The taxi came and he agreed to take us to Jog Falls. Hoping that this drive would change the way we felt, we hopped into the Maruti Omni and drove to Jog Falls. About 40 minutes away, we literally did what any tourist would do at Jog Falls. We headed to the normal entry gate, paid an entry fee - it wasn't much, but I thought everything was already paid for in advance - and took photos of the almost dried up water falls. It wasn't the rainy season and so the water levels were low.
I was pissed off. We got into the cab in silent anger and the cab driver suddenly said, "Why are all you people staying at this camp?"
"We found this activity online and we booked it," said one the girls.
"It's not safe at all. That camp is famous for all illegal activity. They bring guys there, get drunk, and from what I know, even rapes have happened there. If it was only guys, I wouldn't have said anything. You all look young, I feel it was right for me to inform you," he said.
You can imagine what our mindset was. He also went ahead and told us that even his cab ride wasn't paid for and that we had to pay. I felt like an idiot and that we were being taken for fools. It was growing dark very quickly and we had to make a choice. Thinking about the fact that our only guy companion was also leaving in a few hours, we decided that it wasn't safe. It would be safer to even spend time in Shimoga.
When we reached the camp, it was completely dark. We told the driver to drive straight to our dormitory building and wait for a few minutes while we packed our stuff and jump back into the van. In literally five minutes, we packed all our stuff in the darkness of the building, and got back into the van.
The van then drove towards the main gates and the camp guys realized we were heading back. They stopped us and we told them we wanted to talk to the owner of the camp. They said that they couldn't get him on the line. We said we'd drive all the way to the main road where one could get signal and then we'd talk to the owner. They followed us down and we got him on our phones directly. His name is Sampath Kumar.
We girls initially started off by complaining about our issues and we did it politely. We told him that we hadn't even looked at a tent yet even though we had paid for it. He retorted saying, "I haven't even received payment from Cleartrip, how can I provide you with any services?"
This response fuelled our anger and we soon found out that they didn't even have a permit to conduct any kind of water activities. When I said, "How can you take payment online knowing fully well you don't have a permit?" he said, "It doesn't concern you if we don't have a permit." He began abusing us girls verbally and my photographer - who had been sitting quiet all along - suddenly lost his cool, grabbed the phone, and exploded into a mouthful rant for about ten minutes. Sampath Kumar fell silent and my friend cut the call. I instantly called my uncle since he was a police and told him the entire issue. He said that they would immediately take action.
Our current issue was then to get home! We were in the middle of a lonely road in a forest and it was past 930 PM. We asked the cab driver to take us to the nearest town where we could catch the last bus to Bangalore or Shimoga. The driver drove as fast as he could - at 40 kmph - and we reached the town only to find out that the last bus had left.