A reality show of a different kind

Trail walkers

They trekked 100 km from Mekedatu to Bidadi, in two nights without a break

Winners Rohan, Ajith and Prakash.Ask Vishal Gondal, CEO of UTV Indiagames, how much he knows Bangalore or its twin sister Mysore, he is likely to surprise you with all the names of villages in between.

Names such as Mekedatu, Teresapura, Air-Indiaappanahalli, Ravutanahalli, Mallige Mettlu are more than familiar to him now.

Having dropped out at 65 kms, in the 100 km-in-48-hrs trailwalk that was organised by Oxfam India between 7 am on February 10 and 5 am on February 12; owing to blisters and dehydration, Vishal Gondal vows he is going to be back for the next one. The walk was organised as part of fund raising activity by the organisation which works to alleviate poverty.

“Initially it felt a bit freaky, but nothing can match the experience of walking in the nature. We may watch movies and dedicated channels and learn all about wildlife, it’s so synthetic. When you put on your walking gear and walk with total strangers, life sure changes for good,” he says.

When the ‘bigg boss’es are ruling the small screen and actors small and big are having their tryst with reality shows, a bunch of people - 240 to be precise - silently descended on Mekedatu at Cauvery Sangama during the early hours on February 10. Urban babies that they were, their brief was simple. Rehydrate, walk, rehydrate, walk, and touch the finish line at Eagleton Resort, at Bidadi in Bangalore.

The groups were diverse. Women and men from various age groups, from different professional backgrounds and varied life experiences shared two days of their lives with each other. Some were there to absorb the nature. Like Banglore-based street magician Ugesh Sarcar, who dropped out after 30 km, because he ‘hates walking’, the experience would be treasured for life. “Blazing heat and wilderness all around, really turns any man, no matter how powerful, into a humble being. Nature’s lap is the best place to be,” he says.
 
Rohan Pahal Singh, Prakash and Ajit completed the entire stretch. Rohan, a Mumbaikar, works as a coach at Striders Miles Pvt Ltd, a company that trains athletes. “Walking as an activity always excited me. Walking in such organised manner, and with such help by professionals around, made it even more pleasurable. Every person should try this,” he recommended. It was a luxury to have water points, portable loos and electrolyte drinks for the comfort of walkers.

“But, the gesture by villagers, who work along the same stretch as we walked, sans any such luxury items, opened my eyes. Some even opened their houses for us to sleep in. Wonder if we urbanites will ever do this for a man who comes from village,” wondered Vishal Gondal, who is spending the blister-healing time, at home now. 

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