When we planned to help Jayadev make the plunge into married life, one of the ideas was to land up at Cochin and head off to somewhere nice for the weekend. So we headed directly for Cochin on the Island Express on friday night. After considering the fact that it's summer (so, no backwaters) and everybody was enchanted by photos of munnar - we decided to head off to the hills in Idukki and see if we can have some fun there. Since I was the only malayalee in the group, I was supposed to organize the trip. But Shivku and Sudhir, with no thanks to my incompetence, managed to book a cottage as well as get two cars to climb the hills with.
We started at 4 PM from Cochin, towards Munnar by following the NH 47 and cutting across to NH 49 before Aluva. We had hired two cars, an Ambassador and a Qualis - I was in the Qualis along with seven of the gang. We had quite a blast on the way up, even though it was slightly dark. I think the highlights of that leg of the journey was the Nadeem Saravanan songs and Shreek's insightful comment. There were minor discussions about Innovation and what happened during Hack Day and all that. I've read too much of the Art of the Start to stay silent in that discussion. Anyway, in case you forgot, here's Shreek's awesome perception.
"Dekha Hai Pehli Baar | (I've seen for the first time) Saajan Ki Aankhon Mein Pyaar" (love in my lover's eyes) <Shreek> if she never saw it before, how did she know he was the one ?
After reaching Munnar in about 5 hours, we located the DTPC office to collect the keys. The cottage we would be staying in was about 8 Kms away, so we decided to have food at a hotel in the town. After pointing out all the mistakes in the menu and making me blush (I'll not explain how) - we headed towards our cottage for the night. Also we discovered that Rahim couldn't take a photo the way we normal people take them from eye level.
The cottage was hidden away in the middle of a tea estate. We hadn't realized the exact surroundings in the night when we arrived there. It has the typical horror movie feel to it which was made fun of the moment we got there. But the cottage was very spacious and had hot water (which interestingly used an on-demand gas based heater). We started then to arrange for a campfire to sit and sing around.
The campfire was way too much fun. We sat around the fire and sang all kinds of songs. The really funny part was the A R Rahman songs with people singing the same song in different languages. Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Hindi versions sung in sequence. Basically the anthakshari went in all directions with us just going nuts with our voices. My vocal chords have still not recovered from all that singing in the cold night. Also there was that incident of Shivku getting a mouthful of Kerosene by blindly putting the nearest bottle to his mouth.
After all that we all basically slept before we touched our pillows. I woke up the next day to a glorious morning. The sun was shining bright and the blue sky promised an excellent day of sight seeing. We checked out of the cottage sometime around 9 and basically headed for the hills.
We went around to the Mattupetty Dam and the aritificial lake behind it. Idukki district is the hydroelectric powerhouse of Kerala with a number of dams on its rocky gorges pumping out megawatts for the coastal towns. After that we crossed the border into Tamil Nadu to visit Top Station. At top station, we were hardly 60 kms away from Kodai if we go straight up the hill and go down. The top station observation point was where we had range for Airtel and a lot of us made phone calls while we were up on that particular hill.
The mist had started to become fog and a dense bank of fog was slowly rolling in towards the hills by about 4 PM. The woods acquired a magical look when the fog started blocking out visibility, though it meant hell for the driver. So we headed straight down the hill. I had a slight mishap while trying to take a picture of the cheeyapara falls and fell into the knee deep water. So I ended up taking a bath in the cold water in the waterfall. By around 10'o clock we had reached Thrissur right back on flat country.
I didn't just sit around in a hotel in Thrissur, but that's a completely different story altogether.--
All trails have more uphill sections than they have downhill sections.