Friday, December 20, 2013

Sharavathi Back Waters - 14,15 Dec 2013

Another place in to-do list ticked, thanks to BTC :). On Friday evening 13th December, 2013 twelve of us (13 including the TT driver) left Bangalore to spend the weekend away from hustle bustle of city life. Guess 13 isn't what it is made out to be :) When I landed awkwardly on toes on Monday (9th Dec) during office outing, I was worried more about how I would do the trek than the swelling and pain. I wonder if I would have registered had the injury occurred earlier. Luck or fate, I ended up going for the event and lo! such a wonderful one it turned out to be :)

I reached half an hour early at meeting point (Shantala Silk house - opposite Kempagowda Terminal 3) as is my norm and saw some members already gathered. I kept to myself nearby. Channabasappa Nad - organizer for the trek, arrived a few minutes later followed by others. Two minutes to scheduled meeting time (10:15pm) Channa called me on phone to know where I was - I believe now that he did it on purpose :P When Channa called another member Santosh (who was close by on the other side) - the laughter reached a higher pitch. Soon after, everyone had gathered and it was the same TT we had gone for Hampi.

Troubled journey
After a very brief intro session on our way, thankfully it was decided to sleep rather than watching movie. But the luck was short lived. Around 2AM, we got stuck in traffic as a bus had rolled onto its side. With almost an hour delay, there followed road with most irritating humps (or perhaps they were strips of road dug out) - 5-8 of them placed closed to each other and these appeared frequently.

Early morning surprise - Jog Falls
By 6:30AM, I woke up and got to know that we were visiting Jog falls en-route to home stay. First of the surprises throughout the weekend. Road and weather were perfect for a cycle ride. Though it is dry in this season, there were fallen trees and erosion on mountain side of road to indicate heavy rainfall in monsoon. We reached the falls few minutes to 7AM. I was surprised by the crowd assembled so early in the morning in December - many brushing their teeth and freshening up from the public wash. We did a quick visit and photo shoot - water level very bare compared to monsoon. 

 Finally got to see Jog Falls

Home stay, Breakfast and Elaborate Intro
By 8AM, we reached our home stay - Muppane nature camp - quite a distance from road and into the forest. After freshening up besides our first sighting of Sharavathi back waters, we left excess baggage behind and had breakfast - we had got our own plates from Bangalore :P. Avalakki (poha) and Poori with coconut chutney - different taste to what we get in city, but awesome :). Then we had proper introduction session - Deepthy was introduced to be co-organizer. Sharan, Prakash, Harish, Saravana, Santosh, Deepak, Divya, Ashwin, Kaushik and yours truly formed yet another awesome BTC group. Many were new comers, but by the end of event, they were firmly part of BTC family :)

Sharavathi Backwaters near home stay

Food point at home stay - much much better than costly hotel food

Trek to Goodadagundi Falls
We had our first group photo (was missed out at Jog falls) in front of TT and went in it to start our first trek of the event. It took more than an hour to reach the spot from where trek starts. It was sunny (11:15AM), but not too hot. After about 20 minutes walk through dry grass and small plants and scattered trees, we entered forest trail. Two from home stay (carrying food and vessels to be prepared for lunch) were guiding us. Shortly into the forest, we had to cross a small stream. Some of us removed and carried shoes instead of getting them wet. While drying legs on the other side, found two leeches :D Can't imagine how many more they would be in monsoon :-/

 On the way to Goodadagundi Falls

  Tricky steep descent
 
Another 25 minutes to reach the falls after passing more streams, small waterfalls, crossing on logs and a steep climb down. We spent sometime resting, removing leeches and photo shoot. Throughout the weekend, we were lucky to be the only group for the time span we were at the spots.

Hydromassage amidst Rainbow
Then started first of the two wonderful water activities. The waterfall is roughly two storied, more water gushing than I imagined for this month. We climbed about halfway and enjoyed hydro massage for close to an hour. At one spot, the flow was so forceful that one would get carried away without strong support - as I nearly was :P. Sun being opposite to us, there was beautiful circular rainbow around us. Thanks to Sharan for the water proof camera, we posed and clicked maniacally ;) Santosh's pose with tattoo on his arm was good.

  Goodadagundi Falls

Happiness is having bath in western ghats falls (PC: Sharan)
After we got down, reluctantly, some went ahead for swim in the pool below. I wandered in and came out immediately as it was deeper than 5 feet even close to shore. I changed and resorted to clicking pics. Our guides had started cooking by now. What a luxury - hot meal after refreshing bath. We left our clothes to dry on rocks under hot Sun and took refuge under shade of trees.
The water flows a bit further from the pool and falls away dramatically over a cliff and flows away through beautiful gorge (from whatever we could see without risking safety :P).

Lunch and rest
By 1:50PM, the lunch was ready. White rice, sambhar, mixed veg pickle and ........ appalam!! Plus mixture snack packet opened by someone. Ofcourse we were hungry and ate till body said no more. And for dessert, I took to snapping macros, water splash and succeeded to some extent in trying to capture casual pics.

Towards the most scenic sunset point at Kalghatta peak
We were still heavy with lunch, when we started our next trek at 3:10PM. The climb was easier than the struggle we had descending, went a bit further the way we had come before turning right towards the new destination. We had tall trees, dead leaves, sharp leaves, thorns, crumbling wood, leeches and humidity as company for about 20 minutes steady climb.

  On the way to Belligundi Falls

Belligundi falls
After a short water break in open dry grassland, we reached the sunset point in another 10 minutes. Only, at that point, we were under the impression of only trekking to Belligundi falls - much like Goodadagundi one. And what a sight we had - about 20 feet higher waterfall than Jog (according to guide) on the peak to our left covered with thick trees. Apparently, there is a trekking trail to the falls too - wish I can go there someday :)

   Bellingundi Falls (supposedly 20 ft higher than Jogs)

The valley in front of us was dotted with smaller peaks, small lakes and some village houses. On the distant horizon, we could see faint orange glow of 4'o'clock Sun reflected from Arabian sea.

Place and Movie names 'Antakshiri'
After photo shoots, we came back a little to sit in shade to while away time till sunset. Some small talk and slices of Mousambi later (thanks to whoever had got it :) ), it was time to play. Dumb Charades and Antakshiri were floated as usual and ultimately it was decided to play Antakshiri using place names instead of songs. It wasn't limited to just countries and cities but to local areas too. Thankfully, we agreed to not use street or house names :P
A and R were frequent and letter E proved nemesis in both games. Highlight was Channa coming up with 'nagar' for almost any letter within Bangalore. Sometimes, a team would answer opponent's letter or answer with some other letter - and few of those names were shamelessly used by opponent in future :P. At one point, Andaman was used for letter 'A' and we replied with 'Nicobar' for 'N' :P. After losing out for running out of places for 'E' we continued the game by switching to Hindi/English movie names. And this time, we strangled the opponents with 'E'. By then, interest was flagging and we went back to view point. But 'E' nemesis wasn't over for the day yet.

Sunset and moonlight trek
We hadn't planned for sunset and consequently only few had torch while rest were at home stay. Sharan's torch is powered by rotating a handle - the noise it makes doing so is so memorable. It was good to see almost full moon (read torch for us) opposite to the setting Sun. We had group photos while waiting for Sun to turn red. While the valley gave good sunset pics, it would have been better if there was mountain in the distance instead of clouds hovering over beach.

   Enjoying sunset from Kalghatta peak

By 6PM, Sun had sunk and darkness grew fast. We were equally upto the task. Guide and Ashwin lead the way, Channa brought up the rear - keeping the team as close as possible. Deepthy helped in co-ordination in middle - she slipped quite a few times but avoided fall - not so lucky on Sunday though :P. Yet again, we took a new path - thus avoiding any repeat path for the day. It alternated between grasslands and forest trails. For most part though, natural light was enough, torch being absolutely needed only towards end of the hour trek inside forest. We had to cross a steam too - wet shoes this time (and leech) for all unlike morning escape.
TT was a welcome sight, only to find our driver was hungry since morning! We gave him a packet of biscuit and chocolate bar. On the way to home stay, we tried to play proper Antakshiri but it fizzed out. Deepthy's request for Dumb Charades was no starter. We stopped at a local hotel for the driver to have food. Saravana isn't used to tea/coffee - so Channa taunted him with coffee as being milk with little powder for remainder of the event. Divya was adamant to only having tea, rest of us having coffee. Rusk and snack botti sated our hunger a bit - including the local dog having left overs with continuous shake of its tail. Some took off their wet shoes to check for leeches, while some were content to remove the shoes only at home stay.

Camping by the backwater
After reaching the home stay and freshening up, we were treated with a feast - chappathi with lady's finger, 'hot' chilly bhajji, bisibella bath, curd rice and payasam. After another short night trek, we reached camping spot besides the backwater. The setting was so lovely to be sandwiched between trees and water with moon and stars for company. And no other man-made noise.

   Camp fire near backwaters

  Dumb Charades by camp fire (PC: Channa)

Home stay guides had set up tents and camp fire before leaving. By 10:30PM, we were all seated around the fire with enough ammo for 2 hours. Dumb Charades was finally played - restricted again to only English/Hindi movies. Lot of comical acts, guesses and some brilliant acts as well. I botched up 'Apocalypto' big time before escaping when Saravana guessed it when I managed to convey 'lip+2'. Previous experiences helped me in setting tough :P ones for the opponent, guessing Sarfarosh (exactly same enacting as I had done in past - 'head' in hindi) and acting out for Shawshank Redemption (Copied my colleague's idea of indicating top of imdb list, guessed again by Saravana). 'E' nemesis returned when I gave Ender's Game (End+Game was easily guessed, but no one had idea about er's :D) Santosh was by far best actor IMO.

Weird night sounds
One big and two small tents accommodated us. Mist had accumulated inside the tent cover when we returned from camp fire. After advice from Channa to not go out alone in the night and plan to wake up by 6AM, we finally gave rest to our body. My 700g 15 degree sleeping bag proved too much kill inside the tent. I was sweating even without warm clothes.
Around 3AM, I woke to sound of the backwater waves. Water sounded eerily as if flowing besides us even though we were good more than 10 feet away. Soon, there was weird sound which felt as if some animal was walking close by. I was by the tent opening and could see Deepak's tent and indications of it being windy outside. Rationally, I concluded nothing to fear - only waves and wind outside, weird sounds were snoring ones inside the tent. But subconsciously, I was at unease and afraid for close to 10-15 minutes before sleep took over. Later in morning, others related similar feeling and experiences :D I had thought it was bear, some thought it to be elephant and so on :P One thing everyone agreed upon was that water did sound very close to us.

Sunrise and very loooooooooooooooooooong photo session
My 6AM alarm woke many (dunno if some cursed me too :P). Sand outside was all wet with mist and when we reached edge, saw bubble layers lining the shore. We could see sky turning orange in the distance but cloud cover didn't give us hope to see sunrise. But at 6:57AM, we spotted the orange ball nice and clear rising over mountains in the distance.


   Sunrise from campsite
 
After mandatory group photo and shots with Sun, we began ways to capture different shots. There wasn't a conscious plan to do so, but one thing led to another and kept us busy another 2 hours! Guides had asked when we wanted breakfast at 7:30AM. We replied that we are packing in another 5 minutes and we decided snaps are enough around 9AM :P. Guides understood our intention and got us tea to the shore itself just before 8AM.
As is natural, we were trying skipping stones. Ashwin threw one nonchalantly after several unsuccessful tries - it skipped atleast 4 times and even better the residue waves was neatly captured by Kaushik - talk about two coincidences! Naturally, next in list was trying to capture stone splashing.
Prakash was explaining how difficult it is to stand on one leg, the other leg risen upto hip level with the foot parallel to ground AND close eyes. Even 2 seconds was difficult. Instead, Channa got us to pose like that in a row with hands raised.

   Deepthy's stunt orchestrated by Channa (PC: Channa)

And then the best part - staging stunt scenes with Deepthy. She would raise one leg high above hip and three of us would enact getting hit by different level of jumping. Channa captured them beautifully. This was followed by individual stunts. And then the show moved by bringing Deepak's tent close to shore and posing inside/nearby. And then we moved to a stone set inside water where people stood and posed as meditating, etc.

Sumptuous Breakfast
We were to start water activities at that spot only. So, we walked to breakfast point after freshening up. While waiting, Santosh described a diet programme he did to reduce 3-4 kgs within a week (fruits one day, vegetables one day, mix of them to follow other days) and how he helped form a small group in his office for 8 floors staircase exercise including some youngsters. Talk changed to blood donation and other things before breakfast arrived.
It was idly, sambhar and what to say - it was combination of masala vada and bonda. It was super to say the least. A large flock of crows assembled in nearby trees, raucous and waiting to pounce when we washed our plates. After we finished and moved away, the flock immediately moved near to kitchen. No wonder they are known for smartness.

Time finally for main event of the trip - getting into backwaters
Around 11AM, we were all set to get-in after guides had tied life jackets so tightly that it was a bit difficult to breathe. But given what we did, it certainly was needed. Santosh and Saravana were strapped with two :D. After another group photo, we entered the water. Sharan's camera allowed another round of snaps inside water.We tried unsuccessfully several times to get a well coordinated shot. While doing so, at one point, we were all holding hands and floating in eastern direction with natural flow of water and Sharan in middle of the ring.

Looooooooong Swim
Soon we split and scattered. 7 of us decided to swim towards a dead tree with only branches sticking out of water. Thankfully Channa wasn't around to stop me as I didn't know swimming :P. As I had already been in water twice with life jacket, I was comfortable to wade into water deeper than my height. But this was unlike anything I had done before - to swim for close to an hour to reach a tree in middle of backwaters. Thanks to Saravana for being close to me for most part and dragging me when I got tired. Guides were around too kayaking and canoeing. Despite all good advices, I couldn't get hand-and-leg coordination while trying to swim. I could do frog like sweep naturally, but that didn't get me forward fast enough and was very tiring. What did work for most part was holding my arms straight in front of me and flapping my legs. It gives a bit of superman moving feeling too :P. Ofcourse using only legs tired me faster than if I could have done with hands too. Saravana kept encouraging me with just 3-5 minutes more despite me telling him clearly it wasn't the case. We both were short sighted too without glasses :D. Thought of returning halfway did cross my mind - but thanks to my previous cycle trips, I didn't give up and made it to the tree.

   Thanks to Sharan for bringing water proof camera :)

By then, others too had come to the spot in coracle. I truly felt happy when they praised for coming so far not knowing swimming. So much so, I was buoyed to try swimming back too instead of going in coracle. After much needed rest and photo shoot (with goggles, shades and caps too), we started back on a straighter path this time compared to circuitous one we did earlier. Deepthy joined us too, making it two not knowing swimming. I tried to keep pace, but halfway I was really tired and lagging behind. Meanwhile, Divya too overcame doubts and entered water far from shore.

Coracle ride, dive and Kayaking
I called coracle to give me a lift. Climbing into it was tougher than expected. Once in, I took to oars to keep busy. And then the guide helped us dive from the coracle - persons sitting inside need to hold tightly to avoid injury or toppling :D. After my own dive, I swam again to make it to the shore - estimates varied wildly amongst us, I feel I must have swam close to a kilometer. More than 2 hours. After coming out, people slipped in the mud, but none spectacularly as Deepthy. Miraculously she wasn't hurt, but finally her luck of escape from fall had run out.
While people took turns to kayaking and canoeing, Channa and others brought out much needed snacks. Whole packets were consumed in less than a minute. No wonder as it was past 2PM. I captured the tree from shore to remind me in future of my first long swimming session. As it was getting late, I got to do kayaking for about 10 minutes - was awesome experience, be it changing direction or moving forward. Canoeing - well, some day in future :)

   That tree is how far we swam

Lunch and reaching another sunset point
We finally packed from camping spot and trekked back for lunch. Pulao (which Channa pronounces as Palao :P) with raitha and white rice with sambhar and pickle this time. Pulao had a bit too much of laung, cardamom and cinnamon. Sambhar was awesome (tumba chennagide ;) ). A good moment was saving some Pulao for Deepak, but when he came he went straight for white rice. When asked, he replied that he would take it last - just like some keep sweet for last bite :)
We then bade good bye to Muppane nature camp. Talk started about naming of the camp - it means old/aged elephant. There is a large rectangular pit on the way between food point and camp site. Some joked the pit was for elephant - it was questioned as the pit couldn't have held large elephant, so suggestion turned to dwarf elephant! Ofcourse we took group photo at exit gate and went towards another sunset point - about an hour's journey. Despite predictions of everyone sleeping after heavy meal, we took to talking various topics. Somewhere, it led to rich Indian heritage, various attacks and how religion conversion wasn't as wide spread in India compared to other invasions in foreign countries. There is BBC documentary on this. And then, rather inevitably, politics. We stopped in between to fill air for TT, which resulted in another round of snacks botti despite our full stomachs.

'Just 1' km trek to sunset point
After getting down from TT, we walked for about ten minutes to reach another home stay - maintained by the famous Sampath. The home stay was painted outside like some modern art (not that I can recognize one, just felt so) - all posh inside, must be used for corporate events.
We then started the 'just 1 km' trek which turned out much more. For about 20 minutes, some steep, slippery and thorn infested path. Santosh got a bad cut on his soles. Deepthy had her second fall for the day - perhaps fulfilling previous day's quota too :P. Small thorns got stuck to shoes and clothing. Thankfully, grip on my slippers was good and better than Saravana's sport shoes :D
Halfway through, we got to see the backwaters, islands and sun about to set in the distance. Moon was out on the eastern horizon, just like the day before, overlooking large expanse of trees amidst small hills. 


  Sunset overlooking Sharavathi backwaters

We had nice unobstructed view of Sharavathi backwaters from sunset point. Much better sunset pics than previous day and somehow my dead batteries worked enough for few snaps. Just after 6PM, we started back. Getting down was tougher with steep slopes and slipper grass and small stones. At one point, path was confusing due to thick plant cover and so we took one possible direction, which wasn't that difficult but actually wasn't a path :P

Rest and double strong tea
After reaching Sampath's home stay, we got to relax more than an hour. After freshening up, we got talking in the verandah. Everyone opened up by now, closeness in the group starting to show as we felt as if been together for a month. Talk ranged from difficulty in IT due to frequent s/w changes, mindset as one climbs the ladder, Deepthy's aerospace medicine arena, Sharan's credit card work and associated travel - this led to him recollecting his posting in Africa, local culture and close escape. He also explained how some credit card frauds happen - really scary, and how cards with chip might reduce it. Ashwin and others were surprised that I have close to 6 year industry experience, just as Saravana was in Hampi. I'll have to get used to this :D
Meanwhile, we were served very strong tea (tasted a bit bitter too) - Divya happily drained more than two cups. Channa told Saravana that it is milk with 'some' tea. And then as is custom, there was feedback session. Emphatically, it was all positive feedback from us, with few minor issues raised which Channa and Deepthy accepted and promised to get better at. The little surprises throughout the event was definitely the highlight, places chosen for trek and water activity adding to charm.

Small night trek to finish off things
We took another group photo with moon shining brightly in the sky and started back to TT around 7:30PM. Many torches were still in TT like previous day :P but moonlight and the few ones we did have were enough. Deepthy led us this time and nearly had a third fall. We continued to pull her legs by suggesting how tiger or lion would run away seeing our fiery nails :D and hence we were safe night trekking in forest. Talk continued in TT until dinner stop around 8:30PM. For some time, we couldn't get tables close to seat all of us and after we had sit separately and ordered, tables suddenly became empty and we finally sat side by side. The costly food wasn't good as home stay (roti was made entirely of maida :-/). But dessert was good - I finally got to eat Gudbud after I had come to know during Kumaraparvatha trek in Sep 2012!

PS: Happy to inform that the single leech bite ain't itching yet :P (5-6 bites from Kumaraparvatha trek didn't itch either - developing immunity after so many treks? :D)

PPS: During the two days, sprain pain was almost negligible, I could run and do stunts. But after the event, it is paining again :-/ 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cruise to Coast - 18,19 Aug 2012

My second cycling trip with CAM. Three of my office colleagues (Yashwanth, Mitesh and Praveen) and two of my trek mates (Vinaay and Anton) gave me company. The most popular CAM ride and one couldn't have asked for a better month to ride - August. We missed out the first ride as seats filled up very fast but made sure we were amongst first few to register for the second one. Though we started about an hour later than scheduled on Friday evening from hockey stadium near Shantinagar, we reached Bagamandala around 6AM. After hot chow-chow bath and tea/coffee at KSTDC, we got ready with our pack to carry and rented cycle selection. It rained after few cyclists having their own cycle had started. Shortly, rain relented enough for us to ride with our rain-coats on.

Bagamandala - view from our starting point. (Talakaveri is very close from here)

It took about an hour to cover gentle upward slope stretch about 8-9km from the starting point. It was all misty but rain stopped completely pretty soon. Out came cameras and as is my wont, I started my spree of clicks in auto mode. It ended up being one of the reasons why I ended up cycling lot less than my previous ride with CAM. We were treated with awesome views of western ghats, scenery all the more wonderful thanks to clouds. Lots of small and few sizable streams and waterfalls dotted our morning journey.

Anton

Time for group pic
 
Then started a stretch of about 10km steep down slope. The road was battered though because of monsoon. We had been advised to be very careful by CAM organizers and we were doing just that. Then at a curve giving a view of western ghats, some cyclists including my three colleagues were taking a breather. I stopped a little longer for clicks before proceeding. I was all alone and suddenly I was going fast on the bad downward slope. I simply lost control trying to steer along the curves, knew I was going to fall and eventually fell off the road on grass filled with small thorns. To this day my colleagues believe I was upto my usual acrobatics show off, but trust me, I wasn't. Luck or fate, I was only meters away from fatal fall from mountain side, though it is possible I might have got stuck amongst the trees too. It took a few minutes to stop my shaking. I had scratches all over my body, the thorns were tiny and difficult to locate and pull out. I remember taking out a few days after the event.

My colleagues had dutifully stopped some way ahead waiting for me. Thankfully, there wasn't any damage to cycle - some consolation - and I reached them soon enough to have avoided them coming back for me. Rest of the downhill was uneventful, given I was extra careful and tried to keep in middle of road. Frequent use of breaks made it rather stressful than enjoying the downhill.

The route until lunch was mostly flat with few ups and downs. Yashwanth and Mitesh went ahead as they were faster than me and Praveen. By the time we both neared lunch hour and upward slopes, we were very tired. The numerous small breaks earlier in the morning for snaps, rest, rain and cautious ride on downhill definitely were a factor - I kept this in mind to improve my show on the next CAM trip ;) Last few kms to lunch point was in support vehicle.

Awesome western ghats views
 
After lunch and short break, we had another 3-5 km of steep uphill to climb. A sharp shower sent us scurrying into bus stop shelters and the humidity made us uncomfortable inside the rain coats. By 2:30pm, we finally reached the end of steep climb and took a long rest. All four of us had a round of tea/coffee, talked about the trip so far and stretch to come.

End of steep climbs and start of good roads
 
Another two hour ride got us to Bekal fort - the famous spot where song of Bombay was shot. The ride had some more streams, short steep ups and downs. Very good roads for most part were a welcome change to complete this stretch despite the pain and cramps (specially for Praveen). Last few km before Bekal was through manageable village road and we had to ask for directions a lot very close to the fort. And of course, there were strange stares from passerby's throughout the event and at some places, people even tried to block the path.

Whats not to like about the afternoon stretch towards Bekal
 
We spent close to an hour roaming inside Bekal fort. The eventual end point for the day was at Kasargod, another 20km ride from Bekal. Suffice to say, most of the group chose to not ride and go in our bus, with cycles loaded onto canters. The fort is very large and one hour is enough to cover only about quarter of the area. Well maintained garden and lush green grass cover including on fort walls and the weather made it an unforgettable experience. Lot of time was spent in trying to click butterflies, pigeons, flowers, unusual angles of fort, worms living off holes in fort wall, pics of self to be put on fb, the sea waves lashing against rocks and the beach. Myself and Praveen were too tired to actually go to the beach.

Bekal Fort - reminds of Bombay song? ;)
 
Waves from Arabian sea lashing against rocks outside the fort 

Where earth, sea and sky meet
 
After reaching hotel in Kasargod, we spent time in resting our tired selves. I did sirsasana instead of stretching. After bath and dinner (very cheap compared to Bangalore :P) we slept. Or rather tried to amongst fire-crackers bursting in middle of night outside the hotel.

Starting early morning second day ride on empty stomach

By 7AM next morning, we started towards Jalsoor on practically empty stomach. The route was fairly straight forward, except for one major deviation. The roads were better than the good stretch we had afternoon the previous day. Mitesh and Yashwanth were ahead again. Myself and Praveen was happy to be cycling at all, given the stiffness and cramp. We aimed first to just reach the breakfast point (around 16km from Kasargod).


By 8:30AM, we made it to the breakfast point without much discomfort. After hungrily devouring the breakfast, we both decided to keep going further. Our aim now raised to cover 100km combined for both days.

Time for breaking fast
 
There were many ups and downs, the road though made it easier than broken mountain roads. After some struggle, dragging and lots of break, we were finally forced to give up around 11AM. Not before we both completed 100+km though. In retrospect, we could have done few more or even completed till Jalsoor, but we weren't in a shape to argue with canter guys nor take risk of getting stuck behind the support vehicles.

More awesome roads
 
After a short ride in bus, we stopped nearby a bridge over Payaswini river. Cue to bring cameras out for some more DP clicks. The idle time was more bearable seeing others in the group with us in the bus. Certainly, finishing 100+ was itself satisfying, especially given the state on first day evening and second day morning, but felt a little sad to not complete either day's ride.

Payaswini river
 
After everyone gathered around the big tree at finishing point in Jalsoor and some refreshments, we left for Bangalore around one-o-clock. Some fun at lunch point due to my dislike for curd/butter-milk. During the ride back, we had lot of discussion with fellow cyclists and CAM organizers on past events. All in all, a good cycling event with friends.

Well earned rest at Jalsoor
 
On the way to Bangalore, can you spot the cricket match going on ;)

The Backyard Well

Prologue
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The king had come to steal. Years of meticulous planning had gone in choosing the place. The king couldn't afford to be seen or let people in the vicinity know of the activity. It had taken days to build the tunnel so as to get a handful of the treasure. The kingdom would have only few thousand years left if this mission failed too. A deep pinkish glow as the king moved gave the tunnel an eerie look. A powerful vaporizer, carrying the king, carved a cylindrical path. The silencer wasn’t needed so deep into earth, the king was just being over cautious. The vaporizer was ingeniously built to store and use the energy of the very material it consumed, thus making it portable.

As the king neared the outer core of earth, the vaporizer began slowing down and created a heat shield around. A thin coating of vacuum outside the heat shield allowed the vaporizer to plunge into the outer core liquid. The king then switched off the auto-pilot mode and maneuvered the vaporizer to stay close to the surface of the outer core. The vaporizer performed quick experiments on the sample collected through specialized pores all around the vehicle. Sheer relief and excitement overcame the king on studying the composition of the molten liquid - iron and nickel, as expected and much needed for the kingdom. Collecting as much the container could hold, the king retracted the vaporizer off the outer core and changed back to auto-pilot.

The king was woken up by the vaporizer as it approached the surface. The entrance was locked from inside which could be opened only by the king or the vaporizer's muzzle. It was bright and sunny outside. The king cursed the lapse in concentration. Anyone around may observe the vaporizer flying to reach the king's main transport vehicle, which was hidden miles away in a hillock's cave. The king had chosen the dense forest as an extra insurance. Now it had become an obstacle in not allowing the king to ride instead of flying. After long thought, the king decided it was safer to hide the vaporizer below the forest floor and wait for darkness.

But fate decided to rob the king of glory at the last moment. The king was killed by another king.


*****************************************************
More than thousand years later
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To tell or not? The question gnawed him every time he was with Soumya trying to solve a bug in the code. Lately, without him being aware consciously, he would purposefully delay identifying the error. Few glances at the code would often give him the hint. Feigning innocence, he would look at Soumya and ask questions he knew the answers for. And he would watch the way her hair fell over her shoulders, what shape her earrings were, color of her bindi. Sometimes he would try to memorize her voice. All the while nodding his head to look inconspicuous. After solving the issue, he would be back sometime later to check if the issue really went away. Though it made him look stupid, he would do it again and again just to glimpse Soumya's smile and the way dimples formed on her cheeks. He sometimes wondered if Soumya deliberately created issues to be with him. And would almost immediately dismiss the thought, they were working on the same project after all. Whatever Soumya's feelings were, he thought, his college professor deserved his gratitude for making Java fun to learn.

*****************************************************

The alien was sure that it had arrived at the right spot. The place looked completely different to the visual evidence it possessed. Yet, there was no mistaking that the secret entrance to planet's core was somewhere nearby. Finding the exact location of the entrance and getting the molten liquid was of paramount importance. The alien though had been working on a sinister plan. And for that, some research was necessary. Before leaving the spot, the alien marked the place with a co-ordinate locking device to be used from the mother ship.

*****************************************************

Naveen was a typical professional in a reputed Indian software company in Bangalore. Initially, like most of his colleagues, he worked enthusiastically for the first three years of his job. And then the boredom started. He found it difficult to find enough motivation to work other than as a means of earning for his living. He tried various activities including previously unthinkable dance classes. And none held his attention for more than a month. Countless time he had contemplated changing his job but his own lack of confidence and laziness would stop him. Choosing a different technology field was no option. He never took that extra step to come out of the shell. And worse, reading books had become boring.

Yet, Naveen would day dream of breaking the shackles of routine boredom. He would picture himself traveling, gaming, writing break-through software, finding the mysteries of the backyard well, Bermuda triangle and what not. Some days, deep in thoughts, he realized and hated the mechanical feel of his life.

All that changed when Soumya joined his team six months before. She became his sole reason of motivation in office. He spent most of his free time in planning elaborate ways of asking her out. Desperation led to foraging the net and reading romantic books for ideas. But facing her in office, only work related questions would come out of his mouth. He consoled himself that he was at least talking work related topics without stammering or raising suspicion. A dream got him excited briefly where he had defeated an alien attack by hacking their spaceship control. He waited for an opportunity to talk about it with Soumya.

*****************************************************

Blending in an alien planet was easy for this extra-terrestrial visitor. As luck would have it, it was evening when the alien had arrived and an almost full moon was hidden firmly behind dark clouds. Aided by a black coat hidden by high frequency light shield and camera to make the alien transparent, the only issue was to avoid bumping against things. Being small in size, that wasn't so difficult either.

To find about the planet's people, mind control was its easiest option. Having made a decision to torture people, it felt easier for the alien to break rules. It looked around for someone alone. Spotting a dog barking in its direction, the alien wondered if the invisible shield wasn't working and immediately took hold of the dog's consciousness. Soon the alien realized that the creature wasn't the type of species it was looking for.

Observing the surrounding for a while, the alien was soon able to distinguish people from motorized vehicles. Rising high above the ground to avoid getting in the way, the alien started looking for a lonely individual. Its first victim was a college girl who was heading to an internet cafe.


*****************************************************

It was Friday evening; Naveen was alone as his room-mates had left for their hometowns to enjoy a rare three-day holiday. Naveen was stuck behind as he had forgotten to book train ticket 120 days in advance. Back ache and neck pain that came free with using computers made bus travel painful. Naveen had decided to stay back and continue refining his plan of asking her out. But now he wasn't in good mood. One of those useless training courses had kept him away from his cube the whole day.

Taking his mobile and headset, he went to the terrace and sat in his favorite dark corner facing a mango tree in the backyard. He first started flipping through photos of Soumya and then listened to conversations he had recorded secretly during the debug sessions. Just then, the full moon crept out of clouds. The sudden light made Naveen pause the recording and hide his mobile as if his parents had discovered his secret. The guilty feeling lingered and he stood up to watch the backyard - a favorite pastime during power cuts in the evening. The mango tree and an old unused well nearby seemed to blend perfectly with his melancholic mood. The full moon's light prompted Naveen to check out on the well. He hadn't opened its lid and peered down for more than a month now.

*****************************************************

After the girl had come out of the cafe, the alien released her from its hold and erased memory of the encounter. Though it wasn't a fool proof procedure, secrecy wasn't that important at the moment. The alien had learnt a good deal about the place, people and even managed to pin down few historical details using the internet.

The alien took control of another person - this time a middle aged man wearing a strange cape with black blades on the sides heading to watch a movie. The movie and internet would come in handy for the alien later, but cause pain too.


*****************************************************

The well never had had water according to the landlord. It was atleast 20 meter deep and 2 meter in diameter. The bed of the well was covered with dead leaves, twigs and other garbage accumulated for ages. Inscriptions like Lord Shiva's lingam and other vague, tattered symbols on the well's outer wall made it look like a historical monument. There was a hint of steps inside the well from the way some stones protruded. The landlord had only bothered to cover the well with lid and used backyard as USP while advertising the house for rent. Naveen and his friends had certainly fallen for ‘2 BHK independent house with backyard in Bangalore!’

Peering into the well, Naveen wanted to reach the base, remove the litters to see if any treasure was hidden. Often, they had debate whether to ask an archaeologist to shed light on the inscriptions. Naveen had even photographed every angle of the well including the inner walls. But like other things, he didn't go any further. The moonlight didn't reach the bottom of the well, so Naveen closed the lid soon and sat on it. He then took his mobile to play a song. Soumya's sweet voice filled his ears and he remembered that he had paused the recording in haste. He wished longingly that she was sitting beside him right now, under the shade of moonlit mango tree, holding his hands and talking through the night. Almost immediately, his subconscious mind reminded that he had forgotten his weekly update. Cursing the training courses again, he went in to send the mail.


*****************************************************

The alien had enough of mind control and decided to return to the mother ship. Having established the planet's usual sleeping pattern, the alien and its comrades set about testing their invention. To their collective dismay, the device didn't work. After much analysis, the alien gave up and decided to get the molten liquid instead. The device can be repaired and the planet revisited later for revenge.

The alien reached the backyard of Naveen's house, the black coat making it invisible to human eyes. It was well past midnight, but the alien was being more careful now that the device had failed. After checking around, the alien was about to dig a hole when a new possibility occurred to it. Deciding to gamble one last time, the alien moved inside the house. Gently probing for living beings, it narrowed to Naveen. Making sure that Naveen was asleep; the alien conducted an experiment with him. Within minutes, the alien was buoyed by the results and now knew a way to make the failed device work.

*****************************************************

Naveen was contemplating between watching movie and playing games. He decided the former and searched through his movie folder which occupied more than 150GBs. From animation to action movies, he had a movie for all moods. Science fiction sub-folder was chosen tonight - his favorite by Spielberg - E.T.

He got so engrossed in the movie that he did not notice an unusual activity going on behind him. A strange bluish white glow distracted Naveen. He looked back immediately but nothing was amiss. He shrugged and continued watching E.T. The scene was Elliot searching in the night when everyone else was sleeping. At the same time, images started flashing in his mind. He felt as if he was dreaming. For a moment he lost consciousness and when he opened his eyes he was lying face down on the floor. He had an uneasy feeling of someone having ransacked his brain. His body shook; hands dropped the mobile and grabbed water bottle. Opening the bottle cap seemed to take an eternity. The sweaty palms did not help. On laptop, Elliot was leading E.T. to his bedroom. Naveen looked around carefully but nothing registered. Slowly he got up and took his mobile. He was about to call his mother when the bluish white light reappeared. Naveen stood transfixed as he watched an alien emerging from the light source. His instinctive cry would have drowned that of Elliot's sister but for the fact that his voice had failed him.

The alien was purple colored and looked like a large, smooth spherical lump with no apparent facial features or arms or legs for that matter. It glided towards Naveen and stopped just in front of him. Naveen was still rooted to his spot when he heard a voice in his head. It was the alien.

The alien repeated - "Hi there. How are you?" and added "Just think what you want to reply. I will understand"

Naveen took a while to grasp the connection. It is a telepathic link.

"Exactly"

"Whattttttt. Oh yeah you can understand what I think. Oh, bloody damn great. I feel excited and nervous at the same time"

"I mean no harm, I am here to help you" reassured the alien.

"Well... that's great... that's just very great. I can understand what you want to say and you can understand whatever I think. And what to do mean you want to help me?"

"I can help with your boredom as well as with Soumya"

"So, you know my problems too. Is there anything you do not know? For instance I can call the authorities and hand you over?"

"You think you could do that?"

"Oh yeah, why not? I can show you." But he could not move.

"See, now you understand me"

"What have you done? You said you are here to help me."

"It is just a precaution. Remember that dream you had some days back? You defeated aliens by hacking their mother ship"

Naveen took a while to realize what it had said. He had been patting himself for the feat even though it was a dream. To think that he wanted to gloat about it to Soumya!

"You planted that dream?"

"Oh yes, it served our purpose"

"What do you mean ‘our’? Are there more of your lot here?"

"No, currently I am the only one here. You will soon meet the others". The alien admonished itself for the slip and made a note to be more careful.

"All this is too much for me to comprehend. Let me free of the bindings, it is uncomfortable"

"Well, you first need to have full faith in me and I should be satisfied enough that you would do as I say"

"Whoa, you said you are here to help me"

"Well, that doesn't come free you know. Do we understand each other now?"

"Let me think over it. Wait. You would anyway know what I am thinking right now isn't it?"

"You can be rest assured, I do"

"Great. Bloody damn great."

The alien then released Naveen from its hold and asked him to sleep.

"How can I know you wouldn't do anything?"

"Do you have any choice?"

Naveen shrugged and failed in trying to sleep. His thoughts were not his own anymore. The alien sensed his uneasiness and gently helped him to sleep.


*****************************************************

After an hour of deliberation, Soumya decided that it was the perfect opportunity to call Naveen. She could easily pretend that she was stuck whole day trying multi-threading on applets. If he could advice, she can work during the weekend and avoid a deadline slip. And if things went well, she could then continue the false pretence and meet him next day. As she searched her contacts, however, she realized that Naveen didn't have her number. He had given his contact number all right, but hadn't asked for her number! Doubt seeped in her mind. What if he really was only helping and not gaping at her during the debug sessions! She tried recalling every meeting and couldn't decide one way or the other. What one minute ago was a playful gambit now unsettled her. She finally mustered up the courage and called Naveen. He couldn't attend the call. A torturous weekend stared at her.

*****************************************************

The sense of occasion overwhelmed the alien. So many ifs played in its mind. If only the Universal Trade Commission had agreed to help them with the molten iron & nickel liquid, so many missions would have been unnecessary, the great king would still have been alive. If only their attempt at getting the molten liquid from their own Sun had succeeded or indeed their own planet's core had it. If only their planet had more natural resources for trade, they could have bought from other planets. If only machines hadn't mimicked their mind reading and control capabilities. If only the great king had not gone alone on the previous mission. If only the cursed people of this planet had not killed their king. If only they had invested in technology long before, they could have had sophisticated devices of their own and not depend on UTC’s mercy. They had to wait years even to come to this planet again. Oh the horror of their great king having to disintegrate on this cursed planet.

Being on brink of their existence had finally given the alien freedom to do its will. First this cursed planet will pay for its deed. And in doing so, the planet would not only solve their power issues, but give them their first technological marvel. UTC will then have no option but to reopen trade. That would require going through the truth test. Not a problem. The fools only tested whether people were killed. There are better ways to take revenge. And that reminded the alien to get back to work.

Reaching the old well, the alien checked the surroundings again. The king's black seal glowed being in the vicinity of the seal's twin. The alien decided it was safe enough to descend into the well instead of digging another hole. Using a new vaporizer with the same muzzle pattern of the previous mission, the alien unlocked the safe at the bed of the well. As was known from last contact with great king, the vaporizer was still there. The molten liquid had however solidified rendering it as a worthless metal lump. A video recorder storing everything the great king had seen was still intact. The alien decided to view it later – there were far more pressing things to do.


*****************************************************

Naveen woke from a dreamless sleep. As he opened his eyes, the alien glided towards him. Now that adrenaline of last night had receded, he had flurry of questions to ask.

"How did you come, where is your spaceship?

"Teleporting"

"You mean beamed down?"

"Sort off. So when are you ready to start working?"

"Whoa. Am not your servant. And I have lot of questions to be answered"

"Ok, hurry up"

"How are you able to understand my language?"

"Well, it is the other way around. You are speaking my language"

"Huh?"

"You see, I imparted my knowledge to you which is easier than me trying to understand yours. And by-the-way you are just thinking not speaking"

It was all confusing for Naveen. He couldn't think privately, he was 'thinking' not talking with the alien and what was he supposed to do?

"Well, I will tell you all about it"

Oh goodness me, sighed Naveen.


*****************************************************

"How are we going? Where are you taking me?"

"The same way I came. You will understand the place better with your eyes"

"You sure it will be safe for me? I won't get blown, no?"

"Relax; this mode of transport is as simple for us as is walking for you"

Naveen could only nod his head and tried to keep his head blank and await the proceedings.

"Good" replied the alien.

*****************************************************

The alien stayed still for sometime as if waiting for the right moment. The alien's body color turned from purple to green. Satisfied, the alien then made contact with mother-ship to beam them up. Naveen's mind was tempered with to induce a deep sleep state. The alien’s complexion was back to purple. Gliding towards Naveen, the alien stopped a few inches from him. It then proceeded to form a bond with Naveen extending the purplish color around him. The alien looked around the room for the last time. The purple bond turned to deep blue and then bluish white before disappearing completely, leaving pitch darkness behind except for the faint glow of screen saver on the laptop.

*****************************************************

"I think you promised me to show around your ship", retorted Naveen as soon as he saw the alien gliding towards him. His head had been throbbing like hangover when he had woken up. It was a while before he could think clearly. He realized that a long time must have passed since he left the house.

"Yes, but work first", replied the alien, who was seemingly alone with Naveen.

"You hijack me here and then order to work without any preamble". Naveen was starting to get irritated and wanted to forget all this as a nightmare.

The alien suddenly turned bright red, causing unbearable pain to Naveen. But almost immediately the pain disappeared and purple glow returned on the alien. The alien eased Naveen to sleep, thought for sometime and woke him up again.

"What was that?” asked a still shocked Naveen.

"It’s time that I tell you something". The alien paused for a second or two. "Your city - what was known as 'city of guards' then, killed our king when we had sent it on a peaceful mission of trade. Sending the Head of State was our custom on all previous occasions, not anymore - thanks to your foolish warriors bent on destroying any foreigner. Our tradition forbids mind control before establishing peaceful communication. Wish that rule hadn’t been made. Our greatest king could have easily controlled the entire army - but he mistook the advancing spear as a way of greeting." Streaks of red light bounced off the polished walls. "It’s all changed now - our tradition that is. For more than 200 years, around 1100 years in your city, we created a device - on which you are going to execute the experiment. Yes, indeed, the time has come for you to save your planet". The alien seemed peaceful again as the purple glow was back.

Naveen took long time to comprehend the enormity of what the alien had just said - via the telepathic link ofcourse. Recovering a bit, he said - "Save the planet? The way you got angry, I thought you were planning to destroy us"

"Aha, we cannot destroy your planet. Our trade with other planets will get affected"

"I see. But I still don't get how I fit here"

"What do you make of this room you are in?"

Naveen looked carefully around and drew a blank.

"I forgot you cannot see things shielded by high frequency waves. Never mind. You are lying down on a specialized bed which is the most important link for the experiment. I am going to put you to sleep again. And then you will dream"

Before Naveen could ask anything, he was asleep.


*****************************************************

Naveen saw himself as a kid going to school eating a guava. The guava was delicious and Naveen was hopping as he ate despite the heavy bag. He had eaten half the fruit when a crow bigger than him snatched it, gulped the guava and started pecking on his head. The focus shifted to Naveen's crying mouth which started to grow uncontrollably large before the scene changed swiftly. Naveen was back at college. It was midnight; he and his friends were trying to scale the hostel wall. As his turn came, he felt a powerful arm pulling him down. The arm suddenly withdrew, changed colors, became soft and then slapped him. Naveen turned to see his mother crying. His mother's features freckled, hairs whitened, the face dissolved and changed to Soumya. His father and colleagues appeared. They cut his hands and started beating her with his blood oozing arms. Naveen couldn't bear the sight and shut his eyes tightly to blank away all thoughts.

Soon he became aware that it was a dream, the memory of previous day flashing across his eyes like a fast forward movie clip. The recollection made him anxious - what if the alien had simply goaded him to a false sense of security and actually trying to destroy the planet! Must be the case, nightmare is no way to save a planet. This train of thought which happened in a fraction of a second, created a blur in the dream. Naveen immediately realized that somehow his self awareness must have caused a blip in whatever device the aliens were using. He then felt a nagging voidness and disorientation about himself. Perhaps the alien was no more controlling him. Memories surfaced from his previous alien dream. Before he could collect his thoughts further, he was woken up violently.

*****************************************************

Naveen was choking to death before he felt the pressure ease. Purple and red streaks of light bounced off the walls. There followed a long silence.

"How dare you spoil the experiment" began the alien in a manner that felt like thousands of speakers shouting inside Naveen's head. "You have destroyed beyond repair our first scientific invention. No matter though, the damage is already done. Using you, we imposed the dream on every person you knew. Each night they sleep, the nightmare will return and start spreading to each person they knew. Recursively, everyone will eventually experience it. You are a programmer, you know how powerful recursive function is.” A sound played in Naveen’s mind like self satisfied laugh. “The beauty of it all? The nightmare is specialized individually. I simply used memory as argument to the recursive function"

After another minute of silence, the alien continued "We cannot kill you people directly. In days to follow, the nightmares will become unbearable. You will kill yourselves. My only regret is losing the device. I should have learnt from your previous dream"

*****************************************************

Naveen was back in his room - his mind twirling like a volcano about to burst. Golden streaks of Sun's rays filtered through the window and shone on the spot Naveen had landed. The electronic watch on his table showed that it was Sunday morning. The laptop was playing a screensaver of whales moving in and out in varied directions. His mobile phone was ringing. With a pang, Naveen thought his mother might have been trying to call him all day long yesterday. He staggered as he moved forward to pick the phone. It was an unknown number. The ringing stopped before he could attend the call. He checked the call log to see if his mother had called. No she hadn't. But the unknown number was logged multiple times. Hunger and exhaustion gnawed his senses. He sat before the laptop and thought if he should update his facebook status. "What's on your mind?" - if only he could describe that. The VLC player had finished playing E.T. The movie didn't hold the fascination anymore; he felt revulsion at the thought and turned off the laptop.

For a while he sat dreamily, both legs on chair in a fetal sitting posture, rotating the phone in his hands, wondering if the events since Friday evening truly had happened to him. A thought struck him and he turned on the television. Browsing through the channels, he didn't see any mention of nightmares or aliens. Perhaps it was too early to come in news. He didn't know what to do now. Sleep wasn't an option fearing he might dream. Without realizing of having reached a decision, he picked the phone again and intended to call his mother. Seeing the unknown number in call history, he pressed the call button on impulse.

*****************************************************

A group of green aliens, shaped an irregular sphere, assembled in front of the purple alien.

"Did you manage to get the molten liquid?" asked the king, successor to the great pinkish purple king.

"Yes", replied the leader of the group. "Our great king's tunnel was still intact and we didn't face any issues. We closed the lid on the way back and covered it with garbage. Should we search for the great king's spaceship before we leave?"

"I doubt it would have survived. Besides I tried to locate it with the king's seal and it didn't show up in the vicinity. The great king might have hidden it far off. Let’s leave the damned place. I have already sent a message to prepare for our landing"

"As pleases your Majesty". The group leader left the room with his troop.

The salutation reminded the alien of the video recording. It first wanted to see how the great king met his death. That the great king had died was not in doubt. The king's seal changes to black almost instantaneously. The curiosity was to know how the planet's people had managed to go past the great king’s metal shield. The video was fast forwarded to the point where the great king left the vaporizer and went alone outside the secret entrance. It was dark and the king seemed to be assessing the surrounding with a glow-light. As the king turned, there was a fleeting glance of a large mouth with sharp carnivorous teeth and golden mane before the video blurred and went blank.

The alien had no tears to shed. But the remorse it felt would have melted most hearts. It was too late to change anything.

An invisible spaceship made its way out of the solar system. The king felt elated for finally having molten liquid desperately needed for the survival of its planet and a hope to someday correct its mistake.


*****************************************************

Still holding the phone in front of his face, Naveen waited for the call to be answered. Glimpses of the nightmare returned. He shuddered remembering the guava incident; he was all of three years old then. How he had run crying to his mother. Then he felt better recalling how his mother had consoled him in her arms. He rued having not booked the train ticket. He could have been at home right now eating mom's delicious breakfast. Even bus travel would have been better than experiencing a traumatizing encounter with an alien. A female voice broke his reverie. Mother? No he hadn't called her and the voice was softer.

"Soumya?" Naveen dreaded it was something to do with the nightmare.

"Great! Phew. He recognizes me! Here I am unable to stop thinking why you are not picking my call for a day. And last night I had this weird dream, where you refused to acknowledge me. We were in a park and you were talking to another girl and..."

"Hold on. That was not my doi..."

"No! You hold on! Oh, why am I getting angry whom you talked to in a dream? Chuck the dream. I don't know how you feel about me, but after last night's dream, I can't bear the tension. Do you have... do... do you like me?" Soumya breathed again.

"What?"

Soumya didn't reply.

"You there?"

"Answer my question. You are so good answering my doubts in office. Why not now, on phone?"

"I... “ Naveen couldn't bring himself to say the words he had wished to say for so many months.

"Come on two more words. Hold your breath and say it."

Naveen couldn't believe his change of fortunes. His dream girl was his and only minutes back he had come back from a horrible experience.

"Wait a minute" Naveen blurted out aloud.

"Can't wait any longer"

"No. I mean hold on. You were telling about the dream, what all happened?"

"Oh, come on. You are spoiling my mood. I know you like me, why don't you just say it?"

"Ok baba, I like you. I liked you from the day you asked me your first doubt. Now answer my question"

"Couldn't you have said it with more enthusiasm?"

"Please try to understand. This is important."

"What can be so important? Lemme remember where I left. Ummm... ya, you were talking to that girl and then I saw my worse childhood experiences and many times you got mixed in the characters, always torturing me. I got so angry on you before the scene changed dramatically. There were aliens warring with our planet and you defeated them by hacking their ship. I woke up after that and couldn't wait to call you first thing in morning. Now you have called and talking with me. Oh, I am so happy!"

Naveen thought perhaps the alien had erred with the device, or its understanding of humans wasn’t as thorough. The recursive function might die quickly after all. Knowledge of aliens may change the perspective for better, just like how astronauts see and feel the world differently from space.

"Can we meet today?"

*****************************************************

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