“The adventure is not in arriving, it's in the on-the-way experience.
It is not in the expected; it's in the surprise. You."
This is how the legendary Indian writer Ruskin Bond, interpreted the term "adventure". Adventure is a task that involves a high level of risk. The journey to achieve anything thought to be impossible can be described as an adventure. Adventure entails both hard work and good fortune. If you can get both of them to work for you, the mission would be a success. Otherwise, it also might take a disastrous turn.
The Konkan Railway is a wonderful gift to India's middle western coast. It runs parallel to the coast, passing through many lush green mountains, ever-charming rivers, and beautiful stations. The Aghanashini River bridge and its adjoining Mirjan Tunnel are also part of this incredible rail line that can serve as a track for thrilling adventures. My cousins planned one such adventure, which took an unexpected turn that was hidden in its womb.
All of this happened about a decade ago. During my summer vacations, I visited my aunt's house in Hegde, Kumta. Hegde is a fabulous village located on the banks of the Aghanashini River. On a typical summer day, all of the cousins decided to go on a hike. The route would include a variety of terrains, beginning with climbing to a rail route, then crossing the bridge, the tunnel, climbing up the hill, and finally collecting the berries. Yes, indeed!!! The wild berries, which are typically found in Konkan hilly areas, were the prize for which we were on this adventure. I'd never had anything like this before. So I was ecstatic about this excursion.
We began our hike in the evening. We arrived at the bridge after about a mile of walking. I looked around and was completely mesmerized by the picturesque sights it had to offer. The golden paddy fields, coco-betel nut plantations, scattered settlements, and other sights drew me in. We lingered for a moment before marching through the tunnel! We began climbing the mountain on which all of the berry trees had grown shortly after crossing it. We began our return journey after collecting berries and having a feast on some of them.
After returning to the bridge, we could see the sun setting behind its red-yellow colors against the backdrop of the sky. Everything appeared to be fine and normal by this point. The thrilling climax, however, was yet to come!
Suddenly, all of us decided to walk on the railroad, and that's where I went wrong. On rail bridges, a guard rail that runs parallel to the main rail track is usually installed to provide stability and prevent derailing. I was walking on the guardrail. We all sped up as the sky darkened. In an attempt to gain speed, my right foot slipped and became trapped in the small gap between the main and guard rail! Others attempted to pull me out but in vain. To make matters worse, we could hear and see a train approaching from afar.
I could feel the tremors in the rails as the train approached. I moved into panic mode and went blank for a moment. I managed to loosen the belts of my sandals when the train was only half a kilometer away. I sprang outwards as soon as I removed my feet. The train disappeared in an instant. Roaring, thumping...!! I could literally feel the death that passed by in that manner! The sandal was in no condition to be worn. They say that your pets can absorb your bad times. But this time, it was my sandal who did the job!
I was not expecting such a twist in this adventure. Since then, whenever I visit that location, I can't help but recall that horrifying experience!