Archive | May, 2008

IPL : 2 more teams in the fray ?

22 May

Home is  a place  where one often yearns for peace .

I had heard of families divided on political beliefs, fav football teams, fav movie stars arguing among each other.When the IPL began, I was happy to have a team of my own to cheer :RCB. Afterall namma Bengalooru team alve.

But the happiness didn’t last. The in – house cricket afficianados were more disappointed than Mallya himself.They didn’t choose to party in Turkey . They ‘bought’ themselves a team each for themselves.Now I am a peace loving person. The one who prays for a miracle each time team India is on the brink of a defeat. I was happy Indians were in all IPL teams and i could pray for better miracles like, the decline of inflation rate, the formation of a majority govt. in Karnataka…

God disposed these proposals. The house now resembled  an auction house for a few days. “I will buy so and so….” shouted  C. ” I will buy – and – ..” screamed V.Finally after the ‘shopping’ peace reigned-or so I thought. Now every match being played had “our” personal players and the house took on the dimensions of a pub.No, I haven’t  actually seen one. But Bollywood has obliged many a time !Each day was “fought” as if our lives depended on the outcome of the match.The  late evenings were spent in watching the match, the nights in what should have actually happened (two versions ),the mornings in discussing the newspaper reports, the afternoons in discussing the “breaking news” reg. the controversies and the early evenings in ‘who should win the toss and elect what first, ” , the final playing eleven and what not? It is vacation time and nobody discussed special lunch/dinner , home made snacks, novels , outings…

Cricket too  took a back seat.In spite of frequent reminders that we haven’t spent crores in buying the teams and the real fun is appreciating each audacious stroke, each acrobatic save, each arjunesque run-out.. C and V started  getting immense pleasure in pulling each others’s legs discussing the owners, the bench-sitters,the poor selection, the best  startegy, what-dravid/veeru should have done, how serious is Akhtar’s knee injury, the  team with max. no. of near veterans …

They started devising strategies for defeating each others’teams. it looked as if our house was in Indraprastha during THE war.Finally I lost my cool.

I gave an ultimatum to V : Anymore imaginary team buying/ auctioning/playing , and I am running off to kalpakkam without you.That settled down things for a day.

Then RCB went on and did the unbelievable !Now “we “are back to supporting the HOME team in the sincere hopes that next year our team will ‘mature’ into a fighting one !!It doesn’t mean that we will (Oh,God ! I too have started talking in the egotistic We style like the owners… 😉      )  bring in  mature players who are  deep into retirement like  Prassanna , Binny

This has purchased some peace. For now.



Climb I did !!

16 May

When  we came back from the trek, we had a session on First Aid.The evening was as usual..herding  the girls to the bathing ghat, and literally pulling them away from the river…The river was gentle, crytal clear, cool and very inviting..

We then sat in rapt attention listening to the anecdotes of an erstwhile hunter. Now he is a conservationalist.As he was recounting his tales and invoking the sacred name of Jim Corbett, I was reminded of the saying in Hindi: “sau choohe khaakar, billi haj ko chali..” Kids are smart these days. A child asked him several uncomfortable questions regarding his past.

Night descended and sleep evaded..what with kids in a hyper mood. Some were tired and slept only to wake up with nightmares of having missed the wake -up call / getting late for breakfast….The kids who were still awake had a roaring time laughing at these diverssions and so was I.

next morning, there was no  running water in the toilet. We ran between the river and the tent with a plastic pot  while the kids did ‘fun  exercises’.The kids in my group started on their 20 km trek to Dudhsagar waterfalls. I had my own plans. My friend Chanchala  and I quietly walked to the river for a long, liesurely dip . After jalakreeda, jalayoga, we reached the  artificial wall climbing site and announced that we would climb. We were harnessed . My friend, just a 23 year old ,slim and trim girl climbed and reached the outcrop effortlessly. She lost her steam, only to be pulled up by the trainers.She rapelled down the other side. Now it was my turn. I climbed easily enough till the outcrop.Then I had to wait there for  2-3 minutes as the trainers were quenching their thirst. I had sudden doubts about my ability to climb the last hurdle. My hands were sweating. The trainers had told me to hold on… I decided to come back down  so as to avoid being pulled up by them . My huge body weight made me pity the ‘pullers’.IThis meant I couldn’t rapel down. It was ok with me. I had a huge satisfaction that I did climb.

I proceeded to Dudhsagar in the lunch vehicle. And what a bumpy ride it was !! We crossed thr river twice . After lunch I was supposed to  trek back to the camp , but the rocky, slippery dirt -track put me off and I rode back on the lunch vehicle.  In the evening a snake handler gave a beautiful talk and demo on snake handling .

The next morning the kids had some fun games and exercises. They filled up response forms and attended the valedictory function.It was time to say good bye..

The days of thrill were drawing to an end. We again walked back to Collem, treading through the  familiar river water.Our bus was waiting for us. We reached the school at 1630 hours on Sunday, 27 April.The kids were  safely handed over to their parents.I reported  to my principal about the safe arrival. Now the adventure was really over.

Sitting on the fence..?

10 May

The kids were called to ” fall in line ” by 6.00AM.They went for exercises.Meanwhile we got ready for the day.When the kids came back they were gushing with happiness about the wonderfully creative and fun filed exercises they had done.They were already on a countdown for again lining up for breakfast.
After breakfast our group K2 walked down a few steps to do adventure activities. The first session was on various knots.The technique and purpose were all explained and illustrated. the kids got chance to tie those too. Each knot was associated with a funny tale.Then artificial wall climbing was demonstrated. It didi look like a tall order to me. Pun ontended.Climbing the ladder to clean the fans is it self an ordeal for I have had many injuries.The thrill of watching the kids rapelling down was a bit too much.
I wanted to rapell down ,but how would I climb up ? I helped the trainers by repeating the instructions and handing over the equipment . I convinced myself that after all I am an escort and I need not actually take a lead in these activities.The afternoon was devoted to shooting, monkey bridge walking etc. Then followed a session in communication. This was conducted by the other organiser Mr. Mukund Deodhar. He too has been to the Himalayas several times.It was great fun..The tactics of telling a short story with minute details.The listener then turns narrator and the story gets relayed with diminished matter.Finally the story gets so much distorted that it hardly has any resemblance to the original.The novelty here was that a small group played and the others could giggle at their discomfort….
I too got a chance to narrate couple of stories.I observed how my ‘stories’ differed from those of Mr. MD. His were based on business, investments and returns and mine were mostly based on famillies, animals…. Our professions dictate out thinking…They have a deep influence on our imagination too.

The other groups returned from their tours and it was bathing time for the girls.The stream / river had three/ four ‘ghats’. The girls were given the last one. We herded them, counted them twice ,(they were 33 )and off we marched.They were tired and sticky. They enjoyed the slashing cum bathing session so much that we had to literally pull them out, count them and bring them back to the tents.

More interactive sessions followed.Games and fun filled moments !!Thebn dinner followed. The night that engulfed the tents was welcomed by all..Each one was bone -tired.

The shrill whistle woke us up. I had decided to trek the 8 km trek to Devil’s Canyon and Caranzol.I was leading the troop  after breakfast .We reached Devil’s Canyon crossing a grassy path with a thin sliver of a mountain stream crisscrossing it…The crunchy sound of the leaves underneath, the dappled sunlight,the buzz of insects ,the slight anxiety of being the leading  bali ka bakra (i)…it was fun !!. DC is a strange place. It looks so inocuous. It is like a pool of dirty water amidst rocky crevices. The legend says that anyone who goes inside doesn’t return alive.The boys werwe the usual sceptic guys. The girls were sitting on the fence..”maybe /may not be  kind”.Whatevr the truth..the place looked sinister.We then proceeded to Caranzol.We came across only buffaloes. We were expecting Bisons the state animal of Goa.And of course the tangy fruits of Bimbla…..slurrp, slurrp.

Soon we reached a peak. This was the place to do valley crossing/river crossing. The trainers expertly tied ropes and jumped down into the river flowing about twenty feet below, waded across and tied it to a tree there.The procedure was demonstrated and explained.The kids were put into harnesses and they crept along the rope to  the other bank. Soon it was my turn. “Ma’am, you must try”, I was told. I told them that I would . And the whole valley was reverbrating as the 50 kids cheered me on my journey.The musical river flowing below, the sunlight playing hide and seek with the thick green growth ….the journey ended too soon . I enjoyed every second of it.We tread the river waters on our way back. The lunch was brought in a jeep. We had a  quick lunch as the calm waters were begging us to  splash and enjoy….

We were cajoled to join the trek back to the camp. The walk back was specially memorable as I had Sri Charuhas Joshi with me.”I too trekked with a famous mountaineer” is my boast now…


5 May

We reached the gates of the National park after a 1/2 km walk.After logging in we walked further.Soon we came across the entrance to our camp-our habitat for the next 5 days.The sun was beatingdown from all the hills around us.We were taken to the Central Canopy.After the formalities we waited for the remaining groups. We then were served a Kokum drink. I ,who had promised myself before leaving my home that I would somehow manage to buy mineral water was soon guzzling the welcome drink.
We were introduced to the camp Chief and his team. We were given a long list of Dos and Don’ts.The kids were assigned tents.The tents were bunched into three groups.Out itinery was announced.We broke for lunch.After lunch some games were organised to break the ice.Some of them were very interesting. The kids of each tent had to come up with a tent jingle within ten minutes.
After tea there was an interactive talk by the organisers. One of the organisers was Mr. Charuhas Joshi . He is the first civilian to go on Siachen without oxygen. His narration kept us so enthralled we didn’t know when darkness descended.
Now the forest had a different definition for some of us.There were only a few solar lamps. And the kitchen on the other bank of the stream had a generator.But the other bank looked so far away that we named it LoC. The campers were prohibited to cross the bridge for obvoius reasons. Everything was so well organised that we were soon geared up with shoes, torch,mosquito -repellent and our dinner plates.The most disciplined tent got to eat first.
After dinner we retired to our tents. The tents were so hot that we soon yearned to go back to the airy Central Canopy. But light-out was just a few minutes away.. The girls kept chatting and the boys in their tents were hooting ang teasing each other.I had expected to hear jungle sounds..but all I heard for a long ,long time that night was giggles, human owls hooting, human jackals wailing and the repeated migration of boys from tent to tent in search of a frog-free, ant -free place to sleep.The girls’ tents were on a raised platform. So they were better.
We had barely slept when we woke up to the shrill whistle of the camp leader…

Adventure…living on the edge?

3 May

 Last week I  suddenly  found myself escorting 25 girls to the Summer Education Camp in Dudhsagar Forest Camp . This is part of the Bhagwan Mahavir National Park  near Collem. As  the duty was totally unexpected I had a thousand questions buzzing in my mind. I contacted the organisers and realised that we would be staying in tents…

My mind went into a tizzy. I packed my bags with a little apprehension , a little thrill and because of the inevitability- with a I don’t care attitude too!

The next morning we left the school towards Collem. The parents had a thousand questions . I was as curious as them!We reached Collem at 9 AM. The organisers were to meet us there and take us into the jungle.They were soon located. They told us that we were to walk for 1/2 a kilometre and there a vehicle would be waiting for us. We soon reached a rivulet.A pick-up came and took our bags. We crossed the rivulet by treading in crystal clear waters….shoes in hand , the kids shreiked in happiness and playfully splashed water around. Our adventure had begun.

To be continued…