Tuesday, October 03, 2006

One day trip to Alibaug-Murud-Kashid !!!

Well, I was eagerly waiting for the Oct 1st weekend. Oct 2nd being the 137th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi was a national holiday and what with it coming on a Monday meant a long week- end for me at Pune :)
On thursday evening Gopi asked me if I wanted to go for this 1 day trip to Alibaug. Umesh & family would be there(I had not met family for quite some time a year to be more precise), Ryan and few others would be accompanying. I had been to Alibaug about 10 years back and since it was a 1 day trip I could always go to Pune on Sunday and so I gave my consent.

Friday nite Gopi booked the Sumo and asked him to come at 5:00 a.m. I am not very keen on trips that start so early in the morning :(, I love my early morning sleep. Trips should start at nite. No one would listen to me I'm sure so I got up at 4:30 and was ready at 5:00 a.m dot. By 5:15 we started receiving calls from Shyam, Umesh, Ryan but none from the driver. Finally after making calls to the travel agency at 5:40 we had the driver come at 6:00 a.m. His first pick-up was myself and Gopes from Dattani park, from there we went to Kulupwadi to get Shyam and then to Dheeraj Savera to get the Amre family. Here it is that I met Param Amre for the first time and what a way to meet. The minute I picked him he screamt his lungs out and I gave him back to his Dad. We left via Andheri and on the way picked Ryan and set out to Alibaug The City of Sun, Sand, Peace and Harmony !!!

We stopped at Panvel for our breafast which included idli, wada, dosa and chai ofcourse. To reach Alibaug you have to go through Pen and there is greenery on the entire stretch. We started with Antakshari with the guys vs i.e (Umesh, Ryan and Gopi) the ladies (Sharda and myself). Shyam gave the driver company and since he had a couple of night-outs he slept through all our singing. We had a good competition going on with some excellent background music provided by Umesh :). In between the competition Umesh got a call and as technically it was the guys who interrupted it, the LADIES WON!!!
Amre Jr slept well whenever the Sumo moved and got up prompltly when we stopped. Quite efficient I must say.

At 11:30 we reached Alibaug beach. The attraction here is ofcourse the unspoilt bech and the Kolaba fort. It is situated at 1-2 kms from the shores. At the time of fall one can walk to the fort in waist-deep waters. We saw a few people walking to the fort but since the tide was high we decided to walk across the shores. From here we drove to Murud- Janjira. On the way we saw the Vikram Ispat company and also the Birla Ganesh Temple. But since it was closed at the time we went we decided to visit it during our return.

By this time it was noon and we decided to stop at Kashid Beach Resort for our lunch. (had heard good reviews about it). We entered the restaturant but to our dismay found that they only served buffet and that too at the price of 250/- per head. Now we felt that was a bit too expensive and so after Param had his lunch we left the place to find something else. Finally it was at Murud that we found a decent restaurant. They had an indoor facility but we all decided to sit outside beneath the coconut groves, having lunch enjoying the nature. Little did we know that this choice of ours would make us pay for an extra thali. Well what happened was that we all ordered for Non-veg thalis minus Shyam ofcourse and as we were busy eating we had these 2 cats which sat under our table. Now one of them decided to do a little wandering and brushed against Ryan's leg which scared him once, now that should have made him more alert but our Mr cat decided to do some more under the table wandering and for the 2nd time it scared Ryan so much that he upset the water- filled glasses on the table which fell all over Gopi's half eaten plate and hence the order for one more thali. After the mouth-watering lunch we had some kufi for desert.

From here we went to Murud Janjira fort. We took a boat that took us to the fort. We also had a tour- guide explaining about the fort. The fort is build in the sea 2 Kms. inside of Murud.The fort is old one but still very strong. Some monuments inside and the walls of the fort are destroyed after so many years now. But the toughness of the fort can be still felt and that would be because of the lead or "sheesha" used in the joints of the rocks as told to us by our guide. It was 5:30 by the time we left the fort and drove back to Alibaug. On the way is Kashid and we decided to halt for 15 mins. But this 15 mins turned out to be more than an an hour. Kashid is beautiful, it has a 3 km stretch of beach with the cleanest, whitest sands and coconut grooves that makes it just perfect for a beach holiday. After getting our feet wet in the water we had chai, pav- omlete, kanda bhaji and at 7:30 pm we left the place. Since we were already late we dropped the plan to go to Birla temple and left for Mumbai.

On the way back there were general discussions on "what qualities you expect in a guy/girl", "things you would be doing 1 year down the lane" and we just got to the interesting topic of "craziest things done so far " with Shyam mentioning his when we reached Panvel and myself and Gopi bid adieu to the rest of the group as we decided to go to Pune and they went back to Mumbai.

Epilogue:- I still say trips should always start in the evenings or late at nite. I love my early morning sleep

Thursday, September 28, 2006

To my True FRIEND

To you my True Friend I lay myself bare,
To you my True Friend I lay all my despairs,
In happiness or sadness it is you with whom I share,
For I know that you are the one who cares.

It is in your eyes that I see myself so beautiful,
It is your silence that feels so comfortable,
It is your support that makes me so strong,
For I know that you are the one who will always be there.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Our week-end escape to Ganapatipule (the sand dunes of Lord Ganpati)

The monsoons had started in Mumbai. People all around us were going for treks, picnics and all I did was the week-end travel to Pune. Gopi felt the need to getaway from Mumbai too, so after a bit of googling he decided on Ganapatipule. Ganapatipule is situated along the western coast of Maharashtra 375 kms south of Mumbai, along the Konkan coast. It is significant to the Hindus for the famous Ganpati temple. The entire coastline is also breathtakingly beautiful with the beautiful beaches overhung by the cliffs.

Neways 19th August week-end was decided for the trip. We already got our train and resort bookings done. The group consisted of Nitesh, Ryan, Jo, Gopi, Nittu, myself with Pawan as a last minute entry :)

Our reservation was made in the JanmShatabdi Express from Dadar at 5:30 am in the morning. For once I did not mind waking up at 3:15 a.m. We caught the 4:28 slow train from Borivali and reached Dadar by 5:15 a.m. Dadar being the first stop the train was already at the platform. We boarded the train which left the station right-on-time. Immediate hunger pangs had us munching on veg sandwiches which we bought from the train. Last nite's sleeplessness saw me sleeping through the entire train journey missing the scenic beauty of the Western ghats. We reached Ratnagiri station at 11:00 a.m. The first thing that immediately struck all of us was the "SUN SHINE". Out came the sun glasses and the cameras. We all struck some poses at the station all the while waiting for Jo's uncle.

Jo's uncle had a Sumo arranged for our trip. He first took us to his Bank where over a cup of tea the discussions varied from horse-racing to French influence in Pondicherry, muslim community in Ratnagiri ....
He introduced us to our driver Sandesh who would then be in charge of our entire trip. We decided to go to our hotel at Ganapatipule first which is 40km from the main city.
On the way we decide to play Dumbcharades. It was lots of fun with Pawan trying to unsuccessfully act out movies which none of us could understand and Ryan proving to us that he could enact a movie just in seconds. As we reached our resort we could see the breathtaking beautiful beaches with the white sands lined with lots of coconut trees.

We reached the MTDC resort at 3 pm and asked the driver to meet us at 4 pm. While we got fresh Nittu and Ryan placed the order at the nearby MTDC restaurant. For lunch we had some really good quality food.

At 4pm we set out for some sight seeing. Our first stop was the 4000 year old land mark - the Swayambhu Ganapati temple (Swayambhu means 'self-made', this is a temple of the self-originated idol, Ganapati). After the lords' darshan we went to a place know as "Prachin Kokan". Here accompanied by our guide Geeta we got an insight into how the whole Barter system worked in the olden days. A halt at their shop saw some of us buying some paintings and the famous kokam sharbet.
Our next stop was at the birthplace of the famous Marathi Poet Keshavsoot. We took a look at the now renovated and converted house of the poet into a library, open-air theatre. From here our next stop was at the Shiv Sagar hotel which had an interior like that of a king's palace. It is said that there would be a film shooting there this Diwali. Our final destination for the day was much awaited as we went to the beach. After having some coconut water with lots of malai we all hit the beach. initially I preferred to stay out of the water but seeing everyone playing I could no longer stop myself. Ryan, Jo, Gopi, Nittu and myself played in the water with each one trying to pull the other in the water. Nitesh preferred to stay by himself in the water while Pawan opted to be out of it altogether. Finally with the night creeping and the tides getting higher we left the beach and went to our rooms. After having a bath we had dinner at the same restaurant. At dinner the Catch The Word Antakshari game started and the day ended with a game of UNO at the hotel room.

The next day we awoke at 7:00 am (average time considering all people) and checked out of the hotel at 8 am to Marleshwar. This is 60 kms from Ganapatipule, famous for it's Shiva temple and waterfalls. On the way we halted at a Shivaji temple (don't recall the name), the view from atop this hill was really spectacular. From here we went to Ratnagiri for breakfast. All of us devoured on some lip-smacking upma,wada sambhar,misal pav and finally some sheera.
We reached Marleshwar at 11:00. The temple is situated in a cave on top oh a hill. After taking this darshan we went to watch the nearby falls. There are lots of waterfalls here but looking at the wave current no one ventured to go very near. Soon it also started raining and we decided to get back to the Sumo. For lunch Sandesh took us to Hotel Shubam which he proclaimed had very good food. We ordered for fish thali, prawns biryani, fried Surmai fish and some crab curry. Though I did not njoy the fish curry a lot rest of the items were delicious and we ended the lunch by a glass full of sol kadhi. Our final stop was at Tiba Point. From here the view of the entire city was spectacular.

Finally at 4:00 we left for Ratnagiri station, after telling our goodbyes and thanks to Sandesh we went to the platform 2 where our train was scheduled to come. The train was 40 mins late and hence we decided to play a round of DONKEY at the platform. The game continued even after we got into the train and though there were a lot of contenders for the position of DONKEY it was finally Jo who managed to acheive it. We then started with UNO, in between we were served dinner(Puri bhaji & Veg Pulao). We finally reached Dadar at 11:30 pm, caught the train to Borivali and was in bed by 12:30 a.m. Thus ended our amazing trip to a another world of religion and relaxation.

Epilogue: The trains of Mumbai are crowded even on a Sunday nite at 12:00 am midnite. Wonder what peope do travelling so late ???


Friday, August 18, 2006

A Feeling of "LOST"

Feeling of LOST
L - Low
O - Over
S - Sorrow
T - Tired

This is exactly what I felt as I sat in office one late Friday evening. I had planned for supper at Pizza Hut with my fiancee when he was urgently called for a meeting that would make him miss his buss and in turn would make both of us miss the treat.

This also meant that in normal time I would have left my office by this time but now with nothing much to look forward here I am thinkin thinkin thinkin............................ which ultimately led me to this feeling.

I realized I was not doing anything in my life... I volunteered for this program Dream India which a close friend had told me about. In short it is about teaching kids. I went there one Sunday to take a class and the joy I felt on seeing the enthusiasm on each child's face was a gift in itself. But due to my weekly travels to Pune (where my parents stay) I was unable to give proper commitment to this cause. Due to this I did not even go on every few weekends I was in Mumbai.

Secondly career-wise I was not reaching anywhere, no new technology to learn, was getting wasted here.