Home is where the Heart is!

Trekking. Nature. Can you imagine being so close to these two thing, yet staying away from these very two things for 5 years? That happened to me. And I felt lost all these years. Like I had left a part of me behind.

3rd June, 2017 changed all of that, forever.

I decided to catch a phenomena that is a mystery in itself, yet magical! I revisted my passion for trekking with a Fireflies trek to Prabhalmachi. And while I knew that getting back, especially with a body that has hardly heard the word exercise in a while, was going to be challenging. But it was worth every minute.

I felt every strain in my muscles as my feet drudged on to catch these luminescent beauties, my mind was transfixed on them… and that was the only thing that got me to the peak. That, coupled with my spirit yearning out to my God, thanking Him for every step that I took. The gratitude took me further, and I could see how an arduous journey was just a disguise for the blessings I was about to receive. This was not too different from what I was experiencing in my life too.

There were times when the journey got tough, when I stopped due to sheer exhaustion, stopped to feel the cool wind in my face, stopped to sip on some colddrink, stopped to just rest my aching body on a rock. There were times when I was dripping with sweat all over my face, when my legs cramped, when I nearly missed a step and  stumbled on rocks. There were times when I stopped and witnessed the city lights twinkling as we sought twinkling of another kind amidst bushes. And Nature supported me beautifully. There was always a nook & corner waiting for me. There was always the welcoming arms of Pacha Mama to soothe me.

There were people walking with me. Some strangers, some I befriended. Some, were a constant voice I was following, who I knew would lead me to my destination. They were walking the path with me, but they could not walk it for me. What, then, was getting me by? My only companions were my thoughts, and my undying spirit, and the belief that I was Divinely protected.

Isn’t this exactly how I am supposed to get by each day, doing exactly what I did in those 2 hours?

And when I did reach the top, the camping tents promised me an adventure of a lifetime. The new friends I made gave me familiarity amidst solitude. Some played my favourite songs on their speakers, some played taboo with me, some taught me to catch lightening bugs in my palm, while some just sat besides me while I watched these beauties present a blockbuster in front of me!

The fireflies were breathtaking, with a beautiful synchronized dance that painted a pitch black night with a golden glow. Did you know that lightening bugs radiate to attract the females for mating? And that it (mating) possibly lasts for just a few seconds? And that soon, they will light up again to attract a new lady? Or that they just live for 2-3 weeks in a year? They die when the rains set in? There was so much that Nature was teaching me here. There was so much grace and beauty to be thankful for! And none of this could be captured on cameras – the only camera that was functional, was my memory! :)

And when I was done collecting experiences, I slipped away in a corner, found a rock overlooking the city lights, and chatted away with my Creator! In complete awe of the beauty He has created, and his ways of reaching out to me. In complete gratitude of the way he takes care of me, and the simplest things I need.

I woke up to the sounds of chirping birds outside my tent. A sumptuous breakfast, some nimbu paani by a local aunty and some inspiration for my soul, I came down the mountain with a spring in my feet, recharged to take on anything that life had to offer!

In solitude, in Nature’s loving embrace, in absolute Surrender, I found that missing piece of my soul that was calling out to me. The hues of green and brown seemed so familiar. The blue & white cover above me, the sounds around me – this felt like a homecoming.

I will be home soon, with a new place that will bring me closer to myself.
See you in a wink, PM!

 

 

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Trek Tales ~ River Rafting, Kayaking & River Crossing @ Kundalika, 29th August

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 though…it 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 http://trekmates.blogspot.com/

Trek Tales ~ 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! 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! (I love the nervousness + thrill before I set out for my adventure)
 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 adrenaline! 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

Trek Tales – Chanderi Trek on 4th July

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! :)

A walk in the clouds, that’s all I’m 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. Then, there’s 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 from the ‘book of life’ and cling to them with all my heart ! Lush green fields, pure blue skies, fresh wateralls and an exhilarating experience *that I’ve been craving for* here I come! ;)

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