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jog falls

Dark clouds and their silver linings

Ever experienced a phase in life where nothing goes as planned? Disappointment looms large, dissatisfaction mounts, and no matter how hard you try to make things work, they just don’t. It is as if you are cursed. Recently, I went through such a phase of despair when both my personal and professional lives went for a toss. Things were so bad that I just wanted to run away, somewhere I couldn’t be found. Impromptu, that’s what I did.

I hopped on a train to spend a few days near Jog Falls—one of the highest plunge waterfalls in India. Hidden deep within the Sagar Taluk forest, Jog Falls was the perfect destination to unplug myself from the chaos. Afterall, there is nothing more uplifting and reviving than living in the company of nature. But little did I know that my ill luck would find me there as well. The moment I got off the train (which was already late by an hour) at Shimoga railway station, it started pouring. With no transport in sight, I waited at the station for the rains to abate. An hour went by, and I was still at the mercy of the rain gods, and starving. After a lot of difficulty, I got a taxi at a much higher fare and headed straight to my hotel. Finally! Now I can eat something, and enjoy the perfect view of the falls… I thought. But boy, was I in for another disappointment!

I could barely see anything outside the window—everything was foggy, hidden behind the veil of mist. After lunch, I decided to explore the falls on foot. I remembered the hotel receptionist mentioning a flight of more than thousand steps to the base of the waterfall. But now that the rain gods were feeling generous again, I had to climb down a thousand slippery and precarious steps. The curse of such ill luck notwithstanding, I decided to take on that dangerous trek down!

Armed with an umbrella and a raincoat, I walked up to the 1400 formidable steps that welcomed me. Despite the joy of my new-found courage, I still had a few doubts. Will I be able to descend a thousand steps? Is it wise to trek during the rains? But pushing aside all apprehensions, I decided to head down.

It was not long before I realised that descending the steps was actually enjoyable. Protected by the canopy of trees on either side, I no longer needed an umbrella. Soaking in the sight of trees dancing happily in the rain, I climbed down with a heart full of joy. By the time I got to the base, the mist had lifted, and the four distinct waterfalls that together make up the Jog Falls—Raja, Rani, Roarer and Rocket Falls—became clearly visible. They looked so majestic in all their glory that I almost inadvertently bowed down in veneration.

The magnificent Raja Fall poured down in one uninterrupted streak. A little below, the Roarer gushed out violently to meet Raja; the Rocket shot downwards in a series of jets, and finally the Rani moved gracefully in a silky sheet of foam. The air was chilly and water droplets from the falls kissed my face. Invigorated, I cut across a few rocks to play in their cool waters. I looked up at the cloudy sky with a smile, for now I thought, the rains only added to the adventure and excitement, instead of being a hindrance.

By the time I got back to the hotel room, completely drenched and exhausted, my perceptions seemed to have undergone a change. It occurred to me, perhaps, I should look at the difficult situations like the spell of rains—momentary and manageable. If only I learnt to confront my problems directly, they wouldn’t seem so daunting. I might even find myself an adventure or an unforgettable experience, just like I did at Jog Falls.

As I crept into my cosy bed that night after a hot shower, I remembered a quote by author Vivian Greene. She said, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Just what I had accomplished, I thought, as I dozed off!

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