Monday, January 30, 2006
Yesterday was absolutely fantastic. The day started at 3.30 am and oh, what a day it was. Probably a day that will remain with me for a long long time, not just because it was a fabulous experience, but also because it was the last weekend I would be spending with A and M. Geez…I am so gonna miss you guys, yeah I know I keep saying that all the time, but yesterday the finality of the situation really hit me.
Anyways this was my first trip to Rajgad. The climb was a lot of fun, though it was only while I climbed back down that I realised what hap‘hazard(ous)’ shortcuts Mola had devised for us trekkers. Scrambling up through trees, shrubs and bushes; the thorns would reach out to welcome us; slipping and balancing grip and foot, we made our way up to the last laborious patch of Rajgad. Well M was apprehensive all through, about whether she would make it; but the poor girl kept reassuring (more threatening) herself that she would. I guess it was more anxiety about her hubby’s mockery than apprehension. Bounding far ahead of us was Mola and team mates, one of whom, christened Hey..mya by me, was thrilled at the idea of hustling us slow walkers and then grinning back to ensure that his comments had had their intended effect.
Well the last 20 minutes of the climb uphill and the first 20 minutes of downhill are only remembered as credits to my trekking skills. With concentration at its peak, watching each step, I slowly made my way up an almost 90 degree combination of rocks; reaching the top only to wonder how the hell Mr Shivaji (I had better be respectful I realised!) managed to haul himself and his horses on top with such ease. But anyways the fellow once up there, used to camp for several days together, only encouraging his men to tire their poor legs running up and down. Plus, now I know why they say that ‘Mr Shivaji scurried from place to place conquering fort after fort.’ Obviously if you build forts at precarious heights and out-of-bounds locations, you would have no choice but to scurry!
A was especially enthusiastic and only to happy to play guide around the fort. Of course, a slightly over enthusiastic guide who ran far ahead of us, disappearing over the horizon of the cliff every once in a while; wading his way through bushes, while we tumbled down gravel paths; and basically making the most of this trek, ensuring that we found it adventurous enough to test our skills and capabilities. The Sanjeevani machi opened out into the valley below, from where you could see an enormous chunk of the Sahyandris stripped with shades and layers of red basalt rock that made it look like it was blazing in the rays of the overhead sun.
The Hatti machi (I hope I got the name right) was equally nice. Well by the time I was here, I knew we were nearing the end of the trek… which kinda bothered me, for reasons I wish not to disclose. Little boys hung around the place selling their nimbu-paani, a supposed to be a tangy mixture, - sometimes a little too sweet or otherwise bland, but never just right - happy to show us their possessions, such as a goggle minus the glass. One of them was even in the ninth grade and when I questioned him about it, he was only very proud to introduce another one of their clan who had witnessed the same success. Afterall it is in the eyes of these young children that you see the value of our education system and the pride that contains them when they hold a degree. Like they say - ignorance is bliss - and for those who don’t know about ‘options’ and ‘combinations’, well just E-D-U-C-A-T-I-O-N is what matters.
Sandwiches, lasanachi chatni, pickle, bananas, pealed sweet lime, buttermilk, nimbu-paani, laughter, stupid jokes (like the one about, A alone can ‘treat’ you, because he is a vet), huffing and puffing and the sheer joy of coming together with people you have known only a few hours made the day memorable. By the time I got to the base, hot tea, spicy pohe and an idle old man ready to blether (which was inclusive of gossip and jokes tinted with male chauvinism) at the drop of a hat awaited us. The amateur-enthusiastic, yet creative and fine photographer from our group clicked his way through the entire trek. From barn owls, to Rajgad by sunrise and sunset, he captured them all with extreme proficiency, but remained humble enough to complement one of the photographs I shot, where I have managed to create pitch darkness in the bright sunlight!
Back home tired, yet exuberant…there is sense of rejuvenation within me…one that reminds you that this carpet of life which is woven by someone else (HIM for me) is definitely worth it.
May these moments live on…