It has been said very true that “to witness best of the scenes one has to have the zest and the zeal to travel outstation”. Well, travelling is just a reason to go out and explore. This summer lets treat ourselves with something which is least seen.
Hills have forever attracted all sorts of travelers from different parts of the world. They remain on the topmost list of every traveler especially in the times when one wants to take a break from scorching and exhausting summer and work schedules. The soothing and pristine experience makes us dwell in the serenity of mountains.
Talking about one such journey I share my experiences of Kundadari, a place 15kms away from Agumbe in western Karnataka. Kundadari hill has one of oldest Jain temples in the region. It is oldest because it was built during the Mauryan Empire. Leaving the history aside we will talk about the natural beauty of this place. Kundadari is no doubt a place which left us spell bound and wondering that how nature treats itself and its creatures in such a wonderful manner. We left from surathkal on a day trip to kundadari hill to see the beautiful sunset. In the midway we took a hault at a roadside government liquor shop to buy some. As soon as we enter the green unbroken belt of Agumbe (place where Malgudi days was shot), we can smell the freshness of mist in the air. It was amazing how we reach till the top of kundadri hill in presence of smog as thick as two layers of coverlet. Reaching till the top where ancient temple is standing erect on a huge rock seems like a tough task, initially we faced difficulty due to high pressure of air and then for our surprise it started raining. Rains in this region are common and uncertain. We also had to stop and wait for our friends on different bikes because it is said that whole of the region is a naxalite area and leaving friends behind would not be safe. However after struggling for finding the right way and not loosing track of our friends we reached on the top.
By the time it had become little dark and we did not want to waste another minute and recollected ourselves to ascend towards the temple, which was a few steps away from parking base. Our destination was worth the wait and the painful journey on uneven roads. The view we captured amused me and my friends. There was one old aged priest who performed aarati and waited for us to leave. While we were all feeling blissful with the exotic scenery and smog coming towards the top from all over the valley and distance, the pujari warned us that be careful about this place as it would be dangerous to stay here after sunset. Ignoring him we kept ourselves busy in the scenery again for next 5 minutes when we heard a loud call from the parking base. We decided to corrupt that pujari by paying him off. Considering that inducement always helps, in India particularly. He did not agree on an initial settlement but later he agreed to let us stay for 15 more minutes.
We actually had no idea how precious those 15 minutes are going to be because after sunset that place got completely covered by clouds. Ah! It is hard to explain the thrill of that moment. It was pitch dark and we all were scared too so left behind the anticipation of witnessing something paranormal. On our way back there were barely any vehicles. So we had to rush too because crossing the NO Trespassing zone was important as while going we had skipped a checkpoint. Six of us were travelling on three bikes. Suddenly what we see ahead of us around seven to eight police commandos with AK47 were standing in a straight row to block our way. Feeling the sensitivity of the situation we all stopped mid way as they started heading towards us. “Good that you stopped otherwise we might have shot you”, was the first thing we all heard from one of them. The whole freaking world seemed to be fading in front of our eyes. One of my friends gathered all his courage and went to talk with them. None of us know what trick he did or was it his ability to charm people that within 5-7 minutes he came back to us and told that they are asking us to come to the police station for crossing the check post or otherwise pay 2000 bucks. It was simple yet again that we could leave after paying them but we had only 1000 bucks. It was a hell lot of money at that time because we needed cash for refueling our bikes. Those commandos started pushing him in their gypsy and then we decided to pay the money off and leave. Anyways somehow my brave friend got us out of that problem and came back to us smiling. As we left that place had un-resisted urge of drinking. We were carrying whisky mixed 7up with us so now we found a secluded place where we parked our bikes and started drinking. Thanks to my same brave heart friend that he suggested us to keep the bikes on so as if something happens we can leave as fast as we can. It felt like some action and suspenseful movie was going on with us for real, that same gypsy took a turn in the secluded lane where we were drinking. There was no other option than to throw away the bottles and save our asses once again. We accelerated our bikes and took a different route. En route to our final destination there was not a single restaurant, not even a dhaba. We were lucky to find a small kiosk and a dhaba in the plains. I can still not forget the taste of the tea and dosa we had over there, of course we all were having that because we are alive and safe now. Huh! How a small mistake or say a moment of fun can lead us towards most serious problems; finally after reaching home all of us felt thankful towards god and our friend who was the hero of the day.
Remembering that adventurous journey and sharing this experience thrills me a lot even after a year of that episode, in a hope that I might get to experience many more such journeys with the same gang of friends.
A lot has been written and talked about politics. We, as citizens always criticize the political system in India, we complaint about the system almost every time before and after we cast our votes. Being in the system and having a balance between too many things seems like a tough mountain to conquer. Alas! Almost every big and small politician in our country today talks about religion, corruption, security, poverty and every small-big issue which have always been there in the country, perhaps will always be! Talking and discussing about such issues and vehemently opposing the other team players is the favorite game of our ministers. Now days we come across another big issue; that is politics of discrimination, why I said politics of discrimination is because the acts of our dear political leaders have always been an assail to different religions. If for instance we look back in history we will come to know why it’s important to mention about the discrimination by politicians. Several years have passed since independence, and still we keep talking about the “India of our dreams” idea of some parties. Is it important to have a brand new India or to have a country free from violence and discrimination? We might ignore some social issues but appeal for votes by politicians in the name of religions is not acceptable. Lately in Hyderabad a minister in his speech was talking about Gujarat riots and role of Hindu Minister in it, what had brought this issue into the picture was his rage against Hinduism, it was not against the minister. In counter tack he got same response from the Hindu minister.
In all what happened was that the religions got tainted in the dirty games of politics. Commoners never get any benefit from their votes. Their right to vote remains just “used” rights by respectful leaders. Yet discrimination is made upon sex, upon classes, upon regions and so on. Politicians try to portray their image like they are saints, they maybe, we cannot discriminate between two such leaders. But the reality is what is seen. The outcome always remain shallow, there is absolutely no foundation laid in the post election period by the ruling party. The promises made so far are nowhere seen to completion. Development creep at a snail’s pace, poverty remains intact to poor and to those too who are not so poor. What happens to the country is witnessed by all but we are all from the same society, we learn to tolerate. Politicians torment us till the verge of broken vertebrae of the system and the people outside the system. Well, logically we all belong to the same system of unfavorable norms. We set rules for us, we follow them, and we force others to follow the same rules which are harsh. Indeed it is a big responsibility and a duty for all of us to not to follow the politics which discriminates between people and religion. The only way in which full democracy can be achieved is by being democratic and not letting ourselves ruled by uncanny and unlawful politicians. If we compare different political parties there will be numerous flaws which are noticeable. Recently an additional statement by one of the leading party’s minister in Uttar Pradesh was given that rape victim girls should be hanged too.
This statement unveils the frame of mind of people in our society. It is really unfortunate that the discrimination and sexist comments from such people remain as it is and we, as responsible people are bound to let it happen with. Tolerating the discrimination done by these politicians has no effect on either society or on the politics. Rather it should be discarded by the mighty society and enforcement of discriminating acts in any way should not be accepted.