Thursday, August 02, 2007

Cycling to MakaliDurga (29th Jul 2007)

Route: Yelahanka - Rajankunte - Dodballapur - Makalidurga (and the same way back)

After the Nandi cycling expedition, the cycle had been its dilapidated self for a coupla months without attention, partly due to a similar condition of my pockets. But now, I definitely wanted to cycle somewhere on the weekend.... Lots of work pending at lab(NCBS)..... Just freed from the practical exams of my correspondence MSc course...... Theory exams on Aug 10th......Also, still unable to get out of the fact that I’ve been ditched when I was feeling so much for her (still don’t know why she still lingers in my mind)...... After a little confusion of where to go, I decide to go to this place called MakaliDurga (also mis-spelt as maklidurga, thanks to the non-phonetic English), around 15 kms from Dodballapur, which in turn is around 35 kms from my lab (near Yelahanka, Bangalore).... A net distance of around 50 ± 5 km which means a 100 ± 10 km to and fro distance..... Reviews from some blogs (like The Nomad) made me firmly decide on going there..... I then remember that Neha and Ashesh had once ventured to go there. They did reach there, but had to hitch a ride on a lorry on the way back, as they were out of energy and time.... Ahhh, thinking of Neha… the fun time we used to have in the lab.... Of the ever smiling and enthusiastic face no matter how tired she was.... She is the only girl I know who has such stamina to go on long distance cycle treks..... Well, she’s half way across the globe now, barely in touch with sporadic mails, thanks to both of our busy lives.... I somehow feel like dedicating this cycle trip and this post to her, as a mark of honor and memory....

My companions on the journey

Friday evening, after getting cycle repaired (costed me 800 damn bucks due to my negligence), I started packing up

- food (chocolates biscuits and 2.4 litres of bottled mango juice)
- 2.6 litres water
- 2 litres water+2 packets electral (to keep my electrolytes balanced)
- a bicycle pump
- spare tubes (in case of a puncture)
- some wall-tubes and blow-nuts (in case some pranksters flick em off, when parked somewhere and left alone for a long while)
- Relispray (for cramps which I always get very quick, partly because of Marfans syndrome I guess)
- and other basic first aid medication.......

Route all checked up on wikimapia.... Sleep early in the lab itself.... Wake up at 4:30...... Leave NCBS at around 5:30..... I take a short cut to the dodballapur highway.... I keep cycling for around half an hour..... the road thins down to a single lane.... Not too many lorries around.... I reach a bifurcation...... hmmmm, I saw no bifurcation on the map..... eerie..... I see a board that says take right to Sambhram Institute of Technology..... Hey! That should be to the left of dodballapur Road!.... I ask someone.... I realize I’ve gone a long way in the wrong direction..... I have to cycle almost all the way back to yelahanka to get to dodballapur road!.... 6:30 and back to square one..... At last I confirm that im on the right track..... A long butt-wrenching ride later I reach Dodballapur railway station.... Had some amazing onion Bajjis and lemon rice there....

The hills from a distance (If u notice carefully, there are two hills- one behind the other

....Started off again to makali....The road was either bad or under repairs most of the distance right from almost close to Bangalore..... Gave my butt a hard time, especially with its torn seat cover.... Little kids of the villages that I went by were amazed to see a geared cycle with shock absorbers.... Quite a few even asked me to change gears and show them..... some wanted me take photos of them..... by and by, reached Makalidurga railway station around 12 -12:15. Then, a serious butt-whacking ride down the road-in-between-potholes later, reached the deviation to go to the hill....
View from Makalidurga railway station

A ~120 degree panorama of the hills as seen from the highway . The hill to the right is Makalidurga(The stitching hasnt comeout that good as the clouds moved and light conditions changed in the component photos)

Parked cycle at the temple at the base of the hill…… tried ascending based on what I heard from locals there….. went a little distance up….. found a shady spot…… slept until 1:45…. Woke up…. Tried different ways of going up…. Realized that I wont be able to go up and be back in time….. I spot a lake from half way up the hill…… decide to go there…. I descend, take my cycle and head to the lake…… the road is terrrrrrrrible...... I go quite some distance and decide that its better to head back home as it was already 3:00.... Uphill on the terrible road was out of the question, especially with trucks trying to bully u out of the road..... Push it along quite a distance...

The lake and hills beyond when on makalidurga(not on top of it though)

The view from the valley betweeen the two hills

The sun has always been hidden under the clouds so far, except a few peeps now and then…. I feel that there is some mysterious power trying to help me….. Well! What the crap!, this is the rainy season! It is SUPPOSED to be this way…. I shut my fanciful poetic mind and go ahead….. A coupla light drizzles on the way remind me of the ‘SUPPOSED to be this way’ part…. I cycle along enjoying the drizzle….

As i go, the mind gets some room to have its own thoughts. It starts humming a Creed song and connects to my life -
"Who's got my back now?
When all we have left is deceptive
So disconnected
what is the truth now?"
-Who's got my back - Creed

Cycled faster.... concentrated on the road more until totally tired.... stopped for rehydration ... continued to cycle and push intermittently until better roads from maklidurga railway station onwards..... 4:30..... Then started cycling again..... Butt achin realllll hard, and some cramps too..... In between, I meet people who are curious and who ask me where im from, where im going, why am I doing this, blah blah blah..... I give some lame replies which are quite interesting to them….. I wouldn’t be able to convey my thoughts to them.... In their minds, im some guy with amazing grit and determination and big goals and all.... But I know why I’m doing it.... I’m trying to hide away from reality..... I’m tryin to be so involved in something that I forget my immediate surroundings… my work pressure, my academic pressure, my heartbreaks, most of all – the purposelessness of life..... Im somehow coaxing myself to live..... Im trying to be in a total blur that I can no longer think….Do some freaky thing when ur mind haunts you..... Its a weird kinda meditation - to be unable to concentrate on things that bother u

“Blessed is the person who is too busy to worry in the daytime and too sleepy to worry at night.” Leo Aikman

….. I reach Dodballapur railway station at around 5:30….. Stop for some coffee…. Start off again….. Some ppl who’ve already seen me there in the morning, ask me the usual where, what, why and all. Then as I talk more ppl gather around curious about this Bangalorean (long haired guy wearing shorts, is enough clue for them to guess that im bangalorean)…. Then there’s a huge crowd surrounding me…. One guy gets me some bananas….. And they all want a pic taken with me….. Gawd! I feel like a celebrity….. Many good wishes later, Im off again, on the long road back to Bangalore....

Fanfare..... (Im holding the bananas they gifted me)

I realize, I’ve totally lost around an hour due to the fanfare so far….. Time is running..... n I need to beat the sun home….. But I know I cant….. Anyway, it gets dark before soon….. I don’t prefer to cycle on the highway at night, especially due to my vision problems….. however, I was just behind a JCB, wich went about cycle-speed. It guarded me against the glare of the hi-beam lamps of incoming vehicles…… Followed it until it stopped somewhere before reaching Bangalore…. Then had to push the cycle a considerable distance before reaching the lab…. Relaxed a while and headed home.... This trip somehow appealed more to me than the nandi trip… probably because of the fanfare..... but most likely due to the destination being nicer…… But, my body wasn’t aching as bad as I expected..... One night’s sleep.... Wake up unable to lift arms and legs....... Satisfied!.... back to sleep!

I realize that the song continues and gives some hope
"Who's got my back now?
When all we have left is deceptive
So disconnected
what is the truth now?

(what is the truth?)

There's still time
All that has been devastated
Can be recreated
We pick up the broken pieces
Of our lives
Giving ourselves to each other..ourselves to each other
To rest our head on"
Who's got my back - Creed

Current mood: Pressure slightly reduced from wat it was before cycling
Currently listening to: Dekha hai aise bhi - Lucky Ali (Lucky ali songs are perfectly suited for the vagabond moods)