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“Amma why do you have to run?” or sometimes it is  the “Amma why do you have to trek?” question that I  hear from my still sleepy toddler who doesn’t want to let go of me and just wants to cuddle up!

The few moments just before a run or a trek is the worst time to explain to anyone or yourself the reason behind doing it. So if my baby wants to, I take him along and after a few of these outings he doesn’t ask me these questions so much anymore. He just gets it and I too get the answers because of him.

I learn from him the joy of running. He never seems to want to walk when he can run! He runs around in pointless circles when he is happy. I who have forgotten it in the years that passed from childhood to adulthood seem the only one who needs to re-learn.

“Nothing else exists, only the climb.” – This one-liner by Austrian mountaineer Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner  sums it up for me. You could even morph it to “Nothing else exists, only the run.”!

There is nothing like pushing your physical boundaries to make your brain and body vibrate in the same frequency…to keep you focused on the present. Every time my brain tells me to give up, to let go, there is a stronger voice that tells me ‘You can, so keep going’.

Trekking or running has a way of making every thought that wants to pull you down seem mundane and stupid. For example,

Me: “Am I not good enough for his Awesomeness that he treats me this way?”

Mountain/trail: “M’lady would you just effing get on with what you are doing? If you stop you are going to collapse in the middle of nowhere!”

Me: “Aaah why do I do this to myself? I should just give up and hit the road in a AC car.”

Mountain/trail: “Move Dufus move. Else you are sure to hit the road, literally and figuratively!”

and so on…you get the

I wouldn’t win an award for the ‘fittest /most athletic person in my street’ award even. I am not an expert runner or a trekker. But I don’t give up. I better myself every single time and feel a sense of exhilaration, a sense of achievement.

Running releases a neurotransmitter called Serotonin which is responsible for mood regulation – ever heard of a ‘Runner’s high’?? This is what makes it addictive and also good for you!

But analysing it and attributing the exhilaration that we feel to a few chemicals zip-zapping in our brains , somehow diminishes it.

After a long run or after reaching the summit, everything seems right with my world. There is peace. This feeling is strong enough to make me go back again and again and again….

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Now, that is why I do what I do.


At the top of the snow covered summit, his breath came out like steam, releasing some of the heat from his body and mind into the cold mountain air. He made a strange, albeit stunning picture. Matted flowing hair, broad shoulders and rippling muscles and those magnetic eyes. The scar in the centre of his forehead seemed almost like a third eye, that which made people fear him, some revere him and some even worship him! It tickled him no end that people would want to worship him. It was from them that he wanted to escape now. Ears yearning for the music of silence, he seemed to have found the perfect spot, away from the maddening crowd, on the summit of this snow covered mountain. He could see snow as far as his eyes could roam, a beautiful white carpet. Serene, he thought and the quiet that his mind craved for.Planting his Trishul in the crevice between the rocks, through the snow, he surveyed what he thought was going to be his home for some time to come….

From a distance came the mooing of a cow and Shiva turned in blazing anger…the peace and quiet he so craved for was still out of his reach. A cow, meant human settlement close by and so he knew he had to move quickly out of this place. His strong legs carried him down in a flash, he saw the cow guilty of breaking his solitude and it seemed to sense his pulsating anger and ran..Shiva ran behind it..and he then saw another hill top, another seeming end to his search for solitude and decided to camp there, a place that came to be known as Kedarnath and the place where he had left his trishul glinting in the sunlight was called Kedarkantha..


It was to Kedarkantha that I trekked last month and oh what a trek it was! (Don’t I say that about every trek in the Himalayas?!)

What you are going to read next is my best effort at a succinct recap of our trek. So here goes..

It was a dream team for me. what with my besties Polly, Myc + wifey and Yashu joining me on this trek!

As always we chose IndiaHikes to go with on this outing of ours as well.

Day 1:

We landed at Dehradun late in the night and headed to a hotel called ‘Mandakini’ – clean, with hot water. No frills. (The cab driver had this to say of the Ghadwali people, recording it for posterity ‘Soorya asth tho Ghadwali mast’ 😛 )

Headed off for dinner at a wonderful place called Kumar’s. Amazing paranthas,dal-chawal, rajma, paneer…veggie delight. Thanks to Polly for finding this gem.

We also had wonderful strawberries with anardana masala – a must try if you ever happen to visit Dun.


Me and Polly were riveted by an old bookstore and ear marked it to visit on our way back to Bangalore.

Day 2:

We were to meet all our trek mates at the railway station and me and Myc were the proud transport co-ordinators 😛

So we left all the other lazy bones behind and headed off to the railway station at around 6 AM and managed to round up most of the trek participants and co-ordinate transport by around 8 AM..except for one lady whose phone had gotten switched off. This gave us some anxious moments but she turned up at the nick of time and we were all glad to get going to Sankri which was to be our first camp.

We reached Sankri in the evening and had yummy food along the way. A few of us had nausea while travelling the winding mountain roads and my lactose intolerance flared up pretty bad as we gained altitude. A word of caution to anyone planning to trek in higher altitudes –  your weakness and vulnerabilities are at their worst. So try avoiding salads/any uncooked food. Also for people like me, avoid milk/maida products.They can play havoc with your digestive system.

Day3:( Sankri – 6400 Ft to JKT – 9100 Ft)

Slept through the raging wind and rainfall to wake up at 5 AM. Stomach upset worsened. Met up with our on-trek doc Atul. he suggested antibiotics and I wanted to run in the opposite direction. He then gave me lomotin and enterogermina tablets and this coupled with diet brought the stuff under control.

A wonderful breakfast of eggs, bananas and bread butter jam. (I hogged several peoples’ share of bananas since I couldn’t eat anything else.) Incessant rainfall and our chances of starting the trek looked bleak, when suddenly the skies cleared up and our trek leads Ravi, Chaman, sanju and Ram Mohan decided to start to trekking.

I will always remember the military style pep talk by Raj Mohan and especially the words of Chaman – ‘Himalay jab thappad detha hai, tho uski goonj sunai nahi dethi hai’ as he referred to the Uttarakhand floods last year and urged us to do our bit in cleaning up the mountains.

A few minutes into the trek, sun started playing hide and seek with the clouds again and in some time, we were hit by hail storm. Me being the snow-newbie, thought it was snowfall as the small hail stones settled down like snow in crevices and tree tops. This was a totally unexpected change of weather and we got reports that there was snowfall at our next campsite ‘Juda-ka-talab’. I love trekking in the rain and the news of snow fall just egged me on to reach the next campsite faster.

We reached Juda ka Talab in around 5 hours and here my dreams of seeing snowfall came true. The campsite turned into a fairyland, a very cold one though, for which many of us were under-prepared.

The night sky was a beautiful one..I have never seen so many stars at a time ever!


JKT snowfall – on the ascent

Day 4:  (JKT to KK base – 11250 Ft)

Woke up after a very restless night. The snow jackals had come to our camping grounds in search of food and the three dogs which had followed us from Sankri had tried to chase them away and there had been howling and barking through the night..

Our shoes had frozen, the laces were standing up frozen as if in high alert! It took us quite a while to tie up our shoes!

As always food with indiahikes was awesome and we had our fill of pranathas and black tea and headed off for the short trek to the KK base camp.

the trek was relatively easy and most of us completed it in 2-3 hours. No further snowfall and the skies remained clear.

KK base camp will always be a wonderful memory. i had my first snow fight and made my first snowman. Slid down snow slides and had the maximum fun ever.


We had our lunch and after a bit of rest, we were taught to pitch tents, use ice axes and other stuff. we then headed off for a trial walk till the winter base camp which was almost another 3 hours climb up and back. This walk really helped us acclimatize faster as at higher altitudes, we are always advised to climb higher and sleep lower.

Day 5:(KK base to KK summit – 12500 Ft)

Woke up at 4:30 AM to a brilliant starry sky. Saw the frozen water near the toilet tent and all thoughts of brushing my teeth fled from my mind.



Changed into trekking gear, packed our bags and wore our crampons and headed off for breakfast. at 6:10 we were all ready and raring to go. we all got another talking to from our beloved Chaman on being late by 10 minutes – “Hum kya joker lagte hain aapko?!”

He was right of course, as the snow would start to melt and become soft as the day progressed and our window for climbing the summit was only till 11:30 AM.

The first ten minutes of summit climb, I felt the altitude and found it very difficult o breathe. I had forgotten to take my diamox the day before..maybe that was the reason. I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it, but plodded along for a few more minutes and felt much more better.

The summit climb was a teaser – every time we thought the summit was in sight, it was just another mound/hillock that had to be crossed and we had hours to go before we reached the summit.


After another 4-5 hours of gruellingly steep climb and also using ropes for the steeper part of the climb, we reached the summit and what a feeling it was! we were all hugging each other (maybe because of the unbearable cold as well :P), congratulating each other and oh! just feeling elated and on top of the world. (thanks Jiya for the ‘go Priyanka go’ mantra every time I even felt like stopping..)

After lot of photographs and description of the other summits nearby, Chaman told us the story of the KK peak that you read initially. he said that his great grandfather used to see a red cow run by whenever he climbed the summit and for a moment i could almost see it too.


Getting down was the most fun. No wonderla can come close to sliding down a few hundred metres on the Himalayan slopes! Special thanks to Chaman for making sure I lost any fear I had of sliding down those seemingly endless, steep slopes 😛

We were back at KK base camp for lunch and headed off to JKT in an hours time. On our way down I saw and experienced what a trickster the Himalayan mountain side can be. The same paths which were covered with snow, were today green and small rivulets flowed everywhere. There were little flowers blooming, drying pine cones on the ground and JKT was green and warm and sunny!

I felt grateful to the Himalayas for letting me see two of its guises in a single trek – each one more beautiful than the other.



JKT on the way back!

We had dinner around a camp fire..lot of chit chat and went back to bed and woke up to another gloriously sunny day. A couple of our socks and gloves had dried off. We hung our trek pants on our trek poles and they dried off in a few minutes. You tend to really appreciate dry clothes after trudging along in partially wet ones for a couple of days!

The embers of the campfire still burned and we had our breakfast and chai around it.


We got down to Sankri in the laziest fashion possible , enjoying the scenery , each others company, eating the rhododendron flower stems and cleaning up the mountain side as we climbed down. (the Forest officials take plastic disposal very seriously and we were warned as we had not strapped on our eco-bags- where we were supposed to collect the waste, not that any of us were littering, but felt good to be scolded for all the wrong reasons!)

Back to Sankri, amazing food again (simple clean healthy and I guess the mountain air contributes quite a bit!). Developed a bad cold by the end of the evening and slept through most of the evening and night.

Day 6:

Woke up another bright day. Had our chai and started to Dehradun. had some yummilicious paranthas on the way and stayed in a beautiful guest house called Darsh residency aka Sardarji ka guest house.

Friendly staff and great service. great value for money. Thanks to our four 16 year old trek mates!

We freshened up and went to the old book store. Met with the wonderful lady who owned the place.It was nice to deal in books with a person who was also passionate about them. we had dinner at a wonderful chinese place and headed back to our guest house.


Day 7:

Flew to Bangalore and reached home at around 8 PM. Back to my wonderful baby and the lovely family and that my friends completes my trek.


I have to mention the two eleven year olds and Mugdha and Ashish and Atul who are veteran trekkers and who were an inspiration to all of us.

P.S 1:

Also Naina, our cook. He was the same one who had accompanied us in the Kashmir trek. His cooking is the best!

P.S 2:

The three dogs that accompanied us from sankri to Sankri!

P.S 3:

The fun loving bunch of sixteen year olds…you made us feel young again!


I think I should stop now..oh! but..

P.S 4:

The mysore (co) sisters who blew us away with their determination and stamina.

P.S 5:

Polly you are a hero for attempting this trek and finishing most of it.


P.S 6: are my trek sister. You know I love you 😀


I think I should really stop now…


So close yet so far..the KK summit

Photo Courtesy:

Yashaswini and Raghavendra

There is something in the air,

It makes my husband sometimes pull his hair..

but the mystery and romance calls me to its lair!

I am but a mortal, such seduction, how can I bear?!

Now that’s the sorta poetry (and the only sort anyway) that I will spout in the middle of a hectic work day.

My love affair with the mountains continue with my latest trek in the Kashmir valley and how!! I am addicted beyond any hope of recovery. The colors, the silence, the people,the simplicity of the life in mountains call to me..

We landed in Srinagar on the 14th of July and I felt let down to say the least! It was not the Srinagar of my dreams, it was a blistering hot 38 degrees, way above the 20 of my beloved Bangalore. For a moment I wondered whether this trek was going to be all that it was promised to be. Boy-oh-boy was I in for a surprise or what!

The temperatures dropped down as we neared Sonamarg. We were made to listen to some of the most tragic songs by our driver en route, but he then made up for it with his wonderful hospitality and offered us namkeen chai (which didn’t agree with my tummy but was still yummy)and pooris in his humble yet spik n span home. The round rosy-cheeked kids rolling around in the lawn playing like happy puppies made me think of my son and how he would have gone crazy with so much space right in the front yard.

We then stopped a kilometer away from our camp site in Sonamarg. The view was breathtakingly beautiful and the weather turning chilly. I ditched my flats and put on my trekking shoes and we started what was going to be the most memorable trek of a lifetime.

Camping itself was an amazing experience. Crawling into the tents and wriggling into our sleeping bags, the day caught up with us and we were blissfully asleep and woke up early next morning.

The next day was a breeze compared to the days that were to come ahead. But the beauty of the journey to Nichnai which was to be our next base camp, made the journey more bearable. After around 8 hours of trekking the three of us, myself, husband and Yashu, were ready to give up and decided to nap in the meadow. It took Altaf, our trek guide to wake us up and assure us that our camp site was just over the hillock and it was..we were treated to hot chai and pakoras as soon as we hit the camp..

The second day was less arduous but I had tummy trouble and wasn’t able to digest anything I had eaten. I had to cover the last hour of the trek on horseback and that ended up being more painful than walking, The horse I was riding, Nila was er-rm spirited and decided to jump over a stretch of rocks and I was riding the wind for a split second before I landed on her back…not pleasant at all.

The third day saw a weaker but better me. It was the toughest climb of all from 12000 feet to 13750 – over the Gadsar pass and then an equal descent back to 12000 feet. The climb was tough, and my fear of steep falls overtook me several times, but i made it, all by myself (without a horse I mean). It was with a sense of achievement and wonder and humility that I looked down at the brilliant Vishnusar and the Kishansar lakes sparkling blue in the distance, twin jewels of the valley. The descent was a killer on our toes and knees but then Gadsar lake came into view. The tranquility was beyond compare and many of us were unwilling to move from the spot.

The next day saw us trek to the beautiful Nandkol lake via Satsar lake where we camped. We climbed over boulders for almost three hours at a stretch and this was scary and exhilarating in equal parts.

The music that water makes as it flows beneath the rocks is the sweetest sound ever heard and I think it will always come back to me when I am scared, soothing me, lulling me into a sense of security!

As we neared civilization, we could see the ugliness we leave behind in the form of plastic bottles and plastic waste. I must say that it is a great initiative of Indiahikes team and we all made it a point to collect as much garbage and plastic as we possibly could and bring it down along with us. This we did at every camp site and along the way and I am proud to say that we left each campsite better than the state we found it in.

The fifth day was a rest day, where we explored the nearby Gangbal lake and one of our team members also dared to swim in the pristine, but icy cold waters! We sang danced, played kabaddi and had a wonderful time bonding with each other.

The sixth and last day was a descent to Narnag. This took us through some minor climbs and the steepest, most demanding descent ever.

That, my friends, was just the trek itinerary. How do I tell you about the wonderful hospitality at army camps, the friendly yet thorough checks that we were subjected to..the amazing chai spiked with bay leaf that they served us!

Oh I really shouldn’t forget the people- Pradeep, chacha, Bilal, Altaf- all supermen in their own right, who made sure we had a safe and wonderful trek.

Or the cooks who served us wonderful food, three course meals and rasogollas on the last day. The effort they put into making food at that altitude was amazing..

There is no way I am going to miss out telling you about one of the helper boys who had a kettle full of tang ready for us as we came down from another tough climb, that he never said anything about having to walk several kilometers back and forth to do this and that, made the gesture and the drink all the more sweeter!

How do I tell you about all the wonderful people I met and the things I learned about myself and others, about extending my boundaries, about walking in a meadow of golden flowers offset by rugged stony mountains, or the sweetest water that I drank from the streams, about hands that held me when I was about to fall or give up..oh how do I put this all in a meager blog?

It somehow changed me and made me better, challenged my self-imposed boundaries and added much to my character. As one of the army men from Pune told me, “when you climb there are just the two – the mountain and you! Allow the mountains to teach you and you will learn things that you never would have otherwise..”

When you climb , it’s not the mountain that you conquer, but your fears, limitations and boundaries! Even with so many along, the task is yours alone, the climb is yours, the ache and the tiring too..oh but the sweet sense of achievement is yours too..the lessons learnt and the stuff un-learnt, the magic of nature unfolding before your eyes, the gurgling of a stream beneath the rocks, the flight of an exotic bird and the exhilaration of lying down amidst a meadow full of glorious yellow flowers, nodding their heads in the breeze as if to say “go on” is yours too…

Till the next time the mountains call, I shall wait and prepare and dream!

Leaving you with a few snippets of the dream that I lived in for a few days..

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The night in Atlanta where me and a friend were scared when a huge African-American made his way towards us, just outside our hotel…or way back in my teens when a guy in a motorcycle forcefully grinded his lips on mine right outside my home or the numerous incidents while travelling on crowded buses or standing in the Majestic bus stop, at seven in the night , returning home from a tiring day spent in doing a project in KPTCL….not happy memories, not worth remembering-but I have to stop burying them, all of us have to stop!

Yesterday night as I was caught without a phone in between the three kilometres from my house to my parents and with a car that refused to move back or forward an inch, with my young son in the passenger seat and at eleven in the night, I was in a quandary!

As it usually happens in India, whenever there is a stopped vehicle, people just gather around and it was scary when an auto driver, a worker from a nearby welding shop, and a painter (not sure why I know this…must have been his hands or the stained pant..I found that my senses are unusually heightened when I am scared/stressed and things I wouldnt observe otherwise, are almost photographically imprinted in my memory!) all came and started enquiring as to what the issue was! It wasnt until a man with a small boy came around that I really relaxed, somehow, a man with a kid , could be trusted and he did help me fix the car and in a couple of minutes, we were home..

But my mind, which plays nasty tricks sometimes, showed me an image early in the morning, of what might have been, a scenario wherein I couldn’t protect myself and my baby and it was scary enough to get me out of bed at six! (and that’s saying something)

As almost everyday, my thoughts went out to the girl who was brutally raped in a moving Bus in Delhi – Jyothi Singh Pandey (That is the name I read in the news, not sure about it though.) Of the atrocities done to her (I cant get the rod out of my head and I hope that rod remains stuck in the collective conscious of the Indian population- a reminder of the brutality and the bravery and a hope that her suffering will not go in vain) and the backlash that her family must have faced and still are facing.

As if her brutal death wasnt enough, there were people with insensitivity and sensationalism on their minds who must have hurt them some more..the worst must have been the insinuation, however masked, that she deserved it! Isnt rape the only crime where the victim is blamed the most?

Another random question that popped into my head was that why is the media stressing about how the guy with her was not her boyfriend and just a friend? Well, what if he was? She still wasnt asking for it!

So, lets circle back to my situation yesterday –  what is the sensible thing to do?

Priyanka – Keep my mobile phone charged always.

Asaram Bapu and the likes – women should not go to work/ should have chanted the Sarasvati mantra, which would have dislodged the stone under my car/begged my brothers all around me to help me fix it.

Sheila Dixit – Blame the BBMP who think it perfectly alright to throw stones of every size in the middle of a road which was traversable till yesterday and not give the citizens any warning!  or better yet blame the electricity board for not installing streetlights at the turning!

ShivSena – give a knife ..ermm..with which I could protect myself and dislodge the stone and cut veggies! (best of the lot me thinks, though Asaram Bapu comes a very close second)

Have you seen a drop of ink when dropped into a glass swirling, until it makes the water its own…or is it the water that usurps the ink drop? Have you spent a night devoid of sleep? With thoughts swirling in your head..until you become the thoughts or is it the thoughts that take hold of you?

Until at one point you stop tossing and turning and get out hoping for a break from the never-ending swirl of memories and questions of future and fears..all forming a nasty sludge in your sleep deprived brain.

What is it about the night…that it is always associated with the unholy, the dark, the bad? What is it about the night that makes minuscule problems look huge? makes them feel insurmountable?

When the mind rebels and refuses to stay quiet, denying the body much-needed rest. Are the mind and the body so separate, so different? Or are they so interconnected, meshed, that disquiet in one can cause unrest in the other? There is no vent, even the tears refuse to flow..I try assuaging the body with food and water, a few more pillows under my head..but it needs a human touch, a hug, for the whirlpool of thoughts to rest, for the tears to flow and finally sleep…blessed sleep takes over, easing the brain and the body, relaxing and lulling every part of me to inactivity.

When I wake up, I see bright sunshine and a pair of brighter, twinkling eyes, I read the smile in them, about to break into a giggle and I eat apples sitting in my bed and feel I can conquer the world and every obstacle in it!

Umm..well not exactly, you really can’t have the cake and then eat it too..but my weekend turned out pretty awesome and it felt like I had the cake and ate it too!

I got to watch some beautiful cinema – ‘Barfi’. It is (as most of you know by now) a story about a deaf and dumb boy, played by Ranbir Kapoor.

Well actually the movie is about love, the many forms it takes and the metamorphosis it undergoes..

It is a story where three young people learn that love cannot be constrained by the dictates of society or norms of the day.( Many of us go through life without learning this lesson.) Ranbir is wonderful as Barfi. The only other person I can imagine in that role would have been Kamal Hassan, and that is saying something!

Ranbir acts with a certain Chaplinesque charm and sometimes puts in mind of Raj Kapoor, whose acting was again much inspired by Chaplin..but there is a sincerity and charm that comes across. Priyanka Chopra, I have always liked as an actress and she almost manages to steal the show from Ranbir! She works hard to make us forget that she is Priyanka the star and I found her very believable as Jhilmil, the autistic girl.

Illeana D’Cruz has also performed well, as the girl who gives up love for more practical considerations and then portrays well, the pain and helplessness that her character Shruthi feels when she finds out that its too late to get her love back..

The movie is made up of a lot of heart melting moments and scenes. For some reason, I found the scene where Jhilmil teaches Barfi to write his name, with the B reversed  very endearing and that’s how in the end he signs his marriage papers..these are the touches which make the movie beautiful for me.

This is a movie about love and hence about life..and somehow to make a movie which explores the deepest intricacies of life, I feel one needs to know death intimately. Death gives perspective on the problems of life and the director Anurag Basu, is a cancer survivor…

A must watch movie!

This apart, we made a short trip to Nandi hills. It was more beautiful than I had ever expected..beautiful weather..cottony grey clouds and mists surrounding us at times and suddenly the wind clearing it all up. The greenery around, the beautiful sunrise seen from atop an ancient watch tower, the hot masala dosas and tea in the morning chill all added to the experience.

We also saw a lot of monkeys…these were two of them..

Rishi and Myc in synchronised Hanuman avatar..

Not many people know about this, but there is paragliding atop the mountain and it happens in the non-rainy seasons. So waiting to go back in December and glide down the Nandi Durga, where kings once walked, the English viceroys relaxed and many a prisoner met a gory death from the Tipu drop. This is also the place where Gandhi and Nehru stayed.

For more information about paragliding please check out

Ciao People. Dont worry, be BARFI!!

“Yes! I dind it.”.:P Well that’s how Rishi puts it when he achieves anything that is extraordinary for his little hands..and thats what I exclaimed as I reached the Valley of Flowers (VoF)!

If someone had asked me why I wanted to climb to the VoF a few weeks ago..the honest answer would have been that I don’t know yet..but I knew I wanted to. Had a few things to prove to myself, a few things to surpass, test my limits…

I have never been athletic and with my petite build was never sure that my body could handle much more than the daily grind..but it did and how..

Just before we had planned to leave for Delhi, there had been flash floods and cloud bursts in Uttaranchal, especially in Chamoli district where we planned to trek. Everything was hanging in balance and that was a lesson in itself of patience.. I learnt to wait, to trust the unknown and hope for the best.

We arrived in Delhi by flight and from there travelled to Haridwar via train. From Haridwar it was an arduous ten-hour bus journey made lighter by banter with friends and doses of was on this stretch that we got a taste of the devastation that can be caused by nature’s well as the fortitude of human kind which can clear up huge landslides and move on.

The road is steep, dangerous and sinewy and tiring. We reached Govindghat by nightfall and hit the bed after some dinner at a local hotel. We were woken up by the trek guides with a steaming cup of chai..and we went out and what a view greeted us…this alone would have made our trip worthwhile..

It was from here to Ghangria that our trek actually started. A 13 km trek which needed everything I had. I also met so many wonderful interesting people on the way…it would make for a blog post all by itself!

Starting the journey..

Being a newbie to trekking, I was getting so very tired every few minutes. There were so many times I wanted to just give up and hire a mule for the rest of the journey. But that would defeat the purpose of the trek…So at one point I decided I would rough it out. Some journeys are meant to be made alone and this probably was one of them. I left my husband and friends and started walking. My aim being just the next step. I was buoyed forward by a group of Sikhs on their way to Hemkund Sahib (they seem to be exceptional people). They helped me keep moving with the chants of ‘Satnam Vaheguru’ and glucose powder. There was an old man, around 80 years old probably who helped me cover almost two km with his stories about Sikhism and Guru Gobind Singh. I have nothing but respect for this warrior clan who helped so many of us during our way up and down..

As I walked past them, I met up with a couple of Bengali babus, who told me ‘tea khabhi’ and then had the grace to laugh at their own hindi and made wonderful company for a couple more km.

I was resting at a tea stall, when it started pouring and I realised that I had left everything including my raincoat in my solo journey. But as if someone had heard my thoughts, from the mists materialised my friend of thirteen years with my raincoat :P. from there on it was me and him and the mist walking in tandem to the pitter patter rain and the sound of our breathing. it was an amazing feeling to finally have made it to Ghangria. To know that I am greater than my limits!

The only parallel I can draw to this experience is very clichéd, delivering my baby boy–where I yelled for the doctor to cut me open and end the pain, while he yelled right back at me to keep pushing.In the end the pain was gone and I had a perfect baby in my arms….this trek was almost as magical as that for me…and that, is saying something!





Before the trek, my perception was to conquer the mountains, you know..the planting your flag on the summit sort..But nothing could have been farther from the truth. I was the one who was conquered and in letting myself be conquered lay my victory!

I wanted to go down on my knees and give thanks to the majestic mountains, the gurgling streams, the thundering clouds, the angry river and the unpredictable rain for letting me complete this journey. I was humbled and grateful and elated all at the same time. This I think is as close to a spiritual experience that I will ever get.

From Ghangria, we headed to the VoF the next day, my dream was fulfilled. I saw flowers in millions, entire hillocks decked in pink and yellow and white. The valley of flowers also turned out to be a valley of ‘interesting people’ as well for us. We met a world-famous sitarist and a world-famous botanist and were lucky enough to get a few lessons on the flowers from him. I will always have a mental image of him quoting the vidurneeti on why we should not pluck flowers..

Subset of the interesting people we met on the journey

I was hit with altitude sickness at this point and had to come down and missed the hemkund trek the next day.

But then that gave us a huge window of time and we visited Badrinath Mana and Auli. Mana and Auli are something that I am sure, I will keep going back to at various points in my life, to see them wear different disguises in different seasons..

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The trek took my breath away (literally and figuratively), taught me stuff that I would have never otherwise have learnt, earned me friends wonderful and I would like to think made me a better person..

What is your mountain to climb? Is it mending a broken relation? Is it getting over your fears? Is it learning something new?

Go for it, step after another…the journey will be long and tough. but pause to let your body rest, catch your breath and enjoy the scenery along the way. When you reach the summit, do let me know, what it is that you felt..

"Everybody's got a mountain to climb,
Don't be discouraged when the sun don't shine,
Gotta keep on pulling, you gotta keep on tryin',
Everybody's got a mountain to climb,
Everybody's got a mountain to climb."

-Everybody's Got A Mountain To Climb
by Dickey Betts"

P.S: to all moms who are dilly dallying about leaving their babies it! You have earned yourselves a vacation and...the fact is my son was super excited to look at the pics and told me to climb carefully and not fall off the mountain :P

I am so glad that I can go out now and then and my lil man wont hold it against me :D

All hell seems to have broken loose over Marissa Mayer – the first pregnant CEO of a fortune 500 company!

My husband very recently asked me if this was fair to the baby-to-be or to yahoo…My first reaction was to pounce back like a tigress protecting my territory and tell the questioner that of course it was fair! I am a working woman. I have been a pregnant working woman.(I worked till a week before my delivery and in the inflexible insensitive Indian work environment, it is something!). I am a working mom (working outside the home that is. I truly believe that all mothers are working home or outside or both..).

After that incident, I have been mulling over, reading numerous articles and have had a huge chunk of thinking time…and..I still want to pounce!! 😛

First things first..lets not even begin to compare Marissa with the ordinary working women. She is rich, she is in charge and am sure has a huge team of support staff to do her bidding..But one way or the other, she has become the poster woman for working women/working mothers.

But the very fact that such a fuss is being made about her appointment seems sexist to me. Yahoo knew what they were getting into when they hired her. She is 37 and her biological clock is ticking away. So does she need to make a choice between having a baby or taking up the CEO position? Why can’t she have both? Would the same questions be raised about a father-to-be who has been offered a CEO position? Not likely, if you ask me. There would have been hearty congratulations and drinks and gaiety all around at his abundant luck.

That said, being a parent means different things to a man and a woman. A woman has been traditionally expected to be the primary care giver. But things are changing. It’s not going to be easy for Marissa or any other new mother to handle outside responsibilities. Pregnancy and birth are traumatic for the mother both mentally and physically. You definitely need time to heal and recuperate.

That does not mean we begrudge Marissa her choices. Maybe she chooses not to breastfeed. maybe she chooses to co-sleep to make up for lost time..whatever..they are her choices. She is an adult who has decided to take up the CEO position as well as become a mother. She thinks she can handle them well. Deciding to be a parent is a very personal thing. Let us accept that there are going to be difficulties. But lets not write her off (Yay! Marissa..way to go girl!!)

Go for everything girl!

Another thing that pops up is the fact that no one raised a hue and cry when Steve Jobs pretended that everything was fine with his health in order to protect Apple stocks. I am sure battling cancer takes up a lot of time and energy. Why then this whole debate about Marissa. She is taking a couple of weeks off. She has, I am sure, an amazing support system. She might succeed in giving the baby all the love and time it needs. She might also succeed as the CEO of Yahoo and turn things around for the company.

I don’t know about you, but I am surely going to be keeping my eyes and ears open for any news on Marissa. Even after all this hullabaloo dies down.

Licia Ranzolli a MEP from Italy who took her baby for a session at Strasbourg. The 35-year-old was taking advantage of relatively relaxed rules that allow women to take their baby to work with them.

Not starting the women Vs men debate..but the country in general needs to be more sensitized with the possibilities and growth and special needs that being a woman and a mother brings along with it. We need to learn to be more flexible, more respectful of the choices any individual makes.

Every woman deserves the right to make her own choices. To make her own mistakes. TO LIVE HER LIFE the way she chooses and no one has any business telling her what (in their limited and constricted world view) they think is right or wrong.

The big three-O

I thought I would write a poem..mad, fun and flirty

But oh! just realized I am already thirty..

All I got to do now is wait..

To get slow, dim and fat

Not much pizzazz..

I am just an old lass..

Yeah people I hit the big thirty a few days ago and have wondered whats this milestone people keep talking about. How could I get so old..when I have always thought of myself as so young??!

At eighteen I thought I would never turn 23..and thirty was beyond imagination.

All my teens and most of the twenties were spent longing for longer legs, leaner hips, smaller bottom and straighter hair..(didn’t we all crave for a body we weren’t blessed with).

Its only around the late twenties and thirties that I really started owning myself and accepting and appreciating what I had. I was comfortable in my skin. Literally and figuratively! So for me thirty is not all that bad.

No gray hair yet, but signs of a wrinkle to come. I am more active and happy than I ever was in the twenties. More funds to spend and a lot more wisdom to invest and save.

A lot of inhibitions left and a more non-judgmental attitude to boot.

More books read, more experiences I have had.

The scars on my body tell the tales of battles hard-won, of love lost and gained, the wrinkles, of the many internal struggles still raging on..

On the flip side, I am not over the hill yet, but the hill is in sight 😉

If you ask me, thirties rock and today thirties are the new twenties, so there is another decade to really let the frown etch its story between my brows!

Whats your story? are you the young and naïve twenty something or a thirty plus rock star or a wise old owl?

‘I am going to Ibiza..yooo..I am going to Ibiza..lalaa’..actually I am going some place even more beautiful (to me at least)! I am going to Valley of flowers(You can ask me to shut up and I wont mind one single bit. I know I have harped on this one to anyone who will/wont listen :P).

I bought myself a pair of Quechua trekking shoes and just can’t leash in my excitement. they are beyond awesome :P. I went for a looooong morning walk in the weekend, of course with my new shoes on and they are an absolute delight.I shouldnt have run in them, but me being me, I did and have sore legs because of that. But otherwise, they behave beautifully!


That apart, it was a beautiful morning with just a light drizzle, a freshness in the air and little gems of water droplets hanging everywhere.

Nature seemed to me a beautiful woman, just out of a bath with droplets glistening on the ends of her long mane, enrapturing everyone with her beauty and careless elegance..

Now instead of me blubbering, i will let the photos I took, do the talking. Beauty has just about compromised enough for my skills and a below average mobile camera 🙂

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