We were passing by Virajpet town and dad’s driver Gani excitedly offered to take us up the hills to see the Shiva temple. We hesitantly began the initial incline through the mist until we reached Coorg Institute of Dental Sciences, at which point the sky opened up on us. We had to stop because the road became obscure.
Later as we proceeded, half-hidden stream gurgled across our path. Each bend on the road seemed to have a drastically different view. After a point our driver said “Illinja road achak chayille.” I nervously queried, “What do you mean Chayille?” We entered a pot-holed narrow road with sharp hairpin bends and a steep drop-off on the left. Shrubs and boulders lined the road. There was no sight of guardrails. I forgot to respire after that. The sight of steep drop-off made me queasy. On several turns we could see a wide expanse of paddy fields, verdant hills with remarkably distant mountains appearing azure and hazy.
From one vantagepoint, I could see whole of Virajpet town. I nervously snapped some pictures. We were almost close to the Shiva temple when we heard unusual sound from the vehicle. “Brake sari unda?” I angrily asked the adventurous driver. “Notuvi,” he said. My heart was in my mouth. At this point we just wanted to return. Dad screamed at Gani “Shiva temple kakiyand poyande ulliya or Vaikunta samaradane madiruviya?”.
We were tensed while descending the hill. For a second it seemed like our fears turned to reality as the Jeep edged over the hairpin bend, halted and then teeter tottered!!Suddenly Gani found his bearings, backed up swiftly and drove us to safety.We were back on the main road within minutes but we felt as if we had narrowly escaped death. Phew!!!