Posted in Reflections

Himalayan trek ; take-aways from my experience!

roopkund

As I sat down to write about my Roopkund trek experience, I realized there is so much to write and I cannot complete it anytime soon. So, before I finish my documentation, I decided to write down a few points from my experience for the aspiring/first time Himalayan trekkers. Also, many of my friends have been asking about such treks – I hope this helps.

  1. Firstly, you MUST do a Himalayan trek atleast once. It is an experience of life time. Age is not a limit as such, if you are fit enough. Kids to elders, everyone can do it. Just choose a trek that suits your calibre.
  2. For the first timers, it is better to go through some established trekking group like “India Hikes” (https://indiahikes.com/). They take care of all the itinerary and you will have some experienced trek leads with you. All you have to worry is only packing your back-pack.
  3. Prepare yourself for the trek by following a workout routine atleast from one month before the trek. Focus on building your stamina.
  4. Get a medical check-up done (most of the trek groups ask for medical certificate), to make sure your health can support such high altitudes.
  5. Get all the necessary items ready – mainly layers of woolens to protect you from cold and rain, sunscreen, sunglasses, basic medication, torchlight, toilet paper
  6. If you plan to go alone, don’t worry – you will still have fun, as there will be others from the group to accompany when needed and you can be on your own whenever you feel like.
  7. There will be lot of doubts and fears for the first timers if you will be able to reach the destination or not. Forget all that. It is all about the journey rather than about the destination.
  8. Stop thinking if you will be able to reach the destination or not. Just enjoy the nature, each moment and keep moving. Take small breaks whenever you are tired, re-energize yourself with the nature around and keep moving. Remember, it is not a race.
  9. When you feel like giving up, just push yourself a little bit more and your body will surprise you.
  10. This is a perfect opportunity to meet new people from different places and different backgrounds. Make new friends ,talk to the localites, know about the history and culture of the place and enjoy every moment.
  11. For the first timers, you may find certain facilities a bit uncomfortable while camping! Try not to complain and just embrace everything as a new experience and you will love it!

If you are a nature lover, then this is the perfect way to explore the beautiful and pure terrains of Himalayas first hand. As you face the harsh weather conditions and reach the destination, the feeling of achievement is priceless. You will get a confidence that you can face any obstacle in life. You will learn a lot through the journey – Β how to motivate yourself mentally, how to take care of yourself physically so that you can continue the trek for the next day, how to listen to your body when it is exhausted and take care of it, how to help others in need, how to appreciate little things in life, how many luxuries which we take for granted everyday in life are not really needed for happiness, the value of friendship and people who care for you, and at the same time, how you can be happy with yourself and how life is much beyond the rat race of earning and spending money!

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Posted in Reflections

Korean drama craze

After last couple of weeks of extreme work pressure and stress also from other spheres of life, I re-realized the comfort in korean dramas. I started watching this drama – Faith starring Lee Min Ho, which is enough of motivation for me to watch it πŸ™‚ .. I remember there was a time when me and my sisters were crazily crazy about korean dramas. Every day we used to look forward to coming back home from work, just to watch the next episode.

There is something magical about these dramas, as they transport us to a entirely different world. A world where it is perfectly OK to be stupid, perfectly OK to not be good at anything, perfectly OK to fail at times and perfectly OK to be in the worst stage of life – in the end everything is going to be fine and everything good will happen to good people. Moreover there is so much positivity that you cant help but feel cheerful after watching them πŸ™‚

So, after posting this, I am going to get back right to my drama and atleast finish one more episode before going to bed today πŸ™‚ Β Three Cheers to Korean drama πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Posted in short stories

short story#1

Writing after a loooong gap.. trying to get back to this habit of writing…My first honest attempt on writing a short story.

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(image downloaded from google)

He dint reply to my messages since last night. May be he is busy. I decided I will take couple of hours off from office during lunch time and get him some gift. Its his birthday soon.

Rahul is my best friend, scratch that – he is more than a friend. I don’t know how to define the relation, and never thought about it. We talk almost every day and share almost everything. As I searched for gift in the Archies shop, these thoughts ran in my head. I picked up a small glass mural with some nice words about friendship written and in the end it had a line “you are special to me”. I felt that sentence summarized what exactly I felt. We are staying in the same city, but I will have to courier the gift, as we decided we will not make any conscious attempt to meet. We will let fate decide. We thought it was more fun that way.

I knew Rahul from last three years, an accidental online friend, who became a chat buddy, then a phone friend and then a best friend. We shared our thoughts, ideas, happiness, sorrows – and talked almost every day. It was a unique friendship and special in its own way.

As I reached office, I tried calling him couple of times but no response. I sent couple of text messages, but in vain. I wondered what went wrong. As I reached home in the evening, I received a text message from him. Looking at his name on my phone, I felt a tinge of joy. I was all ready to fight with him that how could he be so busy to not respond to my calls since yesterday. Β As I opened the text, it said “Hi, I am a friend of Rahul, sending this message to everyone in his contact list. He is no more due to an accident he met with last night. My condolences.”

I froze there reading the message. I wanted to read the message again, but my vision has blurred with the tears that filled my eyes. This cannot be true, he must be playing a prank on me, said my mind. I immediately called him, but there was no response. I called again hoping for the ringer to end and hear a voice, but no response again. There were million thoughts running in my head. Just today, I wanted to give him this gift and let him know he is special to me, but it never occurred to me, that his absence would hurt me so much. I felt as if I lost something very close to my heart. How could this happen, I dint even get to meet him.

I wondered where all these emotions are coming from, where are all these tears coming from. I never knew I felt so much for him. I picked up the phone again and dialled the number, a part of me knowing that there won’t be a response, but another part of me wishing for a miracle. The phone was just ringing mutely for some time and then suddenly I heard a “hello”. It was his voice..I was surprised, shocked, angry, happy all at the same time. He was saying “hello, are you there?” from the other side, but for a second I could not react. And then I started crying, crying and only crying. He started saying “sorry, sorry…dont cry..please”, but I could not react. After a couple of minutes, I could stopped crying and tried to be calm.

“I am sorry I sent a text that way. It was just a prank for couple of minutes. I was going to talk to you anyways. I got hurt last night and was in the hospital, thats why I couldn’t respond to the calls. I returned only sometime back and saw the calls on my phone. I sent this message to prank you, went to freshen up and came back and took your call. I dint imagine you would believe it. I made a terrible mistake. I am so sorry, I would never want to hurt you…” he was explaining and explaining.

it sank in that it was just a prank and all is well. I should have shouted at him, be angry at him or throw tantrums, but all I felt was gladness – a sense of peace. I was glad that he was fine. I was glad that I realized how I felt without him.Β Β I was glad, I realized how I felt about him.

 

Posted in Reflections, short stories

one fine day..

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“Why do u sound so low..what is wrong” he said on the phone. I was kind of succumbing to my depression and decided to take a day off. It was one of those days when I dint feel like getting out of bed, dint feel like seeing anyone. I just wanted to stare at walls and do nothing and cry for no reason at all.

I cant say there is no reason, but there are so many stress givers that I am not able to understand the reason for the sudden change in mood. I had to call Rahul to ask him to discuss regarding a meeting. Rahul is a very good friend of mine, 7 years younger to me who is much more like a brother..He texted in the morning to check on me as I told him the night before how I felt looping into depression.

I texted back “I am taking off” and he replied “its good for you. Use the time to read your fav book or watch something or cook your fav dish…” I knew all I wanted to do was “nothing”. When I called now, he noticed the difference in my voice and said I should not stay alone at home. He said atleast lets have lunch together, mom made puris for u. I dint want to disturb his day at office, but he insisted saying “wont u do this, if I needed it someday” and I dint have an answer.

So, we went out to a mall, where outside food is allowed. On the way to the mall, he tried making conversation which I was not able to respond properly..I wondered if I am troubling him too much.. As we reached the food court, he unpacked the puris his mom gave and i had a good lunch..slowly i started sharing things and he gave his perspective which lightened by heart..

I am told many times not to be emotionally dependent, but at times like this, a good friend by the side definitely helps. Lets go for bowling, he said after we finished lunch. I said, don’t u want to go back to office. “Am not going to leave until I see the smile back in your eyes” he said. Work will always be there, but memories of bunking office for bowling will stay forever..” He said.

Thus we went ahead for bowling..initially, my score was higher than Rahul’s and we made a deal! Whoever loses the game has to do what the winner says..and who scores a strike will get an icecream from the other..only after the deal i realized how he bluffed initially and won with such a margin later..but no regrets, as I started picking the game and was happy with myself..

By the end of the game, i was beaming and surprised that i was back to normal.Β I dint know whether it is right or wrong to depend on someone. But the purpose of life is to be happy, so if u trust the person and it helps recover, a bit of shoulder to lean on always helps.Β We had our icecream and as I started back home I realized how lucky I am to find a person like him who would look after me as his own sister…how lucky to find a brother,best friend sent by God Himself!!! πŸ™‚

 

Posted in Reflections

IIS -Indian Inclusion Summit

  
Thanks to my friend,I registered for IIS this time and absolutely glad I did that. It is a conference aimed at making our country more inclusive for differently abled people. I was not exactly sure what to expect, but I knew there would be talks from inspiring speakers and was looking forward to that

As we reached the venue, it was buzzing with lot of energy and positivity. There were lot of organizations, NGOs, NPOs, representatives and individuals who cared for the society

Each of the speaker was so inspiring as they went about narrating their success story.. 

  
Ajit Babu is a young entreprenuer who has celebral palsy, but he rejected job under disability quota and went ahead to be the founder of 3 startups..  The message he had for all is, do not differentiate..they are no differnet from the so called normal people.. All of us have some obstacle in life and we still know how to thrive!! 

http://yourstory.com/2015/08/ajit-babu/

  
the most moving story for me, was of Mr.Bhavesh Bhatia, the founder of Sunrise Candles. Coming from a very poor background, he started with selling few candles as a street hawker..with whatever he earned, he wanted to give some means of living to other blind kids like him, who resorted to begging to earn a living.. He showed a way to live a decent life and be self succient to so many blind people through his company!!  One thing he stressed is he never asked for any charity/donations and will never want it!! He says give us work and we will work hard and prove that we are no different than others!! Something to learn from his story is that we dont need to have lots of riches to help others, the thought and intention is enough!! And that if have a strong will and work hard, we can achieve our dream! He remebers his father’s words “what if you cant see the world, do something that the world will see you”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhavesh_Bhatia

  
Then there were persons like Patu Keswani, currently the chairman and MD of Lemon Tree Hotels. He narrated his story of how he went about hiring differently abled people and now 15% of his employees are from the disadvantaged section of the population. He was saying that it was not easy, as all the training modules had to be revamped to cater to the needs of specially abled. There were many sessions and one-on-ones to be done to the already existing employees to bring a change in their attitude. He mentions that he never wanted it to be charity, each employee was rated based on their performance and everyone was equal. The employees of Lemon Tree showed great satisfaction to be a part of such organization which was so inclusive and that reduced the attrition rate too. My takeaway from his story is that everyone can make a difference, even if your aim is only business and you do not want charity.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patu_Keswani

  
Another inspiring speaker was NipunMalhotra, born with arthrogryposis, leading to lack of muscles in arms and legs. The doctors resigned saying he will be living the life of a wooden doll, but he proved them wrong. He is the CEO of Nipman foundation, working for the health, dignity and happiness of persons with disabilities.

http://nipmanfoundation.com/

  
Then there is this youngster Kalyani Khona, who created a matchmaking and dating app for differnetly abled – something which is not even considered as important. What she says is if you have an idea, dont think of the hows and whats, take the first step and everything will be alright!! πŸ™‚ the world will be an interesting place only when everyone and everything is different, otherwise it will be boring!! We should learn to appreciate and celebrate the differneces!!

http://yourstory.com/2014/10/wanted-umbrella/

  
Hans Dalal is the founder of PROWL, works in preserving tigers,safegaurding their territories, taking care of tribals and much much more..as he went about explaining what his team does, I was speechless as to how much a single person can do. We can see the passion in his eyes and words..hatsoff to this man!!

http://m.rediff.com/getahead/slide-show/slide-show-1-achievers-he-beat-cerebral-palsy-to-help-tigers-with-music/20131107.htm

  
Prahlad Kakkar was also among the speakers..He went about saying how he used his dyslexia to his advantage..as a kid he had difficulty concentrating in classes, wud be day dreaming and now he gets paid to dream and just dream!! He went ahead addressing the audience, that special people are special as they have some gift from God, and we should not try to make them normal like everyone else..

I am not able to write about all the speakers as I could not stay for the entire summit…go ahead and visit their website to know more..

http://indiainclusionsummit.com/

One thing I learnt from all of them is that each one of us have some or the other hurdles and obstacles in life…we should learn to not complain and celebrate life the way it is !!!  Appreciate life!! Appreciate people who stand by your side!! Inspite of the bad things happening around, understand that there is still so much good in the world!!!  πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜Š

Posted in Reflections

Memorable day!!!


This birthday has been absolutely memorable for me. .right from the night before, till the end of the day, it was full of surprises, wishes, gifts,cakes – If people can get high without alcohol, I was on a high the whole day πŸ˜ƒ

The celebrations for me started the day before when my friend came to stay at home for the night πŸ™‚ ..it was so much fun chatting nd catching up on many thngs as she just returned from US.. Then i was locked in a room, when my sister nd friend started making preparations.. Β The first gift started with such a beautiful surprise – a clay doll which my friend made all by himself after attending some classes. That was the most beautiful gift nd made me feel sooo special 😊😊

As celebrations started – The tiara, the two cakes, pratyu nd mital’s performance for me – was soo much fun.. Then the shower of gifts started.. I dont knw when my sisters discussed all this, when pratyu arranged all this.. She got me 10 gifts on that day, each of them special on their own.. Interesting books, jewelery to go with my dress, “hello kitty” doll, key chain for car, blingy phone cover and another special gift – a story written by pratyu. Its speciality is that it is a fairy tale of us three sisters and my story starting with “once upon a time” and ending with “happily ever after” 😊😊 …it was sooo sweet and special having my very own fairy tale πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ .

Then there was a video compilation of wishes from all my friends which was such a sweet surprise…it was soo much fun to watch and icing on the cake was the wishes from a korean guy which pratyu managed to get somehow (knowing the korean craze we three sisters share :p) thanks to all my friends who sent wishes from far away!! Then the blessings of mom and dad are always special!! After many years, first time I was celebrating without them..definitely missed mom’s special food, which she makes for all of our birthdays..

The day started with the poem posted by my sister for me, it was soo touching and perfect start for the day!! The next day the messages and calls of wishes from friends and relatives, put me in the mood of enthu πŸ˜¬πŸ˜› ..as we reached office, I see another surprise – my cubical was decorated and happy birthday was written by my friends… Then came the next gift, a video compilation of wishes from the volunteers of our weekend classes. They said soo many sweet things about me and it felt so special and touching!! Then there was the surprise cake cutting with all my friends and another gift πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ(a digital photo frame with all my photos preloaded) …

When I thought the celebrations are done now and time to get back to work, I got a call from courier guy and when I went to collect, it was a bouqet of chocolates and a teddy sent by my sister from Singapore – another surprise !!😬😬 the day ended with going to temple…coming back home and looking at all the wishes and gifts – I realized how blessed I am to have so many people shower their love and wishes on me..

It felt so special, touching and humbling!! And my little sister who coordinated and arranged all this, she was soo tiny and I practically raised her..I dont know when she grew up so big and now she is my biggest support system 😊😊

This birthday was truly a special one reminding me, each one of us is special in our own way!!

Posted in Reflections

I miss u…Sleep

  
It has been a pretty hectic time for me since last few weeks with lot of office work on my mind and travel last month…even while cooking or sleeping, i cant help but think about it.. I usually love my sleep and am one among those people who feel the best place on earth to be, is ur bed, at the end of a tiring day!! When i watch my lil nephew sleep, i realize how beautifully satisfying it is, to forget everything and sleep like a baby!!! This weekend as I am home for diwali vacation, i have decided, I am not going to abandon my sleep… i miss it so much and am going to make up for it..  πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

My advice to all – all the efforts we put during day time is to have a peaceful sleep..anything and everything can be healed by a good night’s sleep..so never miss it πŸ˜€ ..happy sleeping πŸ™‚

Posted in Reflections

Hot cup of tea :)

  
I write this as am sipping on my hot cup of tea.. 

For most of us, sunday evenings are sad and scary fearing the upcoming monday mornings. 

At such times, the beautiful aroma of chai can lift your spirits and bring back your energy!! Mainly when you are alone at home with nothing much to do, this is the best way to rejuvinate!!

Leave the monday woes for monday, enjoy your sunday evenings with a hot cup of tea, watching your favourite shows on tv or chatting wid buddies πŸ™‚

Posted in Reflections

Happy Friendship Day !!!!

This friendship day, as I was searching for images to send a wishing message to all my friends, I came across this message (google images). This made me thinking how there are so many friends, some who walk in and out of our life, some who still stay – but all of them have a piece of memory in our heart which is precious and memorable… Am sure all of us can identify to this. This post is my tribute to all my friends who have made my life special and all those in future who are going to πŸ™‚

happy-friendship-day-quotes-1

To our parents (mom and dad) who are our first ever friends in this world… They are the ones who first played all our stupid games with us – being our host in our toy tea party, eating the imaginary food we cooked, being our student when we played teacher teacher, being the horse when wanted a horse ride and many many more πŸ™‚
 

To our siblings who have and will always be our friends forever..from the time we played with dolls, to backing up each other when we made any stupid mistake, discussing exams/studies, sharing teenage crushes or the class stories, career guidance to relationship advices and alltime secret keepers..siblings are our forever friends πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

 

Our first cousins, whom we used to look forward to spend time during holidays..staying awake late nights discussing horror stories, playing all kinds of games and finally crying during the end of vacation…happy friendship day to them πŸ™‚

 

 

Our school friends with whom we played lot of games, fought a bit, studied together,played pranks in class together..the innocent friendship:) πŸ™‚
 

 

That mysterious guy who followed u to college everyday and tried all attempts to come to ur notice..that guy u had crush on, talkin to whom gave butterflies in your stomach πŸ™‚
 

 

Your hostel roommates, who are more than just friends..who become your mother,father,sister/brother-your family infact…the nite outs,bunking classes and movie marathons, outings to college canteen, group study sessions,serious career discussions or teasing each other with thar guy in class ..its alll soo memorable πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

 

Β The team mates who make ur work life interesting and motivating πŸ™‚ ..the enthu gang who hav common interests be it trekking,travelling,treats or social cause..

 

 

 

Those friends who stayed with you during tough times and help you get through Β Β Those friends who drifted far away with time..and though we talk once in a year, with whom u always feel as if it was just yesterday you talked to

 

 

Your girl gang with whom you go shopping,discuss boys, have late night sessions, gossip and have fun..who cal u to find out if you are ok just seeing ur watsap status or a share on facebook πŸ™‚ ..those who listen to your complaints and cribbings without judging you at all.

 

That special someone, who put so much efforts to win your heart and made you feel special about urself..who makes u discover many new things about yourself and makes you want to spend a lifetime together πŸ™‚

 

 

 

And am sure your son/daughter, who will be your best friends in future, sharing things with you..teaching you new things about gadgets and technology, trying their best to keep you happy πŸ™‚

 

 

Happy friendship day to all those who hold a special memory in my heart.. Feeling blessed πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Posted in Reflections

The holy dip -Godavari pushkaralu

  
Thanks to mom, we were able to witness the amazing Godavari Pushkaralu and be a part of it. The pushkaralu this time is said to be occuring once in 144 years, hence called ‘maha puskaralu’ and hence said to be very auspicious. Based on mythology, pushkar is a brahmin who gained this boon from Lord Shiva through penance, that he can live in water and purify any holy river. On request from Bruhaspati, he enters into each of the 12 rivers, every year when bruhaspati enters into new Rashi. Each river is associated with a zodiac sign and puskaralu comes for each river for once in 12 years. Though the effect stays throughout the year, the first 12 days are supposed to be very auspicious (aadi pushkaralu).

I had only heard of pushakaralu, but never thought of witnessing it. I must attribute it to TV to most extent. Godavari river flows all the way from maharashtra, through Basara, bhadrachalam in Telangana, through Rajahmundry, Kotipalli and ends in Antharvedi in Andhra. After the formation of the new states, both telangana and andhra governments have made grand arrangements to celebrate the first 12 days of pushkaralu. The TV channels made sure to cover the arrangements even a month before the start. Watching it daily on TV did create some awareness and also the enthusiasm to be a part of it.

The internet (godavaripushkaralu.co.in) was so helpful too.When I was clueless as to how to plan the trip, the contact numbers provided on the website did help a lot. After a couple of calls, we managed to find an accomodation (by Uma travels) and all set for the trip. Once the pushkaralu started, the unfortunate accidents at the pushkar ghat on the first day did cause some confusion in me.there was a part of me thinking, is it really necessary to go in the crowd .

But then mom was so enthued to go, we dint want to disappoint her. From the news on tv, the arrangements seemed fine and extra care was taken by the government from the second day onwards.

  
As we reached vizag and were waiting for our bus to rajahmundry, we could see the effect of this massive event. The bus got delayed by 2 hours and it reached almost late in the night. The accomodation was kind of a dormitary with some individual rooms. The whole town was illuminated by colorful lights, police patrolling all over the place and a beautiful festive environment everywhere. The river ghat was very close to our accomodation and the lights reflection in the godavari river was a sight to see.

  
Next day morning we woke up early to take the dip in the river. The ghat was at a walkable distance and not as crowded. We had enough space and time to have our time with the water. The environment there was very nice, everyone taking dip in the holy river with their friends and family, people making offerings to their ancestors. There was announcements all the time directing people whichever ghats were free. Contrary to the stampede and rush, the place was well maintained and peaceful inspite of the crowd. There was water packets distributed and free prasadams given by some temples. 

After the dip we went around and visited some temples around. We also performed Go-puja(worship of cow)  and danalu (offerings).. Also there was a boat ride organized by andra tourism which was also beautiful experience.  There were many other attractions, like the replica of Lord Venkateswara swamy by TTD, the Godavari harathi in the evening and many more.

  
On the way back, the bus stand was highly crowded and there were long queues to enter the bus stand. We came to know that it was taking almost 5-6 hours just to enter the bus stand. One police suggested to take a bus to kakinada and go to vizag from there. The buses to kakinada were stopping at a different bus stand, but they were also hugely crowded. With great difficulty we got into a bus and somehow reached samarlakota as the bus broke down there. We checked-in a hotel for the night and had a peaceful sleep after the tiring bus journey. Next day we hired a cab, reached vizag after visiting kukkuteswara swamy and simhachalam narasimha swamy on the way.

Inspite of minor hiccups with travel,the overall experience was beautiful, spiritual and awesome. Visting Godavari dist for the first time, the route was beautiful with greenery all around,coconut trees, mango groves and the people there were also very hospitable.