What to expect from a trip when it is impromptu, to an unheard destination accompanied by unknown people? Or let me rephrase the question – What to expect when a trip is all of the above and you are a socially awkward introvert?
I said Yes when my roommate (yes, the same one from HR) asked me if I was interested in joining ‘them’ for a weekend trip to place called Masinagudi. All I thought at that moment was that I didn’t wish to stay alone at the guest house for two days and at least I had her to talk to on the trip. So my yes came pretty much spontaneously and she was very much impressed by my enthusiasm. She then introduced me to other three colleagues – none of them from my department who were coming along. So we were three girls and two guys. Many months after the trip I came to know that before that trip nobody really knew each other. It was like destiny was bringing all of us together as a part of some master plan.
So our trip to Masinagudi was via Ooty. The drive was full of scenic views, pure greens and blues and hairpin bends. Ooty is called the queen of hills in the south, rightly so as there is something really charming about this place. I have been to many hill stations in south India but none of them is as cozy, romantic and eye catchy as Ooty. As you ascend or descend from the hill, you come across meadows, vegetable plantations, tea plantations, eucalyptus and pine forests. The pykara falls near Ooty deserve a special mention due to the idyllic beauty of the area.
The five of us had nothing in common from work to discuss and I guess that was the best thing that could’ve happened. Because the conversations touched anything and everything but work. The funny and light conversations got really candid and intense in the night as we sat under the stars around a bonfire in the middle of the jungle. We talked all night till 3-4 AM and dozed off with a plan to go for a safari in the morning. Needless to say we didn’t make it.
As I went to bed, I revisited all the events that had happened since morning. I couldn’t have wished for a happier day. Nothing extra ordinary happened but every moment was worth cherishing for the lifetime. The hysteric laughter or the walks and climbs or feeling the sunshine touching your cheeks on a cold breezy morning or watching the rain approaching you from a hilltop or slurping on hot chocolate or munching on french fries and burgers in the jungle… none of these were the firsts or out of the world experiences. But still something felt magical.
I slept that night with a content heart.
The next morning I woke up to magnificent landscapes. As we had reached Masinagudi in the dark we had no idea about how the place looked like. It was absolutely awe-inspiring. Since we had missed the jungle safari we decided to take a walk around. We were informed by the caretaker at the cottage about a small river close to the it. So just as we started our little jungle walk towards the river, we found a nice tree which we thought was good for a small climb and photo session. One by one we climbed on it. The tree looked solid and three of us were standing comfortably. I was in a dilemma- whether to climb or not. But I was encouraged by everyone and I climbed. We all posed for the photo. A cat was watching all this madness from some distance. And in a moment the tree came down in slow motion with a huge cracking sound, scaring off the kitty. Anyway, It came down so smoothly that we didn’t even have to change our poses. We fled from the site before anyone could catch us with the fallen tree. Our adventure didn’t end here. In the quest for the river we walked in the direction suggested by the caretaker ( Or at least we thought we were walking in that direction). But the river was nowhere to be seen. We took a break and sat down under a big tamarind tree. As one of the guys was clicking a picture of ours with the tree from some distance, I noticed some movement in the air behind him. I called him out loudly and asked to check what it was. Apparently some angry honeybees were advancing towards us. We all ran for our lives without caring about the thorny bushes or stones or pits. After running for some 200-300 mtrs we realized that we were safe. However after that we decided to give up on our quest and returned to the cottage. We had had enough of adventure for the day.
As Mark Twain said, travel is fatal to prejudice. And maybe because of this very reason such impromptu trips are necessary. They give you a whole new perspective to look at things… the people around you, what you think you enjoy versus what you actually enjoy and at times they surprise you by revealing certain characteristics of yourself that you assumed were ‘so not me’. This trip and my stay at Coimbatore were teaching me gently how to connect with people, how to let go of the apprehension of acceptance and how to fill your heart with the smallest joys of life.