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 :)

Sunday, November 5, 2017

In my Head!

Strange things are happening!

I finished my 3rd book this morning. 

Today, I got up at 6am, without any effort. Prepared my coffee and started reading. In between, prepared my breakfast, ate and continued with my book.

Weird thing is, every time I pick a book it somehow answers the question I have in the back of my mind or something I am thinking about at that very moment. Or may be we all know what we need to know, sometimes we need an external influence to realise what's inside our mind.

Like, few days back, before I thought of going back to my resolution of reading, I strongly felt I need a psychiatrist. I was unable to cope up with my head and I was strongly in need of help. At least that's what I felt. For me it's very difficult to talk to people, sometimes I hate being an introvert. And now a days, every Tom Dick and Harry is writing articles about mental health and blah blah. 

One strong reason was my messed up state of mind and other one was coming across these stupid posts on social media every now and then. 

Anyhow, in my opinion, restricting social media usage is somewhat peaceful!

Last Sunday evening, I saw a book store and randomly picked these books and decided to get back to reading. I casually decided to begin with "Veronica Decides to Die" by Paulo Coelho.

To my surprise, that book one by one when talked about madness, I found my answers for which I was seeking help and was feeling restless. I realized I no more need a psychiatrist and it's okay to be in a state where I am right now. Not everyone can feel with the same intensity.

The book left me wondering what just happened and I somehow ended up liking it, for how it answered my random questions.

The similar thing happened after finishing "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho too, it answered questions which were not even there in the first place. As if its some kind of Magic!

I was surprised for what it had done to my head.

When the book (Veronica..) was over, I was lost in my thoughts and I wished I could live a peaceful life in a small town and wrote on my blog about my craving for that slow life.

Right after Veronica.... I picked "The Choice" by Nicholas Spark.

Again, a wonderful thing happened, the story somehow left me feeling different. It was absolutely everything I would love to live. Slow peaceful adventurous life! As if someone gave beautiful words to my imagination. Except for the sadness in later part of the book I loved it thoroughly. It left me feeling happy.

In between all this, I was thinking, now a days I remember all my dreams and lately I have experienced similar dream twice! And somehow these dreams are leaving a strange impact on me. The end meaning is always similar!

Anyway, Friday night, I started reading my 3rd book which was "Sputnik Sweetheart" by Haruki Murakami. I found it dark and deep, not particularly a happy book to read. It was different experience though. Living through those dark thoughts and gloomy emotions!

I don't know why my brain is shouting out so loud. I have just finished Sputnik..., and I am still under it's effect. I might take few days to come out of it. Though I'll start my 4th one tonight. Hopefully!

This Sunday is going to be a busy one, winter is here and I have to look for my woolens, wash my summer wear and pack them back.. and few more chores to catch up with.

Let's see how it will turn out to be.

I don't really know what I just jotted down, cleared my head though. 

Hope to be here soon. 

Dear God, thanks for everything.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Happy Endings! :-)

How far should you go in the name of love?

Woohoo :) :)

I finished my second book, The Choice by Nicholas Spark

And I totally loved this one for so many reasons, one of which is I loved the story. My love for love stories made it easier for me to fall for another one, yet again. 

Story began beautifully, everything absolutely perfect. The kind of life I would love to have, slow and steady in a small and peaceful town. Life full of calm, excitement, happiness, adventure, friendship and most importantly love! Love so unexpected and spontaneous!

I know I am filmy and dramatic, but, I can't stop feeling happy, I started reading this one on this Wednesday evening and since then I was living in awe of it. The story was generic though, may be I was swayed away by the way it was written.

I skipped my walk for it, read it while I traveled for my meetings, waiting for client, sipping my coffee and when I was not reading it I found myself smiling thinking about it. Crazy!

And all this was when I am not even a book-nerd. Though reading is one habit I would sincerely like to cultivate. Something, I admire in people.

But honestly, I am more like looking at the moon, listening to music while I leisurely stroll in the evening kind of person. 

As I was reading this book, I was so anxious about what will happen next with every page I was turning. 

It was a perfectly simple story, and I visualized every situation in my head and I lived through it, experienced it. Ah, it was brilliant. 

Though with every complexity increasing in the end I was wishing for a happy ending with tears in my eyes. I am sure had it been a sad ending it would have affected me, somewhat seriously. Like, I remember watching a Disney movie lately which messed up my head for almost a week and I was unable to get over it, it killed something in me and getting over it was not easy, the name of the movie was "Bridge to Terabithia", it left me in tears and I cried through the night.

So much I hate tragic endings, no words can explain!

I somehow crave for things to turn better in every story I read or watch, as if its my innate need to see everything turning alright. 

Anyhow, I am going to start with my next one, Yayy :)

Dear God, I love you, please take care of my people. Muuuuaah :* :*

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Books & Me!

Reading a good book is like living in awe of it till the time it's over, 
and then, thinking about it for few days with a heavy heart.

My only resolution of 2017 was reading 25 pages every night before going to sleep and as usual I successfully failed at it. 

I have a decent history of failing at keeping my resolutions and somehow, I have accepted it. But anyhow I still try! Stubborn me.

Recent Sunday, I decided to revive my resolution and read at least few books in this year, though, I have finished 3 in 9 monthson Sunday, I bought 5 books and decided to give it a serious try to finish them by this Christmas.

The first one I started was 'Veronica decides to die' by Paulo Coelho which I finished in 2 days, I intentionally started with the thinnest one to regain my faith that I can do it.

And it gave me an assurance that I can think of finishing 4 more in the decided timeline.

I somehow believe deactivating my social accounts is proving to be fruitful. (No, I can't do things in moderation, if want to reduce something, I need an absolute cut-off). 

Lately, I have started carrying my book with me, to meetings, to office and try to read whenever I get a chance, whether I am waiting for a meeting or in my minuscule free time when no one is around, which I find crazily exciting. Much better than scrolling Facebook or Instagram in my free time. And strange thing is I wait to open it and read few pages every time I get a chance. It rules my head all the time and I think about it when I am not reading it.

"Veronica decides to die" was a good read, I didn't expect anything from it though, but still, it was better than what I thought. With every story I read, about every character, I was reassured I am Mad :P 

Though, the addiction thing always happens whenever I start reading a book, but, this time it was more intense. I used to look forward to get a chance to grab it and read. This usually never happens. This time it replaced my morning-evening's YouTube hour, occupied my coffee time, I reduced time I dedicated to other important things. And I loved it. :)

I am feeling good, and now, I am going to start another one. Yayy :)

Dear God, I love you, please take care of my people. No! I don't want anything. Muuaah

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Slow Life.

I want a slow Life in a small town!

So much changes with time, at one point of time, all I wanted was a successful career, money, luxury, comfort, of course, along with my people. Ten years back, my dreams were different from what they are today. My dream house used to be  a lavish one in a metro city with every comfort inside and even the comforts were different from what they are now. And, I have always believed I will earn it. 

And today, the only thing similar from my previous dream is my people, everything else changed. I no more want a huge amount of money or a super career or a luxurious lifestyle or a very big house in a crowded city. All I need is a peace of mind, a slow life in a small city, peaceful evenings with my loved ones and good food on the table. 

I am back to square one, where, I again want a small house on the green hills with a small river flowing around, with everything I need to survive, clean air, clean water, clean food and a fireplace to keep me warm in winters. Less noise, more smiles and no mobiles.

I crave for stress free weekends at home, sipping my coffee in peace, reading a book, cooking in my free time for my people. Sleeping till late, playing a sport, listening to old music, doing something creative with calmness around. Travelling often.

A place away from maddening crowd. 

I don't want a social life where I have 500 friends on Facebook, 300 followers on Instagram and hollowness inside. Wishing festivals to hundreds of people on WhatsApp and not feeling anything! 

I want to be with few people I truly care about.

Aah I was watching 'DDLJ' the other day, what a life it was without mobile phones, when everything was real. Emotions were real, people used to make effort to meet, talk and see each other. So complicated yet so sorted!

Irony is, by default I belong to that Era, I have seen that life and I can compare it. And I know I can't go back there, even when I know it was so much better.

Mobile phones with internet are a curse, I feel I am never free. I am always followed, entangled in chains everywhere. On every damn social media if you are online, you are visible to everybody and you are bound to reply. I hate being rude and ignorant and I don't want to be there. 

Sometimes, I really wish to run away from it. 

Dear God, I won't ask for anything from you! Just take care of my people. And I Love You.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Just Another Day!

I need a dragon to commute in Delhi! (Those who love game of thrones will understand)

I don't remember writing about my day in last 3 years. Wow!

Advantages of driving a big car is you don't feel like driving it most of the time. You think of distance, traffic and the most important thing parking hassles. And then comes in mind the famous-accessible-convenient Delhi metro and if you are going back during traffic time, Ola play saves your day! ;-)

Today was a good day. I love days when my brain is busy. 

I had a meeting in a far away land. Of course! 40 kms one way is far away. I thought of driving first, but then I thought let's explore new metro routes. :P

From my Delhi office this metro station was 1.5 km walk on Google map. I decided to walk, festive gave me so many reasons to walk more. 

Such a college kid feeling it was. I was all ready like I used to be for college, flat sneakers, loose shirt, skinny denims. Woohoo and the adventure started! :-D

Carrying my laptop backpack, I left office. Walked, boarded metro and slept for good 30 mins. Yes, I can sleep anywhere, anytime! :P

Then a long walk till client's office. It was a good meeting.

I had my next meeting in the other corner of Delhi. I left for my office and it was 1 pm already... Ran towards office, ate my food, recharged myself with caffeine and left for the second meeting. 

This time again I preferred public transport, so convenient it is plus I was thinking I can shed down some festive weight this way :P

After my meeting, I took Ola and enjoyed some good Ola play music. Such a relief.

Sometimes I feel, I am living Santiago's life from 'The Alchemist', I saw a dream, decoded it and somehow lost. My current phase seems like the one where he was working with the Crystal Merchant, clueless about anything else in life. :P

My life is adventurous. Some days, I live main protagonist's life from Imtiaz Ali's movie and most of the time I am a Disney princess, talking about having courage and being kind!

Life is good. Life is busy. But I really miss my workout routine and other important things I am missing on to. Whatever it is. Let it be. 

God, If this was what You planned, So be it! 

I don't want anything from you. Nothing. Absolutely Nothing! 

Just take care of my people. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

I am Blessed! :-)

I am not Lucky, I am Blessed.

I have always believed I am God's favorite child and He loves me the most. :-)

I have been through some real tough phases in life where I was almost sure I won't survive, but, not only I survived, I emerged stronger than ever before.

We keep finding these articles written everywhere talking about "supreme power"; "whatever happens, happens for our good"; "there is a light after dark" and so on, but I have practically experienced all this in my life in different phases.

I have so many practical examples of situations where I craved for something, badly wanted it, but God allowed me to cry, scream and shout but kept it away from me, and he always made me realize later how good it was for me and I was being saved from big disasters. At times, I had some serious fights with God but He always replied back.

They say "Sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck", and I absolutely believe in this. And not because I read it or heard it, I have experienced it in most crucial situations of my life.

I have faced series of rejections in situations where I was sure to succeed, but there also God was saving me for something very good which obviously I couldn't see.

We humans can't see the future and I specifically get really restless at times. 

I am headstrong and I crave for things very badly, my intensities are very different from normal people and that's one reason I try to keep myself away from basic addictions.

Being strong headed is not only a blessing, its a curse as well. It makes you a difficult human being. If it gives you power to get over what you want, it also makes you equally weak. Strong head makes you prone to addictions and you want what you want, it makes you stubborn, your head rules you and makes you really miserable. Ah not getting into it. May be someday I'll write on pros and cons of being headstrong. :P

Everyone is blessed with certain strengths and weaknesses. My biggest weakness is I am not expressive and I suffer a lot because of this one trait in every sphere of life. 

I am deviating from my topic!

This was about my gratitude towards all good things happening in my life, and for God for loving me so much.

I believe in miracles and have witnessed them in most unexpected situations. And yes, I am waiting for one

I know God you are protecting me from all the bad in life. I feel really lucky at times, though I get depressed when I don't get what I want. You know that I am your little kid who wants everything. :P

God, I know I bother you a lot by asking too many questions, emotionally blackmailing you, crying and fighting, but I know, you know the best for me and you'll take care of everything in my life. Please give me patience to handle things and take care of my people.
Love you, muaah :-))
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