Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Munnar - land of tea gardens

It was a very wise decision when some of us girls at IIMK decided to spend a day and a night at Munnar - a well needed respite from the FMs and OMs and M in general!
There was a close tie between Munnar and Vayanad as our chosen destination but due to popular demand we decided to go to Munnar.

So it was on a usual busy evening when we had to submit the Company Track assignment
and the Indian Economic Indicators assignment that Pavithra, Neeta and Malini got down to the nitty gritties of the plan. Though initially only around 20 guys showed interest in accompanying us, once the D Day dawned, there were more people wanting to be part of the group. Finally we were a pack of 25 people all set to see how life was at a different Hill station in Kerala.

And different it was....here at K we have coconut grooves and there we saw tea gardens. Tea gardens all around! Nokkethadooram vare tea gardens!!!
Though I had been to Munnar once before, it was so long back that the only memories I had of that place were the Mattupetti garden, the huge healthy cows and the Research center where the man with the beard showed us bull-sperms through a microscope. And we thought it was those Keettanu that they show in the toothpaste commercials :P
Must have been in 4th or 5th then.

This time around, when we reached Munnar it was just past daybreak, the day was fresh. So was the hartal that was declared due to some murder. We proceeded to Munnar tourist home to freshen up and there we had another surprise waiting for us.

How to arrange for Breakfast for hungry and healthy 25 people!

And that too on a hartal day. All the restaurant had was 4 kutti puttu (cylinders of a rice preparation) and very few puris. The early ones, including me, got to have garam garam puttu. It was yummy without doubt.
But what about the rest 20? The manager of the restaurant told me that he cannot do anything about it. We struck a deal and he said that he will provide puri's in case we help him in the process!!! Ever heard of a restaurant where you go help them cook and serve the stuff and then pay for it through your nose!?
I did that on that day. I became a waitress-turned-budding-manager out of pure chance.

We somehow managed to finish our breakfast by noon(!) and proceeded to the Top Station. This meant around 1 hour of journey. But we didn't mind it since the way was flanked by breathtaking sceneries. More and more tea gardens, mountains hugged by clouds......the drizzle adding to the romantic beauty of the place. Sigh!

The next stop was Echopoint. Tried my best to get out a sound that would echo. But had to contend by hearing other people's voices getting echoed. Looks like whoever was there liked my voice so much that they didn't want to send it back :P
One thing I did not like about the place was the way it was slowly getting polluted.
Plastic covers and other waste and muck littered the entire place and nobody seemed to be bothered about it...that is, except me!
Munnar - tea gardens

Next stop was Top station....where under the guidance on Nitai we all set out on a small trek to the Kerala-TN border. (In school, I actually thought that the borders that we see in the map really existed between each states! :P ) There was this small gate on top of this mountain that separated Mallu land from Tallu land. I could actually sense Vishy and VV feeling so much at home the minute we crossed the gate! :D

Though the trek down the hill was quite enjoyable the same way uphill wasn't that memorable. It kept me wondering whether I was 24 or 42! I was literally panting and gasping for air every 10 steps up the hill :(
If it wasn't for VV who kept on cracking PJs till we reached the top and Nallari who gave me some good pushes from behind to increase the momentum, I would have taken the whole day to climb that hill!
On the top of the hill, Passion fruit was waiting for me.
When I was in Bangalore, living on my own, Passion fruit juice was something that I regularly had with my breakfast and dinner and which was always present in my refrigerator. Thanks to all those long list of food advices from my mom - especially since I was cooking on my own, juice was something which I couldn't resist buying during my weekly visit to Foodworld.
Coming back to Passion fruit, though I loved the juice, had no idea how the fruit looked like. And ta da, there it was at Top Station. It seems Passion fruits are once-in-5-years fruits and it stays fresh for 5 years!
Well, have kept one of the passion fruits safely in my suitcase to check whether it's still passionate after a year. :P

Munnar - wow!!

Next in the agenda was Lunch. Since breakfast was a disaster for many, nobody wanted to compromise on lunch. So we pre-ordered lunch at a small home-turned-restaurant in the middle of all those tea gardens and proceeded for Boating : The one thing that everyone had been waiting for. Especially the guys who were waiting to get into those vroom vroom speed boats. But alas...we only got the usual 20 seater boat, which took the smile away from some people's faces, but nevertheless everyone enjoyed the boating. What with half the people trying to capsize the boat and the others trying to neutralise their effects and the glimpse of peaceful-wild-elephants, boating was fun.
Lunch turned to be a near-fiasco with demand far more than the supply.

Important learning : While managing trips with 20+ people, better arrange for food well in advance and in good quantity especially if boys are the major chunk of the group.

By the time we finished lunch and got back to the city it was evening and everyone was tired of all the traveling. That's when we decided to snoop around the small town.

Got hold of these Yummy choclates made in Kodaikanal. Had about 3 packets of them non-stop! That is where everyone had this wild idea of buying these 10-rupee topis, which went on to playing a very crucial role in a drama that would unfold later in the trip.

After a small walk in the town and dinner at a swanky place with murals of angry Ganpathy, it was time to get back to the hotel for the party. Party saw a court martial of a case of 4 topis mediated by Reddy and Gagan. Got a bit boring towards the end. But it got me wondering whether we were studying PG or Pre-G!!!

A chilly night and the departure early morning ended the trip.

Maybe the most memorable things about the trip was the journey, the fun in the bus - DumbC and antakshari, the Gandh gang and the gangsta photo sessions, people falling asleep on each other and being photographed, couples being made and broken, Vishy finding his Guru and enlightening me about Losers over an asparagus soup, the gossip sessions in the bus, some of my North Indian friends actually enjoying a Mallu movie, Vishy and Nallari complaining about how difficult it is to get decent food in Kerala compared to all the Sharvanabhavans in TamilNadu and me trying to fight it out in vain, VV's self-obsessed photo sessions in the bus, Reddy and his undercover agents trying to get scoops for the newly born AbTakSabseTej- K's gossip paper, Gagan's instant to-die-for comedy, getting to know people more closely..........I am glad I went on this trip.

Take a look at some of the pics here.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm...a very interesting and I must say, detailed account of the trip...Long live the Media Cell :-)) (Gandh macha le)


Girl With Big Eyes said...

Thanks for being the guide of the group. Without that we may have been roaming around aimlessly ;)

and hey, gandh group seems to have vanished into thin air. No shock waves in the last 2 days!

Anonymous said...

Passion fruits are definitely not part of Nature's 5 yr plan. The creepers do bear fruit every year. About the passion staying around for 5 years, gosh! someone did con you, eh? Am sure you will learn that soon.

Girl With Big Eyes said...

Just consumed the passion! No passion in my suitcase anymore :)

Should have googled before falling for something as far fetched as that!