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Honnemardu: bLogout Part 2

...Continued from Part 1

Ganapathy a.ka Gana (I think I called him Ganesh in part 1? Did I?) dismissed us, asking us to get ready to go to the island for camping. 'You will carry tents and equipment', he warned us. I was pretty miffed by it but understood and adjusted to it later on. What camps like these does to you is that they make you realize how far away you have drifted. For example, most guys had trouble negotiating even a few meters of the terrain on bare foot. The camps also teach you self-sufficiency; you wash your plates and mugs, you carry your food, you lug your tents and so on. I realized in this trip how helpless I would be if I were castaway. I can't drink water from natural sources. It was so easy for Gana to say, 'Water? Yes, there is a well there. You can drink from it. Don't worry too much about those frogs, they actually purify the water.' Yeah right. I was happy initially that I carried mineral water bottles but now I am ashamed of myself. But the toughest adjustment of it all was the john. Out of the three Indian style toilets, two had no real doors. And we had to use the harvested rainwater to wash up. I won't name the guys, but I know quite a few of them that did not take a crap during those two days. Overall, it was an eye-opener of sorts.a gray morning

So, we were a bit dazed post-lunch. It was too much reality for a day. We had no clue how drastically our reality will be altered in the night. So, we trekked to the luggage room, changed, and climbed down. After some sickeningly sweet chai, we were off to the island to camp for the night. Oh I forgot about the rains. Well, the rains started around lunch and never really stopped. The huge question that hung over everyone's head was 'how the hell are we going to camp in the rain?' Gana said 'The tents will protect you 90%' and I took it at face value. I should not have.

All pictures are here:

We carried our tents and stuff and hauled them over to our respective coracles. We rowed harder as the ominous cloud looked like it would burst open any moment. Honnemardu islandLet me pause for some more gyan here: coracling, canoeing, or any other similar activity will teach you how helpless you are. When we started rowing (the first time) our coracle went in circles. All of us were rowing at the same time instead of synchronizing and hitting a rhythm. Now we know why the fishermen and boatmen sing; it gets you the rhythm. Our coracle beat the rest again and we lugged our tents onto the island. The only life I saw on the island was the brown-back toad. They were all over the place. We walked along a mud path (created by campers I guess) and we reached a clearing that already had a few tents pitched in. The rain switched to a steady rhythm once the wind stopped. The occasional 'brrrropttt' of a frog, the buzz of the rain lashing the trees, the wet earth, and distant voices... it was very psyching. Gana was busy pitching a couple of more tents. As darkness swooped in on the island, the rains celebrated it by increasing their tempo. And I found myself squatting in a tent with Satheesh, and Senthil who were singing songs. Before long Venky, Vasu, Arnab and Anita joined us. Vasu regaled with a brilliant ghost story, set in Sulur near Trichy, and warned us too, 'Don't make fun of ghosts. You will repent in the morning.' At around god knows what time Gana hollered 'dinner'. I did not eat but I believe that the rest enjoyed the Chapattis, rice, Rasam, and Kheer. And we decided to give the bon fire chance. Even Gana could not get it going. Enter: Arnab. He came up with this cool idea of using deodorant sprays to get the fire going. We almost had the bon fire going but the rains had the last laugh.

honnemardu - rainy dayThe five of us somehow managed to adjust in the small tent. Right when we thought that it was going to be a comfortable night, Arnab screamed, 'Water is seeping in!' Soon, Adel followed suit. We had zipped the tent up from inside, so Venky and I were suffocated. All of this was a bit too much for godmother I guess. She was pissed off and she launched into a vehement attack, 'What the **** ya? This is a camp, what do you expect? Why do you cry like sissies ya? Come on ya!' So, Venky and I moved to the door of the tent, unzipped it and sat there, resigned and sleepy. I heard someone telling me, 'don't venture out after twelve, Ganesh said there are ghosts around here.'
And there was the snoring championship. It was a clash of titans between Anita and Vasu (who was sleeping in the adjacent tent). They snored and served about ace after sonic ace. Vasu tried to up the ante with some valiant efforts at hitting the notes in the fifth octave but Anita's strong baseline play thwarted it. The match was a draw, but we lost sleep. As Venky and I sat there listening to the snoring duo unleash their repertoire, we heard voice from other tents: 'Are you guys ok?' 'Are you ok?' So, Venky and I tried to wake people up by knocking on their tents but no one responded. Probably they thought we were ghosts. So we got back to the tent and at some ungodly hour succumbed to our screaming muscles and slept off, all wet.
I woke up around half past six in the morning and figured I was the only one up and about. I was standing next to Vasu's tent when the earth trembled under my feet. My first thought was 'earth quake' but it was Vasu shaking it all up like a dog just out of its bathtub. Only, he was still sleeping. The shake it up was accompanied by some weird, garbled noises. Satheesh, Vasu's tent-mate apparently did not even wink. panorama
We started towards mainland, carrying our tents. We dumped them in the coracles and rowed towards mainland. The morning breeze eased our worries and the thought of breakfast made us row faster.
juntaWe ate Chitranna for breakfast and had that sickeningly sweet chai again. By the time we wore our life jackets and hit the lake again-this time to try the Canoes-it was around ten in the morning. The sun peeped out from between the dark clouds. I did not try the Canoe but apparently lot of people capsized in the water. Sathish has the unique distinction of capsizing on land!
I just could not resist the temptation to jump into the water. I did but only for a short while. We had to get going.
We made Gana call a cab from Talaguppa. The first batch jumped in and it was almost an hour later that the cab returned to fetch us. We left Honnemardu with heavy hearts. Gana came with us till Talaguppa. He was going home to his village.
From Talaguppa we caught a bus to Sagar. We caught a Shimoga bus from there.
Ganesh and I had plans of putting a 90 in Shimoga but we were not sure if we would have time. We reached Shimoga around 2030 hours. Ganesh, Venky, and I caught an auto, reached a local wine shop, and put 90 each and rode in the same auto back to the station. I was thinking the trip was over but the TC on the train did not let it end.
Kripa's name had an F against his name instead of an M. The TC was probably trying to make some quick money. He was adamant, 'I want female!' he announced with finality. Kripa flashed his driver's license but to no avail. The strict officer would not budge. I wanted to tell Kripa to flash his other irrefutable proof that he was male when a senior TC intervened and settled the matter for us.
We reached Bangalore the next morning at 04:30 hours. So, that was the world's first bLogout folks. This is Sumankumar signing off from Shimoga 90 radio. [The effect of some RJs in the bLogout you know]
Also Read: Part 1

So, all those that missed the boat this time, pray that we go on another bLogout. When? Where? How? What? Watch this space baby.
All pictures are here:
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Anonymous Derek said...

Nice report. Surprising the lake had no fish. If you guys need better tents check out I bought some stuff from them and they are good.

Thursday, July 10, 2008 6:12:00 PM GMT+05:30  

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