Asides

We will not let exam results decide our fate

I have never been a fan of how the education system works. Some may disagree, but most colleges don’t function like how Harvard or MIT does.

With that thought in mind I watched this video a couple of months ago and it completely changed the way I thought about everything. It made me see that the society is based of hypocrites and we must learn to disregard them and just do what we do best, no matter what that is.

This video is for everyone. So, spare 5 minutes and give it a watch. I promise you, it’ll be worth your time.

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A vacation that changed everything ( PART 1 )

It was hardly three days and yet I seem to have enough memories for a lifetime. Three days of enduring pain, nausea, the chilly winds and the hot sun, my group of 18 friends plus me, came back home from places which were a little closer to heaven along with an uncanny feeling of euphoria.

It all started with planning a trip to this place called Kodachadri, which is supposed to be this magnificent place for every nature enthusiast. The trip was planned out to be for about three days and two nights. 7 girls and 12 guys, all from the same university, but half of them had never even spoken to each other before all this “planning”.

So, despite all the awkward and the egoistic “let them talk to us about it first” moments which arose between the guys and the girls, we finally agreed upon the plan. 

1st day – Kodachadri -> trek -> enjoy the sunset -> guest-house -> try to stay awake.

2nd day – Trek 2kms further up the hill -> watch the sun rise -> trek down -> kollur temple -> kundapur beach -> dinner -> home.

Simple, right?          

WRONG!!

That plan which was laid out was probably the 100th plan which was made, after making changes to it, adding new places, etc, etc., some places which were previously agreed upon suddenly seemed like the worst place to go. And so, after researching the places, the plan for the first day was finalized and guess what!! The plan for the 2nd day was actually finalized while we were enjoying the 1st day’s plan.

That was not all. Many people dropped the “I don’t think I can make it. I’m sorry” bomb in the 11th hour. After loads of torment experienced, 19 out of 21 people agreed to go on the trip.

And so, on a beautiful, cold thursday, our journey began after 3 hours of boring lectures in the college.

31ST OCTOBER, 2013,     9:00pm.

We all met at Yashaswini’s place along with a few concerned parents. All the usual “please be carerful” talks went on among the parents and us. Some of us were completely distracted during those talks ( especially me 😛 ) and some did listen. 

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After performing a traditional “have a safe trip” ritual, we all boarded the bus. Shrishti and Suhas took the responsibility of being the Chief Financial Officers throughout the trip. You know, managing money, paying bills for lunches, breakfasts, etc., with the money they’d collected from everyone before boarding the bus. 

And so, our journey began with a scream from everyone.

There’s not much to tell about that night. It was mostly travelling and we played a few games. Finally, after a few hours, everyone dozed off, except for Suhas who kept having regular conversations with the driver because he thought that the driver would fall asleep 😛

1ST NOVEMBER, 2013              

We reached this crappy hotel in the morning. We had been given two rooms. One for the boys and one for the girls. We ALL had to get ready in an hour and get back into the bus to go to this OTHER place for breakfast.( I thought we were in a hotel too ). Anyway, so, surprisingly, we all did get ready in an hour.

So, we reached this other place where we all had our breakfast. This hotel guy who was with us since two hours told us that we were supposed to reach a particular place where our bus would be loaded on to a launch to cross the water body, to get to the other side, where our trek would begin.

After a half hour’s journey, we reached the launch, only to find out that there were a dozen other cars and bikes waiting in line to get on it. The launch was Government operated and apparently, the highest priority was given to the locals. And our gang, with shades and nickers and 3/4ths on, did NOT look like the locals. So, we had to wait. We tried getting this guy to influence the launch operator into letting our bus in the launch, but it just didn’t work.

There was nothing left to do. We just ran towards the huge water body and picked up stones and started showing off our “skipping stones” skills. That was just Sanjay and me at first and then everyone joined. The place was ideal for photographs. Pavan was totally immersed in it. Suhas climbed on top of our bus to get a signal on his phone, just to try his luck by calling that “influence guy”. It still didn’t work.

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Half an hour would pass and the launch would return and we would all get hyper, so did the other people who were waiting to get on it. Before our driver could get the bus near the launch, three other cars got past it and we would lose our turn. This happened four-five times. So, thats about 2.5 hours wasted. We HAD to get on the other side as soon as possible. Otherwise, we would start the trek late and we would definitely miss the sunset. It was about 12, I guess, and it certainly looked like we wouldn’t make it in time for the sunset, because we had to finish our lunch and then trek all the way to the peak of a hill, which would take almost four hours, or probably more.

In the meantime, everyone played around with water, splashing it at everyone. Shrishti ruined my shirt by splashing muddy water at me. And I taught her how to skip stones!!! 😛   Suhas, Vaishnavi, Sanjay and a few others played stick cricket. Not the mobile game. Literally, stick cricket. Aprameya could NOT stop posing for the billionth picture. We all just assumed that it was for his girlfriend to see how cool his trip was, and him ofcourse. After we missed the launch for the third time, I started to get dizzy for it was REALLY sunny and stayed back near the bus. One of my depressing moods was triggered due to a very unfortunate event which is best left un-discussed. So I stayed back, waiting for the launch, looking at the serene waters and the green plains behind it.

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After a hundred photos taken 

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and enjoying the theppa ride ( it’s basically a small, round boat ),

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the launch returned and we. got. on. it. FINALLY. We were all relieved. We screamed and then got on the launch.

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It took us to the other side and there we met our trek guide. We had to travel a little bit via, the bus to reach this place where we would begin our trek.

We HAD to have lunch before we started trekking. So, we stopped at this small hotel in Nittur, where everyone had their lunch and were packed with energy again. After continuing the little travel to the trek’s initial point, we were all told to put all our wallets and cell phones in one bag, which one of us would carry. It was just that the trek would get really messy and all the phones and wallets would get ruined. So we put all our wallets and phones in a water-proof bag, which Suhas carried the rest of the way. He just wouldn’t let anyone else carry it for him  -_-

And so, our trek began. 

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The first three or four kilometers were boring and it was just a muddy path. Suhas and I were cursing the guide for a totally un-adventurous trek. We reached this primitive house, where we all drank fresh water which was available there. And then, after splashing the water again at each other, the guide told us that the “actual” trek would begin FROM that point and when it actually begins, we would be wishing for the boring, old muddy path.

Man-o-man, was he right. 

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We trekked and trekked. Muddy paths no more, but only the rocky, slippery and rough paths. After trekking for about 5 kms, we came across a small waterfall. it was ecstatic and we all just ran towards it. Some slipped and some helped them get on it properly. Pavan was again immersed in taking everyone’s pictures.

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 We had to go further up. Still a lot of ground to cover. From then on, it was only uphill. Literally. 

Then we found out that that waterfall was the base of the actual waterfall we were heading to. It was called Hidlumane falls. We got more excited and didn’t stop. People began to lose their balance, started slipping more, leeches latched on to a few hands and legs. Shrishti was fearlessly climbing, quicker than the guys. The heights started to scare the shit out of me. I held onto Kavya and I told her honestly that in-case I fell, I’d pull her down with me. She’s crazy anyway. The world wouldn’t lose anything 😛

On the way to this primary waterfall, Suhas sprained a leg and he was being stalled. Four other guys had to support him to get him through that uphill. And they did. We reached the waterfall and what a sight it was.

We RAN towards it, jumped into the freezing water and screamed our asses off.

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 It was certainly more than ecstatic. The cold water hitting you on the back, the spray of the water covering your face to the point where you can’t see but just laugh. It was all amazing.

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 Sanjay was crazy all this time. Jumping after his cap to save it.

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 We just couldn’t get enough of the beauty of nature’s right hand. We didn’t want to move from there.

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 But, we had to. We still had a chance to watch the sun set. So, we got going. The path got more rough and more angular, making it harder to climb. 

After a while, we got past the rough paths and came across a valley. We were on it. That was the final stage of the trek. No rough paths, just a ridiculous uphill. NOT easy. Suhas and I were on the lead. We were past everyone. We just had to cover about 2 kms to get to the peak of that hill to watch the sun set.

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 It started to get REALLY hard. I couldn’t move 2 feet further without resting twice. My legs started to give up. I wasn’t thirsty, I just wanted to rest. But I couldn’t. If I made it, this would be an actual achievement. And I’d be really proud that I did it. So, I got going. Suhas was about five-six feet further. We reached the peak, only to discover that the actual peak was about a kilometer further. Still an uphill. I couldn’t go further AT ALL. Everyone else were being stalled for the same reason. But, I kept taking regular one-minute-rest intervals and climbed further.

Suhas finally made it there. He screamed his ass off. I would reach there in about 3 minutes. He didn’t wait. He continued walking along the path. It was normal ground by then.

And then, I reached. After great difficulty, I got up there and glanced at the setting sun. It was B-E-A-UTIFUL. I was alone there. Suhas went up further. There was another point, a higher point to watch the sunset.

I stopped at the first sunset point for a while. Everything that I had done in my entire life, all the significant ones seemed so insignificant. I remembered all the times I was an ass, all the times I was a pushover, all the times i went through, uphills and downhills, EVERYTHING came before me. And all I could do was cry. I burst out crying, looking at the bright, orange sun. I apologized to my mom right there. I screamed, still looking at the sun. After those moments of tears, I smiled. Everything seemed to make sense now. Vishnu got there next. He saw me crying and was surprised.

“Why’re you getting so emotional??”

“I dunno. It doesn’t matter anymore.” I said, smiling at him and pointed at the sun.  

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“Goutaaaaaaam!!! come on up here. This is better.” Suhas yelled from the second sunset point. 

Vinay came next. Followed by Sanjay and madhu. We climbed further to the second point. That was getting harder again. After about ten minutes, we reached the peak. The final peak. And the sun couldn’t have been more beautiful.

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It was breathtaking. In a few minutes, the sun would set. Vinay came running and peed in the grass. We had to warn everyone not to walk over there because Vinay had just peed there. Very few actually made it this far. The rest were still at the first sunset point, with the guide.

We were the lucky ones who saw the sun set.

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 And what happens everyday in our daily lives, suddenly seemed so spectacular. The sun set and a deep sense of accomplishment surged through me. And the ones who made it till that point were all content.

The ones who didn’t make it, took another route and we met them after walking downhill. We drank fresh stream water. It was unbelievably fresh and incredibly pure.

We moved on, walking to get on a jeep and head to our guesthouse which was booked by us and it was a few kilometers away. On the way, Supreeth and I pulled a prank on Suhas and the other guys. We both just lay down among the tall grass. It was dark and they started looking for us, panicking. They found us and we all had a good laugh. Kavya let her hair down and switched on the torch from under her face. NOTHING COULD HAVE BEEN MORE SCARY. I wish I had that picture. But this is the closest one. Kavya is the second one from the left, wearing the blue sweater. Incredibly fair 😛

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Anyway, we got on the jeeps and headed towards the guesthouse. When we did reach it, we were confused and disappointed. It wasn’t a guesthouse. It was more of a house. An old house. An old, dirty, sickening house. We considered other places for accommodation, but we had to pay these “guesthouse” owners who had already prepared food for us anyway. So, we decided to stay there. 

We looked up at the sky and it was star-filled. The sky was actually completely filled with stars. Not something you see everyday in Bangalore. Anyway, a few of us, including me, decided not to eat anything which the guesthouse people had prepared because the place looked so unhygienic. So, Shrishti, Kavya, Suhas and I settled with baked buns and some spicy mixture.

Many of them slept. The guys, especially. A few of us were awake. And my depressed mood was triggered again. Again, it is best left un-discussed 😛  A few others noticed this and wanted to know what was wrong and I simply said “nothing” and tried to sleep, but VARUN was not letting me sleep because of his snoring, which he plainly denied and blamed Aprameya for it 😀

After playing some random game, which also included Kavya putting on her ghost-like avatar again and scaring the shit out of everyone, the ones who managed to stay awake, slept.