I have this extraordinary knack of losing my balance under any circumstances. If ever any person was capable of finding a way to fall down and injure himself seriously, while seated in a bean-bag, I am sure that I will be that person. Maybe that is the way I will enter the Guinness book of world records. There is no other way for me, that is for sure.
With this extraordinary ability guiding me, it is no surprise that I have found varieties of novel ways to fall in treks. From the clichéd tripping over shoe-laces to the almost customary slipping on a banana peel, I have done them all. Slipping on wet rock and smashing in my nose (not that it needed any help in getting close to my face – any closer and I’d have only two nostril slits), sliding on wet leaves and tobogganing down or having an unexpectedly sturdy creeper snagging my feet and getting my face uncomfortably close to the ground with astounding speed – you name it and I had done it.
On my very first trek, while descending from Nandanvan, I made a false step, fell and slid down a boulder-strewn incline. Since I managed to stop inches from a huge boulder, the world lost the opportunity of finding out whether my skull really did enclose a modicum of brains. Of course, my family is united in its belief that it does not since that experience had failed to deter me from continuing to trek.
What can you say of a person who merrily walks out of a forest rest-house and falls straight into a six foot deep ditch, which he had only minutes before crossed thanks to a bridge over it? My companions burst out laughing since I was there one moment and gone the next. I must have looked like a jack-in-the-box in reverse. Before their merriment could turn to concern, I had hauled myself out of the ditch and continued to walk – prompting one of them to comment that I must be more cat than man.
The worst fall that I ever had was on a trek to Ahobilam. I was at the tail of the group when we turned a sharp corner and proceeded to climb up. About fifteen feet from that corner there was a place where we had to step up a foot to go further on the trail. The others had accomplished that with ease. I put my leading foot up the step and lifted my rear foot only to have a stone under the front foot turn. The next moment the sky described a dizzying arc and I was somersaulting backwards.
Afterwards, my friend said that he was busy crafting my obituary. It is one of those uncomfortable facts of life that one cannot turn round a corner while falling and failing to do so would have ensured that I would be spread as a thin paste in the depths below. At that time, however, I was too busy falling to pay attention to such insignificant details.
I can never say how it happened but I found myself sliding down face downwards after having fallen backwards. Luckily I had enough presence of mind to clutch at a rock that was speeding upwards and arrest my fall. (I am tempted to say that my feet were dangling over the precipice but, as it happened, I stopped a good six to eight feet short of the corner.) Otherwise, I would not be here describing this to you. (No! It is not a pity!)
The friend, who likened me to a cat, would not have said the same had he seen my performances in
It is a surprising fact that my falls on treks have left me ambulatory but
falls in Bangalore invariably
manage to disable me temporarily. Imagine slipping down, landing your entire
body on one heel and then having to walk for a month like a duck because you
are unable to straighten that foot. Imagine stepping off a pavement and turning
you foot on a stone and finding it impossible for a week to even put that foot
down while seated and limping on it for two months. All these things happened
to me in Bangalore and not while on
Once again I am off on a trek to Brahma Tal starting tomorrow and ending on the twentieth of June. (And, yes, I will be back blogging after that, whether you choose to take it as a promise or as a threat!) This time, at least, I am hoping that there will be only thrills and no spills.