Saturday, May 29, 2010

The "Baap" of IV's - Bhongir (Part - 2)

If you haven't read Part-1, you can read it here: The "Baap" of IV's - Bhongir (Part - 1)

Day2 started as usual, getting up early with a bath in the cold water in an even more cold morning in January and a rush to have some hot hot coffee. This was bliss. A hurried up breakfast, and we were ready to move off to our respective survey points again, ours being Bhongir Fort. This is a really huge stone hill and the fort at the top which is in ruins. 
Bhongir Fort: Source Wikipedia
I was really gasping by the time we reached the top although I was not even carrying any of the instrument boxes, courtesy the boys again. Anyways, we set up the survey instruments. Our instructor gave us instructions and we did the work in turns. Well, we took readings only once and the rest was done by B. B was the sincere learner of our batch. Each and every topic was diagnosed and analyzed to the core. Each and every book in BCL (British Council Library) was turned inside out to empower his knowledge. So, for exams, we didn't have to bother much. Just one hour before exam, B would give his discourse on the subject and that was good enough for us to write the exam. 

In the library

So, when we were done, we left B and the instructor to discuss and write a virtual book on surveying. We went about discovering the ruins and the moat behind. When we came back, B and the instructor were finished with writing the first chapter of the book on surveying. The instructor seeing that we were not as much enlightened people as B, started to tell some interesting stories about the Bhongir Fort, like it was built by the Chalukya ruler Vikram-Aditya and how it served as a formidable fortress in those days. What particularly interested us and especially the guys was the "hidden treasure" still believed to be hidden in the fort.

Surveying and readings were forgotten, including by B, and the boys started to search for hollow places. They went on banging on each and every stone and were very excited whenever they encountered a hollow one. They even started engraving their names on those places so that it can be reserved in their name if ever the treasure was unearthed. So, much for a treasure. Sigh!

The great treasure hunt

Finally, after a lot of treasure hunting, the guys realized that they were not going to find it, and it was time to return back to the camp. Had a yummy lunch and waited for the rest of the group to join us and lazed around in the camp. We had another class by the surveyor-in-charge and it was decided to have night observation that day. 

Now, post dinner there was a discussion, as to who would carry the target to the hill top nearby so that the rest of the group could do the night observation. As such, many were not willing to go there, as we would have to be awake till 11 for the night observation, as well as an extra half an hour to come down. The guys didn't want to lose that 1/2 an hour of blissful sleep and maybe they were scared too:). Anyways, after a heated discussion, three brave people volunteered to go to the hill top. A torch was to be used as the signalling mechanism. If the torch was put on and off 1 time, then it meant that we were observing. If the torch was put on and off 3 times, then it meant that they could come back and so on.

So, R, K and Captain went to the hill top to set up the target while the rest of the group waited  for them. While waiting for the three musketeers to set up the target, we got talking with the instructor again and he was again on his spree to tell us stories. When he had gone to survey in a forest, it seems the group he was in had lost its way in the night. They suddenly spotted somebody with a lantern moving in a particular direction and decided to follow it. After a few mins, the person vanished right in front of them. They all didn't know what to do and stood transfixed. No one slept that day and they kept awake till the morning.

By the time, the story was completed some of us were perspiring and looking at each. The place from where we were observing was right opposite to a burial ground (eeks!!!).  Our instructor was continuing his ghostly encounters. It seems at many times, our instructor (T sir) had heard anklet sounds and seen some moving figures on a full moon day. Fear filled us. Our gaze went up to the white round thing which was looking in all its glory at us, yes today was also a full moon day. I was getting uneasy. My subconscious mind wanted to dispel the fear but I couldn't. Through the corner of my eye, I saw something wavy, something moving. I caught K's hand and stood grounded.  We started looking at each other to see if the person next to us was our friend or Mr/Ms Ghost. 

All this while, B and V oblivious to the ghost stories surrounding them, were sincerely setting up the instrument for the observation. We were more than happy when the observations were done and we signaled to the guys to come back. We waited for 1/2 an hour for them to come back but there was no sign of them. It was time to sleep and we girls went to our tent. Somehow the chillness outside and added to it the eerie silence of the camp was making me restless. I lay down and tried to sleep but couldn't. I kept hearing some tinkling sounds like those of anklets. I closed my ears and tried to sleep. I must have drifted off to sleep when something fell on me. I got up sweating and heart beating aloud. I wanted to shout but it looked as though I had suddenly become dumb. I fumbled for the torch in the dark and finding it, put it on. Holy gosh, it was only V's leg on me. V had the habit of putting her legs on whoever slept near to her. Least did she know that she gave me a mild heart attack that day. God, bless my weak heart, I can be so scared at times for stupid things.


So, next day got up with a severe head ache having lost my sleep to Ghostji. And if you are wondering, if those guys came back or not the previous night, they did. They had dozed off in the hill top for a good 2-3 hours after having gulped down many bananas while we were taking the observations. Finally, when they did get up, they realized it was late and came back by themselves. Some people can sleep anywhere and everywhere, good for them. I just can't, not even in a bus, train or for that matter a flight also. 

Day 3 happened to be Sunday and a special menu was decided for the lunch. So, a group of 5 went to the local vegetable market to get the stuff. Most of the vegetables were on display and did not require them to unleash their Telugu skills. However, onions were not on display anywhere. This group of five people searched the entire market for onions but couldn't find any. V kept asking for "Vengaiyalu" at each shop but the shopkeepers couldn't understand. It was later on we came to know, there was no word as "Vengaiyalu". She had added Vengaiyam in Tamil + lu to form this word claiming this was how Telugu words were formed. Captain was in the most foul mood and was giving all the "so-called" "well versed" Telugu speakers, the choicest of words left and right. Luckily for them, K spotted a hand cart with onions. in the nick of time and saved them all from Captain's wrath. 

Day 4, we got up refreshed. T Sir decided to move us to different locations and the survey points of all the groups was changed. This time we went to a nearby hill top. This was the most scary climb of all, at least for me. The rest of the climb is ok but when we reach the survey point, it is a single stone with a 90 degree inclination and you need to be a Spiderwoman with a web to climb that. Anyways, I was literally pushed up the stone and the survey started. While B and T Sir went about writing the second chapter of Surveying, the rest of the group played cards.

Day 5 was the final day of our survey and we were given the entire day to make our charts and complete the calculations. B, Me, V, K and some of us were very sincerely doing the work while some slept and the rest went for a walk. It seemed to be a never ending process. We calculated, re-calculated and by dinner, we were done. We showed this to T Sir who said the the calculation was wrong and have to re-do it. We felt a bit sad but still sat down again not knowing if we could sleep that night. 11pm turned to 3 am but we were still doing the calculations. It was shivering cold outside but that did not deter us. We went on and on trying to match the calculations. Around 5 am, Captain woke up the cook and got some black coffee made for us. That totally washed down our sleep and we continued. It must have been around 9 am when we finally completed the calculations. It took us 24 hours to do this entire task and we had not once slept in between. Anyways, after that we caught a few winks of sleep while the rest of the group copied the results (as always). 

It was also our last day at Bhongir and we were to bid farewell to this place where we had some awesome time for the past 5 days. It is 8 years since this camp took place but the memories are still afresh. We all now reside on various points on the globe but these are memories which will we carry all through our life. No wonder, when K suggested this topic, I just couldn't resist. 

Now K from hamara bharat desh and B from Germany are putting in their brains to work too for this post. It may seem am exaggerating but I can't help but saying "I have the best friends in the world". They are friends with whom I may not talk for months together but will be the first ones to be by my side in my most troubled moments, friends with whom I can giggle and just be myself and not the matured person I pretend to be, friends to whom I don't have to say "Please come" but rather "Are you going to come or not... else am going to send my goons to parcel you to India", friends with whom I can talk and talk for hours together and when the conference call ends, its just "Why did the call end?". Three unknown people, brought up in different environments met each other and there blossomed a lifelong friendship. K and B have been an integral part of my life since college and my best buddies till date. I have met many people, have made a lot of friends but no one can take the place of K and B in my life. Thank you guys for everything :). 

Final part to be continued in next post showcasing our Jibba story and the final run to catch the train. 
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