It wasn’t the best of the starts. And yet, I’m alive and sound to re-tell the same. May be I should be an optimist for a change and feel happy about that, if not anything else.
We started at 6am sharp from IIJNM campus to leave for our much-awaited Taluk visists. We boarded the bus at K. R. Market for Kollegal from there. The journey roughly takes 3 hours (depending on the traffic).By the time we reached Kollegal, it was already noon. I had spoken to Mr. Jacob regarding our place of stay overnight in a deaf and dumb school.
Mr. Jacob has been one of the most useful guys I have come across so far in my trip. Perhaps, that’s not really the truth. (if you read what follows, you’ll probably agree too)
My group has been allotted to cover Martalli and surrounding villages. After talking with Mr. Jacob, we were told that the village is about 60 km from Kollegal. My heart sank when I heard that, as I realized the amount of travelling we would have to do each day.
Let me begin from the beginning.
Once we reached the school, me and another of my group-mate, Gaurav, decided to take Mr. Jacob’s bike and pay Hannur, a village that comes in-between Kollegal and Martalli, a visit to figure out where we will stay. But, as I am God’s favourite child, and He loves me the most, He decided to bless us with a flat tyre.
It’s almost impossible to explain what one feels when one is on a bike with someone you would have least expected to be with (no offense to Gaurav but nevertheless) on a strange road with unknown people around and be forced to stop mid-way with nothing but a flat tyre to stare at. A fellow auto-driver helped us out after making us wait for 15 minutes. He dropped us at the nearest puncture shop. The repairing process took around 45 minutes while Gaurav kept puffing away his blues (silently inspiring me to do the same).
We came back, looked for a lodge in Kollegal and have dumped our luggage there, for the time being. I have no idea how tomorrow is going to turn out when I have the glaring fact of having to travel 120 kms EVERYDAY with a bunch of 4 people who have no idea whatsoever about the local language here, as a consequence of which, they are heavily dependent on me. To be very frank, my knowledge of Tamil is limited too. But, I’m surviving. What scares me more is how are they going to survive, when they are banking entirely on me.
One thing is for sure. This trip teaches/or rather forces you to live and move in a group. We are expected to learn and master team-work. Day 1 hasn’t been that great with this respect. But, I am hoping this will change in the days to come.
In a place where I am struggling to get Internet, electricity, food, and clean drinking water, optimism, strangely, is my only way of survival.
I end my post with thoughts of the kids in the school whose sparkling eyes gave me hope and reminded me of the purpose of my visit.
Will keep you posted. . . . . .