It was a second trip to Nandi , but it was not on bike. It was TT ,and with close friends , I have shared some personal space. I just had hoped the trip will be one of the finer ones , but the effect of the first one is still too mystifying. We biked all the way to Nandi with Somu and Shruti , but due to lack of time had to return early.
This time the time constraint still pronounced we decided to move at 2 AM , and true to our words ( possibly the first time) ,we started off at time. It was nearly full moon lit night, and we started off to the Nandi. Ashu was the first to join us in TT , followed by others. Soumya, Dheera, Neha came in. Then last stack was Namita and Princy, more surprised than we reaching on time rather being excited. The TT flew off to the Nandi , but stopped mid-way for some personal reason of driver.
The music DVD did not read this time , and the driver had put on certain south Indian songs , which were stopped on request. Then , we stopped for Tea. It was a bit cold , and there were many boys outside , so we asked the girls to stay inside TT , and they had cosy tea indoors while the guys had hot warm tea in middle of windy road.
Then around a few Kms up the uphill track we decided to stop , just like that.
And we went out. Just a few minutes and we were well up the small boundary on the periphery of the hill , with no protection , and light of moon lighting all the way. We were middle of a silent night , facing a very beautiful hill and as I would say it , you see life in best shades standing on verge of death. The breeze was gentle , and temperature must just be clocking double digits in Celsius . And I decided to challenge the death of night. With Chu Chu on my left side , we shouted “ Mar Javaaaaa …..” and trust me , death would have run away for life. And with me and Chu chu on one side , come the world and we will show you. The echo was strong enough that it came back to us.
Princy can justify it , and when we all shouted , nothing came back.
There is something called as resonance , compatibility and above all , the sense of WE. A sudden streak in the sky , green –blue shade was noticed. A Shooting star , and we shouted in joy. We all held together , and a sense of being together send across an aroma that was powerful enough to break a thousand stars. The stars kept on felling for the night into the morning light. It was our day , and we would wish and it will come true. We saw a lot of constellations , a time from my past re-visited. I wanted to see the Hunter, the red blue star combination.
The space shared with my diamond , and here Himanshu shares the same space. It was then a month before I left for Infosys , and this is here when a month before Himanshu and me see it. I will tell hunter to deliver my message to the Gods above that this hunter is ready for the next ride , next exploration , and as a symbol to move on , I will be moving on. Then we started singing the song , one from Jo Jeeta who hi sikander, “ Phela Nasha phela khumaar,naya pyaar hai naya interzaar , ker loon mien kya apna haal , aye dil-e-bekarar , mere dil –e- beqarar tu hi bata . Udta hi firun in hawaon mien kahin , ya mein jhool jaun in ghatao mein kahin, ik ker doon aasmaaa aur zameen , kaho yaaro kya Karun kya nahi … and I wanted time to halt. It was indeed the first
love experience when vocal chords just added tones to the words coming straight from hearts , finding the way into each other. The sense of friendship , the bond was in cast , deep , deeper and deepest in each passing moment in this night.
It was not that it was not special to all , but for me , I can feel the Indian air right through my windpipe , as my soul telling me to look ahead. You will see the God , I tried , didn’t see any. Then as magic one would say , I saw a magical eye formation in the hill top in front of my eyes. Many saw that. Then I turned back, and the thing I wanted to share with Himanshu only was overtaken by my instincts and to all my so so special friends , I told them the secret. You guys know why I made that red and blue star , for each time in my life when I will see the hunter I will remember you , and hope each time you see the Hunter constellation ( Orion) , you will not remember class IX science book , but this wonderful moment when we all shared a part of life together.
When we spent a few moments together which no one can take away , one wish which we all had while the stars shot across the sky like Diwali crackers. What if we didn’t carry the crackers , God has his way to welcome us. A song was followed by second to third. “Kaise Jiya tere bin” started on Ashu’s cell , and we all sung in chorus. We were scripting a new dimension to Friendship in the middle of night to run through our veins for end of life. While I write this sentence , there is a shiver in my spine , and chill ran down my senses , as I was lost in the same dark night. Never seen a day so bright as the well illuminated dark night it was. As I always say , words are failing me to express the expression on our faces. As I held himanshu’s hand after Mar java , it was feeling of two brothers. The hug before we just left was just another white brick in the monumental Taj our friendship has evolved over a period of ages now. It must be half an hour and we all lived one more life , a separate one. One in which silence music , shooting stars and loud cheers acted as hot metal worked on by cold water to cast it to irreparable bond. We all were special as we are, and will always remain same. Himanshu decided to take me down , and Ajit came running it , for favor cant be one sided , and nothing we can do single handed, not because we CANT but because we know the feeling of WE is infinity times stronger than that smallest complete sentence in English language “I”.
We were back in TT , relishing the just passed phased, many of us were smiling to ourselves while a few others started singing. It was an emotion , and I had known we are weaved in a knit of friendship which possibly won’t be broken by any for eternity.
The trip was already growing heavy for many of us, at least for me , if not anyone else. I just wanted it to go forever. The TT was requested to stop for one more time, just a few hundred meters , and we found a another point. The point was again a wonderful spot but stinking smell refrained many from sitting. A dangerous place to say the least but we lay down. Me and Himanshu joined by Ajit and later on by Ashu. But the exotic smell drove us back. And then it was an uphill , and we all ran.
Ran like free birds , birds of same feather going on to have one memorable outing to be remembered , to be captured , to be shot and showed, to be scanned in the brains for a long time. TT was now at Nandi Hills.
The first vision of the Nandi noticed was a lot of people and groups have accumulated. Then there was another sight , the counter is not opened. The sun is on verge of rising , and there is no one to open the door. Utilize the time for a stroll , where Ajit repeated his incidence of him and Saurabh( one of his close friends he misses very much, honestly) taking picture with a bull. Where they went at lengths to take the pic. Dheera was witness to some of the old Deepak attitude, but thankfully he overcame them easily. Then we all headed back to ticket counter which was open and we ran into for a quick first cum first serve basis. In the corner were me , neha , dheera , somu , namita and princy. The air was still cold getting colder with passing seconds , and I was here in my Delhi best, offering my jacket to the shivering girl on the right. She denied it, but gladly accepted after a few seconds. Tickets in hand , and josh in hearts we started to the Nandi. The most awaited destination. As we shouted and moved to the hills , the main door was locked. And we shouted , and so did so many of groups, they had to , we had half a dozen of most beautiful girls in the gang. We then proceeded to the gate which the gate-keeper promptly open. He had opened the lock and we were the first ones to enter the Nandi Hills. We walked through the same lane again. The place last time had looked majestic for the sunshine which came piercing through the trees. My last memories were broken by people running uphill to see the view. There were two paths , one in more haunted woods and other in open. Well , coming for sunrise view, woods might just not be a good option. We moved to periphery for a good view and then was another view. We went to same spot and stood up on the wall. The pain in leg had still not subsided and needed good help from friends to climb it. For a few pix refreshed the previous one. We all stood like kings and then suddenly there was a voice , sun might just rise. All forgot and ran to the direction where sun rays would come. And we had to follow. Me , Ajit , Namita and Princy at back while Ashu was somewhere in middle. Not sure where , but Somu and Neha were running fast, as if to catch the sun before we can have a shot. Anyhow , they had to wait in woods for us to join. To Namita and Princy who were careful most of the times I was not left behind. They would skip a few steps to enable me to walk with them. But the uphill was right there. Had to climb the hill. AJ also ran , and so did everyone else. Ashu waited there , as we had a few pix and then moved on. Reaching the top where sun was no where in picture but it was our day. It has to come out. Well, he did not , but since we are here , we don’t care. We all shouted at top of voices , laid on icy cliffs, cuddled together and had a great time together at top of world , I mean hills. The cheer was louder than any microphone ever installed , the chemistry showed , and even the shy sun just came out of mist to have a look at the wonderful group which has come to Nandi. He tried hard, but to evade the pearl of friendship, and new face of fun was also unbearable to the Chariot of Light. He tried to do a sneak peek , but we saw him. Someone did snap a picture of the thief , hiding behind fog to participate in the gang. Then it was game, like hide and seek. We would keep our pose and cameras ready , and he would come and go. More often we won , sometime he did. He grew big in size, for first time I was not able to hold it in my hand, for first time its light was more soothing than morning city sun. I wanted to ask him , if he can stay like this forever. A cute sun, which I can look upto and talk. Which will be my friend. I have over a period of few hundred years taken the pictures of sun in its full glory, and more than often I ended with a black spot, but this time it was orange. It did not look angry but playful like us. This time I liked you. This time I know you like me , in fact , I know Mr. Sun , you liked us. You have like the shooting stars blessed us with luck for future , as your son.
With each passing moment, the clock ticked , and then we decided to move on. I had a sense of satisfaction of capturing Sun first thing in the morning. And more happy was I that I sitting at top of the world knew he can see me much better than he ever saw me. And I am sure ,each time from now on , when he wakes up and visits Nandi Hills, he must spare a look to the most wonderful group to rock the rocky mountain. Don’t worry, we will all come again. Moving on, to the end of one side of cliff , where slippery rocks were abundant, but our feet were firm. We went to the edge. And then came in daring Somu to put a foot to the limits. She had gone to limits , and enjoyed every bit possible. Princy and Namita sat on a rock for sometime. After capturing all the glory in eyes , we decided to explore more. Namita stood up, and Princy was still sitting. “ Fevicol ka mazboot jod hai, tootega nahi” , and then we made an observation, that a small tilt and she would go rolling down. This scare was more than enough for her to get up and get rolling.
“Omelet , Maggi and Tea”, came a sound from somewhere and we all rushed to the call of the tea. A few more metres , and there was a temple. Ajit and me remembered this temple since last time ,when we saw something we didn’t like. Well, then we have decided to by-pass same. But this time Neha insisted she would give it a visit , and so if one goes, all follows. Somu decided to stay out on a logical reasoning, and on her insistence , all went alone. The lanes had a pugent smell , but then as I entered the main compound, we saw a big pole, possibly used as a solar clock. But how does they find time when sunshine is not present for most part of day. The people have watches. And here we were informed temple opens at 10 AM , so we let the God sleep and went ahead. There were Namita, Princy, Dheera , Himanshu in front of some small temple. After people prayed , as we were again to depart from the place, there was a sight of pond. People leaving were called back, esp the ones who are in most hurry to run. The steps lead to a small pond , which on first sight seemed to have pure water , but that was a dream short lived. The water was hot , a mirage when in freezing temperatures walking bare foot for few hundred meters, anything would be warm. Finally the next stop MAGGI …. TEA …. EGGS ….
The stall was not very far, and in flick of eye we were in the open shade of Nandi , covered with a thin green net type material. The order was placed , as the confusion always was. For a group of 9, 7 Maggi , 9 Tea, 6 Omelet. This was just the starting. The time has stopped, or we were running. Another one when we sat together, THIS IS NANDI HILLS. This was first time when the feeling had to sink. And then Deepak presented Namita and Namita with a T-Shirt (each a piece). Well , came in first order, and this fellow , Mr. Deepak who had done most of the shouting for no Maggi for him was having Ajit’s Maggi, as Ajit was too busy cleaning up Himanshu’s plate. Soumya was busy taking ownership of Dheera’s tea , while Princy was shifting the green chillies to Namita ( it was actually beans which she realized after finishing the plate). Ashu seemed to be too busy deciding whether to eat bread or the Omelet. Also her one spoon of Maggi from neighours was the only thing more prolonged than the order list we gave. Then another round of Tea and other stuff. This time Deepak took custody of extra tea ,which he shared with Namita, despite repeated protests from the rival camps trying to eye our precious tea. The bill of 550 grands was a bit surprise for a group as we are, was not the first time neither unexpected. Paying the bill and moving out, the waiter asked us to wait till the amount was cleared. Well , I paid more than the bill amount, but he was worried of the some extra. And he got it.
Next was Nandi Bull Temple , possibly the hill getting the name because of same, or because of hill name, a temple built. I don’t know and I don’t even care. As we moved out , it started to drizzle. In the cold air, when Sun has left us behind on other side of the mountain , we were left facing the hard rain. But did I not tell you , the majestic power of friendship , and its intensity was strong to make a thousand stars break. And same thing happened, another fulfilled wish.Somu started singing a beautiful song , joined by me. But Ajit and Himanshu get missing. All went ahead , but Ashu stopped for them. And then Deepak and Ashu looked for them. They soon came , and we were back on track to the unprotected boundary of slippery rocks and broken walls, possibly broken to let us enjoy the beauty because it seemed distinct possibility the English attack at Tipu’s tenure were strong enough to shoot it down.
( to be continued … )