From techie to trek Coordinator, Kudremukh

Introduction :
Well well well !! What just happened few days ago has still left me in awe!!

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I was scrolling through my Outlook inbox when I read this message on Whatsapp

“Hi Srijal, Would you like to join BMC”

The message was sent by Rajesh, a trek coordinator from Bangalore Mountaineering Club with whom we had undertaken the Chikamagalur trek

I instantly replied : “I would love to..!!”

Now this was the start of amazing things that would change my life !!

And that moment, I couldn’t control my happiness!! I instantly opened a group conversation on Lync with my office colleagues and shared my happiness with them. I was elated. I was beyond cloud no. 9!! I instantly called my mom and told her about it. Suddenly it was happening!! An entire year of travel blogging was somehow aligning me towards the direction of my dream!!  And then the famous quote of Paulo Coelho came to my mind

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Even before the offer came to me, I had decided to go to Kudremukh. But at the same time, I was waiting for the salary :p

But Nature has its own ways :

Rajesh informed me that I have been allotted Kudremukh as my first trip. So now I would be going to Kudremukh and my entire expense shall be taken care by Bangalore Mountaineering Club.

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I was like “Wow!! Life couldn’t be better..!!” My age old dream of first fully sponsored trip was about to happen.

I was all happy. And then suddenly reality hit me. I started thinking in all directions. I have done numerous treks with BMC as a participant and I used to enjoy a lot. I used to admire the way things were done in systematic manner. I mean all I used to do was to just get on the tempo traveler and let BMC coordinators take the pain 😉

I used to appreciate the likes of Vinolia, Rajesh , Santosh, Akhil and Sourabh taking care of all the proceedings. And now I realized I’ll be stepping in their shoes all of a sudden. Forget about all the freebies and everything, a trek cordinator’s life is pretty tough.

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  • Am I strong enough to not just complete the trek. But to do that with no signs of tiredness on my face?
  • Am I ready to put people first before me?
  • Will I be able to motivate people when it would really matter?

And these questions were always on my mind before the first trek as a trainee cordinator.

The Start Of Proceedings :
Aug 29, 2015 : Friday evening! As soon I finished my office work, I reached BMC’s office located at Indiranagar. I was all excited and nervous at the same time.

9 PM : Rohit Anna, Akhil and I were supposed to be the trek coordinators for the day. I was handed over the list of people coming for the day. I started making calls

“Hello, This is Srijal from BMC. Where are you :)”

I was so much involved in myself that I was repeating the above line to whomever came near me 😉

“We have already met dude” said someone with whom I had already done the introduction part :p

“Hi This is Srijal from BMC!! I am your trek coordinator for the day “, I said this to a guy neatly dressed up in trekking gear!!

“Hi, This is Akhil from BMC. Even I am the trek cordinator for the day :p ”

So this is how things started for me 😛

“Calm down man”, I said this to myself and prepared for the queries to come.

  • “How far is Kudremukh, Srijal ?”
  • “How long is the trek, Srijal ?”
  • “Are we going to have bon-fire over there tomorrow ?”
  • “At what time will we reach in the morning ?”

These were some of the questions shot at me even before the journey started 😉 Thank God! I had done a bit of home-work and had read about the itinerary. And I was able to answer most of the questions. And the ones which I had no clue, I honestly told them that I am not aware and will come back to them with the required info.

Each of the 22 wanderers who joined the trek were kind enough to me throughout the trek. I had the time of my life with them 🙂

And the trek starts now :

6 AM : We reached the entrance of Kudremukh National Park. Jeeps were already waiting for us. It was a bumpy and adventurous ride of 8 kms before we reached our base-camp. Idli was in menu for the breakfast 🙂

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At around 8:30 we all assembled for the briefing :

Things had changed now. And so did my introduction.

Before it used to be something like :

” Hi guys, I am Srijal. I have done some 4-5 treks with BMC. I am working with Accenture as a software developer. Yeah, yet another I.T guy :p “

And now it got changed to this :

” Hi guys, I am Srijal working with BMC as a freelancer and I am a software developer at Accenture. And this will be my first trek with BMC as freelance trek cordinator”

It was decided between us that I shall be leading the group along with our local guide. Rohit Anna will be the point man and Akhil shall be taking care of the trail, sweeping everyone. All this was technical terms were new for me. And I was taking things slowly. One at a time, enjoying every bit of it.

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This trek was more of a knowledge transfer session for me. All the time, I was busy observing how my fellow coordinators take care of things.  But I wanted to take control whenever I got the chance. And the first opportunity of doing something for my dear trekkers came just after we finished the trek.

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Since I was leading, I was with the first batch to complete the trek.  And I got ample amount of time to get snacks ready. I signalled Rohit Anna that I wanted to serve everyone with my own hands. It was a long trek of 20 kms and after doing a few treks, I exactly knew how hunger strikes you after the trek!!

” Tan- Tadang, Bhajji is ready along with tea!!”

And you should have seen the expression on everyone’s faces. And the following was the unanimous reaction by trekkers present over there :

“Srijal!!! You’re awesome 🙂 :)”

And that was it!!! That was the moment that made my day 🙂 Money can never buy us happiness. It’s moments like this that we live for!! 🙂 And I thanked my stars that time for everything being organized on time.

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Now let me tell you some “behind the scenes story”!!

  • Have you ever got the chance to step inside the kitchen, in a remote village of Karnataka ?
  • Have you ever got the chance to interact with someone without knowing their language ?Thank you BMC for the opportunity. For showing me things, that I would have never got the chance to do so!!

Now this is what happened. I was there inside the kitchen where Bhajjis or the “Mirchi Bhajiyas”(as refereed in North India) were being cooked. The feeling was quite nostalgic for me. It reminded me of my village in Chhattisgarh. Instead of using the modern day Gas, the more traditional “Chulhas”  (using woods as fuel) were being used for preparing food.

“Its always good to travel back in time”

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And with that I got the opportunity to interact with the most beautiful people belonging to the village @Kudremukh National Park.

I don’t understand Kannada, but then again we don’t need to know the language to interact with someone.

And then I met this kid named Vinyas who travels 20 kms each day just to reach his school. He doesn’t take the usual bus as we used to do. But he takes the bumpy jeep ride. We call it adventure but for some people its a way of livelihood.

The wanderers : There were 22 people and by the end of trip, we all know each other by names! Such was the level of bonding. Life’s so strange.  At one end you feel that your closed ones are just your immediate family members and friends. But look out : Entire world is your family!! You just need to extend one hand and there will be 2 waiting for you in turn 🙂

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Why I decided to join BMC : There are some things in life which you don’t do just for the sake of money. You do it just for the experience. And you come back with some everlasting memories! You get to learn things the real way. And the output received is in the form of happiness on people’s faces 🙂

While you trek, you get a chance to be a part of some really interesting conversations. Such people and such conversations never exist in real life….

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The reason being we just totally let go when we are close to nature. We forget about all our miseries & sorrows. We forget about religion and rules. With every step we take, we reach closer. Not just closer to the destination, but to ourselves. As well as to each other. 

The journey has just begun.. I am still not aware where my destination shall lie. Till then let’s just keep exploring 🙂

Will you walk with me ?

Will you join me in the journey of life ?

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If the answer is yes,  just start doing what you love <3

FYI : It was my first trek as one of the trek coordinators. Most of the work was done by my dear fellow coordinators Mr. Rohithm Reddy and Akhilesh. They did 95 % of the work. And my work was more like icing on the cake or garnishing on the chat you could say 😀