Adventures Of Ananthgiri

We found ourselves back in our hometown after 2 whole years for Eid celebrations with my uncle and his family. We reached Vishakapatnam one day before Eid. The plan for the next day was pretty clear and everyone was all ready to celebrate the most auspicious day after a month of fasting.

So after the morning prayers and breakfast, south Indian style, we headed to our respective homes and exactly 2 hours later, 6 families, were off to Ananthgiri, a hill station 4-5 hours from Vishakapatnam. We had a heavy lunch enroute, and still found the courage to embark on the well-trodden road ahead.

The road ahead of us was breathtakingly bewitching. The mountains on one side stood tall, showing off their taint less, lush green allurement. On the other, was the gushing river, meandering along with the road, recently augmented by the exquisite rains. The site that the nine pairs of eyes (in one car) beheld, proved to be the object of fascination much needed for elevating the pleasure of this getaway.

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It was dusk when we finally reached our destination. We parked our respective vehicles and headed for the most needed beverage of every Indian, CHAI (tea). There was nothing much to do to pass the time, as the majority of the travellers were youngsters. Before reaching our rest house we saw a bunch of locals playing volley-ball. We approached them and till dark there was a fierce match going on between the team of my cousins and the locals. The locals were indeed a tough competition.

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The Chai Stall
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The volleyball match

When the nature forbade us to loose any further, we headed to out rest house. While we were struggling to set up the tents, the most amazing dinner of our lifetime was getting ready. Tired and exhausted we ate as much as we could, and headed of to our tents. Before sleeping the biggest challenge we faced was, how to fit in 4 people in the tent, which was meant for two. Everyone wanted to experience the rough sleep of tent, leaving behind the luxury of comfortable rooms already provided. Some of us were willing to rough it out, while others just wanted to sleep it off (Mostly the elders were involved in “others”). The ones who did not get a chance to sleep in the tents, and wished to do so, made it their mission to scare us off. But we were so tired that not even a real ghost could scare us away, let alone the “ghosts” the we knew.

I woke up to an absolutely amazing view. After having a delicious breakfast we all headed out to the most Adventurous trek of all of our lifetimes. We parked our respective cars in the middle of the Ghat roads, and headed down to a path which seemed to lead to know where.

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We started on the path which was at an angle of 60 degrees approximately. The further we went the steeper it got. The path was a small pagdandhi amidst the lush green wild mountain grass. The fresh rain had loosened the mud making it slippery and very difficult to walk on. The path turned and twisted in every nook and corner. No corner was left where one of us did not slip. As hilarious the walk was, it was extremely dangerous as one side was the danger of the lush green animals and on the other side was a deep trench, going straight down, and the person on that path would go straight up. Embarking this journey was not only the risk of our legs, but our lives to! But we did it anyways!

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Tired coming down the slippery road, we saw a villager climbing up. We asked him how much further down was it to reach the falls, instead of answering us, he just scanned us and asked why in the hell were we coming down this road. Climbing further down, we could see the magnificent falls, but were not able to see the approach road. It terrified us. The last lap of the trek was, either go for it or you fall of the deep trench. We had no choice, we were already there, we couldn’t go back because of the steep climb. So each of us sat down one after the other to get to the waterfalls. The people who were already there helped us by forming a chain and giving each of us a hand while we made our way down.

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Whatever the hardship, whatever the road, the view of the destination was absolutely PERFECT. The mini heart attacks on the way down proved to be totally worth it when we actually reached the spot. Without waiting for even a single second, all of us were in the cold, beating water washing away our tiredness.

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After having a heart warming bath, we headed to the ascending path of our trip. As dangerous the descend was, it was more tiring while climbing up. We did not go back the way we came, but took a different road which was easier but longer, but safer, much safer.

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Finally after a demanding ascend we reached our cars, ate whatever we found as we were all extremely hungry and headed for the hotel, where an absolutely delicious lunch was waiting for us. We spent some time in the hotel where most of us were sleeping, but whoever was left i tried to scare them of with my singing but that did not happen. And of we were meandering down the beautiful ghats headed straight for our respective homes.


This trip, was the most exciting and nerve reckoning trip I had ever embarked upon. It taught us not only how to keep going, but to keep going with everyone. Team work, hard work, dedication and focus is all you need to achieve the best, and trust me what you get at the end of day is nothing but the satisfaction of doing something worthwhile, which may or may not have made an impact on others life, but it sure has improved your own!

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Kaas Pathar — The Valley of Flowers

20 people, one bus, at 6:30 am we were on our way to Kaas Pathar — the Valley of Flowers.

 

The drive was for about 4-5 hours. From the eldest generation in Pune to the youngest generation we were all in one bus, playing, talking and listening to music. After driving for about 2 hours on an empty stomach it was bound that all of us started feeling hungry. To feed our hunger stricken taste buds we stopped at a small dhabba. There we had home cooked kheema freshly made by Nargis Bhen, with rotis and some superb chai.

Drive from there was quite soothing. Mostly people slept, but some of us were entertaining ourselves. After hitting the ghats, even if I wanted to I couldn’t get myself to close my eyes. I switched my seat to that of a window one with Saqib, because I did not want a perfectly amazing view passing us by.

Every turn of the ghat made us shout out in awe (literally). Lush green mountains on one side and Kaas lake parallel to us on the other. The road could not have been better than this. I was excited, if the approach road was this amazing, where would my jaw be when we reach the destination!

After we reached the destination, because it was a little bit of a walk to the main plateau, I had to wait in the traveler because of my recent operation.  Hahaha.. kidding you think I of all people would let my health affect the serenity my eyes were about to witness, never in 7 hells!! So to say my jaw was nowhere to be found because it was dropped dead at the scenes my eyes beheld. Wonderful lush green plateau on both sides what it lacked where flowers, I mean there were flowers but we were early in the blooming season to visit the plateau so there were not as many.

Tip: 1. If you have decided early in the year to go to Satara, make sure your trip is well planned and that your visit is not to late or early in the season.

2. Pre-book the tickets and parking spots through the internet so that there, you are not face to face with to too many problems.

3. If you are going all the way to Satara make sure it’s a 2-3 day trip because first of all there is a lot to see in Satara than just Kaas, and second of all, it is too long a drive from any major city so might as well stay there for a while.

We walked for quite sometime, and in the end found a nice place to sit and start our photo shoot. 2 of us carried DSLR camera and I carried my possession, the Nikon digital camera (the photos on this page are from the same). After about an hour or so, hanging out in the lush green serene plateau, with the sun shining bright just above our heads, we decided to head out to the Kaas lake, where we had our delicious lunch. We had a very late lunch at about 4 o’clock or something. With our stomach full with multiple delicious dishes, for a little bit of relaxation we headed to the Kaas lake, which was walking distance from our lunch place. There were a lot of people inside the water so we decided against getting wet and for sleeping outside on the heated rocks for sometime.

There for sometime, with Tazeen’s bag underneath my head, my legs stretched out and my complete body at rest, I closed my eyes and tried, amongst all those noises to make this journey a journey within.

As once a far off dervish called SHAMS OF TABRIZ said: ” East, west, south or north makes a little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within. If you travel within, you will travel the whole wide world and beyond.

And alas it did turn out to be a journey within, in a small way, but it did.

After the raindrops started to fall on our heads, we took that as an indication to head out and hit the road, and go back to Pune. The rains in the end made a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Mindset Of a Traveller!

Time to Travel people!

The season of travelling has arrived and I am here to give you tips on how to travel.

We travel for two purposes:  a.) Luxury.     b.) Because we love travelling.

Personally in my lifetime (whatever lifetime I have had) I have travelled with family, without family, international school trips and also spontaneous alone drives (not far off though :P). I have experienced luxury travelling, but not luxury as in staying ONLY in the hotel room, with luxury travelling I have experienced actual travelling, like sightseeing and stuff. Contrary to this I have also slept nights in a temple floor, with freezing temperature outside and also on the surface of the Earth (literally) with nothing but a small sheet separating us from the ground and all the mud (but legs still being in mud).

So I can safely say that I have had my share of experiences with travelling. ūüėõ

In this post I will be covering the LUXURY mindset of a traveller. And hopefully the next will follow soon.

Now lets see how to start of when you are aiming for Luxury travelling:

1.)  Have a nice Hotel room to go to.

When you are planning your luxury travelling, always remember that while you are booking a hotel room, to where ever your destination maybe, always book a room with a nice view and jaw dropping facilities.

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Having a nice view from the Hotel room and awesome facilities, you can experience the actual luxury that you have come to experience. The view from the room keeps you entertained while the facilities make you lazy. A beautiful view of snow-caped mountains or a river gushing at its full pace or a sunny beach whose waves can be heard constantly, will be all the adventure you will need. This is a small getaway from the reality, where you can meditate and shop till you drop.

2.) Shopping Therapy.

Believe it or not, shopping is a therapy. It is indeed a stress buster. You are free to ask any psychologist in the world, or even refer to books about it.

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When it comes to destination shopping, there is a sudden rush. We want to take as much as possible, because we feel if we leave out things, we are not coming back for them. This is a one time thing. Buy as much as you want if you don’t have space buy another suitcase, enjoy shopping. Be creatively greedy and shop your minds out. Have a smile on our face when you have paid for something. I know it is a wrong advice, but do it, feel that rush. Once in a while, it’s okay!

3.) What to carry.

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Don’t let your closet leave you in dilemma. Take control! If your goal is to solely enjoy on this vacation then why carry the weight of sports shoes. Your motto should be “dress to impress”. You maybe with your family, your friends or with anybody, dress like everyday is a red carpet day. Carry heels or simple pair of footwear which goes with any dress. Also one pair of comfortable footwear, just in-case you are feeling adventurous! 

4.) Planning of events.

Plan events according to your time and convenience. If you want to then do it, otherwise you can leave the adventure. You don’t have to rush into everything, get up late and plan the day ahead with a calm mind. If you want to laze around during the day, you re free to do that, don’t feel guilty about it. Planning is not an issue. You can either go on a one day safari ride, or just take a cable car and sit on the snow caped mountains or even explore all the trendy restaurants. You are there to relax, do not go on an adventure spree, unless that’s what you are there for. ūüėõ

5.) Mode of Travelling

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Mode of travelling- according to your convenience! ūüėõ 

These are few tips to travel when you are on a luxury travel. Even when you are on a luxury travel, you can still explore the city and country side. Trust me sitting in a hotel room is very boring. The basic aim for luxury travelling is to not rush it means to have a quiet get away, be it for a week, a day, 10 days or 7 days. You are there to enjoy, so do that. This does not necessarily has to be in an exotic foreign location, when you are travelling luxury, go where you have been (that is just my tip). But don’t ever forget to ENJOY!

Dear World: An Open Letter.

Body shaming is not appropriate. Period. 

There is no explanation is to why you should or can body shame anyone in this world. I mean anybody be it someone close to you or someone you just saw on the street walking or eating in a restaurant.

Some people give you an explanation that we are doing it out of love or it is just for fun. NO! Body shaming is body shaming be it out of love or just for fun. It needs to stop. Period. 

As children growing up, we have a social pressure to look and to behave in a certain way. Why? Why is it that, if we look or behave or dress in certain way then and only then we will be accepted by the world and the society that we live in. Nobody looks at you for the work that you are doing, the society will judge you by the way you look. Nobody and by this I mean nobody teaches you to be you. To be yourself and not worry about the way you look or the way you dress but to improve on your talents and be known for that. And not be pointed out everyday for being too fat or too skinny or ugly. Nobody has the nerve to accept an imperfect person for the way they are. Accept yourself! Don’t let people bother you.

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As a personal victim of body shaming I feel like a balloon full of emotions ready to burst out into tears the next time someone body shames me. But I hold back, I fight everyday against the body shamers. When you are body shamed on DAILY BASIS you just feel not good enough. You feel useless and start doubting yourself and your capabilities. The people who body shame other people don’t know how demotivating it is for that person and how damaging it is to their confidence. 

People who are body shamed fight, they fight everyday to even put a foot out of their home. They fight a battle inside that nobody knows of. They fight to be the person the society wants them to be. They strive endlessly to be beautiful looking person, which I think they already are. Look beyond their looks, have a peak inside their heart you won’t find anyone nicer than them. 

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When people laugh, make jokes on you everyday, tease you for the way you look everyday countlessly you just don’t feel good enough. The wish to exist just disappears. (By this I mean not to die, but just failing to exist, meaning to not go in front of anybody because you know they will body shame you.) The people who do it don’t know what all the other person has to face they laugh on you and move on. Easy. But what about the person who has been body shamed, what about their tears, their struggle? Think. Have Empathy. Feel their emotion. Recognize and Realize their tears. Don’t sympathies or feel sorry for them, because they don’t need it, they are much stronger than you think.

Do you all know that story, where in an island somewhere in the world people don’t cut the trees, they go to the tree everyday and curse them and one day that tree automatically falls down. That’s what all the body shamers are doing. If you are telling a person close to you everyday that they don’t fit the criteria of a perfect looking person set by the people of the society, that person will one day go. Not necessarily die but leave, just go away from your life. And when they are gone what will you miss their body, their not so perfect body or their heart, mind and soul? 

So instead of wasting your time in telling them how to fit the criteria of a perfect person, or body shaming them every step of the way, tell them you love them, tell them how much they mean to you, let them know that you accept them as they are because if they are gone they will never come back. And you will know who’s fault will that be. 

Stop Body Shaming! Be a good person! Don’t put anybody down, instead help them rise and strive to the best that they can. Stop Bullying! Stop Body Shaming! Find Beauty in Imperfection! Because it exists, it sure exists and it is the most beautiful thing one can know and see.

 

Darkness: The Divine Path

Light and dark, a simple concept of good and evil, happiness and sadness, knowledge and ignorance and so on. It is human nature that we always associate light with the good and darkness with the evil. We always use the statement “Let there be light.” Have you ever wondered why?

“Let there be Light” was the first statement in the Bible. In fact Mesopotamian population believed in the concept, that the world was created because of the victory of God over the forces of chaos and darkness. We always associate God with the forces of light. So when we say that the world was created because of the victory of God over chaos we indirectly say that the world emerged because of victory of light over darkness. This is a very orthodox belief. We all quite well understand it.

In this write up I would like to bring out the unknown fact about the concept of light and darkness. 

Egyptians believed that the world emerged out of darkness and swirling chaos. They also believed that darkness had a form and a purpose for existing.

You must be thinking what could be the form and purpose of darkness?

In Egyptian Mythology we have a God named KeK and Goddess named Kauket,  which literally translates as darkness. These two were husband and wife and controlled or more so ruled over the night or darkness. This is the form of darkness. 

Now about the purpose of darkness.

You will not find it anywhere on the internet if you search in mythologies. (Trust me I have tried) The purpose of darkness is very spiritually related. We know that darkness is inevitable, when there is light there is darkness. That is, when there is good there is evil. Where there is god there are demons. What darkness really tells us is that darkness comes from absence of love. It is a constant reminder to us that we are not in alignment with our true nature.

When the sun sets, we feel the light is gone. But this is the most important time. Take darkness as divine path towards Light or happiness or Love. If the sun won’t set we will never experience the joy of a sunrise. If we wont face the darkness or sadness, we will never experience the joy of a sunrise or happiness or a new day, a new opportunity, a new possibility.

Darkness gives us the time to heal, to rejuvenate and get ready for a new day. This is the time when we really find our true selves. It becomes the Ultimate path to Divine Light. Embrace it, love it, make it your part, endure it and you will never feel blue again.

I have started loving sunsets, have you?

 

Jihad: The War Within

When we talk about Jihad, what usually comes to mind is the violent method used by the Muslims,¬†to fight against¬†the non-Muslims or “ghair mazhab”. The word “jihad” is so often misunderstood. So here is a small¬†effort from my side to give you a little insight¬†on the dictionary meaning of the word “jihad” and what in my personal opinion I think should be the real meaning of that word.

So, when you search the meaning of Jihad this is what comes up: 

jihad
d í…™ňąh…Ďňźd/
noun
  1. (among Muslims) a war or struggle against unbelievers.
    “he declared a jihad against the infidels”
First of all this is misunderstood ¬†(that’s my belief). Jihad is always looked at as an action¬†word to scare or instigate people. it generally represents¬†hatred and in turn violence and bloodshed.
The mention of jihad in the Holy Quran had a different perception.
The core message of kindness, love and humanity was supported by jihad which meant fighting the evil thoughts within oneself and emerging victorious toward humanity.
 
The real meaning of jihad should be:

“The spiritual struggle within oneself against sin.”

Every religion teaches us to be kind to one another, have compassion, empathy and humane behaviour towards all living beings, be it another human or animal. 
 
The teachings of Islam are no different !!
The real meaning of Jihad is the war within. It is the war between good and bad inside oneself.
We need to fight the wrong within ourselves everyday to be able to do the right.

All the religious scriptures and teachings help us to understand the right and wrong, also I personally feel, we all have to be more spiritually mature to understand and judge. Following any religion blindly might lead us to become superstitious and judgemental. 
To attain spiritual maturity, combating the 7 sins  is what is important. Fighting against the sins within will make us a much better person than fighting with others for the same.

 


Very well quoted by Rumi :
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.”

I am in search of that field…….Every day the lower¬†thoughts and actions stray me, I fight………The war within continues, the Jihad continues!!!

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