At 60 ft above the ground, I am sure it was the highest mountain in the world or perhaps, the second highest right after Mt Everest that is. It was specially selected for us, me and my colleagues for the offsite training that we went through.
The activity was called rappelling. The Instructors made it sound so easy as if we just had to mount and do it. Do it, as in climbing one by one and then coming down with the ropes and the equipments that hung on our waists. It was the second day of the training session and we had to get up early in the morning. To someone who is attuned to doing ‘Surya Namashkar’ facing west, it was a torture to actually get up and see the sun rise from the East and be on time for the activity.
We were 7 women and 15 men out of which, 2 women did not turn up due to long chat sessions in their room, 2 decided to cheer us pertaining to surgery-requiring boils in the hair. So, the modus operandi was that I had to be the first to take it up among women.
I am good at mind games and gossiping as a sport besides badminton. I remember trying to scale the Siroy Hills of Manipur. The Siroy Lily, being the only species in the world, and having read, heard and seen pictures of it, I wanted to witness the solemn beauty with my own eyes. It was a huge success with dad scaling 5 % of its height and shouting words of encouragement from below, “Come Down!!! Come Down!” I went a little more with some of the Junior Telecom Engineers and finally gave up. Dad somehow managed to find out from people that it was the off-season for the Lilies and would be a futile attempt to really go up there, a theory we eagerly bought.
With such a dazzling record behind me, I was set to repeat history again. I knew it was going to be no mean feat but up I went. Initially there were grasses all around but after sometime, I had to climb the rocks with no grasses to hold on to. The Tenzing Sherpa in me got scared. To add salt to my injury, I saw one of the instructors going up and down at least three times as I was still struggling. Panicky, but I managed to reach the top. I intended to wave at my colleagues below, especially to the womenfolk who would be following my steps as an indication that it was easy and I would be coming down with the ropes. I bursted out,” Whoa, I am scared. I cannot do it”, with tears.
I even insisted that one of my male colleagues come down with me, which was against the rule. I was listened to, with empathy but was denied.
The only escape route was the way down, rappelling. The first few steps were really scary. I was told to stand perpendicular to the rock, keep my legs apart, not to bend my knees and release the rope slowly and to take small steps. I was also ensured that even if I release the rope, I would be safe as I was secured with those things hanging on my waist. I clung to dear life and did as told but I held on to the rope, even the one I am supposed to release. The rope can take up to 2500 kgs the instructor said, but you never know, I am just 2455 kgs lesser and there is always a first time. The rope might just snap. I heard some of my colleagues firing instructions from below saying my posture was wrong, to release my hands etc. to which I replied gratefully, ”Shut up!!” at the top of my voice.
I slipped and shrieked and screamed but I reached safely. Rappelling is not a repelling activity after all.
Out in the wild, we went treasure hunting too solving clues. That was one of the most interesting activities. We were back in college, along with the Managers, learning and debating. I won’t elaborate more but I cannot miss this. We were asked to vote for someone who was the life of the training session and ehem!! I was voted. I got a book as a gift from the trainer written in her hand,” Your enthusiasm will carry you a long way.” Now, you know the purpose behind the post.
Even with all the noises around, the resort exuded a wonderful sense of calm.
Been to Uduppi to meet J and family too. She has come home for a few days. Apart from her wedding ring, nothing ever has changed. Chatted the whole day and went to a river near by. Savored the visual delights of the water and felt as though I had all the time in the world to enjoy its beauty. The rain interrupted as it had other plans.
Planning to visit Kerala and Coorg once more and also Pune.