Trrring!!! my phone blares at midnight and startles me in my sleep. I wake up and grab the phone, peer through half open and groggy eyes to see Mithun my colleague calling. I pick up and say “Hello!”, he replies. “Hello Arun, had you retired for the night?” I reply, “Yes, in fact I had, but it’s ok Mithun, tell me”, he then says a sentence which made me feel like I was dreaming. “I am sorry if I woke you up, but we are going to Ponmudi tomorrow, whether you like it or not. Be ready by 7:00 am. Rohan and I will pick you up. And also, inform Kushal about this”. I was still in disbelief and all that came out was “Alright”. I sat in my bed for like 2 minuted to regain consciousness and digest what he had just told me. Then I dialed Kushal’s number and informed him too about the plan. That human being was in a half drunk state in La-La land. If I remember correctly, he said “Wow, Ponmudi? I will surely come. Should I come now?”. I chuckled and told him that it was for tomorrow. I warned him not to miss it. Meanwhile Mithun had informed Sreenath and so the plan was on.
Next morning, I got ready by 7:am and waited for a call so I could get out. I waited and waited. As usual, if it’s 7:00 am, we would only leave by 7:30 am. That is Indian Standard Time, IST . Kushal had actually delayed and thus the wait. We eventually managed to pick everyone up by 8:00 am which was fairly decent as each of us were in different parts of town. We were in Rohan’s Skoda Fabia, a beautiful car indeed. We stopped at around 9:00 am to pack our lunch. I wondered why we were packing our lunch so early? Rohan then revealed that we were on our way to leaving civilization behind and be in touch with nature alone and man was he right. Ponmudi estates were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. It was heavenly and soul soothing. We drove up the 22 hair pin curves up the hill to witness a beautiful sight of the mist covered mountains and feel the chilled breeze hit you like a whirlwind.
We saw the Merchiston Estate as well which preceded Rohan’s Ponmudi estate. We quickly clicked some pictures before the slight drizzle and dashed towards the car. We drove to his tea factory where he walked us through the whole working process of from when the tea leaves are brought in till they are packed. We then changed vehicles and got into the Mahindra Marshal. That car has stood the test of time. At 9 years old, it still rolled over the rocks and uneven road with unbelievable ease. We drove all the way down to the smoke house and the sheds. Then came the best part, the natural pool. We wasted no time and hopped into the heavily gushing, rock infested mini pools, with the purest form of natural water flowing through them. The chilled water tasted of purity and relaxing in it for a while sure was therapeutic.
This was followed by lunch, Parota, Beef fry and Kadala curry for myself and Sreenath as we were vegetarians. We had packed around 40 parotas and curry to feed the whole Ponmudi. Belive it or not, all 5 of us hogged and there were only 1 and a hlaf parotas left. We were so stuffed that we lay on top of the huge rocks and had a siesta which gave us the well required rest. It was a once in a lifetime feeling with the sound of nothing but the water gushing and the crickets in the trees. It was way past 4:00 pm by now. We got up, took our belongings and headed back to the jeep, thanked all the workers in the estate for the hospitality. Rohan dropped us all back to our homes and we bid good night to each other. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that our hearts felt full, of happiness, satisfaction and peace. It is indeed true when someone says that you should never plan a trip, the best trips are the ones that are impulsive.