7 am on the bangalore mysore highway. Am heading for Ramnagar (Ramanagara? Ramanagaram?) to go climbing, with the work gang. Ramnagar is where the Gabbar hideout scenes from sholay were shot, so we're boning up on our sholay trivia. I get confused between basanti and dhanno, and sandeep suggests that I think of Gubbz saying "naach basanti naach!" ergo basanti is hema malini and dhanno is the mare. i am of course picturing a horse doing the salsa while tied-up dharmendra looks very confused.
We stopped for breakfast and i dug into steaming hot set dosas, with a lil bit of coriander at the top. i decided not to care that the cook was cleaning the tava with a broom (Kharata zhaddoo?) we then had the obligatory "pancher" and had a kid wheel away the tyre. meanwhile the obligatory village drunk (at 8 am!!) told us to turn at the arch. repeatedly. turn. at the arch. he followed sandeep around pointing and muttering about the arch. and the turn.
we got the tube replaced, drove back down the highway, turned at the arch and drove on till we reached the end of the road. a 500 step stone staircase led to a temple. on the way, some cave painting beckoned us. by cave paint- i mean chuna and red painted stripes. the caves were great. enjoyed the play of light and shadows and the ol lunge-leap-smash-knee-to-get-grip maneuver..
Pictures to be uploaded once they're developed.
we prowled around a bit, couldnt really make headway from there, returned to the unendliche Treppe. at the top we found the temple, went up the well trodden trail, climbed an iron staircase to the top and enjoyed the view while kites buzzed us. a little later we were back at the temple and trying to scale the really craggy rocks just across. it looked impossible- sheer drops and lots of thorny undergrowth. but two SSLC kids guided us onto a trail that led us straight to the top. they abandoned us halfway because of ursaphobia (dont go looking in the OED for that word). as the going got steeper (and the steep got going?) i kept an eye out for an angry bear or two. saw nothing apart from a few animal droppings which could not possibly have been bearish in nature. (unless it was on one of those starchy diets?)
the last bit was slightly harrowing. the wind picked up and we were tottering on rocks that were teetering on other rocks.. a bee hive was spotted and luckily remained undisturbed. we saw avishek and sandeep sitting in the temple courtyard across the valley and hallooed for a while. "whats the score?" i piped reedily. sandeep duly checked with airtel and relayed us the score. "is laxman retired hurt?" i yelled. after that they decided to maintain radio silence.
we didnt get onto the highest rock- needed ropes for that, but it was a good feeling. accomplishment. yet humbled by nature types.
drove back to bangalore, sleeping most of the way and had lunch at the pongal cafe. i resent being referred to as a north indian (not that there's anything wrong with it) as i think of us all one big happy family south of the vindhyas. or satpuras. but when it comes to mounds of rice, i start in horror and edge away from the banana leaf. good wholesome food, but ah needs mah chapatis!