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Sunday, 19 September 2010

Bharat Bandh - A Memorable Trek

The prices of fossil fuels in India are monitored by the government. In fact all the petrol/diesel prices are determined by them. And whenever these prices increase, all transportation rates go up and leads to an overall inflation. The prices start pinching us all the more.

To protest against the unprecedented rise in fuel prices, the entire opposition had called for a protest strike on a monday. Our trek planned for sunday had just been called off due to lack of participation. However, those who had confirmed were a bit upset due to the cancellation as they were looking forward to the trek.

On sunday night, I received a text message from one of my colleagues that monday was a declared off at work due to the impending strike. This happened at around 930 pm. This was also exactly the opportunity that we were waiting for. We wanted to trek badly. It was more than 2 weeks since I had trekked.

I called up a couple of regulars who readily agreed. It was like the old days. I felt so nostalgic. In the 90s when we were trekking we used to meet at Dadar station at around 1030 pm start making calls to our regulars and set out by the last train that went to Karjat. This train left CST (terminus at Mumbai) at around 1245 am.

This was the plan that we thought of following. All those who had confirmed for the cancelled plan were contacted by priority. The others contacted were those whom we know are passionate about treks. We were able to collect a crowd of 4 in about an hour.

We set out by the train and like old times decided on the train that we would go to Kondana Caves. The caves are Buddhist Caves with nice carvings as a wonderful waterfall makes a natural curtain to those caves.

The train took us to Karjat at around 3 am and then we took a walk to a junction in Karjat from where we were lucky to get a ricksha to the base point. We know a place called Van Vihar ( a forest lodge) in this place. We woke up the owners at around 530 am. We had a change of clothes freshened up and started the trek.

We were up at the caves by around 830 am. We took several breaks along the way. yet we had completed the trek in no time. The waterfall was empty, maybe due to the bandh. It was like our private waterfall. It was such a wonderful feeling. Enjoying the water with no one to disturb us. Specially the kind of crowds who come to the waterfall to consume alcohol and end up creating a scene.

The caves were wonderful. Though I had been here once before, I was unable to enjoy the pristine beauty of the carvings and the splendidly serene environment due to the crowds. The birds were chirping away to glory. The waters were flowing. The air was as pure as ever. Whatever needed to refresh us was there and there were no crowds.

Maybe because nature didnt depend on fossil fuels to survive and just being themselves !!

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