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, August 21, 2006


The car had issues so it had to be re-serviced. Getting up at 7:30 in the morning is no silly joke on a working day! Well so with soggy red eyes and a heavy head I managed to get all the rituals complete and was able to present myself at the service station by 9:15am. So now that the car was delivered, I had an option to take a rickshaw or the walk.

Office was near 5kms from this place, so I decided to walk partway. The roads were riddled with puddles and potholes, now that’s not an unfamiliar site for the Punekars. The walk was pretty tiring, for 2 reasons I guess
1. I was on a trek 2 days back (MakrandGad)
2. I was out of shape :)

Perspiration kept a moist layer on my hairy face. I had walked a few times home from this route recently, but for some reason this felt different. I started noticing people around me.

Being in work culture, sitting in the confines of A/C rooms all day yapping over nonsense topics or running off over the weekends to distant cloud clad mountains or waking up late over the weekends and doing nothing had left me –I felt at the time of the walk- devoid of what I was missing.

Little school kids ran past me with big smiles on their faces and a teenage youth walking ahead of me playfully patted one’s head. The kids joked over that. Soon I walked fast as I crossed “Lakdi Pool”, the waters on the mutha had subsided, and the canal was full leaving the sides to dry up. The brown slush was sparkling under the sunny dark cloud cover. This is when I realized it was getting more humid.

This is also when I realized I had a loose zip and gave a wide angle smile zipping up. Crossed the road and walked on via “Garware Bridge” peering into “Popular Book House”. This store once, I considered to be the central Book House in Pune, now looked defeated to me to the might of Crosswords and the e-books revolution.

Soon went past Hotel Lucky onto F.C. Road. The paradise for any teen or any male for that matter :). The road was spick and span, and a usual row of four wheels were parked alongside the pavement.

Here a thought flew past me to catch a rickshaw, since the perspiration caught up and I realized the A/C confines could give me a headache! A few paces more… So I carried on as I walked passed the FC college gate.

Soon I reached the “Tukaram Paduka Chowk” and noticed some Guys having an eyeful for the Girls crossing the road. Smirked a smile, and realized this for the next couple of incidences.

The monotone of the walk was taking its toll on me so I crossed the road as a rickshaw-walla looked at me with hopeful eyes, but I walked past. I mean having walked this far maybe a just a couple more kilometers.

The never-ending flyover construction work came to my site. This construction had taken its toll on many things
1. The road was blocked
2. The road was riddled with potholes and nails and other debris from construction
3. The construction work seemed to go on forever
4. Commutation through one of the busiest roads of Pune was foolishly put off the map with no standby routes in place. Even if any alternatives were present they simply spelled chaos.

So I stared up the part completed arch of the flyover. And noticed some 3 workers sitting relaxed, and having a jolly time getting a sight full of girls off FC road, or so I thought - The jerks!

I also noticed that other workers at the site were sitting around doing nothing, but chit chatting. The weather was great, no rains in sight. The only working lot here- were a couple of cranes digging the road, and commuters crossing the barriers to get on the other side.

So I walked right along towards “Rahul” theater and back right towards Agricultural College. “Rahul” theater, which at one time was one of the most prestigious and advanced theater was now all torn apart and in a very sorry state.

I moved on, and took a turn on the road from Agricultural College towards Shivajinagar. I still could notice the 3 jerks looking staring onto the wide expanse of the teenage road.

One good thing this construction work has brought about – is that this road (Agri. Co. Rd.) is now back to its original glory. Calm and quiet. Hardly any vehicles commute here. To the left side are a few cart hawkers who sell some fast food (tea / eggs etc). Just a few people, else this road is all empty.

I walked on as the Shivajinagar bus-stand passed by, now under modernization I suppose :). I wanted to walk and walk, as I was getting a hang and rhythm of it, but alas the road came to an end as I walked down the steps of the Bombay-Pune highway underground and back up the other side to my office –MayFair towers.

I decided on skipping the elevator (lift) and trot up instead, this I did and was resting on my seat in no time. Enjoyed the sweets got by my colleague and spent the rest of the day the usual way.

Evening took a rickshaw to the service station and got the vehicle. It was one jolly good day! :)


No Madhu but MakrandGad

Its been quiet a while since I really trekked as in TREK! Shash had already started the new monsoon season for VxTreks. Madhu-MakrandGad was next on the hitlist! This is one trek I wanted to do, since I had heard so much about this from many friends. The mails floated around, and finalised 6 of us for the trek!
Saturday (19th Aug) morning at roughly 6:30 am all of us (Shash/Anpy/Amty/Nike/Vipin and myself) departed from MayFair, enroute Mandy called in so we picked him up at Padmavati and off went the seven of us into the dark clouds via Katraj Ghat, leaving the city dry behind.

The breakfast had its routiene halt at Natraj, idlis wadas uttapas upit tea and coffee is how the menu looked. Soon we departed from here and we hit the highway. Taking a turn at the Wai phata we left the hightway behind and entered the wet country roard as it twisted through green medows lined with trees on either side.

Soon we entered the first ghat section, enroute Mahableshwar. Boy was the driver on steroids every twist and turn put some sleep others had heavy heads and me ented up with a lousy stomach :(. Well whatever we went on through Panchgani then Mahableshwar and finally through another wierd twisty twiny ghat. Fianlly we took a left at the end of this ghat as we started twist-ascending :) another hill. Finally post some enquiries, and dirty track driving we arrived at out destination -Hatlot village.

There was no sign of MakrandGad from here, but the pros knew the track and the villagers helped us get on the right one. So on we hiked up a set of steps then went over an iron bridge and finally hiked through beautiful green fields. From here we the terrain kep climbing up as we got up one step field next to a bufallow and into the jungle.

From here, the path was all covered with mud and and red soild mix types, thus making it pretty slippery. If this was not enough , the inclination of the climb too was pretty steep. Well I decided to keep a brisk pace initially, but realized it was too steep for the speed I took, and that got me tired. Eventually the path went through a thing jungle with a graduall path. Finally again after a few steep inclinations, we came up to an opening.

Here we had to walk along a green medow atop the plateau, and finally we came upto this house like structure. Basically we had arrived on the backside of Ghonaspur village (according to Amty and Mandy). The house structure basically was the village temple on its outskits. Inside, there was this hge quadrangle with some strtuctures here and there.

We met a local, who said that it made no sense attepting Madhu peak, as it would not offer any views(accroding to him one ca see the coast of Ratnagiri from here! .. wOWOW!). Also he said that going to the water cistern -which basically was a steep descent from the top- was pretty risky and left it upto us. So what he seemed to say is "why the hell are u guyz here at this time" :)). But he was a sweet inqusitive old-man. Finally we bid our farewell, as we made our was from temple to the top of the fort.

The climb again was pretty steep, and went along a thing trail. It twisted and twined to teh top of a little hunch. From here we could see we had gained some height. Then goin on to the right up we could see the first fort wall, everyone though thats where we are supposed to go! So snapped some patel shots before embarking on the climb.

The climb was gradual, as we skirted along the right side of the fort wall and then tok a steep left upwards, just to realize we had to climb some more (over another hunch with simillar morphology). So on we walked, in a simillar totpography and once up we had a graduall ascent and a finally steep step to teh top.

Anpy was up there next to a carved stone, greeting us tail-enders.Top the hunch was not that huge , straigh ahead was this temple. We ran stright to it. Got rid of our shoes and sat on the wet floor. Out came the tiffins and we relished on chappatis, bhajjis, rice and eggs! Wow was it a mouthfull, amazing food after a loong break!

Well after some rest, we planned on attmpting the water cistern and Madhu peak. The path went from behing the temple and to the right. Shash and Anpy were amongst the first ones to go down the steep descent, but just return with bad news that it was too steep and too far.

So we decided on attempting Madhu peak. The walk to the peak was throgh some thick growth on the backside of the temple, then when hump ended and thare was these little ups and downs over the top extremely narrow (just say over 40 cms wide at places) ridge opping off 100s of feet on either side. Anpy led the way, but we decided to stop just before the Madhu hump(we presume it was that), since the path was geting extremely slippery and way too dangerous. So we took a few deep breaths before heading back to the temple.

At the temple we picked our sacks, and did some TP exploration atop before geting down the narrow steep slippery path to Ghonaspur. Enroute we met a villager who directed us the path, very slow and cautious steps (and a couple of really close calls for me) got us to the village down below.

By now the clouds gave some clearence, so we could visualize the Makarand part of the fort.:). The walk continued along the plain, alomg side the gren field and little streams. We met a villager enroute, who as the other few we met earlier (some I did not mention) was surprised at the fact that we were climbing without raincoats in such weather :).

Soon as the walk continued the jungle came in, by now Nike raced off much ahead. For some reason the descent seemed pretty ok for me. Eventually Shash too sped off and I was left trailing alone. Soon enough Anup was fast behind me, but decided to wait for the others to catch up as I head for the clearing down after the jungle.

The descent was triky at times, especialy at the steep points. But everyone went through with no hiches. The sumo could be spotted in a distace parked at the village. As I was crosing the iron bridge I noticed Nike and Shash changing to fresh clotes by the river. That when I wanted to have a bath in the chill waters. Soon tooka bath and changed to clean and dry clothes. Everyone teamed in and got fresh, some changd to better clothes.

Back in the Sumo the drive retraced its path via the various Ghats to the Ghat full of wateralls (This time I took the front seat -thanks Nike). At this Ghat we took a little haly near a waterfall to have some roasted corn and hot tea. The views of the aterfalls were amazing, and in the distance we could spot PratapGad. People were dancing all over the waterfall and making a fool of themselves as were munched on corn and enjoyed their shown over a hot cup of tea.

From here the drive continued on, and we took a halt at Mahableshwar at Mapro Garden. Here we had some of the best grilled sandwiches, and amazing ice-cream and coffee. Everyone purchces their bulk of Mapro products (jams, surups, juices sweets etc. etc.).

Furthur on the drive continued throuugh the Ghats, we took a halt enroute to capture some picterisque moments, and play a round of musical chairs as people on the were geting a churning stomach. The driver only knew the road and the wheel, he did not carefor the potholes or the passengers in the car, what was more a prank caller managed to get him off his nerve and drive at neck-breaking speeds.

For most o the drive I dozed of, so did the others I presume. All of this was broken as we neared Pune, via Katraj Ghat to Mayfair as the potholes managed to lay the welcome carpet for the city of Pune. :)

It was about 8:30pm when we were back at MayFair, and bid our goodbyes!

Enjoy the snaps


Friday, August 11, 2006

Crooked Wednesday

Avik is suffering with a little kidney in his stone.. err sry, the otherway actually. This gives him enough opportunity to take leasure leaves! Well this time he opted for leaves on tuesday and wednesday(9th Aug).

No not due to his stone, since he was having a gruha-pravesh that day. The place was at Chandani Chowk and at about 5pm. So after a lot of yes and no's Sheetal, Sanjay, Shirish and me were the ones to go.

Having parked the vehicle in the garden parking post a day of floods: it was a tough descision is needless to utter. We decided to leave at roughly 4:14pm, Sheetal drove off and was to wait by for a pickup at Aundh. So off I came from the parking lot with the nighbouring canal ... river...gutter...whatever it is, overflowing on the tar road to the side.

The drive was cool, but way too uncool from the Poultry-Farm signal to the All-Saints school bifurcation. The potholes measuring 5 by 5 feet and 3 feet in depression with craters all along the stretch simple made it a disgrace for any person to speak guts about ones city. Well so much for it, we moved on and finally picked up Sheetal post filling in some air for the four wheels and reached Aviks place.

All clad in gold-ish jebba and payjama with a red thick tikka, he adoned a look of a seth- like he was the owner of all ~120 odd flats in that society. The puja was done, so we simple walked around his unfinished flat and ate a lot of prasad and admired its size and structure. I must say this flat has huge bathrooms! :)

After all the chitter chatter and hiking up to the terrace and saying our goodbyes, we decided to have bhajji's at one little shop on Chandani chowk that comes just before the Oasis turn.

Wanting to park the vehicle to the right poarch of the road, the right front wheel got stuck in the loose mud! It simply would not come out. Geting into the darn situation was in-itself an event to be experienced. You drive, take a slow right turn into the mud (which looked like a strong surface) and "jam" the vehicle stops as though someone caught your tyres from below and it sinks down to the right.

We tried all rocks and stones below the wheels and muscle to get the tin can on the tar road behind, but the vehicle simply would not budge, the right front wheel merrily rotated spluttering mud on anythings thats everything. Sheetal finally found a slate stone and with Sanjay's aid the vehicle finaly came off the marsh.

So we parked the vehicle on the other side of the road next to a lazy cow merrily mooing and winking at us. Unfortunately the shop had nothing to offer! Daaarnn!!!... simply double daarnnn! All this truoble for nothing!

Well no way, or so I thought. We came with an aim to eat bhajji's and that we will have. We did not take all this trouble for nothing, we will eat bhajji's if not here somewhere else. So off I took everyone via Ambrosia past Pirangut ghat to this little snack shop - "ShriPaad snacks"! This place I know offers amazing bhajji's and all sorts of indian snacks!

Rought 15kms from the muddy event we sat at ease munching on freshly prepared hot bhajjis and a speacial request ginger tea! Here we sat for over 1.5 hours talking of all sorts of things, college days, past crushes etc etc. Now I know Sanjay was a brat in college days :D

Driving through the consistant drizzle and dark roads I finally bid my farewell to my last passenger Shirish (:D) at about 9pm.

It was a real good day!


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A trip to Shiveneri

There were a lot of discussions regarding a trek to RajMachi on Saturday 5th August, well it ended up being a hike to Shiveneri! Its just so usual is'nt it :) . Shiveneri basically has 2 routes , one goes up by road and the second goes up the side of the fort. We were destined to walk on a tar road.

Well post normal idiocys we (Ajay/Anjali/Mahen/Prashant and myself) got the 7:15am ST bound to "Lenyadri". Paresh and Anagha teamed in at Nasik Phata. So we enjoyed the whole way, talking yapping, sleeping geting the new-ones introduced, all this before geting off at "Junnar". It was roughly 10am.

Here no one was impressed by Shiveneri, just that it was so short and did not seem to pose any challenges. Well now that we were there, we had to do it. Post some routines, we had snacks at a local shop across the road. Puri bhajji, misal paav wada sambaar and tea is how the table looked. Also bought some snacks at a local shop before the hike.

The villagers nowhere along the way or at the shop were willing to reveal to us the footpath that goes up, they all asked us to take the tar road. Well so we hiked under the consistant drizzle till the square that had a Shivaji riding his horse statue and took a left towards Shivneri.

Talking singing and dialog bajji is how this leg of the hike can be defined, as we went along the side of the fort and followed the elevated road taking turns as we reached the top base of the fort entrance, before the start of a fleet of steps. This fort is really well preserved, it has this newly constructed "Tathbandhi"- fortwalls- all along its sides, and the steps too are glorious!

From here we carried on through the main fort door, over the fleet of steps. This place is really very well preserved. Moving on we took enough snaps as the steps went curling up , there were the options of newly constructed vs. the old steps. We took the new ones, it was a simple hike- so lets keep it simple :).

Once atop we decided to visit the "Shivai" mandir, before climbing upto the main plateau which had all of the fort ruins and constructions and most of all the birth place of Shivaji maharaj. Enroute we spotted some tree, which is suppositedly a rare species according to Anagha -it looked like a normal tree to everyone :). This temple was located at the edge of the hill and had a huge painting of Shivaji and his troops on some war. Well most of us did not go in, since we did not wanna get rid of our shoes. Post this visit we moved off and on the way back went up a fleet of steps to the upper plateau.

Here where the steps end, was a lime juice "walla". Moving on to the left we spotted our first ruin, the "AmabarKhanna"- storage for grains and food,we mistook it for "HamamKhana" -the bathroom. Explored this place thouroughlly from the roof and from within, here we also spotted these holes on th roof - possibly some sort of an ancient manual shower bath system :P or so I thought.

Moving on we took a left and walked along a very marshy and muddy path towards the Shivaji "Janmasthan". The path was so bad, that I resorted to walking on the railings at times, and Ajay went on slow as Anjali had a tough time moving through th emarsh. Enroute we went past Ganga Jamuna "taki" and variuos other water cisterns. At the end of the path we entered a structure -"Shivkunj". This essentially was a building with the stutes of "Jijamata" and "Bal-Shivaji". Post some photographic moments and thrilled with the new muddy designs on our feet we took some time out under the shade of a huge tree behind a "masjid" - "Kamani Masjid".

From here we went on and took a good time out in the quadrangle of "Kamani Masjid". Behind us were a couple of mossy green water cisterns. What followed was a lecture of social sciences and the History of Shivaji etc etc. Well we got tired and decided to move on to the rectangular structure - "Shiv-Janmasthan".

This place is really very well built, has a little water cistern in its quadrangle and a wonderfull quadrangle. Ahead of it, towards the edge is a huge water cistern -"Badami Talav". Except Ajay all of us went inside the building. First we saw this barred room which had a statue of Shivaji. then a fleet of steps took us to an upper room with a huge window and a couple of side windows. Took some time out here and many photos.

From here we moved on along the right edge of "Badami Talav" to the nothern-most edge of the fort -"Kade Lot". This is a point from which imposters and convicts were thrown off. This edge has a little door and opens to a viewpoint area. Irony of the fact is, we -Prashant and myself- could spot a path coming from the road to the this point, then a simple rockclimb to the place we were! Here we spent some time before deciding to move back up a hill which was covered in clouds and had a couple of structures.

We backtracked all the way to the "ShivKunj" and a little ahead a path went up to the left. This was a steep ascent and in about 5 minutes we were atop and arrived at a wonderful structure -"Koli Chowthara". By now the rains were lashing in with a consistant wind and there was this thick fog everywhere! This was essentally an open structure with a curved roof on 4 pillars. Spent a lot of time here, practicing to whistle! Mahen was the only one sucessful at the end of it.

From here we moved on to the neighbouring structure -"Idgah". This was a typicall religious "masjid" type flat structure. Not wanting to wait we pushed on and started descending to the other side and came off near the "AmbarKhana". Moving on we had a some lime juice, and backtracked all the way down the steps to the start of the road.

Here we had some amazing tea and relished on bread and other snacks. Also played with a little with a cat that was sittling cosy under the table, where the tea was being prepared. From here we simply backtracked all the way along the road, munching on nuts and snacks and singing songs and yapping and cracking all sorts of jokes before we decided to break our walk at a hotel.

Here we had some amazing food -Thalli, shev bhaji, rotis puri, shrikhand and icecream is how the menu appeared at this place. Relaxed a lot and at roughly 4:45pm we left for the bus-stop.

The bus-stop was full of college kids and everyone had their eyes peered on us aliens clad in t-shirts and shorts! Well post some waiting we got out 5:45 super fast St. bus bound for Pune. Everyone caught on good old sleep and relaxed a lot before bidding our farewells to Paresh and Anagha as they alighted at Nashik Phata.

The rest of us got off at Shivajinagar. Ajay and myslef went hunting for a mechanic to fix his bike's broken cluch wire. Soon everything was ok, we got a mechanic down and rectified the whole event. It was roughly 8:45pm when Mahen and Prashant dropped me off at my gate, before bidding our farewells.

At the end of it, we were trying to stuff a two day trek to Rajmachi into one, and we ended up doing a one day trip to Shivneri which should have lasted much much less than that! :)

It was one good trip to Shiveneri!
Enjoy some of the snaps!

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