Republic Day fell on a Wednesday this year. For all those who stay away from home and go home only for weekends, this was a blow since the rare chance of a long weekend was lost. As there were two days in between, getting a leave to club the weekend and holiday was no option either. Me and CP (Arun C P) did not feel any different.

That was how we started planning for the day when Kristu (Anoop Christudas, Satan would be a better word to describe him character-wise :D), our friend from Poornam came over. His home is at Trivandrum and he was here for some days on a vacation when I joined TCS, Trivandrum. On an evening at Shanghumugham Beach the topic Jan 26th came up. Kristu was more than happy to save his precious Off for Republic Day so that we could come back and we all could go somewhere. Ponmudi was a random thought and bike trip was just a quick suggestion. Right then I didn’t know it would happen.

The morning of Jan 26th, I wasn’t still sure if we would really go, whether there would be any last minute changes in plans. But we did go and it turned out to be awesome. I had always listened to my friends describe to me the fun involved in bike trips and I had always wanted to be a part of it. But I never thought it would be possible since we traveled in bigger groups. When I finally did go for it, I understood what all the big deal was. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if I say this was the best trip of my life.

We went to a place called Meenmutti first, which is close to 15km from Ponmudi. There is supposedly a waterfall if you trek through the forest for around 4-5km. The place was so cool, so away from any hustles of busy roads and had an air of peace. We climbed huge rocks and made our way through the fallen branches of trees. The water in the stream flowing by was ice-cold. After walking for an hour, pausing every now and then to click everything about the place, we reached the place. I wouldn’t lie –  looking at the so-called ‘falls’ anyone would curse the person who wrote “Meenmutti Waterfalls” at the entrance to the forest. Because it could hardly qualify as a waterfall. But still we were not disappointed because every minute of trekking was damn cool! We started back through the forest after spending 15min at the falls.

By the time we reached the exit, all we could think of was food, food and more food. We quickly found a really small teashop (a ‘concept chayakkada’ in CP’s words), the kind that you see only in Sathyan Anthikad movies these days. The one-room shop was full of smoke coming from the traditional “aduppu” and there was a small table and bench set ready for any hungry tourist who comes that way. We had kappa, porotta and beef curry without any worries about the hygiene part. Maybe because we were all really hungry, it tasted like the best food we have had in days.

After lunch we resumed the journey to the peak. With 22 hairpin curves, this was when the trip became even more exciting. Thanks to CP’s expert riding skills, I was never once scared all through this. It was exciting, adventurous (for me), but never dangerous.

We reached Ponmudi at around 4pm when the heat was down. We chose the tallest hill to climb so that we get a better view from the topmost point. And God! It was sooooo windy that I kept being thrown to one side by the force of the fierce wind. I was wondering if it was just me with my lean physique, when I saw the bulky Kristu sway from side to side like a drunkard as he found it difficult to root his feet on the ground. Somehow we managed to reach the peak where the wind was unimaginably strong. I was damn sure that if I didn’t hold on to a rock, I would easily be carried away like a paper in the wind. Till then, people asking me to beware of the wind was a joke – not after that day. We thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of surviving the wind for the next 15-20min. I’ll never forget deep blue sky, clouds like cotton balls and the beaming sun, that I watched sitting there on a huge rock, at a point higher than anything else, from where people at the valley looked tiny. We felt larger than life, out of the world.

We left Ponmudi at 5:30 or so after a cup of coffee from the KTDC restaurant, Orchid. The best part was that all through the journey and even after I reached my room, I wasn’t tired at all. The energy and boost of spirits that this trip gave me lingered on for the next couple of days. With just the three of us and nature at its best around us, I’m sure this was one of the best days not just for me, but for the guys as well (they know I’ll kill them if they say no ;)). Thanks a lot CP and Kristu for adding a beautiful page in my life. :)