Sunday, March 11, 2018

My Beloved Grandfather!

4.15 pm, 27th February 2018, I lost my beloved grandfather. 

That very moment when I was standing next to his bed, my hands cupping his cold pale face and my ears craving to hear his voice, my words finding difficulty to come out and my throat choked.. I regretted every moment when He was there with me and I couldn't spend enough time with him.

Why we realise these things after losing our favorite people!

I was his son. He was always very proud of me. I often heard him talking to people "my granddaughter had done this", "my granddaughter bought this", "I'll ask my granddaughter", "my granddaughter" used to be his favorite. I was his favorite.

His small small wishes and demands which He only used to tell me, who will ask me now where am I going to travel next, after my every trip who will now ask "tu ne photos bhi nahi dikhayi", "kaisa tha trip", "kaisa mausam tha"...

His child-like wishes which I used to love fulfilling, how can I ever get over his words. Every time He used to crave for something special to eat I used to be the first one know. For whom I'll buy chocolates now, his favorite pastries and cookies. I remember the last thing he asked for when He could eat was his favorite cookies, which He was hardly able to eat.

Every time we used to go out for family celebrations He used to sit next to me, at times even switching seats with whosoever sitting next to me saying "gudiya achha khana order karti hai, main iske sath hi baithunga"

Every time I used to leave home, He used to be there sitting in the balcony, always used to call my name and when I used to look back He used to say "kab ayegi mujhse baat karne", "aaiyo free hoke", "kaisi hai"... Who will call me now! :(

Whenever I used to sit with him, He used to tell me his stories, his work-life, how He started his business along with job, his travel stories, his favorite food, his life during the time of British-rule. I have heard his stories multiple times and I always used to love listening to them. His favorite one was his Mauritius travel story. I visualized that era through his eyes. I lived it.

I didn't realize He left me so suddenly and since then, I avoided looking at his pictures and stuff for 11 days. I convinced myself thinking he is alive some where just away from this place and I'll meet him soon. I love escaping from situations I can't face. Coward me. Fake me. 

The worst escapist ever.

Today was his prayer ceremony and I was the one arranging things, I saw his framed photograph and couldn't control my tears. I so wish to talk to him and say sorry for not being able to spend enough time with him.

I hope I'll be fine, I'll again convince myself He is there somewhere with me, till then let the tears flow and let my heart grieve. 

Dear God, take good care of my Grandpa, He is with You now. And I am jealous of You today.

For you Grandpa-

Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
Yeah they were all yellow!

Dear Grandpa, wherever you are, I want to say SORRY for not being able to spend more time with you. I hate myself. 

Rest In Peace.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Snowy Christmas- Kedarkantha! :-)

I am a girl who believes in Santaclaus and God never misses any chance to keep my belief intact. And this time, I celebrated Christmas in the mountains at Kedarkantha trek.

It was my dream to celebrate a snow covered white Christmas like they used to show in classic Christmas and Disney movies which as a kid I used to watch every year with great excitement. :-)

This year I finally celebrated my snowy dreamlike Christmas. This was very special to me because of 3 things, firstly, it was in snow clad mountains, for which I was longing for last 6 months; secondly, it was a beautiful trek and thirdly, the amazing people I met during my trip.

My year couldn’t have ended any better and this trip made my fantastic 2017 even more beautiful.

Kedarkantha was a 6 day long trek (2 days for to & fro from Sankri base camp) and it was an unplanned solo trip.

Trek in brief-

Maximum Altitude- 12500 ft

Weather- Snowy/Sunny/Dead cold

Grade- Very Easy

Trek distance- Approx. 20 kms in 4 days
The journey started from Dehradun, so, I reached a day in advance and decided to sleep. :P

Day 1- Dehradun to Sankri, Nostalgic Morning

Next morning we all assembled at Dehradun railway station, and all this while I was terribly missing my Rupin Pass trip. Rupin was something which words can never define and I was feeling very emotional.

At railway station, I met 5 more people travelling for the same trek from Bombay and we shared a cab till base camp and from that moment we formed an instant connection. All the way we were talking, laughing and clicking pictures, it was almost an 8 hour long journey which never felt this long.

We reached Sankri and decided to celebrate Christmas Eve, we 6 went to the local market searching for Plum cake and we couldn’t find any cake to begin with, mutually we decided to celebrate our eve with Hot Chocolate at night after dinner. We bought a big packet of hot chocolate and milk powder and we were all super excited. Yayyy! :D

After dinner, we talked and talked till the time we were super sleepy, and decided to push back our Hot Chocolate celebration post trek. :P

Day 2- Juda Ka talab (4 km walk, 9100 ft)

Technically, this was our first day of trek. We started walking around 9.30am, it was a very short and sweet walk of 4 kms.

Leisurely we walked, clicked pictures, listened to the music, ate Maggi on the way and reached our first campsite “Juda ka Talab” by 12.30pm despite taking 4-5 decent breaks. :P

This place was dead cold, campsite was near a frozen lake as the name says "Juda Ka Talab".

It was a Christmas day, my coldest Christmas ever. The temperature was around -6 dregrees in the night but it felt like -20 degrees because of the cold air.

I slipped inside my sleeping bag around 6pm, I was helplessly dying of cold even after wearing so many layers. 

Skipped my dinner, dessert and everything just to realize I was unable to sleep because of the weather and had to anyway get up for the loo at night. :(

Terribly cold night it was and somehow I was scared of it, that frozen lake looked haunted at midnight :P

I somehow managed to pass that night.

Day 3- Juda ka talab to Kedarkantha Base Camp (4 kms, 11250 ft)

Morning was much better, as it always is! :)

We again clicked pictures with the Frozen lake, talked, had breakfast and left for the next campsite around 9.30am.

Easy day again, we reached our base camp in a short while and had a long day to chill. It was a beautifully sunny day in the snow.

We played cards and I learned to play ‘bluff’ while waiting for our lunch.

After finishing our delicious meal, we decided to go for a walk and play on the snow. So we 7-8 people roamed around and looked for a big snow covered ground where we played cricket, catch-the-snowball, snow fight and many other games on the snow, again clicked pictures and had great time. 

We realized it was already 4.30pm and was time for our acclimatization walk. We walked back to our camps and after a short briefing session and tea break we left for our acclimatization walk.

By 6pm we were back, had soup and chit-chatted while we waited for dinner.

Post dinner, we all were looking at the stars standing in a circle. What a beautiful night sky!

After a while, one of our trek guides reminded us that we have to get up at 2.30 am for Summit and we should sleep.

We all slept around 10.30-11pm.

Day 4- Summit Day & Back to Hargaon Campsite (6 kms, 12500ft)

I took this responsibility of waking everyone up at 2.30am, but somehow I was too lazy this time.
May be I was self-assured that it’s an easy trek and I will manage :P

All this while I ate a lot, ate Maggi, skipped morning stretches and most importantly, I got up at 3am instead of 2 on Summit day :P

Anyhow, I ensured everyone was up and we were all ready by 4.30 am.

This was our best day of the trip, we started our climb in -3 degrees at 4.30am.

As our trek leader ordered, I was supposed to walk in the end of the queue and for the first time I didn’t feel bad about it because that’s how a “Wolf Pack” walks. Strongest ones in the end!

Me along with my “group mates”, yes, it was a group now, walked in the end. Clicking pictures, drinking our favourite “Magic drink” ;-), taking long breaks and having time of our lives! :))

Even on our summit day, our group took long breaks, cherished the most beautiful sunrise and together we reached on the peak-top by 9am.

All this while, we were laughing, talking and having fun. While coming back, we took Maggi break, slided on the snow, played on the snow and in a very slow pace we walked enjoying it thoroughly.

We reached base camp at 2pm, had lunch and proceeded to our campsite of the day “Hargaon Campsite

It was crazy fun day, none of us was tired. We were laughing and chilling, as if Summit was a cake walk! :))

And while walking we planned our post trek celebration!

We reached our last campsite around 4.30pm and had yummy “Samosas”.

Post that we were busy planning our party and celebrations, next day was supposed to be our stay in Sankri after final descend and post that our drive to Dehradun (a day after), but we decided to proceed to Rishikesh directly on our ‘day 5’ for River Rafting instead of staying at Sankri to save our one day.

This evening was amazing, we talked till 11pm and though we all were dead sleepy because of the Summit day, we refused to sleep till the time our trek guide came to remind us we were disturbing other people.

What an amazing sleep I had this night.

Day 5- Final descend to Sankri and Rishikesh travel

As usual I was up by 5.30 am, in dead cold and dark morning. I came out of my camp stared the starry night sky for the last time, brushed my teeth and realized there was bonfire at a short distance.

We were not allowed to lit fire around campsites, so I was curious to know what is it!

I walked closer to the fire to realize it was local people from some other trek group and since they were localites they had permissions to break the rules. I asked if I could join them, and they merrily welcomed me. :)

We talked, they shared stories of Kedarkantha, Har Ki Dun, Chopta and their village life.

I had my coffee with them, they arranged hot water and as usual I had a coffee packet in my pocket :P

We talked till sunrise, and I saw my group waking up. I took permission to leave.

I joined my people, we planned our day ahead.

After breakfast, we started our descend which was a short 6km walk and we covered it quickly. 

Reaching guest house, I quickly took cold shower and was all set to leave.

We left for Rishikesh post lunch.

On the way, we had dinner in Mussoorie and reached Rishikesh by 12.30am.

Day 6- The Closure- River Rafting in Winters

I have no words to explain what a warm and cosy sleep I had on a bed with a quilt. :))

In morning, someone woke me up by banging on the door and I realized it was 8.30am and we had to leave for rafting.

This was my 4th time with rafting and first time rafting in winters. I enjoyed it while I was dying of cold.

After rafting, we came back to our hotel and quickly packed our stuff to leave.

We had our last lunch meal together at the famous “Chotiwala” and from there we parted ways for our respective destinations.

I booked my train from Haridwar.

It was a nostalgic moment and felt like I am bidding adieu to my very close people.

In train, I was looking at the pictures we clicked and was missing it badly.

I was back home in Delhi by 11.45pm.

My Kedarkantha trek was brilliant and one of my best trips. This was my gift from Santa Claus and I am really grateful for it.

And while writing I just realized we completely forgot about our "Hot Chocolate" Plan! :))

Dear God, I love you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for making this year so special, thank you for Rupin and Kedarkantha and Goa and Siliguri and everything I experienced this year. I love you.. Muaah :)

Please take care of my people! :-)

All these pictures above except the first one of the post are clicked and contributed by my trek group members. 
This time I clicked very few pictures, some are as follows-

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Serendipitous Siliguri!

The moment I landed in Bagdogra, the first thought that crossed my mind was
"Someday, I'll come here for my trek"

Siliguri for work was never on my mind to begin with!

Gosh, so much I love new places.. I find myself smiling every time I travel, most of the time, throughout, without any reason and it comes naturally! 

And I try to control it every time I find a curve on my lips, crazy happy kid! :)

My journey began with very weird incidences an evening before my travel, long long story which I would not like to discuss. :P

I landed in Siliguri on Thursday afternoon, in a super hot weather, coming from Delhi, I was wearing a sweater and a jacket and since, a friend told me it's cold in Siliguri, I was carrying a leather jacket too. 

Definition of cold for someone living in Delhi and in love with snow is a bit different. I landed here and was all in sweat instantly, like I was in Chennai.. Ah, my Chennai Love! :P

Soon after check-in, I left for work, my work here was to be a part of an event organized by my company, and just to tell you it was a 'food festival' and people in East are crazy about food. And I was traveling alone from our North office.

This place felt so much like Calcutta but without yellow taxis and Rosogullas, the day ends here by 5pm, you can see dark night sky and bright moon by 5pm.

It was a feeling like what  you feel between Delhi and Chandigarh, Chandigarh is organized though. :P

I met people from my Calcutta team here, luckily, the guy I met on day 1 was a half Delhiite, he lived in Gurgaon for almost 12 years, so we had quite a lot to talk about. From Rice Liquor in Gurgaon to Korean Coffee to the most happening places and the life, THE LIFE IN GURGAON! Crazy! 

Of course, who knows about life in Gurgaon better than me. :P

On day 1, I tried the famous Singada which is known as Samosa, and Puchka, our very own Golgappa in Delhi.

On coming back to our hotel, we tried local food for dinner, another different thing here was, everything you eat is made of refined flour, no wheat flour.. forget instant breads, even rotis, parathas, pooris were made of refined flour. Not trying to act pricey, ate whatever I got quietly. In Delhi, I avoid brown breads too, here I was eating white chapatis! And was loving it, thoroughly! :P

Next day, more people joined us from Calcutta and the group was now a big one. Too many people, too much to listen to.

One more thing I have noticed in Calcutta people is, they are too possessive about their city.

I was having breakfast with someone from the city, must be in his 50s, during a general discussion, I was telling him how similar I find Siliguri and Calcutta, on which he argued as if I said something very disrespectful. I mean, It's my experience and observation, indeed no two cities are same but they tend to resemble. He defended Calcutta by saying there is no other place like Calcutta in India. Ah! Right!  

I like Calcutta, It's slow, calm and relaxed like no other metropolitan. Best of both worlds, life in metro with a peace of small town, absolutely chilled out!

But then I love Bombay, so amazingly fast and happening and safe and what not! 

It was writing about Siliguri and I am roaming in India. :P

I seriously feel my Siliguri trip was Serendipity, I never expected it, nor looking for it but I am really happy it happened. :-) :-)

I enjoyed every bit of it with work, though, it was very hectic but I really cherished it all this while.

December is here and my history of Decembers is crazy, already started with a super exciting and mad one. :P

By the way, I finished few more books and already halfway through my next one, which makes it 8 in November and since my December is here let's see how many more I'll be able to finish! :P

For me December is Devil's month, all my demons are highly active, creating mess in my head and life.  

Dear God, I love you. Please take care of my people and please please help me sailing through December! :* :*

P.S.- Belated Happy Birthday Pearl :)
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