Finally after a lot of struggle getting people to come along and after a lot of hype and hoopla with 100’s of messages a single amongst the group members we have finally completed our Bandipur trip .
IT was a different experience perse. Since I have never been out with 25 other people. To find common interests that will keep everyone engaged is one hell of a challenge.
We started off early morning Staurday night . IN the wee hours in the morning I stood out side Leela Palace here on Airport road. We were supposed to gather in Bellandur in one of our friends places. In fact more than one stay there
We took some precooked food like parathas and Alooo ki subzi to be had as breakfast somewhere on the way. The amount of planning that goes in such excursions is unbelievable. Whom to be put in which car. How will the in city pickups be charted and how to avoid some of the road blocks that come up out of the blue.
There was a planning mail chain that revolved around all these activities.
The trip was planned to be an one night stay , Saturday night being the chosen night. I might need to write for hours to even get near to the wholesome experience that we had. Mostly it was the route , the in vehicle fun, the cricket out there and the food in the middle of nowhere stuff that got us really charged up for the evening.
We reached there after quite a few halts like all the CCD’s on the way to relax and chat.
The ones who were in the power vehicles enjoyed speeds of about 150kps at times , the chicken was bought on the way too. We had planned for Cricket, Bridge and firangi paani out there , it was small nice place called the Tiger Ranch . The owner has bought about 100 acres in that area, and runs this place in a small cottage yard of about 2 acres. He keeps 4 Dobermans around him all the time. Weekends are his main income, though he now considers keeping the place for passion rather than business. We had a nice small buffet out there with south Indian, north Indian and non veg and veg dishes. The Beer was overpriced and whatever biscuits and all were available out there were randomly priced.
Anyway, we got into our tent like cottages to get some rest, after which we played till late in the evening.
We were all waiting for the darkness to come down upon us and bring with it the main attraction of the stay , the mystic of the dark.
We had taken two barbeques with us. It took some time to get the coal burning, once it was up ,there was big bash. One hell of a bash .
Songs , from the nostalgic memories of the past days, Songs from the local band of boys. There was a complete engagement of people. Late at about 11 the lights were sut off and we were left in the dark with on small lantern .
That is what people pay for, that is what is Bandipur all about. The all consuming darkness . And the half expectation of seeing two lighted eyes in the dark ness. No other experience beats the question and the puzzle of the unknown. I was trying to get in to the silence of the place. The calmness of the nerves that one will immediately acquire by being so near to our roots is a holy experience of its own kind.
We came back the next day after a big lunch out there. One thing pretty funny was I saw more girls out there in the jungle then we see in the towns nowadays. We spotted some deer crossing the road on our way back. The forest is pretty huge and Bandipur is just one place in that forest . It actually is spread across the three states of the south except Andhra. All in all there are 88 leopards and 82 tigers and that too if you are believe the last survey . With low numbers like this, the chance of a leopard pouncing is far less that what it used to be to spend a night in a forest retreat.
I believe that the more important factor is fact that we need a huge group, some who can cook well, some who can sing well, some who can keep you engaged and some who can arrange well. We need some leg pulling, and if there are girls around , there is nothing like it. So all in all, it was a complete trip if you were to ask me but going as a 7 or 8 guys will be a put off.