Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mt. Gwanak- "My First Trek in Seoul...!"

"Chu Suk" also known as 'Thanksgiving day' (simply means a very big day) a great festival when Koreans take this time to thank their ancestors for providing them with rice and fruits. For foreigners like us too it’s a 'Thanksgiving' day to think of enjoyable short trips and excursions. Truly for me this time, it was a plan of certainty to spend the very uncommon long holidays by exploring Seoul. As it’s a passionate thing for Koreans to hike on weekends, one of our Korean colleagues suggested this ‘Mt. Gwanak’ as our tour destination when our Indian colleague approached him for best choice. Our beloved friends collected all required details about our resort for next day. Very surprisingly there in 'Somerset Palace' Ms. Song, a Korean girl who is friend of one of our colleagues enthusiastically joined us. We a crew of Six took Subway line No.2 to Seoul University as Ms. Song suggested us to hike ‘Mt. Gwanak’ from Seoul University entrance trail. It was pouring still when we arrived at the mouth of the trail. Detailed descriptions and features of the mountain are inscribed on the Stone at the entrance. Koreans call it as 'Gwanaksan' as 'san' means Mountain and 'Gwanak' means "Hat shaped Peak' (courtesy: Wikipedia) which is some 629m height. A pleasant breezy drizzles just wiped our faces gently when we got down there, it would really oscillate one's mind and heart to feel and realize the beauty of nature-Breezing, Raining and you are standing in front of Soul stealing grey clouds and Panoramic view of the Green Mountain. And in fact the Rain gave the green blankets greener. Yes! When Mother Nature is in full glory showing her beauty, poor human is having nothing than to soak and immerse on it.

The thick grey clouds till the limit of our visibility confirmed us about the down pour to be continued. We started our hiking on perfectly concreted pavement of mild slope; of course, it is much wider than to a pavement. Enormous, huge clusters of various dense trees on both the sides of the Pavement welcome the hikers with gentle wind blow. One would be enchanted by glassy, marble stream over a flat plain bed on the left side of the trail which showcases its silent and methodical way of flowing. Surprisingly throughout our hiking journey haven't witnessed any birds and animals (even monkeys which is a very common part of Hills and Mountains In India) except a plump 'Korean Magpie', Ms. Song said us that Koreans call it as 'Gachi'. For next just 10-15 minutes of hiking interior, it got as dark as evening due to densely populated giant trees and rolling thick clouds. But the ‘Gwanak’ assured us the never lost enthusiasms with its green skin.

There are many brooks branching and falling fast but steadily abiding gravity on either side of the trail. These small, streams are greatly channeled and streamlined in to a dedicated path which reminded me again about Koreans immense love on preserving nature. There are small huts and Wooden seats to relax, rest and refresh oneself on either side of the trail where hikers were enjoying their lighter moments. One can enjoy mixed hiking floors like concrete pavements, Wooden steps, flat cum slant plains and path covered of small rocks on the hiking way.

Ms. Song said us that at the top of this peak lies a Buddha temple, and translated us the distance we crossed and yet to cross by reading sign boards and instruction placards alongside of our path as all are written in Korean. There are some wooden bridges artistically made in a spectacular design to make the hikers enjoying their moments on either sides of the trail. For those who are fond of arresting the splendid scenic views of flowing Brooks, Valleys and thick grown Trees and Bushes will definitely have a feeling of delicious feast to their camera. And it was drizzling throughout the day; many a times, I used to shut my umbrella, and let the breezy fragrant drizzles do their magic on me. It was a splendid feeling and I was fascinated. It would be a different feeling for foreigners like me on seeing the way the Koreans came all along with their preparations for trekking with all stuffs like professional hikers irrespective of their level of expertise; after all, I contemplate it's a bit of part of life for them. ‘Mt. Gwanak’ is having some peaks which are challenging for people like me who are actually beginners. As far as preparations for a trekking trip is concerned, Good trekking shoes, if not, at least walking shoes with moderate grip, Backpack for keeping stuffs like Towel, Eatables, Sunglasses, Tissue papers, bags (to keep soiled wastes) etc. will be sufficient for those who are beginners as some peaks of ‘Mt. Gwanak’ are not so steep. If you are going to explore much challenging hike, it will be good to have ropes, good quality hand cloves, and strong hiking sticks with you which will solve the purpose effectively in ‘Gwanak’.

As it was my first time and I was having my bag full of Water/Juice bottles and other food stuffs too, I got to take regular rests all along the way.
Lesson Learnt: "Start to trek with very essential things on your back pack to really enjoy and fulfill the purpose". I (others too) was much perspired due to down pour and high humid conditions and consumed significant amount of water.

Through out the journey we were mutually exchanging wishes and greetings with many hikers crossing us either way. Smiling and Greeting the fellow hikers, just met a very second ago, reminding and intensifing my thought about Korean’s great receiving nature and their hospitality. As the crew got tired (seemed except Ms. Song and Mr. Ram) before it reaches the highest point of the peak where the enshrined temple of Buddha is, decided to stop there unanimously, where as per Ms. Song we were just short of 15 minutes of further upward hiking to reach the temple. On the way returning back we completed our lunch with other Korean trekkers in a rest hut which made the journey immortal. The return journey was very quick indeed. There the exciting hiking journey came to an end which concerned me voluminously when we reached the mouth of trail.

Koreans are conscious very much when they make or build the necessary arrangements to attract crowd around the world to enhance their Tourism without collapsing nature's innate wealth. They preserve and safe guard this nature by keeping these invaluable natural resources intact for generations ahead.

The success of any trip lies in its effect in enhancing the thirst of the traveler to explore more. With that spirit I think ‘My first Trek’ is quite successful as I am now eagerly waiting for my weekends to explore other parts of Seoul. Nowadays I start overlooking from skyscrapers in that perspective and realized the famous Korean saying “You will see a mountain in Seoul no matter where you look” is literally a fact. I reached my room at around 6-00 pm heavily loaded with magical memories, realities of gorgeous nature. I firmed to pen my experience of first hiking on my blog before it gets eluded by my Professional life.
(Courtesy-Photos: Stalin, Prem)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

For The First Time!!!! (Part-4)

I thought to completely skip that idiot till our presence there. He entirely fooled Ryan. “As a Matchmaker he has to show the better profiles and alliances to his client Ryan. But this bloody has hided everything and played a drama by bringing Ryan to his house for his own sister’s sake without intimating properly. We didn’t know that we came to his house and that too for his sister till it was revealed out accidentally by his father. We even never thought like this. He planned and executed neatly to bring Ryan to his house without his knowledge” I stunned.

Still I didn’t get any clue why he hadn’t provided Ryan the photograph and marriage profile.

“Ryan! you such a crap….!”
“You should have been keen in getting the maximum details from the broker. You deceived yourself by your poor careless attitude”, I yelled meekly at him.

“What can I do? Like you, I too came to know just a minute ago about this Bastard. He is a cheap humbug! Very cunning and criminal too”, Ryan certified the then broker and broker cum girl’s elder brother now. I acted as though I didn’t hear his words to humiliate him.

“Ryan! you will never change. What is wrong in admitting and realizing one’s mistake at least at situation like this?” Go to hell you bastard!” I said to him.

He should seriously feel insulted due to his poor careless attitude which the broker too took as an advantage to fool him.

But the broker used to see here and there and move his legs this way and that but definitely not even a single glance at us who exactly sat opposite to him. If unknowingly he saw us he immediately put his head down and start researching the floor. I was losing my temperament on seeing him head down in front of us without saying anything. I tried hard to control myself not to create any embarrassing moment.

So……..,? we were interrupted by the old man. “We have had your photograph, Marriage Profile and Horoscope from your parents”, he said.

“Where are you working?” he asked Ryan. I thought that the old man started interviewing Ryan and in fact I felt for Ryan for his miserable situation.

“I am working in BMS located at Udyog Vihar” Ryan replied uninterestingly.

The old man asked, “How long you have been in Gurgaon?”

“For the past six years”, answered Ryan.

“Is it a permanent job?” questioned the old man.

“Yeah it is”, Ryan said

“You have one younger brother and two younger sisters, what are they doing?” old man again.

“Brother is working as a Marketing Manager in Chennai. Sisters are college goers”, Ryan said.

After a short break, Ryan asked the parents about girl’s education.

Silence prevailed for a while and was broken by the younger son. He turned to Ryan side and said that she has mere completed her schooling.

“What…..? Isn’t she even a graduate…...?” I said to myself. I got mad after hearing this.
Since I imagined an Engineering graduate would be chosen by his parents, I was flabbergasted.

“What is this?” I whispered Ryan.

“How could I know?” Ryan reacted.

“Yes! you are right. How you could know, as actually you aren’t related to this”
“Stupid! You deserve this. No clarity, No Plan, Damn it”, I meekly screamed and stung him.

I pricked Ryan to cut the conversation as it seemed that the girl’s parents were bewildered by our discussion.

“Any thing serious…?” old man asked us.

Nothing! we both withered a smile. In fact we both tried to show that we were normal.

Ryan said, “That bastard broker cum elder brother planned, lied and mislead me. He fooled us really yaar”.

“Us…..? Truly speaking He fooled you”, I stung him again.

We both looked at that broker cum elder brother. He was sitting there still his head down.

“And also I think the profile which he gave earlier might be the detailed one” I laughed.

Yeah! May be! Ryan was totally upset. His face became dark because of continuous deceit and disappointments.

“Get up yaar!!! We will move from here”, Ryan said.

“What are you saying man? Are you Mad? What you will say them?” I shouted at him angrily.
My rage changed his idea to move out immediately from there.

“Ok! We have come here to see the girl. Will see and move immediately”, Ryan reacted.

“I think they didn’t aware about their son’s plan and all”, I said to Ryan.

“It’s so important now”, he shouted me.

I laughed and loved to see Ryan got annoyed. I enjoyed little bit too. People like Ryan would rather like to have their own experience than getting lesson from others.

“It’s purely Ryan’s failure to manage the things”, I said to myself.

Again the hall was resounded to a pin drop silence.

“Are you working with him?” the old man asked me.

“No, he is working with some other company in Delhi” Ryan replied before me.

He asked again me, “Are you married?”

This time too Ryan said, “Not yet”.

“It’s better to let Ryan takes care of all his queries”, I thought myself happily.

But my happiness was lived very shortly by the old man. He started asking about my complete family details; thus, my entry was forced into that conversation.

“What about your Family, Father and Mother?” asked the old man.

I am actually belonging to Chidambaram, a temple town in Tamil Nadu.

“My father and mother are working in the same town”, I replied briefly.

“Are you only son to your parents”, old man jumped to next question.

I got irritated this time; nevertheless, I replied him with smiling face.

“I think they like you very much, they will approach you for their youngest daughter”, Ryan grinned.

“Shut up! You idiot!” I shrilled.

“Ok, We have planned to go for shopping after this visit, so it would be better if we start moving now”, Ryan rescued me before he leaps to another one.

Ryan tried to make the old man to understand and call his daughter. I was also waiting to see the girl for whom we have been traumatized mentally for the past four hours by her criminal brother.

Ok! The old man shook his head up and down and whispered his younger son. His younger son got up and went to the room at our right hand side. He came back after few seconds with an envelope in his hands. He gave it to his father.

We weren’t as such curious to know what that was.

His father opened the envelope and it had some photographs of medium sized. He took four out of them and gave it to Ryan.

“These are the photos of our girls. It’s for you to show your parents”, the old man said. “It’s also there my youngest daughter photographs”, he said seeing and smiling at me.

We were totally puzzled. I asked Ryan,” Won't they call their daughter over here now?”

“How do I know”, Ryan yelled at me meekly. “But it’s evident that they are expecting you to say 'yes' to their youngest daughter”, Ryan grinned again.

I took least care his grin. This scumbag always uses to trap others when he is trapped.

“Then why that old man shook his head well as if he understood that we are asking him to call his daughter”, I questioned him again.

But Ryan stared at the photos in his hands.

I just pat him back and asked, “Is girl so beautiful that you got standstill?”.

“Hey! Just shut and get up”, he slapped me by his words.

The old man then gave Ryan one more envelope and said, “Horoscopes of my daughters”.

“Ok! we are moving now. Thank you very much”, Ryan received and said without seeing the envelope.

“You haven’t told your opinion yet”, the old man humbly asked Ryan in a mild voice.

“I will show the photograph and horoscope to my parents and they will contact you soon”, Ryan replied him.

Still the broker was speech less and his head down.

And we started moving; his younger brother came with us up to main road to send off.

He stopped a Pat-Pat RTV for us and we got into that comfortably and said bye to him. It was already 7 past 30 and RTV was moving steadily. We were muted for next 10 minutes.

After a deep silence Ryan said,” Don’t share this with our friends”.

“Yes! I understand the gravity of this situation. I will not”, I said to him.

I told Ryan, “I am still clueless why they haven’t shown their girl to us”.

“No! They have shown”, Ryan said firmly.

I astonished and asked “What?”

‘The one who served us the snacks is the girl; she is the one in the photos too given by her father”, he said.


“The one served us snacks???”

"Oh! My God!"

I was almost gone faint as I thought she is a maid girl....!!!!!!