When everything is in your control, your life seems great. You can do what you need to, when you need to with predictable outcomes. If you are taken out of that organized lifestyle and put on an unknown path with a time limit to reach your destination, and your quest is spiced up with very less food, bad weather, poor visibility, and no end in sight then that becomes another situation altogether. You then have to resign to only one thing – your DESTINY!
This was the essence of a trip that I undertook during the last two days covering hundreds of kilometers with my family to a non descript location a few tens of miles of a fairly populated hill station – all from a concrete jungle infested with information technology professionals much like locusts eating up all the produce in a field and leaving it empty. The upcoming festival weekend only meant a long holiday and a certainity of unavailability of any room in any resort anywhere in Karnataka thanks to the smartness of the above mentioned locusts of the city.
So this time, my ploy was different – but a rather tried and tested one – with accurate results – that of using up the weekend days to make this trip possible when the locusts were busy elsewhere working away. In a situation where you have a couple of young kids, planning is of utmost importance for their comfort. My analogy of the kids being able to cover about a 150 odd km range in three hours or so as a maximum threshold at any given point of time proved to be right beyond which enjoyment turns into hunger, sleep and frustration. A brief halt at Mysore for the night proved to be useful to bring the kids back to a calm state of mind.
The next morning was fresh and the journey continued towards Nanjangudu, Gundelpet and Bandipur. For those harried souls of the information technology kingdom, whose only source of inspiration is a wallpaper on their laptop showing a never ending road with the mountains far beyond and only yourself to drive through – the above said highway would be the actual representation of such a wallpaper! This stretch of highway is a treat to the eyes and to the mind. For those who travel extensively one would not debate on the fact that distance and time are inseperable. You have to keep your eyes on the clock, and keep the vechile at a certain designated speed in order to reach a certain place in a certain defined timeframe! For these kinds of people the Nanjangud-Bandipur highway is a place to step on the gas!
When you enter the Bandipur forest area with the sole intention of ripping through forest land like a vagabond, the government has ensured that you give respect to the rightful owners of the land there – the animal kingdom of bandipur. India is a country where when people are said of certain things to follow – they do exactly the contrary. So there is only but one option left – keep crippling your enthusiasm until you start behaving properly and predictably. I was referring to the innumerable road humps in the Bandipur-Masinagudi highway which kill your enthusiasm just when you go past the 80kph mark to throttle upto 100 and beyond, much like if you receive a phone call in the middle of an intercourse 🙂
You really know when Karnataka ends and Tamil Nadu begins. Much like a climate change would let you know the difference, here the road conditions change for the worse as soon as you enter Tamil Nadu. Without much to do along this stretch, as the number of kilometeres on the boards begin to decrease towards a certain hill station originally inhabited by the (yea you know who) britishers, the adrenalin begins to increase. It is then that you are welcomed by a huge mountain in front of you, with a head spinning 36 hair pin bend road that leads you straight to the top – if you are lucky enough.
This stretch of road is the best to test a car that you own or want to own. Forget all the useless test drives and the customary question Sir, so how was the test drive – just take the car to this road. The last time I took a Ford Figo it stopped on hair pin bend 26/36. In first gear. Just like that. It gave up. It wouldnt go forward even when Maruti 800s, altos didnt give up. Agreed this was a diesel but still the manners were ridiculous. And Ford says it is celebrating the sales of lakhs of units of a car that just gives up on the owner. Dear Ford, its perhaps time to take your vehicles up this curve and see for yourself what you are selling.
This was my second go on this road, this time with the Nissan Sunny Diesel and at 26/36 I was naturally a worried person. The feeling was one of frustration but thankfully the vehicle drove past all the way upto 36/36. It was not an impressive climb, but nevertheless it was completed. There was a feeling of euphoria of having reached Ooty or Ootacamund or Udhagai or Udhagamandalam and having neared the destination – only to understand that my destiny was something else. A thunderstorm with hardly 100m of visibility with rain lashing on the car from all sides. Just few tens of miles before it was as hot as hell and now this!? Google had advised me the route to the destination as just less than a mile ahead only for me to understand that it went horribly wrong for once. My destiny was 30 more km ahead. Google has this habit of saying take slight right and then turn left and this led me to a small road off the actual highway. Only later that I understood that this is just googles way of saying stay put on the same damn highway until there is actually a reasonably visible large right turn.
You must remember that in Ooty its best to ask people locally or rely on your own intuition than to choose Google maps as there are some really narrow roads that may or may not lead anywhere as your destiny is defined. After about 25kms of drive towards a place called avalanche (or avalaanchi) and further inside emerald town, I hit upon two bridges as advertised on the resort route map – one without water on both sides, and one with water on both sides – the latter being the emerald dam. Then I had to pass the White house (unfortunately obama was out and i couldnt meet him) towards two sign boards that brought me to my destiny – The Destiny Farm Stay!
In my next post I will share with you my view of the resort or holiday destination as offered by the Little Earth Group – Destiny.