1 Lost in woods

It was 5 in the morning and I was jam-packed with my camera, safety gear and all. I put on my leather jacket, took my helmet and stepped out of my room. It was still dark. Just unlocked my Royal Enfield motorcycle just gave a kick and it roared like a tiger and I switched on my tiger eyes (lamps). It was looking like a tiger ready to jump on for a hunt. Yeah well, my fellow riders joined me. We greeted each other. We are 5 people on 3 bikes. Sai, Vinay, Abhi, Manoj and me. Sai is my younger brother and rest of the guys are his friends. They got on their bikes too. I put on my helmet now and shifted to 1st gear and pulled the throttle in the smoothest way possible. Yeah, my tiger started roaring again. As it was winter, that too early in the morning. The weather being chilled with full of fog, Nothing is visible 1 meter away from our motorcycles, it's tough to ride in such conditions still we continued to ride as we wanted to be at our destination by the time of sunrise. Meanwhile, my fellow riders started commuting behind me as they're new to this way. After 100 minutes of journey, we halted at Gokavaram village to have our breakfast. We luckily found a small hotel offering hot idly. We took our seats and completed our breakfast, it was tasty.

We had some chit-chat and resumed our journey we were 50kms away to reach Maredumilli. We could feel the cool breeze and aura of the place, fragrant nature it was. I heard a voice whispering "Welcome". I was surprised, surprised by everything. Oh, that was awesome we stopped at a reservoir constructed on a small lake. It was looking surprising with abandoned trees in the lake. Lake is full of water and trees are dry. We clicked some pictures and resumed.

It's 6:45 am and still, the sun is not visible because of giant trees in the forest. It felt absolutely awesome riding through. Finally, we reached Maredumilli. We asked localites about our actual destination i.e., Gudisa hill station, one of them assisted us to take right and suddenly another one sighed at us and came to us. "Are you guys asking for Gudisa?, It was actually closed recently by govt for some days to stop Naxal activities. It was a bit risky too. You guys better explore Maredumilli instead" he said. Everyone turned their face to me with a question in their face. Yeah well, I knew what was that question. They were disappointed to hear that the hill station was closed. We already rode around 150kms from home. So we thought of exploring something so we turned our motorcycles and started riding through Maredumilli.

We kept riding for few more kilometers there we found a signboard saying "Watchtower". We parked our motorcycles aside and walked towards the watch tower and it was at the hilltop and the plants have grown all over around it. Maybe no one has visited it for so long. There's no way to reach watch tower and we returned to our motorcycles. And everyone's down. It felt like a disappointing ride.

We started riding back to Maredumilli. There we saw a narrow passage through trees aside from the road. No one is there in our visibility to ask about where this way heads to. So we thought of giving a try. We turned our motorcycles and started riding through that narrow passage which can accommodate one motorcycle at once. After riding for few kilometers we saw a big wooden log fell off which blocked the passage. So we thought of taking a short break. We took off our riding gear and sat on wooden logs for a while. We can feel the beauty of a forest. We can hear every minute sound coming from the forest. I heard the sound of a water drop fell on a leaf and then heard millions of water drops falling on leaves. I can feel every minute detail of that sound. In cities, pollution is growing up day by day with respect to population. We are habituated to live our life that way these days. It feels better if we visit remote locations to disconnect ourselves for a day or two from the polluted world. So that at least we can breathe some fresh oxygen and it relieves us from a lot of stress. There is so much that nature gives us to live, Oxygen, Food, Shelter, Medicines which are basic necessities of life. What we are giving back to nature? We are cutting down trees instead. It led to global warming. We are habituated to artificial lives, our food is artificial, our relations are artificial, even our smile is artificial. We humans turned everything into artificial. We are running after artificial things leaving the love behind. We are living for someone's life and working for someone's dreams. First, we have to know ourselves. Life is meant to explore, explore yourself by getting lost from this artificial world. "Get lost and find yourself" that same voice whispered in my ears which welcomed me in the morning. After a while, we thought of turning back as there is no way forward. Somehow we managed to turn our motorcycles back by helping each other as it was too narrow to even turn our motorcycles and started riding back to Maredumilli Village.

We arrived at the village and started looking for a restaurant to have lunch. We found a small restaurant which offering bamboo chicken and bamboo biryani, which is a special dish of Maredumilli.

(They keep a marinated chicken in bamboo stick then they'll close the end with some leaves and then they'll keep it in the fire until it turns black. They'll serve it hot.)

We had an awesome trip as well as tasty lunch which we can't get in cities.

It's around 2pm now. We started back and after 40 minutes of riding, we reached Rampa Village. Where there is a small waterfall on a hill and there is a Shivling under that waterfall. It reminded me of a scene in Bahubali where hero carries Shivling on his shoulder to place it under the waterfall. After clicking some pictures we turned back and we saw a temple while we descending from the hill. It was an ancient temple of Lord Shiva. It was built in 1030AD at the time of Cholas by Nagavanshis. It was known as Sri Sri Sri Bramarambha Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple. Every detail itself says it's one of the oldest temples. We entered into the shrine of Lord Shiva and it was in a neglected state. It was built on pillars carved out of rocks. There is Shivling inside the shrine which is made of white stone. Maybe pilgrims are not aware of this temple.

We started back and visited the lake we have seen in the morning. It was picturesque. There's a pedal boating in that lake and no one is visible to us. I honked a horn and someone came running towards us asking if we were there for boating. And he asked us to come down as there is a way aside. We parked our motorcycles and got on boats. We started pedaling it and forgetting ourselves for a while. It felt relieved from everything. We got off from boats and started our motorcycles and pulled throttle. Oh, my tiger is roaring again. Now it's full of happiness on all of us. After 2 hours of journey, we reached home.

Well, we didn't reach the destination we planned but it took us to new ways. That's destiny. Destiny is decided but not planned.

"Unplanned trips are the best"

- RV