Did you ever end up in situations when you least expected? Someone comes in as a savior or you end up in a position to help someone, what will you call it? Coincidence, a guardian angel or something else?
We had a similar experience recently on our annual road trip through Karnataka. We had been travelling in North Karnataka and were put up at a cousin’s place. While talking with them we realized there was a place called ‘Yana’ not too far from there. The pictures of our cousins from the place and the natural beauty of the place caught our attention.
On the spur of the moment we decided to go there. But it was already 4pm in the evening and my cousin and his friends advised us against it. ‘You won’t be able to see anything and by nightfall its not a place for travelers to explore or be around,’ they cautioned. We thought about it and as kids were least interested in tagging along, we thought about taking a chance. ‘The worst will be that we won’t see anything, we promise to connect to the highway before nightfall,’ we explained to the cousin.
With this, we got into the vehicle and with Google’s help reached YANA, in an hour. We realized the road till the parking wasn’t great and hence decided to leave the vehicle on the roadside with a few others. As expected most of the people were on their way back, as we started our trek. ‘You are going now! When will you come back?’ was the common sentiment of those who passed us. By then, we had experienced the thick foliage around us, the loud crickets and eerie silence that engulfed the place. After a walk of around half an hour we saw a small parking and a snack stall.
Many were resting at the stall. There were absolutely no directions or boards on the way forward. We just had to follow the man made path, made by thousands of tourists like us. As we followed these paths, we decided to ask other returning tourists about the distance to the first destination at Yana – the shiva temple.
Theory of Relativity in Action
I got first hand example of Theory of Relativity when people said anything between 15 min to 1.5 hours! By then, we were also welcomed by forest department boards around that read ‘Don’t feed wild animals’ ‘Be careful of leopards’ ‘Don’t tease wild animals’ and the likes. It was nearing nightfall and the thick forest cover made it appear darker.
We decided against testing our luck and started retreating without seeing anything. We consoled ourselves that we atleast enjoyed a great drive after a long time. I mean a couple road trip isn’t usually possible after kids!
On our way back, we met a group of 6 girls, who looked like they were a part of some college or school trip. The girls looked tired and were talking about not meeting any of their college group along the return trek. When we reached our car, the girls requested us to drop them near their bus which should be down the curve. We agreed as we had seen a bus on our way up and the girls bundled up in our vehicle.
Corner turns into a nightmare!
As we turned the corner, the girls gasped looking at the bus. Though there was a bus, it wasn’t theirs! We were in the middle of nowhere with no phone network and 6 scared girls! As I tried calming the girls I got to know that the girls were there for a college trip and were from a far off city. They had no friends, relatives or any idea about the place where they were lost. We decided against dropping them off, as it was about to go very lonely and dark soon.
We decided to keep going on the road we had come and try and connect with the girl’s teachers to explain them our position. After nearly 30 minutes of driving, we got phone network and decided to connect with the teachers. The girls were understandably scared and had tears of relief when they heard their teacher’s voice.
It was an equally scary situation for the teacher as they too were new to the area and had no clue where the girls had disappeared. It was mutually decided that we drop the girls to the out station bus stand in the nearest town and the college bus will pick them up.
Finally the meet!
We told the girls about the plan. The girls were relieved but there was also an understandable fear in the minds of the teachers. They kept asking the girls ‘Are you safe?’ which made me realize how well the teacher was handling the responsibility. She also comforted the girls. I was in a bit of a predicament as well! The few people that crossed us during our halt for network connectivity were looking suspiciously at our car. We had six grown girls crying in the backseat of a tiny car in a deserted place! The only advantage was I knew the local language, so was in a better position to sort out things, if there was an issue.
Thankfully after the call, the girls seemed collected and we decided to follow the plan. We were there at the decided spot in the next one hour but their bus hadn’t reached yet. The girls were calling, but the bus was travelling in a no network area. Finally after 15 minutes we got in touch and were told that the bus was about to reach. Seeing the girls unite with their friends was a sight I won’t forget for a long time.
When I got home, I held my kids really close and prayed that they never face a situation as the girls faced. When I spoke about my fear aloud to my mom, all she said was also pray that if they ever face a situation like this, someone would turn up as a guardian angel just as you guys were there for those girls today. Did you ever face such a situation? Do share your thoughts and how you felt that time?