Chanderi Fort and Sleepless nights

p.s. This is a story within a story. All the characters are real and all the incidents are true in both the stories (within my knowledge).

I and Abhishek Bharatiya set out to trek on saturday (28th). When we were planning everyone else was busy with something or the other. We were browsing through TrekShitiz , when we saw a posting for a trek to Chanderi fort. It was a group called “Ajinkya HIkers”, a group based in Badlapur. We called them and it was fixed.

Set out at 6:30 am in a local to Badlapur. In our bogey was a group of 4-5 men, regular commuters who were singing. Singing devotional and film songs is a common way of passing time during the long train rides. But what set this group apart was their chice of songs. They would sing one bhajan then their would be a commercial break, a jingle for nerolac paints (jab ghar ki raunak badhhaani ho…). Then they would start a marathi nursery rhyme, with sounds of various animals (bhow bhow bhow ..meaow meaow meaow). Everyone in the bogey had such a nice time, the 1:30 hours to badlapur went unnoticed.

At Badlapur station we met Dinesh (9323731063), a member of ajinkya hikers, who had come to pick us up. We went to their office were we met Prakash and Ratnakar (9323642246) and Anand. Dinesh had some work, so couldnt come along.

At 9:30 am we started. Took a rickshaw to Chinchowli gaon. 10 bucks per seat. From Chinchowli gaon, the trail starts near the school. Ask any local for chanderi fort. The trail goes through hillocks. After walking some 40 mins up and down we reach the base of the mountain. Ratnakar was painting signs along the way. The previous monsoons had washed away sections of the mountain, and the trail had changed.

I was standing on a big rock which had a black patch. It was only when the wise Prakash pointed out the pieces of bones, near my leg that I stepped aside. We where on the very spot where a boar had been cut. I did not recognize the dried blood which almost looked black. The locals hunt wild boars and small game like rabbits. For hunting rabbits and other small game they start fire on a dry patch along an arc. As the fire closes inside the arc, all the animals run towards the opening. Here are the nets in which the rabbits get caught. Since the fires are controlled it is not very dangerous, only the dry leaves get burnt the trees are not harmed. Also this prevents accidental forest fires which can wipeout whole forests.

We reached the fort at around 12:30 pm. The cave is huge horizontally. It can accomodate at least 40-50 people. Their is also a tank near the cave, which when looked through the naive urban glazed eyes seems not potable. But it was that water which kept us going for two days. Quiet clean too, only some algae, minerals and other organic matter.

These people Prakash etc,,are really experienced, not just at climbing, but all the other survival skills. Like starting a fire in no time. Cooking rice for 8 people in a small vessel, etc.etc.. So in no time POHA was made and after eating that we took a nap. at 4:30. We went to the other side which in itself is something. Their are parts where just a great fall to one side and plane rock to walk on. It’s a kind of elimination round. I am sure who cannot get through it could not and should not attempt to climb the pinnacle. We did’nt try the pinnacle that day as the rocks were quiet hot and the sun was goind down. Their is a tank some way down which has some really clean and cool water (no sarcasm here).

Came back and with Prakash as head cook and we as assistants cooked a fantastic dinner/lunch. After dinner i called a lot of my friends. Yeah this place has connectivity. Round 10:30 most of us settled inside our kambals.

I was just getting into REM when i woke up dur to some alien sounds. Female voices.
That’s where the second story starts.


“Oh its bleeding.”
“Who has the first aid kit?”
“Sameer, take some cotton and savlon ….”
mmmmmmm….ouchhhh….. (female sound)
“come on Saloni, i thought u were tough.”
.
.
.
.
“Dude find some cozy place inside the cave where we can sleep.”

A small fire has been started.

“What do we have first, ….let’s make soup.”
.
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“….and the guitaring…Jeff Beck is the best yaa..”
.
“so u dint tell your mom you were going on a night trek?”
“oh i just said Shadab had called and ..everything else is taken care off.”
.
.
“Don’t u admire these two chicks?”
“Sure man…I know many guys who would have shat in their pants tonight.”
.
.
“This is the best paneer tikka I ever had.”
.
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“U know Harish Chandra…danger man …once when the seniors came into our class, i stood up as i was supposed to do…they dint notice me….and then i thought one of them waved at me to sit. SO i sat. Then this Harish Chandra looks at me…”Bhen*&*^ stand up.” ..
He made me murga…”
“this harish chandra is the guy with the nice moustache??” (female voice)
“no no he’s just one of harish’s sidekick, XYZ”
.
.
“They have vintage bullets…their dadajee’s ….”
“THese guys are from mumbai only??” (female voice)
.
.
“what time is it?….quarter to 3??..we should sleep.”

All these are snippets of audio which i could comprehend with by sleepy groggy head. The only thought the kept me from giving them a, “Shut the F^%^ up, ppl are trying to sleep here” was, one of them liked Jeff Beck………and i myself had done such things while i was in college.
In the morning we woke up at 6 to climb the pinnacle. They were asleep inside their sleeping bags. But what was this I could make out many male voices in the night …how come their were 5 sleeping bags with long silky hair coming out?

The climb upto the pinnacle was the most challenging i had ever attempted. No safety ropes. And rock climbing for the first time. But seeing Prakash climb with such ease boosted my confidence. After some 30-40 mins of climbing we reached the top. There are remnants of a watch tower. Some broken pieces of a stone “aata chakki”..And a bronze statue of shivaji. We did aarati before the shivaji statue and many “Jai shivaji, Jai bhavani”.

Climbing down was technically tougher but mentally much easier. We got back to the cave at 12:30 pm. The sleeping beauties had woken up, packed and ready to go. They were FYJC and SYJC students from HR, Jai Hind and Xaviers. Common thread being trekking.

Made maggi. Took a small nap. Packed our stuff. Cleaned the place. Started downlhill at 3. The sun was relentless. I and bharatiya were in the front, missed a turn. Had to take a long detour, which meant 45 mins extra in the hot sun. Thanks to Ratnakar, Prakash and Anand who had to wait in the village for us. Very sorry to keep you waiting.

So this was the story and the story. It was the perfect trek, with the bonus of getting ourselves lost in the end. It cost us 150 bucks each for everything, transport, food..etc. “Ajinkya hikers” as they call themselves post the scehdules and plans on the trekshitiz site. I have given their phone numbers in the beginning. If you want to trek in the regions near Badlapur, i am sure they will be helpful.

p.s. I have changed some names I had mentioned. It seems some body found out this post and was pissed of because I ‘talked down’ about some people. He thinks I should have shut them up, if I felt so. Indeed I could have, and spoilt their trek. Instead I decided to write an interesting (to me at least post about it).

and Now this!!

The pups of “lakad baggha” (cousin of the african Hyena) run away from their mother as soon as they are born. As their diet consists of mainly rotting flesh and such they have a very rough tongue, which can peel the very skin off. And the pups do have very soft skin too. I had heard it from a uncle who was a forest ranger in the forests of chhatisgarh. So when i came across this article in nature, it brought back memories of my uncle, who was incidently eaten by a man eater. It seems some guys in japan have successfully bred a Lakad Baggha with a less rough tongue. Its saliva combined with its rough tongue does not affect the skin but removes hair very efficienly.

Hmmmm……

These japs…they will give beauty salons a run for their money. Guess babes will keep lakad bagghas as pets and make it lick their legs.

At least pet shop guys will make some money.

Will you take the pill?

Can you guess what this is :
Aim: To prove that x does this when mixed with y.

Equipment needed:x, y and a jar.

Procedure: Mix x and y, wait for 20 minutes.

Observation: waiting and watching the jar, which would eventually change its color. ( while unoficially everyone would try mixing different chems and create rainbows spilling it on each other’s lab coat)

Result: It is proved that x does this when mixed with y.

Yeah sure, it is the science lab report. Everyone of us had to do it. I always wondered why the result was always “succeeded in reaching the aim”.
So did “experimenting” really meant that you have to know beforehand what you will get as the result?
Or were experiments only meant to “proove” something?

Also what if the mixture turned into something else if kept for a significantly longer time?

In the late 19th century a british doctor published a scientific study about newborn babies. The problem was their high mortality rate. The result of the study was, “As newborn babies are very susceptible to germs, infection etc. they should be touched as little as possible. Not even by their mothers.”
He gained quite some fame for having found a way to save thousands of babies. Doctors and hospitals applied this new funda. 50 years later it was proven that actually mother’s touch (or for that matter any caring touch) infact improves the babies immunity.
And then people looked back at the statistics.
They found that the funda used 50 years back had actually caused an increase in the mortality rate. Though with advances in medicine this was compensated in 10-20 years.

Now scientists are telling us that the ‘pill’ can actually cause sexual disfunction in women. The pill which was regarded as one of the great modern inventions has a darker side? Something which liberated women… hmmm……. how can the pill makers even face the millions of women, who may have lost their whole youth with less than whole sex?

Or the more frequent reports like:
Chocolates are good for health. No they are not.
If you drink one peg a day, it’s good for your health. Or is it?
We can dismiss these by the fact that chocolate and maybe liquor corporates are the one’s sponsoring these research.

But what about the sincere scientist who works for the benefit of mankind? Are their findings any more credible.

I do not fully comprehend where the fault lies, in the basic tenets of science? it’s wrong application? What I KNOW is “What science knows is an iota compared with what it does not.”

And now they have discovered something which completely stops the menstrual cycle. Wait till 2040 and you’ll see the reason why women started getting facial hair. Or maybe that will be the style statement of that era, of the ‘machosexual female’.

I went jogging today after a lot of days. It seems the less work I have, the more inertial I become.

I am in a phase where i have too many choices, of the heart and brains kind. And if it was all black and white I would not have taken a second in deciding. Choosing among the different grays is the most difficult. So what do I do to solve this, I sleep for more than 12 hours each day everything I can to delay that point where there is no turning back.

Now that I have kicked my lazy ass a little, maybe my life will get out of idling too.

goa triPPed

THere’s lots that happened since my last post. Last 15 days have been vegetative bliss. I finished watching 50 episodes of ‘Bleach’, 35 episodes of ‘Yakikate japan’, 4 seasons of ‘Scrubs’ and numerous movies. During christmas I somehow uprooted myself from my couch and landed in Goa.

Day one

Three of us, upesh, mots and me reached there on 23rd morning. Found a place in Colva beach. 400 bucks for a room double bed, no ac, no tv. Pretty ok it was. But the costs would reach 1200 on 24th and 25th they preinformed us. Upesh’s KGPian friends were to come from bangalore and hyderabad by evening.

We hired bikes. Rode to anjuna. Anjuna, coz it has some great beach shacks and very less desi crowd, and great trance music. When we reached there it was 8-9pm and i couldnt get my bearings right. So the great shack which i had discovered eluded us. We had to make do with another one. Got some beers and chips.

Now i had heard that foreigners had taken over running businesses. Here the person in charge was a lady 35ish and very graceful. From taking orders to taking away dirty plates she was everywhere. Though there were some 2-3 very tanned goan guys to help her. One of them had dyed his hair blonde. There was a projecter showing a space fantasy movie with electronic sounds playing on a cloth screen. It was very psychedelic. Mots not used to trance couldnt take it for too long and we had to leave.

After roaming around a little we found this club called ‘Club paradiso’. The entry was 300 bucks each and that wasnt even the cover charge. We dint have that much cash and had to go to Calangute to an ATM. When we came back it was 11:30. Paid the charge and went in.

There is this concrete staircase which goes down to what seems like a basement. These stairs are the entry to the club which was only apparent from the “DOUchhe DOUchhe…ching ching chawn” sound coming from it. Actually the club is built on a cliff. The dance floor was created like a den with florescent paintings and ultraviolet tubes. The music was really good trance. THe party was just getting started. From my experience i have noticed that nobody wants to go and start daning on an empty dance floor. But somebody has to start right? THese people had the ingenous idea of employing the local guys who tried their best not to look local to make some crowd. But the idea seemed to work as gradually the real crowd started getting in. 99% were firangs. And gradually these local guys slipped away. We danced around till about 3. Upesh got the hots for a angelish girl in a long white dress. But even after dancing a long time near her could only get her to say ..”Just close your eyes and dance….” That’s what trance really is, isnt it?

Day two i want to kick myself for delaying this…updating exactly a month later (today is 24/01/06)

since the next day was 24th people had started coming in droves. The room rent was going to be upped. Uppoo’s friends from kharagpur arrived and we moved into a another hotel near Panjim. Very sleepy, i slept the whole day off. Evening I went to anjuna.

Anjuna is the best place for trance music. Their is this shack at the very end of the beach. Last time I had been there it was a like all the other shacks. this time it was two storey. And all the firangs seemed to be gathered in that shack.

some of them were juggling balls. Circus stuff. One hot girl in a g string bikini and with a tattoo of a dragon running from her waist to her knees was doing tricks with a stick.
(i am bored …and cant seem to remember anything more)