The Serene, and Disconnected, Beauty of Chikmagalur


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All my friends know this – I hate returning calls! For me, the mobile phone is possibly THE most disturbing necessary evil that modern life has thrust upon us. Can’t do without, can’t live with. So I have found my way to deal with it – I don’t return calls, period! Call me an anti-social, suit yourself – but I do not bother myself by returning the gazillion calls I miss everyday. I abhor this need to constantly stay connected without context, meaning or feeling! I often find myself reminiscing the good old days of warm dis-connectivity! My mom worried, dad fretted and friends missed me back then – now they just call. Huh! I do acknowledge that it is convenient – just unromantic. So imagine my pleasure at having discovered this little alcove of complete ‘network free delight’ near Chikmagalur.

The Beautiful Route

The ‘Magnificent Seven’, as we called our unlikely group, left Bangalore at 5:30am and we took the NICE road out of the sleepy town. After a short stop for breakfast, at a “Pure Fast Food Joint” that served yummy dosas & Thali Idlis, right outside Neelamangala, we drove in full earnest. The road was straight, uncomplicated and drive-friendly till Hassan. We reached this busy townlet at around 10:00am and thanks to the unreliable GPS – lost our way! After a little bit of asking around for the right exit for Mudigere, we were back on track. It took us another half hour to reach the Ghats at Kottigehara. The road from there was uphill and full of curves!

Linger @ Balur, wrapped in clouds

We reached at around 12 noon. The Linger resort @ Balur greeted us with all the warmth that the pics on the website exude . To my amazed adulation – there was no network coverage (other than BSNL) and the landline in the resort was ‘dead’. But let me first tell you how I felt as I stretched out of the car and stood there taking in the view. As far as my eyes would go there were lush green peaks stretching out. It looked as if the beautiful mountains had just stepped out of a refreshing shower wrapped in dreamy blankets of cloud. It was exhilarating and gloomy at the same time – It had been long since I had experienced such heartwarming melancholy.
And then there was the Bungalow. It was quaint and charming, complete with antique rosewood furniture, fireplaces and unimaginably high ceilings. The rooms and bathrooms were huge. The seven of us took almost no time to identify where we wanted to park for the night. Then, we started exploring the bungalow! The place was like Alice’s ‘Wonderland’ – every minute we discovered something new to keep us busy. The handy bicycles, the neat walking scooter, the brilliant library, the fun hats, the cute pets – there was enough and more to fill the whole day. Imagine not being bored for a second in a world that had no social media, x-box or even television!

The Charming Hosts took us on a Trek

And I don’t think I can emphasize enough on how the hosts made us feel. Amza, Ratnamma & Sobha served us relentlessly – providing a constant supply of mouthwatering local food. They went out of their way to make us feel at home. It was like going to your grandparents for the summer break – you are the guest of honor and made to feel that way in the most homely way possible.We went off for a trek in the coffee estate following hours cycling around the bungalow. I picked up some coffee seeds from the plants on our trek. Amza informed me later that I had picked Arabica seeds – the more expensive of the two coffee varieties. I planned to carry those back in my bag, but was clumsy enough to lose them en route.
Pic courtesy: Vinodtiwari2608 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
When night fell we spread out in the lavish living room – with the guitar, the muted lighting and the colonial feel, it was a surreal experience.We chatted till deep into the night before retiring to the most refreshing slumber in a long long time.

Rains, and a Temple

The next morning we woke up to lashing rains and grey clouds. It was truly a lazy Sunday morning with the pitter patter of rain on the roof, hot coffee and great company. Amza persuaded us to drive up to the source of the Hemavati river. Quick warning – if it is raining, avoid this adventure. The road was extremely narrow, steep and slushy. Couple of times our tires got stuck and skidded. The adrenaline rush was a bit too much for us and the prize at the end of it relatively uninspiring. If it is not raining, you have reliable shoes and a strong pair of lungs, you may want to trek this 3 km stretch in stead of driving.
We did return unscathed to the bungalow around 11:30am and after a quick round of coffee, set off on our return journey. This was pretty taxing on the people driving as we were either smothered in clouds or lashed with rains on most of our way down. We reached Bangalore at 5:30pm.
I do have to admit that it was extremely useful that the phone was back up and I could connect with my folks in the US.
But I dearly wish that my life is frequently spotted with refreshing escapades to such serene disconnectivity!

About Anumita Ghosh

Anumita believes her calling has to do with the written words. She loves to write and read, and has recently given up a(n) (almost) rocking career in the Corporate to pursue her passion. Yes, she is slightly off her rocker, but then the society has been largely accepting of her madness. She is the co-founder of Blank Slate Chronicles and a struggling domestic apprentice, not to mention a loving (yet inadequately skilled) mother to a toddler.

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Anumita Ghosh

Anumita believes her calling has to do with the written words. She loves to write and read, and has recently given up a(n) (almost) rocking career in the Corporate to pursue her passion. Yes, she is slightly off her rocker, but then the society has been largely accepting of her madness. She is the co-founder of Blank Slate Chronicles and a struggling domestic apprentice, not to mention a loving (yet inadequately skilled) mother to a toddler.

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