I am giving a short account of a short but sweet get together we had at Madikeri from 10 August 2008 to 12 August 2008. I had initially posted this as a six part discussion topic on our Orkut Community VIMS, Class of 1988 soon after the event. I am editing and making it a blog-post for the sake of preserving those memories. Because, those moments were, are and will forever remain absolutely precious!
First Day and Night, 10 August 2008:
I and Jagan Mohan Rao [Jagan henceforth] started from Iritti [The small sleepy hamlet he works at] on Sunday morning by his Spark. Murali came from Moodabidri by his Brand New Sparkling Honda City and Chethan [Chethi], Sreenivas Reddy [Seena] and Vineeth aka Dabba came from Bangalore in Chethi's Santro.
Jagan and I reached first by 2:00 PM. Murali ordered us to wait for lunch. But then he went missing in action [ACTION]! There was some action, some drama, some sentiments and finally some Comedy .
Murali reached by 4:40 PM and the Bangalore trio just before 8:00 PM. We stayed at a Home-Stay called AHAN. It was a very cute place on top of a small hillock and facing a mini-sangam of two streams with a bridge running diagonally across the merging streams. Boy! was it breathtaking?
Well... we were really tired but too excited be retired! So the dinner was littered with Coorgi Pork, Chicken, Paneer and Dal. Murali had bought the entire stock of fish from Mangalore market and his mother had prepared what was rated as ******* Fish Fry by those who tasted it. Alas, I turned pure veggie in April 1999.
It was raining, raining and raining. There was no power. No network except for Murali. I suspect he had done some range-fixing. The inverter was not working because the battery had conked off. So it was cool, windy and absolutely stunning with the downpour.
But... All these could not dampen the SPIRITS of the Six of us who had met after a gap of minimum 3 years. I was meeting Seena after 14 years and Vineeth and Seena had almost forgotten how Jagan looked.
So it was time for sweet pains... I mean Nostalgia . "N" pegs down and subsequent to several confessions... the night was still YOUNG for almost all except the Sun who was in a hurry to make his presence felt.
Day one ended as soon as day two began...
Day-2: Monday, 11 August 2008
All were in a hangover and were up by 7:30 only due to my daughter calling from Kochi on Murali's phone since she could not track me... Thanks to range-fixing! Though we were up by 7:30 AM, it took us an eternity to come out of the slumber. When you have "God" inside you and the Eleventh Incarnation of "God" [Jagan] as one of you; time will travel at its own speed.
Though we had wanted to go to Bhagamandala and Thalakaveri, continued rains meant even going to our cars parked at the bottom of the hillock was an adventure . Finally by 11:00 AM, the Sun smiled at us with a promise and lured us into moving out. As soon as we were ready; the slippery fellow that he is, the Sun disappeared and we were on the roads with heavy downpour; I mean Rains, not Wines!
We reached a resort called Heritage. I must stress here; this place is very close to heaven. No I have not seen heaven and am not in a hurry to visit soon. I'll settle for Heritage instead!
This place is surrounded on all four sides by rain forests. They have cottages and rooms on several small artificially erected hillocks with motorable roads to the bottom of each of the cottage. Then there was the ridiculously beautiful restaurant on top of the tallest hillock. You have to see it to believe it. They have an artificially erected swimming pool on top of a hillock. It rests on a rock that also acts as part of the support to a small parking area for the insider's vehicles.
We settled down for lunch after some confusion in tracking down each other and in finding some umbrellas for two people who did not love rains; Jagan and Seena. Rest of us; Murali, Chethi, Dabba and I just relished the race to the top of the hillock in that healthy downpour. Children of Rain Gods, albeit a little grown up.
The lunch was littered with a really slow and low intensity wine that shook me after 3 down. I am a wine only guy and have tasted those sweet and nice homemade wines gifted to me by my Christian Clients in Kochi. But this was something else. We had so many starters with the wine; it looked as if we were trying to light a tube light.
The lunch was going on and on all the time giving me photo opportunities. I am a compulsive shooter when I have a camera on hand. Anyone can see why I call this place Heaven . I took all these photos with a very ordinary Kodak Digital Camera since my Canon was found to have a major snag at the eleventh hour.
Well, after a million starters and several glasses down; we settled down for a nice lunch of rotis, rice, pork, chicken, curd-rice and buttermilk. A senior personnel of the resort asked us what the vehicles we had brought with us were. Know why? The way the rains were pouring and the waiters were pouring; there was a definite competition between Lord Varuna and Murali. Murali won hands down, well hands up to be precise.
The ambiance was great, lunch was fabulous, company was exhilarating and I have no words to describe the feeling. So I'll put it this way: We were just overwhelmed. The rains as I mentioned receded just in time to let us move back to our abode at Ahan. Our efforts to get some Ayurvedic massage at a close by place did not bear any fruits and we returned to cottage by 6:00 PM.
After a bit of tidying up and rest, we were ready for a new adventure. We moved into The Department of Card-o-logy. With HEAD of the Department Seena to lead we had two exciting sessions. Jagan and I were poorer by 1/2-K. Dabba and Chethi lost 1 K each. Seena broke even after 2 rounds and Murali, the unexpected Hero of the evening was... Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar! I must tell this: A Game of Rummy has never before been more exciting and stunning!
We again had mixed dinner, very little liquor and a lot of discussions...
Oh God... The Eleventh Incarnation of God
The night was all about Mind, about Matrix and about GOD! Murali and my statements regarding GOD being nonexistent; brought the GOD in Jagan to the fore. Quite like Rangarajan Nambi in Kamal Hasan's Dashavatharam. We realized that God was with us. We also celebrated Abhinav Bhindra's Golden Moments! Vande Matharam!
And after discussions, more discussions and elaborate discussions... We don't remember when we crashed. And thus came to an end; perhaps one of the most memorable day in all our lives!
Day-3, Tuesday, 12 August 2008
We were up late as usual by 7:30 AM. Rest of us waited for Seena and Dabba to regroup. On day-2 accounts, I had missed to mention something very important. All of us got to taste some really delicious Coorg Coffee with breakfast consisting of Idli, Vada and extremely nice dosas on both days. The Sun gave us some break for a few photos. That is when Jagan and Chethi noticed the river stream taking two distinct colors and both colors flowing in tandem and gradually merging down the lane into a beautiful dicoction. As I had mentioned earlier, we had two streams coming and merging right in front of our cottage and that was a spectacular visual treat!
And... Finally... After planning for several weeks, looking forward to an event like this for nearly three years... It was almost over. So Murali had to sponsor the lunch at his favorite hotel. The food was good and so was the company. But by this time I had started to develop gastritis and was getting sick. I was not doing well even on Monday night, but could not play spoilsport and held on with all the will power I could muster. Thank God, Jagan I mean; he was going to drive back. I was not in a position, but had to threaten him so as to make him more determined to drive all the way back. Don't tell him that I took him for a ride!
We all parted by 3:00 PM with a pledge to meet as frequently as possible. Murali was the first to reach his home. He was too keen to get back to his little and adorable Ahana who was running fever. She was fine by the time he reached home. Thank Goodness!
Jagan and I reached Iritti just before 8:00 PM. I took a taxi to Thalasseri so as to catch train to Kochi. I too was keen to catch up with my family, especially my little daughter. That daughter who had called me about 20 times each day apart from sending 20 - 25 messages, some of them even on Murali's phone when I was not approachable. Well, I had forgotten to mention something funny here. Murali got a message "I miss you and love you so much!" from a number he didn't know! He was quite stunned initially, but then realized it must be for me because of the number being quite similar to mine. It was from my wife. Since I had gone out of range, she had sent it to Murali's phone!
Chethan, Dabba and Seena reached their destinations before 8:30 PM too. I developed fever with chills and had to abort my journey to Kochi and stay back in a hotel at Thalasseri. That was a tough night for me. But I was better and up by 5:45 AM and reached home by 2 PM on Wednesday, 13 August 2008.
Thus came to an end what must be rated as a very special and extremely fulfilling holiday!
Post Script: Those who want to see the snaps... Please visit my Orkut album - Madikeri. And those who want to visit the places in the album, please call Murali . If you don't have his number, leave a scrap on his page! Your wish will be granted. After all, GOD is with Us!
Hope I have not bored you people. If I did manage to bore you, can't help it! You people have read such a long short note according to your own will and I did not force you!
Have a great life... and Keep smiling :-)