Category Archives: Nostalgia

Trip To Remember – Trekking Sar Pass – Part 2

I have set myself an uncompromising self-target of a minimum of one blog post a month and it took the last day of the month to break my month long blogging hibernation.

Day 5 – 22nd May 2017

Finally, arrived the D-Day and I woke up bubbling with excitement. If you are wondering why? you must read the last post in this series. The routine at the camp was a bit different that day. Phew, luckily no exercise session. Once done with our breakfast, we cleaned our tents, submitted our blankets, packed our lunch and we were all set for the trek to start. Around 8 AM, the trek was flagged off by the camp leader and the rest of the batches at the camp formed two parallel lines on our either side and ceremoniously clapped and cheered us as we left the base camp (5183 ft). The energy at that point of time was insane.

 

As expected the route was rocky and steep. As a result of our over-enthusiasm, a group of us went ahead of our guide in a wrong path and ended up in a dead end. Luckily, we didn’t deviate much and rejoined the rest without any fuss. It was an apt weather with little sunshine and cool damp air. One thing I enjoyed the most was crossing a couple of wooden bridges built over streams flowing down the mountains. These things make me adore the endless beauty of nature. After taking rest in a couple of rest points along the way, we reached our lunch point R.S Cafe by 11 AM.

Finally, my curiosity got resolved after seeing lots of signboards on the way about this place. It was an open meadow with a couple of tents, one the kitchen and another for the guests to relax. We sat outside in the open area and had our lunch, Roti with some pickles and Ladies Finger (Okra). By 12 pm we were done with our lunch and started trekking towards our first higher camp. The weather on the mountain is quite unpredictable, the sun was shining and a couple of minutes later, the clouds came in and it started raining heavily. Being prepared with rain jacket and poncho saved me and my backpack from getting drenched in rain. Luckily, there was a tiny shop selling tea and Maggi, so we took shelter in it until the rain subsided.

After a wet and slippery trek, we reached Grahan (7700 ft) village by 2.20 PM. The camp was a bit away from the heart of the village and It was a great experience walking through the village. It had a few one-storied houses made stone and wood. We also came across a big temple beautifully carved out of the wood. Phew, I was hit by a sense of achievement reaching the first higher camp when the sign read “Welcome to Camp Grahan”. We were allotted tents and was served the welcome drink. Then, our camp leader Mr. Bharath called us out for the headcount check and gave detailed disciplinary instructions. He is one of the coolest camp leaders I came across on the trek. Though he was from Hyderabad, he spoke Tamil fluently as he studied and worked in Chennai for a while.

 

There was this small shop just at the entrance of the camp owned by Mrs. Tarkur and she made yummy hot momos which we all devoured. She also had a fire going inside her shop and she is so kind to invite me in to get warm. She was the most educated women in the village and she could speak English fluently. After the evening soup was served, I spent some time chitchatting and playing UNO. After our dinner, we entertained ourselves by singing songs, both Tamil and Hindi. That’s how an yet another awesome day came to an end.

To Be Continued…

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Yours Anonymously

If you are a frequent follower of my blog and expecting a continuation of my Sarparss Trek series, I am really sorry, just gonna deviate a bit this time.

Recently, my Facebook feed was filled with white color speech balloons on a blue background and some text in it. Sincere thanks to Sarahah. There were so many of it, even I got tempted to try it out (https://gokoulane.sarahah.com/). If you are an atypical one who has no clue what Sarahah is? the following is for you.

Sarahah means honesty in the Arabic Language. Sarahah is an app through which people can send or receive honest feedback from others ANONYMOUSLY.

I did receive a handful of messages. Unlike my FB friends, I decided to respond to those messages here instead of spamming the walls of others. No offense guys, it was all over my wall (orey sara sarra Sarahah kathu only) and even pushed me to the verge of deactivating my account for a while. I should have responded to those awesome messages a long back, but as always, better late than never.

Before sharing the anonymous messages I received via Sarahah, I would like to share a funny incident. One of my close friends share his Sarahah link on his wall, so I wrote what I really thought of him. When I logged in into FB the next day, I saw him sharing it on his wall with a caption “Thank you very much Girl”. When one of his friends commented “How come you are sure that it’s a girl?”, he replied, “Have you ever seen guys messaging in such a nice way?”. It was one big face palm moment for me. Seems my cover is blown now.

Here come my messages, strictly in chronological order.

 

Thank you, that’s exactly what I strive for. To smile always, to travel whenever I get a chance and be the same for ever.

Sure sure, do ping me. Nan ready, neenga ready ah? (I am ready, are you?)

Hehe, thank you. Ippo irukura adhey edathula dhan (The same place where I am now). I am happy when people smile cos of me. Such a blessing.

OMG!, that’s too much of awesomeness in your message. Thank you. It’s definitely not an overloaded message. Seems it’s from some one who knows my most favorite word. I am happy.

I exactly know this person as there is only one who addresses me that way. She calls me a patient author as I take a month to write a blog post. I call her a patient reader as she patiently waits to read them. Thank you for all your kind words and motivation.

Quite an interesting question. How about Seafood with Shawarma :D. Don’t want to be greedy, will better stick with my favorite Shawarma.

:D, Prof. That’s a box of Munch. See, I got the feel of Sarahah a long time back, some one writing me anonymously.

Thank you a lot. Will do my best to spread happiness to the people around me.

Quite a confession. You have no idea what’s significant and what’s insignificant for me. I am some one who fights for a piece of Chocolate like a war and totally ignores what’s happening in Big Boss. To be honest, I am a very curious person & I did think too much about finding who you are, but eventually gave up. I know it must have been hard for you to say this directly to me, anyhow, apologies accepted 🙂

A very few people still call me Lane, so I had no difficulty in finding this person. On a serious note, it’s a great honor to get those words from you Docu.

Me? Inspiration? Thank you for those kind words. On a lighter note, I kinda hated maths cos it demanded some problem-solving.

🙂 🙂 🙂 Thank You. I smiled wide when I read this.

This must be a best friend. No words, Thank You.

You should have known this by this time.

I Know Right. Damn, I am such a narcissist :D.

In spite of being an anonymous messaging platform, the fact that people wrote really nice, sweet and motivating messages made me feel really good. Thank you for the same. I shall conttinue to update this post with any other messages I receive via Sarahah.

Trip To Remember – Trekking Sar Pass – Part 1

Finally, surpassed all the procrastination, laziness and mental blocks to write about our trek to Sar Pass (Did you note the word play?).

It was an exciting trip and plenty of stories to be told. But, From where do I start? Just like my last trek, this one is also with Youth Hostel Association of India (YHAI). Being one of the most famous and sought after trek organized by YHAI, we had to plan well in advance, almost before 5 months. Like any other trip, few opted out, a few added in and finally left with Myself, Jayashree (Buddy), Nigilan and Lavanya. Yeah, the same friends from my last trek and many other trips before. It was quite unfortunate that Giri opted at the last moment, it was great fun with him the last trek.

Day 1 – 18th May 2017

As planned Buddy and Myself started from Chennai whereas Nigilan and Lavanya started from Bangalore. Here is something funny that happened at the airport. We were there well ahead of our flight schedule. With a poor consciousness of time, we lazed chit chatting and charging our mobile phones. It was a great shock when we were denied to check-in our luggage as we crossed the 50 minutes to departure check-in window. Phew, Thankfully, our kind apologetic words worked and the ground staff agreed to check-in with a strong warning to be on time. That’s a great lesson learned. We boarded our Indigo6E 26D, despite checking-in together we both were given different seats however the only consolation for that ultimate boredom was a seat by the window. Most time was spent listening to music and reading Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (Yet to be completed). After a long haul at Hyderabad, we reached Chandigarh around 2 pm.

Nigilan & Lavanya were already waiting for us at the airport and we were joined by Giri’s friends Prasad, Sunil & Sunil’s sister Sharon. More the merrier, the gang count raised to 7. With our bus to Bhuntar scheduled at night, we decided to hire cabs and roam around the city in the mean time. As we were terribly hungry, we decided to finish off our lunch first before doing anything else. The cab driver recommended Pal Dhaba at Sector 28, one of the popular Dhabas in the town. Yes, the food at this place lived up to its reputation without burning hole in the pocket. I loved their Butter Chicken & Mint Chutney and finished the meal with delicious Kulfi sold outside the hotel. Our next stop was the beautiful Sukhna Lake. Despite being a hot summer day, it was quite breezy there. With my friends complimenting my superior photography skills the time moved pleasantly as we walked around the lake. I am in still love with the yellow blossoms there.

Our next stop was the most famous Rock Garden of Chandigarh. It was secretly built by Nek Chand, a government official out of waste and throw away items. Though it was illegally built in a protected forest area, public opinions were asked and the park was officially inaugurated in 1976 as public space. Isn’t it true when they say “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”? it was really amazing to see how day to day waste items has been transformed into beautiful sculptures. It’s awesome of Nek Chand to make us see and the feel the same beauty he saw in those disposable things. The place was magnificent, even got waterfalls and I really wish we had enough time to roam around.

Our next hop was Zakir Hussain Rose Garden or just Rose Garden as dearly called by the locals. Spanning across 30 acres, it’s the largest garden in Asia. It’s a home for 50,000+ rose bushes, as a result of being there at off season, all we could see is rose bloomed in very few bushes and that was quite disappointing. One big mistake we did was to extend the cab. The cab driver didn’t communicate us properly on the extra tariffs, as the result, we end up paying a lot more than we supposed to when we reached Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT). The Sad part is, even my buddy’s conversation with the cab company’s customer care in Hindi didn’t help us. After a light dinner at a restaurant in ISBT, we boarded our bus to Bhuntar and that’s how the first day of our trip came to an end.

Day 2 – 19th May 2017

With bumps and sharp turns, all of sudden I felt like being on a roller coaster. It took some time for me to get into my consciousness and realize that the bus was in the middle of mountains intensely tracing its curves. As everyone is asleep, the whole bus was quiet and I silently enjoyed the dawn slowly breaking over the mountains. Little perks of being an early riser. As soon our bus dropped us at Bunthar, I could feel the cold breeze caress me and my body struggling to adapt to the same. My friends easily vetoed my idea of reaching the base camp by bus, so we hired a cab. On the way, we halted a little for our morning tea. The taste of the tea was completely contrary to the driver’s claim of the best tea in this area. View of the Parvathi river and the Hindi songs on the way make the drive much memorable one.

After an hour journey, finally, we reached YHAI base camp at Kasol. It was nothing like our previous base camp at Darjeeling during Sandakphu trek. Once done with our registrations, we were allotted our tents. Yes, you heard it right, we would be staying in tents in base camp as well as all other higher camps to come. After having our breakfast and collecting our blankets, we spent the forenoon resting in our tents. One can’t expect much on a rest day. At any given point of time, this camp houses 4 batches, 1 x reporting batch, 2 x training batch and 1 x departing batch. That’s quite a lot of people. No wonder when they say it’s one of the most famous treks of YHAI. One of the best things Nigilan did during this trip was finding an awesome place for lunch. The Evergreen restaurant served some of the authentic Israelian cuisines in Kasol. I really loved their Chicken Schnitzel and Hummus. We were not allowed to be out of the camp post 6 PM and that’s very little time to finish our late lunch and shop some essentials. After roaming around the street of Kasol, we returned to the camp just on time. Then the dinner was served and a yet another awesome day came to an end with campfire event organized by our previous batch in the camp.

Day 3 – 20th May 2017

Though the day started much earlier for me, for most of them at the camp the wakeup call was the long whistle from the camp leader. We all assembled for a quick count check and jogged to the exercise spot half a kilometer away. An hour was well spent doing stretching and strengthening exercises. The best part is, Sunil and myself would run back to the camp while others would walk exhausted, runners you see. A girl in the camp seemed familiar but couldn’t even recollect her name and was quite hesitant to talk to her. Later, she introduced herself and happened to be my fellow Yatri during Jagiti Yatra. It’s no mere coincidence that I keep meeting Yatri’s during my treks. It was a pleasure meeting you Amrita. The breakfast was followed by tent cleaning activity and the acclimatization walk. We had to carry a minimum of 10 kgs and walk a total of 8 km, almost near Manikaran and back. We took a small break on the banks of Parvathi river, had some juice and rejoiced the beauty of the mountains and the flowing water before returning back to the camp.  Post lunch we had our induction session, where the program director gave a brief talk on the trekking route, Do’s & Dont’s. The rain spoiled our sneaking out plan and we spent the rest of the day inside our tents. Like any other awesome day at the base camp, it came to an end with dinner followed by campfire event by our batch. Our guys did put a spectacular show on the stage. Did I tell you that Sharon is an awesome singer? We even some how convinced her to sing that day.

Day 4 – 21st May 2017

The morning routine is pretty much same at the base camp. Just like the last day we had the wakeup call, count check, exercise session, breakfast and tent cleaning. We were then taken to a pine forest for the rock climbing training. The trainers gave us clear instructions and even thought us how to tie a double bowline knot. We had to climb an almost flat vertical surface with a few cracks to hold on. Most of us tried and only a few of us succeeded. Even though we mocked Nigilan a lot, he is the only one in our gang to complete the climb successfully and did it like a piece of cake. While others were trying hard to climb, I relaxed eating cherries and playing cricket with the local kids. They were gracious enough to allow me to bowl an over. Ours was a 50 member batch and the time wasn’t enough for all of us to try, consequently, few of the brave souls like me returned back to the camp without even giving it a try. Post lunch we were supposed to go on Rappelling, but nature had other plans. It rained heavily and Rappelling got canceled. By evening, we packed our bags. Initially, my backpack weighed around 9 kgs. Lighter the better during the trek, eventually, I reduced it to around 6 kgs and deposited the rest with the base camp. When the rain subsided we had some time to go out and munch some cakes at the German Bakery and some hot Momos at the small shop opposite to it. It seemed to be a perfect climate to munch those deliciously hot Momos. By this time you must have known how a day ends at base camp. Unlike rest of the days, one feeling dominated that night, the sheer excitement of climbing mountains the next day.

To Be Continued…

Lost & Found

Initially, I was planning to write a series of blog posts on my recent trek to Sarpass once I returned back. But, something interesting happened during the trip made me veto over that decision and write about it first.

After done with our trek, we had a day to spend at Kullu before catching our flight back home from Chandigarh. So, we decided to do some shopping and then visit a not so nearby viewpoint. As planned we stopped by a nearby wholesale shop for some woolen clothes, where I bought a small woolen dress for my niece and a Kullu cap for myself. Then, we took a crowded bus to the view point. Almost an hour after reaching our destination, my stupid mind realized that I left one of my bags in the bus overhead bin that contained the stuff that I had bought for my niece. Damn, how stupid and careless of me to make such a blunder. As I didn’t have the heart to go back home without buying anything for my nice, I returned to the same shop again.

The saleswoman at the shop was patient enough to get me the same exact dress that I bought earlier that day from a huge pile of clothes. When I went to payment counter, the owner was quite shocked to see me again and buying the same things that I bought that morning. When he enquired, I told him my pathetic story. He felt sorry for me. Then, he asked me the details of the bus and took a note of my phone number too. He also assured me that he would try to find the bag. Without much hope, I told “It’s ok” and left the shop.

Later that evening when my friends went shopping around that shop, he informed them that he successfully tracked down the bag. After hearing the same from my friends, I rushed to see him. When I meet him again, he told that he tracked the bag via his friend who runs a transport company and also assured to transfer the money back to me once he gets the bag back.

Owning a busy wholesale shop, there is no necessity for him to put efforts to find lost goods of trivial value, that too the one that’s sold out. However, he did it out of his own goodwill. I have seen many vendors who cheat the customers who don’t belong to the place or know the language. Though we are from another state and doesn’t know Hindi, he went beyond his way to help us. I was really overwhelmed by his kind gesture. As assured he did transfer money to my PayTm wallet. That awesome person is Mr. Atul of Jain Atul Trading Co. at Akara Bazar, Kullu.

It was such an awesome experience meeting such a nice person and it’s indeed an incident where I lost things and found good humans. If you are reading this, thank you, sir.

For The First Time – A Pantomime In Tamizh

Apart from R.S.Manohar’s drama at my school, Crazy Mohan and Kathadi Ramamoorthy drama at Raja Annamalai Mandram and Short & Sweet last year, I haven’t watched much of stage plays in my life. So, I was really excited when I was invited to watch “KoKo – A Pantomime in Tamil” a Tamizh play this weekend (12.03.2017). One of the perks of being a part of an awesome group like The Chennai Bloggers Club is that you get invited to such interesting events. Initially, I was quite confused about the term “Pantomime“. So, a little bit of Googling helped.

“Pantomime (informally panto), is a type of musical comedy stage production, designed for family entertainment. It was developed in England and is still performed throughout the United Kingdom, generally during the Christmas and New Year season”

koko

The play opened with a spectacular shadow show aided with computer animation projected on the screen. The story starts with Chicki (Vikas), a Hen running for life from a Butcher (Hemanth) and struggling hard to save her egg in spite of multiple mishaps. Her struggle reminded me of the “Oodinal Oodinal, Vazhkaiyin Oorathirkey Oodinal” dialogue from the movie Parasakthi. Later she meets 3 circus artists Joe (Sidarth), Joko (Naresh) and Raga (Sujay) who gives her shelter and protects the egg at the time of a natural calamity.

As the time pass by, Chicki becomes an integral part of their lives while the embryo starts growing inside the shell. One thing that awestruck me was the projection of stages of embryo growth on the egg shell. Bravo, bravo guys. One fine day the egg hatches into a chick and they name her “KoKo”. She becomes the pivotal character of the story and rest revolves around her life, interests, friendship and her struggle to keep up with the expectations of her mom Chicki.

KoKo

Have never before reviewed a movie or a play and hope I will not in future. I am more of a common spectator than a critic, I neither know the standards of the art forms nor its nuances. In my view, it’s a mind-blowing play. I enjoyed every bit of it. Most of the time, I found myself laughing and clapping out of control. Kudos to Sravanth, the director for giving us an amazing play. Acting isn’t an easy job, that too acting in front of live audience. What can I say about these Incredible actors who acted this play? They could not only act, emote and bring the characters to life but also could dance, sing, juggle, do hula hoop, aerial silk and what not. It’s not just the acting, the dialogues and the music rocked too. The song “KoKo Kannama, Pogathey Chellamma” still resonates in my ears, wish I could listen to it again.

All these time I was ranting that we lost talent and creativity referring to the terribly boring TV soaps and movies. After watching the play, I realized that we aren’t deficient of creativity but the shortage of opportunity for the one who deserves. I really wish that the talented ones like MacTrics (the KoKo crew) gets more opportunity. I appreciate Shraddha Theatres and the producers who bought this play on the stage.

I highly recommend each and every parent to watch this play along with their kids. Though it’s highly entertaining, I assure you, there will be a lot to take back home and discuss. I wouldn’t mind watching this play again and give a standing applause at the end. All the very best team, Wish you more plays to come.

P.S: Joko, If you are reading this, You made me laugh the most. I became your fan.

P.P.S: Joe, you kinda look like Cricketer Ishant Sharma. 😀

P.P.P.S: Raga, Such a calm and wise appearance you have got.

P.P.P.P.S: Chicki, Next time when I see a Hen, I am gonna remember you only.

P.P.P.P.P.S: KoKo, You are adorable.

My Love Turns 50

When my beloved Chennai Bloggers Club (CBC) came up with this “love theme” contest for the Valentine’s Day, I was thinking of too many things to write. At a point even thought to drop out of it. But today, it hit my mind that there wouldn’t be a better moment than now to write about her. So, this contest is just a reason to write about her.

If someone asks me, what’s the best thing happened in my life so far, I would blindly point to her. I might be one of the worst things happened to her, I am such a disappointment as ever and she really deserves someone better. I have been troubling her for a few years now, 28 years and 6 months to be precise. I am 27 years and 8 months, have also added the 10 months that I troubled her in her womb. Yeah, this post is about my dear mom.

#MomAndMe #Mom #Love #Smile #happyme

A post shared by Gokoulane Ravi (@gokoulane) on

Yaay, she is turning 50 today (20th Feb). It’s hard to believe she is 50, Afterall age is just a number. Haven’t planned any gift for her yet. Least I could do is write a blog post dedicated to her.

Probably she is the one with whom I had fought, argued, debated, disagreed and discussed the most. She had all the patience in the world to put up with a messy kind like me and yet be selfless and supportive. What really surprises me is her broadmindedness, which is a very rare trait from the people of a similar background of her generation. She would guess my mood even without me uttering a word and that’s a great instinct she’s got. She is very sweet. All my friends love her, not only for her yummy food but also her friendlier way of treating them. She has supported me in all my pursuits, she is the one who even insisted my dad to get me a computer. I can keep going on about her and exhaust the words. So, let me stop here.

If you are wondering what kinda guy write about his mother for Valentine’s day post, yes, you are right, the one who doesn’t have a girlfriend. Just wondering is Valentine’s Day is only meant for couples?. I think we should take a chance to celebrate numerous love and friendships in our life. For me, my mom’s love is the most selfless love that I have ever felt. She will be my valentine forever.

Wish her a great health and awesome years ahead. Love You Ma.

This post is written for the ‘love theme’ contest by The Chennai Bloggers Club in association with Woodooz and Indian Superheroes.

The Story Of The Random Postcards

The day was great with me messing up with the work and awarded with a sarcastic comment from my boss. I returned home drained and all I wished was the great day to end momentarily. But, back at home awaited a surprise. As I entered the home, my mom handed a square-shaped envelope over to me. The envelope was from the CzechRepublic and bore the name of someone I never heard of. The envelope contained an awesome Minion Christmas card and a tiny 2017 calendar. I stood bewitched wondering how the sender knows that Minions are my favorite and that card made my day. That’s not the only instance where a postcard from totally random people put a big smile on my face. Thanks to Postcrossing.

The following is what beloved Wikipedia got to tell about Postcrossing. To know more about Postcrossing, read their FAQ page.

“Postcrossing is an online project that allows its members to send and receive postcards from all over the world. The project’s tagline is “send a postcard and receive a postcard back from a random person somewhere in the world!” Its members, also known as postcrossers, send postcards to other members and receive postcards back from other random postcrossers. Where the postcards come from is always a surprise.”

I randomly stumbled upon Postcrossing while I was searching for places to buy postcards in Chennai to send to a friend in Australia. I found the concept interesting and gave it a try.  My very first postcard was to Russia on 19th Sep 2016 and the first one I received was from CzechRepublic on 14th October 2016. Since then I have sent 25 cards in which 7 of them are still in transit. I have also received 18 cards from various countries across the world.

Postcrossing not only enables random people to exchange postcards, it also contribute to the conservation of fading art of snail mails in this world of e-mail and social media. The fact that some random unrelated person spending a few mins of his life in writing and posting a postcard is what that delight me when I receive one. Each and every card you receive is a surprise. It might come from a 17-year-old boy or 67-year-old granny, it might be from well know countries such as Germany or from countries that you have never heard of such as Latvia and Belarus. Apart from the cards, the stamps on them are also equally interesting. All you have to do is send one, keep calm and wait for another one to hit your postbox as it takes an average of 15 days for a postcard to get delivered.

 

postcrossigstats

My Postcrossing Stats

 

If you are someone who wish to connect to rest of the world and have all the patience to do it via one of the slowest modes of communication then Postcrossing is one of the best hobbies for you. My subsequent post might be on from where I source the postcards, Postcrossing community in India and postage details. Till then, Happy Postcrossing.