Vizag is not so different from any other cities. It's so sad that a piece of paper controls many in our human race and will do anything to own that piece of shit. If you wanna feel the real colour of a place, you should get connected with the bottom line innocent people. They are so real ones. And the best place to find them is the local bar. We managed to find one and started having some beer watching all around silently. This time I felt omens in the form of heavenly smoke. Our curiosity ended in a corner table. We saw two dark skinned man dressed fade. One was consuming alcohol and the other smoking weed. It didn't take much time to approach them and ask for a drag from his weed bedi by action. With no words he gave it to me with a smile. Me and my friend had few drags from it and I told them 'Telugu teliyadu. English, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada telusu'. ( I can only speak this languages and can't speak Hindi. My friend can manage to speak Hindi). The man sitting with a bottle of rum said that he knows Tamil. He can understand Tamil and reply half verbal and half by signs. His name is Buji Babu and the other guy Sakthi. Both belong to a distant tribe and they are in their late 40's. There homes are 150 kms fare from Vizag somewhere in Odisha border. Buji babu came to drop her daughter in college hostel and Sakthi accompanied him. We bought some more drinks and had it together. It costed only a bottle of rum to learn them. Me and my friend took special care to not to get drunk. We had a long conversation. We told them about us and they told us about them, their village, people, everything. We got exited and I simply asked them wether they could take us to their place. Buji babu was happy to hear that and he welcomed it. Thinking for a while and considering them not so dangerous people, we decided to go to their place.
This craziness is not new to me.
We checked out the hotel room and started moving with our backpacks. Buji babu warned us that we'll reach their place very late and have to walk around 5 kms from where the road ends. We are ready for it.
We got a local bus from Vizag and kept moving. The name board of the bus is written in Telugu, so we are not so sure about our destination. Buji said the place name to be araku valley. It's a 100 kms journey through the less populated farm lands and it takes around 3 hours. After 2 hours of journey in an uncomfortable seat, the bus was stopped by a group of policemen. They began to inspect the people and their belongings in the bus. They came to us, checked our backpacks, enquired about us and they left after producing our ID cards. Buji babu told us not to worry. It's quite common in this places. We are fine. In an hour or so we reached a small town.
There we both were aliens to the people as we where with a huge backpacks and heavy boots. Buji told us that no buses are available to their place so we have to go by a local jeep. We found one very soon as it was a very small town. It was an old model Mahendra jeep specially designed to carry more passengers. It can carry 20 adults: 3 in the front seat with the driver, 5 in the middle seat, 8 in two back seats and 4 people hanging or sitting above the jeep. The cost is rs 80 for 50 km journey through the hills.
Before getting into the jeep I called my friend in Bangalore, explained the situation and gave him my iCloud username and password so that he can track my movements through find my phone app.
It was showing 6.30 in my wrist watch and the jeep started moving with more than 15 passengers. My mobile signal was getting weak. I can hardly find a low 2g signal. I opened the google map and was in a state of panic. We are entering into a location where the Google satellite couldn't reach. I can see some faded shadows of mountains in a low light from the sky. There is no traffic on the road. Rarely I can see some vehicles passing. The scene got darker when the jeep started moving through the narrow roads of the mountain with thick forest in both the sides of the road.
I do have the fear in me, but am dare enough to overcome my fears.
After 2 hours we reached a smaller town. It was 8.30 pm. All are busy moving home and only few shops where open. Buji babu told us that this is the only place we can buy something. You'll not find any shops after this. So we rushed to a shop and bought few packets of cigarettes and also bought some chocolates, cookies and some snacks for the kids over there. Buji babu had a friend from his near by village waiting with an auto rickshaw to pick us. He told us that it'll take an hour in auto rickshaw to reach their place.
Three wheels started rolling in an increasing speed. I can sense that we are moving far from civilisation and can see only some shadows of the mountains. The roads are too narrow and with lots of gutter. We don't even find a single house or street light on our way. One hour seems to be not moving and it's scary. It seems the road is ending and I can see the auto rickshaw is moving slowly through a muddy road. In some point of our journey we had to get down from the vehicle and let it go freely as the road is worse. Finally they dropped in a place with less than 10 houses and few cattle roaming around. We got down in that dark place and got ready for our final part of today's journey.
It's a 5 km walk through the dark forest. Before we started I asked them about the wildlife. He said not to worry. They find only some fox, wild pigs and some not so dangerous animals. Worry only about the venomous snakes. And we are moving only with our phone lights. After a 500 meters or so Buji showed us few lights after two hills and said that's his village.
The sense of fear in us didn't let our body to feel tired. We reached his house which was very small. It got two bed rooms and a hall. Their kitchen is outside and had no toilets. Once we where at their door steps, a lady came out with a pot of water and handed it to me. I thought she offered water sensing our thirst, but it was to wash our feet before entering their house. It's a part of tradition.
Buji babu got a very big family. His mother, two wives and five children live in that tiny house. All welcomed us with a innocent smile. The kids where in top of joy once we handed them the chocolates and the cookies we bought for them. After a while, Buji's wives served us dinner (some rice, a kind of been gravy and dry fish). Me and my friend didn't complaint about the food and where happy as we got something to eat in a place like this.
Finished with dinner, we where busy setting up our tent. We got to sleep rewinding the crazy day and with excitement to see that place in day light.
There is no greater joy than waking up in a new horizon. I remember last night we set our tent near some bushy plants all around. I didn't know those bushes will leave us speechless. It was all marijuana plantations. Those are the main source of income for the people in many villages all around.
We got the shock of life as we are in the exact same palce mentened in the article http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-kerala/sheelavathi-reigns-over-marijuana-market/article3571530.ece