Nalme Nachiyar

Every day, every moment we are expected to face challenges in order to survive the rat race today. Challenges in academics, in professional space, in sending your toddler to pre-school, in the long line for water, in squeezing yourself onto a crowded RTC bus, in eating the best tasting, newly introduced pizza, in buying the latest, trendy clothes and let’s just say, writing a good lead for your article. The list is endless enough to give anyone a panic attack. Competitiveness, at this rate, is most likely to become a permanent trait in each of our DNA’s!

A view of Kondamadugu from atop the Tiger Hills

A view of Kondamadugu from atop the Tiger Hills

But what if you could push all this and everyone out of your mind and just focused, for one day, on challenging yourself and your fears and yet, enjoying every little bit of it? I got a chance to do just that on the 4th of January when the team of Communication Resource Centre (CRC), (a former employer), decided to take its staff and associates on a one-day trip to Kondamadugu to welcome the new year on a spirited note.

So on the morning of 4th January, 13 of us from the office, joined by the team of three instructors from Wildwoods Adventure Pvt Ltd., Hyderabad started our journey to Kondamadugu, a small village that is 40kms from Secunderabad on the way to Warangal. This, as Team Wildwood endorses, is the best place around Hyderabad for a beginner to experience adventure activities. Our itinerary for the day included trekking, rock-climbing, rappelling, team games and campfire.

We reached Kondamadugu at 10 am instead of 9 am which was our original start time. This delay, however, could not take away the amazement when we looked up to find the Tiger Hills (so named because of a gigantic rock formation resembling the face of a tiger), that we were about to ascend.

After our first ever rock climbing adventure

After our first ever rock climbing adventure

After the initial introductions and instructions session, we started the trek at 10.30 am with climbing ropes on our shoulders. Having been divided into a team of two, Tigers and Leopards, we trekked in a single file behind our instructors, Rishi Charan Singh, Shlok Banerjee and Anwar Shaik. We were told that the average time taken to go up to the climbing point was approx. 40 minutes and that both teams will be timed. I’m still in the dark about who clocked better but the walk into, and amidst the wild, the little breaks for water and quick snaps and Rishi’s pop quizzes kept us on our toes. We were tired and perspiring but unstoppable. What’s better, we covered the distance in less than 30 minutes!

Another short break and we were taken to the site of rock-climbing. Harnesses, climbing ropes and carabiners welcomed us. We were given a class on how to use and wear each equipment and the technique involved in this adventure. When the actual rock climbing of 25 feet did begin, some got stuck and fumbled while some scaled it with surprising agility. But with the guidance of Rishi, the support of Anwar and the assuring grip of Shlok, we totally nailed it! The climb charged us up so much that we all came back for a second round, like little kids swarming around a candy shop.

Descending the 80-feet drop

Descending the 80-feet drop

Post lunch, while Rishi and Anwar, anchored the ropes for our final adventure activity i.e. rappelling, Shlok revealed to us the natural pendulum, another thing for which the Tiger Hills is famous. With collective ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’, we surveyed this four feet long rock, that is wedged between two boulders and can be moved to and fro like a pendulum.

With the afternoon sun beating down our face, we got ready for rappelling. As Rishi explained about the 80 feet drop we were all scared but excited. Annie, a colleague was the most petrified amongst us given her fear of heights. After a quick training, we rappelled down one by one. We moved back first on anxious tiptoes, then let our weight onto the harness and took baby steps. Then, with a more confident footing and the entire expanse of Kondamadugu fields, the clear skies and the fiery sun watching over us, we broke into leaps, small and uncertain in the beginning, bigger and happier towards the end.

The team of CRC with instructors from Wildwoods

The team of CRC with instructors from Wildwoods

The entire drop was so inspiring and invigorating, that even Annie couldn’t resist the challenge. Amidst all the cheer and support, she tried it not once but twice like the rest of us! We reached the base camp at around 5.30 pm, refreshed ourselves and played some recreational team games. A campfire followed with food, song and dance, star gazing and sharing of our first ever adventure trip experiences.

As Annie aptly put it, “What better way to start a new year than conquering your greatest fear? Surely, 2014 could only get better from here.” And as the cool breeze and darkness of the night engulfed us, the Tigers and the Leopards got ready for the journey back home with a collective roar in our hearts of “2014, here we come!”.

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