The itch for a Forest Morning

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So this itch to move away from the huzzle buzzle of busy urban became strong enough to encourage me move towards a forest. Even if that was just for a morning. To put me back to spirits (well that’s the hope anyway). A motorcycle ride to do this will become the catalyst to make even the journey to it enjoyable. Luckily I have like minded friends who share similar feelings. So me, Ram Boddu (a first timer on a long bike ride), Ravi Reddy and Sastry Vadali (my bike ride friends and much more) decided to go somewhere into a forest. I saw some pictures of Mallaram Forest and that the state government was also planning to include this in their eco-tourism initiative. Although I did not find ‘any’ material on the usually flooded ‘web’, some pictures pulled me towards this forest. Mallaram Forest is in area of Nizamabad (shouldn’t this actually be read the other way around?). So it was going to be 230 kms one way if we take a circuitous rural route or a meagre 175 kms by the plain & flat national highway that offers nothing but concrete to encourage us complete the ride quicker. The goal for a bike rider was never to complete it soon! So we take the circuitous route on our onward and decide to do the fast riding on the return.

I got significantly delayed on a Saturday after ‘noon’ to get over the huzzle buzzle urban area when I could catch up my friends at Gandimaisamma X Roads. We had a wonderful, satisfying ride absorbing everything on the way (and Sastry absorbing some of that on digital media too for some permanent memories). Stopped a few times to have a relaxed tea break and in no hurry to reach destination. How wonderful is that! Yes we have a plan. We did have some rough target time of the day before sun sets too low to reach destination. But all well under our way the way we set it out, so no hurry. Not like those project milestones when running ‘fast’ is not enough and require some ‘gallops’ too to reach up to those impossible targets we set out at the beginning.

If some of my friends wanted to have a fag or two, it doesn’t bother me as passive smoker. It gave me an opportunity to stretch the tea-break 🙂

Thanks to help from Google Maps (for once), we were able to find our hotel, Nikhil Sai International to rest that night. The hotel was pleasant. Couldn’t ask for more in a small city such as Nizamabad. Fact of the matter was we were all surprised to see such a place competing with those in the metros. An evening drink or two (spirit’ed for some and caffeine for me) was quite relaxing. The evening was so pleasant, I was trying to do a math if I could afford such an evening once in every month. Figured, I couldn’t!

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Slowpoke that I am, I had to wake up at 3:30 am on-the-dot so I could get ready to leave past 5 am along with friends. We decided to do a two-up for the early morning ride to forest. I got behind Ram, and quickly realized I was safe in his hands, contrary to what his appearance (of a large physique) made to me! It was a chilly early hour in the dark (me comfortable nevertheless in my usual ‘T’). With some difficulty we found the Forest identification board by the side of the road leading to an off-road into the woods.

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It was quite some fun finding our way in the dark lit only by motorcycle lights. The path consisted of rough terrain. Included were some water crossing, although there was no water during this season. I was pillion riding Ravi by this time and was amazed at his riding skills. I am not sure if I could’ve ridden as comfortably had I been the rider myself. At the water crossing, Ram’s bike got stuck but he was able to pull it over again as easily. We parked the two bikes, and after a couple of selfie pictures, we set out walking.

What a beautiful time was it to walk through the woods! Some things can only be experienced and could never be explained. The whole place was stalk silent. I have one salvaged one video (that is another story that my phone camera failed me which I realized only on return to Hyderabad). Listening to the video here you wouldn’t get anything close to what we experienced that day. Even with your headphones you may not hear the subtle bird chirpings in the silent forest. Pure silence and pure darkness is something one can feel only when you move away from the human civilization. Staying up in sound proof bedroom we are believed into a feeling of silence that in actuality is not! We tend to ignore many feeble sounds during our everyday life. So walking through this forest in that early hour, we heard our steps as crushing of sand underneath shoes! It was mesmerizing. Hoping to catch hear some animal noises (and there were none) we mostly were silent or whispering.

At one stage the silence was so tantalizing that we immediately agreed to Sastry’s proposition (which was in our minds too) that we would not utter a word for some time and absorb the ‘whole thing’ of silence with an occasional flutter of early birds). I am deeply thankful to Sastry proposing that idea, in retrospect.

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As day broke, we stroll wanting to go deeper in the forest. I realized that where we stayed wasn’t really far from the road we came by. We walked…..but only in parallel to the road till then. But as we moved perpendicular though I quickly realized that the forest came to an end with agricultural land on the other side. It was surprising to know that this side of the forest to the main road wasn’t actually much. A talk to a villager passing by gave Ravi and others some more ‘information’ on the area that I didn’t care for 🙂

We do some fun hike here and there atop a tiny hill, smell the sweet scents of the shrubs. I was unable to stop my quench for capturing that golden sunlight coloring the wonderful woods. So I stop and shoot a tree anyway to capture the mood of the day-break.

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Sastry, a small time actor by hobby uses every opportunity to hone his skills. He was quite enthused by the environs and had given us good entertainment in the forest by the virtue of the poses he gave, and acting and singing spontaneously to some of the good old tunes. Too bad that many of the videos that I shot otherwise and these of Sastry were all lost forever because of an auto-save feature on the app not being ‘on’ by default thanks to the app update that must have happened. Here is one I could salvage from an another app when he was too excited after the self-imposed silence sometime. I think he called himself ‘mouni baba’!

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And then we go to the other side of the road to see if the forest was deeper that side. It indeed was. As Ram and Sastry were initially hesitant or uninterested, Ravi and I move in deeper making our way ‘through’ the shrubs this time. No off road or even a path. At some places Ravi even had to hold twigs away from me so the thorns on them didn’t hurt me. So dense was the area. And after a brief walk we were in for a treat. To my pleasant surprise I realized Sastry was right behind me following us and we were now a threesome.

Lone behold the sight of a serene pond that was nearly still in the twilight of the day, against the backdrop of large trees with their shadow in the pond, was simply breathtaking.

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We had some spent some decent time there and returned. And further to our hotel. And further to our respective homes. My return was uneventful as could be expected on a concrete road, except for the fun being north of 100 speed all my way through to the city (and to a crawl to home from thence)!

All in all, the trip was fun, relaxing, exciting, change of mood and what not! Will look forward for more . . .  .

Here are few other pictures from this trip.

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