Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Road trip

You know you are driving in Tamil Nadu when you see a signboard that says “Toll Booth” in Tamil, Hindi and English and you notice that the Hindi bit is neatly blackened out. Ah well! Nice start to a road trip, I say sarcastically. And immediately I am accused of not being a true Tamizhan by my fellow passengers. Thankfully, it was all just friendly banter.

And that was how the trip began. It was a typical ecoLogin trip – until the last moment I didn’t know the destination. Nor did I know when we would be starting off. So I had my bags packed and ready, just in case. And like I had anticipated, the call came at the eleventh hour asking me to get going. So at an ungodly hour in the morning, we set off for Kolli Hills and Salem. Below is a list of random musings from the trip:

Chandru, our CFO, is a deeply devout man. It was quite apparent from the fact that we stopped at more than one temple to break coconuts for the Gods. And it worked; our trip was largely accident-free and incident-full.

Though I am from Kerala, I realized over this trip that I prefer Tamil Nadu’s landscape. It is so much more varied. There are so many more hues of greens, blues and browns.

Hairpin bends and I don’t get along well. I am always chanting the Hanuman Chalisa on any trip to the hills. The 70 hairpin bends at Kolli Hills, however, were more exhilarating than scary.

Eating fresh pineapples on the hill-top is definitely one thing I wanted to do before I died. I just crossed that off my list. J

Dancing in the rain at a farm is another one on my “Things to do before you die” list. I crossed it off after my rain dance during a storm at a farm in Tiruchengode.

Ditto for cooking up for a big bunch. I hate cooking, but strangely, loved every moment of the cooking I did with Balaji’s mother at Tiruchengode. I made chapattis for the entire team. And they came out in pretty good shape.

Team meetings at twelve in the night. Nothing new. Except that instead of a boardroom, we were sitting on the floor of well-wisher and activist Piyush’s house in Salem

Riding on the back of Piyush’s jeep was definitely THE highlight of the trip. We stood on the back and waved at the villagers, saluting at little children along the way. Full on Rang De Basanti feelings,

A walk in the stream, buttermilk and green mangoes can be a heady combination. Especially after a short trek on a sweaty April morning.
Kambu koozhu (Jawar porridge) is an acquired taste. And I am yet to acquire it.

Team meetings at two in the afternoon are even more usual. Except this time, it was in the middle of a forest, with a stream flowing by. The temptation to jump into the stream was hard to resist.

So yeah, now I know better – always expect the unexpected on an ecoLogin trip.

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