The Trip

It was started off as just another Whatsapp group, but fortunately it ended up as something which materialized into a get-together. With couple of months of planning lead by our very own planning commision head, Mr. S, a trip to Ooty, worked out for the long weekend clubbed with Labor Day.

The agenda was clear: A visit to our alma mater, a drive through the valleys of Ooty, and an overnight stay, and then the return day after - and yes, celebrating Mr. A’s homecoming as well. The plan looked simple, but the eagerness towards it wasn’t such. It had been a long time ever since the whole of Troublers (yes! that’s the name of our group), had sat down together, and talked like there wasn’t an end to the world. And The Trip was surely going to be a mark up for that.

For me, it happened to be a rush through with missing out on the first day to The Trip. So after the hiccups with the month end closure and between the hurried heartbeats decrypting the excitement into smiles, I boarded the train to Coimbatore. The journey to the alma mater is always one filled with excitement of visiting the campus again, where the two years of molding one’s character and grit has been a prominent factor of all our lives. It was always a much-awaited event. And finally, when I managed to reach the campus where the mountains smiled and the clouds whispered the songs of endearment, the feeling in the heart was speechless. That night was halted for those who were waiting my arrival with the angels of sleep, but the insomniac in me wasn’t at peace. Thus, it ended up being a night long discussion with Mr. H about life, its complexities and subtleties, of how ego overtakes the precious times of life, and we come to realize it only after time has long past. The clock struck 4am, and honestly, it was due time to let a husband go to sleep!

The Elephant Mountains

The last morning of April, welcomed us with the sight of the mountains, of that greenery which was our world for two years, and still is. There is never an alienate moment in that soil, and the surrounding air, had its own song to sing, its own story to tell and it was a complete package for the automatic smile on the face. The Trip was officially kick-starting (though, only for me) and no better way to start it than the hot breakfast from The Canteen. Though it looked different, with a changed architecture and developed infrastructure, the memories associated with it will never change. There wasn’t even a change in the main course menu, with traditional Channa Batoora and Ghee Roast topping the choice of the gang, along with the signature cup of hot tea! With fresh rounds of talks, selfies and more cups of tea later, we were onboard our Black & White rides for the journey. Google Maps - checked. Fuel - checked. And off we were! The rides had their own distinct tastes with catching up on others’ lives. From the updates from several of our classmates status (both professional & marital), the journey went on.

The Gear Shift Marathon

Ooty didn’t welcome us totally with peace, though. Announcing to us, that we are not the sole group of people having the time of our lives for a brief weekend, we were met with a multiple mile-long grid block along the uphill towards Ooty town. So several half-clutch accelerations and multiple gear shifts later, we reached our destination (in co ordinance with the lady on the maps app) at 5:30 pm – just 5 hours later to the ETA. This left space for just a quick lunch (the new word for a lunch before sunset is still under process!!), and the much needed rest for the chauffeurs (no pun intended) of the trip! The absolute lack of a tour plan helped in no spoiling of our moods for the evening!

Schumacher’s and Rossi’s

The sun was to set in Ooty as per usual IST and fortunately we didn’t leave that fact out of our minds. So before wild ideas of a quick nap crept into any of our minds, we headed off to explore the town amidst the stranded vehicles and the tourist horse-riders. We started walking towards the town, where the breeze was calm; with the sight of mountains and greenery around us. The first stop was at the nearest go-kart arena (an impromptu discovery), and it ended up being a fun-filled event, with many of us proving to be Schumacher’s and Rossi’s, who didn’t ride in the circuits for the mere luck of others. While the sun set itself for the day, we bid a restless adieu to the arena. Post the rides and photos, the Troublers were onto the hunt for the most cherished and desired spot in this country as of now – the ATMs. Yeah, we wanted to calculate the ATM-to-tourists ratio, but we didn’t want to depress ourselves, yet! The hunt eventually made us walk several miles until we discovered one far into the town. We were short listing places of worship (food, of course), chocolates and shopping for the evening, all along the walk.

When the adrenaline began to subside, we decided to go ahead with dinner plans, and after an economic raid of the nearby hotel for takeaways, we headed our way back. En route, Mr. S along with our own Gulabi Gang took a ride back to the hotel. The couples, and myself, took the walk back, to enjoy the 16 deg C climate of Ooty! And I must confess the walk was mesmerizing. The chill on your skin, the sweetness of the night, all of it was a complete package.

The Night was still Young

With all the delicacies spread across the table, and the grand feast welcoming us, we began feeding our tummies and our minds. The music was always on in the background, and one by one while the dishes were being finished, the topics of discussion were growing. For a single night, we started the round-table talks of everyone’s lives. It’s not every day that we all come together under one roof, with such good food around and with such company together. So the talks varied from one topic to another, with gripping topics on life - relationships, mishaps, comedies, and what not! For all I can remember, by the time we were saying good-night, it was 4am!

The Conclusion (not so Epic)

 The early morning visited again, and it was time to bid goodbye to the beautiful city of Ooty. It was quite a time constrained journey downhill, so we didn’t waste too much of time. All Sergeants of Employers Inc. had to report back to work the next day! The ride back wasn’t so troublesome, as we took a different route back and didn’t get stuck in the mad rush of other tourists.  After several miles and songs from the beloved singers of Troublers, the ride had its own magic. The only break in between was just for the delayed breakfast from the highway, 20 miles before reaching Coimbatore. Subsequently, the drop off for our beloved Gulabi Gang was met as per schedule, as they boarded their journey back to reality.

The Riders Conclusion

Yes, the part-2 of the conclusion is unavoidable, because the rest of the ride was not less important. The roads were almost empty, and it was a pleasure to ride through the NH-544 for seeing the development of the roads along these years will make any driver happy! With just a pit-stop for fresh cups of tea and coffee, we drove back. The rain gods finally did shower their blessings on us, or rather too much of blessings, as we were met with heavy rains on our way back. We just thanked them for not blessing us while we were at Ooty, and continued slowly. The ride back, finally lead us reaching safe and sound to Mr. H’s humble abode.

Like the ever-gripping statement, “itne paise mein itna hi milta hai”, we were all happily drop back to reality. It is when trips like these happen, there is a change from the normalcy of life, and a detour from conquering the daily challenges of work-life too. But as Mr. A said, we are fortunate, that even after three years of graduating, we are still able to maintain it.  May the Force be with us!

P.S:  For the absent members of the Troublers – The K&K Guys, The US-Wali-Mummy, The Dancing Diva, The Road Runner, The Miss India & The Food-Photographer, you all were dearly missed. All these moments, would have been so fun if the frames included you all too.
So better pack your bags and mark your attendance for the next one on the calendar!

Until then, Keep Smiling! J


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