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.

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Etching Happiness: Uroli

 

I was travelling again, alone again, in the train again but this time to Delhi, the capital of India. My mom was very scared and happy as well, as a matter of fact she gave me a name also, vagabond. While the train was heading towards Delhi, I was sitting quietly in my seat which was thankfully near the window. I had mixed feelings about this trip. I was laughing to my self, feeling proud and having fun by myself. This is when I conscientiously realised that I in fact do love my own company, I love to stay with myself.

So, this was it, I was on the road yet again, this time ready to experience and learn. What came as a surprise were the amazing friends that I made, which I am very proud of. It all started out in Delhi, I reached Delhi during early afternoon and was in the hotel by lunch time. I saw a lot of familiar faces as well as new friendly faces who were very welcoming. I was sharing a room with another instructor named Sonia. We became relatively friendly and after a while I found myself with her and 3 other instructors on the metro train on our way to Decathlon.

After the alarm went off at 3 o’clock in the morning me and Sonia got up and got ready as we had to leave the hotel by 3:30 with other instructors. The meeting point for the kids was the Delhi Railway station. After sometime we found ourselves on Shatabadi Express honking our way to Kathgodam station. I was put in a different coach, but because of the kids had to constantly make my way through 2 coaches to keep the kids entertained. Which was fun as its better to get acquainted to kids before hand. Then the camp is nothing else but a lot of fun. When we reached the Uroli campsite, I was awestruck! It was nothing but pure beauty which existed in reality in front of my eyes. All the tiredness from the 12 hour journey just vanished and i was ready to conduct the camp.

The first programme was only of 6 days. I wanted to stay a little longer, and right then a miracle occurred and I stayed back for one more programme in the same campsite. I adored the camp with all my heart. Along these 6 days of the first programme, I learned a lot. I was thankful to be working with the best team there was, with Tony sir as my team leader, who I had already worked with. Our team was like a well oiled machine, everybody knew their own parts, no tiff’s no grudges and we carried out the activities very very smoothly and somewhat very humorously.

During these 6 days I was with the backpacking team. I wanted a little bit of a change and for one day I changed my team to that of rock climbing. There was this kid who wanted to be with me for very long. When she found out that on that day I was not going for backpacking she lost her cool. Thankfully she did not cry, but she made a huge scene even with my team leaders, nothing major. But that act was very emotionally touching in a certain way. Moreover, I could see that my team members also did not want me to leave, I mean that’s what I felt. But I went with rock climbers anyway.

All in all when these 6 days were over the kids took away with them a lot of memories and bonds were created with us as well. We all had a day’s break before the next group was going to come. The whole camp was to ourselves, there were no kids to watch over, no one to wake us up in the morning and on top of it, it started raining. All of us were more than happy to crash out early after dinner and sleep in late.

The next set of kids were a bit older than the previous lot. They made themselves at home as soon as they entered the camp. Though tired from the the long journey, their energy level was still as high as the Everest! they were welcomed with heavy rain, very heavy rain. After they were all allotted to their respective tents, they were made acquainted with us as we all were to spend 8 days with each other. Might as well spend it peacefully. :p

So, I was in the backpacking team again with two new members and two old members including me. This time each group would stay with us for 3 days and then the next group would come again for 3 days. These 3 days also included a night out in the wild. I adored my first group very much. On the first day we took them to our usual route and the usual lectures that we conduct. During the course of day one, we all became very close to each other. Which put my mind at peace that the next two days will be good, especially the night out. To my surprise all the kids of my team were crazily excited about the night out. In no time, on day two, we were packed and ready to go. Because there were a lot of girls and it was a night out I insisted on taking one more lady instructor with me. The night out which we were a bit scared of went off very smoothly. Kids did see a baby fox there, but they were not scared at all. We had a campfire which the kids thoroughly enjoyed. From that day on wards I was known as the “Chuha” didi, because I did a rhyme which they absolutely loved. I was also known as the “Haryali” didi because of a power up I conducted.

Oh! The night out for the kids was a total hit, but the night out for the instructors…… It was no doubt amazing, but we had no tents, we had to sleep under the tarp. Which was indeed amazing, but then it started raining, and to top it all the tarp was not big enough to fit 6 instructors. But the night past and we all came out of the tarp alive. That night changed the equation between me and the kids. We all became much much closer to each other. They adored me and I returned their love with all my heart.

When we came back from the night out in the morning, the kids were in for a surprise. We took them for a bath, in the stream. It was the coldest water I had ever been in till date, on top of that, there was rain with hailstorm. That day was unforgettable, it will always be etched as a perfect memory in my brain.

The next day the groups were switched and I switched with my group to rock climbing. But sadly, it did not last very long, I injured my self and was not able to go with my group for remaining 2 days. Though, I kinda left the kids, the kids of group 1 did not leave me. The kids would come to me to talk about their day, show me their talents, and then we would start singing songs. And of course the chuha rhyme followed. The most special thing was 3 of the kids, made a lovely get well soon card for me. I was emotionally touched, with all the love I was getting.

On the last day, I did not want to leave the camp site, but I had to go back, I had to come home. The kids cried because they didn’t want to leave the camp, some actually cried because they did not want to leave me. But they had to, everyone had to go. And so did I.

And this way, another wonderful camp came to an end, and I was home again. This trip was nothing but a wonderful journey of friendship, love and happiness. I made friends with the instructors who are still very much in touch with me. I created memories with the kids, which will always be ingrained in my brain, and always hold a special place in my heart. Uroli was the best camp of this summer, hands down. I tell this very honestly and very truthfully. The lessons I learned, the love I received, the bonds I created are beyond anything in this world. This trip was all about discovering yourself and it made me realise there is so much more to this world and with just a simple smile and politeness we can touch so many lives and hearts.


 

Thank you for reading.

All the pictures in this blog which do not have me in it are clicked by me.

Everything in this blog is written through experience. I hope you all like it. Please like this blog so that i receive your encouragement. Since you are here please comment, criticism is most welcomed.

Thank you!

P.S- The featured image does not have me in it, but it describes my exact feelings for this camp.

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. 😛

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. 😛

5.) Mode of Travelling

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Mode of travelling- according to your convenience! 😛 

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?