Monday, December 6, 2010

Bike trek to Rajmachi with Trek Mates India on 5th Dec '10

It is always said that a successful leader is the one who is followed by all his followers. But at the Rajmachi bike trek, I never wanted anyone to follow me, as i was the first to slip on the road. Managed the bike somehow, not letting me and meenu hugging the muddy roads of Rajmachi. I slipped once and then saw people slipping and a few sleeping in the road.

All this started with a total count of 23 that responded for the event, and 3 ppl who turned out at the last minute (missing the fun).

6.50 am: i was amazed to see a few people already waiting for me at the Kalamboli McD, 10 mins before the scheduled time. Felt nice to see a few faces after a long time. We had to wait here till the others came, and so many of us chose to have some fast food in the McD. I had already started my call centre till then, and was busy on the phone enquiring about the remaining members. We also had our introduction round here so that we could start as soon as the last person arrives.

7.30 am: The last member arrived and we were off the road, just to know a few of us had their bikes empty stomach and had to fill the up at the next petrol pump. A few were already moving. So we had to divide into 2 groups and reach lonavala at the specified spot. The first group reached lonavala at 8.45 am. The second group faced some probs in their way but managed to reach lonavala at 9.30 am. Here we also met the remaining crew and now the group was full. We all had a heavy breakfast here and then moved our way towards the destination.

10.00 am: We had already left the smooth roads of the hill station and were on the rough roads to find that the roads are getting bad to worst with the distance covered. It is now that everyone realised that their and their bike’s performance will be tested enroute.

We had a few photo sessions on the way, some information sessions, discussions, lots of slippery patches, and a lots of dhamaal before reaching the top i.e. Udhewadi village at the base of Manranjangad.

12.30 pm: We reached the village, ordered for the lunch, and were off for our trek to Shrivardhan. I am sure people would have cursed me for not letting them rest even for 10 mins before we starting the ascend.

Some information, some photography, and siteseeing took us 2.45 to get back to udhewadi village for lunch. We had a heavy nonveg meal (except the 7 ghass-pooss eaters.) and then started for the lake and temple visit towards the west of the fort. Back by 3.45 pm, had tea at the same place, and started at 4.00 pm for our back journey.

04.05 pm: Everyone was excited but carefully making their way towards Lonavala, when we a heard some sound from Umesh’s bike, just a perfect sound to know that something has gone wrong. We checked the bike to find that the bike chain had a breakdown and so the bike. A heavy discussion on what is to be done next got us to the conclusion. Soon the bike had its chain and the chain cover packed in a plastic bag, was tied up to another bike with the help of a chunari, and was getting towed. This wasn’t possible wherever it was a steep ascend and in the puddle roads. So there had to be two well built people, who helped the bike push itself.

This process was repeated for 17 long kms, which saw some slippery roads here and there, change of ppl to push, change in the towing bikes, changing riders, a fall where both the bikes and the riders were flat on the road....etc etc. This also included one spectator bike, parked wrongly coming down and meeting the dusty roads, without anyone helping it in doing so.

06.45 pm: We were finally in lonavala... 45 mins behind the schedule, but everyone was at ease with the timing, and happy with all what they had experienced in the whole day. The bike was given to the mechanic followed by two more bikes; one for a punctured tyre, and one more for some checking.

We had some refreshment till then, passed some time and finally started our back journey from lonavala by 8.00 pm.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bike Trek Part 2:-

Bhojan ke baad sabka pet to bhar gaya tha lekin dil nahi bhara….To Humne Pan khane ka plan kiya.Mai(Sheetal) & Parikshit went to get paan for all of us…we ate the masala paan & started off towards Kashid Beach. The Road ahead was simply ausomn…Beach on one side & Green Mountains on the other side…..I wished the Road never ended……..Bt aisa to hota nahi hai…..Raasta apni manzil tak pahuch hi gaya…..Kashid beach ke 1 kone me jaa kar Pragati ne apni bike park kar di…& like the Herd mentality Ravi & I followed.Then came the rest of the herd members & started to show their dislike for the decision made by the 1st Member to reach.By this time the 1st herd member (Pragati had already rested herself on the Hammock tied near the stalls of Kashid Beach as if she had toiled for the whole day in the hot sun & has got to rest after longggggggggggg time…..She didn’t even bother to react to the displeasure shown by other members & continued to rest her tired body on the not so very strong strings of hammock.

The rest of the group searched for a suitable spot to rest their bums & backs & started swinging on their respective hammocks….By this time it had started to get hotter…the sun was over our head & everyone was feeling the heat….Nilesh then asked everyone for Nariyal paani & everyone started with their vivid orders..I had seen so many different orders for a nariyal paani for the 1st time eg:- Nariyal Paani with Meetha Paani, Nariyal Paani with thin Malai, Nariyal Paani with Thick Malai, Nariyal Paani with no malai….I am glad no one asked for“Nariyal Paani without paani..” .

After all these nawabi farmayish & finishing off with the nariyal paani we had a challenge of getting the malai taken out of the coconut. We went to the nariyal paani vendor…but he was busy entertaining new customers….& there we were standing with an empty coconut in hand waiting for our turn to get the malai

out of the coconut….I pity those who had to return empty handed as their coconuts had no malai….sad…Bt no one was disappointed as we believe in “ Kaddu Katega Sab me Batega” all those who were fortunate to get the bumper price of malai shared it with the less fortunate ones……Then we decided to shift our bases from the netted hammock to the seats of our respective bikes….there on we drove towards Fansad Sanctuary. On the way we came across a beautiful Ganpati Temple. It was so pleasant & relaxing. A divine Experience……..The Idol was dressed in Saffron placed royally in the temple…..After praying for a safe & sound journey ahead we stepped out on the lawns in the temple premises. There we relaxed on the lawn, Posed with local dogs for a few pics, Girls as usual were busy on the water tap washing their tanned faces…& applying some herbal products……(Which was of no use as we still had a ride of abt 15 more kms.). Then we set off towards Fansad & finally reached the gate at around 17.30 hrs just to find it locked. Now was the turn of Shri. Shashikant (Shashi) to get inside ,show his ID card & get the entry approved for all of us (With reference to previous incidence). This time things did not work out as before they turned out to be much simpler than before,Nilesh succeeded in getting the keys of the main gate from the forest officials.

He also managed to get the keys of the officer’s quarters which he liked so much that he carried those keys to his place while coming J ..Nilesh…u should have not done so….any ways he had no even locked the room while leaving so it wont cause any inconvenience to anyone…….There we dumped our luggage in the room allotted & set off on our bikes for the jungle exploration…..Now Ravi started crying..” Mi chalatach yenar..Meri bike nayi hai aur rasta purana hai..Kharab hai…Bla bla……..but this was not accepted by others so we forced him to get his bike along so that the speed of others would not be hampered.

There was the start of our 1st off road experience & a very new experience for my Darling.All the 7 bikes ascended & descended all the possible slopes of Fansad sanctuary.. After a ride of around 3 kms into the forest we reached the 2nd Observatory tower (machan) adjoining a vast grassland…..There we all parked our Bikes in a row for a photography session. Our professional Photographer Ravi wasted no time in executing the job..He clicked 3 to 4 pics but had to hand over the can to Meenakshi (Rangoo- Not so skilled photographer) as he had to pose with his bike. As soon as the can was handed to Meenakshi she shouted “ Atta mi kai karu?..Kuthla button dabu? Are ithe screen war kahi disat nahi…has na..zoom kasa karaicha?” & many more innocent questions….. to our surprise she clicked 2 clear pics & 4 shaky pics……bt that was an achievement in itself cheers Rangoo. While our photography nautanky was in progress Dilesh had crossed the grassland in search of a bird’s nest.I was also eager to see if he had found anything so I headed to the place on my bike where he was standing. The experience of driving through the grasslands was great & wished that the grasslands never ended…bt against my wish the grassland came to an end & I reached a waterhole on the edge of the grassland. There we searched for pugmarks & other traces of any animal,but we managed to get only the footprints of some bulls. Then I turned towards my bike & saw a astonishing sight of my bike standing in the grasses…What an stunning view…I spent 5 mins just admiring the beauty of my bike & was totally lost into it admiring its beauty….in a few moments I was out of the admiration world & started to capture its mesmerizing beauty in my lenses after capturing it in my mind……Then the group decided to return to the spot where we had kept our luggage…Again we rode our bikes through the rugged roads of the jungle….I love my Bike So much…Muuuuuaaaaahhhhhh…… It did not disappoint me at any point …Cleared every obstacle with ease & grace

……..Love you…. J…..

We then decided to take a break at the 1st machan (observation tower) for some time. There we relaxed for some time & also started to pull legs of our colleagues……..We called up several of our friends who were not present just to make them jealous…& we were successful in doing that.

Then we started with a dandiya session as it was Navratri & everyone was in full mood …3-4 over enthusiastic members picked up some twigs & sticks lying around & started with ranti dandiya… add to this pitiful sight Ms. Pragati joined the enthu members with 2 strong sticks in her hands…Now the real fun began….Ravi Had a tough time teaching Pragati to dance to the tunes & to the set steps….Even after teaching several times Ms. Pragati would end up going wrong at the last step & then the patented dialogue “ She Bai…timhala tar dhad dandiya pan khelta yet nahi…Amchya Koliwadyat as ach kheltat.” J & then everybody would laugh….in their patented style, which would irritate Pragati even more & she would start hitting some of the targets with those two strong sticks…..

By then it had started to get dark & we decided to do a Jam session…The sidelights of all the bikes were put on & music was started on a Cellphone…..All the party animals danced to the tunes of the vibrant music & flashing disco lights (Sidelichts of our bikes & Some of the headlights.) Closely followed by the JAM session we organized a Rampwalk session…wherein boys had to do the CATwalk & girls had to do the DOG walk. Everyone participated in this event without much hesitation…Shashi was mind-blowing in this…….

Then we had a Rider & pillion Couple Rampwalk…Nilesh & Shashi rocked in this event by performing a scene of Wardrobe malfunctioning… (Videos will be uploaded soon)…then we heard a few centi songs & some bakwas Bhoot stories….It was around 20:30 hrs by now & everyone was feeling hungry…we decided to go to the forest quarters & wait for the Dinner buffet. On reaching the quarters we washed ourselves & were ready for a heavy Veg meal made by the local villagers… In a short while the villagers arrived with the food & we all were delighted with just the smell of it….Will Se you back after a Short dinner break…Please don’t go away…..Enjoy your meals….

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fansad Trek Part 1

I have no words to explain the Bike trek…..It was just ausomn…My 1st Date with my “Royal Enfield Bullet Classic 350” was a Grand success……I was supported by my Darling throughout the Tour……On the NH17,Kaccha rasta to Alibaug….On the Beach of Naigaon..In the Dense forest of Fansad…& all the way back home at night….I simply love you my Dear…Muuuuaaaa. …

The Bike trek started as decided at 05:00hrs on 16/10/10 (Saturday).Dilesh & Nilesh (On Pulsar 150) came to my place with fullon winter accessories assuming that it would be cold…..Which was soon proved wrong.I was also on of them Wearing woolen jacket on my full sleeves TMI T-shirt..I tied My sleeping Bag to my Red Stallion (My Bullet Classic 350) & started off with Dilesh as my pillion. Nilesh vroomed to Kalwa naka where Pragati(On Aviator) & Meenakshi ( Rangusky/Rangoo) were surprisingly waiting before time…..Without wasting much time we started off to Kalamboli Mac Donald’s, on the way Pragati lost track near CBD but soon used her wits to call us & got back on track.In another 5 mins we reached Kalamboli MacD’s where again Pragati blindly went ahead of the turn only to come back in reverse.(Same incident happened with Nilesh a few mins Earlier & the excuse was-“yaar wo Mac D’s ka Board Glow nahi ho raha tha”).
Any ways..this was the first meeting point where Pritam & Shashi on their Passion + were already waiting for us…..After hugging & squeezing each other as if we had met after ages(when actually we had met last just 7 hrs ago for the Times Bandra Festival “Euphoria Show”) we stared to discuss the further tour plan. In the short time we were blessed with the company of Abhishek & Sachin with their CBZ Extreme. Again the Same Hugging & Squeezing but in their case it was almost after 2 months. By the time this was done we got the company of Parikshit & Sheetal (Mai) with their Pulsar 150.Here we had a Bike appreciation session & finally an Introduction round with a few inputs on Road safety & Tour plan from Nilesh when he himself locked his Helmate behind his Bike & relied on his cotton Bandhana to protect his Empty head. Pamphlets with every member’s name & number were distributed so as to get in touch in case of emergency. As soon as this was done Dilesh wasted no time in striking off Pragati’s Name & number from the list . Then we headed to Wadkhal naka. By this time we were already 11 of us (Nilesh, Dilesh, Parikshit, Sheetal, Meenakshi, Pragati, Pritam, Shashi, Abhishek, Sachin & Me (Apurva)). We reached Wadkhal naka by 07:45 hrs & were surprised to see our faces all black…..The pollution,Smoke,Dust had deposited badly on our face. After a quick fresh up session we sat in a nearby restaurant for the Breakfast. Now Shashi took the charge to order for dishes on our table. We were 3 on our table & he started the order…3 Wada plate, 3 Pohe,3 god shira, 3 Misal Pav, 1 kothimbir wadi plate…….unfortunately the waiter listened to just the 1st order & left….thus giving Shashi a chance to irritate him…There on Shashi ordered all the above things in much more quantities but 1 by one…Once an order for 1 misal pav was placed he would sau “ Are ajin 1 aan na…By the time this was done he would say..” are shira nahi aanla….” In that half an hour the waiter had almost ran ½ marathon. Then we rang up our remaining companions who were yet to join us, Ravi & Sachin with their new CBZ Extreme.
Sachin was a bit late & it was mandatory for Ravi to stay back until his pillion arrives. In the mean time we had finished our Breakfast & decided to visit Alibaug 7 adjoining beaches…..We also had a few suggestions that we should now change the plan ..It would be exciting…& bla bla…..Bt some of us had an opinion to stick to the previous plan & add some more points to the same if time permits.
All Tummies loaded & Tanks of the bikes full…we headed to Alibaug. On the way we encountered a lot of bad roads..(Actually Raste me khadda nahi tha ..Khadde me rasta tha). Dodging all those potholes we reached Nagaon beach. There I discovered a way out to the beach & then gave my Bike a Stroll of the beautiful beach I was followed by Pragati…..By this time we were all feeling very hot & had drenched in sweat. The plan of taking a dip in the sea was in progress when a local Water Sports agent asked for Banana Boat Ride. We all stared at each other….I,Sheetal,Abhishek & Sachin were ready & we needed 3 more members..Parikshit , Pritam & Shashi also agreed ..thus Hum 7 went on the Banana ride mission with a Lot of protective gear on us & after a nautanki photo session. Banana Ride was mindblowing……Tumbling the banana Boat in the middle of the sea….wow what an experience…this tumbling down was repeated thrice from which I toppled the Boat twice…..The Driver was irritated the 3rd time & left us in between waves much away from the shore…To my surprise, no one panicked..everyone was confident that I would save them….yaar nanhisi jaan 6 logonko kaise bachaunga???Itna bharosa mat rakho mujhpar…After that I took a Swimming training session for Parikshit & Ravi ,mai also took some tips Free of cost….Then finally at around 11:00hrs Ravi & Sandeep joined us…..Again we did some masti in the waves & returned to our bikes. From there we headed to the Shiv temple Of Chaul..It was a very peaceful place before we reached but soon we controlled our vocal cods & rested for some time after the darshan….From there we left for Kashid Beach But decided to have Lunch on the way.
Via Revdanda which has remains of the Revdanda fort we reached the venue for lunch…As usual we ordered for Chicken & Fish with a Few exceptions of vegetarians……
Now Its Lunch break…&... will continue the rest part after Lunch……You too may go & have your meals.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Nature's Call!

The raindrops touch my soul and set me free, the mountains are calling me! A walk in the clouds is all I crave for. I jus wanna grab a piece of that cloud…to comfort me whenever I need ! 
The vast ocean engulfs me…I want to drown my emptiness and fill my soul 
with all things good! The soul of the earth calls out to me and nudges me…to connect with her! Each time she invites me, I hide behind excuses… of work, responsibilities, money…when all I wanna do is reach out my arms and embrace her with my heart and soul! When im with her, I feel complete… like there’s nowhere else id rather be! 

The breathtaking beauty stumps me… an experience like never before. 
The more I see it, the more I wanna experience it. My soul craves for a bit of her… like my life is meaningless without her. The sand reminds me of the soft, warm hug that he would engulf me in, dissolving every frown instantly. The cloud-covered peaks call out my name. 
The white skies – an invitation to fly away from all things worldly. The sunset – a reminder of a day well spent; the sunrise: another blessing, a brand new day!The fresh green grass: soothes my soul and refreshes me with a new energy to get through the day. The endless night sky… filled with a million bright stars… shine through my being and light my spirit. She infuses life in my lifeless soul and make it dance with unending joy. Mother Earth – you’ve given me more than what I deserve. Time to answer nature’s call! (no, not that one silly! ;)

Chandari… ready or not, here I come ! :) 

Trek to Chanderi Fort - Sat 4th July:with Trek Mates India
You wanna join in? Cool, first log in:  

a walk in the clouds, thats all im asking for !

Even though its been quite a while now since i have trekked, all the memories attached to my previous adventures are as vivid as ever! i still remember the time when i scaled the peaks of the sausage mountains at khandala, walking through the clouds at 5.30 am...taking in the picturesque green lawns...with various shades of green. And even though I had a camera * with no role in it *
i clicked the pic wanting to capture it forever. and when i realized that i did not have any pics to jog my memory about that trek, i knew that the scene i saw that day would be etched in my mind forever !  ;)

and the time when we went on the waterfall trek, the rains washed away every bit of tension/ worry from my body. and the mahabaleshwar trek *albeit a casual walk with family, which turned out to be quite an experience*    was a walk in the clouds *literally* ;)

it feels like its been ages since i reconnected with mother nature, but the experience would never leave me. for the rest of my life. And now i set out to capture many such moments and weave them in my list of memories forever. So that each time i need some comforting, all i need to do is pull out these memories and cling to them with all my heart ! 

lush green fields, pure blue skies, fresh wateralls and an exhilarating experience *that ive been craving for* here i come! ;)

Trek Tales - Conquering Chanderi With my Trek Mates! :)

Ok, I know im a little late... I wanted to get to my blog right after my trek! But trekking after 4 years, that too with bare minimum physical activity.... took a toll on me! :P 
Anyway... better  late than never! TrekTales, here I come! ;)

Chanderi : 4th July
Ahh... preparing for the trek: I overacted like i was travelling to some village with no idea when i was gonna be back! lol :P 
I loaded my backpack with almost all things to the to-do list provided: including 2 litres of water, lunch, windcheater blah blah blah... which left me with sore shoulders before the trek even started. he he he! So...we land up at the trek site; elated and thrilled to see a beautiful, enormous mountain hidden behind thick clouds awaiting our ascent! 
PS: i did not check the endurance or difficulty level of the trek before setting out to conquer Chanderi. What was the nature of the trek? of course, dramatic life that mine is: it was a medium to difficult level trek. 

And since i hadnt trekked in ages... that seemed ok for me. Started a mini trek searching for a secluded place to answer nature's call :P Next up: crossing a dam... damn, this wasnt difficult at all!  As the trek began... we got a clear view of the giant we were gonna climb! As we walked uphill, i was already panting! *i definitely wasnt thanking the 70 kilos i had on me...not forgetting my baggage which felt like another 30 kgs*

My ordeal had begun... no sooner than i walked a small distance, i was convinced i could not go through it! :P Then came the easy part....trekking through a waterfall! wow! Pure bliss! Also it made the climb easier and a whole lotta fun! Kept refreshing myself with the crystal clear aqua that mother nature offered. Then we had to proceed on to the rocks.... the climb was for about 4 hours and i thought I would die, if it wasn't for Manoj or Niraj...truly Trek Mates! ;) 
Amidst catches, sprains and a whole lotta relispray...not to forget insect bites, pricks, slipping and falling into the slush... banging against huge rocks, coming sliding down using my ass as a cushion, getting mighty scared of heights as we neared the peak, i managed to make it to the top in one piece! 

It didnt matter that I was last... I achieved what I set out to do...and my reward was waiting for me! A breathtaking view! I finally felt what it was like to be in heaven:)

The descent was easier... refreshing and relaxing as we came down via the waterfalls. I was dead tired..but it was all worth it! And again... I was helped by Abhishek & Sachin! :) 

Chanderi was pure bliss. And that's where the trekking bug had bitten me! 2 weeks later, I was back for more! 

Stay tuned for the next trek tale! Wohooooo! :)

Trek Tales - Waterfall Rappelling with my Trek Mates! :)

Waterfall Rappelling @ Vihigaon - 17th July:
And then came 17th July...the day I had been waiting for! When i would rappel down 120 feet waterfall...relying only on a few ropes to save my life! :) 
As much as I had been excited about this day... I managed to fill in the drama! Went for a party the previous night and landed up at Vihi with an upset tummy! :( the journey was terrible, felt lousy all the way, couldnt care less about the introductions I heard... managed to lighten my backpack this time, only to realize that we were travelling by bus and that I could afford to stuff my bag! :P Aaah! 

But once we reached Kasara...the excitement creeped in again! We dumped our bags, started our photo session, before we were dragged away for our training session on handling the ropes! :) After we were assigned our turns, we decided to relax under the dam..and boy did we relax! ;)

As my turn approached, I got increasingly nervous and I kept thinking "what was wrong with me? why do I wanna kill myself? Are you mad... those ropes cant be managed!" :) 
Well, I was here...AND I had to do it! So, I said a lil prayer and went for it. Luckily my friend was there with me, and although his turn was after mine... he was put ahead of me! * OMG! getting nervous once again* 

My turn arrived: harness - check.    helmet - check.   gloves-check.  nervousness - check!

 As i started walking down the waterfall with utmost care, I kept thinking that i wasnt doing it right! Until I looked up and saw my trainer! He was beaming and gave me the thumbs up!  ;)  My confidence shot up... it was like a sudden injection of enthusiasm. that was the last time i saw him on that cliff, before we plummeted into the steep part of the waterfall... where if you look up, you get the flowing water in your eyes, and if you look down, fear is staring right back at ya! ;) and yet, I was so cool, composed n calm! I descended the waterfall in one piece, against my own belief! 

And then took one long glance at the monstrous waterfall, thinking to myself "WHOA! I came down THIS huge thing!?!?"  

The rest of the day was *predictably* spent in the water! ;) I also managed to catch a quick nap, since the sick feeling was back! But the day was a beautiful one, etched in my memory forever! :) 

This Sunday - 29th August, I will face the adrenaline surge again...battling the rapids at the Kundalika river, Kolad. Water rafting, Kayaking & River Crossing...whoa baby! Im Lovin It ;) 

Bring it on Mother Nature :*

River Rafting, Kayaking & River Crossing @ Kundalika - with Trek Mates, of course!

As I awaited the most exhilarating experience of my life... the usual 'nervous' feelings were back! This time, I became accustomed to those feelings... the pattern was the same: nervousness mixed with excitement, the feeling of withdrawing at the last moment, and then finally... as I conquer my fears, the sense of achievement finally sinks in! 

This time was a little different! This time... there was no sudden fear, no extreme reactions after either! In fact I think Kundalika worked its charm on me like an intoxicating drug! I felt the effects long after the experience! ;)

We nervously fidgetted with out rafting oars, quickly rehearsed the commands given by our Trainer 'Ganpati' (yes, that WAS his name! not ganpat, not gannu or anything similar sounding!) Then we tested the waters, watched other rafts drift ahead of us and surging into the mighty waters of Kundalika... a chill ran down my spine! Ok, it finally caught up with me. The rapids tested our endurance...we had to keep rowing no matter what! I could feel my hands giving in, but for the sake of the other rafters... I let my aching hand into those gushing rapids! And after a thrilling 45 min ride, we reached the still waters of Kundalika (25 feet deep, may I add). And thats when I decided to test my recently acquired swimming skills. 

As the girls cautiously dipped their feet in the water, I took the liberty of diving in, taking my breath in and swimming comfortably for a few feet! I get my head out outta the water, only to notice that my raft if a few feet away from me! Confidently, I try to swim back to the raft and thats when I realize that the flow of the water is against my path! HELP! I freaked out, yelling : "Im going to die" LOL! Could it BE more dramatic? Anyway I held on to my friend's hand like there was no tomorrow, and I could see that he was beginning to get fed up of me! :P
Thank God for Ganpati (no pun intended ;) as he drew the raft next to me. After a few occasional dips, I finally began enjoying the water and learned to relax! I rested my aching muscles with the backfloat I learned from Yusuf Sir! But then, our time was up! Rafting Ended. Time for the next adventure.

We move on to River Crossing and Kayaking! My initial impression of river crossing was that a rope would be tied across the river, and we would have to step into the waters and CROSS the river! LOL, as you must have guessed...thats not what it was!:)

It entailed 2 metallic ropes being tied across the river (backwaters of Kundalika), above the water which again was 25 ft deep and we had to hold the upper rope and move ahead! As easy as it seemed, as soon as the first set of people crossed the river - precariously balancing themselves on the rope, I was determined that I did not want to fall into the river! :) After watching Dinesh & Krupa battle it out for 15 mins, struggling to avoid falling in the water, Krupa finally gave up, and Dinesh made it all the way! I was then hopeful and no matter how much Lohit tried to distract me, I held on to the ropes like my life depended on it! Yes, I made it too!!! 

Kayaking was something that seemed easy again. And thankfully, looks did not deceive. After the initial hiccups and learning the technique, my partner and I could manouvre the kayak easily! Horraaaayyyy! You know what the icing on the cake was?? Incessant rains right before we started each activity! ;)
As I said, this time it was different. Here it goes: I got a little lesson on life in each segment of my adventure trip! 

Lesson # 1: Rafting:
Life ain't always a bed of roses. Its a bumpy ride along the way... ups and downs, ebbs and flows! And we will always people to help us get through it ! And after that tumultuous journey, you will find a still, calm place where you can rejuvenate your soul! :)
Yin & Yang, truly exists! 

Lesson # 2: River Crossing:
No matter what comes your way, you've gotta hold on, keep believing and move forward! :)

Lesson # 3: Kayaking:
Life can be smooth sailing, just watch out for the tricky areas. One wrong move and your life has taken a U turn!! :)

So this trip had almost everything in it: drama, adventure, mishaps, lessons, good food- kandepoha, piping hot tea, vadas, incessant rains, gossip, junglwalks, antakshari sessions and and whole lotta new friends ! Aiyoooo Trek Mates! Thank you Nilesh - the King of good times! ;) Thank you Lohit, for your Samsung Marine - which contributed to capturing amazing memories - IN WATER! :P

Interested in catching their next trip? Log on to

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bhimashankar Blues - A long lost trek and the most memorable one so far!

I know its been a very long time since I have written something let alone blogging.Well today I had to write this to get the "Blues" out of my system.Its been only a day back from bhimashankar and I am already missing the place,the people and the crap that followed!It definitely was a blissful crap.
After so many treks back to back I finally went to a place where I wanted to go desperately for a very long time with a completely new set of people which I am a bit used to now but with people with an amazing sense of humor n brainzzz that dripped wisdom unlimited in the most tacky way.
The journey started with the usual introductions n I met Miss S,Some Freshers including a sweet little virus and the fake firangs "FF"s. It was Ms.S's laughter and innocence which caught me off guard as I was getting used to being a bit vigilant n careful in most of the treks when it came to unknown people.I have to give her the credit for being so sporty as every member of the group had given her a different name starting with "s" which could have added up to 1760 as Mr Tinku said.With this girl I was all in for fun and laughter that echoed through the magnanimous mountain we were about to climb.
We were ascending through Shidi ghat n descending through ganesh ghat as per the plan.Shidi ghat as the name goes had ladders which freaked out every member of the group as it started raining just when we were climbing those ladders.There were three ladders in all and the second one was the worst of all as the ladder was a bit shaky as one took it and the ascend was of course without any help so we were left to deal with our fears on our own.Post this climbing came across a tiny miny waterfall which was a relief after this torrent of adrenaline.We had the longest photo session there with the firangs and Miss S posing till they dropped dead.We were 2 hours behind the scheduled time for lunch and we rushed toward the a settlement with a few huts where we had our lunch.We had just come half way in our journey,the other half was still to be covered when our leader Mr.Tinku enlightened us saying that the remaining journey was comparatively easier.This Mr.Tinku has "Time Dyslexia" never giving the appropriate time taken to cover a patch.But the journey was easier n we took a lot of time to cover it as we were full n the climb was strenuous.
After the final climb came the show time.We i.e the Firangs,Miss S n myself we did a short photo session followed by a khwaja dance sequence beside a lake with the clouds hovering around us(Oh how I wish I had the video now!).One of the firangs was taught the marathi word "Aaicha gho" n he used or misused the word wonderfully popping it up every now n then.We all danced our way with "Aaicha gho gho gho"as our slogan ,shooting n ragging every single trekker in our group irrespective of whether being active or passive.We completed this fancy dance by playing "ringa ringa roses" in the dark which was the ultimate as "all fell down" without actually able to see the place.
The final destination Bhimashankar Temple came into view within minutes of leaving this dancing ground.We left our baggage in the place booked for the night stay n left for the temple.After offering the prayers a tiny group including me,d firangs,miss S,tinku,B2 n a few others got busy with the "pungi".Actually it was the conch blown in the temples but the attempts at blowing them sounded more of a pungi n an assortment of funny sounds except tinku's who was quiet used to this art.
Back to the rooms where we were staying we sang a few songs killing the lyrics till dinner n slept with a lot of laughter n arguments n loads of hush hush as we were not supposed to disturb the other groups.Following morning was again full of noise as we had tried to remember the names of every member and had a serious discussions on mythology and science.This is already a controversial topic and we made it all the more controversial by adding gossip n arguing our hearts out till it was time to leave for Gupt Bhimashankar.
The first five minutes of this route stinked followed by a total green route with waterfalls n insects.A prolonged photo session at this place and we were hungry.Rushing back to our rooms we had a leisure breakfast with votes for whether to go to a place called Nagphani or not.In the end 10 out of the 42 ppl specially the pune crowd left for nagphani n we got ready to descend via ganesh ghat.Of course with tinku leading us we were all fast enough to cover the distance in the stipulated time given by him.
Few people were a bit slow,some got lost thanks to B2 n the bisons and we ended up waiting for them for almost 2 hours playing in the stream n fighting the mosquitoes.
While coming back to Karjat from where we started our journey in a tumtum we sang till our throats became sore.The firangs taught us to make new lyrics n songs n we all tried our hand at it.Train journey back to our respective destinations was more of a continuation of the 2 day blast instead of dampened n tired spirits.Back home I was all smiles n today am missing all of them.
Well I have to mention a few clinchers here:
1)1760 names of Miss S
2)The "FF"s n their bakwas
3)The freshers(how can v forget them,V taught them so much about trekking n nature)
4)Aicha gho Dance
5)Virus n his Nagphani baba act
6)B2 n co.fighting the bisons with paper cutters
7)Dumpy the humpty dumpty man whose name was so funny we just liked pronouncing it
8)The little stupid conversation that we had with everyone and ended up having such a wonderful time.
Thanks to the whole group for such a wonderful time.Sob Sob Sob ........... I am missing u all lots.Hope to catch up with u all someday again!!!!

PS(again) : Trekked on 14-15th august 2009 amidst swine flu drama!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dhamaal at Harishchandragad trek with Trek Mates India on 4th-5th Sept '10.

Oh, what a trek... my new best trek, my new favourite, full of dhamaal. After around 500 treks, more than 800 odd outdoor days, this is only the second time that I am so excited and wish to scribble a lot about it.

All this started with Priyanka’s Birthday party in Dadar. With around 15 weirdoes sitting around the table and passing silly comments on each other (not to forget the pilu song that was sung after every 5 mins as a special request from Apurva.) It was 16th august that it was decided to plan for this get together plan to Harishchandragad... the dates were not decided though.

Finally the dates were decided and the plan was put up... the first weekend of September, 4th and 5th, starting on 3rd night. I had 21 confirm names for the event only in 3 days after posting the event. Friday morning one of the 5 girls cancelled her registrations... (Lucille, you missed a lot of fun.)By afternoon three more were down. And the last hr said that two more girls will be missing the fun...

Finally at the meeting point I had 13 guys and two gals participating, a few new members and all others were Trek Mates India’s members from at least a yr.
Myself - Bhai,
Dilesh – one of the truth predictor,
Swapnil - Dhumps,
Pritam Kale - Patil,
Apurva - Pilu,
Jhanvi – Cormorant (paan kombdi) chi Bahin,
Komal –Janeman Janeman,
Rohit Patil – baal ki dukan,
Abhijeet – the Patni team leader,
Gunjan – the silent personality,
Vishal – BE2 square or the SF,
Saurabh - BE2,
Manoj Kalwar - The talwar wala person,
Ravi - indra,
Aniruddha Kelkar- Dhumpi ka new setting
... a total of 15 made the most awesome team for the best trek of my life

Starting with the 11.00 pm bus, it was tough enough to keep everyone off at least till I get the tickets. They had already started singing songs, (specially the pilu song, as requested by Apurva). I took the tickets and joined them... all Hindi, Marathi, and few mix songs were full of fun. The sound was enough to keep everyone in the bus awake till the khubi phata.

After ascending the Malshej Ghats, I went to sit near the ST driver, to show him where to stop and where we want to get down... (Trusting on these drivers at night will surely land you at least a km or two away from your destination.) After trekking this fort at least 20 times from this route, it would have been led to beatings from my fellow members if I won’t have landed them at the accurate spot.

Getting down on the roads, we were around 6 kms away from the base village, within next 2 mins all the torches were out, and all the legs were heading towards the khireshwar village. We reached the village by 2.45 am and everyone was damn hungry by then. Pritam had got two Chicken Tandoories and I had packed some chicken masala and chapattis for Saturday’s lunch. We finished this early in the morning... half of the group who were either vegetarian or had shravan going on were sitting away from us, munching some biscuits, chapattis with chutney, and don’t know what all. Never ever tried to imagine how people can be so cruel to kill so many plants for their food.

After a great session of all decent jokes and stories finally at 4.30 we decided to sleep. The wake-up time given to everyone was 6.30 am, and everyone got up at the accurate time... (don’t read the false comments, if any, posted by the participants. ;) ..). later we had some poha and tea for breakfast, then had an introduction round, and started for the trek.

The start for the trek was pretty good, I started Pakaoing every one with the plant names and their scientific uses, also Aniruddha helped everyone with identifying the birds and adding to our knowledge. Further we reached the Rock patch and slowly and cautiously climbed it with each and every member of the group helping me to climb the patch.

Crossing this rock patch means gaining the height that is needed to be on the top. Further the trek is more or less somewhat a plain road till the temple and the caves. We had some tea- biscuits /lemon juice at a tapri over here. I announced about this being the first and last spot where one can get range and suddenly I thought I was sitting in a call centre, with everyone busy with some or the other clients. Further we started the trek... in next few mins entered the thick forested area on the fort, here I smelt the worst ever markings of some wild animal. This might have been put up hardly an hr ago. Also heard some monkeys giving a danger call in the jungles. Everyone was asked to be in a group and walk together, and everyone did so. Further saw some civet cat droppings in the way. We headed to the caves and were there in next 90 minutes.

We just reserved for ourselves the best cave (Raja chi guha) and the best place in the cave. Further we had our lunch.. now it was again chicken for the non-veggies brought by Dilesh and some veg chatar-pattar for the veggies. After having tea we started for the Kokan kada site seeing, which is around 2 kms from the caves... We walked till there jumping and crossing some water streams, and spreading some seeds that we carried with us for the same purpose...

Had a view at the great Kokan kada, and started with our photo session, posing, and ultimately the group ended up dancing with the worst ever meaningless songs heard by many. Coming back to the caves the fort saw more seeds coming, which (alla tala ki meherbani se would turn out into trees in a next few years.) Inshah alla, hamare ladko ne bahut accha kaam kiya.. acchi mehnat ki hai, inki mehnat jald hi rang layegi --- the Haq style (sorry for spelling mistakes if any, no offence.)

Further in the cave we had a good mehfil with old and new Hindi and Marathi songs, followed by the ghost stories, which saw many scared faces and few drops from few eyes as well. Then we had our dinner (zunka bhakari, mix veg and rice)and went to sleep at around 11 pm. First time in my life I experienced a soundless night atop Harishchandragad, no foxes, wolfs, geckos, not even frogs... no sounds at all and so I had a very sound sleep..

Early in the morning we woke up at 7.30 am, just to see cats and dogs pouring down all over. Now it was time to explore the rest of the fort, but then we decided to have our breakfast and then go discovering places, we again had poha (the best till date made by Badri) and tea, packed our bags, and started for the harishchandreshwar temple. Now the saptatirtha kund attracted the swimmers and so the swimmers were now jumping in the waters getting them clicked in many different poses. After enjoying the waters for around half an hour, all of us moved further to the temple and then to the Kedareshwar cave, where we had a good history lecture from our history teacher, Mr Dilesh Virkud.

From here we started descending down, which saw me slipping down once, and then Rohit, Pritam, Komal just followed the leader. We had some photo sessions on the way and thus were moving at a very slow pace, reaching the Tolar khind at 2.30 pm. From here I had to run all the way down till the base village to order for the lunch. I, Manoj and Aniruddha started the run, both of them just practising for the Mumbai marathon dream run, aniruddha in next 10 mins had a muscle pull and so was out of the TMI dream race. Me and Manoj continued the race and reached the base in almost 30 min.. ordered for the lunch and then waited at least an hr to see the next member.

Everyone was at the base till 4.00 pm and then started the best return journey ever...will be writing about it in parts...

4.00pm: we called a sumo from the base village, asked him to get his vehicle at 5.00 am and take us till the highway, 6 kms from the village. He said he will do that and asked us to be a bit quick, so that he can go for other work at 6 pm.
We changed, and wore good dry clothes, had our food, and got ready for the sumo ride by 5. Meanwhile Dilesh was in a good mood and the bugger had to say the worst sentence in the trek... it goes like –“wow , enjoyed the trek, more due to the rains, it should rain more. And it should rain till we reach Kalyan”. And Within next 5 minutes it was raining.

5.30 pm: We are still waiting for the sumo, then we sent a local to call the sumo driver, and got to know that he has already moved out for some work. Now Rohit and I quoted - ”saala, kalti diya... iska toh tyre puncture hoga aaj.” Apurva said “not one, all his tyre should burst and also the Stepney”. Rohit again thought this is not enough and prayed that the engine should go down as well.

6.00 pm: We started walking with our Winchesters and barsatis towards the highway, from where we could get some bus or trek for kalian. Me and Komal Played Dongar ka pani enroute, also football plans with Rohit, and many other games with others made me a good bakra while walking back.

6.30 Pm: the same cursed sumo came and the driver now said that he is done with all his work and now is ready to drop us till Kalyan... we had a chat amongst us about what’s to be done and how can 15 ppl accommodate in one sumo. Finally it was decided that we can put our bags on the top and can adust ourselves in the sumo... and we did that, the driver said that a few us would have to get down and wait for him as he and the rest of the ppl can go till the petrol pump and come back and then we could start for the journey. 8 of us got down on the highway, the sumo went ahead and it again started raining. For half an hr we waited on the highway in the rains till the sumo came back.

7.10 pm: the sumo came back, we got in and started our journey. It was cloudy in the Ghats and we had some very good turns and curves in the ride.

7.30 pm: Rohit and mera bhavishyavani got true, and we were now back on the road with a flat tyre. The second quote also got true, and now the break liner was creating some problems. We again wasted an hour solving the problem, further it was decided that we move till moroshi, get the vehicle repaired and then move ahead. So next 30 mins took us till the moroshi village, which is just after descending the ghat.

9.00 pm: We were at moroshi and the sumo was to be repaired, the mechanic said it will take at least an hr to get it repaired, so we opted to move ahead with whatever bus or truck we get. Tried for around half an hour but, no one stopped for lift. Meanwhile we met two traffic cops over there and this our hopes increased. We asked them to help us stop some truck, so that we can at least talk about reaching our destination. After stopping and talking to 3-4 trucks, the cops had a chat with one more truck wala... I was amazed to hear that talk, where the cops asked the truck driver to drop them till murbad. The next thing we saw was the cops getting in the truck and move away leaving us over there.

10.00 pm: finally a truck stopped... but we could see all onions loaded in it. We couldn’t risk waiting for one more truck, but had to dump ourselves behind the two seats behind the driver. 10 ppl went in and the space couldn’t accommodate the rest of the 5 ppl. Now the rest of 5 were to sit on the truck top with our windcheaters on. The bags were already on the top, and so were we. We started the best truck at 10.15 and wished we reach Kalyan before 12.55 am, and get the last local towards Mumbai. The five on the truck top were me, Dilesh, Pritam, Manoj and Rohit... all Thums up lovers. Dilesh took out a 2l bag from his bag and now we were partying on the truck top.
Later we had lots of rain to wet us all, and a banner brought by Dhumps to sleep helped us save ourselves from the rain.

1.00am: we reached the Kalyan stn just to know that the last local is out of our reach and there is no other chance to move ahead. Now we had to wait till 3.30 for the first local. A few of us wanted to go early and so the meru taxi was called up. 4 of us left for their destination and the remaining 11 stayed. Again the banners and plastic sheets came handy for some to sit and for some to have a good sleep.

3.20 am: we were at the ticket counter for our tickets and heard the announcement of the first local. First time in my life I found a local running 7 minutes before its scheduled time. And thus we were left on the station waiting again for the next local which is 37 mins from now. Finally we got the 4.07 local and I reached home at 5 in the morning.

Home sweet home. Oh my home... sorry to say, Harishchandragad is better than you.

Friday, August 20, 2010

शूर मायबोलीकर्स रिटर्न्स : कमाल दे धमाल !!

गुरुवारी मायबोलीकर किरुचा मेसेज.. "सॉरी यार.. मला नाही जमणार" आधीच त्याने त्याच्या दोन मित्रांची नावे रद्द केली होती.. आता तीन गळाले.. शुक्रवारी संध्याकाळी सातच्या सुमारास मायबोलीकर योगेश२४ चा फोन.. "उद्या कामावर बोलवलेय सो येत नाही आम्ही.. " झाले.. तो नि त्याचे तीन मित्र असे आणखीन चारजण कटाप.. रात्री उशीरा अजुन एक मायबोलीकर 'योगायोग' चा फोन.. "सॉरी रे.. नाही जमणार".. कालपर्यंत 'आम्ही नक्की' म्हणणारे बारा मायबोलीकर्स होते.. पण अचानक कॅन्सलेशन्सचे अनपेक्षित कॉल्स नि मेसेज आले नि मायबोलीकरांची संख्या झाली 'नौ'.. थोडी निराशा झाली खरी.. अरेरे पण उर्वरीत मायबोलीवीरचा उत्साह मात्र काही कमी झाला नव्हता.. निमित्त होते शनिवारी १४ ऑगस्ट रोजी 'ट्रेकमेटस' या ग्रुपने आयोजित केलेला ' वॉटरफॉल रॅपलिंग इवेंट'.. स्थळ होते.. मुंबई नाशिक रोडवरील 'विही' नावाच्या गावाकडील 'विही' धबधबा ! उंची तब्बल १२० फूट !! खळखळाट करत १२० फुट उंचीच्या कड्यावरुन खाली झेप घेणार्‍या धबधबा नि त्याच धबधब्याच्या पाण्यासंगे दोरीच्या मदतीने वाटचाल करत आपण खाली उतरायचे असा हा धाडसी, थरारक खेळ.. पण तितकाच सुरक्षितदेखील.. मध्यम ते कठीण श्रेणीच्या ढाक बहिरीला शुर मायबोलीवीर जाउन आले होते... नंतर "कॅनियॉन व्हॅली" ला उन्हाळी वर्षाविहाराचा ट्रेक केला होता.. नि आता पुन्हा एका धाडसी खेळाच्या निमित्ताने मायबोलीकर एकत्र आले होते.. पण यावेळी मायबोलीवीरांची संख्याही वाढली.. म्हणाल तर शूर मायबोलीकर्स रिटर्न्स.. !

सगळ्या उत्साही मायबोलीकरांना दोन आठवड्यापुर्वीच मेल पाठवुन नावे कंफर्म करायला सांगितली होती.. पण शुक्रवार संपेपर्यंत नऊ जणांचीच नावे उरली.. शनिवारी पहाटे 'देवनिनाद' हा आणखीन एक ऐनवेळी ठरलेला टांगारु... अरेरे मायबोली नि टांगारु हे गणित कधीच सुटणारे नाही.. फिदीफिदी

सकाळी दादरहुन ठिक सहा वाजता बस सुटणार होती.. नि ही बस सुटेपर्यंत सहभागी होणार्‍या मायबोलीकरांच्या अंतिम यादीत खालील शुरवीरांचा समावेश होता..

१. इंद्रा(१५ ऑगस्टच्या एक दिवस आधीच होम मिनीस्टरपासुन तात्पुरते स्वातंत्र्य मिळावणारा..) ,
२.गिरीविहार (आदल्या रात्री हैदराबादहुन कंपनीचे काम फत्ते करुन येणारा..),
३. विन्या ('फक्त वीस फुटांची रॅपलिंग आहे' असे आपल्या होम मिनीस्टरला समजावून परवानगी घेणारा !!! ),
४.सम्या (खास रॅपलिंगसाठी पुण्याहुन एक दिवस अगोदरच मुंबईत उतरलेला..),
५. आनंदमैत्री (लग्नानंतर जरा जास्तच स्वातंत्र्य उपभोगताना दिसणारा..!! ),
६. नविन ( 'आज जरा बाहेर फिरायला जातो' असे म्हणत होम मिनीस्टरला गंडवणारा.. !!)
७. कौतुक ('फु बाई फू' च्या सेटवरुन... रॅपलिंगला येणारा..)
८. यो रॉक्स ( 'होम मिनीस्टर'चा पत्ता नाही म्हणून अजुनही स्वातंत्र्य उपभोगणारा..)
९. सुन्या ( 'आपले 'अहो' ट्रेकपिडीत आहेत ' हे कळुन चुकल्याने होम मिनीस्टरकडुन सवलत मिळणारा)

याव्यतिरीक्त केदार नि गिरीश जोशी हे दोन माझे मित्रही मायबोलीकरांच्या टोळीत सहभागी होणार होते..
वरीलपैंकी सुन्या हा ट्रेकमेटसतर्फे co-ordinator चे काम करणार असल्याने तो आम्हाला थेट विहीलाच भेटणार होता.. तर गिरीविहार नि आनंदमैत्री ठाण्याला बसमध्ये चढणार होते... ट्रेकमेटसवाले मिळुन बसमधली संख्या २५-३० च्या आसपास होती.. मुंबईहुन ३० जण, नाशिकहुन दहा जण असे मिळुन जवळपास ४०-४५ जणांचा सहभाग होता..

आमची दादरला भेटण्याची वेळ सकाळी सहा वाजता होती.. पण 'हा येतो तो येतो' करेपर्यंत सात- साडेसातच्या सुमारास बस निघाली.. अर्थातच सव्वासातची वेळे दिलेले ठाणेकर आमची वाट बघत बसले होते.. तासभरातच बस ठाण्याला पोहोचली.. सगळे आले. हजेरी झाली.. नि 'गणपती बाप्पा मोरया' चा गजर करत आम्ही प्रयाण केले.. मायबोलीचे टिशर्ट मिरवणारे विन्या, सम्या, मैत्री, इंद्रा नि गिरीविहार यामुळे जणू वविच्या बसचेच स्वरुप आले होते.. बस सुरु झाली नि आमच्या टोळीने प्रथेनुसार भक्तीगीताने सुरवात करत धमालगाण्यांच्या कार्यक्रमाचा श्रीगणेशा केला.. आमच्या आवाज बघून बसमधील इतर ट्रेकमेटस चिंताग्रस्त नि तितकेच चकीत झाले नसतील तर नवलच.. नि आमची गाण्यांची कॅसेट सुरु झाली की काही थांबत नाही हे त्यांना माहित नव्हते.. फिदीफिदी काही घोषणा करायची म्हटली तरी बसमधील co-ordinators ना बरेच कष्ट पडत होते.. कशाला.. तर आमच्या गाण्यांना pause करायला.. ! फिदीफिदी आमची गाणी पॉज करुन चालत्या बसमध्येच ओळखपरेड झाली.. ओळखपरेडमध्ये कळले बरेचजण पहिल्यांदाच रॅपलिंग करणार आहेत.. साहाजिकच विन्या, सम्या नि नविन हे खूपच खूष झाले.. फिदीफिदी ओळखपरेड संपली नि आम्ही पुन्हा 'प्ले' बटन सुरु केले.. बसमधील बरेचसे ट्रेकमेटस मराठीच होते पण काही अमराठीदेखील होते.. त्यामुळे साहाजिकच हिंदी गाणीदेखील म्हणावीत असा आग्रह केला गेला.. पण आमचे मराठीपण भलतेच जागृत झाले असल्याने शेवटी हिंदी वि. मराठी अशी अंताक्षरी खेळावी असा तह करण्यात आला.. आमच्यासाठी आव्हान कठीण होते पण आनंदमैत्री, विन्यासारखे पठ्ठे असल्याने चिंता नव्हती.. उलट समोरच्या गटाला टेंशन नि संयमाची गरज होती कारण त्यांचे गाणे एकदोन वाक्यात संपत होते.. तर आमचे गाणे सुरु झाले की ते लोक्स 'आता पुरे.. पुढचे अक्षर द्या' म्हणेपर्यंत काही संपत नव्हते.. हाहा इतकेच नव्हे तर मराठी गाण्यांचा खजिना किती मोठा आहे या गोष्टीचादेखील सर्वांना साक्षात्कार झाला.. ट्रेकमेटसमधील माझे काहि मित्र तर मला येउन सांगु लागले.. अरे काय भारी लोक्स आहात तुम्ही.. ! फिदीफिदी

कसारा घाटाच्या अलिकडे चहापाण्यासाठी गाडी थांबवण्यात आली.. तिकडेच कळले गाडीत बिघाड झाला आहे.. वेळ जाणार होता.. नाश्तापाण्याची सोय ट्रेकमेटसने केली होती पण जेवण प्रत्येकाने घेउन यायचे असे सांगितले होते.. तरीदेखील आमच्या टोळीत विन्या, इंद्रा नि गिरीविहार वगळता कोणीच काही आणले नव्हते.. फिदीफिदी तशी म्हणा विन्याने सोय केली होती.. तिकडे धबधब्यापाशी शेकोटी करुन बटाटे, कांदे इति भाजुन खायची त्याची योजना होती.. त्यासाठी लागणारी सळई, मसाला लावुनच आणलेले बटाटे, कांदे, टोमॅटो इति साहित्य घेउनच आला होता.. वर जाळ करण्यासाठी कोळसे आणण्याचे काम सम्याला दिले होते ! फक्त आणले नव्हते ते रॉकेल.. नि तिकडे झोपडी मिळेल या आशेवर हा सारा प्लॅन होता.. नाहितर पावसात बोंबला ! आता इकडे वाया जाणारा वेळ सत्कारणी लावावा म्हणुन आम्ही जवळच असणार्‍या पेट्रोलपंपावरुन पेट्रोल घेउन आलो.. ! आमचे खाण्याचे टेन्शन आम्ही तात्पुरते तरी मिटवले होते..

नशिबाने तासभरातच गाडी सुरु झाली नि आम्ही अर्ध्यातासातच 'विही' गावात प्रवेश केला.. दुतर्फा असणार्‍या हिरवळीतून आम्ही चिखलवाट तुडवत पुढे निघालो.. सभोवताली वातावरणदेखील मस्त होते.. दहा पंधरा मिनीटातच आमच्या कानावर खळखळाट ऐकु आला.. नि काहि क्षणातच धबधब्याच्या ठिकाणी येउन पोहोचलो..

आम्हाला बसमध्येच रॅपलिंगसाठी क्रमांक देण्यात आले होते.. त्या क्रमांकानुसार तीन-तीन जण उतरायचे ठरले होते.. आम्ही पोहोचल्या लागलीच तयारीसाठी सुरवात झाली.. सर्वप्रथम तीन देवीया होत्या.. त्यानंतर मी, इंद्रा नि विन्या अशी क्रमवारी होती.. मग मागोमाग एकेक मायबोलीकर्सच उतरणार होते.. त्यामुळे पटकन आटपुन जेवण बनवण्याचा प्लॅन आम्ही लोकांनी शिजवला..

आमच्यात इंद्रा नि मला "चड्डी" "हॅल्मेट" "ग्लोव्ज" इत्यादी रॅपलिंगसाठी आवश्यक अशी वस्त्रे देण्यात आली जी आम्हाला काहि घालता येत नव्हती..

अर्थातच मेकअपसाठी ट्रेकमेटसचे लिडर होतेच.. पण काही म्हणा ती वस्त्रे परिधान केली की एक आगळाच जोश येतो.. आम्ही सगळे तिथुन खाली उतरलो जिथे कड्यावरुन पाणी खाली कोसळत होते.. बर त्या कड्यापर्यंत जाण्याची चिखलवाट देखील चांगलीच निसरडी बनली होती.. साहाजिकच इथेच काहिजणांना आपले बुट कितपत साथ देतील याची जाणीव झाली.. तर काहिजण इकडेच घसरतोय मग धबधब्यात काय असा प्रश्ण पडला.. फिदीफिदी

खाली उतरलो.. इथेच एक अंदाजे दहापंधरा फुटाचा छोटा पण अतिशय सुंदर असा धबधबा होता.

त्याच पाण्याचा प्रवाह पुढे या कड्यावरुन कोसळणार होता.. पण सध्या आमचे त्या धबधब्याकडे दुर्लक्ष करणे भाग होते.. कारण इथे रॅपलिंगवरच सर्वांनी लक्ष एकाग्रीत केले होते.. त्या तीन देवींनी चांगलेच टेंशन घेतले होते..

पाण्याचा जोरकस प्रवाह नि उंच कडा हे पाहुन तर टरकल्याच.. पण 'डरकेना नही, हम है तुम्हारे पिछे' म्हणत आम्ही पोकळ प्रोत्साहन देउ लागलो.. फिदीफिदी इकडे इंद्रा नि विन्याला 'आपण संसारी आहोत' याची आठवण झाली.. विन्याने तर आपल्या बायकोला जेमतेम एकमजली धबधबा सांगितले होते.. ! आता ती फोटो बघेल तेव्हा आपली काही खैर नाही हे विन्याला पक्के ठाउक झाले..
''उतरताना पाय घसरणार का..'' ''काटकोनात उलटे चालताना चुकुन आपण पुर्ण पलटी तर नाही ना होणार.. " अशा अनेक प्रश्णांचे वादळ प्रथमच रॅपलिंग करणार्‍या या शुरविरांच्या मनात उभे राहिले.. गिरीविहार नि मला अनुभव होता.. सुन्या तर अगदी मन लावुन तिथे काम करण्यात मग्न होता..

सुन्या दि ग्रेट !
तसे बघितले तर धबधब्याचा आकारमानच असा विशाल होता की फ्रेशरलोकांना धडकी भरलीच समजा..
त्या तीन देवीयांची उतरतानाची धडपड बघुन शुरवीरांचे टेंशन नक्कीच वाढले होते.. पण उत्साह कायम होता.. धबधब्यातून उतरण्याची माझी देखील पहिलीच वेळ होती.. दोन पायांमध्ये समान अंतर ठेवुन काटकोनात मागे वाकायचे नि उतरायला सुरवात करायची अशी पद्धत होती.. कितीही खोल दरी जरी असली तरी पुर्णतः सुरक्षितरित्या केले जाणारे हे धाडस होते.. फक्त तुमचा आत्मविश्वास नि उतरण्याची पद्धत यांवर सारे अवलंबुन असते.. पण इथे गंमत अशी होती की बर्‍याच जणांचे पाय जमिनीवर उभेच राहत नव्हते.. त्यातच पाण्याचा जोरकस प्रवाह.. त्यामुळे झिप झॅप घसरुन पडण्याची शक्यता होती..


( ये तो फिसल गयी..)
यांच्यानंतर माझा नि इंद्राचा नंबर आला.. प्रारंभी तसे सोप्पे नि मस्तच वाटु लागले.. सुरवातीचा भाग उतरणीचा होता पण खरी कसोटी कड्यावरुन थेट खाली सरकताना होती.. एकदा का कडा पार केला की मग वरती असणारे co-ordinators च्या नजरेआड होणार होते.. मग तिकडे फक्त तुम्ही नि धबधबाच असणार होता.. त्या धबब्याच्या मध्य भागी पोहोचलो नि मग सुरु झाला एक विलक्षण अनुभव.. तो अनुभव खरेतर शब्दांकन करणे कठीण आहे..

डोक्यावरील हॅल्मेटवर टपटप पडणारे धबधब्याचे टपोरे थेंब नि त्याचा आवाज... कोसळत्या पाण्याने घातलेला विळखा... साहाजिकच डोळ्यातही अधुनमधून जाणारे पाणी.. वरती ढुंकुन बघायलादेखील न मिळणारी उसंत .. नि खाली अधुनमधून वाकुन पाहिले तरीही खोलीचा न येणारा अंदाज.. चोहीकडे पाण्याचा फवारा नि फवाराच.. फक्त हातातील दोरीचेच भान राहिले होते..

इतका सुंदर अनुभव घेत पाय धबधब्याच्या पायथ्याशी कधी लागले ते कळलेच नाही.. इथेही धड उभे राहणे कठीणच होते.. छातीपर्यंत पाणी होते.. तिथेच बाजुला दोरी होती तिला पकडुन त्या पाण्यातून बाहेर आलो नि वर डोकावुन पाहिले.. तेव्हा अविश्वसनीय अशा वाटचालीबद्दल अभिमान दाटुन आला.. ! ! माझ्या पाठोपाठ इंद्राही खाली उतरला.. त्याच्या चेहर्‍यावरही विजयी मुद्रा खुलली होती.. नि आमच्यापाठोपाठ उतरलेल्या प्रत्येक मायबोलीवीराने हाच अनुभव घेतला.. प्रत्येकाच्या मुखी एकच उद्गार.. "yesssss !!! " "सssssहीsss !!" "जबरी ! " फिदीफिदी
ह्या अनुभवाची काही क्षणचित्रे.. :

(यो रॉक्स नि इंद्रा..)

(मग माझी हिरोगिरी.. फिदीफिदी )

(हसते हसते.. इंद्रदेव.. स्मित )

(मायबोलीवीर.. )
मग आले फु बाई फू च्या सेटवरुन कौतुक शिरोडकर..



(कडेलोट होताना कौतुक.. वरती बघतच नव्हता.. डोळा मारा )

( मेरा नंबर कब आयेगा म्हणणारे विन्या नि आनंदमैत्री..)

(आनंदमैत्री नि विन्या कूच करताना..)

(मैत्री उतरताना..)


(विन्या.. आरामात उतरताना.. ह्याचे लक्ष खालीच.. फिदीफिदी)

(मग हे गिरीविहार धबधब्यातून विहार करताना.. )

(मग वरच्या बाजुस सम्या, मध्ये नविन नि मागे मित्र गिरीश.. तिनो एकसाथ. ! )

(नविन.. जबरी..)

(सम्या.. चोहोबाजुंनी पाण्याने वेढलेला.. )

(सम्या कडेलोट होताना..)

(सगळ्यांचे फोटो काढले मग सुन्याचा नको का.. म्हणुन त्याचा एक फोटू.. स्मित )
आता कडेलोटनंतर काय स्थिती असावी हा अंदाज खालील फोटोवरुन येइलच.. मी वरती वर्णन करण्याचा प्रयत्न केलाय पण कितीही सांगितले तरी प्रत्यक्षात अनुभवण्याची मजा काही औरच..




ह्या रॅपलिंगचा आनंद, आवेश इतका जबरदस्त होता की पुन्हा खालुन वरती चढुन येताना लागणार्‍या थकव्याकडेसुद्धा दुर्लक्ष झाले होते..
आमचे हे रॅपलिंग प्रकरण दुरुन त्या गावचीच एक महिला बघत होती.. नक्कीच तिच्या मनात ही शहरी लोक येडी की खुळी असा विचार चालला असावा..


एव्हाना या रॅपलिंगमुळे आम्ही मायबोलीकर्स विखुरले गेलो होतो.. आमच्या टोळीचे रॅपलिंग सेशन संपले.. नि एकत्र जमलो.. एव्हाना आमची भूकही चाळवली ! जेवणाची सोय करुया, खाउया नि मग मस्तपैंकी डुंबायचे असे ठरले.. नि मायबोलीकर्स वाटेला लागले.. फक्त सुन्या सोडून.. त्याला तिथे दोरीला बांधुन ठेवले होते.. फिदीफिदी म्हणजेच त्याला दिलेली मदतनीसची जबाबदारी सोडण्याजोगे नव्हते.. त्यामुळे त्याला 'येतोच खाउन' असे टोमणे मारत आमची टोळी निघाली.. जवळपास कुठे आसर्‍याची सोय आहे का बघु लागले.. पण माझ्याकडील कॅमेर्‍यामुळे मला काही लगेच निघायला मिळाले नाही.. 'आमचापण फोटो हवा' अशी मुलींनी विनंती केल्यावर मान द्यावाच लागतो ना.. फिदीफिदी डोळा मारा


(कॅमेर्‍याकडे बघताना घसरणारी.. फिदीफिदी)
पण जल्ला हे फोटोसेशन काही थांबत नव्हते नि इथे माझी भुकही वाढत होती.. त्यात आमचे भुकेले मायबोलीवीर खाण्यासाठी काहि शिल्लक ठेवणार नाहित ह्याची मला पक्की खात्री होती.. त्यामुळे शेवटी "बॅटरी लो" हे बचावात्मक कारण त्या मुलींना देउन मी तिकडुन कलटी मारलीच.. फिदीफिदी

वरती शोधत गेलो तेव्हा आमच्या टोळीला एका गावकर्‍याच्या घरात आसरा मिळाला होता.. एक पिटुकले पण ऐसपैस असे घर होते .. मी गेलो तेव्हा इंद्राने नुकतीच चुलीवर बनवलेली मॅगी समोर ठेवली ! एकीकडे विन्या नि सम्या कोळश्याने जाळ करण्याच्या प्रयत्नात होते.. तर मैत्री, गिरीविहार, कौतुक गायब होते.. कळले तर गावातील बच्चे कंपनीबरोबर खेकडे आणायला गेले होते !!! खेकडे म्हटले नि तोंडाला पाणी सुटले..

काही अवधीतच खेकडेदेखील आले.. त्या बच्चेकंपनीला खाउसाठी पैसे दिले गेले.. मग त्या घरात सगळ्या मायबोलीकरांची वर्दळ सुरु झाली.. त्यात श्रावणवाले, शाकाहरीवाले विरुद्ध मांसाहरी असे गट पडले.. पण सगळेजण कामाला लागले.. आग पेटवली पण सम्याने आणलेले कोळसे काही पेट घ्यायल्या तयार नव्हते.. अखेर फुकणीच्या सहाय्याने बर्‍याच परिश्रमानंतर कोळसे पेटले.. मग एकीकडे बटाटे,कांदे,टोमॅटो सळईवर भाजु लागले.. भाजण्याचे काम प्रामुख्याने विन्या नि गिरीविहार करत होते.. तर एकीकडे मैत्रीने अगदी सफाईने खेकडे साफ करुन घेतले..

(हा खेकडा असा खाणार तरी कसा हे कुतूहलाने पाहणारे ते त्या घरातील छोटे मुल नि आमचे मैत्रीसाहेब..)


(कट्ट्याचे मालक.. चुलीवरती..)
आम्ही दोन्ही पाककृतीला मसाला एकच वापरणार होतो जे पुर्वनियोजीत असे काहीच नव्हते.. विन्याने घरातूनच बटाटा, कांदे इत्यादीला मसाला लावून एका डब्यातून आणले होते.. त्याच डब्यातील उर्वरीत मसाला खेकड्यांना लावुन घेतला.. दोन चुलीपैंकी एका चुलीवर भाजणे चालुच होते.. त्यात मग वेरायटी म्हणुन ब्रेड मध्ये बटाटे, टोमॅटो घालुन त्याला टोस्ट सँडविचचे स्वरुप दिले.. फिदीफिदी तर दुसरीकडे खेकडे तसेच भाजुन घायचा विचार होता.. पण आकाराने छोटे नि तसे कमीच होते.. पण वाटले तेलात फ्राय करुन घ्यायचे.. पण तेल कुठून आणणार.. नि त्या दादांना (ज्यांनी आसारा दिला होता) जास्त त्रासही द्यायचा नव्हता.. शेवटी आमची नजर उरलेल्या मस्काकडे गेले.. मग त्यातुनच "बटर- खेकडा" डिश तयार झाली ! (कृपया ह्याची पाककृती विनय भीडे चांगल्याप्रकारे सांगतील.. त्यांच्याच हस्ते खेकडे फ्राय झाले होते..) खेकड्यांचा खमंग वास सुटला नि आमचा मांसाहरीचा गट तुटून पडला.. काहिही म्हणा.. इतक्या पटकन नि ते देखील स्वादिष्ट असे खेकडे पहिल्यांदाच खाल्ले होते.. फिदीफिदी त्या घरात राहणार्‍या दादाचे पैसे देउन आभार मानले नि पुन्हा धबधब्याकडे वळालो.. !

एव्हाना तीन साडेतीन वाजले होते.. नि आमचे भीजणे अजुन बाकी होते.. तिथे अजुनही रॅपलिंग चालुच होते.. सुन्या अजुन होता त्याच ठिकाणी होता (मित्रा, तुझी खरच कमाल आहे).. तसे तिथे देखरेखसाठी वरती ५-७ जण नि खाली ४ जण असे एकुण १०-१२ जणांचा ताफा होता.. तिथे एकूण तीन जागा होत्या.. एक तो विशाल धबधबा, दुसरी जागा म्हणजे अंदाजे दहा - पंधरा फूटी असणारा धबधबा नि तिसरी जागा डुबण्यासाठी अशी मस्त होती जिथे छोटे धरण बांधले होते..

(वरील फोटोत मोठा धबधबा दिसत नाहीये.)

(थोडे झूम करुन..)

तिकडे पोहोचलो नि आम्ही त्या छोट्या धबधब्याकडे भिजण्यासाठी वळालो.. या धबधब्याचे बदाबदा पडणारे पाणी अंगावर झेलणे म्हणजे दगडधोंडे मारुन घेतल्यासारखे होते.. इथे आम्ही मस्तच धुमाकूळ घातला... कौतुक, इंद्रा दूरच राहिले.. तर गिरीविहारने संक्षिप्त स्वरुपात भिजणे पसंद केले.. फिदीफिदी


इथे मनसोक्त भिजुन घेतले नि मग आम्ही वरच्या बाजूस असणार्‍या धरणाजवळील तळ्यात डुंबायला गेलो.. इथे
आमच्या ग्रुपमधील दोन ज्युनिअस ट्रेकमेट्स आपल्या परिने धबधब्याची मजा लुटत होते..

इथे त्या छोट्या तळ्यात डुंबताना मात्र इंद्रा, गिरीविहार , आनंदमैत्री नि नविन या मायबोलीकरांचा इतरांसमवेत डुबण्यात पुढाकार होता ..

पुरेपुर डुबून घेतले नि मग आम्ही ट्रेकमेटसने ठरविलेल्या ठिकाणी ओले कपडे बदलुन नाश्त्यासाठी हजर झालो.. तिथेच चहा- पोह्यांचा नाश्ता झाला..

(नाश्त्यासाठी बसलेले मायबोलीकर.. स्मित )

सुर्यास्ताची वेळ झाली नि आतापर्यंत दिवसभर रॅपलिंगसाठी देखरेख करणारे परतून आले.. त्यात सुन्यादेखील होता.. ह्यांचे हात नि पाय दिवसभर पाणी नि दोरीच्या संपर्कामुळे पांढरे फिक्के झाले होते.. तिथे येताच सुन्याने आमची भेट घेउन आमच्याशी मोकळेपणाने गप्पा मारुन घेतल्या.. बिच्चारा.. दिवसभरच्या मजेला मुकला होता.. नि परतीच्या प्रवासातील गंमतीला देखील मिसणार होता.. त्याचे कारण ट्रेकमेटस ने हा रॅपलिंगचा कार्यक्रम १४-१५ ऑगस्ट असा दोन दिवस ठेवला होता.. त्यामूळे तो तिथेच रात्री वस्तीला होता..

काहीवेळेतच आम्ही वस्तीला राहणार्‍या सगळ्या ट्रेकमेटसचा निरोप घेउन बसने आम्ही सर्वजण परतीच्या प्रवासाला निघालो.. परतीच्या प्रवासात देखील धमालगाण्यांचा कार्यक्रम सुरुच होता.. ज्यात मायबोलीकरच अग्रेसर होते.. फिदीफिदी येताना गाणी इतकी रंगात आली होती की पुढच्या सीटवर बसलेल्यांमधून Requests येउ लागल्या..पुढचे सगळेजण श्रोत्याची भुमिका बजावत होते पण दादही देत होते.. (जल्ला 'मायबोली बँड' काढायला काही हरकत नाही.. फिदीफिदी ) या गडबडीत आमचा स्टॉप कधी आला ते कळलेच नाही..

खरच.. दिवसभरात भरपुर गंमती अनुभवायाला करायला मिळाल्या.. ट्रेकमेटसबरोबर ट्रेक करतो तेव्हा मजा असतेच पण मायबोलीकर सोबतीला असले की धमालमस्तीचा कळसच गाठला जातो..!! मायबोलीकरांव्यतिरीक्त बसमधील असलेल्या नव्या ट्रेकमेट्सबरोबर मैत्री झाली तर जुन्या ट्रेकमेटसबरोबरची मैत्री दृढ झाली.. पण सार्‍या मायबोलीवीरांनी ह्या "वॉटरफॉल रॅपलिंग" चे धाडसी आव्हान सहजगत्या पेलले यातच खुप आनंद मिळाला.. "वॉटरफॉल रॅपलिंग" करुन नुसती कमालच केली नाही तर मौजमस्ती करत धमाल पण केली.. ह्या शूर मायबोलीकरांचे अभिनंदन !! आता वेध पुढच्या प्लॅनचे ! फिदीफिदी ढॅणट्याणॅन !

--- समाप्त -----

* वरील सर्व फोटो जरी माझ्या कॅमेर्‍यातले ('बसलेले मायबोलीकर' सोडुन) असले तरी ते आमच्या टोळीतील "ह्याने नि त्याने " काढलेत.. स्मित

* अधिक फोटोंसाठी पिकासावरील लिंक देत आहे..