Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Expressions Unlimitted II - A Relishing Journey!!!!

I'm writing a long post indeed.... I seriously took a long time to write this and even longer time to chose a title. This is about the experience I had on our recent trip to Rishikesh on 11th and 12th April 2009.

I bet it can't get something better!, Yes to have 18 beautiful minds together on a relishing journey is something which doesn't happen all the time. I don't know about others but the entire trip for me began some 30 days before the original departure. I've been planning it and talking to various people in getting us a best deal and finalizing the head count of the gang. I seriously never thought about 18 numbers and I felt hardly our best shot would be with a max of 10 odd people. Thanks to the enthu shown by everyone around with the excitement building up though our mailing thread. Thanks to gmail :).

We started around 00:00 hours on 11th April on a tempo traveller with 15 people in it. As expected the air was filled with lyrics coming from different vocals and to precision on different languages as well. The Rishikesh highway is well known for its traffic and that night was no exception with an extended weekend ahead, the rush was there and the enthu kept on raising during drive with people opening up and starting to cut loose [generally settled batsmen / batswomen do it at crease]. To cut it in short every one was in their full form apart from a very few who had a very very hectic friday but Thanks to Aakanksha who kept a check of everyone's eyelid and never allowed anyone's to take a deep dip!. Chirag still kept on escaping her. It was amazing to see everyone getting better and better with every passing kilometre :). We stopped to fuel the vehicle after an hour drive and again stopped to fuel ourselves almost two hours later. The pakora's and chai were not at their best but it didn't seem like that though. After a small photo shoot session it was my advice to all to take a small nap as I felt the next day for us would be tiring and we need to save our energy for the same. Thankfully most of them agreed and left me with diver to keep the check of the drive. Thanks to the couple of selected songs in my mobile which kept me awake. I must admit that I kept admiring the moon [just the night before the full moon night] through out the way which was travelling with us on my window side to the left. I could manage till 6.00 in the morning and then requested to Rachit to take over from me and I took a back seat and went on to my dreams but very quickly Darshan disturbed my sleep with a Good Morning and that’s where I decided to wake everyone up with the silly Good Morning's.



Lots of plans were discussed and finally it was decided that we'll stop at Haridwar to have a holy dip in the river Ganges and then move on to Rishikesh. It was a very short stay at Haridwar but was with lot of happenings.. right from people standing in front of the public toilet which had a hell long queue, to full fill the morning duties.. to people rushing to looking for room on hourly basis.. it was all happening. Rajiv somehow managed to get a "dharamshala" which provided us accommodation on hourly basis which was a pretty decent one. We just refreshed ourselves and moved to take a dip in Ganges....

Everyone were with full of excitement as the warmness in the air kept increasing which added the desire to get into the water soon. With Rachit manning the camera to freeze a few moments almost most of us got into the Ganges.... There were a few attempts to cross the flowing river from one end of the ghat to the other with holding hands and in those a couple of attempts ended quite adventurous, but it was so funny as well!... A couple of minutes of masti inside the water and then we all moved on to change..... It was almost 09.00 hours in the morning and everyone was feeling hunger. Darshan guided us to "Mohan ji's" bhandar which is a famous one in the town... After seeing the crowd I thought it would be a better option if we stop by on a road side restro on our way to Rishikesh but then we decided to pack the food and carry away as we don't want to miss the flavour. A few of us quickly grabbed some Lassi with Jelabi and we moved on.

Thanks to the traffic and the crowd in that extended weekend our entire journey to Shivpuri took around two hours. We didn't get booking in the camp but we had booked a resort... All my worries on the way were that the resort should be worth the penny.... As soon as we reached the place and looked around the room, I got relaxed and felt that I could not have asked for a better place than this.... It was quite a location with small hills around with a small but cute lawn in front of it. Somehow we managed to arrange an old ball and a few of us started to play some cricket. Lots of plans again around the corner but we all decided to move out and trek.... We got to know that the riverside was 500 meters away from the resort and we need to walk downhill to reach the riverside..... A few of us were planning to leave there and comeback to see Ganga Aarti at Rishikesh... a few had some other plans.... Meanwhile Arun started his pagalpandi with spraying water on people and then Raj, Rachit, Darshan, Anant and others joined the fun. Anirban and Swati were sitting from the balcony and enjoying the entire show as if we all were entertaining them.

We all left the resort and started to walk toward the riverside.. Swati was the slowest among everyone with her sandal helping her to walk at a poor speed. We reached a bridge built across a small stream flowing towards its destiny "The Ganges". From there a few of us decided to climb up a small hill which was in front of us. A few decided to move down..... Finally me, Anant, Darshan, Rajat, Rajiv, Sugandha, Sunanda and Swati were in the troop who decided to climb up the hill. It was a very steep one with no path to climb but Rajiv was so enthused to climb it up.... After a few hesitations we all made our mind to climb. Anant and Rajat helped Swati who was not even ready to put her feet up and was happy with the book shelve bought along with her... After so much of compulsion and motivation from Rajiv she started to climb up. We didn't know where we were going to reach but all we knew is just to climb up the hill.. It looked as if it was simple one when we stood at the bottom... Our initial efforts were not painful and we were able to move up pretty comfortably. After a few meters Swati stopped and Anant and Rajat too stopped with her to make her comfortable. The rest 5 of us kept on climbing. Initially we were walking with 2 feet but a few meters above we started to crawl with 4 feet... There were lot of small broken stones which were rolling down. We had to take extreme care that one doesn't walk behind the other.... Darshan was very comfortable with the wooden stick he found and he climbed pretty fast as compared to others. I just took some suggestions from Darshan on how to climb and followed to his advice..... I climbed a few distance and waited for a while and then continued.. the same was with others... One thing which was so much admirable was the effort by the sisters Sugandha and Sunanda... they were not worried about anything and kept climbing with full of energy till the maximum possible distance. We might have reached around 3/4th of the distance and I felt that we should need to get back now. Darshan was fully enthused to climb up till the peek where he thought we might get some road..... I did not want to experiment as we were already at 16.00 hours and to reach back we need to find a new way for us. Darshan moved on to the side into the woods and helped me and Sunanda reach there from where we were planning to get down. Meanwhile Rajiv and Sugandha climbed a few more meters to get into the woods where they got stuck. I advised Darshan to just go there and help them out to reach us and I stopped at a place with Sunanda. It took almost more than 25 mins for them to reach us.. Meanwhile it was a pleasant stay at the top and has an aerial view of the River Ganges flowing in the curves of the foot hill...... For a moment I felt like will we ever get something like this to watch... As the sun got going down and the shadow got growing up, it was such a nice place to lie down and forgot your entire worries..... Once these people joined us we started to trek down back... Darshan was leading us and trying to find a way.... We were doing skiing on the broken stones to reach from one place to the other and we stopped with the help of the trees and plants... A couple of plants had thorns in it.... It took almost another hour for us to reach down. Sunanda was the first one along with Darshan to get down but unfortunately to our luck it was an Army camp where they were shouting at us to get back from where we came... We didn't bother to listen to them and kept on going down and finally they didn't have any other option other than let us get down....

A couple of more mins we were on the ground with smiling faces. It was really an adventurous task which would be remembered for the lifetime...... The sun by then had disappeared but still there was plenty of light. We just walked down on to the small stream which was flowing and took a small bath just to refresh ourselves from the tiredness we had...... one thing that came to mind by then is we've missed the Ganga Aarti.... We headed back to the resort and when we just were about to reach we observed a few of our mates playing cricket.... Sunanda suddenly commented on Rajiv "aapki tho sacchi mein fat gayi".......on seeing his half pants got torn by the stones........ par literally for a very few moments on the top "kisi ko bhi fat sakti thi"..... People started to scream about the evening tea and after half an hour of our request we got our Chai...... A few ordered maggi for themselves and ended up in tasting the worst ever maggi on the earth. A few had made some arrangement for Rum for themselves. There were two parallel sessions which was going on at the two sides of the lawn. One was more on intellectual topic and the other one was random bakwaas.. I choose bakwaas one... where people were discussing about Ghosts and their experience with them. It was good to have Vikas and Rakhee with us there and Sonia Singh also had joined by then. The best part of the entire bakwaas discussion was Anant's build up to threaten Sonia Surana at the end of a story..... the loo drama was awesome.. he deserve a special kudos...

By the time we were tired of the ghost stories our dinner was ready and it was really a very pleasing moment to have dinner with all... though we didn't have delicious food to add spice to the entire occasion but the presence of everyone made us forgot about the taste.... I was so tired and thought of skipping the bonfire session after the dinner but made my mind that we should not miss as these things happen once in lifetime. One could not imagine such an occasion where we have 18 beautiful people, who are not class mates, who are not college mates and who are not colleagues from an office... coming together in a middle of a jungle behind the resort surrounded by hills with full moon splashing its silver light on us. As soon as the temperature of the wood at the centre kept rising the golden flame added more scenic beauty to the silver light of the moon. Those were un-expressible moments....... Darshan coordinated the entire session with Vikas and Rakhee inaugurating with solo performance with vocal..... everyone were supposed to perform something or the other.... To everyone’s surprise most of us have got such a beautiful and the pick of the song was "Chudi Chamke" by Sonia Singh and the man of the match was Rajiv with his "Yeh Dil Deewana" song.... We had a session for about an hour long and thought of winding up as a few of us didn't sleep the previous night as well. We were also supposed to raft the next day. I thought I'll sleep to save my energy and a few more thought the same. A couple of people sat for a round of cards session at the balcony. I don't know what happened there.. I missed it :(.

The next morning thankfully I could get the Chai before everyone woke up and I started to knock at doors with the chai. Raj started his day with his Yoga....We all got ready to move on to the rafting session which everyone of us were looking forward to. After a few formalities we were taken to the Riverside where our instructors took a short lecture about what to do and what not to. As usual most of us didn't listen to him [that’s a habit in us which was developed right from our school days you know :P]. After a couple of minute long photo session we were divided into two teams of 9 each and sat on our boat and the journey began. We were introduced to the first rapid very soon at the start which was quite silent and we didn't have much to do but whatever little thing we did was not appreciated by our instructor and he was shouting on us to obey his commands..... After a few more distance we got one more rapid which was a bit violent than the previous in which we passed quite easily with all our rowers displaying their skills and talent. Our instructor gave a green to us to jump into the water and without delay most of us went in and Mann it was freezing cold inside. I got up to the raft in a while and tried to pull a few more but failed. Our instructor did the job. We then came across the Golf Course which was the wildest of all..... It was quite an experience there with me sitting at the centre without a pedal in hand along with the front rowers and suddenly to my right I observed Anant stopped pedalling as he was stuck with an injury in his finger. All I could do is just shout at him to row and suddenly he responded but by the time our raft got sidelined on the rock and it was not moving..... With so much of backward and forward pedalling and pushing the rock for a couple of minutes we were able to pull back ourselves into the mainstream and move forward. Again every one of us got into the water expect me.. This time I’ve learned the art of pulling up people on to the raft and I pulled up everyone on to the boat. We then headed toward the cliff jumping point.

I choose to sit on a rock from where I took snap of everyone in our troop who jumped the cliff which was just 25 ft height. When I jumped there was no one to click me :(. I had no fear while jumping as I've done it earlier as well... but to jump into Ganga and feel the sudden change in the temperature around your body is quite an experience.... A few of our group members tried it more than once. We then started to move towards the end point. After a couple of minutes of photography session and change we moved to Chottiwala at Rishikesh to have our lunch.

It was a crowded place which is so famous for its food and the food they served us stated the why people talk so much about Chottiwala. After our lunch we started back our journey to Delhi.......

P.S : I've missed many moments which are there.... but just to keep the article short [:P], I've skipped a lot... I didn't get much time at the trip to interact with a few.... but to all those wonderful people who made the entire trip so sweet and memorable.... I'm obliged!!!!!....... These are memories which will be releashed for ever and ever....... These are expressions which are unlimited!!!!!........