Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Cloudy Notions

Is it just me, or do the big billowing water-laden, monsoon clouds make everyone so very pensive?
I live right on the sea, my building stands tall at the edge of a small bay, filled with fishing boats that stay out of commission here this time of the year.

Whenever I get done with work on time, I try to make it back home in time for dusk to take a run  along my building track that is literally on the water. I find it very invigorating to exercise in an open space, with clean air and a brilliant view of my city! This is a space that many people enjoy; especially lovers, stealing a moment for private romance and harmless banter. But it is also a haven for other "pensers" like me, who seem to be lost in their thoughts, taking stock of their situations in life.

The Mumbai Monsoons are really quite something - the city does get hit very hard by the often relentless Rain Gods that seem to be trying to convey a divine message with the strong downpour. I think of it as them trying to clean up the dusty, dirty, over-populated city that its citizens take so much for granted - bathing the few trees and green patches that continue to exist, washing off all the grime the leaves are surving under. Trying to wash some of the city's sins away.

Up till my late teens, I used to play with my set gang of building friends every single evening. We loved the mushy terrain that the monsoon season provided. Quite creatively, we would make our own set of the then popular TV show, "The Crystal Maze". An adventure-centric show, hosted by the iconic  Richard O'Brien, set in 5 distinct zones (Aztec, Medieval, Futuristic, Industrial and Ocean), the show featured a group of 6 rough n tough adults, who would have to challenge themselves physically and mentally to finally make it to the Crystal Maze! We did our very own version of the above, using waterbodies, swings, slides, rocks, puddles, ropes....your very own Indiana Jones in the making...

This adventorous streak continues to burn in me. And I hope it never dies. Even though, I am pretty sure that I am not cut out to be your local Xenia Warrior Princess...And recent activities prove the same.

Last Sunday, I wanted to do "something different".

My family cringes every time I use this phrase, (and I use it rather often) because there is no saying what it could be that I want to do. And it is a given, that it is definitely not something any of them want to do! Hence, I will need to "recruit" people who want to join me! In any case, last Sunday, I wanted to do "something different" so I joined my truly super-trooper friend E and her gang, on a day trek to Karnala, on the outskirts of Mumbai. I was told it was going to be an easy, relaxed, misty trek up to the fort. Enjoy the view, eat some healthy snacks, and make our way down. Simple enough right? Told my parents this plan and they looked at each other and rolled their eyes. They knew I had "decided" that I was going to trek whether they would say anything to the contrary or not.

So at 6 am that Sunday morning, I groggily tried to get off the bed and into my trek gear and set off for an enchanted-walk-in-the-clouds kinda day....

Should've known!!!!!!

The Motley crew commenced the ascent at 8.30 am through a thick forest-like terrain. The rain was coming down, making the earth soft and squishy (keechad!!!), there was not a bird in sight (Karnala is a bird sanctuary.........apparently) and we had opted for the steeper, tougher route up, since we are such seasoned trekkers (not!).
2 hours later, we had made it to the top and I felt like I had done a 1000 lunges. The way down had already become a major concern in my mind!
Here are pictures from the venture:
All mist and clouds

Yep, we did this...

View with a view

Wardrobe Malfunction - Notice, the rubberband holding together the sole of his left shoe! What a brave soldier...!

Virtuous Vines

After spending an hour at the old fort and enjoying a bird's eye view over the entire Deccan plateau, we started our way back down. Slowly but surely. By this point, a lot of fellow nature enthusiasts had come too, causing a a fair amount of mountain traffic. I cant say I wasn't surprised seeing these people making their way up, inappropriately clad in flimsy rubber slippers and many even barefoot! I watched an entire family there, with their 3 year old girl dressed up in a shiny bejweled salwar-kameez...and I just couldn't understand how they would manage the trek. Here I was, in my sturdy sports shoes, wearing the "right" clothes and still finding it so challenging. Were they not worried about getting hurt, slipping or falling....There was no paramedic in sight, not even a good ol' first aid box available at the bottom...so the potential damage was great. I definitely felt quite ashamed at my lack of strength and need for material comforts.

Last year, same time, I had visited Aamby Valley and had done a 2 hour "nature walk". Now this was amazing!!! There was a lake, a boat ride on the lake, little bridges, amazing flaura and fauna, waterfalls, underwater caves et all..................only later was I told that this was indeed man-made!

So there you have it, I am a pseudo outdoor fan..........but it is is true, monsoons can be more than just mucky. It is a lovely time to get close to yourself, enjoy a nice cup of chai, watch the clouds coming in, move to the beat of the dramatic thunder and lightening and think of the rainbow on the other side.

Rainbow Picture taken by me over the Bombay Gym tennis court - 2012


  1. pseudo outdoor fan hahaha
    love u ms. de ! in a not so pseudo way

  2. Your writing is so truthful and honest and it yet makes one feel as though they've experienced all these adventures with you. Continue writing, continue the adventures. Remain spontaneous.

  3. MTAB kiddos played crystal maze really? that is indeed quite imaginative

  4. I loved the crystal maze. The bald guy was a perfect host for the show. They don't make em like that anymore.

  5. I stay near Karnala! Lucky me! Till a few years ago, I could look outside my window and there it was the fort, in all its majesty! Now, of course, the wonderful view has been blocked my so many high rises. Guess, it's a call to scale Karnala and not admire it from afar!

  6. cool! i read ur bolg for the first time.. n that too was by random clicking ..i just happend to dig ur bolg!
    but i like ur writing.. fresh and something i can imagine!
    i will keep reading n u just keep writing! :)