By Bharath Balasubramanian
“Hello, my name is Bharath. Bharath Balasubramanian. I am vegetarian (read eat carbs and starch as I don’t like tomatoes and a lot of other nutritious vegetables). I love beer and I do not work out.” This is what I felt like announcing to the friends who were with me on the arduous trek to watch the gorillas. Stopping every five minutes for water, drinking water every ten minutes and gasping and panting and moaning in pain marked the 3 hour trek through the Bwindi Impenetrable forest that was home to 50% of the population of the rare mountain gorillas. Apart from that, I would have slipped and fell at least 15 times during the entire trek. Playing my most inspirational theme from Rocky on my iPod would not have helped. There was a time when I was contemplating giving up and going back to the cottage but I would not know how to get back on my own. Obviously, I would not have wanted to spoil it for my friends either!
Most treks end in a water fall or a lake or they have a set distance and time limit. So, you can ask the guide or passersby questions like “How far to the lake?”, “Where does this godforsaken thing end”. The problem with this trek was that the guides would not know the answer to any of these questions. There were a set of trackers who had left 3 hours before we did that morning and they would communicate to our guides regarding the gorillas’ whereabouts. We had to walk pretty much until we found them gorillas. So, it was almost like a wild goose chase, except that there were no geese but something bigger, gorillas. I even ended up asking one of our guides if we would take the same way back. If he had said yes, I would have stopped right there and called it a day.
Anyway, finally, after the three hour drama titled ForestSlump starring Bharath, we did get to see the gorillas and boy, did I forget all the pain in a snap or what?! It is only fair that I had to endure the strenuous trek in order to earn my right to see something like that. Getting to see the gorillas from a 3 feet distance was beyond priceless. <Please insert the usual MasterCard like status messages that people put on facebook and other social media. >. I did not feel this way even about the all-nighter that I had pulled for my Accounting 2 final, that I got a 29/35 on (That is an achievement according to my standards). I guess our Solar Brother David and my own teammate Isabelle have already talked about the gorillas at length in their blogs. So I won’t delve too much into that experience apart from saying that it was well worth the effort we put in. Needless to say, the trek back was a cake walk and we all felt we had just accomplished something great in our lives. Something that would make us proud and make us feel that we have checked one more item on our bucket list.
Hello, my name is Bharath. Bharath Balasubramanian. I eat a lot of vegetarian food, I love beer and I do not work out. But I just had one of the greatest experiences of my life.