Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ghosts of Dahanu

For once my plans of visiting a place were made at once and that too without any hiccups. As decided we were all set to leave on Saturday early morning. My friends from town were suppose to come in a hired car to a friends place in Kandivli & all of us were set to leave from there.
The journey as usual had to begin with pulling each other legs. A three hour long journey to Dahnu & we started looking out for the place where we were suppose to stay, it was suppose to be a farm house of chintan's friend. When it comes to him you can never be sure, we were initially guided to a place where we could see only the farm but not the house. It took us 2 hours, a whole lot of abuses to chintan & kaushal to reach the destination named GRACE FARM.
Once we were there, we all were taken back by the place & its location, situated amidst those lonely jungles, the house indeed reminded us of those countryside hindi movies. The mali present there then took us for a walk in farm showing us the 350 coconut trees, chickoo & papaya farms. He also warned us of the snakes present in the farm.

It's a Jungle out there...

After having a walk in the farm we left the place & went to the city side for lunch but hey a long journey & the food was just good to fill our stomachs. Initially we all were skeptical of the place but once we were back to the farm the masti begins...
We entered the swimming pool & fights, victories, cheating & lot more was always gonna happen when 9 boys come together. It indeed was fun to pull some legs of each other.
It was soon dark & after a quick bath all of us headed out of the farm for dinner, full with punjabi & south Indian food, we were sure the night would be an exciting feature to look forward to. Poor vinit was the first one to sleep, hehehe we emptied the entire Colgate paste on him. The photo session when the lights were of was also a thing I would remember. I mean simple men being ghost & spirits was a friendly affair indeed.

Ghosts of Dahanu

The remaining of the night was spent playing cards & bets being placed on wins & losses. Some of them still owe my due victories...
Next day was the one I shall remember for long. Breakfast is all what we needed badly but the hotel was way out & none of us intended to go out. So all of us got together & decided to make sandwiches by ourselves, cutting tomatoes, applying butter on bread is something my mother shall surely be proud of.
Pool was the next thing on our minds, we then tied a rope to the trees surrounding the pool & hanged a bottle on it.
WE then divided ourselves as per our age & started playing the game where each team had to hit the bottle from a distance & the one who hits it 11 times first wins...hehehe & as always victory came natural to me. The dues of winning the bet is still pending.

Ghosts hitting the Army pool

With evening on its way, we all started packing our stuff & with funny & leg pulling memories we returned back to Mumbai where the hustle & bustle was ready to welcome us back.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Uttan Trek

Plan an outing and they are never smooth to take of, same it happened with us as well when we planned an outing to Uttan to the Ultimate Paradise resort. Working in the same office, Saturday was the best option to go & as decided most of them landed up on time at the Bhayandar station except Amit & me…lol… I’ll have to listen for the same for ever I guess. A fifteen minutes rickshaw ride from the station takes you to the Ultimate Paradise Resort. Though the rickshaw leaves you just about near the resort but a short walk from the jungles & small yet never ending steps take you to the resort situated at the hill top.
Ha the confusion still does not end, whether we should stay back or leave, however we leave the decision when the evening comes. Paid the entry amount & after a short breakfast, wondering whether to hit the swimming pool or walk we ended asking the resort owner if we could go for a trek or so & he guided us to the hill side for the same.
We thus began our walk, coming across a tree which was all lonely in the greenery present around it & sat down around it. Being from the same office, gossips, bitching & more was always there on the unwritten agenda…hey but its necessary to start a topic tho… & when we finally felt that it was enough we began walking towards a pond which though was at a distance & the road to it was walking over the rocks, farms & yes escaping if the bullock ever planned to attack. But hey it was worth it…

Praveen had slipped while clearing these rocks...

Initially we came across rocks that we need to walk on to get down towards the farm lands, hey it was quite simple enough though but I pitty Praveen, he unfortunately slipped…heheheh. Cleared the rocks successfully we came across a group of aspiring cricketers, children they were but were big enough to guide us towards the pond & soon we found ourselves walking amidst the farms. I could quite recollect my college days tho. As the pond seems closer to us there were these two bullocks that were present on our way, though they were fined tied but still even a run by one of them in that field was enough to make us feel its presence. While walking we came across a water pool, can’t describe it tho & it brought out the hidden models in us, each & every person was busy posing to make it a perfect picture but hell Bhakti’s camera doesnot have zoom…hehehehe. Finally the models move ahead & reach the actual pond we had planned of, but the pond that seemed so far when we started, we had reached quite early then expected, so we further decided to walk towards the sea shore.

Sorry but Bhakti's camera does not have zoom...

This was a walk in itself as the farms & rocks were taken over by a walk from the village, fishermen getting their nets done & kids catching butterflies. We finally reach the shore; most of us were simply enjoying the moment but Vinita…hehehe as usual gathering information about their living, diet & what not, and may be she intended to marry one of them. Finally a walk back to the resort on the same way, the walk which initially was very long but on the way back some how we could feel it very short.

We finally reached the tree where it all had begun & a passing dialogue from me got the tree it’s name “Pawan Tree”.

Pawan Tree where we gossiped, bitched & future WE 2 plans were discussed...
Finally we decide to enjoy what the resort had to offer, we had paid for it. After lunch we all hit the pool & got involved in searching for Rs 5 coin in the pool, I mean agree we are not paid enough but not less also that we needed to search for a coin & the less talk about the game played after the better.

Yes did feel like I am the emperor...

Come evening & no one removed the topic of staying back also, so the question never arose only. A standing bus ride was the last thing I had expected, girls are always lucky in this matter, B.E.S.T has special privileges for them though. Enough, the bus ride made me tired, hence don’t feel like writing the same here also.
Indeed it was a much needed break & nothing can give you more relaxation than a trek & with friends is more fun. Teena hope the place met your expectation of the term “Ekaaaaaaaant”. Hehehehehehehe

Picture Perfect...Amit where are you??

The link to the Pawan Tree on the Wikimap & the resort :Ultimate Paradise

Thursday, November 1, 2007

First Twenty 20 Match in India

Cricket has always been a passionate sport in India & I am one of the big contributors to this tag. The excitement & the aggression that this game bring to the people of India is beyond imagination. The Twenty 20 game has just added to this excitement & ever since India has won the world cup of this new format the craze is at it’s peak.

Such craze & you get a chance to watch the first Twenty 20 match in India is what one had always asked for. The match was scheduled to be held in Brebourne stadium of Mumbai & on a Saturday as well. India was facing the mighty Australian who had defeated the Indian team in the one day series prior to this match. Whatever it was records are a past when India decides to take the field for a Twenty 20 match & that too as the champions for the first time on Indian soil.
Making sure I am a part of the 40,000 spectators was quite a task, though tickets was not an issue but odd hiccups here & there are bound to happen. Once the tickets were in my hand a day prior to the match, my only job was to make my friends jealous of the possession. To my wonder the ticket was of the VVIP stand & which costed 10K. Came the day & after standing in a huge line & pushing my way through I entered what seemed to be a carnival.

Songs being played, cheer leaders dancing, Indian flags all around & yes the flood lights made a perfect set up for a match where Indian were heavily supported. Though India lost the toss, captain Dhoni seemed quite content with the decision of Australians to bat first. A huge roar went out when Indians took the field, I am sure it must have pumped the eleven Indians who took the field.
Here comes the first ball of the match & the roar goes louder, Aussies came out to their natural game, aggressive & always attacking but Indians led by a good pace attack by R.P Singh were determined to win this format of the game. Harbhajan seems to come at his best when he is playing the might Aussies.
A target of 166, a moderate one which India achieved without much trouble. Its always said in sports it does not matter how you win the match but the celebrations after the match is what is remembered. India did celebrate it in style as well with a victory lap on the car that Gautam Gambhir got as Man of the Match.
Besides this stars like Shahrukh & Deepika added fun to the match. Deepika being shown on screen & Dhoni’s blushing face after that indeed added to the rumors spreading around. In all it was a match worth remembering for the fact that it was the first Twenty 20 match in India. I shall always be able to tell my grand children that I was a part of the first Twenty 20 match in India & India had won it in style.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Garba with Falguni & Dear Freinds

Come Navratri and the first thing that comes to your mind is garba & for a Mumbaikar to top that you are reminded of Falguni Pathak & her Sankalp Navratri. Its one place where I have seen even non dancers dance, she literally forces you to do so. Though it was not for the first time that I had gone to Sankalp & played garba on the beats of Falguni but this time it was special. Going with office colleagues…oops friends was an experience in itself. The entry to this venue was much easier then I had expected it to be. Once you are in & the moment the beats start your feat start moving to her tunes instantly. Crowds well dressed, ornaments & yes kediyu & chaniya choli, famously called short frocks by the masses is what you get to see around you. Beats were rolling, Falguni was at her usual best & there she comes up with the song “Pari Hoon Main” her trademark song…this is I would suggest as the perfect example of crowd following its influencer. Not a single group in the ground was doing a different step, the song prompted everyone to dance what is called “popat” a to & fro garba step. Once this song started we got it that Falguni is now at the peak of her singing. Songs kept flowing… “Mane Pant Walla Ne Payanvu tu, Dhotiya Walo Gamto Nathi” (I wanted to marry a jeans wearing guy, the dhoti wearing guy I don’t like) to “Odhni Odhu to”…Gujju Garba kept coming… It was more fun as most of my friends did not how to play garba but still they were best at managing. Just as we had all got in the flow of dancing perfect, here comes the song “Namak Ishq Ka” & instantly we all got dancing to the jhtaka steps without any one’s instructions. Words can’t describe it… The last twenty minutes & the gujarati garbas were replaced by hindi film songs…from “paisa fekh tamasha dekh” to “dil ka mamla hai dilbar” she simply delivered what we had been there for. Finally here comes the final song of hers, which I felt even a rock band cannot match up to. Among the several present there along with my ten office friends who were not gujaratis, were forced to be Gujaratis by heart for the entire time at Sankalp dancing to Falguni Pathak. Exploring a place where the form of dancing comes naturally to me but with dear friends was an experience of a life time. As we left the place with cherished memories we promise to be here in future also together, though it was a blurred promise to make as no one knew where each one will be, but still…

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lets meet Peace...

Some go to trek, some to explore & some to enjoy but few go to relax. Yes Pondicherry is indeed a place to relax. It allows you to do so. Though i went from my college for an industrial visit, relaxation & peace is what it had to offer.
Peace, french style promenades, clean & green is what one searches to relax & Pondi has all in it. The most unique thing about Pondi is that it does not have any industry that affect nature as said by the CM of Pondi.
The most beautiful aspect of Pondi was the long walk that we friends took on the corridors of the Arabian Sea. A walk in heavy rains that too barefoot & with dear college friends was more then I had asked from this God's Wonder.

The corridor where we friends walked, just to enjoy each other's presence...

One more unique aspect of Pondi is a structure build in middle of the town in memory of a prostitute who use to help the poors with her earnings.

A town structure build in memories of a prostitute

When in Pondi, Aurbindo Ashram is a must must see as life takes a completely new meaning when you see their teachings, in fact their practical teachings.
While in Pondi the best way to explore is to walk the lonely & peaceful lanes of this small town with friends singing & allowing the nature to feed you to its limit.

Simple walks & more, I do remember them...

You will be surprised with every step as you will keep wondering how a place which is so small can offer you so much that you can cherish for your entire life. These are the moments where peace & delight of nature takes you over & leaves you with a feeling that "yes I am a simple & a lovable person on earth". It is indeed coined to perfection as "Peaceful Pondicherry" by it's promoters.
A place that I explored with my college friends & still want to go their once again just to relive those relaxing & simple moments which one always dreams of to have.
They say you can't meet peace but I did. Pondi forces you to do so even if you don't want to. My belief that a person behaves according to the place he is in came very true when I visited this simple yet extra ordinary peace of land.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dal Lake - A city on lake

You may have heard of a market at your street corner or a market in a polished mall but have you even thought of the idea of a market on a lake. Even I hadn't until I visited Dal Lake in Kashmir. Located in Srinagar this lake is accessible from almost all parts of the city.

Floating market on Dal Lake

Visitng Dal lake & having a ride in a Shikara is an experience of a lifetime. Shikaras are hand driven boat like structures. People have actually build their homes, shops & even industries on this lake. You get everything from daily necessities to luxurious items.
I still remember peeping in one of the locals houses & I could see a television, refrigerator & a well made kitchen also.

Shikara's at Dal Lake

I mean I couldn't imagine a house just as mine on a lake. The lake also has a mosque build on it. While I was exploring all this with the shikara moving at the minimal speed possible, I found life to be stand still & felt this was a thing I was always looking for. Once I finish exploring the city on Dal Lake, the shikara guy took us to the exteriors of the lake, where there was no civilistaion, but simply open lake with mountains & a beautiful sun set in the background, a perfect place to be relaxed & strengthen your beautiful memories...
Even the crushes that you have had in the past keep moving in your mind, with a feeling "I wishhhhhh". The lake makes you calm & even gives you a feeling that life is not completely to conquer but also to get conquered by the hands of nature.

Scenic view of the lake

The lake has this capacity to surprise you every moment with the more you keep exploring this place. In one of the industries that I visited, I even saw a carpet worth 5lacs being made. The place made everything from Kashmiri shawls, leather jackets & more. By this moment the sun had finally set & we were moving back to shore getting ourselves prepared for a stay in one of the boat houses on this beautiful lake.

If you are a die hard nature lover & you have not visited the Dal lake in Kashmir then I guess you have not still found the true definiton of nature yet.
Hence I would like to say though I was the one who explore Dal Lake but was still happy being conquered by it simplicity, love & most important it's uniqueness...

Between all this beauty & simplicity lies an area on this lake where no Indian is allowed to go & only tourist from outside India are. I mean this hurted our feelings a lot, how can an Indian be denied entry in his own land.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Being Part of History...

Being part of a 150 year old institution, itself gave me goosebumps when I got admission in Wilson College of Mumbai. Initially when I got through, the first feeling that came in my mind was that college has witnessed so many legends, some of whom even are respectable citizen of this Mumbai city, some even decide the economics of India.

Infact the college is even older then the Mumbai University, standing tall in front of the Arabian Sea in Mumbai, college has faced several tides of up's & down and still is considered one of the most respectable college of Mumbai.
My 3 years in Wilson taught me several things, the more I came to know about it, I felt the less I know about it. The college library, hall, campus, stone structured building, labs all give you a nostalgic feeling of the place. It indeed builds you up & makes you a part of it. Probably the only college in Mumbai that attracts students from all over India, from Kashmir to down south & from Assam, Manipur as well. This itself teaches you about the different cultures of India & the way they think. This indeed adds to the college feathers.
I still remember an incident when my friend & me were chatting in the college hall after a college fest managed by our class had come to an end, all we could discuss is how for 150 years this institution has held so many events & today we also are a part of a age old history. It indeed was a moment that I can cherish for my entire life.

Wilson College in it's initial years

Though it wasnt' a good act to do but on the last day of our college all we friends wrote our names on the last bench where we friends use to sit, further strengthing our stand in this historic college which builds future of students not only to develop themselves but also the society & nation at large.
Hence I say the more I have explored this college land, the less I know about it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Nature's Call

Have you ever heard of flamingoes in Maharashtra, experienced waterfalls at every 200 meter stretch, if not Malshej Ghat is the place to be. Situated at about 3 hours from Mumbai, a 154 km drive from the city or a public transport from the nearest Kalyan or Karjat railway station can get you to Malshej.
I never thought I’ll experience something as beautiful as this when we were assigned that we have to brand Malshej Ghats as tourist destination for a college project. The preparation for the journey itself were so messed up that the path ahead simply looked tough.
Praveen, Moses & I were given the task to brand Malshej Ghat, a place we had never heard about then.

The Journey Begins:

As it was a college project we decided to take the train from Dadar to Kalyan & then local bus from there to Malshej. It helped us in discovering the ways to get there & it was more feasible as well. The bus journey from Kalyan was an experience in its own way, the localities completely resembled the interiors of Maharashtra, the turns on the ghats with the beautiful scenic view made a perfect welcome for the place we were heading to. Just then I heard Praveen shout pointing towards a waterfall, there another, the falls kept coming, we finally decided to get down & walk the remaining distance. We were all taken back by what this place had to offer. Walking on the wet rods & with waterfalls which kept coming on the way, we suddenly took a left, a point from where you could well see the entire Ghat standing next to this place what we guys named it as erection, coz it was a single huge stone structure, straight &
tall in the middle of this circle of valley, rain drops, fog & excitement.

The "erection point" I was talking about turned into a print ad later...

We then sat down here for a while enjoying what nature had to offer, talks, dreams driven with fantasy & girls is what we all thought about while experiencing how climate can change within seconds. From a drizzle & gentle wind it suddenly started pouring heavily. We thus took a shelter under a cave sort of a thing & started thinking how better can we project a beautiful place like Malshej in ads of 30 sec & images.
Finally the rains stopped & we headed towards the MIDC hotel, but to our bad luck the hotel was all occupied & the only room available was too expensive for college students like us. Wondering what to do we decided to explore the place more, thus reaching a point where you can experience something that can prove Newton’s theory of gravitation wrong. Just throw a stone or a light wooden stick & to opposite Newton’s theory it comes back to you, even the rain drops comes up towards you. It’s like someone sparkling water on you from downwards. Hey it’s not due to the lack of gravitation or so but the wind is such at this place that it shoots up things that go down. You can find this point right behind the MIDC hotel. We simply denied going from here, but with day nearing to its end we decided to move on to find an accommodation. A long search & finally got a room to stay in a local’s house for cheap. All this while we hardly wondered about our food but no more could we starve & thus we dropped in at a local dhaba. Seeing the rotis & sabzi getting prepared in front of us was an experiencing in itself & I had never tasted something so pure before. Rain outside just made it a perfect dinner experience, something you wont find even if you pay huge amounts in Mumbai.

Scenic view of Malshej Ghat

The next morning we finally decided to search for migratory flamingos. Walk, walk & more walk is what we did as the locals guided us where exactly we could find them. We had managed to walk for about 4 hours on stones, mud pools & what not, we had also found a bull skull on our way but these flamingos were invisible. Here he shouts again Praveen says look there they are, they still seemed a lot far away, forcing us to settle down to photograph them from where we were. Awesome they looked, I mean it was for the first time I saw birds so huge flying free with a background of foggy mountains & waterfalls, it made a perfect portrait for any painter to colour his canvas. A local passing by then pointed towards the Harishchandra fort, as to what he said, he described it as a trekkers ultimate dream but only trained one’s could go, our chances were thus minimized hence forth.
Explored, stored ever lasting memories & captured enough footage & images for our project we headed towards Junnar, a place from where one could reach Shivneri Fort, Shivaji’s birth place. The journey in a truck heading towards the place with the locals wearing the traditional white Maharashtrian headgear is something which a city guy must experience.

One of the print ads we made...

Memories & the beauty of Malshej explored especially with two dear friends shall always remain a thing I can cherish forever. As we left the place the horrors of completing this project on time started floating over our minds, but deep within we knew we would be successful enough to describe the place in words as well.

The 30 sec commercial that we did finally manage to make...hey we were just learning then...