Finally, the college tour that I never thought was going to happen, happened and boy am I freaking glad that I did not miss it! At last, we truly really felt we were friends and we felt from our hearts that there were moments in life that could be made memorable only by all of us being together and sharing all the joy and happiness that each and everyone of us had!
It is true. Not only is 1 + 1 = 2 in maths but when everyone comes together with all the little happiness and joy that they have, everything bundles up into one huge unforgettable joyous occasion that is worth living through and that is exactly what happened with us being together. We shared, we laughed, we suffered, we talked, we cracked jokes, together we pulled through and here we are with a bucket load of memories… It was worth it.
I could say that our journey was not only through Pondicherry, Mahabalipuram, Chennai, Hyderabad and Hogenakkal, but also through many of our friends’ hearts.
Writing about the trip won’t do justice to it because I’m sure each and every one of us have our own reasons of finding joy and remembering the tour. So this is just what comes from me. And mind you, visiting the places or being at the places accounted for only 20% of the enjoyment. The rest was being with friends and sharing the moments with them. However, those moments are in our hearts and as such, this post will just be an outline to remember the glory days by.
First of all, I have to mention Ambika ma’am. It is no joke that all of us were really worried what was going to happen if she came along. As in we won’t be able to enjoy the tour and stuff like that. But to all of our surprise, she was extremely co-operative and did not cause any sort of trouble. At her age, with her illness, she adjusting with us and our stupidity the way she did has increased our respect for her ten fold! I believe I have done a great mistake in talking to her angrily and even though I have apologised to her personally, here I do it once again for being a part of making our dream of a final tour come true!
Before starting the travelogue, I have to say that I was desperately missing Jinu. I was almost at the verge of giving up on the tour when it dawned upon me that it was now or never… This was the last time that all of us were going to be together and if I chose to back down from it, that would only simply result in me getting depressed just like our last tour. So happen what may, I decided to go along with the tour.
16th April 2012, Monday, 8:00pm
The bus had arrived and almost all of us were there. While all of us had our own plans to have a good time at the tour, the tour-guy, Rajesh had his own too. Instead of bringing the 49 seater bus that he had promised us, he brought a 39 seater. Blood boiled in many of our veins and it would have been only moments before the entire seen got ugly with us and Rajesh if not Gouthaman and Rahul held us back saying that we were trapped and we had no choice but to get in.
The travel bags were packed in at the back of the bus and we held on to our smaller bags with the critical stuffs in them. Rahul (or ‘Thadiyan’ as we call him) was the key player here. He took upon the responsibility of packing things up on himself and I seriously doubt whether anyone else would have done a better job than him at it.
After a little bit of griping and cursing, we did get in and our journey began! You could say this was the taste of things to come.
Music, laser lights, young hearts, the dancing began and we had a jolly good time. At last it was time to sleep. The movie “Venicile vyapaari” was playing and oh my God was it atrocious! Anyway, me, Chellan and Ponnan were together. I had this small disturbing pain on my left foot’s thumb. However I ignored it and got to sleep. However, all of us had underestimated the power of centralized A/C of the bus and by midnight, most of us were freezing and shivering of cold. While the three of us managed to cuddle under Ponnan’s blanket, many of us had trouble finding warmth that night. But as I said at the beginning, we suffered and pulled through.
17th April 2012, Tuesday, 6:30am (Pondicherry)
The bus coming to a halt made our minds happy with thoughts of a freshening bath and tasty food. We were shown to our rooms and were told to get ready by 8:00am. It was in the midst of freshening ourselves that the terrifying news reached us! The restaurants were on strike that day! Which meant we were ‘foodless’.
However, Rajesh ettan somehow managed to arrange a hospital Canteen for us and all of us had a pretty decent meal. Even though they couldn’t provide me with my order for my second Masala Dosa, I contended myself with a Plain Dosa and the tea there was simply awesome.
We got out and by this time my left foot had swollen a bit and the pain was noticeable. We walked over and visited the Aravindha Ashramam (Forgive me my spellings), and from there on went to the beach. I don’t know how to put this, but it was rocky and not the kind of beach where the sand blended into the blue ocean. We spent a while there, clicked a few pics, had a few ice creams and went over to Gandhi park. We rested a while there and then got in the bus again.
At about noon we boarded a boat to an island about 3kms away from the main land. We were with life jackets and I looked fat! We had a pretty nice time at the beach there. Our lunch arrived on one of the boats and we had a small buffet. We spent a while there and at about 3:00pm we boarded a boat back to main land. Now, that was the second beach today and my leg was hurting pretty bad.
In the evening, the bus stopped and we were asked to get out. We got out and guess what?
Dhe pinnem oru beach!
It was the third beach and it was then that I found that it was almost impossible for me to walk due to the pain in my swollen foot. The beach was fun however with comparatively huge tides and I watched helplessly as my friends were having fun jumping and splashing in the tides. Ponnan had changed to his shorts and T-shirts and had come hurrying till the verge of the beach where when he reached he had a change of heart and decided not to get wet.
We reached back at our hotel at about 7:00pm and we were to spend the night there. My sis prescribed an ointment and few tablets for me which Thadiyan and MR went and bought (God bless them!) Sunil brought food for me to my room as I couldn’t walk and I spent the night watching Ghost Rider and Undisputed 3. Many engaged in their own good times and I engaged in mine, which was to sleep.
18th April 2012, Wednesday, 4:00am(Mahabalipuram, Chennai)
Well, 4am was the time at which we were told to get ready and that’s why we got ready at least by 5:30am. I’d like to mention specially about someone here and that is Sinto. When it was almost 5:15am and we were still not ready to leave, I decided to go and pray. After finishing praying when I got in the bus, all the seats were occupied and there I was standing with my swollen foot. My sis had told me to take rest that day and I could not afford to give any pressure for my left foot. But no one seemed to care and no one gave me a seat. It was then when Sinto stood up and let me sit. That touched my heart and I owe him much.
Well, we left and reached Mahabalipuram at about 7:30am where everyone went for sight seeing while I remained in the bus to rest my foot. So as for what happened there, someone will have to fill in. We had breakfast at a nearby hotel and the bus stopped a little further away. Someone asked what the place was about and guess what? It was the next beach! Augh! Everyone was like “Noooooooooooooooooo! Not again!”. The bus took off from there and much too obviously, we reached Merina beach at about 11.30am.
Now that was the 5th beach! Man, it was kind of getting weird with all the beaches. It was as if we were on some science expedition where we were testing the conditions of all the beaches or something. Suffice to say I did not get down there too. Everyone was back and we stopped for lunch at a hotel where the girls did not like the food much and most of the Biriyani that they ordered were wasted.
While everyone was getting ready to leave from there, me and Gori went in search of a mosque and to our surprise we found that the owners of that hotel were people from Malappuram and Mahe. When we told them that we were looking for a place to pray, they heartily opened one of their lodge rooms for us and we both finished our prayers from there. We left there unprepared for what was yet to come.
We visited some sort of a Shrine in the evening which was again denied of me due to my swollen feet. From there did I make the all-too-dangerous “41 idiots” remark! I hope nothing comes of it.
We started from there at about 4:00pm and saw “Ramjiraavu speaking” on the way. Man, I laughed my heart out! “Baalashnaa, moone baalashnaa!” Ha ha… Lol! At about 7:00pm, we reached a posh looking cafe where we stopped for tea. They had good toilet facilities and teas that cost about 25 bucks! I did not like the baji that they served at all and let ponnan eat all of it.
All of us were hungry and were looking forward to dinner. We started from there on our long journey to Hyderabad! Everyone got in the dance mood and I could only sit and look at them while all of them were on their feet. Even MR was there! Everyone was exhausted and lied down eagerly waiting for dinner. It was almost 9 and we were told that we would reach the “promised restaurant” in ten minutes or so. The bus kept on going while me, Ajith, Chellan and Don were having fun with Chalis as well as actual jokes (Yes, there is a difference between the two!)
The 10 minutes became 20, 30, 1 hour, 2 hours and the smiles on our faces slowly started to fade. At 11:45pm, I got a message from Rahul who was sitting at the front, “Eda, idhu pani kitti” (I still have it in my phone). When it was almost 12:20am (yes, midnight), we pulled up in front of a Punjabi Dhabha and had Roti and Tomato curry from there. Man, I devoured 5 of the Rotis!
As if all this was not enough, stopping the bus there, it wouldn’t start again! And many among us pushed the bus to get it started! Same was the case when just after we had left this spot and the bus stopped at a nearby petrol pump.
19th April 2012, Thursday, 8:00am(Hyderabad 1)
Reached the promised Hotel at Hyderabad and we were allowed time till 9:30 for getting fresh. We had breakfast (again me being denied my Second Masala Dosa). We left and reached the Salar Jung museum first thing in the morning. Man, was the security strict there! The things I had to go through to take my bag inside it! Finally we did get inside and we saw the portraits of a few cool dudes and as you can well imagine, the whole visit was a series of jokes one after another. Seriously, Chellan has a way of making all the occasions memorable with his presence. All through the tour everyone had a nice time with him I guess.
We left there and reached some Mahal at 12.30 which I skipped for fear of my foot getting worse. But how long was I just going to sit there? I decided that’s it. No more sitting duck! After their Mahal visit when they were going to see Charminar and Mecca masjid, Chellan called me and I caught up with them. Charminar was a majestic view and it seemed that the girls had to cover up their heads if they were to enter Mecca Masjid. All of them decided to skip it. But then, there it was right in front of us and some of us couldn’t resist getting in. We did and enjoyed the spacious courtyards and the huge mosque for a little while.
It was almost lunch time and we were landed in a hotel where they served the all too famous Hyderabad Biriyani! I sat and devoured it and was licking my fingers clean while all the renowned eaters of MH as well as the girls were having a hard time finishing it. Triumphantly, I went back and got in the bus.
We left the place and on our way the guide was “To right is, to your left is…” ing us. We finally reached snow world and my foot was hurting. I simply ignored it and all of us got ready with our coats, gloves and boots, the shutters opened and we ran in screaming! From there within it was total havoc! We were throwing snow here and there, there and here and everywhere! It was freezing cold and smoke came out of our mouths while we exhaled. Man, it was really troubling when you got hit on your face with snow. You could hardly breathe. It was attack, revenge, vengeance, team spirit and what not! I’m not going to forget the moments inside that place! As I said, words don’t do justice to what we experienced inside it. It was fun. It was lovely.
We got out at about six and skipped the proposed boating at Hussain Sagar lake to shop for pearls instead. It was done and we reached back at our hotel at about 8:00pm and all went for casual shopping. I took rest for my foot and Rahul, Mr and Pretty together hunted for the medicine to be put on my foot and Pretty finally got it for me (oops! I still haven’t given her the money for it!). We had dinner which was Roti during which Chellan made a certain comment regarding Sariga. Ponnan exploited the situation and made him tell her his comment! He he…
Trying to get the bought medicines into a usable form, Chellan and me finally gave up trying to dissolve Magnesium Sulphate in Glycerine and settled for it simply being a vague mix of the two. He helped me soak cotton with it and tie it up on my swollen foot.
We had good night’s sleep that day.
20th April 2012, Friday, 8:00am
We were up and about at 6:00am and after having breakfast, set off for Ramoji which we reached around 10:00am. We were given the official Ramoji stickers as well as the tickets and were let inside. We boarded a bus wholly for us and went into the heart of Ramoji.
Reaching the destination, we first entered a Blue round-bulging-eyed Head’s mouth and found out that it was a sort of entertainment park for kids with Arcades, Scary house, skating and things like that. After that we boarded a bus that took us on a tour through London, Paris, Taj Mahal (Poor EC guys had to go all the way to Delhi!), Red Fort, Kolkata international airport, the Trichur and Hyderabad National Highways that were both on the same road, multi-branch banks and what not!
We got down at some place and visited a few gardens, the Hawa Mahal and a certain cave (where Afaf just couldn’t take the suspense!) after which we got back to the place where we started from. It was time for the Ramoji movie magic or something and we went on a small trip through a fairy tale land after which we were taken through a series of steps that they used to make Cinemas.
It was lunch time and we had a great buffet. Then we visited the Dynamic motion theatre that depicted bomb blasts and earthquakes at Ramoji with real effects. That was fun. After all of us were terrified of the shaking and the tubes that hissed gas at our feet, all of us went for seeing the spirit of Ramoji, a few dances and entertainment shows after which we were blessed by an awesome stunt sequence in the wild wild west.
The day was at an end and we left the place and stopped at a hotel for dinner. Man, everything being decided, I had to sit with a bunch of girls because I was eating vegetarian! And those other girls were none other than Amrutha, Namita and Aparna. While the first two went on a spree of making fun of me till the food came, Aparna silently supported them suffice to say my stomach was already half filled even before the food arrived!
GKV distributed ice creams to celebrate his birthday and we were on our way to Hogenakkal.
21st April 2012, Saturday
You must have noticed that I did not write any time there because time simply stopped making sense to us. We were in the bus at about 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning when we pulled up at a petrol pump. Some of us got down to use the waterless toilets and stretch our legs and arms. We again were on our way all of us dreaming of breakfast. But by now we should have known nothing good comes of dreaming about food in that bus we were in. The cycle repeated and finally at 11:00am we stopped in front of some hotel (whose footsteps were decorated with shit) and here our dear Rajesh ettan told us to go and eat. We were like, “What!?”. We hadn’t brushed, bathed or anything and for that question his answer was it was to get fresh that we had stopped at the Petrol pump.
All of us lost it and Sinto lost it a bit more than the rest of us and charged at the guy raising his voice. It was a mess and we managed to get a room for our ma’am and her husband and the rest of us brushed our teeth outside the bus and some within the wash area of the hotel. We had our breakfast and were on our way to Hogenakkal on the way which the driver was executing the Dijikstra algorithm of finding the right way by eliminating the dead-end ones! he he…
We reached Hogenakkal at about 1.30pm and 10 of us were stuffed into a small room telling us to get ready by 2.30 for lunch. It was magical how everything gets sorted out with the ten of us somehow adjusting and pulling through and finishing our chores by 2.30pm. We had lunch and went for the renowned Hogenakkal boating.
Man, was it fun! All the round-boats consisted of six of us plus the boat-man and only one boat consisted four of us, the luxury team which was Ponnan, Chellan, Sriram and Rithwik. I was first in a boat with Ajith, Sumi, Bini, Sariga and one more whom I can’t suddenly remember. We went for a short distance, got down, walked a bit and again reached a point where we had to get in. Here a few shuffling happened and guess what? I got the boat with Amrutha, Namita, Anisha, Aparna and MR!
All of our boats were launched and all of us got in the mood. Splashing each other, attacking other boats, going under waterfalls, shouting, laughing, howling… We enjoyed the moments together… Probably the last moments to be together…
We reached a shore some distance away at the other end of which there were strong currents but the water was only waist deep! We could just float and the currents would take us to the other end! From there none of us knew what we were actually doing. We splashed each other a lot, threw stones, pushed others into the water, lost a few spectacles, took a dip, clicked pics and had the time of our lives.
After spending almost an hour there we were on our way back to the hotel to remove our drenched clothes. All of us were completely wet from bottom till top! We bathed, changed our clothes and at about 7:30pm, loaded our bags in the bus and went for the camp fire.
The flames caught on, music was put and we were in the dance mood! I danced my heart out along with everyone and I guess the girls too had a great time there. All of us were exhausted by the end and we slowly walked for the “last supper”. I did not think much of the noodles and rice that they served and ate very little.
We boarded the bus and many of us were asleep the moment we sat down. However, Rajesh ettan brought a mic into the middle of the bus and each one of us were asked to say something. GKV thanked ma’am and her husband and also did Arjun. Ma’am blessed all of us and her husband said we took him 20 years back in his life. Sariga sang a song and we pulled in Ponnan to sing his all too famous “Jo bhi mein”! Applause and laughter and then I came in and messed up saying something. Here I made one of greatest wish come true and that was to sing “We will rock you”. I sang it with the help of the beats from everyone and that was followed by Namita and Anisha singing their own pieces. GKV burst into his rapturous melodies and we had to plead to get the mic back from him! Lol. Chellan came forth with his breath-taking breathless and Rithwik sang a song too.
After all these precious moments were over, we put a few selected songs by Ponnan. While me, Chellan and Ponnan were sitting at the front, the girls came and requested us to go back so that they could dance. We obliged and went back. I was feeling dizzy and sat down. Chellan too sat down. After a while Ponnan came slowly dancing to the music. Then I don’t know what the heck happened because Chellan was suddenly in a superb dance mood! It was almost 11:00pm when this happened and everyone had gone to sleep except for me, Don, Sriram, Ponnan and Chellan.
The five of us were at the back and man, was Chellan an amazing dancer! All of were gaping at his steps and he had his eyes closed and was completely immersed in it! I was sitting and cheering these guys. But after a while I simply couldn’t sit and I too joined them for three songs. We called “JAI” for the five of us ourselves and had a blast till 12.30am in the night! Then we decided it was getting too late and went and turned off the music and laser lights. We talked for half an hour and finally, enjoying the last moments to the fullest, it was time to sleep.
22nd April 2012, Sunday, 3:15am
We reached back at our college and I went to Don’s hostel. The girls were taken to the Railway station and were accompanied by a few of the boys. The tour was at an end and I left Don’s hostel at about 9:30 in the morning.
Sitting in the bus from Olavokkode to Palakkad, while seeing the all too familiar junction where the SAI nursing home was located, a few tear drops watered my eyes. This was it. It was over.