Highlights of a jungle trip

What happens when 16 members from two teams in office go out for a trip to a neighboring state jungle for two days? Find out!

The team: Vivek, Vimal, Temesh, Amrit, TC Ravi, Deepa, Kumar, Mohsin and Mervin from SP. Palas, Stanley, Ditsu, Bharath and Veena from Belk. And of course, the team manager Sandeep with his wife and kid.

The vehicle: One Tempo Traveller which sits 12 and Sandeep’s Palio NV.

The destination: Mudhumalai jungle in Tamil Nadu.

Date: 10th and 11th June, 2006

We left early in the morning from office after the shift. Reached the resort at noon. Jungle Hut is a beautiful place with a few hills providing the back drop. Deer come in to graze at their will. The place is run by an American family and most of the guests are also foreigners.

After settling down in our rooms, some plunged into the swimming pool while others simply rested before lunch. After lunch, we went for a jungle trek in two groups. We walked for about two hours but all we managed to see was some birds, flies and some “elephant cow dung”, the last term courtesy Ditsu. Oh… and Vivek got bitten by some ants. Anyway, we reached a small stream and after relaxing for a while there, we returned to the resort. The other highlight of the trek was my slipping and falling on a rock. No big deal, although the left elbow hurts even after four days.

Evening was relaxing time with bonfire arranged by the resort. Soon enough, we were playing Antakshari between two teams. In our team, Vivek and I were the only two regular contributors with occasional ‘surprises’ from TC and Veena. On the other team: Ditsu, Temesh, Sandeep, Mohsin, Palas and others were all singing and contributing. At one time, Vivek and I were the only ones sitting at our side. Still we managed to hold fort and at the end of the battle, come unscathed. It ended with a free jam session with Temesh singing “Raat kali…” at least four times and requesting everyone to sing “One song… fulllll song, antara, mukhra… fulllll song” he would say and then start “Raat kali...”! After a hearty dinner, we retired to bed early, since we were to leave early the next day for a jeep safari.

The next morning, we started at 5:30. There were plenty of deer all around. However, after the payment was made at the checkpost and we entered the reserve forest, there was not a single ant to be seen. It was all like “there was a tiger here the day before”, or “once a tiger ate a deer here for 30 minutes”… Nevertheless, the safari was refreshing.

After breakfast, a game of cricket was played with some (four) senior players joining us. Temesh and Vivek were the two captains. After a fierce competitive match, Temesh’s team lost by 16 odd runs. True to the tradition of Indian subcontinent captains (Sourav, Inzy) Temesh got a key player (me) run out. Otherwise, I was about to win the match on my own. [Note: no comment on this one allowed]

Our senior players (a group of old friends who were also there in the resort) treated us to beer and coke after the match before they left the resort. All of us then jumped into the swimming pool. Some crazy new games evolved… one of them being catch – catch where a team had to catch the ball thrown at them by the other team. Another was water basket ball, where the rules were not very clear to me… I only saw some very mismatched fights over control of the ball happening: Kumar against Stanley (truly David and Goliath). The highlight there was a swimming competition between Palas, Vivek, Stanley and me. In the cramped pool Stanley first tried to grab Palas’ arm and when Palas pushed him to left, Stanley grabbed my… ahem… shorts. Anyway, Palas and I managed to get away from him, but as soon as I turned, there was Stanley, with no hurry, swimming directly towards me! Palas won the match, but the chaos caused by the unruly behavior of Stanley gave us a rematch. This time it was one on one. Palas and me in a clean race, where I managed to beat Palas by a slender margin.

Before lunch, we had a small gathering where we discussed our office, process and related stuff. This was an official trip after all. Again the deer came in the resort and managed to distract us so we called the meeting off soon. Lunch was again a very elaborate buffet. After stuffing ourselves to glory, we left for Bangalore. DJ Palas was extremely efficient with my mp3 player and played one hit after the other, prompting Vivek to whistle a record breaking three minutes at a stretch.

The trip ended in office. Thanks to Ravi for providing the drunken entertainment and Ditsu for doing much more without getting drunk. It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip where we came to know so much about each other. We need to do this more often. What say guys?

Something I did for the first time

That’s me rappelling down the rock face at Ramnagar, 50 kms away from Bangalore. Amit, Kailash, Arun and I went to Ramnagar yesterday to attend this adventure camp. Photograph by Arun with his Nikon F55 / 28 – 80 mm lens / ISO 400 film.

One day, I will go to

North America: New York and Niagra falls. White water rafting down the Colorado river, if possible.

South America: Hike the Inca trail to Machu Pichu in Peru. Also if possible, go to Brazil and watch beach soccer.

Africa: Cruise up the river Nile. And while I am doing that, I will visit the Pyramids, of course. Also I want to see at least one World Cup soccer match. South Africa 2010 is my target. That will also give me a chance to see the southern part of Africa.

Europe: Florence, Sicily, Venice and Paris are a must. Anything else will be bonus.

Australia: Outback.

Antartica: I can’t remember the name of the place but it’s white with snow and is near the sea and has some emperor penguins.

Asia: Malaysia and Thailand.

Disclaimer: This list is not absolute. Nothing is likely to be taken off this list though. Some additions possible when my mind fancies.