With three of them being bit by leeches, we thought we had invited new inhabitants into our rooms. However, the 3rd day morning had a different story to tell. We had an uninvited guest in my bag. And that’s how the day started.

After breakfast, we started our return journey to Chennai. Being the adjusting types that I am, I volunteered to sit at the rear throughout the trip.

Our first destination while back home was Surli falls. However, halfway through we chanced upon this wonderful waterfalls. I was reminded of Vairamuthu’s lines on the Niagara, “ Your proverb has been proven wrong. Behold! It is smoking without fire”. We did land up at Surli, however decided to return without taking a shower considering crowd and hygiene factors.

En route we came across a grape yard. Stopped by to relish the grapes directly. Some interesting conversations on wine, compost, and Theni district emerged during out short stay at the farm.

Rest of the trip revealed new talent in just about everyone. Viji entertained us with her delivery of dialogues from Thillumullu, Madhu could churn out unknown songs from yesteryears that started with “LA”, Susanth was focused more on keeping the driver alive and kicking, Srivathsan was all the time wanting to change the rules of the game for want of songs, Kannan and I remained the undefeated emperors of Anthakshri.

And finally at about midnight we entered the city and it was almost 01:30 hrs by the time everyone was dropped home. And there ends the story of six friends who went on an Independence day trip to Thekadi.

Ovvoru pookalumey solkirathey
Vaazhvendraal poaraadum poarkalamey
Ovvoru vidiyalumey solkirathey
Iravaanaal paghal ondru vandhidumey
Nambikkai enbathu vaendum num vaazhvil
Latchiyam nichchayam vellum oru naalil
Maname oh maname nee maarividu
Malayoa athu paniyoa nee moadhi vidu

Ullam endrum eppoadhum
Udainthu poaghe koodaathu
Enne indhe vaazhkayendre
Ennam thoandre koodaathu
Endhe manithan nenjukkul
Kaayam illai sollungal
Kaalapoakil kaayamellaam
Marandhu poaghum maayangal

Uli thaangum karkal thaaney
Mun meethu silayaaghum
Vali thaangum ullam thaaney
Nilayaane sugham kaanum
Yaarukillai poaraatam
Kannil enne neeroatam
Oru kanavu kandaal
Athai thinamum endaal
Oru naalil nijamaaghum

Maname oh maname nee maarividu
Malayoa athu paniyoa nee moadhi vidu

Vaazhkai kavithai vaasippoam
Vaanamalavu yoasippoam
Muyarchi endrai ondrai mattum
Moochu poale swaasippoam
Latcham kanavu kannoadu
Latchiyangal nenjoadu
Unnai velle yaarumillai
Uruthiyoadu poaraadu
Manitha un manathai keeri vithai poadu maramaaghum
Avamaanam thaduthaal neeyum ellaame uravaaghum
Thoalviyindri varalaaraa?
Thukkam enne en thoazha?
Oru mudivirunthaal athil thelivirunthaal
Andhe vaanam vasamaaghum

Maname oh maname nee maarividu
Malayoa athu paniyoa nee moadhi vidu
Trekking is something none of us have done before, and so we were all so excited. Walking through arduous paths, ambling uphill and downhill is all we had in mind. But what was in store for us was quite amazing. We had to sign a paper that stated that we were solely responsible for any mishap that may occur during the trek. Hmmm that just added to the excitement.

We reached the starting point of our trek after bamboo rafting across the Thekadi Lake.

Only when we reached the other side of the shore we realized we have to pace through the thick forest into its deepest interiors. We were only warned of leeches and not of Lions and Tigers. And so we had the necessary protection in terms of a pair of jute socks.

Flora, plants, vegetation, flowers, foliage, shrubbery, and undergrowth. That’s all we got to see. We could hear the hornbill throughout and sighted elephant tracks, Malabar giant squirrel, and the Nilgiri Langoor. The tree that you see in the above picture (right) is 300 years old.

The fear of having to come across the Tigers or Lions slowly disappeared as the leeches started crawling onto our feet. The focus shifted from enjoying the greenery and we were just trying to get the leeches off us most of the time. Fear setting in, half of us wanted to return while the rest wanted to continue. We decided to continue after a brief respite.

We came across lot of streams and a tree that took the shape of a king cobra. We were glad that we continued with the trek.

Finally, after about 3 hrs of walking through the jungle we returned. 3 of them had to lose a couple of ml of blood in them after leeches did their work. Despite all that, the trek had fun written all over it.

Can you spot something unusual in the below picture ? If you can, put it in the comments
14th Aug, 0600hrs
Venue : Thekadi Lake

Gentle wind caressing us, thick film of mist forming a haze, and six pairs of drowsy eyes. As the mist receded, the sight that unfolded in front of our eyes was simply breathtaking and spectacular. With what we saw chasing away the dreariness, we boarded the boat. Decided to stand at the rear during the entire 2-hour cruise.

The cruise, we were told, gets more exciting if we get lucky enough to spot the Sambha Deer, the Bison family or a couple of elephants.

For the first half hour, we just enjoyed the wonderful view the lay ahead of us. Picturesque, picture perfect, and scenic are words that would only undermine the splendor of nature that our eyes feasted on.

And then started the trying-to-spot-animals activity. During winters, the streams in the middle of the forests gush with running water making it unnecessary for the animals to come down to the lake to quench their thirst. The depth of the lake during this season is another factor why they keep away from it.

Even with the aid of binoculars, we could not get lucky. However, we did, towards the fag end, manage to spot two elephants that appeared like teeny tiny toys.

Rest of the cruise involved taking more pictures, a friend taking a short nap, not moving from where we stood to not lose the vantage point, lotsa jokes and frames and frames of natural beauty. We returned to the shore after 2 long hours of fun.

What we did in the Afternoon was something each of us have never experienced in our lives before. And for that reason, I personally feel that it was the best part of the trip. More about it later.
On Aug 13th,0500 hrs, 6 of us started a journey that we would remember for years to come. After about 2 months of planning, we decided on visiting Thekadi for the Independence day weekend and after lots ofconfusion, we fixed on doing a road trip. And so, with a Qualis to carry us, a driver to drive us through and loads of enthusiasm, we started our trip.

It’s quite natural for a bunch of people inside a moving vehicle to be so vociferous and that’s exactly how we were. Jarring music, our loud singing that was not in harmony with the music, jokes,pulling legs, and boisterous laughter entertained us throughout the backbreaking 12 hr journey. We even watched a movie.

A tinge of Malayalam and an array of coconut trees signaled the arrival of Kerala.

And finally at around 1830 hrs we reached our destination,HOTEL AMBADI, about 3 Kms before Thekadi.

After a quick shower, we went for a long stroll. The weather was just perfect. While we were discussing on whether to watch martial arts or kathakali dance, the slight drizzle and chilled breeze made it obvious that we should just extend the stroll. All of us agreed unanimously. Walked into a restaurant just to taste some Kerala soup.

Back in our Hotel, with the only other non-teetotaler down by the effect of "Coconut Milk mixed" Mushroom soup, I had to take the lead. Being tired already, we split quickly after dinner to catch up with some sleep. The day was eventful in it’s own ways. The second day was the highlight about which I shall write tomorrow.

Breaking free from dictatorship is always a wonderful feeling, especially when it is something we have been waiting for, for ages. Democracy and the liberty to be what one wants, with no shackles limiting our movements has always been our dream. However, the effort we put in to realize that dream was very partial. Every day had been a battle, with none of us trying to take that step forward to unleash the free bird in us.

Ruled by a single company for ages, this was something we planned and finally earned.

In the next three days, we would be breaking free from Sify, our bosses, and customers. We would be far away from network issues, nagging calls, and processes. 6 of us have been looking forward to this weekend. The road trip to Thekadi should be good enough for us to reenergize and recharge ourselves.

You are there when I cry,
not to console me, but to support.

You are there when I fail,
not to sneer at me, but to encourage.

You are there when I err,

not to point out, but to make me realize.

You are there when am happy,
not to share it, but to amplify.

You are there when am lost,
not to scare me, but to guide.

You are there when am weak,
not to exploit me, but to strengthen.

You are there when I need you,
not because I want you to, but because you care.

This day is special, and this is your day,
dedicated not to anything else, but to our friendship.

Happy Friendship day Pal!!!

Incidentally, I got a call from an old friend on Saturday... and we talked about how things have gone wrong between the two of us, about how we made assumptions and let things take their own turn, about how a little communication from either of us could have saved the relationship, about how our egoes have let us stay away for more than a year, about how wonderful it was to be together in the past and how much different it is now, about how we can work together and revive our friendship. And we closed the call with that pact. A fitting start to a wonderful Friendship's day !!!

My other posts on friends / friendship
A Reunion
A Distant friend
Past, present and future
“FRIENDS” to relax, “NEWS” to update myself, and “JUST FOR GAGS” for a little laugh is all I ask for. But my after office hours agenda typically looks like this.

Women at home outnumber the men. So am left with no choice but to put up with this four hours of nonstop nonsense, EVERYDAY . Every serial has two things in common - A troubled lady who would squeeze out every bit of tear in her and a whole bunch of women fan following.

During weekends when all the aunties meet up, “Gopi’s” divorce with “Kala” gets discussed. They cry over “Chidambaram ayya’s” death and empathize with “Sarala” for the state of affairs she is in. I have my own problems in life and here I have a bunch of grown ups discussing the small screen super zeros.

I decided to put an end to all my frustrations. After several months of deliberation I devised a master plan.

These days when I come home late, I ask my mom, "What happened to Gopi ? Did he manage to get the divorce ?". Or if am on time, I would, over my dinner, relish every bit of each of these episodes.

When in Rome, be a Roman. Do you have a better plan?

P.S. This is an old post of mine from Sify blogs. Was prompted to repost after reading this by JVC.

Falling, not once, not twice, but umpteen number of times to learn the bicycle remains fresh in my memory. With fear filling the mind, excitement beaming in eyes and enthusiasm in heart, I remember how I brushed aside the little injuries to master the art of maintaining balance and moving ahead.

I can still recall my delight when I made progress from being just an ambler to that of a rider.

Today, with the same fear in mind, excitement in eyes and enthusiasm in heart, I learnt my first lesson in four wheeler driving. And I can imagine the delight in store for me when I make progress from being a rider to that of a driver.

Some things in life never change.

Cartoon Courtesy
Thanks to everyone for your wishes. I guess am perfectly alright now :o)

Been sometime since I posted a poem. So, here goes, yet another poem from my priced possession.

Seeking solitude,
I embark on
a lonely walk.

whispering words,
the rustling trees,
gently talk.

Sprinkling darkness,
the scary night,
admiringly follows.

Chasing away isolation,
the lonesome moon,
cheerfully accompanies.

Singing a song,
the chirping birds,
gleefully greet.

Whizzing along,
the chilly breeze,
playfully walks beside.

Adorning the sky,
the shimmering stars,
happily tread along.

My lonely walks,
lonely they ain’t,
for, with me there is

conversing friends,
a dark admirer,
and a lonesome companion,

chirpy pals,
a cool dude,
and glittering personalities.

Picture courtesy

I had a gyan on hairline fracture today, especially after the x-ray results came out.

It is a fracture in which the fragments do not separate because the line of break is so fine. It is also called as capillary fracture. Since the bone fragments remain in alignment, they appear on the X-ray film as a very very thin line. One good thing is that it has minimal trauma to the bone and the surrounding tissues. It is an incomplete fracture and is considered a very stable one.

Luckily for me, the X-rays did not show any signs of a fracture. However, the doctor is not eliminating the possibility and is only giving me the benefit of doubt. Hmm… Am under medication for the next 5 days. And if the pain persists, I would have to go for a digital X-ray.