Yup! I am back with another one of my camping adventures. Except this time this trip sort of became something I hold very dear to my life. And I hope more people get this wonderful feeling in their lives at one point of time.
When I heard that Exoticamp was arranging a camping trip to Megamalai I was a bit ecstatic. It was one of those places almost most of your male friends would have visited somehow and would refuse to take you there because you are a girl and you might not like how the place is. Well guess what! These guys don’t have any such discrimination and in the group that I went with the boys:girls ratio was almost equal. As I eagerly hopped on to the bus and met the new set of friends I was going to make through the weekend I learned that everyone was as crazy as I was. This was going to be one wild journey. I could feel that already.
We reached Theni at around 6 am and got ourselves freshened up at a small hotel near the bus stop. Most of us were pretty hungry and gorged on some good idly, vada, pongal and dosa. Once our transports were ready all of got in for our first stop which was the Veerapandi River. Yeah! It is the exact location where most of Bharathiraja songs were recorded and the infamous kaipulla washing dishes scene was also taken.
No kidding! People recognised it better with the latter example. I opted to sit out by the bags and not take a dip in the cool water while my friends had a gala time. But as I sat by the rocks by myself and had the water soak my feet every now and then I felt at home. It was the most content one could ever feel. Unknowingly I was humming the song “Idhu podhum enaku, idhu podhume…” (meaning this is enough for me)
It made me feel alive. Almost as if making me realize that this is the whole purpose for my life. Quoting Eugene from Tangled this feeling became my new dream.
When the sun was right above us we started off towards our base camp at Megamalai. The ride up the hill was bumpy and dusty as heck. But they were laying down roads at that time and so hopefully those roads will be much smoother soon. Once we reached the tea estates of Megamalai we had some scrumptious lunch at the small and quaint tea shop there. We were in for some good physical activity. We needed the energy!
After suiting up we all started off for the good 45 minute trek through the forest trial. I said suit up because this trail had a lot of leeches and we needed to have some special socks on so that we could prevent leech bites. The trek was a moderate one and is not suitable for people who have never trekked before. Well if you want to try it out, its alright. But it is not for the faint hearted because I felt like I was going to faint from the breathlessness at one point. Yeah! I am not that fit… 😛 We all sort of look like tea plantation workers in this angle. So after the tiring trek we reached out camp site which is sort of like this hunting cottage located in the midst of the jungle almost. Dropping our bags and refreshing ourselves, our host offered to take some of us on another trek around the place. I happily opted out. Instead a few friends and I sat by a rock and watched the sky change it’s colours preparing itself for the night fall. It was the most amazing view I have seen in my life. Not to be preachy but its things like these that makes everything else seem smaller. Nature sometimes is the best therapy anyone could ever ask for. Our little group sat there chatting and singing songs when the group that went for the trek returned. So we started a camp fire and started singing more songs. Who needs icebreaker sessions when 20 odd people sit around the fire and sing songs like no one is listening to it? None of us cared if we had proper rhythm or tone. We just sat there singing and enjoying each other’s company.
I guess that is what you get from such trips.
There was a formal icebreaker session and then dinner was served. With the time passing by the air around us got cold and dense with the moisture from the fog. And then there were more songs. But this time it was all dance beats and thats when I started getting even more into my comfort zone. I honestly don’t remember when was the last time I danced like that along with a bunch of people who are technically strangers. We danced enough to break a sweat and then the clouds started sweating too I guess. When it started raining we rushed inside our tents which we had pitched sometime in the evening.
The next morning began with some nice tea and a lot of chatter. After a yummy breakfast we all started our trek downhill which was filled with more songs and dancing… To the extent where we all got to the base camp and were dancing still with our bags and sleeping bags strapped onto our backs. The weight didn’t matter much. The fun I had was immense.
We all need to bath na? So there we headed off to a nearby stream which was a small waterfall. The freezing cold water did not stop us from playing there ignoring our hungry tummies. But then our hosts shoo-ed us all to get changed so all can have some food. Yeah sometimes I bet they feel like they are teachers out on a school excursion! The lunch was another tasty entity in that little tea shop… So once all of us had satisfied our grumbling stomach we again set off to the Highwavys dam. The picturesque place was so darn calm and peaceful that we were disrupting the calm with a lot of photo shoots. One last hot cup of tea and we started our descent towards Theni where our transport back home awaits.
The last stop was in almost in the highway by a vineyard where we relaxed a bit from the crampy jeep ride and stretched for a bit. We loaded and unloaded bags and sleeping bags and checked if all was in place.
So after quite a bit of leech bites, some singing and dancing, some wonderful sceneries and life time worth of memories we started back home…
For anyone who wants to get the same experience, don’t worry. These guys are putting up another camp to Megamalai on the 23rd of December. You can get your tickets here.