We were shaken but safe when we landed in Vizag and immediately left by car for Araku Valley. As we drove through the mountains, the refreshing winds and the cooling temperatures gradually eased the fear and brought back the spirit of holiday into our hearts.
Our first stop was the Coffee Museum in Araku where we learnt about the accidental discovery of Coffee seeds in Ethiopia and its romantic journey from Arabia to the Southern slopes of India. Freshly brewed aromatic coffee, grown and processed locally by the tribals of the area, set the tone for rest of our holiday. The museum, which has been running for 6 decades, traces the history of coffee with delectable stories. In the year 1453, coffee had such an exalted status that Turkey made it legal for a woman to divorce her husband if he was unable to provide her with her daily quota of coffee. Incidentally, coffee was first discovered by a shepherd when he saw that his goats became very lively after eating some red berries.
Next morning we walked to the sounds of the gently flowing stream at Charpari, sampled some more coffee, and bought the Arabica and Peabury coffee powder and chocolates.Springy as those goats, we set off by car to see the Borra caves. On our drive down the mountains, we were treated to nature’s abundance – trees laden with jackfruits and budding mangoes and the coffee plantations.
Alongside the plantations the tribals sell their local organically grown spices and serve their own brand of (yes some more) coffee with welcoming smiles. They cook chicken in the hollow of bamboo stem and also serve fresh corn on the cob, great snacks for all the tourists. It was heartening to see how the government has protected the tribal land and ensured that they are integrated into the socio-economic fibre of the state.
After many small stops we made it to Borra Caves which are famous limetone caves considered to be the deepest in the country. Well organised and well lit, the caves are a much visited tourist attraction for locals and foreigners alike.
We finally made it to the Vizag beach and spent an hour or so enjoying the wonderful sea breeze. Our final stop was a restaurant which served delicately flavoured coastal Andhra food.
Exhilarated and also tired with our many adventures during the day, a far cry from our daily urban life, we fell sound asleep in our beds for straight 8 hours.
Next morning we landed back in Hyderabad on relatively a much smoother Spicejet flight and it occurred to me that within a space of one and a half days, we had gone from being very scared to rejuvenated from our brief brush with nature and history.
On the heels of that thought came the realization that when we are faced with unsavoury experiences, the only way to overcome them and let them fade from our active memory is to paint over them with newer and more pleasant experiences. So overwrite and override, and quicker the better, because life is always a mix of both.
The author is an Executive Coach and a passionate Learning and Development professional based in Hyderabad, India.