It was Saturday and the day when my long time desire of visiting lonavala/khandala was finally realising. I got up on time and was ready in record time. I was just about to go and reach NCL gate at the scheduled time when I thought it better to first call Piyush and tell him that I would be reaching there in around ten minutes. However, he told me that his friends were not yet ready. Since there is no incoming call facility on my cell at present, I had to call him almost every fifteen minutes from a PCO to know the programme. He would just tell me that his friends have not yet come and I was starting to believe that today also the trip would not be realised. However, finally, at 10:30 he called up on my roommate’s cell (I had given that number after I was tired of going down and calling him up from a PCO), and told me to reach the NCL gate as soon as possible. I took an autorickshaw and at 11 we finally set off for Lonavla/Khandala. It was an Army gypsy and Piyush and I sat right at the back. Though we were cramped in that little space, we had a great view (inspite of the huge downpouring and the fog enveloping the hills around us). We took the Mumbai-Pune expressway and we did not even have to pay the exhorbinant toll tax since it was an Army vehicle – cool na!! The expressway was cool – there were a couple of tunnels on the way – well lit and the whole experience was like travelling in some foreign land. In around half an hour, we reached Lonavala. After buying some foodies like chikki, chocolate fudge (awesome), namkeen etc. we started on our way towards the pushi dam (I hope I am spelling it right). But before touring that , we decided on first visiting the Tiger Point (or was it called the Lion point) – we had been arguing so much on the name before and after visiting that place that I now truly fail to recall its true name 😦
Before continuing, let me inform you of a couple of bullets.
– I was the only one visiting Lonavala for the first time.
– I was the only one who didn’t bring any extra clothes with him – one was sure to be drenched in lonavala – this was taken to be granted
– It had been raining cats and dogs since early morning and if it is raining in Pune, one takes it for granted that it would be raining very very heavily in lonavala.
So, we reach the Lion Point (oops…Lion/Tiger Point for now – or I might even just rename it as the LT point). Anyhow, it was at the top of a high hill. It was just drizzling however the whole place was covered with dense fog. We couldn’t see far. We saw a couple of water falls, took some pictures and just as the rain got heavier, we ran back to the gypsy and made our way to the dam – the only place where we stayed till the evening. It was awesome and we had loads and loads of fun.
….to be continued
(Well, its 1:30 right now and I am kinda sleepy. Have to finish some last moment work here in the lab)
Today it was the last full day of work here at NCL. Tomorrow I leave Pune after spending a good seven weeks. I would be reaching Ambala at around 1:30 in the night (saturday) and just hope to catch the final moments of the third place match between Germany and Portugal. However, I am kinda sure that the train would be late and I would have to do with only watching the finals the next night. That would be my first match. Though Germany won’t be playing, still finals is finals yaar!
Anyhow, today in the evening, there was a kinda small farewell party – there was Preshit, Asha, me, Sir, his wife and his kid, Akhil. We went to a restaurant at FC road (the hippest place in town) and had a nice time. First we were coaxing sir to take us for a movie. I butted in with some senti that tomorrow I am leaving and tonight is the last time for all of us to be together. Well the movie wasn’t to be and we finally decided on a small outing. Anyhow, we had great time. After eating at Wadeshwar (the name of that restaurant), we stayed in FC road only that is Preshit, Asha and me. I had to buy some foodies to take back home and it was the best place to do so. We went to some famous restaurant (i don’t remember the name anymore) and bought loads of stuff!!! Hope mom and dad are happy!! Since it was my last evening in Pune, I wanted to roam around and have a blast but it was not to be. Preshit was in a hurry and I had to go back with him becoz of some stupid reason. But I had to!! Also, Asha was planning to visit one of her friends (who was ill)somewhere so I couldn’t go out with her. I tried to coax both of them to go for a movie but ahh! it was not to be. We came back and after collecting the stuff from the lab, we rode towards Baner!! I got off at sheetal palace to say the final goodbye to sourabh. I took the LOTR book II from him and we went for dinner. After chatting for sometime, we went to have icecream and said the final goodbye. And when I started walking back towards NCl, I realised for the first time that I am leaving Pune and might never see any of the numerous friends I made here. senti naa? anyhow, now I am back in my favorite haunt these days – the lab, the place where I stay for around 15 hours each day!
No, seriously, I am having this feeling for the first time in life. I have said goodbye to many people but everytime I knew that sooner or later we would definitely meet – whether that would be a month, a year, 5-6 years but there would be some day. But this time its different. On coming to Pune, I knew no one, and now, on the verge of going back, it seems difficult to imagine that I had not even met some of them just around a month back. But I guess, such times would come more often in the times to come when my horizon widens and I start travelling alone more often. I seriously plan to stay in touch with all of them in the future and I hope that we really do so.
Chal, anywaz, tomorrow is the last day. I will come to the lab in the morning also and say final goodbye to Sir, Preshit and Asha; and stir back my life in the north! I just hope that this trip has made me a better human being.
The post on the Lonavala trip would have to wait for a while I think. Most probably the next post would be from Delhi.
Till then its yours truly signing off!
Well right now I am in the lab in NCL and it is past midnight now. Germany vs Italy starts in around 15 minutes and I would be catching the first semi-final on net instead of a tv. I am rooting for Germany now after Argentina crashed out. It isn’t as if I was a die-hard fan of Argentinians but just becoz taking sides just makes it lot more interesting to follow the world cup (even though I haven’t yet seen a single match :P) However I hope to catch the finals on 9th July when I would finally be home, most probably Ambala. I just hope that the electricity doesn’t go out when the match is gooing on as that would dash my last hopes of seeing atleast one live match of this world cup.
Okay, coming back to the title of this post, the last weekend rocked. I went to the Chaturshringi temple (I hope I am spelling it right) all alone – had a great view of almost whole Pune from the top of the hill. Awesome!!!
Anywaz, the most important thing was touring Lonavala on Saturday. As I wrote in my last post that I had to go to Lonavala on Saturday no matter what, the plans fell in place for me. One IIT Bombay guy, Piyush, here in NCL, said that he was going to Lonavala with his old school friends (who are presently studying in Pune) and asked if I would join them. I was only too eager to say yesssssssssss!! However, after half an hour, he told me that there was no room for me in the car – I was a little heartbroken but then there was my plan of going with Saurabh or even alone (who would stop me from going alone :P). In the evening I went to the Chaturshringi temple in heavy rain. Though when I started from the room, it was not raining, however, as soon as I reached the main gate of the temple it started raining and suddenly it was pouring. I took shelter for a few minutes but when the rain didn’t show any signs of thawing, I said “Damn rain” let’s get wet in the monsoon rain. As an unwritten rule, I always get drenched in the monsoons atleast once every season – whether willingly or unwillingly doesn’t matter. So I thought maybe this season it would be the former case. It was a steep climb up the stairs though I had anticipated much more. After saying the first prayers, I realised that I was in a temple after almost two months !!!!!!!!! And on top of that I was reciting the gayatri mantra also for the first time after coming to Pune – it surprised me without doubt. It also reminded me of my promise to myself of offering prasaad at three temples in Shimla of Rs.11/- each – at Dhingoo mandir, Kali baadi temple and Sankat Mochan. This is the least I can do after the huge Walia course fiasco that struck me dead at the end of the last semester.
(heaving a big sigh of relief)
Coming back, I offered myself to the service of God for a few minutes and stood silent to absorb the blessings of that serene place. As I walked out of the main complex I saw a pagdandi (a small cracked mountainous path) branching up the hill. Wearing back my shoes, I followed the path and finally after around ten minutes reached the top of that hill. The view was awesome. I could see almost the whole of Pune. I could feel the importance of this place where despite the extremely busy life of every man here (reminded by the continuous dull drumming noise of horns blowing far down below) and the serenity and peace that this temple offered to these very people (reminded by the silence surrounding me). As it was almost dark , there was noone at the top except me – and I relished that moment for a long time. Finally after answering nature’s call (sorry, couldn’t hold any longer), I climbed down, not after viewing a number of couples hidden inside small natural caves 😛
As I reached the main road, I crossed over to the Baner road to catch a bus to my place. I planned on walking a bit till I found a bus stop. But as I kept on walking, I realised no buses came over from this road. It would always be the Pashan or the University road. I cursed myself , however, I thought it better to keep on walking and maybe get a lift on a bike. But it was my bad luck I guess that I had to walk almost three km before I got a lift and that too only for around 200/300 mts. I was soaking wet by the time I reached Dilli Chaat Ghar where I had my dinner. Then just as I was going back to Sheetal Palace to ask Saurabh to go to Lonavala/Khandala with me the next day, I got a surprise SMS.
It was Preshit and he messaged me to call Piyush as he wanted to talk to me about the Lonavala trip. I was thrilled beyond doubt. I called Piyush and he said that I can come and should reach teh NCL main gate at 9 in the morning the next day. My spirits soared as I finally saw that my dream of visiting lonavla/khandala were finally bearing fruits.
The next day was not without its usual hiccups. How could such a trip that had got postponed so many times go without any problems? But I would save the next day’s story for the next part ; I have to get back to my work and then go back to my new room – the new room is in NCL colony itself and is mid way between the lab and my old room. So its suits me well!
I just had a nice hot cup of steaming coffee – awesome when you are sitting in an air-conditioned room in front of a computer and browsing away your time; however I had to prepare it myself – but thats part of the thrill, kyun?