This is the third time, I was going to attempt the Rajmachi trek. Done it twice with varying results. Four years back, with three friends (hostel room mates), wearing slippers and floaters, started early in the morning up to waterfall, stood beneath the water which washed through your head and then climbed up again. A good four hour climb with that big waterfall break, a simple route. Three years back, went up the simplest route, a nice sweet walk from Khandala going 4 hours smooth. That year, coming down was the adventure. Got stuck because we couldn't speed it up to reach the base before sundown and hence were lost and thus were rescued by the police (really!). Went with three female friends and one male friend that year. Each time enjoying everything about the experience, even the harrowing parts. The food is simply terrific up there, the village is ubercool, the lake, the vast surrounded-by-sahyadris is an experience not to be missed out on. Then no trek for a year and another. This year, in this eternally lukkha state decided to do it again.
Accompanying me was the only common male friend from the last two treks. This time we decided to scale up the mountain from the tougher Karjat side, stay up there for the night and start early morning on the Lonavala side.
What has changed in the subject between the last trek and this one: I have lost all possible sources of exercise from my life. I have gained more than ten kilograms in pure fat and not even an ounce of protein. I wore shorts and short sleeve t-shirt this time as compared to ankle length cargoes from the last two trips.
The guide whom we hired to take us up the trail (which we thought was a must-do after getting lost the last time) wanted to get back as soon as possible, so he took us up the fastest and the steepest and the water-less-est route up. There was only twice that we encountered the mountain water, one in a stream and the other at the small pool reservoirs that had been built since ancient ages. Some ubercool storage technology it was which I didn't bother to as about. Why? Because, I was dying. Yes, quite simple, I was. I had begun to hear Enya singing. I had begun to see the darkness creep in and the light flash. I began to see the distant light calling me toward itself and the jungle beats of the blood pounding through veins in my ears. With the increased lard in my body, breathing and carrying myself was becoming more and more of a problem as the path got steeper. No water meant no clean feeling, the sweat due to no rain and high humidity, the increasing mud sticking to the feet and the bugs came complimentary. Super mosquitoes in strange colours and still terrible were these strange 8 shaped bugs which stuck to your skin and immediately started sucking blood. You hit them away 2 seconds late and you can see blood trickle down your feet. They were some of the most encouraging things to happen which made me keep my feet moving.
My feet had stopped trusting my brain, my feet had become sure that the brain had lost its sensibilities about knowing what is good for the whole body. There were huge fights betweent he various communication signals from the feet, the ankles, the legs and the thighs. Each had their own story and their own complaints. The ankle would perceive the road and move ahead and wanting to bend. The feet wouldn't want to hit the shapeless rocks and would veer a little left or right, the thigh had its own no-stress policy and so all would move in some weird direction. All this while my mind was busy concentrating on my breathing because it would just go out of control and the heart would start pounding. Well, sitting for a couple of minutes after some climbing and so on and so forth finally we crossed the fencing which would lead straight to the village with no climbing. The legs relieved just decided to go with the flow. The autopilot was switched on and they just kept following the trail. For that last jig before the fence, I had mustered the last bit of my energy. Post that sudden burst, I suddenly heard my friend scream and howl, I was already hearing wild drum beats in my ears and my whole body was drenched in sweat, with that sudden howl, my heart received a sudden jolt and for a moment as my eyes widened, I thought the end was there and then.
As soon as I sat down at the villager's cottage and tried to bend my leg to sit: CRAMP! The whole leg muscle switched position and not just one small part like usually. I was rocking on my back at that moment, unable to move my leg an inch. In a few minutes, and a few strokes of massage by the bottom of my hot tea cup the cramp started to relax and the limping phase began. Well, post this as the sun began to set, the greens began to light up and the happiness began to sink in. The natural green beauty relaxed us a little. Soothed and the pain dissolved or rather not responded to by the brain, the sleep was deep and quick. Oops, forgot the mentioned the SLURRPPP dinner there. Cabbage and wild mushrooms cooked into bhaji, unfortunately no rice or naachni bhaakri, we had to make do with chapaati. The daal was simply kick ass! The breakfast next day was kaanda poha and chaay.
Post breakfast, we walked to the lake up there near a shiva temple. Lord Shiva was generous to us and the green peace was experienced again while we were surrounded by valleys and mountains. That's the beauty of a trek, green peace. Well, we started the descent at 9.15 in the morning. The smooth awesome road, legs on autopilot knowing well that rational thought was beyond people who came to trek so they didn't argue with my mind anymore. Luckily, the road was smooth and a walk so no brain usage was required at all. It took us about 4 hours to weave through a few mountains and reach the exit point on the Khandala-Lonavala highway. We crossed a few tragic sights where the invasion of mankind into this awesome smooth and green walk had begun. They're building one of those cunt tourist damns like Bushi dam to hold a reservoir there. So soon, the walk will become ugly and dirty and terrible. I will want to carry a shotgun the next time I walk that road. It will be a good hunting zone for me, to kill all those screaming bastards who would be screaming while sitting on a concrete dam with water flowing there like a concrete waterfall, bastards! Wannabes! Go to the real waterfall up ahead pussies!
Well, the good part was that it rained quite heavily on the walk back. So basically, we experienced every part of a trek in this one (as it always happens with Rajmachi.) Thankfully, Shreeji had the stubborn brains to get us back via the Volvo from Lonavala and unlike me, he didn't want to come back by Asiad. He said, "Fuck it, even if it's double the price, let's just go!" Well half my brain was thanking him and half of it was cursing him. That must've been the Gujju Baniya half.
Must go back, must go back! But before that, must lose weight, must lose weight! My life is worth just two and half hours man! I shouldn't have been alive!