I inspect my face in the mirror. It looks a bit sharper, more rough. The kind of face you get after a few days of wandering around in jungles. Corporate or otherwise. Complete with sagging eyes and unkempt beard, I was a regular Robinson Crusoe. Or if I wasn’t in such a wannabe-white-boy mood, a regular veddha. But that sounds less sexy. Even my head was spinning for god knows why.
How did I end up like this? Rewind a few hours.
I’m hoping there are buses to Colombo from Hanwella, where I just got off a bus from Kitulgala to pick up a few small but essential things I left at a friend’s house. I’m all too aware that I’m a dude carrying an enormous bag in the middle of the night, with wires sticking out of my pocket. Needless to say, the other two people there edged away. As if they’d get any less blown up if I was indeed a suicidal pyromaniac. Finally, a bus arrives. I get on it and find all the seats taken. I glare at some kid staring at me. Eventually I get a seat and promptly fall asleep. wake up just before I’m supposed to get off in Pettah, and in my absent mindedness, nearly waved and yelled at everyone after I got off, since that was what I did the last time I was on a bus.Thankfully I stopped myself after turning around to face it, and before my hand was up.
A few sheepish minutes later
It’s 9:20 by now and I’m too tired to lug my bag all the way to near the station. I doubt there would have been any buses there anyway. So I set off into the deserted private bus stand looking for a long distance bus going my way. Find one and sit. My legs praise my wise decision and my brain rewards me with a feeling much like having my legs sponged down by doting nymphs. Imagination runs amok when you’re sleepy. Bus finally pushes off after 20 minutes or so and I keep my eyes glued to the road since these buses travel pretty fast. After approximately three minutes, I fall asleep. Time and space pass.
Wake up. Look outside, recognize nothing. Realizing that the best measure of where I am is the time, I consult my phone. It tells me it’s 10:30. Right. I should have been near my house at about 10:10. The bus stops to drop some dude so I jump off just as he starts accelerating again. First thing that pops out of the darkness as I try to slow my rapidly displacing person is one of those concrete mile post things. After rushing around it and finally stopping, I find myself standing in the middle of a puddle of water. I scan a lonely shop sign for any mention of location. It says Belummahara. Doesn’t ring any bells. So I pull out my phone. Yakkala. Egad. I’m dead. At this point it strikes me that my approximate location nearly hit me in the face as I got off the bus. I go back to look at the milepost. It says 26km along the A1. Highly distressing considering there’s one just like that where I live which says 14. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that I went exactly twice the distance I wanted to go. *shake fist at sky* So, armed with my approximate location and some money, but also crippled by a large red bag and some money, I cursed myself for not staying on the bus till the last stop so I could just get another back.
Now, Colombo may not be so bad at 10:40 in the night, but once you go out of it, Sri Lanka is a dead country, save for the occasional gang of thugs or the lone old man on a bicycle. You can imagine what it was like to be standing on the side of a deserted road with paddy fields on one side and a few derelict looking buildings on the other. Look in the direction of home. Emptiness. I look the other way, looks like vehicles in the distance. Start walking and stick my hand out at any three wheelers that pass. They all rush past. I start contemplating hiding my bag somewhere and sleeping at the step of some building. I also contemplate being mugged by some dude, since I’m practically a walking traffic cone what with the bag being a bright red. I think I was just too tired to panic. Eventually I get to a junction like place and see two three wheelers stopped by the side of the road. Hallelujah! Get in one and head back. Talk to the driver about stuff like terrorists, the bomb the day before and public transport being nonexistent at night. Get off, pay, and quickly walk the few meters to my gate. Open. Stick key into lock, turn, and be greeted by The Music Of The Night. My dad’s reading something on the couch while playing music just loud enough to indoctrinate those trying to sleep. Not so loud that it disturbs, and not quiet enough to ignore. He goes “HMM” at me. I stumble into my room and start pulling out all sorts of half drenched things from my pockets. Wallet, pieces of paper and phone etc. Start feeling dizzy. 11:24.
I inspect my face in the mirror.
Things I learned in camp-
- Never take things that don’t like getting wet on hikes.
- Turn down requests to be team leader if it involves motivating the team on hikes.
- Wear appropriate shoes on hikes. Multi-terrain sneakers might make you feel like spiderman, but you’ll regret it later when you wonder how to get all that mud off.
- I’m still in pretty good shape physically!
- The wood they give you to make rafts is not adamantium cored.
- Rowing is hard.
- Rowing backwards is harder.
- There is no such thing as too much camouflage face paint.
Will get to reading all your blogs in a bit. Till then, just imagine I commented and leave a response. Actually, use this as my standard comment – “Yeah right. Go ears! lol. hit me baby one more time and lick a goat! woo”.