My Realm

Meet me - know me - read my posts and try to figure me! Well I am someone who is always thirsty for adventure, someone who simply hates playing sheep(u know the types - follow the herd!). An enthusiastic trekker, who loves to travel and ever ready for one of those wierd new found sports- luv to make new friends and njoy being my family's pet :)!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Shivaji is smiling down at me...

I climbed Rajgad once in the rainy season with Yog,Pal,Mahen and me. It was all green and we took the Yak route (via Pali darwaza). It was tiring simply for the fact that it had too many steps. Anyways we made our descent via a more sensible route (Choor darwaza). Post trek I always wanted to get up the Choor darwaza. Little did I know that I would climb Rajgad multiple and always by this better trekkable route!

Within the last 30-40 summer days (approx a month) I climbled Rajgad 3rice! I surprised myself each time and so did my trek mates at later times.

The 3rd time I had been taken a group of novices for the trek, and they stunned me by completing it with no grudges whatsoever and in pronto time! This time again, I co-led the trek with AJD and Paresh and was stunned at how the first-timers, the novices surprised us by geting up and back down in a single day! (I thought it would take us forever to reach the top and a life time to get down!).

AJD wanted to get his wife(Anjali) to start trekking so that it would make some sense to her everytime he told his wife he is wandering off on a trek or everytime he narrated some trek chronicles to her! With this thought in mind we decided to trek on to Rajgad (the simple Tikona was kicked off my own suggestion by me:) ) .

Ajay,Paresh,Shilpa,Anjali,Sujata and me were the ones for this trek. Took a better motorable scenic ghat route from behind Sinhagad towards Nasrapur- thanks Paresh. The route was pretty much shorter than the usual and was wayy too scenic. Took a break to capture the breath taking views of Rajgad and Torna from a distance!

The trek start was pretty slow, which was very much anticipated . After about 1/2 hour or so I started geting second thoughts when Shilpa started vomiting and I saw the unforgiving fatigue in Anjali and Sujata. So after a grueling 3 hours of much more we got to the top! I was stunned when I realised we actually came up and was very pleased to see that some one took my advice of moving slow and steady seriously- Anjali!

FRom the top we decided to goto Suvela machi (mostly because of me since I wanted to do that - and secondly none of the girls wanted to climb up again - so Balekilla was out and Paresh was let down, not for long though!). Hike was cool , we decided for lunch along the Fort walls in the shade and then took a breif nap before we entered the Nedha.

Geting into the Nedha and siting in and experiencing the world from a hole- loking at the endless horizon and mystics of nature at both ends from within a rock wall was one thing and geting down (or should I say guiding/assisting firsttimers) the Nedha was another.

Sujata did all the honours right from the Nedha descent to the Choor Darwaza rock steps descent to the slippery descent ! It must have taken me 10-15 mminutes to get her down 30 centimenters. Se did not want to turn around and get down the right way (agreed she is sortof a first timer and scared) but just sit on that rock cut and laugh her gutz out every time she got scared! I had to literally pull her leg to the next step down as she laughed uncontrollably! Not just me but all my co-trekkers and every other person in that vicitny enjoyed every bit of her Nedha descent! So much so also for the Choor Darwaza descent where she managed to block a huge traffic of locals ! :)

Anjali was next in line! She seemed confident but just as soon as I made my assumption she said "Nahiii... mujh se nahi hoga..." Then again we got all over into the ordeal ...!!!

Well but all in all after the slips and drips and falls and yes the LAUGHSSS we were back at the base by about 7:15 pm and left at around 8:30pm. Paresh was the first to reach down.. (I never knew natures call and determination can make a person run down a mountain at throteling speeds right into a door with the hole!)

Well whatever I bet Shivaji Maharaj would be the happiest off all ghosts looking down and smiling at us (and maybe many more like trekkers) and having the time of his post-life laughing his gutz out!

Check out the snaps :
Vindys Cam
Ajays Cam
Shilpas Cam


Wednesday, February 22, 2006


The day started with a lot of activity, geting the car rectified and then running up and down with my tired dad(who just came back from Madras) at Pandit auto. Back home had to drop mom to school by 12 in the afternoon. So off we sped from home at around 11:40, and zip we reached school by 12 in the afternoon!

Driving back to office from there, I went via my school road. They have changed the uniforms for the kindergarten class now, the kids look really cute with reddish-maroon checks (some blue stipes here and there) and red pants. Looked at the schhol gound from the road and poof flashed those days, when we use to play cricket with an exam-wodden-board and a rolled handkerchief. Beyond that I noticed the distant quadrangle where we would have our morning assembly and the assembly stage! I used to get punished many times for coming late 0u know cane beats and kneel on the assembly stage till short-break :).

Nothing has changed, except for some renevation here and there. The church still stood as it was 12 years before I passed off this institution. The cycle stand is still the same on the ground. I could see some blue shirts and dark blue half pants, maybe they are from 7th std. That uniform has not changed.

As I drew furthur I saw one Kindergarten kid running off the pavement towards a hanging root of a banyan tree, where another was haning and swinging. Pooof.. I remembered those days when Nilu(Nilesh Doshi) and me used to wait for the school to get over so that we could run out of school to the Khadki post bus stop and start hanging and playing on the banyan roon over the wild congress grass terrain! Vegas miss who use to come there , often use to shout at us "U kids dont know the dangers - what if u swing onto the road - the congress grass is known to cause astama -Niesh u have astama dont u - and u Vinod ur mom is a teacher, and this is what u do ". " WE would look down and give an innocent "sorry miss".

Playong flying-disk- football, cricket, football, catch catch, choor police, kabaddi,hade and seek and what not! Those were amazing days...

Furthur down till I reached the road bend I realised, I had this broad smile stuck onto my face and was having a hard time geting rid of it :)...

Nostalgic... Today too at office as I was chating to AJD , we recalled those days in my previous company (ASC) when D and me would share a corner cabin. There we had the room to ourselves -singing songs and takling all sorts of things. I would all of a sudden go "Kyuun Kii"... then both of us would go "na karo kaam bura ... na karooo kaam bura .. har burai ka sada .. hota hai anjaam bura ... Har ek burai ka hota hai bas .. anjaam bura anjaam bura" the song from Sarfarosh.

We recollected those times when Niraj use to share the cabin with us. This guy would simple repeat whatever we told him, u know simple things like - if I said "hey man"... Niraj : "hey man" D would ask " kya chal raha hai ..." Niraj "kya chal raha hai ". I would say "Kya niraj" he would sau "kya ana". This "kya ana" sort of became his identity! And because of this of his we named him property "Vaadi Processor " (Mountain Processor- since it echos there "vadiyon mein hi aawaz guunjti hai ") :))

Wowow D and me laughed at this conversation in chat!

Alas, I am siting here living up more days to get nostalgic in the coming days :)
A cycle, not at all vicious, but vicious living in the pages of history!


Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Shawshank Redemption

IMDB had this movie in its top 10 list for ever, I kept seeing at No.1 for a loong time now. Whilst in WA-US(Washinton state) at Anil's place, copied this movie from him. Its been over 7 months that I have had this movie on the Laptop. "The Shawshank Redemption" seemed to be a dark movie of some sort going ahead at a slow pace, that was my analysis everytime I saw the movie in under 10 seconds just running through.

The lights fizzed off at 4:30 and I was in no mood to go out- so out of the blue decided to watch the movie. Then from daylight to daydark I stared quiet on my bed from 5:30 pm to about 8pm at night! YEah its a loong movie -but I never realised that untill it came to an end.

The movie is truly a masterpiece, keeps going at a slow pace and lets you make friends with all the characters in the movie. You tend to like and dislike the characters as the movie keeps going. But one thing is for sure you are glued to the monitor for all time the movie plays. Now I never knew when this movie was released etc. but now I sure know that it has landed in my list of favourite movies. :)

Funny... I had this movie for so long and always thought of a reason to avoid it. Today was the right mood and time to watch this artform from beinning to end.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

To the Minar of ... again!

Nilesh said we must watch RDB and Ajay said he wanted to watch the movie with me again! So ok, we decided either Thursday or Friday evening it would be since Nilu had to leave for Hyderabad over the weekend.

Day decided was friday and any show late evening, which turned out to be the last 10:15 pm show at City Pride on 17th Feb '06-friday :) . Ajay dropped out since his relatives came by. Seated at E-18/19 in Screen 1 of City Pride we watched the movie.

Now that I had seen the movie earlier , I was in a comfy position to compare the 2 theaters, E-square has better picture quality and better BOOM effect (thats probabbly because the hall size was small there)... either ways I felt E-square was better ). Here - some English conversations were dubbed in Hindi as well... so some different version of the movie :P.

Still those 3 hours of the night took me from Friday to saturday with 7 old friends on the celluloid with all mixed immotions and now with a better level of comfort with the support cast as well! I enjoyed the movie thoroughly. Moreover with Nilu next to me we were like 'ohh papajii .. meinkya paaji.. ' here and there in course of the movie!

The next day started with me going to bed at about 3am after browsing the TV world on my 29" Sony :)

The weekend started with me geting up today at about 12:30 in the after afternoon and doing nothing but lazing around. Now I would be going to Anil's place , Pritam would be coming and so would Andya (if he can -would join us late). The best part was tody I called Anil- And I thought his mom picked the phone...

Me: Hello Aunty .. is Anil there..
(some giggles and grumbles...)
Anil: Kya be hero...
Me: Edyaa.. kya be....
Anil: .. Abbe jhand meri biwi ko Aunty bulata hai..
(I am like zapped.. what do I do.. take it cooool..)
Me: Oye wo kuch dinon mein Aunty to ban hi jayengi.. mein to bas adat lagwa raha huun...
(wooof.. :) )

The conversation continues.. I should wear some armour when I visit Anil now :)


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Majja ni life...

For Valentines day I was running on a loose run, I sort of befriended the commode. Conducted an interview amidst gurgles in my gastric pouch. The day day ended at about 8pm after bidding bidding Pavan goodbye on his last day and presenting him with an amazing T-shirt and a wonderful sendoff with photographic moments in the conf. room!

This having been done, my head was on a high. Today took an off and got up early at about 6:30 am and had disprine and some snacks and cuddled back in bed. Spend some quality time at home relaxing and yapping around with my uncle aunt dad grand-ma. Evening at about 7 was Anil's reception so had to go there...

Dad,mom and me were at the reception -base of Aurora towers by about 7:30 , vallet parked the car and up we went to the reception at Chancary -2 Hall. Nillu was waiting there in a maroon jabba and white kurta. Inside the hall was very elegant but not very crowded, people were still coming in from what Nilu told us.

Walked up on stage and congradulated the couple and had a hearty talk and laugh on stage. some photo and video sessions and we were down siting on the couch talking about something here and there. In no time decided to have dinner, since mom had to leave early the next day and nilu too was in some sort of a rush.

Well with my rotten stomach I could only gulp down some juice and daal rice and some very light starters. Mom dad njoed the 3 course meal! :) Nilu then dashed off to pick up Helen ,sice she decided later to have dinner here at the reception rather than at some hotel. So Nilu was to have dinner :).

In sometime I noticed a familliar face, all this in the thought that why did Anil not invite anyone from the college group. Swapnaja was here. Ohh boy was it great to see her after such a loong time... Had a nice talk with her, then she went on stage and back and the talk continued all the way down memory lane. She is engaged now and due to be married in May. The VIT girls sure are tieng the knot very fast.

Well at about 10pm decided to depart, by this time Helen was in so met her on stage whilst she was talking to Anil and Priya (Anil's to-be). Post this made a dash down -Dad,mom ,swapnaja and me. Bid our faewells at the parking lot and drove back home!

It was a seemingly boring day but ended up in great fun - talks with uncle aunts, the drive to Aundh so that they cought up with these friends with whome they were to leave for Bombay. Then the quick drive to BMC to meet D just to return his camera followed by the RDB talk :). And finally the Reception!

Was a great holiday!


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Farewell To Pavan...

Today is Pavan's last day, so we decided to take a treat off him yesterday. Pizza Hut was the place decided for the meet and 7:30 was the time. Everyone was there -Avik / Sheetal / Rahul / Me / Yogesh / Praveen(GAbbar) / Muluk / Sujit / Jayashree /Anand and Pavan ofcourse!

WE got one of the side tables and then later had to stick in another one to accomodate this huge bunch. Plates after plates of Garlic bread kept flowing into our table and definately pitchers after pitchers of Pepsi and Mountain Dew! Pavan did not seem to mind it neither did we :)

All of a sudden a little group started singing a birthday song for some little cute girl at another end, we too started clapping our hands and sang lightly along. All of a sudden everyone remembered that it was Avik's Birthday the next day - Why not celebrate it!

Avik said nono... sagle nishfal prayatne... So we all started singing the Birthday song for Avik in all Josh .. we did that twice I think! Pizza Hut went silent under our thundering voice... in no time one of the waiters cameby to ask whoes Birthday it was. Avik was taken to the front of Pizza Hut with our 'wooohoooo' and claps. Then there was this Pizza Hut style Birthday song and all of the customers and the hosts kept singing and clapping! It was fun!!!!!

BAck at the table the menu went forth with 5 -6 huge pizza's and Garlic breads. The other family gave us a plate of Cake (so sweeet of them!) , but we decided not to eat all of it rather splat it on Aviks bhola bhalla face :) . In no time Avik rushed to the toilet with Rahul to clean himself up...

The talk continued into the night .. all sorts of things . People kept droping glasses and pizzas in total exitement. The party came to an end at about 10:30pm.

Outside Pizza Hut we continued the shoor sharaba (loud talk and shouts) and that block outside of Pizza Hut went silent when Sujit took endless amount of time simply to click a group photo! :)

In no time we all decided to pick our ways home and Pavan was all content with his little in-expensive bill of 2500/- :).

That was one amazing day I have had at Pizza Hut ever in my life!

Check out the snaps here


Monday, February 13, 2006

Wagging Trek...

Pavan said he wanted to trek before he headed back to Bangalore, and Sheetal was way too insistant on a trek, Ajay was ever ready to accompany me for a trek, Avik-I knew would be in for the ordeal.

After a flop show last weekend, we decided to trek LohaGad this weekend. But as fortune had it -we found ourselves at the base village of Gunzawne ,when I decided to change the treking destination to RajGad since we were just 5 of us and no one suffered from any health hazards as such.

The drive for Nasrapur phata started at around 6:30am. After some light breakfast and packing in some food from Natraj hotel we were at the base village, past all the commotion and in the open -now not so green- Gunzawne.

For the initial patch, yes Sheetal,Avik and Pavan were showing symptoms of fatigue - so thats when I decided to turn around and take a longer gradual path up than the usual shortcuts. So with jokes and having played a lot with puppies at the village we were at a table top.

From here we walked on into the jungle where the path took a gradual incline. 2 breaks were mandated in this patch since we did not want to push ourselves. In not less than about 1 hr we were on the second flat patch after which the steep climb for the Choor Darwaza starts. I must say I was very impressed with this group- No one showed any signs of spoil sportmanship, and yes were were geting up at a pretty decent speed!

The best part of the trek was that, the weather was clear and sunny and had an almost continuous cool breeze flowing through. This definately acted as the right ambrosia necessary for the new trekking members.

The inclined patch was over in about 20 mins, Avik said he suffered slight giddyness but was all ok once he had some glucose-Thanks D (Ajay)!.

Post this came a rock patch , Sheetal was like all "abbe kya hai re yeh.. pagal ho gaya kya..." , Avik did not say anything, just was pushing forth and was terrified at the same time! But still since D and me were around, they surely had nothing to fear!

In about 15 mins and some photography, we were in through the Choor Darwaza- Pavan Avil Sheetal Ajay then me , that how were got in :). Rested at the Padmavati Mandir for sometime. The most surprising thing was that except for a group of six there was no one atop Rajgad (apart from the regulat taak wallas dogs and monkeys). Had enough taak, post which Sheetal D and me went strolling around while Pavan and Avik decided to take some rest inside the cool interiors of the Mandir.

In about 45 mins we decided to start trekking on up to BAlekilla. We had Mastani -the white canine along with us. The path went on up and we were walking along the edge of the mountain with rock walls on one side and the valley at the other before we came to the rock steps that went upoto Ballekilla.

In no time, the ascent got technical and D and me had to assist the other 3 with their ascent, which they managed very well! Pavan was all smiles and dimples "Arrey Vindy bhaaii.. mastt trek hai re yeh too... sahi hai tu Uncle!!" in his typical southie ascent. We were at the mahadarwaza in about 15 mins with Sheetal trailing the lot.

Everytime Sheetal said "Arrey let me enjoy the sourroundings man..." it simply ment he was tired and wanted to take a break before geting up :).

Spent some quality time at the Darwaza admiring the surroundings and YES Suvela Machi! The path upwads was a pretty straightforward one. There was a little water pond at one side, where I decided to get fresh. Atop we loitered a little and finally sat down at one broken fort wall which had 2 huge holes(windows) - one overlooking Suvela Machi while the other overlooked Sanjeevani Machi.

Did a lot of guppa shuppa here, after which we headed down to the MahaDarwaza for lunch -Mastani followed us everwhere! Before geting in to the lunch saga- we all decided to get fresh at the little pond- played a lot here before geting on with Pet Puja.

Lunch was excellent -roti, sabji, usal, curd rice, idlis, upma, sheera, snacks, oranges, mosambis . It was relishing and refreshing! The decent was what everyone was afraid of... but to everyones surprise, they all did it pretty comfortably. Avik decided to sit and move forth at places so did Sheetal. Pavan did it slow and steady, while D andme were there to assist them along.

Back down , we were at Padmavati -it was 2:30pm. No one wanted to goto any of the Machis. Byn now the crowd had picked up atop Rajgad, the mandir was full of a group having lunch- So we decided to relax outside. The clock ticked about 3:15 when we decided to depart. Relaxing at Padmavati we engaged ourselves in various topics for discussion.. it was soo refreshing and cool to just laze and talk of any nonsense! :).

Choor Darwaza descent was somthing Avik/Sheetal feared but now were confident past the BaleKilla descent. So, though slow and steady, we were down the patch in an easy 15 mins. The rest of the part was simply being careful as u get down the steep loose soil path. Ajay faced some giddyness here -so his own refreshing GluconD helped him! We were at the first pit stop in the jungle in about 30 mins.

Everyone was smiles and content and talking about how they got down , what they thought and all. Tell you something- its really so touching when you can sucessfully lead(in a way ) a group and complete the task in style with no bad-blunders what so ever, and see smiles on all faces!!

Had taak and had a nice long talk with one Aji BAi enroute, she told us lots of stories about wild animals in the area and about the farming stuff down here. Had a good time before we bid our goodbyes to get back to the base village.

Here I decided to get a little adventerous with the now confident group and took a short cut. It was pretty steep but everyone, despite their nono's, got down at good pace. Here we came to a road block where the slope ended suddenly and we had to jump off nearly 8-9 feet to the dusty road below. It was fun!:). Still we continued on the short cut trail.

In no less that 10 mins post this we were at the village. Here we refreshed ourselves, had some amazing pohe tea and played a lot with a little mischievous pooch who was just too cute to ignore. In about 1.5 hours we decided to call it a day and headed out of the village.

Just took a couple of breaks mid-way. Once to capture the amazing sunset, where the sky went goldent red whre Rajgad and Torna stood out like dark shadows on either sides- it was majestic, and the other time for tea at Joshi Waddewale on Satara Road.

It was about 9pm when we reached MayFair. Here we bid our farewells before heading back home!.

It was one amaizng day that just zipped off our lifes down to the pages of history.

Njoy the photos here.


Friday, February 10, 2006

Mental Stew..

Was in turmoil yesterday, things were/are not going my way for quiet sometime now. Still.. I cant just sit back and burn myself in that. The guyz were after me for showing them a movie, finally it was decided that I would show them 'Rang De Basanti'. Day decided was YEsterday (10th Feb '06) at E-sqaure the 7:10 pm show.

Bidding Ravi (our manager) his final goodbyes we reached E-square where we ended up waiting for the 8:15 show since not enough tickets were available for the 6 of us (Motu/ Uncle/ Hritik/ Shirish/ Sita-anna and me) .

Well the moment the movie started with a quote in amir's voice it received claps and "woohoos " from the audience me inclusive! The next 3 hrs took me off my current being to a totally different world with 7 new found friends somewhere in Delhi! The movie was doubtlessly a classic - the first half revolved around the life of a group of buddies and all the things they do (just the very way most of us did in adolescence/college days -some which I still do :) ).

Amazing- laughs and college time jokes the laid back attitude - the audience going to splits at regular intervals and silent at other times! All this came to commotion and wierd comments when the reel geting burnt on screen with the "dinge dinge dinge dinga..." song just starting. Then interval came up in about 10 minutes after the movie restarted from the song.

Second half was also cool, the ending was a little goofed up - but I enjoyed it , how? Well I took the goof up at the right way to twist the movie and njoyed every bit of it!

For all this time I was in my own world smiling, geting silent, serious, wide-eyed - all sorts of emotions - totally transported out of my own garlic-stew and mint-grey...

The day ended with me typing back an SMS all the way, walking from E-square to the parking lot across the road... the emotions from dream land took a stride and faded off in the quieter side of day. The drive retrived the lentoff grey that transcended all odds...

I was back in my world.... Garlic-stew... ... ... ... ...


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Memory lane...

B - Amol
D - AJD - Ajay
Biru - Birendra
Yog - Yogesh
Mahen- Mahendra
Me - Vinod :)

Its been about 4 years since B created this group and made me aassociate moderator for this yahoo group! Its been over about a year since we all Coolest Buddies (ASC'ians ) ever met! B is in town and deinately the right prospect for a meet up!

AJD being way too persuasive about our meetup, it was finally decided that D,Mahen,B,Yog,Biru 'n me would meet at Oasis on Tuesday night(7th feb '06) no sooner than 9pm. After some usual yes and no's I left from office at about 8:30pm down to Karve Road off Shivaji Putala where I picked up B 'n D. From here drove to ChandaniChowk where we picked up the now confused and irritated from waiting -Biru! I was about 9:45pm by the timne we entered Oasis.

All while through in the car, discussions were not very radiant just like "so whats up.." "tera kya chal raha hai .." and slowly picked up as we drove the dark road towards OASIS "high beam kar ... horn baja .. hahaa"

By the time we got off at OASIS , D and me were on the "Mein kya paajii.. fisss ..." high!

Once we got a special table for 6 after we told the waiter that we were going to do a lot of halla gulla, slowly the quiet atmospere started to pick up some noise. Finally B came out with all his gadgets ... in no time Mahen teamed in and so did Yog!

With everyone in, this 6 seater table was charged up... D said "Oye 6 masala papad lekar aao... sab nai nahi kehete hain .. bad mein sab tut padte hain" - 6 masala papads came so did 6 complementary rosted papads :)) Soups and drinks came in and Mahen started geting a little drowsy!

All sorts of discussions persued over the meal -which comprised over 18 appams and all sorts of veg and non-veg dishes! Disucssion varying from B being in Singapore to how he defines girlfriends to what condomaniums are :)) Now this was a highlight - D misinterpreted Condos to Comdoms then B continued "Condos are spacious ,they have tennis courts ,sswimming pools... also 1200 per sq feet" D and me almost fell off the table with bolts of laughter!

Later Mahen with his half sleepy drunken style started asking B all sorts of questions, and geting laffas after laffas (kicks) for asking such stupid ones -when he was stopped by me "Yaar Mahen tu apna muh chup hi rakh yaar ... har baar kholta hai to laath khata hai!" No one could control their laughter post this.

Yog started a questionair asking every one when they were planning to get married:
B said "Ive not yet decided... I had a girlfriend , not now" says he wanted to purchace a saari for his Potugese girlfried! Mr. Uthi Uthi Gopala has definately changed!
Biru said "Not now yaar .. Im just 24 ...another 2 years atleast"
Mahen says "Mera chal raha hai ..." to which D and me cut in and made him explain all of his little KPC story ! After which discussions persued over younger bro's, sis's geting married earlier - responsibilities etc etc..
Then came my turn, all I had to do was smile when D,Yog,Mahen broke in "Isko hain na pakkad ke maarna chahiye ...." "tere mein dum nahi hai yaar..." etcetc... After all the tonts I said .."nahi yaar .. muje iske bare mein baat nahi karni hai" to which Yog said "tera agar kuch nahi hai na ... phir arranged hi shaadi kar le" :) I said I am not sure :P
Finally the man Yog's turn "Yaar ... mera to chalu hone walla hai " by next year end I should be married! He was serious!
Yog came up with some serious descussion, "D... yaaar ... ek baat bata na seriously haaan... no jokes... KPC mein kya puchneka yaar .. ladki kaise pasand karneka" To this Mr. experienced married D came up with all sorts of suggestions and comment with added ones from us! Out-come of the discussion was : read Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, also some serious topics on what it meant to get married and choosing a life partner etc. Pretty mucg enlightning

In no time the dinner ordeal came to an end, since there was no tea we dicided to call it a night- B paid the huge bill and we decided to have a walk! Had some amazing magai pan and D smoked a herbal cigar!

It was amazing to walk under the bright half-moon light, when B decided to eject his camera and have some amazing night flash photogrpahy... too many snaps.. Yog was on a high so was I! :)

In no time we decided to call it ends . It was 12am.

Dropped D at Shivaji putala B at his house and continued the long drive off Viman Nagar via Camp to drop Biru off . It was past 1am when I reached home!

Mom was wide awake... to open the door. We bid out good nights and I was in dream land dancing behind trees with... in no time! :)


Monday, February 06, 2006

Couch Potato

Pavan would be leaving in a few days time, and he always heard of me trekking and playing around on the hills and mountains. This was enough for him and Sheetal to get exited for an amazing trekking weekend. I was very much in for the idea.

But as usual, ppl dropped out and it was just the 3 of us, so we decided to push it forth for the following weekend. Well I was unmoved and decided to hit Sinhagad on Sat. Now that steep mountain hadnt seen me for a loong time, thought I'd surprise her!

It was 2 am and I was browsing the channels like a maniac... eyes were red and felt my face go dry and drowzy. Decided to trek on Sunday morning.. so Saturday started at 11am! Mom Dad and Grandma were way to content to see me home and wake up in the me-old usual self-style! So I started the day with some tea, rolled the newspapers with me to the hall. It had been ages since I had seen black journalistic ink spilled on porus white paper! Felt good siting in the hall lazing with a white T-shirt and a blue bermuda and its nada hanging all the way down allowing some ants mimich the black-dress commando.

So by afternoon, mom and dad were at their high asking me to get the PUC done... so off we left to get the PUC at Shankar math off SarasBaugh. Everything went fine, when all of a sudden we decided to drop the next Crosswords assult to a drive to Kanifnath. So off we went through the busy evening traffic to the laid back lazing roads of BapDev ghat towards Saswad when after about about an hour we reached up the Kanifnath Samadhi. The weather was cool.. and the air was filled with the 'tukka mahane.. ' coming off the loudspeakes... No crowd at all ,except for the few badjis who were at their usual recitals.

Walked around the samadhi and the blissful surroundings to the hauman temple/satue and the various other deities before we decided to get down and have some amazing misal and chaay at a tapri! Mom dad enjoyed the surroundings and the sunset to the fullest , and moresoever did mom and me when we gave an ajji bai and her grandchildren a lift to the lower village.

Post this I decided to surprise my folks with some amzing quality Bhel and stuff at Kalyan bhel near Kondwa off NIBM. Dad enjoyed his Ragda Pattice and butterscotch icecream despite the nono big nono's, mom luved her pani puri and mango mastani while relished myself with Sitafal mastani and packed home some Bhel.

The day ended at about 11 in the night when I set the alarm for 4:45 next morning.

I woke up at about 11am after shutting off the balring mobile alarm at 4:45am! SO I said to my self "maybe a weekends rest is not a bad idea afterall!" . Sunday went all lazy siting of the sofa being a couch potato and sipping lots of tea before Andya and Nilu came by in the evening . Had a great TP time then Nilu left, Biru arrived - we went chatter chatter over tea and amazing hot bhajjis mom had prepared! I was left to myself after an amazing walk down memory lane via the late evening (8pm) roads via JM and the bridges past Garware, Andya bid his farewell!

Waited till about 12 at night, watching Kalyug, for mys siters phone call but that never happened!

The weekend ended at about 1am...

Well did I mention I planned to start jogging this week... well it never happened today after waking up at 9:30am! :)) hahaaha


Thursday, February 02, 2006

The soul flies free... Part 4 (Meet the lot)

Being a vagabond at heart and ever thirsty for adventure, I got the best of it all during my Paragliding course with TemplePilots. For starters the whole team one gets to interact and learn with during the course are truly down to earth and very passionate about the sport and more so even more passionate at geting their students to learn the right things!

So now lets meet this wonderful friendly team and the new student friends I made during my course:

So lets meet my instructurs!

Avi: He is one amazing personality, being an ex-Avaition pilot he holds all the knowledge and skill necessary to mentor the skill for this very wonderful sport! Loves to interact with students and holds no grudge for anything -thats the best part of him. Fun to be with and always with this Cap and smile anywhere anytime!

Anita: One electrifying personality, and definately I should say the one who gives this Paragliding club the punch line it got: The Laughing Pilots. A very sweet and friendly person. Definately luvs all sorts of aimals and laughs her gutz out at any jioke :) - Dont kill me for stating this

TJ (Tanaji) : One of the coolest of instructors I've met! I never thought of him as an instructor on the first day, simply due to his cool attitude. But definately as days went past got to see what an amazing talent skill and charisma he held towards the sport and mentoring his students for the same. An amazing person to be with!

Dhawal : Yet another cool instructor Ive ever met, from the field of space sciences -I keep calling him Rocket scientist in my grey :). A very cool dude, always ready to explain in full lengh about anything and definately a great guyto be with!

Bhola : Just as his name indicates, he very much a quiet person. A very sweet guy, and way too helpful- definately takes some time to get him comfortable with you (but one instatntly gets comfortable with him!), but once he is- there is no stopping him in mentoring you and cracking jokes.

Now Meet my fellow students!

Sachin : Always a smile on his face with his great moustache! An avid mountaineer and ohh boy an amazing person to be with. One can easily befriend him in no time, and he is like your pal for rest of the days! Says "I wana climb a mountain and paraglide off it"

Sudarshan : At first I thought of him as a serious dude, but he turned out to be way too cool and always ready with his silent humor and down to earth -friendly attitude! Very comfy to be with and very helpful indeed!

Siddharth : In his teens, still a little kid:). Very talkative and always looking around for some sort of mischief. Says "I wana be a big bully 'dada' when I grow up!" and boy! was that the topic of discussion for all time in the P1 course! But at the same time a very innocent and a strightforward guy!

Bharat: One amazing guy, always full of knowledge and queries in the field of Paragliding. Really cool to be with and a consistent smile on his face. Being experienced in this sport more than any of us students, always there to give us a helping mentor hand at geting our hands right with the rectangular kite!

Ashwini: In her teens, very much on the quiter side. Definately needs someone to cary her glider up the slope! Never eats vegetables, but talks of all sorts of things. For me it looked like she was following some sort of family tradition by geting into this Paragliding sport -here dad /sis are all pros/amateurs in this sport!

Jamshed: A cool dude- laid back attitude, no interference. But aa haan... when he talks he speaks a million words in a single line! No doubts very easy to get friendly with this marine engineer, and as days go by one of the coolest persons to be with!

Karamveer (Kams) : Another electrifying guy, he starts and you cant stop him. Just wayy too friendly and always ready with a helping hand. The best part about him- gets angry easily and gets over it in no time whatsoever! Befriended him in no time, so did anyone who is everyone!

Rahul : My coolest buddy ever since college days, just a paragraph would be injustice to describe him or let you know anything about this wacky sense of humor and very helpful with a cool atitude for anyone! Definately, you would befriend him in no time ! Just from what he said about someone quoting about him 'one gujju who spends money on such sports :))'

Visiting students/Pilots:
Jassi/Bhavna/Vivek/Iven/MR. Oak: Just an amzing bunch of people, simpy spelling the fact out loud - if anyone has the slightest doubts that they made a mistake of being here just how WRONG they were!

Meet the staff:
Arti (didi/amma) : Very sweet person, just tooo tough to find her without a smile. I bet on anything if could catch her without a smile! A very friendly person but more on the quieter side!

Loren/Rohan : Mother and son who run the Japalouppe farm! Cool people - you would never know that they are the owners for this huge farm, simply because they dont behave that way. Very cool and friendly!

Meet the pets:
Chilly/Dodo/Tylor/Simba/Floppy/(another pooch forgot his name) : A wierd set of muts, why - they look fierce but behave like a herd of sheep! VEry sweet and affectionate - so sweet that they might even give hearty wag to a thief! Always around you when u have food, always sleeping around or sunbathing and waiting to get petted at other times!

And now meet the rest from the Animal kingdom!
Horses: A pleasure for the eyes, but not so much for the ears -I never undersood till then end if those huge wierd bombarding noses were off thier mout or their backs!

Geese: Again a pleasure for the eyes - but very irritating for the ears. Keep screeching all night!

Donkey : Never got to see him clearly . But always got him in my ears- all 7 days of my course!

Cats : Something you never see at Japalouppe -I was thrilled when I saw one little timid soul sneaking at the fence!

So that how TemplePilots let me set my soul free- not just in flight but also for every moment of those 7 wonderful days!

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The soul flies free... Part 3 (In Flight)

Now that P2 course with TemplePilots was underway, the main highlight/question for all students was when do we get to take off greater heights and fly for longer periods of time!? The answer was very soon!

Day1: Wash-Out
The morning session helped us review what we had learnt in P1 and in addition to that -Reverse Kiting. The session was pretty tiring and definately fruitful!

The evening session was something we were all looking forward to - travel to Tower Hill and take off 750 feet. Before we could embark ourselves for this mission we had to learn to fly longer and better at this height- afterall we are P2 students :).

Avi explained us all about ridge soaring techinques and lots of stuff about meteorology. Its amazing how much a Pilot has to know of this stuff before actually taking off!

So we reached the Tower Hill Plateau that day, and to our disbelief the winds were raging at ~30+ kms/hr this was very bad for a student to take off. So all we could do that day was analyze the ridge in all posible ways - mark our landing area, which was away from the electric poles and watch how other experienced pilots took of the plateau that day.

Day2: Search a Site!
The morning session was again full of kiting and had 2 flights from Shinde wadi. I experimented something new at turns -weight shift turns and I enjoyed it!!!

The evening session was something very wierd! We came to the base of Tower hill but spotted other pilots heading back -again suspecting heavy winds. So then started the journey to hunt for a new site, which involved extensive travel around the Kamshet region but all in all we resorted back to Tower Hill where the winds had subsided significantly and were very suitable for Student Pilots!

So here I got to experiment my hands on a Glider-Epsilon (since my new Gin-BoleroPlus glider was forgotten back at Japalouppe) . It was forward launch and due to heavy winds I had to be quick and startoff towads the edge. The canopy was laid off at the edge, having the Prefilght checks done and a little briefing form TJ- I was given a go and off I was in 2 steps off the edge into teh void. At that very moment I remember I was transported off to my own world- all I remember is that I realised I was airborne when I heard "Take a left ..." on the radio!.

This was the plan - take as many '8' turns as posible parallel to teh ridge to gain lift and soar up higher (I guess I was up atleast 1000ft from the ground). I was thoroughly enjoying every bit of this! In sometime realised I was stationary over the Tower Hill plateau at the extreme left edge- Then I remembered that I had seen some pilots prior to take off stationary at this very point. That very moment I remembered words like 'stall' etc... Thats when I heard TJ on the radio "Take a right .. get in ... take a left... Goood". And off I was back to my '8''s . Then I was told to proceed for landing... which meant I had to start taking 'S' shaped turns and target my self to the plains down below to some field without electric wires around!. Performed some guided 'S' turns and down I was - the glider landed on its leading edge -BAD LANDING! I had not applied enough brakes to cousion the descent.

But later I realised that my flight lasted for well over 20mins! And boy was it amazinngggg!!! The thrill the exitement and the suspension into void was just working like pure ambrosia for me, it felt like I was in my own dream world... I remember looking around and down at the valley - boy was it an exhilarating feel!

The day ended with happy content pilots- who had taken off!

Day3: Inaugurate the BoleroPlus
The morning sesion was no different to the previous day's session - just that we decided to try our hands at spot landings. Its a different story that none of us except Rahul made it close to the spot!

The evening session, was something man. Avi / Goor and me were amongst the first ones to reach the plateau. I was the first one to adon Avi's harness and spread out the new Gin-BoleroPlus DHV-I rated Paraglider! Anita gave it a kiss at one end of the canopy while she asked me to do the same so I did ... Then got myself in the harness. Prefilght checks confirmed and off I was in my own world.

This time the situation was a bit different, 2 reasons the wind was somewhat uneven and I was in a new harness and felt a little uncomfortable in that. So every jerk, shake and swirl I felt got all the little bubbles and rumbles shaking hard in my stomach. I was scared! But still I did very confident left and right weight shift turns! This was amazing! Then I remember , I went to teh extreme left end of the ridge and then a quick right 180 deg. turn and the speed happened to slow down all of a sudden. Knowing not what to do in such a situation- I slightly twitched the A-raisers and got the glider to move ahead, later I was told by Avi that in in-experience never ever do that also that the glider I was flying was an extremly safe glider.

Later as I headed for my descent - I head from TJ "start a right ..." I was surprised and he made me take a the right for a complete 360 deg turn - later I realised that I was in a thermal and he was trying to gain me some lift! Amazing!!!!.

On the way down, again the same old storly the glider went plop on its leading edge but to add for the failure the winds were at 0 kmph! This is not a reason for me not to land right- should have held the bakes in multi loops -this was something I learnt in the debrief!

Day4: Potatoes falling off the sky!
The morning session was again a repeat whrein I won the spot landing competition flying the Ariea Med. Paraglider. The kiting session that followed was just too good for 2 reasons :
1. I had to do as much as I could since this was the last day
2. Got very confident and did some advance reverse kiting techniques!

The evening session was something everyone was exited about , but this time we were surprised to see just Dilip Kotecha(the Paragliding chap representing india) alone at the plateau doing noting but lying down. All this since there was absolutely no winds atop, if there was some it would be South or West but never East! So this gave us enough time to play around joke have fun and photo-sessions! Later the wind picked up slightly and we decided to get off the edge!

Me again was the first one to take off in the BoleroPlus! Since there were no winds I had to run quiete a bit before takeoff to get the right lift - it was a cool takeoff. But this time, since the wind conditions were not all that strong -barely 15kmph I /anyone could not comple an '8' . Just at the end of the '8' I was descending. The only portions I was geting a lift was above a little hilloc I kept flying above(the very same region I caught a thermal). But yes this time I happened to do some mischief and went way off to the right much beyond the outher limits before TJ yelled into the radio "RIght RIGHTTT... what are u doing man... " -well it was not mischief just that I was in the moment and aura of flight! So then started the 'S' turns , Gauged my flight lookng at the wind-sock far below -this was a bad illusion wherethe windsock indicated west-wards winds and it appeard east to me ... Took a twist of brakes in my had and slowed my descent but somehow nothing seemed to slow it any firthur and I repeated what I had done the earlier day -BAD LANDING "Your glider went bummp ... shame on you" thats what I heard on the radio.

I was ashamed at myself for not landing right- untill later when Bhola came upto me and said "I though all of u had left, the wind is going in the opposite direction!" "Ahhhh..." or so I tought just about when I noticed all fellow pilots following me were coming down the sky and falling potatoes let loose off the sky "slopppp... plooop .. daaadd.. scuuurrr.."

So for the last 3 pilots we- unfortunate bad landing pilots- kept yelling off our throats ... wind is in the opposite direction. .. pointing westwards... Some did benifit .. other did not undersand and went PLOPPP... :)

So in and all it was an amazing experience to fly around and gain the confidence and understand the mistakes and knowing what went wrong and why it happened so!! -Thats more important thanhaving an all correct very safe perfect flight! -Afterall we are students not experts!

Now I dunno when I shall return back for this high, but I hope it happens soon!

Now I am standing in this crouching position - hands ahead gripping something and pulling back , hands go up and I face up and let go . My hands in a cross-ish position and my hips swaying side to side... :) Trrying to balance something what I am staring at!

Alas... my sessions are over...

nJoy the Pictures

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The soul flies free... Part 2 (Reverse Kiting)

The P1 couse with TemplePilots did leave its footprint hard on my path and I had to - just had to attend the second course -the P2 level. Its a different story that if I do my certification immediately or not - but had to fly higher and get comfy with that reverse kiting thingy and at the same time I desperately wanted to get back in a harness and pull the glider up above my head and run off the edge!

It was happy smiles and "hey yo ..." to be back at Japalouppe farms and make new friends -fellow students. The main focus point for the P2 course was reverse kiting and soaring techniques -especially ridge soaring!

The first session was pretty quick with all us students making all kinds of mistakes trying to reverse kite the glider, but in the coming days and by the last day I was very -very much comfortable with it, so much so that I could judge the direction in which I wanted to walk with the glider -uphill downhill sideways! It was mindblowing -the feeling u get when u pull the A-raiser towards you and then a force goes up with the glider as u control it, then let both your hands free once the canopy is up and u start controling the energy held by this plastic cloth - it looks like some wierd dance move. I thouroughlly enjoyed every bit of it! I still now a days -unknowingly - stand and get in that crouching position and start gripping and pulling in something towards me then let my hands go up -face up ,then release what I held -open my palms and get my hands up in a cross-ish position and start swaying my hips sideways:)).

Thats reverse kiting... something I really loved in this P2 session! And every instructor was there with me in this - and a big thanks and hats off to each and everyone (Avi / Anita / Dhawal / TJ / Bhola / Bharat) who helped me achive it to near comfort confidence and some perfection!

What really helped me learn this new kiting skill was, when I had to assist one of my fellow students -Goor - to reverse kite and he kept doing all sorts of mistakes and I kept correcting him the very same way my instructors did for me! This was one hevean of a learning experience, and helped me pump in greater levels of confidence in kiting the glider more comfortably!

Apart from the 750ft takeoffs, Reverse Kiting definately was one of the main and most important of all highlights in this P2 course!

Needless to say I ended the course with more tighter bonds with everyone whome I met anew and the ones I already knew!

Hats off to all !

Stay tuned to hear/read more about he 1000ft+ flights! :)

till then nJoY the Pictures

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The soul flies free... Part 1 (A fresh new lesson)

Paratech ... Airea .... Epsilon .... Gin-BloeroPlus....
Confused haan... :) dont be these are the those meters of traslucent plasticish cloth material with meters of kevlar strings that let one to be suspended mid air in a comfortable sitting position in something called a harness!

Paragliding its called....

In the last month, I have done 2 of these courses the beginners and the novice level. Let me tell you the first couple of days is not at all easy with the Paraglider, inflating it - running around with it - killing/ deflating it all this on a slope: up and down for 2 -3 hours straight in 2 sessions per day! But yes with determination and conviction to get my hands and soul right for this sport, picked up the things pretty well! All thanks to TemplePilots : Avi/Anita/TJ/Dhawal and Bhola !

The first flight - this happened in a hop :) (A hop is something where u run with the glider then brake and get lifted (hop) and debrake continue running and the process goes on..). I was running down this slop at Shinde Wadi with Dhawal instructing me and pusing me as I ran -Avi and Anita watching me closely from the distant Wind sock, then came this little ditch so I applied a little brakes and thre I was in flight for a couple of seconds "RELEASE THE BRAKES... RELEASE IT.. ITNA NAHI!!!!!!" Dhawal kept shouting, until later -when I was off my little happy light headed dream world- that I realised I was braking too much and I released it slowly and continued running and hopping and controling the glider. "That was verry good Vinod...
U dont look like a first timer with the glider..." said Anita and Avi nodded in agreement and I (dunno how) had my 32 sparkling teeth shining off my drenched and dripping helment and face, nodded in content -"YEah... :) thank you.. "

The first true flight- This was again at Shinde Wadi in my beginners level training, I was awarded the Paratech glider- since thats the one that closely matched my weight. So up we pilots trekked Shinde wadi with me being the restless first one to get off for the flight. TJ
confirmed my Pre-fligh checks and I was ready to forwad lauch downwards towards where Avi and Anita were standing. Surprisingly I was feeling a little shaky pre lauch- later all my instrauctors confirmed that it just normal :D. So TJ said "just keep pulling, when
I say release -release and pull a little brakes and run... just follow my instructions closely and react fast.. OK". I was a little shaky and conveyed the same to him .. he said "dont wory .. just follow my instrauctions. So TJ held my straps and was standing in a pulling position while I stood in a crouching running position. "OK ... ready ... GOOO.. run..." I ran and thats when I felt the sheer power of the pictureless invisible gust of Air as it pushed hard against the glider and we - TJ and me - had to put in quiet some effort to get it up. "RELEASE!!!!" shouted TJ... just as instatntly I released the A-Raisers , "Pull brakes..." I pulled in lightly at the brakes , "RUNNN runnn runnn..." And I ran frantically towards the edge which was just some 5 steps away ... but it seemed to take me forever to get there with the pulling force behind me. In no time my legs kept wagging and had no ground below- I was airbone! "Start Left..." said TJ - I started the Left turn... "Ok Vinod relax and njoy your flight..." said Avi. Thats when I looked around to see the distant horizon and the tekdi behind me I took off from and the ground wayy below me some 200ft away. Then when I saw Avi near the Wind sock "Ok Vinod start your right turn ..." so now I was nearing the left end of the tekdi and I had to steer right... "More right ... more right... Goood..." and made a successfull right turn as I was loosing altitude. and now I kept gliding straight in towards Avi/Anita And Bhola. "Prepare for landing ... pull your brakes... start running..." And in no time I felt the usual sensation of ground below my feet and I ran forward and turned around and killed /deflated the glider (Though it was not that successfull a deflation -it was good for my first flight!). "Excelllent Vinoodd!!!" Shouted Anita, as Bhola assisted me in musrooming and packing the canopy. Avi came in and congradulated on my first successful
flight - followed by a few pictures!

These were the initial flights from my P1 course that got me confidence and the right attitude for all the forthcoming flights!

Till then nJoY these snaps

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Let there be light

Blog Blog Blog.... what is this ???
So thought maybe I should push myself in this direction.

I dont gurantee any good listing or great posts, but again u never know
I am full of- Me too I tend to amaze myself at times!

So let me open my doors to the Blogging World!