The idea was to cycle to Turahalli forest, it was about 9 km from my place, but for the others, it would be around 35 km one way. As it turns out, my attempts at getting a cycle rented anywhere near here failed miserably, reasons being- one, no one will deliver the cycle this far out of the city and two, there are no rentals nearby. So having vowed to go get a cycle from the city and cycle back next time, I made my way to the forest area at 6 am. I wasn’t very surprised to know the others would be there in another hour, so I explored the town that lay there. Small businesses were slowly starting to open their gates. I grabbed a chai (tea) from a small bakery, sat on the steps below and observed the world around. It was the 100 feet road, which on one side led to Kanakpura road and on the other led to the forest. There were a few multi-storeyed apartments with a view of the forest, small businesses and roadside stalls, a housing colony on one side of the road, and a temple, I later learned it was called the ‘Mahadeshwara Temple’.
After waiting around an hour, I was surprised to be greeted by only two out of the 5-6 people I was expecting- Abhishek and Danish. As it turns out, the rest of the people who were supposed to join had canceled at the last moment. After greetings and explanations, we proceeded to the forest, on foot. I believe it was guilt on being late that propelled them to walk with their cycles, but hey, I wasn’t complaining.
As soon as their cycles were locked and secured, we proceeded into the trail. There was a family who seemed to have just arrived as well. The way seemed pretty straightforward, but I think I forgot for the moment the people I was with. As soon as we started, our attention was caught by huge boulders and immediately I could hear discussions and possibilities of rock climbing from the other two. We diverted to a trail that seemed to lead toward the rocks, but pretty soon discovered it didn’t particularly lead anywhere. So we backtracked and got onto the main route, and continued. Very soon, we saw boulders and a direct path to approach them. “Let’s climb that one, and we can have our sandwiches on the top”, Danish pointed at a boulder that looked difficult to climb to my naive eyes and grinned. Abhishek promptly agreed and proceed to explore ‘how we can climb this rock’, and much to his credit he did. With a little encouragement from the others and a lot of help from Abhishek, I managed to as well (I can’t believe I agreed to it, but yes), and soon Danish was on top too. Abhishek got out the malai-tomato-cucumber sandwiches, and I promptly passed on my tomatoes to Danish (I do not like tomatoes). I took out the orange juice and we looked around the early morning mist and nature that surrounded us as we munched.
It was surprising to find a forest in the middle of a city. Greenery stretched around us, it didn’t feel like we were in Bangalore anymore. It was quieter, fresher and somehow it felt freeing.
“Let’s climb that one next”, my mind sighed internally on hearing those words. The boulder in question, for a normal human being, should have been impossible to climb, but yet again, I was surprised at the sheer determination and undying enthusiasm of my two companions as they scaled the rock. And of course, I had to film their struggle while they were at it. From there, we climbed another one, which seemed to be the highest point there, and settled down for the next batch of sandwiches. And while we ate, we talked about everything from the fauna of the place, theories of evolution and creation, to time travel paradoxes.
From our vantage, we could see a small pond near the temple on some other boulders some distance away. A group of men kept repeatedly hitting a rock there, as we wondered what they were up to. The sound of temple bells occasionally filled the air as local women arrived and left in bunches. It was starting to be late morning, but it felt early. The air was still crisp, morning dew still shone on the grass, and the birds were still chirping. Yes, it still felt like the rest of the world was still lost in the land of dreams. We sat there for a long time, just soaking it all in.
“We should take one of the tomatoes from Anjana’s sandwiches, put it through a twig and plant it here”, said Shankar, much to our amusement and laughter.
Gradually we realized we have more to explore and continued onwards. For anyone reading this, there is a proper trail which normal human beings will make use of to reach the temple, but alas, that was not to be the case with us. We took the most unconventional paths, climbed every other boulder we encountered, made a few leap of faiths and finally reached the temple.
The worshippers and the men working there seemed to have left. The pond was still, but if you looked closely, you could see the snouts of tens of frogs floating above the water, as they remained stationary underneath. There was a magnificent tree a few meters away, with branches that spread far and wide, as though hugging its surroundings. The edge of the enormous flat rock we were on, looked over the forest and into the distant city. A beautiful breeze blew through the trees, greeting us. I took a deep breath, sighed and looked up.
“Sighs deserve hugs and long sighs deserve longer hugs”, the words of a friend echoed somewhere in my mind, as I smiled at the memory.
I looked at the boulder beside the lake, which looked impossible to climb and asked Danish to climb it in jest. And he agreed, much to my amusement, that is ‘after they have finished climbing the tree’. I didn’t think I could roll my eyes further back into my head as I heard it. A monkey and a deer hybrid, I grinned at no one in particular and walked towards them.
The ‘Impossible Rock’ turned out to be deceitfully easy to climb, and quite literally the opposite of impossible. Abhishek called out to me and asked me to join them at the top. As it turns out, the ‘Impossible Rock’, dearly nicknamed by us, had been conquered multiple times, if the multitude of engravings on the tree that grew on top of it was anything to go by. The poor old tree had been grossly mutilated and carved into by who I assume are the young adults of today, as Danish attempted to read out the letters. Now that there was a tree on top of the ‘Impossible Rock’, of course, it had to be climbed. And this time, owing to the ease of it, I joined in on the ‘monkey business’.
A little more exploring, and soon we were on our way back, this time thankfully through the original, existing trail. A short walk downhill, a few butterflies and touch-me-nots later, we were back to where we started.
Picture Courtesies: Abhishek, Danish.
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