Saturday, August 4, 2018

In pursuit of Happiness!

The year is in it’s second half and going through my own blog I realized I was absolutely lost all this while.

A wise man told me sometime back- “If it happens as per your wish its good, but if it happens otherwise it’s for the best!”

Many things happened this year, unexpectedly good and unexpectedly not- so-good but I think those not-so-good happenings pushed me towards happy and good ones which otherwise were out of question.

I genuinely believe 'you are exactly where you are supposed to be and what meant to be always find it's way'.

And I am the one who is too restless to accept the same most of the times even though it's imprinted on my subconscious mind. Ah, my yoga lingo. :P

Happenings so far this year were somewhat like this, I'll start with the first one and moving on to another in the sequence they happened-


1. New Year Celebration- I can't recall how I celebrated my new year but I am sure it was peaceful, nothing crazy. I was with my family, I got up happy, not sleepy nor sad. I was content on Jan 1st and visited temple in the evening. Blissful calm day.

2. Karan Bellani- The guy I met here on BlogSpot 9 years back and my oldest blogger buddy. He was the only guy who promised to be my friend till the end and he kept it. His unexpected death was a shock to me and it taught me a lot. I was unable to believe he is no more when I read it on FB and called him to check multiple times, one day his mom called me back looking at my missed calls in his call log to say “beta, Karan is no more”. He died of ALS, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. I don't want to recall anything, I love escaping it.

We met thrice in 9 years, so I convinced myself he is still there in Bombay living his life peacefully. But, Facebook! FB memories keep reminding me of him, the time I visited Bombay and he took days off from his schedule to show me around or when he visited Delhi and I took him to my favourite places. :(

I still remember our walk on the roads of Bombay at night though we had a bike but we preferred exploring roads on foot, we walked for almost 6 hours aimlessly trying roadside foods and exploring markets, we talked and talked and talked, but, I still wonder he never told me about his ALS!

Rest in Peace, Karan. Bombay will never be the same for me without you.

3. Nag Tibba-

My 1st trip of 2018, I wanted it to be calm, snowy, starry and mountainy. So, I decided to go solo on a short trek near Dehradun known as Nag Tibba. It was whole different story and a very different experience for me. For the first time I was travelling with all Delhiites (except one Bangalore guy). :P

It was a very short 2-day trek and after day 1 of trekking the group denied to get up at 5am next morning for the final summit. During our dinner time, in a group they announced “that's it, we are not going to get up early for trek tomorrow, it’s enough”. For the first time I saw trek leader massaging feet and rubbing balm on female trekkers' knees. :P

Night was loud as they played loud music opened liquor bottles and started smoking. It was difficult for me to sleep, but, I managed. I was sure if no one else, at least the Bangalore guy is going for the Summit.

I got up in the morning and to my surprise many more motivated themselves to drag till the Summit.:P

I can never forget this experience. One good thing was I found a new friend from Bangalore with thousand things to talk about, all nerdy and geeky. :P

And I promised myself not to go anywhere near Delhi for trekking in future. 


4. Calcutta trip- 

Another trip to East, good part about my office was these frequent trips but then they used to be so packed and hectic, I started realising I no more love travelling. I wanted peace and recreational time. I mean, going to Calcutta and not getting even 10 mins for myself was crazy. Travel is always beautiful though but I need to soak into the beauty of the place which was missing. I reached Calcutta at 4pm for the event which was 7pm, all I could do was taking shower, getting ready for the evening, reaching to the venue, coming back to the luxurious hotel and sleep. Flying back to Delhi next morning! Rushing like crazy!

One good thing was, I was able finish a book during my in-flight time and skipped my dinner at the event venue to enjoy Bengali sweets at night in my hotel!

5. Grandpa- My grandpa was not keeping well for quite sometime and this time it was worsening, every time I used to visit hospital I used to cry after coming back. I still remember that one evening when I went to the ICU with multiple beds and he was on the front bed and I looked at him and couldn’t believe it's him, I looked around to find him but it was him, so weak and pale and unable to move. I went closer and asked him if he could recognise me and he was unable to utter my name.

That was the moment I lost faith on the hospital, I remember he loved being at home no matter how unwell. I came out of ICU and spoke to the doctor and he said grandpa will not survive for many days and he needs to be on dialysis followed by a ventilator, I asked him what are the chances of improvement, on which doctor said survival chances are zero!
I was furious and decided to take him back home.

We arranged a surgical bed, male nurse and a private surgeon and had a big fight with hospital management during his discharge. Anyhow, my grandpa was happy and I could see him improving at home. He used to smile and talk to me though he was unable to eat through his mouth. He used to love home, everything here was picked by him even the designer sofa set and the curtains, I remember taking him to Kirti Nagar to select his favourite designs.

He was doing well but the surgeon said "he can go any moment". I denied to believe. He was improving and I was hopeful until one day he denied to talk to me. He slept for 1 complete day. And next day He left us. :(

I was unable to believe it and why should I, he is still with me, around me. Reading it all, while I am writing it. 


6. Singapore trip-

My second office trip of the year, and although it was my first ever international trip I was not at all excited, I mean, travel used to be one thing I used to love the most and now it was also failing. After losing interest in my workout routine due to my work schedule, now, I was losing interest in travelling.

This trip was for senior management and I and my one more colleague were going as an exception, and even that exception failed to excite me. :P

I called my boss to say I am not willing to go and if they can cancel my booking, on which she said “you should go and bookings can't be cancelled”. As they say, what’s meant to be find its way.

I landed in Singapore, it was all luxury trip for an Annual Strategy Meet, stay in 5 star hotel, brilliant buffets, dinners at the very best locations like Marina Bay Sands and The Altitude (the highest point in Singapore).

The time I enjoyed the most in Singapore was the day I landed in Singapore and decided to explore it myself by skipping my pre-booked dinner at again some 5 star fine dining property, the best part was my fone was not working.

After everyone left for the dinner, I left my hotel in the evening to roam around on the streets of Singapore. I decided to eat the local food and check out the local flea markets. So much I loved that evening, I bought local chocolates, ate local food and had the best time sitting on the street side looking at the new city, feeling the different air on my face and hair. But of course, I had to pay the price for this freedom, when my boss told me you are not a child, you are here on a work trip and are supposed to be on time and be with the group all the time. She was not very happy about my little adventure. :P

Our routine used to be staying in the conference from 8am till 6pm, listening to the sales agendas and progress of last financial year, getting dressed up by 7pm and going to some luxurious pre-booked venue for dinner with the management.

One evening when I was sitting on the rooftop of “The Altitude”, listening to the live music and cherishing the view of the city lights from the top, I looked up at the sky and the stars. Talking to the stars, they asked me “Are you happy being here, this is so amazing?”

I looked around once again, my boss, her boss and other bosses drinking and laughing and enjoying, it was a beautifully luxurious jail, with fine wine and cheese and the best of dresses people could wear and all those things most of the people dream of and would do anything for. And nothing was wrong with it. But...

But, I could not relate to it, it was not my world. It was not for me. As strange as it may sound, I decided to go back to my hotel. The plan was to stay there by 2-3am but I left around 12.

I loved the overall feel of the city and I loved the luxury, who doesn’t, so I cherished my time in Singapore with the only wish of getting time for myself, it was just unfair to the place. What good is a big bath tub if I can’t take a long rejuvenating bubble bath.

On our last day, I went for a small walk around and bought few more things before leaving the city. Also, I promised the city to be back soon with all my time. :-)

7. Realisation- 

After coming back from Singapore, I was subconsciously realising this was not what I wanted for myself. I cannot lose these simple joys in life for money. Along with it, there were many more things happening which were killing me within and I was unable to bear it. I needed a break.


8. Contemplation- 

Contemplation happens. And it happens on it’s own, when it’s supposed to be. I realised many things, I was happy but I was in pain. A strange pain I cannot define here. The same pain I was in, 9 years back. And once again history repeated itself. This time I had no friend so close to share with. I needed time for myself..

9. Resignation- 

I needed a break and I took it. I left my job and decided to hibernate. And for the first time I was not worried what will happen in my future. This was what I needed exactly at that point of time. A break from my own self. And future, I was not even thinking about it.

10. Nepal and Everest Base Camp- 

April 17th was my last working day and on April 20th, I was in Nepal.

The trip was more about Nepal for me and less about Everest Base Camp, and yes, Rupin Pass still tops the list of my favourite treks.

I went for EBC with my brother, and we started our trek on 22nd April.. EBC was amazing in terms of views and the experience but it was overly commercialised and very crowded. It was nothing like a trek. It was more about crossing a valley to reach to another guest house sort of crowded place. I will any day prefer Himachal over Nepal for a trek in particular.

Also, I had another “Acute Mountain Sickness” and this time it was much severe than the last time, I felt I am surely going to die this time. :P

More than EBC it was Nepal that we enjoyed, amazing nightlife of Thamel, beautiful temples, streets of Pokhara and a round of Golf at Himalayan Golf course.

Nepal was overall a brilliant experience; we experienced Lukla flight and Chopper ride which was once in a lifetime experience.

I might visit Nepal again for EBC via Gokyo lakes route, but, that’s a farfetched idea. I need to work on my fitness first. :P

Well, I guess it’s enough for now. I am not willing to talk about my next 3 month long hibernation in mountains.

Dear God, you know what I’ll say. Thank you for everything. I love you. Take care of my people. Muaah. :*

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-

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