Into the Wild
The idea of an office trip had been bouncing around our walls for a while. After all the research, arguing and drawing lots, it was official — we were heading to Agumbe. The trip was planned by Nirvana Nomads. On the big day, all of us came together at DYU Art Cafe to meet the guy who would guide us through our trip. Anthony, in short Anto, is enthusiastic to a fault and wouldn’t stop recommending Banoffee pie. We would later come to discover his remarkable talent for puns. After a heavy meal, we bade goodbye to civilization and didn’t look back.
We reached Agumbe early in the morning, some of us irritable after a night of listening to their colleagues snoring. We had come far out enough that our phones had exactly the communicative powers of a brick. We braced ourselves.
From there we trekked to our campsite, Kalinga Mane Centre for Rainforest Ecology. It is a research field site, nestled in the heart of the rainforests of Agumbe. Most of our time at this site would be spent under a thatched roof shelter where we would have our meetings and our meals.
At about the same time, Gowri Shankar of National Geographic fame and renowned for his research on king cobras, was conducting a workshop on king cobras with a group of wildlife enthusiasts from all over the world. We spent the day that followed exploring parts of the jungle in and around the camp site. As if to welcome us, a flying lizard took flight right before our eyes, a rare sight we are told. Led by our guide, we trekked through the jungle, shaded by the thick canopy overhead. We followed a stream and skipped over rocks, looking for Dancing frogs and Night frogs.
For lunch, we were served delicious Malnad cuisine. Anto introduced us to a word game called ‘Contact’ and in no time we were addicted to it, so much so that we still play that game in our office all the time.
On our next trek we got lucky; we spotted a green vine snake, and then another. We returned to camp as the sun set and night fell, where we laid back to take in a view of stars like we had never seen before.
Early the next day, we trekked to a hilltop with the sun bearing down on us. The view was breathtaking with a carpet of green stretching out in all directions around us. We stayed on for a while enjoying the view, clicking pictures and silly Boomerang videos.
Following that, we went to a lake nearby to cool off. Nothing beats floating around in a lake on a hot summer day, surrounded by the noises of the forest. Few of us stayed out of water and basked in the sun while the rest of us swam, or at least tried to. The fish were kind enough give us a good session of natural fish therapy as well! There wasn’t a worry in our minds, no deadlines to worry about, everything in the world felt right! Everyone was themselves at their uninhibited finest.
After dinner it was time for us to head back to our normal lives in the city. Right before we left, Gowri Shankar had something to show us. He brought out a curious looking plastic bag and in it were the shed skins of various snakes like the cobra, king cobra and species of vipers. It was something none of us had ever seen before.
The trip exceeded all our expectations by leaps and bounds. The whole place and the experience was unreal. All of us bonded well and we created so many memories. Getting to know some passionate wildlife enthusiasts gave us a glimpse of the world outside our corporate lives. Let’s take a moment and appreciate the fact that we spent entire two days without using our mobile phones, without connecting to social media! Though we hoped to spot a king cobra, we were out of luck. Nevertheless it was an amazing experience and something we all sorely needed!