Saturday, July 01, 2006

our journey to the abode of clouds

The Abode of Clouds..

It was raining through out the day...

Our trekking eleven consisted of following people. Naresh, Munishwar, myself, Kiran, Anuj, Vajeed, Dhawal, Amol, Pinkesh, Sachin and Angad (see pic). We were a team of determined trekkers set out to conquer the Kila of Peb, which was once used by Shivaji Maharaj as silos of grain storage. Like many other forts of Shivaji this one is also situated in the Sahyadri ( Western Ghats) mountain ranges along Mumabi-Pune road. Peb fort is located at a distance of 3-4 k.m on the west of Neral.

Trekking eleven.

We started our journey by catching the train to Karjat from Kanjur Marg by around 6.00 am.
It was raining quite heavily as it often does during monsoons in Mumbai. We got down at Neral station by around 7.30 a.m and had some refreshments from there. After buying enough food for the lunch and some films we set out for the mission by around 8.30.

One good thing to do in every trek is to go with the leading troop. You will get lots of time to rest at a stop over as the other members of the team come to the resting place. But 2 kg bisleri water and the food for all of us was pulling me the otherway. During all this time it was raining every now and then. But it made our trekking more interesting. "Tougher the better" is the mantra applicable to all trekking. We could find two guides who lead our way. It was slipping here and there. But the valleys, so green and beautiful in the monsoon was a sight to behold. With some difficulty we reached the toughest part of the climb after which there is a small plateau, from where we would get a good look at the beautiful valleys down. By the time we climbed over it the rain started to come down heavily. The entire area below was filled with mist all of a sudden, and we could see nothing but mist. But as soon as the rain stopped the mist began to lift over our heads, to the other side, giving us a cool sensation, and we realised that we were inside a cloud..

After a bit of further climbing we reached the tomb of a great saint "Swami Samarth" whose disciples occupy and maintain the caves in the fort. Near to this we saw a cavern in to which one has to crawl down to enter. We tried to enter but it was pretty dark inside and we didn't have a torches with us. From there we set out for the penultimate climb of the trek. There was ladder which was put up by the 'disciples' to help the climbers. With out it the climb would be impossible.

We reached a temple at the top by around 12.00.
There was a sadhoo living there who made spicy black tea for all of us. The deity was Dattaguru and the man over there introduced himself as the disciple of Swami Sakha Sumanth Saraswathy. He wore a single piece of cloth and that too in a typical fashion.We all had our lunch from there that we had packed earlier which tasted fantastic.

With our stomachs filled, faces lit we set out to conquer the summit of the mountain, which was pretty close to this temple. At the top most pont there was a sclupture of the footsteps of Dattaguru established by Swami Sumanth Saraswathy. On reaching here one feels at the top of the world.. At distance we could see a train whistling pass Neral station like small boxes moving. Facing east, to the right of us, was the panoramic peak dressed up in thick white clouds

Top of the world

On our return journey it began to pour down heavily again making it all the more difficult. We decided to go to a waterfall near the village "Anand Wadi" as there was plenty of time left. Every one had a bath sitting below the waterfall. One could stand directly beneath the falls and thumping water gave soothing massage to our tired mussles. Thoroughly satisfied we set out for our journey back walking through the fileds, streams and villages...There were umpteen frogs in the fields (pure yellow in colour) echoing the arrival of the rain.. I felt as if we were in a magical land.

On seeing those tiny houses one wish for the warmth and comfort of a shelter, a home. Yes it was tiring..enduring the rains for a full day, slipping at times, our shoes swamping in the loose soils occasionally.. It was a " one on one" encounter with the nature. We were the only trekkers on that particular day, a trek to the fort of Peb where clouds reside...

In the end, I want to read out these words written on the tomb of Swami Samarth-----
"Hum gaya nahi hum zindaa hai".....

Friday, June 23, 2006

a promise that matters

Our family consists of three children and I am the youngest of them by some distance. Our parents treated us like their friends. To this day, I never felt any difficulty in telling anything to my mother except on a single occasion.. And that is the matter of this blog.

They call me "Kannan", a name called, first by a maid who looked after the kids.

Scene1: I must be studying in 5th or 6th standard.

pappa: "da..Kannan, go and get me a pack of cigarets from Kuttappu's shop."

amma: "In that case I will give you a list of other things to buy"

Pappa knows driving. And there is car in the shed. He can do this in a matter of minutes. Still he says I should go out in the sun to buy this. This is not fair. (Actually as amma says there is no consistent trait in my personality like laziness) .I have been doing this for him, for some time now and I want to protest.

I went to amma as usual and shouted so that pappa could hear it..

me: "I can't go out to buy cigarets for him. People will think that, I started smoking. Give me the list. I will buy those things only"

I was quite sure that it was not going to happen. If he goes out to buy cigarets, he will buy the groceries too. Inspired by a little success, I shouted again..

me: "I dont like pappa smoking cigarets in the house. It creates a smell in the house which makes me sneeze. If he wants to smoke why can't he do that by just going outside"

amma: "O.K ..enough is enough. When you grow up, you shouldn't become like him. You should never be a smoker"

me: "I will never ever do that. I will never become a smoker like him. Believe me"

amma: "let me see "

To this day pappa has never asked me to buy cigarets for him, nor he smoked inside our home. He did go out when he smoked even after quarreling with amma or me.. Some five years back he completely quitted this habit...


Scene 2: Years passed.. I graduated from an Engineering colege just like they did some decades ago...I just had to walk through the roads already explored by them... Now the scene is inside a car...Probably I was driving the car.

pappa: "..Kannan what about drinking and smoking habits in your college. I think these habits are reduced in professional coleges. right?."

me: " hmm...Not quite so. Many students do all these even now.."

amma: "What about u??"

It was a question to answer. After a pause I said, trying to be as natural as possible,

me: "hmm...sometimes I do drink with my friends but very rarely, that too during some treats..But I don't SMOKE.."

I vividly remember the conversation that followed. It was quite interesting, but it deviates from the point..I don't think, my mother remembers the promise I made long back..but I do..

Now do I smoke..Have I broken a promise which I made when such things mattered in life..
..Deep inside me, I know there are only two answers a 'yes' or a 'no' . But, I am afraid to tell it.

ps: To my friends in IIT, my friends in REC, my friends in Trichur, and all those who are close to me elsewhere, all what I said here, doesn't apply between you and me.. You know what I am talking about?

Monday, June 19, 2006

joie de vivre

I thought it was the end of a dream.. A dream of me playing football ever again in life...

"Your injury seems to be a ligament tear...It's pity that it occured to you?...You're so young. You may have to undergo a key-hole surgery. hmmm... Still it is difficult to regain the natural strength."

I listened to her calmly as though I was expecting it. Even before the match was played, I had a feeling of something bad going to happen. The night before it I had a pretty late sleep and I was a bit tired due to that. Probabily this lead to my hunch...As the word goes "your subconscious controls your life." So does mine.

I shed no tear. But it was a slap on my face as cold as it could ever get. If you wake up from a night mare you will feel a kind of relief, when you come to know that it was just a dream and you are pretty much the same as before. I tried to think of it as a nightmare. But it was never going to be one. All I could hear loudly in my ear, was the requiem of a dream, a dream of myself playing football ever again in life.

Some people would ask me "What did u get by playing this game. It has given you nothing but pain. You haven't gained anything but this handicap. You have been such a losser. Why dont you spend time on other things."
Yeah it's true. Football like any other sports has never given me anything in life worth mentioning to anyone. But playing it, has been my immense pleasure. Nevertheless I played in the so called best team of our batch (Kamikaze). It has indeed brought me some proud moments which I cherish so high in life...Besides this being a part of a game, a team would give you experience and joy worth reading a hundread books.

Two years have passed. A few days back I decided to give it a try once more. At first I was a bit apprehensive while striking a football. I had never thought such a day would ever come again and surely not this soon. Also my experience of playing in full court with studs(boots) is limitted to a handful of matches. But when I scored the first goal of that match that too right at the start of it, after 2 years of complete withdrawal, I realized it was a desire so deep in me, made all this possible. My legs were stronger than I expected. I have not grown that fat in my mind as I had thought.

I Know I would never be the same 'me' again after the accident. Miracles wont happen in real life. I still know my limitations ( psychologically as well as physically) .But I dont care whatever happens to me. I will never cry over my losses. I am happy as long as I am able to do the things I want to do.

---and to me that is the joie de vivre...Joy of living...

Monday, June 12, 2006

literary criticism

Today(11/6) we found ourself sitting in the middle of a literary criticsm for the first time in our life (venue. Adarsh Vidyalaya--Tilak Nagar)..."we" means four of us. Vajeed, Shahim, Dhanya and myself. Franlky speaking, as far as I can remember, this was the first time I have ever listened to a talk by any literary person.

There was this 'critic' on one side and the rest of the writers on the otherside..A very few writers favoured the critic's views too.
The writers consisted of Mr. Subhash Chandran, Ms. Manasi, Ms. InduMenon, Mr. Susmesh, Mr. Rajendran, Mr. Anoop and so and so. These are some names I can remember now. Remember we are away from home in this city, Mumbai. Most of these people came here for a few days program.

In the words of the critic Mr. Srikumar, criticism is like an operation on a literary work. To a kid watching that from out side, it's like killing the patient. So being a kid I restrict myself to just penning down a few arguments and counter arguments heard there.

The criticism was based on the work "Dikambaran" by Ms. InduMenon. The main point of the critic was that the story missed out on the real emotions of the characters and relied too much on using black and white images to its characters.

Writer, Subhash Chandran compared the act of writer to a mountaineer climbing a hill and marking out his love at the highest point so that his followers would know about his love, once they reach there. According to him it requires great passion and effort from the part of the writer. But his fellow writer Susmesh held a view that the writing was always a pleasant and a satisfying experience to him. Anoop shared the experiences of criticisms he got and how he felt about them. Ms. Manasi was concerned about why the critic was keen on a single work by the writer. She brought up some flare in the discussion that was missing..

Finally the writer herself defended comparing her work with the movie "Russian arts" in which a hidden camera was used to copy the real life. According to her, she had expressed her characters looking through the eyes of an outsider.

The discussion was over and the after noon section consisted of story recitation by some of the above writers. We left the place by around 4.30 in the after noon..

..Fernando Alonso won his maden Silverstone, Nadal once again beat the great Federer on clay to clinch French open, The Deutch beat Serbs, Mexicans beat Iran and Portugese beat Angola and finally India did well against West Indies in the tests..

So much so happened in a single day. But I hope our little adventure will remain in my mind for some time to come..

Thursday, June 08, 2006

just a story...

This is just a story.. Something similar to this could have happened to you although in different senses...

She came like a breeze, on the same side of the walkway, but in the opposite direction. She may not be called my dream girl. But the glitter in her eyes wanted me to look at her again and again. I knew this girl before, wanted to talk to her, but never got a chance to meet her so close. This is my chance. But then a huge blow struck my nervous system as she came nearer to me..Darkness filled my eyes. I looked down then at the watch, and crossed the road to the opposite side... That was a huge blow to my ego. The chauvinist in me rose and it asked the question "stupid !! can't u even face a silly girl". I vowed to take the revenge. "She will be walking beside me hand in hand in a month's time. "

They say that if you have a clear aim half the job is over. Thank God. I succeded in doing the other half somewhat. Now she would smile at me and we wished each other. It was at this time I had to go away from my home for one or two days. I bid her good bye as if I was an extremely unlucky soldier going to serve in a war on the next day of his marriage.

Days later, she came along the same walkway facing me.. This time I printed a smile on my face as white as possible.. She came nearer to me..and passed me as though a thing like me never existed in this world...This was an even bigger blow on my pride..I stood there for some more time melting...

It was days later I realized that she was my sweet heart's twin sister..But those days passed like years..

ps: climax2:-(more likely and realistic) . I just learned a valuable lesson in life..."You can never count on a girl". :D :D :D

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

school days...

"maya..maya kuda kuda.. ente punnara kuda ummaa.."

how many times have we seen baby Shyamili uttering this in her tiny voice on a T.V ad.

Today was the day of opening for schools in my state....

I try to see myself as a school kid...My heart was full of unshattered dreams...They were not shattered, coz I never knew what I would be growing in to...Now I am not a school kid anymore...My dreams are faded with time...I wish I could go back in time to simply have my dreams back...

ps: But not all my dreams are shattered.. I had wished that one day I would be a grown up.. :)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

the society ladies....

Travelling in a bus can always bring u many experiences... More so if it is in a metropolitan city like Mumbai.

Siitting near to each other, they were boasting about the wonderful pieces of jewellery they wore..The two chubby ladies were dressed as though they were in a competition to date Brad Pitt.. On the laps of one of them sat a little girl, hardly an eight year old. She was so thin that it appeared as though she had been dieting right from her birth.

A bus in Mumbai used to travel in an average speed of 5 KMPH and there used to be double the number of people in it as there were seats. After about half an hour or so one of those ladies was preparing to get down at a stop. Seeing that, an old lady, as thin as the little child moved quietly near to their seat hoping for some rest at last. The worn out glasses she wore was so powerful that one could not see her eyes. She was obviously of a different genus as far as the ladies were concerned. To her utter disappointment, all she could see was that the little girl sitting on the vacant seat.

On asking for some room the poor old women got this reply (in hindi of course).
"my laps are paining. Let the little girl sit some time on the seat so that i can take rest"..

By that time it was difficult even for a college boy to stand in that bus. One could imagine tears in the hidden eyes behind those glasses ..

Children learn from thier parents. I hope there are exceptions...