We woke up early morning very eager to visit the “secret place”. At around 10, the party gathered at the restaurant. We were promised a waterfall and a lake, hence, we packed accordingly. Timo packed a pump apart from other things. He joked about blasting the waterbed of the lake so that fishes would come flying out and he would catch them. For a moment, I thought he was serious. This guy could certainly do such a thing.
From the shack walked a tattooed German followed by a group of tramps – me, Deep, Priti, Mirco, Claudio, Timo and a new guy in a blue lungi, who had cartoon keyrings hung from his backpack, said he collected them from every country he visited. I think, for India, Chota Bheem would be a good representation.
We crossed the river and could have boarded a rickshaw but Timo suggested otherwise. He said it would be easier on foot and completely worth it when we reach there. After crossing uneven roads, ready to harvest fields, slippery slopes, a very angry cow, big boulders, small boulders, banana plantations…
we arrived at a place where there were only ashen boulders to walk on.
I could give you pictorial directions to the secret place. When you reach here…
You gotta walk in this direction (I forgot if it was the foot or the hands 😛 )…
and that is when you will be able to hear the water gushing and in a few steps around would be the river on a slope, flowing slow and then a massive dip! The gushing sound was from when it rushed down a staircase of rocks making a waterfall – just as we were promised.
At first, it seemed small but we realized the force of the water when we stepped in. The water was damn cold and the bed very slippery. Surprisingly, you are to avoid the brown and step on the green for grip; usually, it’s the other way round. Everyone was a swimmer except for me and Priti. We tread carefully and sat down. It was so good to feel the cold water after the long walk we had had. Just below the fall, the water was sharp. The first gush hits your back, goes over your head and gives you one and only one thought – Holy Mother Nature!
We walked further and in a while, we reached the lake. It is actually the very river stalled by the boulders forming a huge puddle. The lake has shallow ends, deep ends, diving areas and hidden caves! The pump that Timo got was to fill a pool bed. He also brought a music player and some beers. He has been coming to this place for quite some time. People in Hampi swear by his geographical prowess of the place.
I and Priti looted Timo of his pool bed and swayed around the lake. It was wonderful. The December sun shone bright, the water flowed light and I skimmed over it on a purple bed, lying stomach with limbs in the water. There were few people around and absolutely no noise except for the occasional splash of someone diving in. Some stood high up on the rocks, here, at the top right platform…
wondering whether to jump or not and if so then where to exactly. The water wasn’t clear. They feared the rocks at the bottom and cracking their heads against them. Eventually, they did jump and thankfully didn’t hit or crack anything. We too had taken such a risk by cancelling our tickets on the word of strangers. I understand it is tough to trust people in an unknown land and travellers are easily cheated on. But somehow we managed to lay ours on Amit, Mowgli and Timo.
Done with the fake swimming on the pool bed, I sat soaked from head to toe and pruned fingers. We were just about to regret not bringing any food when the cartoon keyring guy brought out a huge pineapple from his backpack and shared it with everyone. I started thinking about how to describe the place to you all, when my stream of thoughts kept getting disturbed by sudden flashes of pink nipples!
I looked at everyone and wondered what their story is, what they might have seen, where they might have been and above all, what made them come here. But there’s something I know. They are now a part of my diary. Timo’s dreadlocked ponytail, Mirco’s obsession for everything Masala, Claudio’s bumped bald head, keyring guy’s orange shades, Deep’s childhood swimming lesson and Priti (while reading this) still wondering if she’d stayed back – all of this is a now a part of my story.
Back at the restaurant, we packed to leave. Mirco, Claudio and the others bid us farewell. The logical side of me worries if we’d make it to the last ferry while my traveller self, looks back at Hampi, one more time and I assure you, it wasn’t the last…