Friday, February 06, 2009

Part 6 – One step at a time

The more we climbed the more we thought about how hard the descent would be. To add to our joy there were a few teenagers returning down who said, “Going up will be easy; you will suffer while coming down”. Not exactly the same words and tone but they actually hurled a few words at us like a curse which meant the same.

After all our efforts we did reach the top; from the 11 who started only 6 of us made it all the way – Bharath, Praveen, Jabradamus, Kumar, Santanu and me. It was exhilarating to be at the top and at that moment we were the only ones at the top.
“Mobile signal is very clear. It must be a direct satellite link at this height!”
The Airtel signal was strong and I exchanged a couple of messages with a friend from the top of the hill. Kumar and Praveen who were from EEE batch of engineering posed for a snap beside a boulder that had “LBSCE EEE 06-09” painted on it.

“Those guys must’ve carried paint with them all the way up!”
After a few more snaps and absorbing the beauty from above, we started the descent downhill.
“I am not going in front of Kumar. If he falls I will also be pulled down. Let him go in front”.

And so it was – Kumar took the lead and went ahead of us. Let every man defend himself!
I made for the rear of the group with Santanu in front of me.
“Remove your shoes; you will have better grip”
I didn’t; I felt comfortable with my Nike and trusted it for grip.
“We have to go so far to reach the place where Vasanth is”, Praveen shouted pointing down.
“Don’t look too far down – it’s frightening”
“Just take it one step at a time. Sit down and use your bum”

Using our buttocks made the descent much easier; you just sit down, let your legs free to find the next foothold carving, get a firm grip and then move down. In some places we weren’t able to reach the next carving below and we had to lower ourselves using our arms to reach firm ground. At one point, Kumar took a diversion on the right while the rest of us went on the left side. It was a circle and so both paths met again but Kumar’s path was the path less trodden upon (or perhaps never taken by anyone) – there were bushes through which he had to find his way and then jump at an awkward angle to join us.

Santanu who was in front of me got stuck at one place – the place where we climbed up using a tree branch. He was circumspect about how to get down. Praveen from below shouted, “Just place your leg there”.
“But it is slippery there”
“It will be fine; just hold on with your hands and step over there”
“But my hands are also all slippery with the sand”
Santanu was a bit jittery but after someone advice from Praveen below he tentatively placed his foot on the spot Praveen pointed. I was happy that he finally moved because I was stuck in an awkward position straining my ankles.

We continued downwards, going down the vertical ladder and soon reached the spiderman area. After clicking a few more pictures there we went to the other side and continued our downward journey.
The rope walking was easy going down and our descent was very rapid and smooth. There were no hiccups and we reached Vasanth’s area after spending three hours in the hills. We washed our face in the water that was coming out of a tube.

We stopped for having lime juice before we went down the 1 kilometer road. At the pit stop we did pull legs again – about Kumar finding his own route and Santanu complaining about slipperiness everywhere!
"And now I know why those kids cursed us while we were going up!"

The one kilometre road down was easy this time; Viswa and me literally ran down the slope.
“I can’t walk on this slope. It is easier to run”
“Ya; if we try to walk our calf muscle hurts”
The only problem was the rash jeep drivers who raced past us. At around 5:30pm we were back near our van.
“You can go slow if you side step – that doesn’t hurt”
But both of us were happy to fly down the road.

( be continued...)

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