There I was, in 6th Standard when our class teacher announced we were going to do something different the next day. It was Saturday, we normally had school -full day. We wondered what it could be, but had no clues what was in store for us.
The next morning, as always we got to school, the only difference being all of us were in colour dress [no uniforms, a Saturday norm]. By 10 am, our teacher announced we were all to assemble outside the main gate. Curious, anxious and nervous,we all stood in a line waiting for some instruction or guidance. Within a few minutes, there she was, asking us to follow her down the road. And then she announced that we were going on a small trek. Now, this was a small locality Thazhayuthu in the town of Tirunelveli. We had not gone on any treks leave alone heard of the word.
Those of us who had a cycle rode on, and others walked along with the teachers. We must have walked for nearly a kilometer when the teacher brought us to a halt and pointed to a row of hills ahead. "That is where we are headed" she announced.
*Gulp* I had no clues what was awaiting us up ahead but had a bad feeling at the pit of my stomach. I can walk, but have never climbed anything that did not have steps on it. And I was on the big built side, so thoughts of me slipping sliding or falling down kept crashing into my head. My friends reassured me and what do you know, I actually made it to the top without any mishaps. And what a view we had of the town below. Too bad we did not have cameras back then. The teacher had one and this is a picture from her camera.
I was the cautious one, who stood back while others went ahead wandering around exploring the hill top. And in an hour we were all set to descent. This is when I met my fate. A bunch of spotted a smooth rock and thought it would be easier to slide down and reach the bottom faster. In spite of our teacher's warning, we went ahead and began to descent down that path. I don't know how much time passed, but I woke up on the ground with the teachers looking down at me with a worried look on their face. I spotted the hill on my left but had no memory of how I made it down here. Apparently, I had slipped and came tumbling down all the way. I could barely stand, leave along walk; I was woozy and could feel blood trickling down my face.
Our vice principal came over in an ambulance and I was hauled away to the nearby hospital. Had quite a few cuts, bruises and gashes. But luckily, no broken bones or major damages. I was in and out of consciousness for a day or so and then was sent home to recuperate.I recall mom & dad telling me how I nearly visited death and was brought back to life. Even today, they talk about the incident with fear in their eyes. Took me about 10 days and I was limping back to school.
I recall the day I returned to school, our Principal was just entering and she saw me coming down the road. She enquired about my health and told me "this is a lesson for you, now you are ready to face your next challenge"
Now, this is one aspect of my life where I did end up Relishing the Challenge. I have since then been on quite a few treks, I do get scared, I freeze at times, but I have managed to complete the course...