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Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Tikona




Tikona is a fort thats located on a mountain that looks triangular from a distance. I have been fascinated with this triangular shaped structure every time I see it from the top of Lohagad.

So this time I planned a trek to the place. We took a car from Mumbai and went by the old highway. Due to the convenience offered by the Mumbai- Pune Express highway, we forgotten the scenic beauty of the old highway. It was a refreshing change.

We took a turn at Kamshet toward the Pavna Dam. This fort offers a nice view of the dam and the lake that surrounds it. We went ahead of Kale Colony and got off at a village called Gevande and the villagers directed us along a dirt track. There is a way that goes between two mountains. The climb to the fort starts from here. When we look at a triangular shaped hill, the obvious connotation is that it could be a tough climb. However, there was no climb involved here. It was a nice inclined walk. The scenery was very beautiful and the uniqueness was that it offered a nice scene on both the sides. It was really breathtaking. The path is well defined and there is no probability of anyone losing their way. Also since it is relatively cut off from urbanity, the crowds are absent. There is a beautiful temple of Lord Shiva at the top. When I peeked into the temple I could feel the most amazing positive vibrations emanating from the place. Despite the dilapidation, the place was abound with positive energy and stood proof of the fact that maybe the place had been used for worship of the divine for several centuries. The lake was also nice.

We were walking in the clouds. However, due to the cloud cover the visibility was poor and hence we were not able to enjoy the beautiful sight of the Pawna lake from the top.

After a quick bite, we started our descent. While descending we realised how steep the staircase was that led us to the final precincts of the fort.

I was really happy to see a little 2 and a half year old on the fort. It was nice that parents are encouraging their little ones to enjoy nature at such a tender age.

Well the way down was over in no time. As it was raining the rocks were slightly slippery but that is part of the deal of treks in the monsoon.

On our way back we stopped by for some good old 'chai' and a quick halt at the Chitrapur Math at Karla.

We were back home by around 9 p.m.

It was a long day. But sometimes long days dont really make us tired. When it comes to some days we wish they never end.....

Who Knows

I have been regularly blogging for almost two years now. I have got tremendous response to my blog posts. It has really made a huge difference to the quality of life that I life. Maybe not so much in the way that life has to offer but in the way that I take on the bull by its horns/

The blogging experience has firstly revealed to me a side of my personality that I was never aware of. I knew I was a reflective person but I never realised that I could write well.

I have been very happy to know that my writings have been inspiring and have helped many to face situations that life has to offer in a more positive manner.

I have also received accolades for my blog. I have been covered in a Mumbai Newspaper. I receive emails from new people all over the world inquiring about how I face my illness.


This activity gives me a great medium to express myself, my inner feelings, the weak moments that I face in life as well as everything that keeps me going on and weathering the storm. It has given me a tremendous boost not only in terms of my self esteem and confidence but also physically. As they say its all in the mind.

Lately I have become more irregular on the blog as I have been really extremely busy with work and other activities. But I am sure about one thing. I will continue to express myself through this blog.

In fact some friends have been wanting me to write a book on what I went through when I knew about my ailment and how I managed to take it in my stride and move on.

I need to start focusing on that.

We never know how much time we have.

But what the hell...... Who knows?

Monday, 28 September 2009

Rethink

I have been trekking for several years now. Almost 20 to be precise. One thing we have always been proud about. We never litter the place. We dont make undue noise. Essentially we dont do anything that will disturb the environment or any locals that live there.

For the last couple of years we have been building a trekking group along the above lines. It has been a great experience. We had planned an overnight trek last weekend. I have been travelling continuously and hence was feeling tired and had slight fever on friday night. As a result, I dropped out of the trek.

The trek was great fun and I missed it. However, one thing that happened was totally contrary to the beliefs around which our group was functioning. We never get drunk on treks and we never create a ruckus so as to disturb the locals especially if it is an overnight trek.

I heard this happened this time. And I was not around when it happened. So I have to depend on hearsay.

But one thing is sure. I have gone wrong somewhere. Somewhere I made a mistake in choosing group members, reposing trust in members who I thought shared my vision of trekking. I really need to do a rethink on the whole process of allowing people to trek with me who would respect the environment and the lives of people who live in those mountains.

I really need to give this a thought

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Sudhagad

Sudhagad has been on my mind for a long time. We had in fact set out for Sudhagad with some kids last year but due to traffic we ended up in Karnala.

When one of my friends expressed her decision to go to valley of flowers and that she needed a practice trek, I decided that Sudhagad it would be. There were 2 girls and me. Both the girls had not much experience of trekking in the sahyadris. So I somehow convinced my friend Shantanu to join me as he could be of support to me.

We took the 445 a.m. bus from Mumbai Central ST Stand and got off at Wakan Phata. from there we got a 8 seater ricksha to take us to Pachchapur from where the trek starts. We had some light breakfast at Wakan before we started for the base village.

We started the trek at around 9 am. Considering that the place is slightly cut off and distant from Mumbai I was not expecting a crowd here. But when we started we were surprised to see a huge group of Gujrati jains (around 250 in number) waiting in a queue for their turn to start trekking.

Well we were stuck. We were not able to decide whether we should let them go ahead of us or whether we should overtake them. The climb was easy but there was a continuous gradient which made it a bit tiring. The new ladders were very sturdy and it was very windy.

We took breaks in between. I ran out of sugar (suddenly felt blacked out) so stopped for a dose of glucose powder. Finally we reached the top at around 1115.

The peak was really huge. There was a plateau at the top. Also there was a beautiful view on all the sides. The view of the Tel Baila range was spectacular. There was a nice lake which captivated us to the point that we spend at least an hour sitting on its banks. My friend Shantanu being a very good photographer took some nice angles from his camera. After a while we started looking for the wada where we could have shelter to have our food. We also wanted to visit the Bhoraimata temple which was near the wada. This Goddess is the ruler of the ghats and is very much revered in the region. It is believed that the temple was consecrated by the great Rishi Bhrigu and has been there since ancient times.

The fort has a huge history to it. In fact this fort had made it to the final shortlist of Shivaji Maharaj before he chose Raigad over sudhagad as the capital of his kingdom. It was not difficult to see reason for the shortlist. The place had a breathtaking view of the whole area. Hence it was strategically located and from here one could observe any movement in the whole area. The plateau on the top was huge enough to accomodate a city. Potable water is available the whole year round. What more could anyone ask for.

The darshan of the goddess was also an experience in itself. When I entered the temple, I really could feel the power in there. The vibrations were really powerful and there was a strange sanctity to the place. I prayed for restoration of my health (I rarely pray for myself) and promised that I would offer a saree if I was cured completely.

We had our food and it was already around 230 by then. We were to return by the other route from Dhondse. However someone mentioned to us that the route was tougher. Also the last bus from there was at 415 and with the pace of our group we had no chance of getting that bus. So we returned by the same route that we took to go uphill.

Coming downhill was a huge effort. Not because it was tough but because the girls who were part of our group had a fear of heights. It took us more than 3 hours to come down. A bit more than what it took for us to climb.

Finally we reached the village only to realise that the next bus to Pali was only after more than an hour. We were lucky to get a lift from another trekking group to Pali from where we took a ST to Khopoli and then a train to Mumbai.

After a long time, we had a trek using public transport. It was reminiscent of the old times when we used to trek only using public transport.

We have come a long way since then. Earlier all of us were students. We didnt have enough money and there were times when we have even travelled atop cargo in trucks, and saved money for our extra vadapavs.

Now we are earning and are more accustomed to a luxurious lifestyle. Our lives have changed. Our conveyance to trekking points have changed. But treks are still the same fun

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Back to Trekking

I was discharged from hospital on a saturday. My family was also quite worried. Hence I could not plan a trek immediately. The facebook status message that I had expressed also had a huge number of responses. Including those from people who have been not so nice to me. I felt like laughing. and actually laughed it off.

But the next weekend I was going to trek. I needed to. I needed to let go.

One of my favourite places has been Kothligad. The immensely beautiful valley sighting from the half way mark was something that has always enthralled me.

I called up my friends. They felt that maybe I should relax for a couple more weeks before we trekked. I didnt want to wait that long. I told them that if I dont feel ok we will return. I called up Shyam who is like an elder brother to me. He was the one who had taught me to trek. He was not aware that I was hospitalised. I didnt let him know as well. We planned to go to Kothligad the next weekend.

Like the old times, we took the last train and night and sat at the Karjat station for a couple of hours. Then at daybreak we took a rickshaw to the base point and started the trek. It was truly beautiful. One of my school friends with whom I had lost touch for more than 20 years had also joined me. It was nice catching up with old friends.

We trekked to the top in around 2 hours. It was a great feeling. I insisted that I wanted to make it to the pinnacle which was a bit tricky but I needed to get the confidence that I could trek. It meant a lot to me.

I made it. We took some nice pictures at the top. Enroute to the base point we stopped at Peth village where we had a wholesome meal. The trek was a welcome change after the failure at Kohoj and the incidents of the previous week after which I had to get hospitalised. I felt nice and full. The emptiness had receded.

Friendship did exist after all.

The stay in the hospital

When I got admitted my phone was taken away. I requested my dad to get the phone whenever he came to meet me though. I also requested him to call up my workplace and inform them that I would not be able to work for a few days.

I really didnt know what was wrong with me. I didnt even know how bad the ECG was. I was asked to take complete bed rest. There were wires all over my body. They were monitoring everything by the second. I had a few wires on my chest. I had something on my finger with which they were measuring something called the saturation.

Since I am used to sleeping sideways, and that was not possible here, I was not able to sleep well. It was funny. What I needed to do was sleep and I was so uncomfortable that I was not able to sleep well. I got a few winks though and woke up in the morning. Suddenly realised that I needed to pass motions. I requested myself to be unwired to be able to go to the toilet. I was told sternly that I could do so on the bed with the help of a ward boy but leaving the bed was not allowed. That was really scary. Not for the fact that I was not allowed to visit the toilet but the realisation that something might be so wrong with me that I was not supposed to leave the bed.

My dad came to meet during the visiting hours and as requested by me had carried my mobile phone. I logged into facebook and typed in a status message reflecting my state my mind. I was really feeling shackled and badly needed to communicate.

Well the doctors came and this was the first thing that I inquired with them. They told me that there was not much cause for worry and that they were observing me. Some tests had been conducted and they were only slightly abnormal (normal in case of chronic renal failure patients). I was mighty relieved. And went off to sleep. I realised I was not able to sleep due to the fear and stress and not anything else that I assumed.

I took complete rest for a couple of days and then they also conducted a couple of other tests that proved that my heart was indeed fine. It was just something temporary, maybe due to the hurt caused or maybe due to fatigue. It was stress all the way.

I was discharged within a couple of days after the 2D echo was normal. It was such a relief.

But I had something to think about. I had not completed the last trek I attempted. (Kohoj). I was also affected adversely by the behaviour of some people whom I had held dear and had trusted. I had started to think whether it is worthwhile trusting anyone at all.

My foundations were shaken.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Trip to Hospital

The trip to Kohoj was the first trek of the season. It was a disappointment for me as I was not able to complete the trek. I was feeling very low due to a lot of other reasons. On the personal front as well nothing was happening for me. Rather everything that was happening was adverse to me.

I was under a lot of stress. And for me treks are the best stress busters.

The week after Kohoj was also similar. On the personal front I was going through a lot of stress. And on the work front there was too much happening what with my boss on a vacation and the whole business development work load on my shoulders. I had a round of dialysis the previous night and had not slept well as well.

One such day, I had to make an important presentation to one of India's top media houses. It was around 130 and the presentation was at 330. I was online. I had not seen a friend online for a long time. In fact we had decided to keep away from each other due to some differences. But the friend was very dear to me. We had been very close for a long time. I dont want to get into the details but I realised that the friend had blocked me on chat. I really felt hurt. Something happened deep down in my system that I am not able to describe.

I left for the meeting. I was actually able to feel my heart beat. Each beat ringing clearly in my ear. It was scary. Such things had never happened before.

I reached the clients office. I prayed to give me strength to take care of the presentation. The presentation went off very well and I got appreciation for the same from the clients side. I took a stop with a colleague for a snack which I thought would help me feel better.

When I was travelling home, I was again able to feel the thumping in my chest, even more clearly now. The beats were irregular. And it was as if someone was hammering my chest from the inside.

I reached home and lied down. Normally, I am very active. Once I reach home I take a wash and settle down for dinner. That day, I was in no mood. I was sad, tired and scared at the same time. My parents also got worried. They started inquiring about me. Fortunately, we have a good hospital very near to where we live and we went there and got an ECG done.

My dad accompanied me along with my uncle who lives in the same building complex. I was scared. I also had difficulty breathing. The doctor at the casualty were worried looking at the ECG and sent it to the ICU for the intensivists to have a look at it and opine whether hospitalisation was needed.

The answer came soon enough. I had to be hospitalised. I was shifted to the Intensive Care Unit.
For the first time in my life.

I really needed to be cared for. At the physical level as well as at the emotional.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Kohoj

Kohoj was the first trek of the season. We were 7 of us and had booked a vehicle. A couple of them were first time trekkers.

When we set out in the morning, we realised that one of the first timers had dropped out. That made it quite a comfortable journey for us in the Tavera. We stopped by for tea and then set out again. The first trek of the season.

It was a period of recession and the monsoon was also playing truant. It normally rains quite heavily by that time of the year. But this year even the pre monsoon showers were not there.

We reached the base village Vaghote at around 830 and started trekking. I had just had dialysis the previous night and due to cramps I had not even slept well. It might have been due to the fact that I was so excited about the first trek of the season.

The villagers showed us the way to the lake. They told us that we had to go around the lake and then the ascent would start. We kept going around the lake. Suddenly there was a dead end. We shouted out to a cowherd in the distance who pointed us to the other side of the lake. We had taken the wrong side. As we were moving towards the lake, I saw a huge snake slither into its hole. It might have been scared by our presence. I must say the feeling was mutual.

It was quite hot. The cloud cover made it dark and there was no wind. This normally means imminent rainfall. It rained yes but not heavily. It just drizzled. Another proof that the monsoon was poor and had not picked up. I was sweating like a pig. (Never seen a pig sweating though)

The climb was not tough, but at a point in time, I started feeling giddy. My sugar levels had gone very low. I replenished it with some glucose powder that we were carrying. And resumed the trek. After a while I started feeling giddy again and blacked out. Luckily I didnt collapse. And now I got a bad bout of cramps in my stomach. It was a signal to me that my body was revolting. It needed to rest. My friends stopped for me. But I could not become a liability to the group. They had to reach the top irrespective of whether I could be there with them.

I offered to drop out. One of my friends offered to return with me. I vetoed the idea and told them to go ahead. I walked back. Suddenly under the leaves i first heard and then saw another snake slithering away. This time I was alone. And I was more scared than the first time. As I walked towards the lake I felt giddy again. I was not having the glucose with me. I stopped by the lake. Sat there for a while and then resumed my journey to the vehicle.

Once back, I requested the driver to take me to the nearest junction where restaurants were available and had a very early lunch. That was very refreshing. I was back to normal. Maybe I should have had a good breakfast and that would have done the trick.

Anyways, it was a long wait till everyone returned from the top. We stopped for a snack break for the rest of the gang and then came back to Mumbai.

The first trek of the season had ended. For me it had not. It had just started .................

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The Whole Truth

The monsoons are here. Well almost and its started raining. We are already planning our first trek. This one is to a place called Kohoj.

Given the geography of Mumbai it is quite an exercise to plan a trek. Especially if we are travelling by public transport. This time too the effort is going to be huge. This is the first time we would be travelling along the Western Railway route to get to the base point.

Any group cannot revolve around only one person. I have been taking the initiative in deciding the venue, schedules etc for all treks till now. But its always better that there is someone else who can take it up. Knowing the brittle state of my health it is imperative otherwise the activity would stop if I were to get inactive.

Plus for any group to function, you need a cadre. I have always believed in playing for the long term and in this case too I want to do that. The Kohoj trek is also an event which will be organised by the other active members of the group.

The venue has been announced, photographs have been shared and the enthusiasm is very high. We need to now confirm participation and most importantly freeze a plan so that it can be circulated and sent to confirmed participants.

It is only then that the real confirmations would come in. Its always a fact.

Only the pictures are not enough. The real decision is taken only once the whole truth is clear.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The Slog Overs

When we are under pressure, we tend to focus on the job at hand. One of my idols Swami Vivekananda had said that " If you are born make a mark before you leave" Through my behaviour and ethic, I have always tried to be pleasant and I believe that most people remember me fondly. I would like to believe that my personal credibility is high and people hold me in esteem.

Due to my illness I have cut off my love interests because I would not be fair to the person. Now my interests focus on doing well professionally. I need to make a mark in my professional domain.

It keeps troubling me that the person whom I am fond of will never know of my feelings and also that I will have a match with her.

Despite that I am doing all that I can to fight it out to the best of my ability. I am doing all that I can to professionally perform like a normal healthy person. It might not be possible all the time, but I think I am able to manage quite well.

It is very important to me. Even more important now. The slog overs have started. I need to hit at the maximum possible balls without getting out. I need to play out the maximum number of balls to win this match.

This may be the last chance to make a mark

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Monsoon is on its way

The monsoon has hit Kerala. It is just a matter of time when it will hit Mumbai. The heat would reduce. There would be more greenery in the mountains and trekking would become less streneous and more enjoyable activity.

In anticipation of the monsoon, we are planning a trek next weekend. We simply believe that it will start raining before the next weekend and we are planning a trek based on that belief.

This year the summer has been so bad that the temperatures have shot up to more than 40 degrees celsius in Mumbai.

It has rarely been this hot in Mumbai. For renal patient, it is even more difficult. I have a business development job and that involves travelling within the city for meetings and presentations.

In summer we always tend to lose a lot of water through sweat. But the problem about sweat is that it is difficult to estimate in ml how much we have lost and how much we need to replenish. Also we are losing a lot of salts with the sweat and again it is difficult to keep track of how much we have lost. For a renal patient who is active it is very difficult. We have to monitor both body fluid as well as salts manually between dialysis. Because it is difficult to monitor that I end up having fluctuating Blood pressure. Last week I had very low BP at work which was a very scary experience.

Last night I suddenly felt a headache which I realised later was due to very high blood pressure. I had to take an antihypertensive after several months.

It is even more important to be aware of what is happening within your body. This calls for very close interaction with your body. We need to watch the body carefully all the time.

When it starts raining it becomes much easier. It is a more beautiful time. And yes it is the most beautiful time to trek as well.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Meaningful Relationships - Our school friends



After meeting on facebook, we were all looking forward to meeting each other in person. Some of them after a whole 21 years.

After a couple of attempts that didnt work out due to busy schedules of everyone, we finally managed to meet up last night. We met at a club on the sea face. Everyone is doing well in their careers. But that was never even discussed. We were just talking about our memorable moments in school, our bondings, our good times and how we have changed over the years in looks, in mannerisms and everything else that encompasses our personalities.

Everyone has gone their own ways, but when we met there was a warm feeling of deja vu. There was a huge gap of time, but it was as if time had stopped and even retarded as we never felt as if we were out of touch. The bonding was there without any effort. The conversations flowed as if they had never stopped. It was like a dream.

I guess when we are in school, we make friends in the truest sense of the word. There are no strings attached. We are not looking for meaning in the relationship. Its just a relationship. It exists and we enjoy it. We dont question these relationships. We dont judge. We accept our classmates as friends without any "tangible" reason. Its plan and simple "friendship"

Isnt it so beautiful.

Relationships are really so much meaningful when we dont try to see meaning in them.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Cornered not Lost

Life puts you in strange situations sometimes. These are times when nothing is going for you.

There are obstacles in everything that you are doing. Your friends suddenly disappear. They either have their own issues or you simply do not figure in their scheme of things anymore. On a personal note, I do not have anyone who can listen to me, be there for me or even share their problems with me. At least that makes you feel better since you realise that you are not the only one with problems. Yes I feel lonely and uncared for.

Health never was a great ally for the last many years, but now it has donned an adversarial role. The situation is such that not much can be done about it but simply face it. No one knows what tomorrow has in store for them, but when today is so bad and there is not much that you can do about it then tomorrow is even more scary.

I might be sounding despondent, yes maybe I am. I have fought hard till now, never let my illness hamper my spirit, never let it hamper my professionalism. But now I feel that maybe I am fighting a lost cause.

But maybe its not the end of a story, it could be the start of a new story. One of hope, gumption and one of stretching my sinew till it is completely drained to its last drop.

Time will tell.........

Monday, 1 June 2009

Treks in Summer - Camping trip to Lohagad



Well this is my fourth post in a couple of days. It has been pending for long and hence I have to write before I forget the details.

Despite having been a regular trekker for more than 18 years, I had never gone camping. That was something that I always wanted to do. It was towards the end of April and extremely hot. I wanted to have a small camping trip to Savna lake.

Shyam and myself were planning this ever since he had got a tent as a gift. I had purchased a new trekking bag and both of us were quite desperate to make good use of our implements.

We touched based on a saturday morning, decided to go. But we decided to go to a known place rather than an unknown place like savna so we froze on lohagad. We took the 12 noon bus to Pune got off at Lonavala and started the trek at around 430 pm. We reached the base village at around 6 where we ordered some food for the night. We wanted to pitch our tent before it got dark. However, they took so long to cook the food that we reached the top only at around 730. It was already dark. We had not prior experience of pitching that tent. We had only 2 torches. It was extremely windy.

But we needed a place to sleep and a tent it would be. We had a choice of sleeping in the cave but no we wanted to put the tent to good use !

After much effort we finally managed to do just that by 830 pm and realised we were extremely hungry. It was pitch dark as it was a new moon night. We were told by some friends that there were a lot of reptiles that we needed to be careful about. But then what the hell, we had a tent. It was a modern one so quite secure. We just needed to be inside and not venture outside. :)

It was so windy at night that at one point we actually felt we would get blown away. We had the company of another ggroup form Pune and then late at night a noisy group owing allegience to Shivaji the great warrior king of the marathas. I am sure Shivaji himself would never have approved the acts of his followers cos when we woke up in the morning the whole place was littered with thermocol and left over food. Are the people really proud of our heritage. That was the million dollar question.

We woke up to a beautiful morning. Some shots of sunrise that we were able to get were awe inspiring. The sights of the Pawna lake in the backdrop of Tung and Tikona were something to behold.

We left from the top at around 730. Had kanda poha at the base village and then took the ricksha by the new road which took us directly to Lonavala. We realised that Lohagad was not a trek any longer , it was a drive and thus it was now open to general holidayers and picnicers that made it even more vulnerable to litter and other nuisance.

A live example of how not to preserve our pride, our heritage, our only connection to our illustruous figures who made history. A live example of how not to pay homage to them......


Treks in Summer - Karnala



In my so many years of trekking as passion, I have never trekked in the summers. It was a mental block that I wanted to get rid of.

I had attempted Karnala twice and had returned without reaching the top. Now Karnala was special. It was my first trek and it is a relatively simple one. I took it as a challenge to complete this. It was totally unplanned. It was a saturday evening. My friend Hem and me have been planning to trek together for a really long time but we have not been able to do so. We bumped into each other and he requested some support in preparing for his MBA entrance interviews. We were both free the next day and we jumped at the idea of a small trek. We plumped for Karnala as it was nearby and also relatively simple as I mentioned earlier. Plus Hem had never been to Karnala.

We set out very early. We targeted the 455 am train from CST and left home at 415. We reached quite early and saw the 423 am train waiting for us. We ran and caught it just in time. It reached Panvel station at around 540 after which we engaged a rickshaw and asked him to halt at any open restaurant as both of us were feeling quite hungry. After a sumptuous breakfast of omlet and bread, we started the trek at around 640. It was quite early and just about day break. In fact it was a bit dark when we started the trek. Now Karnala is a bird sanctuary and we could hear the chirping of birds early in the morning.

I was feeling quite low due to the sweat but I really wanted to complete the trek this time. It helped that Hem is a physiotherapist and he gave me tips on how to pull myself through. On the way we stopped around thrice to enjoy the beautiful sunrise, to dwell on the chirping of the birds, to meditate on the scenic beauty of the mountains.

We reached the top at around 840 which was a decent time to complete the trek. We had our snack and looked around the place. Finally at around 940 we started the return journey. We made this in one continuous walk and we were down at 1035 am. We got a bus to the station but we were surprised to note that the trains were not running due to some maintenance work on the tracks. So we made our way to the bus stand and took a bus home. We were home for lunch by 1 pm

Finally I had completed Karnala. In my third attempt this year.

Karnala is a relatively easy fort but it was quite another thing to trek to the top in the peak of summer. What a trek. What an experience. What fun!!

Sunday, 31 May 2009

LOW BP BOUT IN OFFICE

This week was quite bad for me. Very stressful in terms of work as well as on the personal and health front.

The highlight of the week was however a bout of low BP that I got at work.

I had reported early to work as there was a lot to be done. There were a lot of phone calls right from early in the morning. I was feeling quite low. I felt like having a cup of tea. So I went down to the tea stall to have a "cutting chai". Suddenly I started feeling giddy. I started getting that dull feeling in the head and started sweating profusely.

I finished the chai and somehow came back to office. It was a safer place to be as there were colleagues who could take care of me in case of any more serious occurence. The moment I reached my desk, I blacked out. Maybe it was my will power that got me to my desk. I kept my head on the desk and closed my eyes. I was really sweating like a pig. Just about then my other colleagues started reporting to work. I called out to one of them who works next to me. Requested him to order something to drink. He ordered a soft drink from the canteen of the industrial complex where my office is located.

I was totally blacked out. I now started having breathing problems. I was sort of struggling to breathe. It was really scary. The canteen guy was taking unduly long to deliver the soft drink. I normally keep a pack of glucose powder in office in preparation for such eventualities. However, when it actually happened I had run out of the powder.

I got a call from a colleague with a query about some development that happened the previous day. I requested her that I would call back later as I was not in my senses.

I had lost track of how much time had elapsed. My head was on my desk and I was almost blacked out.

Suddenly, my colleague called out to me saying the soft drink had arrived. It was hardly chilled which is the way I love it, but it was so refreshing to see the bottle. I requested the office boy to pour it in a glass which he did. Till then no one had even realised that I was in such a bad shape. Everyone is so busy in their own world that we dont have time to look at someone who is sitting next to us.

I started sipping the soft drink and slowly but surely started feeling better. It took me around an hour to come back to my senses, and by then was feeling extremely weak.

I had to work on a pitch presentation which was a deliverable for that day. I was weak but then that presentation was quite important for the company. I had to do a good job of it. So I just meditated for a while, got back some strength and worked on the presentation. I took a small break only for lunch.

I ended the day at 10 pm that night. The presentation was complete and I had kept my commitment to the prospective client.

Lets hope the pitch is successful.........

THE BIG QUESTION

Some incidents over the last month or so have left a deep imprint on my mind. Certain perceptions I had about people have changed to such an extent that my opinions about them are quire the opposite that they were earlier. Is it that I made a wrong judgement about those people when I started trusting them or I have changed to such an extent that people seem to have changed 180 degrees in their personality.

It is such things in life that make you wonder how we decide who is our well wisher / friend and who is not. Or is it that people will be nice to you only when they need you. Once they realise that now the use is minimised the person will throw you our of their lives.

In terms of profession as well, how many people are truly concerned only about the job getting done. Very few companies treat terminally ill people with the respect, remuneration and the terms that are due to the talent. As a result there is opposition and a set of hurdles from everyone personal as well as professional in our endeavour to live a normal life and compete with normal people. You always start with a handicap. Even if you end up doing better you dont get what the normal guys would have if they performed equally well.

Well then whats the solution. I dont know. I only know that I cant stop dreaming. For my dreams to be fulfilled I need to work and I will put my best foot forward.

I dont know how much time I have but I just hope for 2 things

  • That the question marks about the people who matter to me get resolved in my physical presence
  • That I am able to leave a mark on everyone I meet and interact with

How far I will be able to achieve these twin objectives is the big question.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Manikgad



Manikgad was a very special place for me. It was one of the last treks that I had completed before I fell ill. This was quite an unplanned trek. We had started for some other place and then changed our plans to go to Manikgad. This time however, we set out for Manikgad itself.

One of us stayed in Panvel and hence it was more convenient for him to meet us at Vadgaon from where the trek started. The rest of us travelled to Karjat and then to Vadgaon. But since we had to take connecting buses we got delayed and started the trek at around 845 am.

Our school of trekking believes in trekking early so that we beat the sun to the top. The last time we had made it to Manikgad as well we had reached the base point quite early and it was a different route we had taken to the top. That route was definitely tougher so we decided on this one.

We started climbing and the incline was very steep at times and quite a straight village path otherwise. After around an hour we reached a small village where an old man offered to guide us to the top. The way was quite confusing as he explained. WE agreed to take him with us. We kept going and going. It was getting hotter and hotter and we started exhausting the water that we had carried with us.

The villager was very cool. He said that there is potable water available on the way. We were also very content and kept consuming the water that we had carried. When we reached a small pond full of dirt. The villager actually bent down and consumed that water and told us to refill our bottles from that pond. We looked at each other and found a despondent look on each others faces. It was already around 1 pm. The villager said that there was another pond of potable water at the top which was around an hour and a half away.

We didnt want to buy the potable story any longer as the yardsticks were different.

We took a conscious decision. To turn back. It was nice that we had enjoyed the scenery till this point and it was just disappointing that we could not make it to the top.

Its never about reaching the top really. Its about enjoying the route............

Dukes Nose




Dukes Nose was supposed to be a very easy trek. It is the highest point in Khandala-Lonavala region and thus has an amazing view. It was one place that I always wanted to visit.

We got a tremendous response this time. There were some 14 confirmations which enabled us to book a 14 seater mini bus. Most of the people joining in were first time trekkers.

We were actually scheduled to leave from Dadar at around 6 so that we could return home earlier. However, some of us reached Dadar at around 730 giving the rest an opportunity to have a heavy unplanned breakfast at one of the restaurants outside Dadar station.

Luckily we didnt encounter a lot of traffic and we were able to reach the base point at around 9. We started immediately. The route is easy and is a simple climb. But there was a lot of loose mud which made it very slippery and for the new comers I am sure it was quite a scary experience. There was one patch which I found slightly tricky especially considering the fact that I trek with a AV Fistula.

Nonetheless, we reached the top at around 1030. The view was very nice as we had been told and the temple at the top had some very positive vibrations for everyone to absorb and get energised. The summit is small so to get a 360 degree view is not so tough. You can actually get most of the view by just rotating a full circle.

The view is really captivating. I am sure it is much more so during the monsoons with all the greenery. Suddenly someone asked for the food packets and all of us realised that we were not just hungry but almost famished.

After generous helpings of cheese spread, schezwan sauce, jam, farsan along with the all accommodating loaf of bread, we started on our way down.

Most of the stretch was covered smoothly. However, at one point (where the mud was loose) I felt scared. Scared of falling. It rarely happens to me but I suddenly got conscious of my AV Fistula and started worrying about the consequences of a fall. And believe it or not, I got a bit fussy. I got irritable which is not my normal nature. And guess what I actually fell..........

The moment I fell, my first reaction was to keep my hand on the part of the hand that had the Fistula just to check whether it was still intact.

I guess its all in the mind anyways.

We completed the trek by around 12 and then we decided to take the bus to bhushi dam which is nearby and is a major tourist attraction in Lonavala. However its not the same as it is during the monsoons and hence it was not such an enjoyable experience. It was quite hot and we refreshed ourselves with some ice golas ( crushed ice press together with flavoured syrup for taste) and then made our way back home.

We stopped by at Vashi for lunch and were home before 5 pm.

It could have even been earlier if everyone had reported on time though..........Its all about the team as they say.

Busy as hell

I have been having a hectic time lately. Recession is here and I am in the business development function in my company. The efforts required to close deals have increased. In fact it is the signup that is taking much more time than earlier. As a result, I have not got enough time to write my blog posts. I have a few trek narrations pending as well as a few incidents that were worth sharing. I plan to do it this weekend. My typical day is as below

Wake up at around 730 am. Leave for work at around 9 am which goes on till around 730 or 8. By the time I am home I am very tired and looking to crash out. If I have my dialysis sessions I go to hospital. They start at around 1030 and go on almost till the break of dawn. I return home at around 330 am or 4 and then rest for a while just to wake up for the next day at work.

I know I need to write, at least to de-stress if not anything else.

But with whatever time I get I would rather catch up on my sleep.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Work the Pain Killer

Last night was horrible. I was not able to sleep a wink. There was this uneasy feeling. I was feeling restless. Too many thoughts flowing in my mind. There was a lot of pain in my abdomen. There was an aching pain in my lower back. I got up (not woke up). There was a lot of work piled up at work. There were deadlines to be met. There are a lot of business inquiries that have come in and I had a lot on my plate. I want at least 3-4 of them to get signed up. This was the best way in which I could prove my mettle as a strategist.

I had a shower (one of my friends makes a big deal of having a shower on Monday - weekend blues I guess). I was really not in a mood to have breakfast as I was feeling very low but I needed something to keep me going. It was going to be a long day.

I reached office very early. I made a list of things to do. Worked out the priorities and got to work.

Its quite amazing. I dont know where I get the energy from. When I am working.When I am trekking. I get so engrossed in the activity that I sort of forget that I am down with renal failure and that I am in pain.

I was able to complete most of the important work. And I suddenly realised that it was 9 p.m. I packed up, put on my radio, and set out for home.

Suddenly I realised that I had a huge pain in my lower back as well as the right side and also realised that the pain was really unbearable.

It was as if the pain had taken a break from creating discomfort for me!!!

Work had acted as a pain killer

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Bheemgad / Bhivgad

The last few weeks have been very stressful and there have been so many developments that I have not been able to post anything in here. There were lot of complications healthwise. Though the developments have not been very difficult, the pain in the abdomen due to the stone in the right kidney is quite bad. I am used to sleep sideways but now the pain is such that I am not able to sleep on the right side. As a result, the sleep that I get at nights is not sufficient. To add to it is the fact that my dialysis now starts at around 11pm and goes on well into dawn. Hence, sleep is compromised even further.

The stress at work has not reduced in any ways and all the above factors make it a tough proposition. Given this back ground I badly needed a break. And what better way to have a break than go trekking. We decided on a small trek, supposedly only an hour of hiking. But we were not aware of the level of difficulty. It was good that we were just four of us. The trek was immensely enjoyable though there were areas where the climb was tricky. It was a good decision that we had not invited the less proficient trekkers in the group to join in.

We started early in the morning and instead of the usual 440 am local to Karjat we took the Indrayani Express that leaves an hour later but reaches around the same time. We had breakfast at Karjat and travelled to Vadap by 830. Frolicking along the way, pulling each others legs we started the trek to Bheemgad. We reached a diversion at around 10 am where we had to decide whether to take a right turn or a left. We took the right and were moving ahead in the tricky terrain till a group of villagers informed us that we were on our way to Dhak plateau which was not our destination. We then came down quite a long way and took the left turn to Bheemgad.There are no remnants of any fort here but the view is amazing. The 360 degree view is such that the whole area is in sight and thus this is a strategic point to monitor movements in the whole area.

We were back to Karjat at 12 and took the 1215 local train to Mumbai.

The whole note started with the stress and is ending on a positive note with the end of a very enjoyable trek. The same was the condition of the mind. It was more relaxed, more happy and moreover content. Thanks to the trek to Bheemgad

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Its for real

Post the incident last week that had me lifeless and almost gone for good, I have been extremely scared. When we are scared, all of us need to share it to relieve the stress, at least I do. I share my feelings with a few of my close friends. I have this set of close friends whom I confide in and like telling them my problems. They have also been doing the same thing and it is a nice relationship that I have been very proud of.

Recently, I have been having such scary bouts more often and overall it has been very difficult for me to cope up with the stress of living with this fear as well as focussing on work sufficiently well enough so as to perform as per corporate expectations. It is therefore critical that I can share my fears / anxieties with those I can confide in and those who know my back ground etc.

I met one such close friend online and I shared this incident with that person. The response was something that I had not expected from that person. I was asked why I was narrating my problems to that person and not to my other close friends. I was sharing my experiences only because that friend was online and I really was feeling extremely stressed out with the whole incident.

I got a feeling that the friend was thinking I was making up the story. I agree that such incidents have become more frequent lately, but I have not narrated anything to this person lately nor do I let it make a difference to my professional life as much as it is possible.

I am aware that such incidents can be very common for patients on dialysis and hence we have to be prepared for it.

Such incidents might sound very colourful and very "filmy", yet they are real and I have really gone through them. It may be possible that I share such incidents with friends so that I can get some strength and encouragement from them. But whatever it is I never make up such incidents. They are so difficult to go through and such experiences are even more difficult to express or narrate.

Yet if I share my scary experiences, it does not mean I have given up in life. I still put in full days of work. I still do all things that normal human beings do. I have never requested anyone for any concession on the ground that I am a patient of chronic renal failure. I am competing with normal humans in all senses of the word. The only sign of weakness that I showed was that I shared my scary experience with one friend who I felt was very close to me. I have only one question to ask.

Don't normal humans share experiences half as scary with their close friends??

Back to Life

It has been a very rough time for me lately. It started with the injury that I suffered during my last trek (I will write a post on that very soon once the photos are uploaded). Luckily for me there was no fracture though there was a soft tissue injury which still hurts a bit. As a result, I am not able to plan treks till it completely heals.

After this there was an incident in my original dialysis centre. Due to some repair works, they were shifting the machines to another location in the same premises. During the process of shifting something went wrong and the machines were not working. So at very short notice we were told to make alternate arrangements for our hemodialysis. I felt the whole thing was managed very unprofessionally. But it makes no difference to the hospital authorities. The only people who suffered were the patients.

Luckily for me, I got an alternate arrangement done for myself with the help of my contacts. I got a slot at another reputed hospital in Mumbai in two hours.

The treatment here was good though a wee bit more expensive than the original hospital. And what happened after the first round of dialysis here was even more scary. I came home with a normal blood pressure. But once I came home it dropped suddenly.I was not able to lie down as I was getting a bad bout of cramps. I was also having such low pressure that my Bp equipment was not able to measure even. My parents who have always been very supportive were quite scared. We first tried the normal fresh lime water with salt. It didnt work at all. Then we tried concentrated salt water which gave me relief for 5-10 minutes but it went very low soon after.

Again the BP was not measurable and I was feeling breathless. I was gasping for breath. Writing on the bed. Suddenly a bout of cramps made me sit up in pain. Not being able to see anything as I was blacked out due to the low blood pressure. Then again I was forced to lie down and breathless. I didnt know what was happening to me. I was scared. Yet I could not give up. I almost went lifeless. I lost all sense. It was as if it was all over. I was almost gone. It was only the presence of mind of my mother that saved me that night. She took a fist ful of salt and shoved them in my mouth. I still remember that salty taste and in my subconscious mind started wondering what was happening. That taste was awful, but then after a while I realised that I was breathing. My pressure was now measurable.It was on 70/50 and my pulse had come to 45.

I was back to life.

Friday, 9 January 2009

You must be joking

Last night I had to go to hospital for my dialysis. Got free from there at around 1 a.m. and came down to the road. Normally we have cabs waiting at the hospital door waiting to ferry passengers home. Yesterday there was a strike by the staff of oil refineries all over India and hence no fuel was available. As a result, no cab was available last night.

I had vomitted during dialysis and was feeling very weak. I was finding it tough to stand upright. My dad had come to escort me home. I stood by a parked vehicle while my dad kept waiving out to the few taxis that were plying on the road. Most of them had passengers in them.

Just then one taxi with four young men stopped. They got off the cab. My father saw the opportunity and almost ran to the cab to engage it for our journey home. The young men saw us, ran back and almost held the cab driver hostage. They had not paid him. They commanded him to wait for 15 - 20 minutes. The poor guy had no choice. We requested the youngsters to allow us to take the cab home and let him return. It would not take the cabbie more than 10 minutes to drop us and return to that spot mainly because there was no traffic. We in fact explained our situation that I was feeling weak due to the dialysis and we needed the cab badly to reach home as early as it was possible. It was also quite a cold night by Mumbai standards.

These guys ridiculed us and did not accede to our requests. In their state of drunkenness they told us almost threateningly to look for some other mode of transport.

Jokers I thought to myself.........or in more polite terms "You must be joking"