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Sunday, 17 March 2013

Article about me in Good Housekeeping

 After the article in Open Magazine I got a lot of adulation. Immediately another publication got in touch with me and I was happy to get interviewed by them.

A lot of adulation followed this article as well.

However, when I agreed to get interviewed, my sole intention was to give a positive message to fellow patients with kidney disease and encourage them to believe that its not the end of the world. With End Stage Kidney Disease, it is possible to live an active life, albeit with some constraints.

If I have been able to inspire at least one person to take it positively, I would consider myself successful

Harishchandragad with my new DSLR

Harishchandragad has been one of the treks that has fascinated me the most. The trek, the relics and temple at the top as well as the awesome view offered by the Kokan Kada.

If it was in some other country this view would have been promoted aggressively and could have been as famous as the Grand Canyon. Fortunately it hasnt been marketed at all and that has helped keep its pristine beauty intact.

The place is also quite cut off and the trekking route nearest to Mumbai is very long and tiring. The easier route is from beyond Bhandardara which is quite a distance from Mumbai.

My camera weighs quite a bit and one of the dreams I had when I bought the camera was to capture the beauty of Harishchandragad with it. I had just recovered from a heel injury and it was advisable to keep my luggage light. But I could not give a miss to my camera.

I shifted my dialysis to one night before so we could travel to Harishchandragad. We set out on friday night, travelled through the night to Pachnai and trekked up on Saturday. The route was scenic as well and the sunset at the Kokan Kada was truly awesome.

We had carried our tents and had some villagers cook local food for us. The water in the natural springs at the top was clean and sweet and it was very refreshing.

It was extremely cold at the top and we retired early for the night. We had travelled through the previous night and were quite exhausted after the trek.

The next morning, I woke early and did a short trip of the Harishchandreshwar temple, the kedareshwar cave and other nearby relics. And yes .. I carried my camera along with me.

I tried to capture every angle which I thought was good to be clicked. It was an awesome experience.

The temple as well as the cave has some superb positive vibrations, a proof of the positiveness of the historic figures who are believed to have built the temple and cave.

I guess its that positiveness that still pulls trekkers to the place. And you never know, it is the same positivity that dissuades the government to commercialise the place and kill its virgin beauty !!

Click Here for all Photos in this album

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Camping Trip to Tungarli

There have been several times when we have gone trekking and camped overnight at the top. This includes carrying our own tent and living in it.

But I had never experienced the fun of going to a location just to camp.

While trekking to Rajmachi I have been enamoured by the scenic beauty of the Tungarli lake. Everytime I went past I resolved that some day I would come here and just chill, enjoying the serenity and spending the night doing nothing.

The time had come. We planned one such outing and the first place that came to mind was Tungarli. Since we had some girls with us, I checked out with some local friends who ratified the idea and we set out.

We were 5 of us, Mona, Durgesh (DP), Ankit and Nishita plus self. Girish is our regular V Hiker and he called on friday to check whether we had some plans for the weekend. He got invited duly. So 6 of us it was.

When DP Girish and myself reached it was so quiet and serene, I could not believe it. The water and the rocks around just buffaloes grazing on the other side. What a feeling it was !!

In some time the rest (they came by train, we had reached by car) arrived and we pitched tents. I had carried both my tents.

A word of thanks to Anand Narayan, my old trek mate who gifted me the bigger tent ! Anand, this tent has made our night stay so cozy so many times.

The sunset was the next spectacle which we all enjoyed.

Nishita had marinated some paneer and chicken and Girish had carried a grill (he plucked it off his oven !)

We made a make shift chulah (We had carried firewood) and lit the fire.

The Paneer turned out to be delectable (I missed the chicken since I am a veggie). It was enough for all of us so we skipped making the noodles.

We chatted late into the night and it really got cold.  We settled into our tents and I woke up early in the morning. There was no tiredness and I felt really fresh.

I stepped into the water and had a wash. What a wonderful feeling it was. I really felt so charged after that wash. Imagine there was no soap, no cosmetics and yet the feeling was so awesome.

I was the only one to get the full sunrise and capture it in my camera. Nishita was the next one to wake and DP and Mona followed soon. The sunrise was also a wonderful experience, from behind the waters of the lake.

We had a photosession and folded the tents.

After which we proceeded to Lonavala for breakfast and then back home for lunch.

It was such a wonderful trip. Nature in its majesty made us feel at home. The spectacular phenomenon of the sun, its rise its setting, everything was so wonderful.

We experience sunrise and sunset everyday, but never experience it !

We experience consuming food everyday, but never experience it !!

We know about these beautiful things in life, but never really make time to experience it !

The Irony of Life !!

For all Photos Check this Link

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Mind over Matter

I have written about my heel some time back. I did a lot of exercises after which the pain receded. I was also wearing some special footwear to correct my flat foot.

That is when I did Harishchandragad, where I was slow intentionally, but the pain was bearable.

I continued with the physiotherapy exercises and the pain receded further. That is when I went to Tung.

This was a much more rocky path as compared to Harishchandragad, plus it was much hotter.

As I was climbing the pain recurred and it hurt like hell. I was least expecting this to happen. My walking speed got very slow and it was very difficult to keep every step forward.

I was leading this trek and it was important for me to at least reach a certain point where the fort started.

I could not take pain killers mainly as I am on dialysis and it will hurt my kidneys further.

The route was also totally exposed without any tree cover and the rocks were getting very hot.

Somehow, i delved deep into my reserves. Somehow I told myself that I could not give up. Somehow, I hung in there.

I pushed myself every step, taking the pain as if it was a part of me. It was tough but then I had to reach at least the ramparts of the fort.

I stopped looking at the beautiful surroundings (which I normally do and believe is the essence of trekking). I focused on the route and slowly but finally made it.

View from the Ramparts of the Fort

I requested the group to move on and reach the summit while I waited at the temple.

On the way back as well it was as painful, I guess it was more painful as the foot was landing on the heel a lot of times and the pain would go up through my leg upto my knee and put a lot of pressure in that area.

Due to the heat and the direct sun hitting us, I was dehydrated and went low on BP. Luckily we had enough fluids, salt and sugar to compensate for the lost nutrients.

Me Negotiating the Rocks in the Hot Sun

I was slow. The rocky stretches I just sat and did Butt Trekking. My good friends Ashwin Kini and Rahul Suryawanshi were always by my side.

I was slow, but I was sure on my step. I didnt slip even once. I was lucky given that my foot was in a bad condition. But I managed to.....Managed to complete the trek.

As an afterthought I felt, maybe this time I didnt trek with my body. I trekked with my mind !!

As someone famously said (I think Mark Twain), If you dont mind....It doesnt Matter !!

Pain in the Back

My first few treks on CRF were a dream. Then there was Peb.

Peb was a tough trek, we ventured to attempt it.......successfully. 

However, my footwear was not upto the mark. My earlier trekking shoes as well as a sandal that I was using had worn out. I needed to go in for new footwear. I thought of buying a pair of sandals as it is much more comfortable for monsoon treks. We have to cross a few streams in the mountains always and shoes get wet and uncomfortable if the water seeps in. The sandals are much more comfortable.

I purchased a set of locally made sandals. The grooves in the sole were deep and therefore I assumed that the grip would be good. 

But Peb was a different ball game altogether. This was the first trek where I used my new sandals. And The route was really tough. We had to climb up a flowing rivulet. Plus there was a rock patch which we had to negotiate. There were areas which were extremely slippery and made it difficult to get a grip on the rock. I slipped and fell a couple of times. One fall was definitely more painful than normal. I landed on my butt but I realised something was wrong when I tried to stand up. The pain was quite unbearable.

Once back home, the body ache that happens during the trek disappeared like it normally does but the pain in the backside persisted.

I met a orthopedic surgeon who suggested I go in for an X Ray. 

The tail bone (coccyx) had dislocated.

The doctor felt that it was too minor and the pain could be borne with. Since I am a kidney patient, that too on dialysis,  it was not advisable to go in for pain killers.

But I could continue trekking like before, just that I had to bear with the pain.

I suddenly realised the true meaning of "Pain in the Back"