August 2008 :- Flashback 1
Last year i was lucky to witness one of the spectacles of nature. Dudhsagar was flooding. The mist gave it a magical touch. It was as if the water was falling into the clouds.The railway bridge was barely visible. I knew that i will never witness that spectacle in my life.
August 2009 :- Flashback 2
People who had come for Dudhsagar I, were planning for Dudhsagar II. I was a bit sceptical whether to go for it or not.My sinusitis is like a nagging wife who never lets you do anything valuable in life(have done around 10 treks with this). But i divorced my sinusitis and decided to go for it.
14th August 2009
Boarded the Chennai – Vasco (7311) express at Banaswadi station with Peter and Madhu K and some hijras. Masked men and woman (because of the media sponsored swine flu promotion) were moving around like puppets in Yeshwantpur railhead. Madhukar,Bishu , jaggu and some unknown people were waiting, with all trekking stuff and MTR ready to eat cartons.The train spitting out diesel induced smoke chugged out of the station at 9.45 pm.
As it always happens, i was not able to sleep.I was waiting for Tumkur station to enter the trains path.Idly served in plantain leaves tastes great here.I grabbed two of it with my foodie partner Madhu K.
“Train journeys are always romantic- the constant vibrations set to the tune of the engine’s roar.”
15th August 2009
Reached Hubli at around 6.15 am , could hear the Hubli accented Kannada. After Hubli the landscape changes dramatically.It is greener than the green of the parakeet’s feather.Belgaum district is know for its monsoon greenery.I sat at the compartment door taking in the feast unfolding before my eyes.
- The terrace farming induced paddy fields
- Small patches of forest
- Overflowing rivers
- Wetness everywhere
- Red Earth
Then came Londa. The VADA PAV town, i tasted my first vada pav here last year.Off course i ran out to grab some vada pavs.We reached Castle rock at around 9.30 am. This is the last station before the train climbs the Braganza Ghat section.Three engines haul the train through the ghat section.If its a goods train it is five engines.These engines are attached at Londa.I scrambled to catch hold of the door to get a view of Dudhsagar and to allow the droplets of the mist to kiss my wordly skin.Madhukar joined me at the door. Last year we had trekked from Castle rock to Dudhsagar
Familiar views greeted us
- The falls inside the Moss covered arch
- Mist covered pointed cliffs
- Tiny picture postcard falls
- The falls before which we took a group snap
- Then came the bridge after the tunnel.I was almost hanging out to check the depth. Oooops
“I just wanted to jump off the metal box pulled by mechanical demons and plunge into the Eternal innocence of nature”
- The moss covered fairy tale old Dudhsagar station sticking to the last tunnel before the mighty Dudhsagar unveils itself.
The train plunged into the unevil darkness of the tunnel and came out of it with a inflated ego.The train took a turn and there she was the wailing widow.The sounds of the egoistic engine’s pistons were submerged by the roar of Dudhsagar.It was not full , only about 70% of water was flowing through. Last year it was 110% and hence the magic of the dancing droplets.
We reached Kulem at around 10.30.It was a small idyllic Goan town untouched by the tourism mafia.It dint strike me that it was Aug 15th, Independence day.It was Raghas idea of getting a tricolour with us.That was the first time i held a tricolour in my life. We started trekking along the Railway track. Greif laden dark clouds were hanging above us wanting to burst into tears.
Bishu and me spotted a small virgin falls .We just got into the stream and waded through knee deep water to deflower the virgin falls.By the time the dark clouds had burst into a rain.I ran to cover my so called water resistant bag and wore my so called water resistant jacket.But the sad fact is that both were very hospitable to the rain letting in water and wetting everything. By the time i realised it , Peter offered me a yellow raincoat.
And thus yellow joined the league of green, greenish green, red, blue, and greenish blue of the landscape
49/400 Milestone at Kulem Station (distance of 10 KM)
39/600 Milestone at Dudhsagar
We had Chappati + MTR side dishes without heating at Sonaulim station.Dudhsagar is 3kms from Sonaulim. After walking for some distance i could hear a distant roar.The top part of the falls popped out from behind the vegetation.The roar accompanied me along the track.Now i could see the entire falls along with the bridge.
“It was like a bunch of silk threads getting into the hole of the sewing needle”
After crossing the water curtains of the twin tunnels we reached the falls .I stood before the falls and froze the moments with my camera.Unlike last year i was happy that we can get below the bridge and take a look at the hidden part of the falls.We started to pitch our tents in the dilapilated building opposite the falls (where we had camped last year) it was littered with more liquor bottles.There were traces of exploitation around the falls. Mounds of plastic and liquor bottles
“So one more daughter of nature has been raped repeatedly by my dear alcohol in the blood people”
If trains do not stop there then there are possibilities of saving her.I think next year there will be shops all along the tracks.I have decided never to visit her again.Slept at 10 pm.I was woken up by the thundering cacophony of engines then and now.
16th August 09
Got up at 6 pm.In all my treks early morning scenes have been the most breadth taking and have stayed with me. So i armed with my cam went towards the falls.
“The night had left the mountains wet and had draped it with a misty white cloth.The white cloth started to disintegrate and move in the direction of the wind in the morning to allow the sunlight to crawl over the mountains.It was like a woman’s hair strands sliding from the contours of her face and revealing the symmetry divided by her nose, depression in the chin and lips.”
Some mist was still hanging over the falls and the spray of the falls had added some whiteness to it.I got down the bridge. Madhukar ,madhu ,Bishu were already there below the curve of the bridge taking snaps.The minutest water particles were hitting on us from all directions .
“We were caught in the swirl of the water particles dancing in the air “
Then we strolled towards the dudhsagar station along with Ragha, Rashmi , Chetan. We encountered a lot rapists along the way who were excited about raping Dudhsagar.We crossed the tunnel .The old stone DDS station was eyecatching because of the (Greyish brown+green) combo.Madhu with his Canon 50d was doing wonders there.I went behind the station the view was seducing.The silhouette of a black tree against the haunting landscape.
We enquired the train timings at Dudhsagar station and we decided to come back there with everyone and board the first train (Poona Express) to Kulem.
We reached Kulem railway station at around 11 am and rushed to take a plunge at the nearby river.The wild river was at the entrance of Mahavir national park.I covered my bag with yellow raincoat and undressed.As soon as i got into the river,the sky opened up with a downpour.
Woooooooooow …….What a moment it was for my senses
EAR-The sound of rain + sound of flowing river+ sound of rain droplets kissing the river
SKIN-The feeling of being in the water + rain droplets caressing it
EYES- Millions of depressions created by the falling rain drops on the surface of the river making it porous.
Nose- My sinusitis fear made me jump out of water and dry myself
We had to board the train back to Bangalore at Kulem station by 4.30 pm.The train arrived and our compartment was right next to the Engines which will be hauling the train from behind.Karthick and others had struck up a conversation with one of the railway employee who was travelling in the engine.I asked him whether i can get into the engine.He told its not possible.So i sat next to the door along with Ragha.I kept looking at the employee and whenever the train stopped i asked him in sign language whether i can hop into the engine but in vain.
Taken from the engine
At Caranzol station when the train stopped he suddenly asked us to get into the engine.It was great to travel in the engine.Myself and Ragha were photographing every possible thing inside the engine. We got some great views of the mist covered landscape.But he asked us to get down at Castle rock.At Londa the train stopped for more than 3 hours as the train we had come was heading to Hyderabad and our compartments will be attached to some other train.We tasted all possible things in Londa (bhel was the best of all) .The train started and with a heavy heart and eyes i went to sleep.Train reached Bangalore next morning and i got sucked again into the material world.