A few days back I had read about the disappearance of the Indian couple from the Yosemite Cliff in the US. Reading that article and its aftereffects had lingered with me for some time. With my inlaws, we had planned a Diwali week trip to a nearby location. I had left the entire logistics arrangement to be taken care of by my wife and father – in- law. We had asked our most trusted driver to be around for this trip. He told me that “travels had asked some other person to go, but I insisted that I should only come as the roads are narrow and as we have to negotiate two cliffs it is better to have an experienced driver.” That was a spine-chilling moment. I then realized what I was getting into. I reached home and asked her, “Are there any cliffs to see in this destination”.?” She said, “Yes of course and otherwise what else is there to see?”I labored a point, “Is it so beautiful that we cannot avoid?”. My elder daughter asked me,” Dad are you suffering from “Acrophobia“? I did not know what acrophobia was, but I confirmed one thing in my mind, “It is all going to be an eventful day”. So we reached Chikmagalur and we planned to see those cliffs the next day.
We started off around 8.30AM and by 10 AM we were near the foot of the hill. I had already taken a back seat with my daughters by the sides. We saw a lot of two-wheelers on the road and it was quite obvious because it was a narrow stretch of road to the top. As we started going up the steeper serpentine tracks, the number of vehicles started to diminish. In fact, at one point of time, I was literally looking out to see vehicles in the front and the back. It was a sunny day and bright sunshine came across as a relief. In fact, our driver Raghu told that it would not have been possible to drive yesterday evening or today morning as the roads get closed after 5 PM in the evening till early hours. Also in the morning because of the fog, it would have been difficult to drive along these routes. The curves definitely gave me shocks. But I had put up a brave front up until that point. I was thinking that it was the summit and we were going to get down. Then my younger daughter who was sitting close to the window showed me and said Dad, ” No I want to go there and showed me how a couple of vehicles were going up those slopes”. I am not sure whether I blurted this out, “No, I will have a tough time getting into those heights”. But my mother – in – law heard it and told that we can stop here and that will be good enough. In came reply from my brave elder daughter. “Dad, we have come all the way, we will go ahead and see the beauty from the top.” I was at my vulnerable best and nobody seems to be worried about our next steep climb. It took another 10kms through those routes to get to the final summit. I got down from the car and I looked at the surroundings. It was a breathtaking scene even though throughout the ordeal it took away most of my breath!
I enjoyed the scenic beauty, family spirit, and the whole endeavor of chatting with family and having the internal tension which I was carrying along the journey. I saw how people of all ages and all walks of life had thronged that place. They were in high spirits having a lot of fun. I saw people having coconut water and Maggi. I realized that I should keep trying to see more hills, cliffs, and mountains to get comfortable. The more I encounter, the more I am sure I will be able to overcome this phobia.