Travelogue: Where it all started - Nagala West


Bliss among chaos

Photo of Travelogue: Where it all started - Nagala West by Vikram Mn

It all started with a restless me desperately attempting to get into wilderness or rather get away from my routine life. After numerous calls to my friend, a soon-to-be America mappilai (or is it Canada, because for us foreign, on site and everything else is America) nothing really did materialize. Things went to extreme and the desperation for getting more people on board increased as to avoid the increasing share of already increased fuel cost. Thanks to Balaji who said that he wouldn't come by bike *straight face* But at last none of our friends, acquaintances or colleagues joined us. Even the highly enthusiastic unknown mystery lady too didn't join us citing "my relatives are coming home" as reason.

After a long time I was given some work on Friday and the meeting was scheduled at 2PM. And what did I do? I said that I can't stay for the whole meeting and came home by 3'o clock bus. After checking for my car, the wiper and numerous calls to our prospective trek friends nothing really got materialized. At night 9 it was decided. It's going to be just two of us. Balaji said that he'd take his mom for the trek. Now can you believe that?

The next day morning I woke up at 5AM, filled by bike fuel tank to the brim (still in hope of going to the trek in my bike) but every hope was dashed when Balaji opened the covers of his Alto. We started at Sharp 6 and in just ten minutes from his place at CMBT Balaji was like, "Do you know the route?" And that's how the adventure started.

It was the search that enchanted the total experience. We knew nothing that was in store for us. To our surprise (read as horror) every single thing that you could imagine was in store for us. The first search was for Panimalar college, once we got there it was Thiruvallur then it was Uthukottai where we had sumptuous breakfast. Dude what was the name of the restaurant? The taste of the sambar there was next only to the mighty Saravana Bhavan. We gulped 6 pooris and 4 idlys and packed 6 idlys and 4 pooris with a total bill coming to a mysterious number. 203. We still couldn't figure what's the cost of one idly and one poori. One of the many unanswered questions in our journey.

What we thought was going to take only half an hour journey took us 1 hour. Thanks to the extra 20 km we travelled due to our negligence or due to our eagerness in enjoying such a beautiful ride. We finally reached the place that we wanted to scale. The mighty peak that was in front of eyes was so beautiful with green cover all over it. Once we parked and emptied our bladder we looked at the peak which evaded us for so long. Nagala.

It was a 15 to 20 minutes walk in the plain which very much resembled the dry deserts of Mexico. Thanks to the roundabout way in which we walked. Then it was a very narrow path where I led. There were invisible spider webs all around. I joked saying that I'll be returning back as Spiderman. Then after a 10 minute walk in another narrow path. There were bees. A whole lot of it. That's when I first became genuinely afraid. Because it was in this place a couple of weeks before someone had died due to bee stings.

After all the walking in those narrow trails it was time for us to trek. After walking for about half an hour we still couldn't see any sign of pool. We were all alone in a desolate mountain. I was ready to walk further but Balaji thought it wasn't a great idea. He somehow sensed that the path that we were taking was wrong. This guy has some knack of correcting the mistake once he's done with it. From there he started to lead. So we descended in the path that we came and found out the stream which we followed through rocks and boulders for half an hour. Balaji said we're on right track when he heard the sound of water getting stronger and stronger. We first spotted species of our kind enjoying there. Some eight people were there before us, probably knowing the route and not had to trek the extra mile that we did. The pool was inviting with clear shallow water. No marks for guesses, we jumped right into it as soon as we saw it.

After swimming for about half an hour where a wannabe photographer lost his mobile, thanks to the eagerness to shoot the numerous small fishes that were swimming around, we set out for the second pool. It was a cakewalk. It took us just 15 minutes to reach it. It was better than the first one with even clear waters and even more fishes which were so eager to bite my palms. We swam there for half an hour and set out to reach the third pool.

It was no easy task that. We climbed and climbed for next half an hour. We slowly came out of all the vegetation and the stream sound. We couldn't spot any trail around us. All we could see was dry leaves and loose branches which eluded us from any sort of safety. We slipped the most during this journey from second to third pool. We didn't know that so many perils were there before us. And that's when we took an oath that we would eat only if we reach the third pool and otherwise not. Time went by but we couldn't see any hint of the pool. I asked Balaji to look at the red rock which was 10 meters away from us. He kept his bag and went to check that. Once he reached there he turned back and said that it's a cliff and we've reached the top of mountain. All we could do was laugh. So we again trekked back (this time it was even tougher) the second pool and followed the stream. We laughed at our ignorance to have missed the trail which was very near to the second pool. After an arduous hour everything looked easy. We reached the mighty third pool finally.

Balaji straight away launched into it. A 10 feet dive in a 40 feet deep pool. I loathed myself for not knowing swimming properly and because of that I settled for a nature made pedicure bed where fishes were so eager to massage me off. It was the best experience of the whole journey. After having free pedicure for half an hour we came out of the water to have our lunch. We kept to our promise. Once the lunch was over we stayed there in the silence once likes after coming out of water for a good 20 minutes. It was like meditation to enjoy the beautiful scenery, those brilliant fishes and sound of water rumbling through leaves.

Once our clothes got dried the drizzle started so we started from that place. It took a good one and a half hour to reach our car. On the way to car we filled our water bottles with fresh stream water which came in really handy because we again lost our way while coming back and that's when we thought two is a company and three is a crowd.