Thursday, February 11, 2010

Agasthyarkoodam Trip - Part II

By the time we started it had become almost noon and all the 4 groups allowed for this day had proceeded with the designated guides, leaving us without anyone to guide or protect us. All the more better! Pakaran was making his 9th trip and we were pretty much confident in him. Going without a guide could prove to be a blessing so we could do as we pleased – though I must certainly admit it was dangerous.

We followed the official trail for some distance and then Pakaran took a detour. He said he would take us to the Bona Falls which is a waterfall in the middle of the forest a little far away from the official path. It was near here where last year’s tragedy had taken place and so it was strictly forbidden for anyone to go near the falls. Anyway it was apparent that the way we were going was through thick forest and there was absolutely no trail of any kind. Or any sign of water or a stream let alone a waterfall. Our confidence in Pakaran quickly turned into skepticism and then doubt and then fear as we went deeper into the forest and had to climb over or crawl under fallen trees as it became more and more silent all around. I have been to many forests and I have heard elephants and other animals roar. They are frightening but absolute silence is eerily more frightening that the deafening roar you expect to hear in a forest.

Every few steps we would ask “Brother, is this the right way?” and he would simply say “Follow me” without saying yes or no. Now that answer makes you very uncomfortable because you don’t know whether he knows the way or he too is lost. I mean if he just said “Yes this is the way” or at least “No we are lost” we would have felt better. Knowing you are lost is definitely better than not knowing whether you are lost or not. And so we continued our journey wondering what lay ahead.

(To be continued...)

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