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, July 31, 2006

Eventful weekend

Omkara was a movie that seemed to be "different", from the existing loosers. So we office buddies went over to E-square, to get entertained by bald UP characters. "Bewakuuf aur chutiye mein dhaage bhar ka farak hota hai....". No noo this is not what I believe in, its the first dialog of the movie u hear in Saif's accented voice on a blank screen. So thats the simple defination of this Hindi version of Shakespear's classic - Othello. Content over the climatic teaser the week came to an end.

Saturday(29th July) turned out be an unexpected eventful day. I was supposed to be on a trek to "VairatGad" and "Pandavgad", but for the fact that I could not get up early I had to drop out. Still I wanted to trek on this amazing dark and cool day, so Nilesh and me decided to trek up Sinhagad. The weather was wonderful, and the drive cool and amazing.

Unfortunately the roads we had to drive through were not very pleasant. Bridges were overflowing, the neighbouriong field were overflowing on the road, the countless ditches were full of water. There were ponds every way on the road! Finally driving through the "river-tar-bed" (considering the fact that road was no more than a water collection), we arrived at the base of Sinhagad and reverse parked near the temple.

I must say I was out of shape, we had to take nearly 2 halts or so. The hike/climb was, as always, amazing. All greneery everwhere with waterfalls all around. Finally we were atop in within an hours time. Nilesh commented "We easily lost 2 kgs dude" :).

Atop we regained those 2 kgs over 5 bhakris pitla and 3 plates of bhajjis and tea. The climate was awsome. One could not see the valley around as we were walking in clouds, and what made the terrain eeiry was the consistant wind that keps lashing around!

In about one hours time we decided to descend, it was roughly 6:30pm by the time we came to the start of descent. A quick pace got us back to the car in about half an hours time. Here we noticed a flat front left tyre. All I could picture was the repair shop where I had to fix the tyre.

We decided to replace the stephany wheel before changing over to dry clothes. To our horror the wrench would not easily fix itself to the screw, to loosen it. Every time we got it in the groove it would take ages just to screw it around or even geting it out of the hole! So roughly over an hour of stupid madness -and curious onlookers (villagers)- finally got the wheel off and the stephany wheel on. And another extra 10minutes of re-muscling to verify the screws were tightly bolted to the wheel.

Now we were content that all was ok, so we changed over to dry clothes in the temple and finally hopped into the car for a happy drive back. Mithun and Shatrugan dialogs made up for this leg, which came to a screeching end.

I was very slow at driving this time, not more than 10kmph! In 15 minutes on the dark narrow road we decided to recheck all the wheels for any punctures, so Nilesh hopped off and did a quick scan and gave the green signal. So we drove on.

In about 2 minutes I noticed a slight wobble and the steering wheel kept shaking rigourously on its own. Initially I though it was the bad road that led to this condition. Soon we could also hear some wierd noises, so we stoped and got out, and to our horror 2 screws were missing (allen off) from the front left wheel and the remaining 2 were loose.

It was a horrible situation to be in: 1. The wrench is bad 2: 2 screws missing 3: we were in the middle of nowhere 4: we were bang in the middle of the narrow road (and we just let a bus go to the village in the opposite direction, so it would sure return soon!). We thought fast and decided to quicky tighten the screws again.

We tightened one and decided to remove the second screw and put it in the hole adjacent to teh one we tightened- that way we would have a more stable wheel. But this we had to do without the jack, since that would eat time and also come up as a quick fix! The screw did come off but it would not go back in. Well we somehow managed to make it go halfway inside but now the wrench got stuck in the darn groove! We could see a high bright beam approching towards us from the bend behind- it was the bus! So we muscled and tussled and got the wrench off some how. The bus stopped behind us, and we took the vehicle to a side very slow and let the vehicle pass.

This time an M80 was coming down the opposite direction, so we enquired with him if a mechanic's shop was nearby. He said it was just about 5 minutes away. Soon we tightened the screw as much as we could and drove on very slow and steady ahead, and soon post some enquiries spotted the mechanics garage.

On requestes, he(the mechanic) reopened his shop and fixed the screws in tight, they still were way too loose! He also afixed in an extra long screw(since he did not have one that macthed the ones the car had) in another groove just in case. He was stunned at the fact, how we could even manage to get our wrench into those little holes. But we knew what we had been through.

Finally thanking him we left and drove back home- safe. It was roughly 10:30pm when we were back. This day was truly an eye-opener. All the food we had atop had been totaly used up musceling over the wheel and wrench.

Sunday went by cool- we had lunch at one of the dining halls and drove off to khadakwasala. It was a good drive and an amazing site of Khadakwasla! All mechanic shops were closed, so I could not purchase a new wrench or even get the tyre fixed.

Today we (dad and me) decided to take the vehicle for servicing (appointement on thursday) and get all the issues with the car sorted out!


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Adobe to the Rescue

Office planned to ensure a lot of work, but with the ongoing release celebrations and rampant holidays, "work" just seemed to work as a past time in the overburdened spree of past-time activities and the likes.

We did have enough fruitless discussions over the oncoming "work" activities for the forthcoming releases, but effortlessly sacked them to the backyard.

In these "flurry" of events, everyone had their own way of keeping themselves occupied, may it be from my group or others. Some engaged in searching for lands and plots for investment purposes, using the ever friendly and extremely infections "Google Earth", some used this time to get back to their last family lives, some engaging in "mission" activities, others found peace in strengthening their financial image and technical skills on freelancing.

For me it was a little of all and getting back to one of my much liked hobby and activity- Art. Well now that I live in the computer era and a so called geek by standards (and my hairstyle), and that painting dubs and finger sketching in he office spelt odd, computer generated art seemed to rhyme perfect.

I could have got down to generating 3D landscapes and sceneries through code, but that did not guarantee any completion since I could be whisked off my carpet anytime into "work world". Tool-based image generation, animation etc. was the only way to get around it.

Adobe Photoshop, Corel Photopaint/Draw, Paintshop, Gimp etc. were a few image processing, generation tools I was pretty much well versed with ever since my college days. Overtime, due to availability and ease, I got more and more attached and comfortable with Adobe. Not that- others are bad, just that my office owned a legal copy of Adobe and I had hardly ever worked on the other softwares since college days.

There was another reason for my affinity towards image processing. I was always (and am still) a great fan of computer generated graphics- may it be games, movies, 3d models you name it I love it!

Back when I was in 7th grade (1990), I had frequent visits to Mumbai (nearly once in 3 weeks) and stay at my Aunt's place. They had this 386 computer. It was one of the costliest and most expensive machines at that time. For me it was always the DOS based game-station for the "Prince" or "cat" game. I always wondered how these images came up on screen and performed stuff commanded through the keyboard. I issued this "type" command on the "prince.exe" file once, and saw all those smiling faces and weird Aztec characters on screen, and wondered is that what they call computer language- a language that’s very much different from english and much an upcoming field. Is that what they teach in those "new" computer academies- the language of smiling faces and Aztec characters! I relished imagining myself coding Faces and Aztec on a "bulb monitor" and generated a game in which a person looking like "the prince" had a rifle and shot some birds from the tree. I knew I had to do something in the field of computers. That’s how I landed up in the course of Computer Engineering- in envy for graphics and its likes.

That was the very reason I always wanted to do a project based on computer graphics for my engineering course. I never, for some reason was deeply attracted towards images or their processing activities. Not that I hated it, it sure was one of my likable topics. The topics I loved the most were also amongst the topics I learnt (syllabus/course wise) the least- Graphics, D.S.P., image processing. My technical presentation (as part of the final course) involved a topic on "Virtual reality", while doing this I learnt how the world of computer rendered graphics, image processing sub-systems, video and sound processing all worked hand-in-hand to create the perfect user experience.

User experience, this was something no one at college level would even ever bother about. That's why I guess, its one of the many reasons why subjects like Software engineering are amongst the least likable and most mug-able. But in course of researching "Virtual reality", I got a hint of what user experience would mean, if not in totality.

The engineering project we (me and my two counterparts- Mangesh and Sandeep) finally had to settle for was in the area of Text Recognition (OCR- Optical Character Recognition). This topic dealt with the fundamentals of image processing, the subject we knew nothing about (that’s the very reason why it turned out to be one of the most exiting subjects we ever learnt in our four years of engineering course). Everyone in this group had little or more knowledge about image processing tools mentions earlier, which made it even more exiting to implement those tool-effects using our very own lines code on to images. What added 3 cheers to our project was - A MAIL.

Everyone would have played the game of DOOM and QUAKE. One of the creators and masterminds behind the free flowing graphics for these games was Michael Abrash. We knew we had to ask him or take some advice from him about our project, picked up his mail-id from one of his books -"The Graphics Programming Black Book". No one expected a reply, considering the fact that he would be a big personality after the release of these games. But within a few hours we got a mail from the man himself. He said he had not much knowledge in the field of image processing, but pointed us to some resouces (user groups) in the same field, and bid us his well wishes in the success of our project. That was enough to move on this project, with amazing guidance from Dr. Sampath- our project guide, to successful completion.

Now you know I am very much a computer graphics geek. And yes back in engineering days, by friends recognized me as one of "The Graphics Man". I always loved "Graphics" and my name/nick "Vindy" taken side-to-side.

But as things had it, I have never done one piece of Graphics coding or activity as part of my six year professional experience. Sure, I would engage in graphic coding or image-tool endeavors just to keep my spirits high.

Now that’s what I had to do in this time of "past-times". Adobe came to the rescue. Photo enhancements and basic filter effects were not alien to me, but none of the filters advanced filters confluence was of clear knowledge. This is where the various communities Eg. Orkut etc. came to the rescue offering a range of e-books and the internet world presented an array of sites, that had step to step and crystal clear explanation of the various filter effects and their confluence.

What the image variations filter meant was a self learnt course for me. But getting at par with Layers with color variation, curves, hues, contrast, brightness etc. overlays was made clear through a couple of tutorials. Filter management using a conjunction Clouds, Difference Clouds, lens flares, ripple, chrome, dust. glowing edge etc. effects led to an array of outstanding images that at one time seemed to me was only possible by through complex computer code execution (Sure the tool it self is a piece of code, but what I imagined was- it was possible only though hours of complex instructions and execution).

Ponds, wonder clouds, matrix style, backlight, old photo-type backlights, fantabulous text effects and many effect generations became clearer and clearer to me though its repeated use.

For me, now, gimme a photo and its just as effortless and easy to understand what sort of effects are to be driven into the image to give it that weird and amazing look :).


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Biking through the greens -Tahmani

Ajay was totally bored and frustrated in the past week and desperately wanted to get off somewhere. We had decided and finalised on Torna for Saturday. But Ajay was tired from office and me from my ThoseGhar trip and Aniket was ready for anything. So we finalised on Mulshi-Tahmani Ghat.(15th July '06)

Plan was to meetup at Ajay' place at roughly 11:30am but as things ahad it, all three of us were there at around 12:15 and post cooking chonicles departed at 1:15. This was supposed to be a bike trip as against the usual car cruise. Andya's bike was mine for today.

So we reached Chandani Chowk at roughly 1:30 and continued to cruise off at a very sluggish pace of 30 -40 kmph. But since the surroundings were great and the armosphere was chill and dull we enjoyed moving forward at a slow pace. Soon we went past Manali resorts and past the Pirangut ghat.

Here we took our pre-planned halt at "Shree Paad Snacks". Bhajji's and tea was on the menu here. Chitting chatting and eating and drinking was done in about 1/2 hour! Well the drive continued as went at slow speeds, and when the roads got straight kicked off at break-a-neck speeds of over 90kmph!

The road went from the one village to another and as soon as we crossed "Poud", the shades of green got rich and the distant mountains seemed incomplete under the white cotton clouds. Soon we reached "Mulshi", where we took a halt and spent some time looking around the shallow valley.

The drive continued as we drove along the Mulshi lake. The rain gods would sprinkle some drops every now and then. The drive would get slow and slower to the rich surroundings. Soon we spotted a beach down to our right at a road bend next to a "caution" board.

Here we parked our vehicles and decended on the banks of Mulshi. The water was amazing, the distant surrounding was awsome and the weather was just too georgeous! Here we spent quiet some time yapping and dancing around the lake.

We continued on from here as the road twisted and turned through the green surrounding and over little bridges. May it be my delink from driving a two-wheeler or the fact that Andya was taking snaps and capturing videos from behind or the fact that we were engulfed in the beauty of mother nature, most of the times Ajay would be far ahead and would be waiting at amazing spots for us to catch on.

Enroute D gave a lift to a school kid on his way back. This kid's school was over 5 kms away from his vilage and we learnt if he would not get an ST bus some day, he would walk those 5 kms! Amazing! Well we dropped him off at the Lonavla road juncture as we continued on to the hights of Tahmani ghat.

As the mountains drew close and the roads went curling through narrow bends the might beauty and mystical of mother nature was up in full thrust. Soon we reached the valley point. Here we spent some time along side the valley and and lost in the beauty of the distant green valley.

Moving on the rains caught up and we took every shade along side the road for shelter. Every halt was mesmerizing as it would open up to the jungle inside. But we had to go upto Dongarwadi so we fought brave in resisting such temptations.

Soon the mountains and the jungle gave way as we reached the high point of Tahmini Ghat -Dongarwadi as the valley dropped off to the right and the hills to the distant right behind little green plateaus. Here we took another halt as were stood mesmerised in a picture perfect potrait view!

From here we just went a little ahead near the Tata power water project, spent some time in the green field and playing alongside the pipes. Here we turned back.

Andya wanted the bike so, I surrrendered the Pulsar as I took on D's Victor as he became the pilon rider for Andya. The drive back was also mystical but quick. On the way we decided to halt, from where we ventured on into the plane and along side a little river as we walked up and down little hilocks. Soon we returned as we had to head back, the clock ticked near 4:30pm.

On the way we halted at a hotel and muched on roti pitla and mutter paneer and cups and cups of tea. Here a couple of irritating drunks were on a loose as they well managed to spoil the mood, but they were done soon and we were back to our own track:)

From here we drove on as the rains picked up and we had to take frequent halts as the cold was unbarable. For now D was behind me. We rehalted at the mulshi turn and braved on in the cold and rains. soon the rains gave way as we dorve off Mulshi, D and me singing our hearts out all the way.

We rehalted at "Shree Paad", had some tea and moved on. D reclaimed his bike and me Andya's. At Chandani Chowk, we bid D farewell as we headed back home.

It was 8:30 by the time we reached home.

Enjoy the snaps!


ThoseGhar chalo...

Office decided to throw us a treat at Manali resorts on a friday (14th Jul '06) for completion of one of the major releases. I was least bothered, so finally after lots of yes's and no's we (Sheetal,Piyush,Sanjay,Biraja and myself) drove off to Satara at around 12:30 in the afternoon.

It took ages for us to get out of Pune city, considering the heavy traffic! Once out we were stuck at Katraj Ghat. Pune just seemed to tell us "Dont go guyz.. get you a$$'s back to Manalki resorts!". Well eventually we went by the ghat and drove on the smooth road to Satara.

Enroute we halted at our favourite Hotel Natraj for some quick snaks. No one wanted to eat anything much. So idlis,wadas tea was the menu for this halt. Well we also packed ourselves enough food stuffs- chivda, bread-butter and biscuits from office :).

The drive continued stright on, it was an amazing cruise. Straight roads, just blundered here and there a little or by the toll plaza at Khambatki and one for Satara Road. First came Khambatki ghat, here we took quiet a few halts being mesmerised in teh the sroundings and walking along the Ghat paraphet walls, and clicking some idiotic snaps :D.

Soon enough we decided to hit Satara stright with no halts. The drive was straight and smooth. I even touched 140kmph without realizing any of it. Soon we saw the board to Satara city which bifurcated down to the left and turned to teh right under the highway and went through a green cover to the city of Satara.

Post some enquiries we landed up bang in the heart of the city. Satara city is a well developed city I must admit. So we drove on the stright narrow road and went right to the base of "Fort Ajinkyatara" from here we took a right and drove on and left under a tunnel and then right ,as the dive continued with teh valley to our left and the hill faces opening up every now and then to the right.

This was an amzing stretch of dive. Sanjay rightly put it as he went "Arrey yaar .. kya hai yaar... grreen, green green green..." and couldnt find a full-stop haha. Here we took enough halts as we dove past "SajjanGad" to our right. We could easily spot distant forts. The road was in excellent conditions, just a few places, where dirtly landsides which occured in the near past were crudly covered.
In a distance we could spot the "Suslon" windmills from "Chalkewadi" hidden under the lowlying dark clouds. On enquiries we learnt that a very distant waterfall that we could spot was the ThoseGhar waterfall! It seemed to be far far away. But again the drive was so smooth and entertaining we reached there pretty soon. The time was near 4 pm.

The road took a left where it went into an open ground with some parked vehicles and a little hut shop. On enquiries we learnt the path to the falls was stright ahead from behind the shop. So with enthusiasm to get drenched in the thick waterfalls we marched pretty brisk. The path was nothing but just a fleet of steps that went curling down and eventually landed upon a platform at the edge of a valley , which was some 300+ meters from ground below.

There were 4 waterfalls, 3 from the right and one to the left. The left one and one of the right ones were amongst the thickest. But yes we were dejected for the fact that we could not go to the falls. Well post some photographic moments we went up the steps and decided to venture forth to a some trails that led to the left.

Soon post some hiking, we were bang at the start the thick right waterfall. We sprinted to the edge of the gushing water and spent some quality time here! Every pose mandated a photo :). Well after enjying ourselves to the fullest and missing some close calls of being swept away, we ventured on furthur along the path that went over a green plain and hit the road onto a bridge.

So here we spent some time, Piyush and myself ran down to the bank of the gushing river and sat on some rocks and clicked some quick snaps. I loved teh climb to the rock I climed! Soon we decided to head back to the hut shop have some food and retreat, as it was geting late and Biraja was in a hurry.

Non-veg and veg thallis were ordered here, as we discovered that a leech was running on a full stomach off Biraja's ankle. Well a group of people helped cool the tensed Biraja down and kill the leach. Well it was not bad just that some of the "Bad Blood" was off :).

Post lunch/dinner whatever, we decided to leave and head back. The drive went from dusk to dark as we drove through Satara city and eventually hit the highway. Enroute we halted at one of the hotels/"Dhabba" for tea. Something struck us, and we desperately wanted to buy the "Altaf Raja" cassette! But to our bad omen it was not available.

The drive then went via Katraj Ghat me overtaking all slow coaches in the face of high beams and high speed roosters in the opposite direction. No one dared wink an eye inside. It was roughly 9:30 pm by the time we reached office.

It was an awsome day - and awsome private release party ;)

Enjoy the snaps!


Thursday, July 13, 2006

In company of Prasad

Last weekend, Pune was shot by riots. Who cares, Prasad was in from Ratnagiri and we 12th buddies planned a meetup.

Fun and Play:
Saturday evening, Prasad, Andya, Nilu and me were chatting our guts out over many things. The venue was our very own adda Rutuja. Rutuja has changed since the last 12 years. They have this concrete floor and now a not so parlor'ish sitout. Well the discussions went from what everyone was upto and planning a re-trip down to Ratnagri in the peak of monsoons.

It was around 9pm when Pritam teamed in as we left Rutuja. We decided to go for dinner somewhere at Chandani Chowk. So we reached the distant hotel of "Khana Peena Jeena". Nice place, it was all cloudy and cold but just a few drizzles here and there. We kept cursing Andya for not geting his camera and had to suffice on his mobile cam :).

The talks went from all range of topics... we even got down to one of our favourite 11th std. pasttimes rating the opposite sex :). It was fun trust me! Andya got a little drunk over his sip of vodka, kept smiling all the time. It was a pleasure to have the great Mr. Pritam, for the fact that he is such a rare appearence.

Prashant contacted Nilu as we dined, and boy was it a surprise for all to talk to the guy from the land of Uncle Sam. We joked over the waiter having us order out grub soon, as the kitchen closes at 11pm. So we joked over the fact that our wallets too close after 11pm! :)

Well it was roughly 11:30pm as we left the hotel all stuffed and happy over everything. The drive back was very smooth through the quiet city streets.

I luved Prasad's dialog at his gate- there was this cow and a calf sleeping along side a visitors parking near a colony in the MIT suroundings, Prasad says "Cows bhi samjte yaar -visitors parking kya hota hai!".. it was coool

We decided to meetup on Sunday(next day) at around 11am at Nilesh's new house.

Riots and Tranquility:
Sunday morning: Prasad, Andya and me drove down to Wanovari to Nilesh's new house. Nilu said he had to go out for some last minute new-house ganapati visarjan and stuff, so we lazed in the empty furnished house. I was particularly sleepy over the fact that I had stayed up last night to watch Portugal's defeat to the Germans. Well everyone was sluggish and running on a bad stomach. So we put Nilu's new w/c to a complete stress test and gave it the O.K. ranking! :).

Nilesh was back, and we decided to have lunch at some place- We decided on Mathura at JM. road. Just then Pritam called in to give us the news that riots had broken out in Pune near the Alka Chowk (Near my house!). Well post assurences from everyones parents over the mobile we drove on to Mathura, just to find its front shutter closed, as JM road bore a wierd deserted look. But still the dining hall behind was overfull, and we got our place in the front room as we made our way in through the kitchen.

Overfull souls left Mathura at about 2:30 in the afternoon as we planed our way for a movie or shop around. But all shops, malls, theaters and multiplexes were closed with riot police standing with their protruding bellies at every nook and corner. This is the first time I had actually seen riot police in Pune!

So we decided to have a break somewhere on the outskits of the city. Simple choice- Kanifnath. The fuel incdicator was low, but we managed to spot one of the political petrol pumps open to fuel in some gas. The drive was excellent as we dove away from the city into the mountain greens.

At Bhopdev ghat we stopped at a preplanned halt, just that here we decided to venture to one of the plateaus in the near vicinity. Trek and hike in the cool wet and dark clouded surroundings was amazing!

The hike was refreshing and very soon we reached the edge of teh plateau which was littered with rocks, as we spotted a shepard from a near by village overlooking his sheep. So we spent some quality time seated on the rocks and let the O2 energize our dead veins. This is when I recalled- nike would be atop Torna!

In about an hours time we decided to head back and complete the drive to Kanifnath. Poor Pritam had to keep his shop closed due to the riots and miss this amazing trip at the same time :(. Well we reached our car and drove on till Kanifnath and spent some time chattering around at the open plateau surrounded with littered hills, mountains, fields and valleys.

Post some photography and chito-chat and tea we descended back to the vehicle. The drive back was cool but also we were tired. Soon we reached Nilu's house from where 2 cars went back to Nilu's current place at Netaji Nagar. There we were treated with amazing tea and snacks as we watched some portion of the movie "The Terminal" over Nilu's new video player.

Soon we dediced to call it a day and end of all adventures and retire back home (I was the culprit for this full stop- as all I could spot was the bed and a warm rug! :) ). So we drove back as Prasad confirmed his travel tickets back to Ratnagiri. All along the various spots of the road we saw littered glass pieces- just a remindal that riots were underway and probabbly over, since many shutters were opening up.

Finally dropped Prasad home as we (Andya and me) headed back home. Bid my farewells to Andya as I settled down to watch France's defeat to Italy and Ziddane head-butt Materazzi!

Btw. the highlight of this entire meetup was.. MY HAIR!!!! :)
Enjoy the pics [1] [2].

Monday, July 03, 2006

A break to Tikkona.

The rains are now on a full throttle. The rains that started on Friday have sortof taken a pause today on Monday. Saturday went pretty fine, lazing all day and cheering the non-favorites in the game of Football. I was extremely happy over the fact that Portugal and France made it to the semi's.

Nilesh called me on Saturday, asking me to plan a trip. So for Sunday I was all ready for one.

Day (2nd July) started at 10am with Nilu's call, then at around 11:30am I left home. The rains were continuous but not that heavy, but definitely enough to make me restless and not-be-a-couch-potato!

So picked up Nilu at about 12 and off we drove towards KatrajPhata deciding on Tikona /Sinhagad /Tahamani Ghat. Well we finalized on Tikona (2 reasons - it would'nt be crowded and is not all that far!). The drive was smooth and the view was bad due to the heavy downpour as we drove off the pre-expressway towards Dehu road.

From there we drove on via Japalloupe and towards Kamshet village from where we took a left towards tower hill and on in via the narrow road into the hilly terrain. Everything was green and the distant mountains were invisible as the rains were lashing in as though they were on a roll! Soon we started ascending via Bhor ghat (yes there is a Bhor ghat here as well!).

Here we took a halt near a little temple amidst the road to enquire for directions. So we had to drive on straight towards the Pavna dam then take a right and then a left for TikonaPeth (the base village). So on we went.

This was one amazing drive, at times driving under the thick clouds then at-times under a tree cover but all time the rains were lashing in pretty hard. Every few minutes we would ask for directions from the locals to learn that we were in the right path. On the final inquiry we were directed into a kuccha path to the left next to a temple to park our vehicles.

Unfortunately we had no cameras, mine was totally washed out. :-(. So pic's here are from one of my previous treks.

I had been to this place and recognized a bus stop. But no sight of Tikona, it was hidden in the clouds. So quickly taking the necessary stuff in my bag off we went into the rain on our venture towards Tikona.

We walked over some dirt path, via a few settlements then on a broad path that led towards the left edge of the hill fort. We were on the right path. The path was all dirty and mushy. Tyre trails could easily be spotted here. The path went on and on, eventually we were walking along the left side of Tikona. We kept walking and the walk seemed endless.

May be it was overconfidence, I suggested we just keep going and relied on my numb memory to find the right intrusion path off the dirt track towards the trail that leads up. In no time I was sure we walked too far, for the fact that the Tikona hill came to an end where the path bifurcated to the left via a pass towards some "Gurdwara"(a name plate read so). So we backtracked and this time inquired at one of the houses, where a gentle lady instructed us to take a right near a huge tree.

So we did that and went in (well we took an early right and walked towards the tree) and eventually were on the correct zigzag trail that went up. The climb was pretty gradual initially and suddenly went steep up. The path was all covered in thick foliage. I could easily realize that it had been a long time since I trekked. Anyways on we went and within 15 minutes (as predicted by the lady) we were up. :)

From here behind lay the steep path that went up, ahead a valley and Koraigad in a distance which was very blur behind clouds (so Ambey valley was hidden too), to the left was a path that went some where (we decided to take this path for the descent) an to the right the path went gradually up towards the fort and "Ballekilla".

The climb was gradual, as we went over a well-marked trail over the green ground :). The path circled via a rock and in no time we entered the first "Dwar/Door". The path went on through some thick vegitation that eventually led to a "taki/water reservoir" and a cave lay behind that. We took some time out at the cave. Relished on chikkis and made some phone calls.

In about 20 minutes we left this cave and went up towards Ballekilla. The climb was steep via stone steps. In less than 5 minutes we were up, and in a minute or so through another little climb we were at the top most point of Tikona next to the flag post. Atop there was this Shiv-temple, which seemed to have been recently renovated.

Here we sat at the edge of the mountaintop in awe of the white clouds around that gave us absolutely no views :) (hahaha). But it felt cool. We decided to descend. The time was roughly 4 pm. A quick descent and a few little halts later we came to the spot from where came the path we had decided to take down. So on we went on that path. The trail went straight over the hill and then a sudden zigzag descent to the road that had the "Gudwara" bifurcation. We were down in about 10 minutes.

From here we had a monotonous walk via the bifurcation (with the board) then on via the left edge of the hill fort then on towards the temple where the car was parked. Here we changed over to dry clothes in the temple and finally bid TikonaPeth goodbye. The time was about 5:30pm.

We decided to drive towards the Tung side and return via Lonavala (I really did not want to go back the same path!). So on we drove till we spotted this board that held a direction towards Paud (17 kms), we took that. From here the drive was amazing, which offered beautiful views with distant low-lying clouds and a beautiful surrounding. The water went flowing over the road as waterfalls from the hills on the roadside and at times the farms along the road spilt the water on the road. This was an amazing drive.

Soon we reached Paud village, taking a left here we drove on towards "Pirangut". There Nilu suggested we have food at one place where they serve amazing "bhajjis". So we halted at this place called "SriPadh Snacks". Here we relished on amazing bhajjis, wada-paa , misalpav and chaay!

The rest of the drive went via Chandani chowk then via null stop to my house. Here mom re-treated us with and bhajjis and Indian cut cakes post which I dropped Nilu back to his house. It was about 9pm by the time I came back.