Friday, September 15, 2006

The Fantastic Four ... !!

The FANTASTIC FOUR, read Satya, Pranay, Swapna and to a certain extent me(though I can be coveniently expelled and rename the remaining to the TERRIFIC TROIKA) assembled at one place and for a significant length of time for the first time in 4 years. The occasion was quite fruitful too, what with Satya coming out with flying colours in his last exam for his MBA degree. Everything was planned by him and that it was planned at the last minute made it all the more enjoyable.

We had a drive in Satya's Santro from Prabhat Road to AMBROSIA. Though we couldn't quite figure out where exactly AMBROSIA was even after driving through its entrance. When we finally made ourselves comfortable, it was time to reflect on times spent together, philosophical jargon and a laugh-a-minute riot to the point that we could have even embarassed the waiters. Pranay and I decided to get high and drink till we drop (though we found it extremely tough). Its amazing how you let loose your sense of eating and drinking when you know that you don't have to pay .... :)

Pranay had 3 large pegs of whisky while I experienced 3 small pegs of Vodka for the first time in my life. I usually get high even with the smallest amount of alcohol but this was something way ahead of what I had ever experienced. No more beer now, just Vodka. One chicken platter, one Murgh Chettinad (amazing dish), 3 bowls each of Shev and Daal snacks, 4 Masala Papads, 3 Garlic Naans and some Rotis later, we had had the time of our life. In a way, no one wanted to leave the place and keep talking and laughing.

Satya took us all on a drive again, this time to Pirangut and Bhugaon but due to lack of visibility coz of the rain, we decided to change the plan and went to one of the best spots in Pune if you want a soothing atmosphere as well as relaxation. We went to a place just off Bangalore highway, supposedly high on altitude and couldnt help but marvel at the sight of a city shimmering in the night. The talks continued and we didnt realise when it was midnight. Thats when we decided to rush home.

Anywayz, it was great to spend quality time with by bumchums from BCS. How I wish Satya could somehow manage to give another exam ..... ;)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Lohgad .... ahoy .... !!

Some places keep coming back. But very few with something new to offer at every instance. Lohgad is one of those places. This time around, it was to play host to BrainWaves .... which happens to be our very own MCS Yahoo group. Though plenty of reunions have been planned (and one held as well) along with lots of picnic plans, it was a huge sigh of relief to actually execute this long awaited plan. Though we would have liked to have more class mates on board, but we made most out of our meagre resources. In retrospect, I feel we enjoyed as much as we could have enjoyed with the entire class if not more ..... :)

From 20 to 17 to 15 to 13. Thats was how the number of people kept on decreasing throughout the week before the picnic. The thing I liked about this trip that it was adventurous from the very onset. The entire week was laden with bright sunshine only to be cast aside by medium to heavy rainfall on Friday night. I remember getting up late Friday night at 1 am and sitting in the balcony for 20 minutes just imagining what it could be like in Lohgad the next morning. When I got up again in the morning and made my way to Pune station I was already drenched. Couldnt have had a better start ......

I looked forward to people boarding from different stations as we always kept looking out at every station to find atleast one classmate at each station.This happened till Pimpri. By the time we reached Shivajinagar, 13 had become 11 but it wasnt the right time to talk about who hasnt come, it was all about what the 11 of us could venture out to do. We were 10 by the time we reached Pimpri namely Sabhtarsha, Prashant, Gaurav, Charan, Ashutosh, Suyog, Amey, Anuja, Prameela and I. Amol was supposed to board at Dapodi but we couldnt get through his cell assuming he missed the trip.

By the time we chatted ourselves to glory and all other gossip, we had reached Malavli at close to 8 am. We were wise enough to have a look around the station to check for Amol. And there he was, in his trademark swagger, easily distinguishable and he had done us proud again. This time he had travelled by a local from Dapodi to Malavli in a first class compartment shelling out Rs. 117. The remaining 10 of us collectively didnt amount to that much. Amol ..... sometime I wanna sit down with you and learn about whackiness in life .... I will pay you double your fees.

The good thing about Amol being there was that we could click close to 200 pics from his larger than life Digicam. The trademark pic on the Expressway overbridge couldnt be missed. We reached Bhaje village at around 8 45 am and had Poha, tea and biscuits .... yes yes .... biscuit dipun dipun khaalley ... :)

We started trekking at around 9 30 am and reached Bhaje caves at 10 am and everyone dispersed to every corner of the massive caves. Some more water and lesser sunshine would have made it ideal. But the sunshine made our hearts grow fonder with every step we took. Im glad we had sunshine that day. I didnt imagine I would be saying this the day before when it was raining. Anywayz, we clicked quite a lot of pics over here and I personally liked the pic on the steps. And I cant help but mention Amol again. He is sitting right behind me in this pic and he ran all the way up after starting the auto click timer and sit behind me. Doesnt look like it does it ? Sir Amol .... tumchi stuti karta karta mee marnaar aahe ....

We found a little angel over here by the name of Sunil. He must be 10 or 12 years old and he promised to take us close to Lohgad through a short cut amidst treacherous trails. I would admit I was a bit skeptical at first about him taking us to the right place in less time but at the end of it, I feel he played the most important part for us in the trek. We went through thick vegetation, little waterfalls (actually too small to be called little) and plains. We found time to enjoy at a particular spot where the water was more than normal. Was quite refreshing. Sunil took us to a point from where Lohgad village was just a 15 minute trek. I would hunt him down the next time I go to Lohgad. Thanx Sunil.

We had Limbu Paani at a small hotel on the way to Lohgad village. Actually you cant call it a hotel but it was well worth the halt. We reached Lohgad village in another 10 minutes and ordered Zhunka Bhaakar for us and told them that we would return at 4 pm.

The steps to the Lohgad fort started from here. Quite a few scenic spots made their presence felt here like the Pavana Dam backwaters and Tikona Fort. Visapur fort, adjacent to Lohgad looked like a big wild green monitor ready to gobble us up. Monkeys frequented us throughout the trek and we finally reached the top of the fort at 1 30 pm. We also saw a dead snake on the way up.

We were on our way to the last point of Lohgad now, more famously known as "Vinchu Kaata" coz it looks like the tail of a scorpion. We also found time to play a game of sorts by throwing small stones sideways in a pond and watch the stone make several hops before settling in the water.

There were some strange insects making life horrid for us and other trekkers as well. Some mistook at as bees but they were much more irritating than bees despite not having the same effect as a bee bite effect. When we reached the last point, we sat down to revel the pretty sight in front of us. The clouds were gathering at a distant point and we were egging them on to visit us for some time. Even without the clouds, it was very peaceful to sit and jabber along.

We started the return trek at 3 pm and came across a tough steep cliff like part of the fort. We had trekked over it the last time we were here so we knew its possible. But it looks menacing at first sight. The good things was that it hadnt rained a lot so we didnt have any gripping problems. Apart from Gaurav, everyone trekked up this dangerous point. Gaurav didnt wanna risk it considering his African Safari is due in 2 weeks time. Way to go Gaurav.

Uske baad, we didnt have any major incidents and we reached Lohgad village at 4 pm sharp. Talk about timing !!. Shoes and socks we assembled at one place. No No, not for eating purposes. We sat down and had the most delicious Pitla Bhakari that you can ever imagine. The Thecha made it even better. We talked quite a bit about college as well and laughed the hell out for close to half an hour. I would never forget the way Ashutosh called out Amey ... "Aey Amey ... Idhar aa naa ...". The way he said it, the tone was amazing. Hilarious !!

We started trekking down and saved on lot of time by escaping through trails. We enjoyed for a while in a waterfall while going down but it was already getting late. We needed to be on time for the 6 30 pm local. From there on, we walked very fast in order to reach Malavli station before 6 30 pm.

We were lucky that the train itself was 20 minutes late. As memorabilia, we clicked some pics on the station itself. Once we got into the train, it was time to savour the moment looking back at the Lohgad and Visapur forts disappear in the background.

We started trickling out of the train one by one from Pimpri onwards and by the time the train chugged into Pune station, it was just Sabhtarsha and me.

A Day well spent .... an experience to relish .... and the zeal for some more ... anyone game ? Cheers !!

Some unforgettable images of a memorable trip .......