Yesterday was a Saturday. Yesterday, I made a plan to go for a Heritage morning walk in Ahmedabad the next day (Sunday) morning. With my guest-house mates and Hanuman & family. We have yet another new addition to the guest-house by the way – Cummon. We actually have one more guest-house now. And combined together, six people live in two guest-houses: Me, Ali & Macuhl (the original three; Bali left the firm last month, so he is gone) + Yanvi & Rushia + Cummon.
It feels great and all that when you actually have a plan for a weekend and then someone asks you if you have any plan for the weekend. So yesterday, when MRP asked me if I had any plans for the weekend, it felt great and I told her what my plan was. And then she told me what her plan was. She was planning on doing a night trail in Pavagadh, climbing up the hills and staying at the top to see the sun-rise. I guess it was four in the evening when she told me about this. And as per her plan she was to leave Ahmedabad by seven in the evening. She asked me if I wanted to join. I said yes. I would have said yes even if she wouldn’t have asked me because who doesn’t like to jump into a plan like that at three hour’s notice? But we would see later, how things turned against her, the moment she asked me if I knew others who would like to join. Till then, other than me, she had been able to convince only two more folks to join.
I told her that I would come back to her to let her know if others from my side of the world were interested. What I think she could not envisage at that point of time was the shear spread of my side of the world. I first asked Yanvi & Cummon and they readily agreed. Ali waned to waste his time working and all that but all I had to tell him to convince him to dump everything and join the group was that he would get some amazing pictures clicked. This pitch always works for him. And it worked yesterday. And then Ali asked Hanuman & Family while I asked Singa Patel. The former agreed while the latter refused. It is too commercial a place – was Singa’s defense. Machul denied as usual. He denies 99% of all proposals for a trip. Even Halieo had a vague response to the proposal and as it would turn out later, he didn’t join.
I never knew I was going to psyche out MRP when I revealed to her her the number of people who were eventually ready to do the night-trail. I couldn’t even figure out that she was psyched out when she suggested me on going ahead with ‘my’ group myself. Because she thought that this group was too ‘big’ now. It took me a while to realize that I had successfully intruded ‘her’ plan. But then I guess things had turned against her the moment she had asked me if I knew others who would like to join.
So well, the psyched out MRP ditched the rest of us. The mela. But she did meet some of us before we were to leave for Pavagadh. And she got me connected to this guy who had done this trail before. And this guy was like very helpful and as we would discover later in the night, was there to guide us on phone every time we needed to ask him something that we were not too sure about.
Reaching the place was smooth and easy. Hanuman & family followed Gautam bhai in Hanuman’s car, while Gautam bhai drove the rest of us in the Innova that we had rented. There was a 5k uphill road to the point from which the trail would begin. Vehicular entry to that road had been closed during Navaratri and was still closed when we reached there at 1130 PM. The cops there guarding the entry, asked us to get a permission from the police station. But they also suggested that if we waited for an hour, the entry was likely to re-open. So we had three options – a) go to the police station and get a permission, b) hang around for an hour and try our luck with the re-opening thingy and c) just walk up.
To begin with, we went for option a. We drove to the police station. Everyone was sleeping there. In pure bliss. The cops and the thieves together. In true harmony. So Ali and I thought if we woke these guys up from slumber sleep and asked them for a special permission to take up our vehicle, there was a minimal chance of that happening. So we didn’t wake up anyone. We decided to go for option c. We would simply walk up the road. A warm-up session before the trek begins, we thought. Hanuman & family bid us good bye at this point because suddenly it didn’t look like a good idea to throw so much of adventure at small kids.
When we reached the earlier guarded entry we were delighted. There were guards no more. And vehicles were going through now. The re-opening thingy had finally happened. Jai mata di. Soon, Gautambhai dropped us at at the start-off point from where the trail would begin.
MRP’s friend who had done this trail before had told me that there were two temples in the Pavagadh hills – Mahakali mata mandir (MMM), the more popular and known one and Bhadrakali mata mandir (BMM). We were to take the trail-route for BMM. Except that there were two routes for reaching BMM. But by the time we figured that out, we were already half the way up to MMM instead. And all that we did in the process was climb up stone stairs. Not my idea of a ‘trail’.
To do the trail, we had to climb down all the way to the place from where we had first started climbing, and there, find the start of the trekking-route that we had missed earlier. I was very willing to do that. But then we thought if we had come all the way up (even when on a wrong route) we should at least check out what was there around MMT anway. Se we went further up and up. And then we reached MMT. At 03 in the morning. And then Yanvi made it very clear that we were going nowhere till the temple opened and she could have a darshan. It was then that I realized that religious tourism had won over adventure tourism.
For two hours, the religious tourists slept in a discarded temple under the enchanting moon and its light. And for the first time in my life I saw a shooting star. I didn’t wish for anything though. You know God resides inside you when you see a shooting star and don’t wish for anything.
Suddenly at four in the morning, waves of cloud started squirming around in the air above us. Initially it looked fake. Looked like smoke. I had never seen anything like that before. Neither had Ali. But soon we knew those foggy waves were real. And ethereal at the same time.
I never went inside the temple when its doors finally opened. Yanvi and Cummon did. And when they came out, all of us walked down till we reached a place that looked cool enough to sit and wait for the sun to rise. So we waited. But it was so foggy and misty that though we could see the sun-light rising, we could never see the sun rise. So we took pictures of each other. Cute and funny and happy pictures. It was a funny night. And a happy morning.