While it is painful to pass through grief, one needs to move on. Grief is not a sign of weakness, but it is the price of love. Many had sent me consoling messages post my spouse’s death, and the most common one time will heal. I differ about this phrase as it is difficult to pretend about the loss as there will be sights and sounds to recall the presence of her soul. I was delving deeper into this subject and wanted some solitude to reason the inner meaning of soulfulness.

The second wave of the pandemic was more forceful and fearful, which left more scars than the first wave in 2020. As the government was unlocking, I had a deep yearning to discover my identity without distraction. I decided to drive to the Shevaroy range of hills in the eastern ghats this time. I was ready to gain deeper insights from searching for my wandering soul at 4970 Ft above sea level.

I quickly packed and got my Thar filled with fuel. This time I added a new gadget to my vehicle support system, i.e. the Hummer Battery Jumpstarter is a GM product to give a warm kick to my engine in cold weather. I left home around 3.00 am, and I chose NH 79 to reach the destination. The drive started towards Koyambedu, Chengalpattu, Thindivanam, Villupuram, Ulundurpet, Kallakurichi, Attur, Salem, and Yercurad.

I rolled down the windows to get some fresh air, and again it reminded me of nature and its kindness to humanity. I wanted to take a coffee break at Thindivanam and noticed a signboard calling me for filter coffee. It was almost 2.5 Hrs since I drove, and it was apt at 5.30 am to have this magic potion to add energy for the next lap towards Villupuram – just 38 km away. I used this stop to release my bladder and got myself ready to enjoy the morning brightness. It was Ulundurpet after a 36 Mins drive, and by then, the Sun gave birth to light. It would have been a happy moment if Regi had been with me to witness this pleasant sight. But I realised quickly that the world doesn’t stop for us.

By the time I processed this-worldly logic, Kallakurichi was in front of me, and the roads were smooth as silk towards Salem. The uphill road was well maintained and wide enough to negotiate with the vehicles coming down. The weather offered a conducive climate to appreciate the hills with chills as we climbed. Past the curvy 20th hairpin bends, we arrived at our stay spot,  Great Trails Yercaud by GRT. As I reached the foothills of Yercaud, it was around 9.00 am, and the admirably wooded beauty with arms wide open welcomed us under the light, whispering, “Here I am “. The Trail View rooms were spacious with all the required amenities, a big private balcony to give a grand view of the mountains to sit and relax.

We had in-room lunch and wanted to take a quick nap and get ready for the evening stroll. I slept off and woke up to realise that my daughter was missing, and I called her to know that she had walked past the lake, and she offered to share her live location so that I could join. But then she is almost 30 minutes away by foot; hence I requested to finish her walking tour and return. Yercaud is a calm and quiet hill station without much fuss like the other popular touristy hill stations. While there are few places to visit, not a long list, all the sites are full of serenity and stillness.

We woke up the next day and decided to drive through the 32 Kms loop road, a scenic drive and a feast to the eyes. We went was towards Manjakuttai viewpoint, stopped near the tea shop, and walked 300 meters steep uphill to reach the viewpoint, simple people living in these heavenly mountains. We owned the viewpoint since we arrived early in the morning. It is a blessing to view the sunrise and the tiny houses far away from wanting to wake up as the Sun was peeping out of the clouds. 

As we drove further, the roads were perfect and motivating. It will be just out of this world if it is raining, but it is still super cool to drive towards Nallur viewpoint, and the roads are windy and may hit if you are motion sick. As we reached the Nallur viewpoint, it wasn’t impressive as the Manjakuttai viewpoint. It was full of coffee plantations and the pepper climbers making love with the silver oak trees by clinging on these large barks was a scene to appreciate the greenery around us. We registered our presence by clicking a few photos and moved to have an excellent black coffee at Caveary Peak. The spot was calm and gave privacy to be ourselves. I missed Regi and felt sad but quickly realised that she is in a place where it is better than one can visit or even imagine. 

We agreed to return to the base camp with loads of memories to relax and stretch. After some rest, I and my little imp decided to walk to buy fresh bread and reached Shevaroy bakery, 2.5 km away. We crossed the emerald lake shining green and took a steep hill walk to visit this famous bakery, paid for the bread and the tempting chocolate pastries for dinner dessert.

I read about the most reviewed Sweet Rascal restaurant, an appointment-only food joint, and we walked to meet the restaurant owner to reserve a table for dinner and returned to our hotel. A cool breeze greeted us as we stepped out of the warm room at 7.30 pm. We drove to the restaurant to taste the reality. Not disappointed, the crispy egg dosa with the chicken curry and the mutton fry was rejuvenating our taste buds. The host is a passionate owner and, to delight us, served a special fish curry to taste, and the masala used was to express the heights of culinary. We finished an excellent light dinner and bid farewell with a commitment to visit again. 

As we reached the hotel, the rain queen had a schedule to perform her dance, and she displayed her style and Bhavana for 3 Hrs. And the temperature was around 17 degrees, conducive for single malt and the chocolate dessert to enjoy this unexpected nature’s goodwill. We finished our dessert as the rains drained after the soft plentiful last lap. 

While I was wandering to meet her again, I saw her mesmerising eyes and heard her mumble to me, Sun is alone but still shines!   We enjoyed the walk, stopping and enjoying the small flowering plants with unimaginable shades to take photos. It was a well-spent two days of seeking solace and silence by starring at the blue skies and different shades of the forest green, and it was time to move, and I sat down to gather all the thoughts to save as memories for the future.