutes. I waited. Then, another car stopped, and refused start. The driver stayed inside his car, refusing to get wet. The two autos, and the car behind the first car, refused to stop honking.

I waited a while longer. The rain got less heavy, and other people who were waiting for the rain to subside got on their bikes and left. I decided to leave too. I was also getting quite hungry. With one kick the scooter started.


Took this picture a few years back. I suddenly remembered this today

I made sure not turn off the engine (which I usually do at signals) because now, I really wanted to get home. My poncho kept slapping against my bike, rain was falling on my face, and autos, cars, and buses whizzed past, and the water from the ground got sprayed meters away.
I really couldn’t care less. I was enjoying the rain.

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