Got Grounded on The Top of the World

11th Jan 2014 saw a bunch of us trek to the Kalawanti Durg near Panvel, and what a group it was, 3 kids and 7 adults, nah make that 10 kids, the youngest kid was 6 and the oldest kid had just turned 41 🙂

All of us were excited, ready to start trekking and scale up the mountain to see the wonders that our nature had created. We started our walk around 10am and soon it started sinking in, this looks to be a long one, it is getting hot, do we have enough water. Though, the nature was so overwhelming that we soon forgot our worries. The little kids were full of energy and excitement, the youngest kid being a veteran already(this was his 7th trek), looked very much in control. The other two kids, their first trek, were just energy balls running, jumping, screaming, asking questions. It was fun to watch them.

After an hour’s walk, we reached a plateau, and what do we see, a restaurant serving local cuisine, a quick rest here, we ordered our lunch and soon were on our way up. We met a bunch of college kid’s that had hired professional trekkers with them, they were a blessing in disguise, I had lost my binoculars (actually my wife’s), and I was getting worried (scared to be honest), we went looking for them, yet did’nt find them. Co-incidenatly my cousin was part of the group, I told her I lost my bino’s and miraculously one of  her group mates found the binocular that I had lost on the way and promptly returned them to me after about an hour or so, I just blurted out “You are the man, you just saved my marriage”.  

The route after the restaurant was treacherous, we were already getting exhausted and soon few of us were saying either aloud or thinking “How much more?”, “I cannot do this anymore”, “I will wait, you guys go ahead”, though herein lies the force and power of a well bonded group, we kept egging each other, joking, laughing, falling, laughing again and surprisingly we reached the V point the narrow valley between Kalawanti Durg and Prabalgad. Here at this point, we were so exhausted, we ate as if we had been starved for days. I thought this was the end of the trek, but no, someone showed some steps going upward and they looked scary. Steps on an almost 90 degree rock, my knee had started to hurt and I was going to give up and rest.

Then the group spoke again collectively, if we have come till here, we got to go up, else it will remain incomplete, my son went up a few metres and got scared, he too gave up, though I saw in his eyes that he wanted to go up. The other kids were scaling up swiftly. The father in me said “let’s go”.

We left behind one friend, who had hurt her ankle and started upwards. The trek leader of the other group, said its very easy, and it sure wasn’t, I was scared to bits on some points, yet couldn’t show my fear as my son was looking up to me to be the hero, here in lies a big lesson. We kept waving at the friend below and soon looking down was a nerve wrecking experience. The group leader guided us and soon we we’re united to the rest of our group. A collective sigh of relief was evident on our faces and question writ large “we came up, good, how in the world are u going down?” It is going to be nuts.

Thoughts of was it a good idea to get kids along up to this point crept in my head and then I looked at the kids, they were calm and enjoying the beauty. Soon we too started soaking in the nature, the expanse, and few of us said “we are so small, the nature is big”, “we learn our place on earth, when we have such experiences”, “wow its beautiful” and similar such thoughts.

Well no, this wasn’t the end too, we had to scale up a 15-20feet rock to reach the peak. This tested our nerves, a friend’s wife was the first to scale and soon we were all up. The small kiddo tried to go up, though he felt nervous, so the father said let him go down. My son and the other kid had already gone up. The moment I reached on top, I looked for my son, the look on his face was priceless, I was proud of him, myself and the rest of us. It was no mean feat, we were now 2300 feet above sea level, “wow”, “amazing”, “superb” such adjectives looked inadequate, we all thought, oh we should have got the friend who stopped at the V point, we all missed the people who couldn’t make it to the trek. The feeling was exhilarating. This was probably a 40×60 feet flat rock with some rock’s lying here and there, the two kids were playing here as if it was playground. I was losing my nerve, didn’t bother the kids at all. Then came a moment of silence, a moment of being one with the universe, the moment when you realize, what are you doing life, is it worth it? No answers just questions, the only answer –“There is beauty and adventure around us, we just have to explore”.

On the way down the thoughts of what did we learn crossed my mind, the two things that stood out were

1) The leader of the trek group was a leader in action, brave, confident and composed. He was taking care of all, even us, who had just met him, he lived his role, going up and down the route to make sure all are safe. We couldn’t thank him enough, had we not met him, we probably wouldn’t have scaled the peak.
2) The second thing that stuck out was the feeling of moving ahead even when we couldn’t see a path, going beyond fear, beyond doubt. Doesn’t this happen in daily life too. We were in a way living the mountain dew advertisement.

Now we were a bunch of new people after this experience, proud, happy, tired, exhausted yet with a sense of excitement of doing something we never imagined, testing our limits.

A quick lunch on the way back and we were on our way, the voices spoke a new tone, there was joy when we looked up and said aloud, “Wow did we really go up there” 🙂 yes we sure did.

Personally I got a sense of grounding even while I was at the top of the world, a sense that had no language, it was just ethereal.

Oh and I almost forgot, we had two dogs that were with us all throughout, some sort of guardian angels were they?

“Ain’t No Mountain higher…….” kept ringing in my ears.

Finally, the peak that we all scaled was inside of us, it just manifested in the form of “Kalawanti Durg”

A day well spent

A day well spent

Yes it was scary LOL

Yes it was scary LOL

Father & Son on top of the world

Father & Son on top of the world

Mission Accomplished

Mission Accomplished

Look the joy of the faces

Look the joy of the faces

The Mountain peak we scaled in the background

The Mountain peak we scaled in the background

The Trek leader with the Kids

The Trek leader with the Kids

This rock looks so small now :-)

This rock looks so small now 🙂

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9 Responses to Got Grounded on The Top of the World

  1. Kripa says:

    Made me live through your experience. Weil described

  2. Mak you are gifted . The blog is so effective that while reading I lived those moments again, it felt that I am in the mountains scaling one peak after another. When we started we had planned to climb Prabalgad but destiny had planned Kalawanti drug for us. As I had planned the trek , I was concerned and had some fear from inside that noting should go wrong and had read few blogs to understand location , routes . Even for me it was time to Prabalgadh. We reached the base village of Thakurwadi little late than what we had planned and every one was in picnic mood. ” Jitna hota utna karengen aur wapas aayenge” . The day started with photo shoot and everyone wanted to capture these moments with nature . From Thakurwadi to Prabalmachi we took roughly 2 hours to reach despite of photoshoot, you loosing bino and taking few halts to sip some water and eat some food. In our photoshoot we accidentally got introduced to other ” Rupesh” – the pro trekker who was leading other group and shared his name with amature trekker ” Rupesh” from our group. This Rupesh guided us from there on to scale the peak till we were back. At Prabalmachi , the midpoint of our trek , he told us that Prabalgadh will take more than 3 hrs and the road is not good. With kids it’s not safe to go there and rather we should do Kalawanti and as their group is also going there I felt we will have company of pros to follow. Path from hereon was steep climb through forest and sometime due to trees you can get disoriented. Sun was strong and we all were now sweating and puffing. The steps were big but was covered with tree shed . Finally we all reached V point. Every one was tired and hungry. The other group had still not reached. This V point was testing our mental ability. The site of straight black rock with naturally carved steps was fearful enough to make us think , should we go ahead or back . It’s risky , if you don’t face mountain , you will see deep valley , any mistake and its a free fall of 1500 fts. Some of us tried to climb up some distance to check feasibility of idea to go ahead, kids also climed to check their strenght . Meanwhile the other group reached V point . They were all gung-ho go up. The momentum gathered and before we realised we had climbed the mountain.

    View from the top was breath taking. Prabalgad was showing its great power in front of us . After initial excitement of conquering the peak we sat down, soaking the greatness of the nature. We were feeling proud of ourself on mission accomplished. But in front of the greatness of nature I was feeling so insignificant. This was the moment of self realisation. The fear of hight was gone and a sense of fulfilment was filled in.

    God wanted us to complete this trek and see the greatness of HIS creation. Otherwise we wouldn’t have met the other group. It was destiny and my belief in HIS superpower became even more strong. No amount of money can buy this experience and you can’t understand it unless you do it !!

    I am all ready and excited for my new adventure . Till then we will enjoy the memories of this one.

    • Makarand says:

      Nikhil, you captured the moments from the leader’s perspective. Yes, I am waiting for the next adventure too!! Thanks for organising the trek. 🙂

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  4. yogini raul says:

    Hi Makarand…..

    Read 5-6 posts altogether. Taking the advantage of my age, few observations….

    (1) Command on language is superb!
    (2) A different view abt life, which has been expressed in almost every post.
    (3) You look too philosophical a person from your writings….may be you are, I don’t know.

    Now, what people actually expect from a blog or any article is…
    how your writings, your experiences are related to their own….and then the flow of writing
    matters. Sometimes, this command on language becomes a barrier and the reader thinks…
    too much of philosophy yaar…..kuch apane samaz me aaye aisi bate karon…so presenting the philosophy in a sugar-coated way is a tact which a writer should develop. And you can sure
    do that because you really have so much to talk abt. Try to be on a little lighter side when you
    share something.
    Another thing, don’t be serious about everything in life… is not always achieving something.
    It is also enjoying it as it comes to you….For eg. every time you should not sing `Zindagi ka safar, hai ye kaisa safar….’ when you are travelling….you can also sing…`socha na hay re, samaza na hai re, rakha di nishane pe jaan….’ this also talks abt life journey in a lighter tone. So try to bring
    that fun and youthfulness of life in your writing.
    I know, life is serious, but our writing need not be serious every time.
    But great…
    I had been thinking that I should also have a blog of mine, but it could
    never materialize (sheer lethargy and indiscipline, nothing else!)
    So I was really happy to see such a disciplined and good blog
    in our family itself. Its a great feeling.
    I write a lot…try all forms…
    reports, poetry, critic, short stories, biographies, dialogues….almost everything,
    but hardly give anything for publishing or circulation. But I firmly believe, these
    words (reading as well as writing….) have kept me alive…I love them more than
    my life!
    I will send you something on mail today….just go thru it and let me know yr comments!

    (this is my name on electronic media…..)

    • Makarand says:

      I agree to your point of view and observation. My writings are largely about my experiences, and how I relate to them as an insider and an observer. I will make an effort to write light heartedly. Your views will only help me be a better writer and communicator.

      You should have a blog as well, it’s good to share with the world our thoughts, many relate to them in their own way, it’s another matter that most fear to acknowledge about it openly, but that’s a choice one can exercise. To each his own.

      Thanks again for your observations, very well received and accepted.

  5. Padmini Joshi says:

    In one word, Riveting…
    The title itself caught my attention, then, as I read through the entire write up, I experienced the entire trek as if I was there too… Beautiful style of writing..Thanks for Sharing..looking forward to more….
    Wishing you success in everything you do..

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