Sunday, October 28, 2012

Awesome Panchmarhi

The best part about childhood is that one is quite qualmless. This post is about a climb down to Duchess Falls in Panchmarhi, a small town in Madhya Pradesh.

This was in June, 1997. My brother and I were younger (a good 15 years from now). The driver of our jeep stopped on the edge of a steep cliff and pointed downwards.

"Yes!", said I and my brother, in unision.

"No way", said Ma.

Before Dad could work out a plan of action, the driver, hardly few years older than me, offered to go down with the two of us while Dad stayed back with Mom. And he was a man of the hills - while we climbed with care, he scampered down like a monkey. Some stones were loose, and we slipped for some distance - hurt ourselves; ripped our clothes partially... but looking at the young chap before us, we were encouraged to go on. Soon, we were also scurrying across the rocks free from fear of falling, and absolutely unconscious about our torn clothes, ignorant of the pain due to the bruises.

The driver would pick up a wild fruit and throw them to us, and the three of us went on gleefully.

At last we caught a glimpse of the waterfall - it started like a timid stream (Photo 1) across the rocks but then  fell almost vertically off a cliff in a powerful stream. While we were admiring its might, the driver told us it would be much fuller next month when monsoons arrive. He took of his clothes in the speed of lightning and jumped into the plungepool, which was quite wide.

We followed, and the ice-cold water seemed to heal our injuries and infuse new energy into us. Our muscles felt alive - stimulated and the bathing experience was awesome. The photo on the right shows a shot of my brother in the pool taken from a very long distance.  We returned a rejuvinated lot.

When I saw this video on Youtube, I was reminded of this experience when I was taken down to a beautiful waterfall by a monkey in the form of a driver.

Photocredits: My Dad, with his age-old camera.
This is a part of the Alive is Awesome initiative launched by Cinthol.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Underwater at Kovalam

Adrenaline rushed through our veins as we gazed at the sea bed below - the water was calm and absolutely clear like glass. What we could see appeared like a live National Geographic channel: coral reefs and fish!

That was 1999. We, a pack of second year students of Architecture had arrived at Kovalam beach in Trivandrum as part of our Educational Tour to south India. Canoemen had picked up from the beach and taken us some distance inwards where there were no waves - and what a sight we beheld that day!

I have been planning to go back to Kovalam since ages, now that I have entered the 'earning' phase, and can afford underwater gear. The more I watch television, the more I yearn. Finally, the moment is about to arrive. My husband was looking for options to have an unique holiday - and jumped at my idea when I mentioned my experience to him.

We both know swimming; and we have started looking for someone who can train us for scuba diving. I am also on the lookout for a good underwater camera. Our target date is in mid 2013. We can't wait to jump off the canoe mid sea, and go down amidst myriad life forms under the sea, feel the corals and watch the fishes swim by. 

Our city lives shall be shelved and locked away for good.... as we shall be reborn as individuals without a shred of stress, eager to discover the mysteries of Mother Nature!

Kovalam, we are coming!

Photocredits: Internet
This is the third post in the series for Alive is Awesome initiative by Cinthol. Do watch this video

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Swim to Bathe

Talking of awesome bathing experiences that make us feel alive, stimulated and ready to take on the world, I have a story to share:
I am a complete "Big City Girl". Born and brought up in Calcutta, presently located in Delhi - I am so very used to the urban life.

Now, we had to be  in a far flung village in West Bengal for a project on Rural Housing. I was sceptical about the sanitation facilities, but the villagers went out of the way to make us comfortable. They arranged for our accomodation in their own huts.They had also kept buckets of water handy so that we could freshen up on arrival and get to work. At the end of a very hectic first day, I just sunk into deep slumber!

The next morning, I felt very confused. I walked  round and round the house, but could not identify a place to bathe! Finally, I asked Shalu, the host's ten year old daughter, who was watching me playfully.

"Take your things in a packet", she said, grinning. She gestured that I should follow her.

Much to my surprise, she led me past a couple of hutments and through a green stretch that suddenly dipped into a large pond. There were few women in the pool, some of my age group too, swimming around. They didnt seem to notice our presence at all.

Shalu pointed at a rock on which I could keep my things and walked down the rough steps that had been created for entering the pool. This was in such contrast to the pools at clubs where I had learnt to swim, that I stood transfixed.

"Dont you know how to swim?", asked Shalu and dragged me in before I could utter a word. The other girls spread out and allowed me to take a dip. The water felt like a blanket of ice on the surface, but there was a warmth on the lower part. Shalu spluttered some water on me, to which I playfully responded. The others also found it amusing and joined the show! We, in fact divided into two teams, and splashed water on the other team. The competition was all about who could splash more water - and Shalu spruced it up with an energetic song!

Soon, my inhibitions were all gone. I felt like a child once again - the fact that I was there for work vanished from my mind while I enjoyed swimming, dipping, splashing! This is something I can never enjoy in a city - the sheer bliss, no time limits, no rules!

Time seemed to have stopped for us, and none of the girls showed any intention of getting out. We must have in the pond for more than an hour!

It was the ringing of my cell phone that jolted us back to reality - my team was looking for me. I joined them soon after changing behind bushes :P.

Photocredits: Internet 
This is also a part  of Alive is Awesome initiative by Cinthol. Do watch this video!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The "Waterfall Bath"

Travel itself is a rejuvinating term. Break away from daily chores, deadlines, ringing cell phones, beeping inboxes and cherish every moment - you feel alive once again; and every nano second of your trip becomes awesome!! We, the new age youth, interpret life in an unique way - we are not afraid to try innovative elements.

Some experiences stay are so special, that you wish to have them recreated in our usual lives too!

Mcleodganj, 2009: We had reached the beautiful Bhagsunag Falls after a long, meandering walk over the only driveable road that was clogged with parked vehicles. Neither of us wanted to go back the same route, and were looking for alternatives.

"That looks like a great route", remarked Hubby Dearest, looking at the waterfall. The stream was cascading down a series of boulders like a rugged staircase - That was a scary proposition, considering it was drizzling; and the water was full of volume and energy.

But 'scary' is a word absolutely foreign in the dictionary of either my companions, my husband or brother in law. :( . So down the rocks we  climbed, through the waterfall. Albeit risky... but, it was so exciting!! 

It happened midway the stream... I slipped. Luckily, I managed to adjust myself on the rocks. The other two companions were a bit ahead; and needed time to reach back to me.

The water was chilled, the current was strong, and the rain had gained speed - I was drenched in seconds! But there was something in those moments: instead of being scared, I enjoyed every bit of it! Bathing right in the middle of a waterfall, oblivious to who might be watching you, with aquatic avalanches trying to dislodge you - a minute giveaway could result in serious injuries. My cells felt energized and I felt like a child, devoid of any inhibitions!

My hubby and his bro were watching me, amused. I signalled them to come over; and three of us had immense fun, splashing in the waterfall. The water would sometimes go over our heads, or push against our backs before gurgling further down. Small stonechips being washed down played around our limbs - what a lovely experience it was!

Other tourists were watching us, but we hardly noticed anyone. The sun had come out after some time, so we climbed on the bigger rocks to dry ourselves to a fair extent, with our feet still teasing the flowing water (Photo 2, above).

It was until recently when I saw the new commercial of Cinthol on television for the Alive is Awesome (AIA) campaign that I remembered this splashing incident. The brand has launched a new series of bathing products that transport you out of your usual settings - the fresh fragrances shall keep give you the kickstart to take on the world throughout the day ahead! Enjoy your bath, and your senses would be stimulated to respond enthusiastically to every challenge that is thrown at you - afterall, "well begun is half done (Aristotle) "!!!

Do watch this video if you haven't seen the commercial yet. Listen to the jingle, I just loved it!