IT WAS DURING DECEMBER, ONE OF MY SENIOR, NAKUL CAME TO ME AND ASKED “ASS! WANNA COME FOR A TREK WITH US?” I SAID, “SURE! WHY NOT”. I WAS REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THE TREK BECAUSE IT WAS MY FIRST TREK; I JUST WENT HOME, GOT PERMISSION FROM PARENTS WITHOUT ANY HESITATION. I SPENT MY WHOLE DECEMBER THINKING ABOUT THE TREK, LIKE HOW IT IS GOING TO BE?, WILL I GET TO SPOT ANY ANIMALS?. SO ALL THESE THINGS WERE RUNNING IN MY HEAD. FINALLY THE DAY HAD COME 30TH DECEMBER 2014; ME, DONALD, SUKEERTH, SANDESH, NAKUL AND RADHA; SET A TRAIL TO TREK ETTINA BHUJA, WESTERN GHATS. WE TOOK THE FIRST BUS TO DHARMASTALA, FROM DHARMASTALA TOOK A ¬† BUS TO KOKKADA;¬†FROM KOKKADA TOOK A JEEP TO SHISHILA; THE JEEP RIDE WAS AMAZING, MORE THAN 20 PEOPLE IN IT. I WAS LITERALLY IN DRIVERS SEAT AND THE DRIVER WAS ALMOST OUTSIDE THE JEEP. THEN WE TOOK AN AUTO TO THE STARTING POINT OF ETTINA BHUJA. WE FINALLY STARTED OUR TREK.

 

ALL GEARED UP!
P.C. DONALD

WE STARTED TREKKING AND AFTER SOMETIME WE FOUND A SMALL STREAM; WE CROSSED IT; IN SEARCH OF A PATH WE STARTED MOVING FORWARD. EVEN AFTER FEW HOURS WE COULDN’T FIND THE PATH. AT THAT POINT WE REALISED THAT WE WERE LOST SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FOREST. ALL GOT FRUSTRATED; ALL DID EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO FIND A PATH; THEN WE STARTED FOLLOWING THE STREAM AND IN THE AFTERNOON WE FOUND A PLACE WERE SOMEONE HAD COOKED FOOD BEFORE; IT WAS A SIGH OF RELIEF, FROM BEING LOST, WE WERE BACK ON TRACK! AND NEAR THAT PLACE THERE WERE TWO PATHS; ONE WAS REALLY NARROW AND THE OTHER PATH WAS TOO BROAD, SO AFTER HAVING OUR FOOD WE FOLLOWED THE BROAD PATH. NORMALLY TREKKING PATHS WERE SUPPOSE TO BE STEEP, BUT THIS WAS A CLEAN AND STRAIGHT PATH; FELT LIKE WE WERE WALKING ON A MUD ROAD; WITH BAMBOO TREES EVERYWHERE; WHICH WAS COMPLETELY THRASHED. WE STARTED GETTING A STRANGE FEELING THAT SOMETHINGS NOT RIGHT ABOUT THIS PATH. BUT WE DINT HAVE ANY OTHER OPTION OTHER THAN FOLLOWING THE SAME PATH. EVEN AFTER FEW HOURS THE PATH WAS STILL STRAIGHT AND WE STARTED GETTING DRY SHIT OF ELEPHANT. AFTER WALKING FURTHER THERE WHERE FRESH SHIT OF ELEPHANT. WE WERE ALL SHIT SCARED. WE REALISED THAT ITS NOT A TREKKING PATH; ITS THE PATH THAT ELEPHANTS TAKE TO DRINK WATER FROM THE STREAM. THE MOST ENERGETIC AND CHEERFUL GROUP OF TREKKERS WERE ALL NUMB NOW. WE WERE CLUELESS WHAT TO DO. EITHER FOLLOW THE SAME PATH; BUT THAT IS A HUGE RISK. WE MIGHT GET SPOTTED BY AN ELEPHANT. THE OTHER OPTION WAS GOING BACK FOLLOWING THE SAME PATH. EVEN THEN THERE WAS A POSSIBILITY OF GETTING SPOTTED BY AN ELEPHANT AND THE SUN WAS GETTING DOWN. SO WE DECIDED THAT WE WILL FOLLOW THE SAME PATH AND STARTED MOVING.

THROUGH OUT THE TREK I REMEMBERED ALL MY FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS. I FELT LIKE I WAS GONNA DIE HERE AND NEVER EVER GONNA SEE THEM AGAIN. WE ALL WERE DEAD SCARED AND THE ONLY THING LEFT WAS TEARS TO ROLL DOWN. AFTER SOMETIME EVEN THE ELEPHANT PATH CAME TO AN END. THERE A A LITTLE PLACE WHERE ELEPHANTS USED TO SLEEP IN THE FOREST; IT HAD ENOUGH SPACE TO PITCH TWO TENTS AND WE FINALLY CAMPED THERE.

 

THE CAMP SITE

IT WAS AN WONDERFUL PLACE; SOMEWHERE IN THE FOREST; GREENERY ALL AROUND. BUT! WE WERE SCARED OF ANIMALS. WE SET OUR TERRITORY THERE; WE PUT CAMP FIRE AND WE ALL SAT AROUND IT. WE TRIED TO FORGET THE PRESENT SCENARIO AND STARTED HAVING FUN; BUT A SMALL SOUND IN THE FOREST; WE ALL USED TO LOOK AROUND. FINALLY I HEARD SOME THING AND STARTED SCREAMING, MADE EVERYONE REALISE THAT ITS SAFER INSIDE THE TENT.

ITS IMPORTANT TO COOL OURSELVES
ALL NERDS WERE PUT IN ONE TENT (NAKUL, RADHA AND SANDESH) AND ALL SMART PEOPLE WERE IN THE OTHER TENT (ME, DONALD AND SUKEERTH). WE WERE TALKING ALL SHITTY STUFF. ALL OF A SUDDEN I FELT SOMETHING IS WALKING BESIDE OUR TENT. WE WERE SURE THAT IT WAS SOME WILD ANIMAL. IT WAS RISKY TO GO OUT OF THE TENT AND CHECK IT OUT. SO WE REMAINED INSIDE OUR TENTS HOLDING OUR BREATHS. AFTER THIS WE COULDN’T SLEEP, WE REMAINED SILENT TILL THE MORNING.
EARLY MORNING WE HEARD A VOICE FROM THE OTHER TENT SAYING “ARE YOU PEOPLE ALIVE?” THEN WE ALL WENT OUT OF THE TENT AND STARTED EXPLAINING; WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED IN THE NIGHT. NAKUL AND OTHERS DINT FEEL ANY PRESENCE OF AN ANIMAL. THEY SAID “THE PEOPLE WHO WERE LAUGHING, TALKING, GIGGLING WENT COMPLETELY SILENT FOR NEXT FEW HOURS”
THEN WE PACKED OUR TENTS; FINISHED OUR BREAKFAST AND STARTED MOVING TOWARDS THE STARTING POINT. WE DINT DO IT EARLY MORNING BECAUSE ELEPHANTS GO TOWARDS THE STREAMS TO DRINK WATER; AND WE DINT WANT TO SEE THEIR FACES. SO TO AVOID THAT WE TOOK SOME TIME CHILL OUT AND AT AROUND 9A.M WE STARTED DOWN TREKKING. I LEADED THE TROOP BECAUSE I WAS DESPERATE TO REACH HOME. ALL I WANTED WAS REACH HOME SAFELY AND NOT GET KILLED IN THIS DENSE FOREST. SO AFTER FEW HOURS WE REACHED THE SPOT WHERE WE HAD OUR LUNCH EARLIER. AS SAID IN THE BEGINNING THERE WERE TWO PATHS. BUT YESTERDAY WE TOOK THE BROAD PATH BECAUSE IT WAS MORE APPEALING. SO THIS TIME WE CHOOSE THE NARROW PATH; AND SURPRISINGLY WITHIN HALF AN HOUR WE SAW VILLAGERS. I WAS REALLY HAPPY. NEVER EXPECTED TO SEE HUMAN SOUL AGAIN. THEY ASKED US WHERE WE CAMPED AND WHEN WE EXPLAINED TO THEM. THEY SAID “YOU FOOLS ARE LUCKY TO COME ALIVE! WE VILLAGERS ARE NOT SAFE FROM ELEPHANTS AND YOU PEOPLE CAMPED IN THEIR TERRITORY.”
WE SURVIVED AND REACHED THE STARTING POINT.
JUST WANNA TELL MY READERS IF YOU WANT TO KNOW THE VALUE OF YOUR LIFE JUST GET LOST IN A TREK!