Time: 1:00 PM - After refreshing ourselves, we moved out of the hotel to check if there were any good restaurants in the vicinity. We saw a Punjabi Dhaba set up just opposite to our hotel. Well, its only after entering the dhaba and looking @ the menu, we were able to verify that it was even more costlier than a restaurant.
We ordered Shahi Paneer and Aalu Jira along with Tandoori Roti & Green Salad and requested the waiter to repeat the roti after some time. As expected, the service level was crappy. Who bothers whether roti needs to be repeated. We had to remind him that we have "placed an order" and it would be nice of him, if he could repeat the roti, as we were waiting for roti. Finally when we reminded him for the third time, he brought us the roti. We ran short of the curry, so we ordered one more curry - Paneer Butter Masala & an additional dish of Green Salad. The food was kind of okay both quality and quantity wise - of course not worth the amount of money we shelled out.
Finally we were done with the food; None of us was in mood of relaxing back in the hotel. The moment we stepped into the hotel, we spotted our cab and asked him to drive us to Doddabetta - the highest peak of Nilgiri mountains and a famous tourist spot. He was too lazy to have his lunch and traded his lunch hour against his sleep. While that is not a bad idea for a person who is deprived of sleep, we didn't feel very nice about getting him to drive with a hungry stomach, but he was okay. I and Rajiv set back and Nilesh occupied the front seat the - one besides driver's seat.
Time: 2:00 PM - The Gang was ready to cruise through the steep roads of Nilgiri. We were enjoying the ride. Cozy and serene atmosphere of Nilgiri Mountains was filling a different kind of joy in us. On a lighter note, I and Nilesh did think of quitting our current jobs to settle down in such similar hill station if not Ooty exactly.
By now, our driver had enough rest and he controlled the steering as if he was in a F1 race. In hilly areas, where driving faster is kind of risky, he was racing and moving at a great speed. Yeah, our Michael Schumacher (Kumar, our cab driver) was in no mood of slowing down. We too didn't bother him much since we knew he was quite good @ his job. In fact, we enjoyed the ride the way it was :)
Time - 3:00 pm - Talking to the clouds and enjoying the lush green beauty of Nilgiri, we were on our way to Doddabetta which is the highest peak of Southern India (and not just Nilgiri). Tamilnadu Government has taken due care to establish it as a proper tourist spot. We took multiple snaps on Doddabetta and loitered around on the peak. The peak turned all 3 of us into seasoned photographers. We were capturing pictures as if Doddabetta would be visitor less if we didn't publish our snaps on the internet and were the soul source of releasing Doddabetta's beauty on the Internet :D
Honestly, we didn't want to miss out anything as pictures serve as a memory for life time . You never know, software engineers switch quite fast - who knows when we move out of Bangalore :D
After completing our photo session, we climbed the tower from where Ooty town could be viewed using a telescope. The queue was long enough to bore us, but we still queued up, just to realise that we had wasted our time completely by waiting in the queue. The telescope was crappy and we hardly were able to see anything. I wondered why nobody really commented - it was really disappointing as hardly anything was visible.
Can't help it, that's how people are - sometimes they could be simply speechless and won't voice out their opinion. Anyways, after climbing down from the telescope tower, we had some tea. I request the Nilgiri tea to check if it was any better than normal tea we used to drink, however it was the same stuff. Old wine in a new bottle is equal to Nilgiri Tea in this case. While I rested on a bench, Nilesh and Rajiv gave a futile attempt to horse riding. The horse owner quoted some 150 bucks for a 5/10 min ride, which was a bit more I think. After hearing the price quoted, they didn't really bother to negotiate and just walked back to me and joined me with their own flavours of tea :)
Time: 4:00 PM - Finally we were done with our tea and moved back to the place where we left our cab. Although not planned, on the way back to Ooty, we visited the Tea Factory. After going through all the process stuff which explains how green leaves of tea into the brown coloured minute tea particles, we reached the exit. The marketing executives made sure that each visitor is served with half a cup of Nilgiri tea before they leave; just in case, if someone is interested they can buy the tea before leaving the premises. As per their job, they gave a futile attempt to convince me in purchasing fresh Nilgiri tea.
Although I didn't purchase the tea, I did fall for the sandalwood oil sold just outside the the factory building. The shops were set up in the same vicinity. I somehow have always appreciated sandalwood from my early childhood. My mother still rubs a sandalwood piece against a round shaped rock with some water to extract a thick paste of sandalwood (both sandalwood piece and the rock are a part of our pooja @ home) and uses the paste for doing Tilak. She has been practicing this for more than 25 years now and I have always loved the pure and natural fragrance of sandalwood.
There is a difference between the fragrance of artificial scents/perfumes and pure and natural sandalwood. Since the oil was authentically prepared from sandalwood tree, I couldn't help myself with anything else but to purchase it. I called in Nilesh to take a second opinion and finally I went for it. They charged me 200 Rs for 25 ml. of pure sandalwood oil.
We moved to the next shop, where I and Nilesh purchased one more oil bottle. The lady @ the counter claimed that it can help in healing any kind of pain be it back pain or pain in the joints.Now this was definitely difficult to digest, but we thought of giving it a try thinking that its merely 200 bucks. If it works it works, else not much of a loss. Rajiv too wasn't an odd man out, he fell for the hair oil.
Good marketing - Giving 5 Rs tea for free(or may be 2.5 Rs, since it was half a cup!) and getting the customer to buy things worth almost 400 Rs each is a great strategy :)
Fine, shopping is also done. We returned back to our cab. After driving for another 15-20 minutes, we reached the hotel. It was almost 5:30 pm. We requested our cab driver to have his lunch and rest for rest of the day.
We too were exhausted, especially I and Nilesh, since almost didn't have a sleep last night. After reaching the hotel we freshened up and Rajiv took control of the TV Remote and I and Nilesh hit the bed. After a futile attempt to rest for 2 hours, I got up to join Nilesh and Rajiv for hanging around in the market.
Time: 7:30 PM - We went out for loitering around in the market and after hanging out for a while, we saw a tea stall and got tempted to have tea. Tea was not that entertaining though. However, we paid due respect to tea by finishing our small glasses of tea since dropping a cup full of tea in dustbin and paying the tea vendor would be equivalent to insult him and his wife without speaking a word.
I accompanied Nilesh and Rajiv in their dinner session. I was still full and didn't wanted to overload my stomach and body by additional food for it to process, hence I decided not to eat. Nilesh had 1 aalu paratha and aalu sabzi (gravy based curry made out of potatoes) while Rajiv took a full fledged meal which consisted of 2 vegetable curries and 3/4 chapatis.
After having dinner, we reached back to our hotel. I recharged my mobile with some additional currency to make sure that I don't run short of money. After reaching the hotel, we watched the IPL for some time and finally called it a day.