Saturday, 16 April 2016

Movie as Time Machine

How often does it happen when somebody glance through the list of movies released in a particular year(date wise) in Wikipedia starting from January to December just to recollect, get connected and relive the olden days. It is learnt that odour, songs, movies,  typical weather phenomena or weather pattern are few of the things which are very strong reminders of things which had happened in the past. Going though the same experience, like coming across a particular song or movie takes us back to that time when it had actually happened. After a tight March target coming to an end and Govt of Odisha declaring it as a morning office, there is not much to look forward to other than watching IPL. Off late, for last 1 month or so, I m learning driving which I should ideally have done at least a decade back but never the less my driver is kind enough to take all pain to teach me and I m happy that its working. Apart from this driving training which is keeping me occupied, there isn’t much to do  in Bolangir in this hot summer where temperature is touching 45 degrees. During the last 15 days, I am going to Collector Res on and off to play badminton.I should better be regular at it. We have been told in academy to learn at least one racquet game well which would be a saviour in field posting. Taking a que from that I had given badminton as my ECM in academy. But as I was not good at it and looking at people playing like pro restricted me to visit badminton court only during mandatory ECM sessions just to avoid feeling inadequate. Feeling inadequate is a trap. The more you try to avoid it, nature will throw more situations to feel you the same and more it get reinforced.  Nothing comes easy in life. Hope I would be able to better off my badminton skills here.
            Coming back to the topic with which I started this blog with- movies. It all started today while I was watching Mumbai Indians Vs. Gujrat Lions match where Mumbai performed a patchy show and having a little soft corner towards MI coz of the fact that Sachin is associated with it, I started browsing hindi movie channel and eventually came across ‘Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna’ in one of the HD channels. I still remember watching this movie in a shoddy theatre near Rourkela Railway station during my college days. I searched the movie name in Wikipedia to know the date of release just to recollect the time and the things happening in my life during that time. It was a mid August release of 2006. I would probably had just got placed in TCS in campus interview.  I remember, we were forced to sit in plastic chairs at the back of theatre. I started searching list of hindi movies released in 2007, 2008, 2009 etc. I could recollect during my ILP days in Coimbatore where I bought a new cell phone ( some model of sony ericsson ) where I used to listen to music from ‘Awarapan’ which was a big hit then. Those trips to Ooty and Kovalam beach I could recollect which was the first time I got to see world with a wider view in a true sense. ‘Bhool Bhulaiya’ was my first movie in Delhi which I watched at PVR Priya with one of my school friends who was studying MBA in Jaipur then and had come to meet me in Delhi. I had bought a brown winter jacket at a nearby shop in PVR Priya campus and I have one photograph wearing it available in internet coz that photograph I had given to Coaching institutes during my preparation days. Going back to memory line through this movie thing is good. It reminds us the life we once lead and people who were associated with us then.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Handbook for Civils preparation-contributed by fellow OTs at academy

Dear friends,
                   Those who are preparing for Civil Service Examination may find this compilation/handbbok helpful- made by Nikhil Pavan Kalyan, IAS(P)  from the inputs given by fellow OTs in the academy.


Monday, 22 October 2012

Trek Experience Part-6

Day6(Hanumanchatti to Dharwadhar range - camp seema)

The day started with the irritating ‘good morning ji’call made by our games faculty to wake us up.. I couldn’t understand what he was upto… for last 5 days we had been managing quite well and without support from anybody… anyways I came out to the lobby, the day was about to break and I could see yamuna flowing just few metres away.It was mesmerizing.( if someone travels from Delhi to Haridwar by road can appreiciate the importance of the gangetic system for the Indian civilisation.. The lush green fields of western UP rather, the entire northen plains can be termed as gift of the Himalayan rivers.. and we are such a grateful civilisation that we recognise this fact and worship rivers!!!)

I told the attendant for a bucket of hot water which I fortunately got… There were 2 toilets attached to our room, so it wasn’t a problem for us… I took bath and got ready.. I came out for breakfast but to my surprise found nobody at dhaba.. I was told by some locals that people have already started and we would be given breakfast on the way.. after few minutes I came across the games faculty, He told me that some nice place he had seen for us to have our breakfast which is just some distance away.. I was having my rucksack on my back.. We were supposed to walk few kms with our rucksack on and then only we could load them on khachhars.. some rules made by faculty!!!.. it was so funny that we were walking on the same path with khachhars with our bags on.. passerbys gave us smiles, some even told why don’t you put your bags on the khachhars??? What to say???  The term ‘why’doesn’t exist in FC dictionary.

We kept on walking but the breakfast point never came.. It was almost over an hour without breakfast and we were really pissed off by that time.. the games faculty was seen busy giving instructions to some local guys who he had given job for arranging breakfast- instruction like chanch(butter milk) ready ho gaya na?? aur paranthe??, ladoos rakh liye??.. he was behaving as if doing logistic arrangement for Indo-china war…

We kept on walking and waiting for breakfast… I was content that anyways we had covered some substantial distance.. By that time our teacher was also fed up with the wait for food… It was he only who had ordered for that extra ‘besan ke laddoo’…  We were happy thinking about those laddoos..

After some time, we were asked to halt at a place for breakfast- a small kasba kind of thing with many buffalos around.. the place was stinking and we couldn’t even found a decent place to sit as it was full of dung!!… probably He chose this place to provide us fresh butter milk!!!.. The wait continued… We tried to contact the games faculty through our ham instrument..

He appeared after sometime with food but without laddoos. He told laddoos are coming with khachhars in the next lot.. the wait for laddoos continued… The last lot of khachhars also arrived but laddoo packets were no where to be seen.. finally we gave up and strated planning for next journey..( later we were given excuses that “ladoo khachhar kha gaye!!!!!!!")

We unloaded our bags.. there were two paths from that place to dhawa top- one was longer and other was shorter but steeper… confusion persisted for some time but later we decided to go the shorter path.. The games faculty bid us ‘good bye’ there.

After a while we came across a steep hill. It was almost like a wall with rocky path. To make it worse hailstorm which had fallen previous day were still there… The ultimate ‘team spirit’came to action. We helped each other out…( We were given’solitude’and ‘group dynamics’as our theme for our trek presentation which we were to present post trek). So we got quite a few opportunities to click pics showing group dynamics. In between our teacher who was accompanying us to dharwa top kept speaking. He was carrying his rucksack where everybody else had given their to khachhars!!! He has a superb quality of interpersonal skill - he can easily transverse from one topic to another and can communicate with 2/3 groups talking differet topics at the same time!!!

By that time Rakhee had again twisted her ankle. Our game faculty asked her to stay back and not to trek but she decided to come with us for obvious reasons!!( of course how can she live without us, particularly Irina!!!). We made Rakhee as our pace setter. We walked slow but steady(interestingly that day only we reached on time!!!).. So it’s a lesson, while trekking, speed doesn’t matter- it is the consistency that pays.. It is some what applicable to day to day life too..

The uphill trek was tough but as we moved up more and more, the scenery was becoming more and more beautiful… Sun was playing with the clouds which were present in patches and lumps. From one of the point we observed that some hills were under shadow and some were shining gold, some were under snow at far along the horizon and some were not.

Finally we reached at Dharwa top at around 1.30 pm- bang on time. We were welcome with ‘neembu pani’ by the mess people. We could see 4 colourful tents ready at some distance. They had made those along a stream. We occupied one of the tents as group3 were also supposed to reach that place by evening and we had to keep one for them. We had our lunch- with typical mess plates, spoons and forks.

It was very cold outside- we were at an altitude of around 4000 metres( more than highest peaks of couple of continents!!!). I got inside the tent after lunch… It was too small for 17+2 people. By that time people had already selected their places.. I found a corner place for myself. Tent was smelling bad because of stinking shocks of people- but those things are immaterial during trekking. I tried to have a nap. After sometimes hails started pouring in.

We were called for tea in the evening. Pakoda was also thr (right now also I am having pakoda with my room mate post classes- best time of day!!!).  We heard the teacher cribbing that we get so good facilities now a days unlike their time… In India- seniors can’t see the happiness of their juniors, you take any profession and it will be there.

Evening was very serene.We could see the majestic ‘bandarpunch’ massif from dharwa top. Shutter bugs came into action… We have quite a few nice clicks of that day… darkness strated descending but the group3 guys were nowhere to be seen(apart from 2 people who reached early!!! Every group had their own set of fast trekkers I suppose!!)… The faculty started worrying and we had almost formed one rescue group. But before that team strated, we could see some people at the top of the adjoining hill… In half an hour time group3 people reached. Again the ‘bharat milaap’ scene. They had trekked one of the most difficult one- from Dodital to Dharwa top which we were supoosed to do next day..

After sometime, it became dark and by that time the mess boys along with ITBP guys and few OTs(Gaurang bhai and Abhijit) had already done the arrangement for a big bonfire… We were standing as close as possible to the bonfire… daaru-saaru started and our teacher also joined…

The sky was clear. I had never seen so many stars in my life. We could see the constellations too. Interestingly mobile network was available there. I called home and few other important persons in life… The mess people had made mutton and kheer too- no less than a feast, the best night so far during the trek… After a while I went inside the tent to sleep but it was overflowing with people. I found a place in between two fat snoring people- its good to be short and thin sometimes!!!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Trek Experience Part-5

Day5(Taluka- sankri- hanumanchatti)(3rd October 2012)

The day started with fresh enthusiasm as 1st half of the trek was already over and we were all healthy and fit. It was a complete scheduled bus journey that day. We were to board our bus at Sankri which was 11 kms away from that place(Taluka). We decided to have our breakfast at Sankri. So we started early without wasting time there. We had to cross the landslide point that we navigated at night time in our very 1st day. The local administration had cleared some portion of it by that time- 1 bulldozer was at work when we reached that place. Our GL had arranged jeeeps for us for our journey…

            I practically slept the entire journey from Taluka to Sankri as I had already taken an avomine. Sleeping inside a jeep with one hand holding the rod above head which was attached to the roof and practically no place to seat is the last thing one would wish after 4 days of trekking. Actually after so much boring lectures at academy, we are now capable of sleeping in any circumstances- one type of sleeping that I have mastered recently is that, sleeping almost upto 50 percent with eyes closed and at the same time listening to teacher and opening eyes in between, jotting down something, nodding head few times and again sleeping.Some people like Krishna(who sits beside me) are genious- He sleeps during lectures but wakes up when ever a question is asked and tells the right answer everytime!!!).

            Coming back to trek, we reached Sankri at around 8.30 am. This is the place where one can get all the required civic amenities. I went to the nearby shop to buy some biscuits and chocolate for bus journey. I heard something noisy- I came out of shop and to my utter surprise, I saw people from trek group no.1 who had come to trek to Harkidun had just reached the place. It was nice feeling seing fellow OTs. I could see people hugging each other- just like ‘bharat milaap’. In academy I had never seen people this courteous and affectionate to each other!!. People were looking different too- with 4 day old beard and sun tanning. We kept on discussing our trek experiences. They advised us regarding some precautions about the trek to Dodital( the final destination we were heading towards). We came to know that some OTs of group1 had made some parallel Mahabharat- i.e. dealing every incident of Mahabharat with a different perspective, mostly the sexual angle. This is what you expect from the deady combination of engineer turned civilservants+bakar+ khali time+ alcohol+few girls around!! and the guy who had been instrumental in making this theory being named ‘Baba Bhokali’!!!. With so many technocrats now in civil services one can expect some fancy names for Govt programmes in future!!!

            We had our breakfast together at Sankri. We loaded a cartoon full of water for journey and started at around 11 am for Hanuman chatti(our destination). It was a 130 km travel. We reached at Purola at around 1.30 pm. Bus stopped for a 10 minutes break. Mobile network was available there- so people were seen busy with their phones. I called home from Manish’s mobile( that nokia wala) as my mobile was discharged. The married and committed people were seen talking for longer time and were standing farther away from bus and were seen doing some interesting hand,head and mody movements while talking!!!. After 25-30 mins or so we thought of starting for destination- but the driver was no where to be seen. After a while he came and said that he had gone for his mobile recharge!!! We wasted around 1 hr there and consumed some 10/15 packets of namkeen. We should have taken our lunch there rather than wasting our time but ‘Badkot’ was the place where we had thought of having our lunch. So we started for Badkot- it was supposed to be a big town…

            It was around 4.15pm when we reached Badkot. We went to the GMVN guest house but were denied food. Finally we went to a hotel who obliged. I went to a nearby saloon to do trimming of my beard, because it had started itching. I came back to the hotel, people were busy watching TV- expression like people watching TV for 1st time in life could be observed on the faces of OTs!!!. Few other people who had gone for shaving came back with ‘chikna’ looks. Manish( Basir Bhadra) had cleaned his French beard too- so was looking smart and different. We kept on waiting for food for some more time but our wait continued. One person went down stairs to ask what exactly happening- later we came to know that the hotel had only one small tawa for roti making, so will take more time. The more the delay was prolonging, the more the fear of trekking during night was coming to my mind. Finally food came at around 5 pm.

            We left Badkot and headed towards Hanumanchatti. It is a famous pilgrimage route. People who go to Yamunotri travel through this route. So we could see number of road side dormitories and hotels all along the path. So the feel of going away from civilisation was not there in our mind. We reached Hanuman chatti at around 8 pm. We were welcome by one of our games faculty member with typical ‘hello ji’ ‘how r u ji’ greetings and as usual girls got some extra attention.. We came to know that one of our teachers too had come there to accompany us next day. The academy wala  ‘insecure’ feeling started creeping in… We headed towards the GMVN guest house. Its location was awsum, just on the banks of Yamuna. The Govt people always occupy these prized lands!!… Room was also very good- with electricity, running water in tap and clean toilet!!!!!!, those were nothing less than 5 star amenities for us. I recharged my mobile. I was sharing my room with few OTs from south India(Ragul, Chako, Balamurali) and Shiv. I and Shiv had been sharing room almost everytime during the trek. He is a nice guy, particular and straight forward( probably He’ll get odisha cadre!!! Good for us). After some time we were called by our Games faculty for dinner. These instructions and ‘feel- like- a- kid’ irritates me. Anyways we rushed to the dhaba just like what we do in academy- rushing from one place to another for no reason!!!

            Our teacher also joined us for dinner. He is a nice man who loves to talk, very friendly, full of energy and enthusiasm. One can’t fine ‘fullstop’ in his statements as he goes on and on… He started his stories of his experience during his trek- how he killed an animal for food when they ran short of ration!!! Any ways the food at dhaba was good, we got egg bhurji also…

Next day was a trek to Dharwa top. In trek briefing we have been told that we would get mess food at that place- with varieties like chicken and mutton. We came to know that Annaji(one of PT faculty who happens to be an army man) is there to arrange things for us. So, the feel of ‘gone to the wild’ was no more there in our mind with so many academy people around us. I called up home, wrote something in my diary(as electricity was there) and went to sleep…

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Trek Experience Part-4

Day4 (Har ki doon-Osla-Taluka)

It was freezing at Harkidoon in the morning which is located at around 3600 metres. So probably the temperature dipped to negative part of scale at night. I went out for my morning ritual as usual. By this time I was quite Ok with doing it outside( probably getting into my muscle memory!!!). But the water of the stream was so chilled that my hand and legs collapsed for some tym.  Anyways that stream was coming out of a glacier which was just a kilometre away!!!.

            It was a long trek that day. We were supposed to cover the entire return journey from Harkidoon to Taluka via Osla which we took 2 days to cover while going up. Around 30 kms had to be covered in a day’s time which consisted of descend of around 1000 metres.

            So we started early. Photography and loitering were almost banned inorder to save time. We had our breakfast at the forest guest house( guess the food!!!). Tiwari ji(Baibhav) was seen distributing sweets- it was his birthday!!!. He assured us a party( we went to Tavern at Mussorie after coming back, according to him that was the best B’day party ever). Sharing your birthday with Gandhiji and Shastriji is something very nice- you get an official holiday!!! But the problem is with the ‘dry day’ thing.
Anyways Tiwari ji is gandhian all the way- no meat , no alcohol( He was sipping some fancy flavoured tea at Tavern where almost everybody else was drowning in liquid which was coming out of coloured bottles).

            The first group started early( around 4 people who were by this time famous(??) for reaching first were in that group- They were given the responsibility to  make sure that we get food at right time at Osla). For the first time, the entire group was in mission mode- we were walking very fast, surpassing the khachhars on the way!!! We covered substantial amount of distance in initial 2 hrs of trek. But while descending it hurts at knees as the entire pressure of body comes to it. After a while I felt like my knees are getting stiffened. I used the stick to the best and tried  not to give pressure to my right knee as almost 20 kms of trek was still left. Some how we reached Osla at around 12.30 pm. We were welcome by a smiling Malik saab(our GL). I went straight to the guest house lobby and stretched for a while on the sofa. By this time we had started valuing the small small things in life that we take for granted otherwise in day to day life- sleeping on a sofa was never better. We had our lunch at the dhaba( aaloo rajma). Rakhee ji suggested me to take an MR(muscle relaxtant) from Shena. I did so and we started for Taluka.

            After a while that MR started working and I felt better. I would have taken a combiflam had Rakhee ji not told me about that MR thing. So it’s always advisable to consult a doctor than doing quackery!!!

 It was fourthday without mobile network and people were desparate to call their near and dear ones- in particular the married people!!!. We came to know that STD facilitiy is available at a village near the maggi point( this was the place where we had maggi on the way to Osla). Rakhee, Irina and Baibhav went to call and were seen coming happy. Rakhee was happy that she could talk to her 6 yr old daughter-( mother-child relation is special, no conditionalities atall).

We took break for some time at the maggi point, unfortunately that was closed that day. Our GL came up with an idea of going to Taluka from that place through a short cut. Some locals had told him that the short cut is straight and there is less ups and downs. The route was just along the river. We asked the khachhar walas but they declined by saying there are some blockades due to fall of tree which khachchars cant navigate. It was enough of a warning but we didn’t listen and started along the river- the short cut. For initial half hour or so it was too good- almost level path and was not rocky at all. We were happy that we took a nice decision. But after a while things strated changing.

We came across those points where the trees had fallen which had literally blocked the path. We had to crawl down the trees at several places to cross that. It was thick forest and as we were walking very close to the river, we could hear the roaring sound of the river. After few minutes we came to a point which was almost like ‘lands end’- there was no path beyond that point along the river and the river had narrowed down dangerously at that point and was making frightening sounds!!. Everybody was perplexed. The same people who were in awe for malik saab started cursing him for taking the short cut. I could recollect the warning given by Rawat ji(our PT faculty) “if you take a short cut, it will make you cut short”.

Sadanand(ITBP guy) looked here and there for some time and took a muddy path  upside. After deliberations among us we decided to climb up in that path. Few steps later we could here Sadanand saying that there is a way!!!! We came across few more points like that which we navigated the same way. By that time we had become apprehensive. Weather had started to become hostile as it became cloudy and soon rained. This was nothing but Murphy’s law working- when you fear that something will happen, it does happen. Fortunately it rained for brief period. It was almost sunset time. We had to anyways reach the guest house at Taluka before sunset.

We met some people working on the bank of river who told us the path which leads to the main path(which we left at maggi point). Finally we were back on track and almost sprinted towards Taluka. It was 6 pm by the time we reached. Directly We went to the dhaba( Thakur Dhaba) where we had maggi with moong dal toppings!!!

I took a bath after 4 days at the guest house. People started playing cards. After sometime, bonfire was lit and we assembled. We played Dumb-charades that day. People were distributed into 2 groups- those who drink and those who don’t. The teetotallers won with a margin as large as 6-3!!! Probably alcohol made those who drink, dumb enough to play the game. We had dinner and went to sleep. As next day was scheduled to be entire a bus travel, people were realaxed. The 1st phase of trekking came to an end.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Trek Experience Part-3

Day3( 1st October) (Osla to Harki Dun)

It was chillingly cold morning at Osla which is located at around 2700 metres. We cancelled the plan of going outside for our morning rituals. It was second day at a strech that I didn’t take a bath. The trek was to Har ki Dun which was 13 kms away and at 3600 metres. So it was a uphill trek. Locals told it would take us 5 hrs to reach there.

            We started at around 8 am after having our breakfast(again roti and aaloo ki sabji!!!). There was a bad news, our GL, Malik saab fell ill after taking a bath. I don’t know who gave him suggestion to take a bath at that altitude at that time of day. Later we came to know that He is married!!!. We found him ‘bheegi billi’ type inside his sleeping bag in his room. He decided to stay there. One of the OTs who is a doctor(Prabeen) also stayed with him.

            We started our trek under the leadership of our AGL- Irina. She is from Himachal, lahaul Spiti district. So she was used to this kind of terrain and situations. Snow cap mountain which was our destination was visible from that place.

            We crossed the river Suben which originates from the glaciers( Jaundhar and Swargarohini) which we were heading towards. The bridge that we crossed was hanging and also swinging with the wind. As soon as we crossed the bridge, we started ascending steeply. We had to remove all our winter garments immediately. Sun was bright. At higher altitudes, UV rays are quite harmful. We applied our sunscreen creams.

            Songs, jokes, merry making continued through out. We clicked several pics on the way which made us slow. But we didn’t bother about that. There was no faculty around to say anything!!!. We navigated various tricky landslide points. Group dynamism and espirit de corps were at their best. One local boy was accompanying us to Har ki Dun.

            We came across several beautiful places from where the valleys were looking green and awesome. Some valleys were resembling Jurassic Park movie where one can recollect the helicopter descending scene.

            Himalayas is magnanimous. One feels like an insignificant creature in front of the mighty Himalayas. I can recollect the same feeling when I saw the sea for the 1st time. But look at the human spirit, a 5 feet 6 inches tall guy with a stick in his hand has thought of conquering the mountains!!!. Kudos to academy for making me do so. We used to feel this trekking is meant to harrass and rag us but I think we are more confident and have developed sufficient endurance post trekking.

            Osla( the place from which we strated that day) is the last village in Indian territory in that route. So, we didn’t come across any civilisation on our way. We had to drink water from streams and had to pull our limited resourses. Annapurna devi( Asha)  kept distributing food stuff from her bag like madam santa clause. By that time Rakhee had twisted her ankle. But she kept walking. In hills there is no alternative- if u have started a trek u have some how reach your destination. Irina gave her the company. During rest of the trek, they were always seen together( Seeta- Geeta type).

            We were almost drained by 12 pm. We asked the local boy who was accompanying us about how much distance is left. Every time we asked this question, He told 10 mins. I don’t know why people have to lie regarding this. In our short treks in Mussorie, our PT faculty members used to do this trick with us.

            In between, the 1st group( having capacity of walking fast!!!) had already reached the place. We got a call from them. Some how, we reached by 2 pm. The place – Harki Dun was simply awesome. The forest guest house was located inbetween the glaciers. The ‘swargarohini glacier’ is significant from mythological point of view. It is through this route, the pandavas travelled to heaven!!! We had lunch there( again rajma and aaloo ki sabji!!!). aaloo ki sabji never tased better. Actually these pahadi aaloo has an inherent saltieness which makes it tastier.

            Initially I thought of Har ki Dun to be a tourist place but we found it  completely lonely, inhabited by only 2 people( forest guard and GMVN choukidar). The GMVN guest house had 2 dormitories with 16 beds(exactly the number of male OTs!!!) at the rate of Rs200 per bed. Nothing better could happen. The ladies OT stayed at the Forest guest house.

            After our evening naps we gathered around the bonfire. It was very cold outside. Night descended, tea came along with other drinks too. We decided to play truth and dare- basically it was truth and truth. Credit should be given to Upadhyaya ji( Gaurav) for conceptualising and coordinating the game. He is from Lucknow and has all the ‘tehzib’ to make everybody comfortable in a gathering.

            Truth and truth game was a complete hit. We came to know many bare facts about fellow OTs- particularly the love stories, crushes, break ups. Story of Ragul was the most touchy one. Upadhaya ji’s love story was most filmy, I would like to share something here. He was supposedly a freesoul, I-give-damn kind of personality after 3 failed attempts at IITJEE and had to join another college. He fell for a girl. That girl told him that if He tops the semester exam, then she may consider for his proposal. Upadhaya ji topped the exam for 6 consecutive times!!! He cleared IIFT after graduations and now Civils!!!. This is what u say power of love. I thought, woman quota should be introduced at IITs and NITs(these colleges have the skewest sex ratio) so that people’s performance at exam can be increased and better engineers can be produced!!!.

            After truth and truth session we went to sleep. By this time we had developed concern for everybody. Trekking was doing its job- we started gelling with each other.



Friday, 12 October 2012

Trek Experience Part-2

Day2-(30th September) (Taluka- Osla)

Day started as usual at 5.30 am. We got up hurriedly( this has become a habit recently, We are now used to wake up early and do everything in as little time as possible. In one of the PT sessions, we have been told that, we need just 15 mins to do our daily rituals!!! i.e. 5 minutes each for brushing teeth, shaving and toilet. Off late I have observed that it is true to some extent. Probably I’ll be having six sigma type proficiency in doing those 3 things in 15 mins by the end of FC!!!!).

One toilet and 20 male(including 2 staffs)- which drove me out of the guest house to look for an alternative open air spot along the banks of river Suben which was flowing near the guest house. Me along with 3 other male OTs started for the same. We found a small tributary stream to the river which we considered apt for our morning rituals. It has been almost over a decade when I last did something like this. We moved in 4 different directions in 90 degree out of phase to each other. I found a decent place behind a tree. It was basically a good feeling doing something raw like this, one can feel the morning breeze healing every inch of body, it also makes the whole process lot easier as the posture gives extra pressure to the abdomen- some body told, it was divine experience!!! Hmnnn… why not, we were anyways in devbhumi!!!

By the time we were back from the stream, people were having their breakfast at the dhaba. We got ready soon- shoes, cap, sunscreen, waist belt- everything was done. I was handed over some medicines by our group doctor- Shena( She was the treasurer too. Academy wala knows who are all the responsible OTs...). We were the priviledged goup of having the all India topper with us. But frankly speaking she is lot more than that- sweet, pretty, down to earth girl without any air.  Our GL(Malik saab) was busy negotiating with the khachhar(mules) walas. In the trek briefing at academy, we have been given instruction for not taking service of porter or khachhar. But it was an unanimous decision in the group to take khachhar with us. Our heavy rucksacks were tied to the back of the animals. We were never this much happy seeing an animal before. Comments like  ‘ÓMG’ and ‘they are so cute’ were heard coming from the female OTs.

We left Taluka at around 8.15 pm. It was a 14 kms trek to Osla. The group was full of energy. We have been given 2 codless phones to communicate with each other. People with ham radio as their extra curricular module(ECM) were assigned the job i.e. Shiv and Tiwari ji (Abhisek -as we had 2 Tiwaris in our group).

We came across beautiful landscape and fields. People kept on clicking pics.We met some locals on the way. They asked us for medicines. This thing continued till the end of trek!!!. We got a first hand experience of reach of healthcare facilities in rural India. Shena gave medicines and I was doing the job of compounder!!! I thought why didn’t the academy tell about this and they should have given us more medicines so that we could have distributed or held a health camp as we had 2 doctors in our group!!!

Anyways, by this time, some informal groupism started. Some people (who were inherently capable of walking fast!!) led us. 23 nos of OTs is a quite big sample space. One can find different variety of people- some used to speak more and some less.

One of the OTs , Manish who is a very good friend of mine is an inherent sayar, became the star of the trek. We were probably the only trek group who did trekking listening to gazals and sayaris. For every situation , He used to quote Basir Bhadra ( We never heard this name before!!!). The funny part was that nobody could understand that fully. Initially people didn’t tell anything other than ‘wah wah’ but later people started teasing manish as Basir Bhadra. Now He is famous in LBS as Basir Bhadra. He was carrying an old fashioned nokia phone which had innumerable number of old tracks of kishore, lata and likes which according to him were meant to set ‘mahaul’ for evening party. One can imagine, in that almost no man’s land, we were accompanied by Kishore da. Kudos to manish, I mean Basir. Interestingly, battery of that nokia phone lasted for few days where our sleek smart phones were down in 1st day itself.

We were supposed to reach Osla by 2pm but reached at around 4. Had our lunch at the nearby dhaba- roti,aaloo ki sabi and rajma chawal. During our 9 days of trek, this menu was common for both lunch and dinner at all places. We got into the guest house at ‘ Seema’- place where we had our lunch. We were fortunate to get a bed for each one of us with razai. This is something what you say luxury in hills that too during trekking. We had evening nap. By the time we woke up bonfire was ready( credit goes to GL and Gaurang bhai who made sure we get bonfire everywhere we go). We had tea and slowly it became dark. There was no electricity in that place. Moon was bright. Colourful bottles came out of bags for the ‘mahaul’ part.

We decided to play antaskhari. Plan was given by Gaurav Upadhaya- (the guy having awesome interpersonal skills - can be given credit for setting the mood of entire trek. I’ll write about him in some other posts). Antakshari was Girls vs Boys type. Our AGL(assistant group leader) Irina is a repository of hindi movie songs. So competition was hard fought. I observed one thing, girls were mostly singing the 90s wala yash chopra,barjatya and vanshali type and guys were the more vocal who sang varieties starting from ‘mere sajan hai us paar’to ‘yahoo- koi mujhe jungle kahe’ to the gazals!!! Antakshari ended in a tie. We forgot the pain of walking for around 15 kms in hills for 8 odd hours. The group started to gel.... We had dinner(again rajma chawal!!) and went to sleep.