For some unknown reason Monsoon is making us wait more than expected. And the only option that we are left with is to seek for it.
From hills to hills, we have been spending last few weekends in our quest for the divine rain. This time, the destination was Khandala – To the trail to the Duke’s Nose, also known as Nagphani. The name of this place in Western Ghats is credited to the shape of the cliff which is like a hill or a thumb, sometimes resembling a snake.
Compared to the Rajmachi, the Duke’s Nose Trek was relatively easier – The fact that it was day and the path was well marked to the pinnacle. And for more than a single reason, this trek in Khandala was more about the journey rather than the destination.
“Just follow the rails” was what the old lady said to us. And so we did. We followed the rails. Without thinking about where it was leading us.
There are times like this when you don’t know where you are going and neither do you seem to care.
Where do you expect a guy to be on a Saturday night? Breaking the hell loose, partying in some club, owned by the ecstasy of weekend, right? Well it was a little different for me this time around. Saturday, 11 in the night. I was standing on the edge of a really steep hill side. Rain was in it’s full form, as if in a hurry to announce the arrival of Monsoons. The wind was picking up, making every step a task in itself. The jungle around us presenting different surprises in the form of crabs, snakes, toads, lizards and fireflies. And to top that, it was pitch dark. Zero visibility, with torches being our only ally.
This was the moment that defined this weekend of mine and marked one of the best treks I have been part of. Let me take you to a quick tour of how the Rajmachi Trek was amazing in its unique own ways and made it for us a weekend to remember.
A view of Rajmachi from a cave near Srivardhan fort
Back in the 90s, in the era of Pokemon and WWF, when there was no mobile to distract you, we used to have this game of ours. Our own version of Cricket. 5-7 in the evening (except Monday and Tuesday – It was dedicated to RAW and Smackdown) was all about Cricket. And were the rules different from the international rules. Well not exactly. But there were a few unspoken rules around the game which every child knew by heart. Here I am listing a few rules of our Gully Cricket.
There are few things those are necessary for a game of cricket. Two of them is a bat and a ball. Stumps, as we have always maintained, is a total waste of money and space. But alternative? How do you decide if someone is out or not? Luckily in the place where we lived in Lucknow, there was always an under construction building and you just got to smuggle in a few bricks for constructing your own stumps. And there was always that one architect in the group who was summoned in every time someone was bowled.
The Homo Sapiens
Leadership is something many people are just born with, rather than learning over time. We always needed that one leader to take the initiative and call everyone for a game (which was not an easy task I must tell, amidst all the scare of disturbing someone’s Mom’s sleep). And once again, there was always that one guy of whose Dad everyone was scared of. But he had to be called – He was the owner of the bat, and everyone would be like – “Tu Jaa”, “Nahi Tu Jaa Main Kal Gaya Tha”. And even if he wouldn’t come, we would be so daring to ask “Achcha Bhai Bat To De De”. He never gave it though, it was the second most important thing to one after life.
There are these people who think all the South Indians are Mallus. Then there are these people who think that a girl who parties is easy. A major section assumes all the guys wearing spects as nerds. Common stereotypes, aren’t they? I would add just one more victim to this list – A bachelor trying to rent a flat in Mumbai.
Bachelor – Not Wanted
So you pass out from a B School. Get a nice job in the same city. All set to start your new life. Sounds pretty good isn’t it? No. Not so soon. There is a little twist in the tale. Roti, Kapdaa aur Makaan. Roti – Check. Kapdaa – Check. But what about Makaan? What about it when not a single neighborhood in the area is willing to rent a flat to 3 bachelors. And all the options you get are either too far from your office or just not up to the mark.
A lot of running around and sweating, not even being given a chance to explain our case, we had to resort to the ever so benevolent brokers for a chance. I swear sometimes I feel like drug dealers and brokers are running this city. They are everywhere but everyone finds it convenient to just ignore them. So I got this broker who helped us land up in a decent society here in Goregaon. And the first thing that our landlady told us was not to create any ruckus. Ok. So no welcome, no handing over the keys, no agreement signing. Just one directive. And that too pretty LOUD and CLEAR.
You are walking on a street with your friend, contemplating what happened through the day and trying to decipher the meaning of life, and suddenly this strikes your ears, “Only go to that place where you are respected. If you go to a place where you know you will be disrespected, then my friend you don’t have any self esteem”. So much of Gyaan in just one sentence. I looked at my friend and smiled. It was Friday evening. It was a scene outside a wine shop. It was a conversation between two friends who were totally “set”.
Madhushaala – The Chronicles
The sign said “Child Beer”. We knew that we still are children at heart, and one innocent Beer never kills anyone. God gave us the signal and we flashed our way through the mob. A mob where everyone was trying their best to have their voice heard. There are only a few places where everyone is treated equal and this certainly was one of them. Doesn’t matter if you are there to buy a JD or a pawwa, you got to wait your turn. So did we, and meanwhile I tried to scan through the various components which made up this mob.