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In which trupz says Travel helps builds character

In the last decade, I have made so many friends who love to travel! Some of them travel often, some of them travel together as a couple, some solo and some travel not as frequently as they would like to. But, if there is one thing that is common among them, it is that they are ‘different’. No, they are normal human beings, but they choose to think different about LIFE and everything around them in general. This got me thinking, why? Why are they different and what makes people who travel stand out from the crowd? Eventually, I came to conclude that traveling and exploring new places helps develop your personality and adds to your character, here are some reasons why:

1. Travelling gets you to shake out of your comfort zone

Dalai Lama has said, “Once a year go someplace you’ve never been before.” Very few realize that traveling does not mean collecting travel stamps on your passport but it means to gain new experiences. There is a thrill in traveling to a new place. For me personally, right from taking the flight or train to reaching the actual place, every milestone is thrilling. Every journey has its own flavor and that’s what makes it special. When you travel to a new place, at first it is unknown, a couple of days spent in a new place and it all starts becoming familiar, the air, the surrounding, the people start feeling known and you begin to fit in. Learning to communicate with absolute strangers, walking in a lane you have never before, trying a new dish or even participating in some cultural activities in some way force you out of your comfort zone to do or try something different. You often find yourself in never before situations when you travel and that’s the true fun part.

2. Travel to learn something new

In school, I remember reading about Hsuen Tsang, a Chinese scholar who traveled extensively in India. Traveling teaches you much more than what you would learn from a classroom or your job. For some of us who are students of LIFE, traveling is our only EDUCATION. Thanks to the internet, you have all the information at your disposal. Until you don’t experience what you read first hand, you are still left wanting. Don’t get me wrong, when I say learn, I don’t only mean learn about the place, you learn more about yourself also.

There are so many beautiful places to see around the world! The ancient relics and monuments are the living remnants of history, as we know it. Travel makes you more open-minded to explore and experience new things. Learning about different cultures, food, history and the people. I’ve been amazed by some of the people I have met on my travels, their stories and the experiences they have shared have helped me realize a lot about myself.

3. Traveling is good to be able to disconnect and reflect

In our constant and relentless effort to be connected with everything and everyone, we have forgotten that we have the option to disconnect. Whether it is social media, television or other distractions, the need to know and keep up with everything is so strong that it has engulfed our personal space, time and become a routine.

Travel helps me break this routine. When I am traveling I like to imagine the world without cell phones and Internet. So my first instinct is to buy a map of the place I am going to then rely on Google maps. Traveling slows things down, giving you time for self-exploration and introspection. Travel helps to listen to your instincts and act on them. Away from crowds, familiar surroundings and away from distractions helps me put things into perspective.

Most of us living in cities are overwhelmed keeping up with the expectations of big city life! Being at 10000ft, in the cold winter of the Himalayas, having to wait for a good 30 minutes only to be able to drink a cup of warm water made me realize how taken for granted these luxuries are for us in cities. A sunset with splashing colors or viewing millions of stars under a clear sky, one realizes these are the rarities of life we have forgotten to appreciate in comparison to the man-made grandeur.

4. Traveling taught me to do the best with what I have

Even the best of plans can go awry in an instant! Traveling comes with its set of problems, missing flights, losing baggage or being lost yourself. How you handle them all while being in unprecedented territory helps you grow as a person. There is only so much one can plan and be careful about! Traveling though is not about certainty, its what you do and how you react to a given situation that differentiates a catastrophe from an adventure.

My trip to Ladakh a few years back was one such adventure where catastrophe turned into an adventure of a lifetime. The group was stuck in a village called Rumtse a few 100km before Leh. A small village, Rumtse had room for maybe 300 people, but because of a landslide, a huge part of the road was literally washed away and now close to 1000 people were stuck. We had to spend the night in someone’s kitchen. 6 people with our luggage in a room which was no more than 10ft x 10ft. Would you believe this is one the most famous travel story told and all 6 of us reminisce about the incident? That night we all learned a lot about each other, our tolerance, ability to adapt, our problem-solving skills and who snores the most :P. The positive that came out of it was that despite the slight roadblock in Rumtse, everyone wanted to carry on further to the trip and remaining 13 days were most memorable.

5. Travel and learn to manage your expectations 

Someone has said, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey!”. Each travel journey is different and extremely personal. In the very same place, on the very same path, at the same moment,  different individuals have different experiences. At times you become aware of your own strengths and capabilities, and sometimes you have to come to terms with your limitations.

So where are you planning to travel next?

Check my travel-related posts on the Travelblawghh

In which Aditrupz went to the Gliding Center at Hadapsar, Pune

Gliding center at Hadapsar, Pune

Soon after misadventures of paragliding, I was told about the Gliding Center at Hadapsar, Pune by a dear friend P. She told me you only had to go register your names there before 9 am on any Sunday and it had minimum fees for it too, only Rs. 187/- plus taxes.

This was super exciting, the Gliding center at Hadapsar was so close to home and the costs were so cheap that the following weekend itself, on 6th March we decided to go. Left from home packed with all anti sun gear and lots of water and fruits, we reached the Gliding center at Hadapsar at around 9.00 am. The sign in register already had 18 names before us and we were numbers 19 and 20. In the hangar, we saw the glider planes parked. They were 6 in number, as usual, the counting in my head began, I assumed that if all 6 were out, we would be in the 3rd round of flights that will happen. Much to my amazement, although “Strictly No Photography here” signs were all over the place, careless onlookers went all out with their cams, I did not, at least not within the hangar. Around 10.30 am we were asked to move towards the airfield while planes were getting ready. It is a huge task to move the gliders from the hangar to the take-off zone. The glider is trolleyed behind a van while someone has to walk the length of the road holding up one wing.

How do the gliders at the gliding center at Hadapsar operate?

Gliding is a wind dependent activity, it is absolutely necessary that wind is in the opposite direction of the take-off. These gliders are all motor-less and flown with help of a winch, the winch is connected to the nose of the glider and long rope connects it to a vehicle like a jeep etc which a few hundred MTS away. The vehicle pulls the winch rope and launches the glider skyward.

Readying for Take off

 

Take Off

The pilot’s capabilities of managing this machine in the air are put to test when the wench disengages and glider goes into a free fall for 3 – 4 seconds, it is most awesome feeling you get, till you are back to normal again. The gliders are only 2 seaters, for obvious reasons the controls for the co – flier i.e I in this case are removed. After we settled into the skies, there was no sound of the motor and a pristine silence which echoed inside the planes pit. As land below began to fly by, I could actually gauge the speed at which we were going, it was quite a pleasant ride. It’s a different flying experience when you can see the ground, the one man space inside the plane is hardly a comfort zone and more like free flying. Ariel view of Pune was extravagant. The landscape marked with buildings with Sahyadris completing the backdrop.

Ariel view - Pune city

Ariel view – Pune city, Hadapsar, Magarpatta locality

 

Inside the Glider

What to expect at the Gliding center at Hadapsar

My Joy ride lasted about 7 – 10 minutes. The landing was bumpy but smooth and for the first time I realized the meaning of the phrase “Brace Yourself” – the descend was super and for me the highlight of the entire experience. There is a real skill in maneuvering these planes since they are all on manual control. No fancy gadgets to guide you around and the pilot cannot put this machine into Auto mode. Being able to read the controls, familiarize yourself with geographical conditions and identifying landscapes are critical for being safe Up in the Air. On the whole a super experience and worth every bit of waiting in sun and praying for wind God’s to make this happen.

Gliding center at Hadapsar: Google Map location

In which Trupz says Welcome to my world – Pune

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There was a time, when daily hustle bustle of the big city, engulfed life. There were timings to be kept for waking up and dozing off, alarm clocks were matched to train station timings, and 5 minutes here and there would mean losing out your favorite seat. These were small things that mattered so much; that simply being out in the morning to breathe some fresh air seemed like some sort of a luxury. All exercise and catching of breath happened either running for the bus or rushing to the train. Climbing up and down the foot over bridge and jostling the crowd was daily massage I did not sign up for. Thats life in the fast lane in Mumbai for you. Long train travel across suburban Mumbai to reach work and even longer queues for buses and auto rickshaws to get back home. At a mere 28 years i was already exhausted. Unable to give enough time to family, unable to maintain a social life and more importantly unable to give time to myself.

Then life took a turn for the better, the start-up AD was working for decided to move to Pune! Initially it spelt disaster for me, my company had no offices in Pune and how long AD decided to stay there was unclear, whether this was permanent move, would that mean changing jobs for me – all the balls were in the air and I could not afford to drop even one. I decided to stay back in Mumbai initially. The logistics had to be sorted out about this whole Pune move, career wise, finance wise and obviously family wise. Both our parents were extremely supportive, having been through such times themselves they understood my concerns and his desire to take some risks and backed us. The job hunt for me in Pune was not very promising, with the recession etc and most companies on backfoot for hiring. Moving from Mumbai was just not an option. A very informal discussion with my manager led to a solution I had not dreamed of. The company would allow me to work from home, as long as all working criteria were met and the work did not suffer. I would need to travel to Mumbai as when required. All in all it meant a green signal for me to move to Pune, and a very unpleasant 3 months of separation would come to an end.

Home Sweet Home

In all this time, I managed only 3 trips to Pune, and was impressed with what i saw. It was just like any other emerging metropolis. My image of a sleepy old town, with very typical Puneri folk was wiped out in an instant. My first travel to Pune landed me directly into Kalyani Nagar – skim past this area and you are reminded of South Mumbai in an instant. A very upcoming and developing suburb, it took to my liking instantly and we decided our next abode would definitely be in this area. Limited with our finances, we settled for a 1BHK flat in an old society – but it had a vantage point. The location was superb, literally stones throw away from the Mall and multiplexes, biggest restaurant in area was across the street, all consumables were at arms length and everything else only at walkable distance. My initial grimace for not finding a house with a view disappeared within days when I figured out what advantages the house had ;P.

Silhouette – kalyani nagar backdrop of a sunset

Life began slow here, we arrived with bare minimum furniture, just enough things to survive. Most of what were needed laptops, books, Television, mattress, cupboards and gas stove. Thats it I thought to myself, the first night i closed my eyes – this will be home. I had taken a couple of days off just to set up everything in the new house. Cleaning up, unpacking, cooking it all had to be fitted in while managing work. With travel out of picture I suddenly had more time on my hand, so I cooked regularly. Exploring the new living area was a lot of fun too – but auto rickshaw meters in Pune were running faster than my heartbeat, so i took to walking around, it is best way of exploring the place :). Acclimatizing to neighbourhoods like Koregaon park and its numerous lanes, the camp area and of course the  temptations of the malls, purchasing new tid bits for home, my time was consumed by these. My now broken camera along with me walked many a sultry evening absorbing Pune. The setting sun shedding light on new avenues in life.

AD took me to office one day, I took to liking his colleagues immediately, some I had met before in Cleartrip and some I met for first time. They have a very close bonding, dinners at our place and hanging out became part of many a evenings. His boss did not mind me working out of their office too, they had enough space to lend me a table which was a very friendly gesture. Someday’s working alone from home often made me quite lonely. I had begun to miss the whole work atmosphere, fun with colleagues and office outings etc. Chai and coffee breaks were too by myself and not very enjoyable. Soon working out of AD’s office became a regular thing, atleast once a week, as on Thursday there was a power outage for more than 6 – 7 hours. I did not miss my own office so much then, as we went out for lunch with his office folk and there was always some or the other happening there to keep me entertained. Watching them work from sidelines, often gave me a kick too. In  their initial days I did pull an all nighter with them a couple of times. Pizzas and Red Bulls were great companions then.

Fun times at IB

Soon after we moved here, a few other friends from Mumbai also did – they too decided to set shop here and I began to miss Mumbai a lot less. Pune is traveller’s paradise, except for a brief spell in Summer, you can travel around through out the year. There are forts, hill stations all which are within reach of Pune. City is decorated with historical monuments from Shivaji’s times. Our first travel was to temple at Parvati. Then venturing out to Sinhagad, Aga Khan Palace, Panshet, Kamshet lakes and Pavana Dam. I had always pestered AD for not being able to trek, but we got an opportunity after coming to Pune, Quasi planned out a 4 day trek to Harishchandragad and before that I managed a trek by myself with ShikharVedh gang to Tornagad. The travel to office was limited to 5 Km for AD, he took to cycling there, the spell lasted a good few months till monsoon set in. Rains in Pune are wonderful, the place completely transpires into a green blanket and weather is nothing short of European romance.

The Naka Boys re-unite

Many people had warned me of how I would not be able to fit in and be out of place, and how Pune does not offer a social life, but it all proved wrong. Pune has some of the best eating joints, from the very Puneri Shreyas on Apte Road to Bedekar misal. A wide variety of Parsi food from Dorabjees to Zamu’s. Koregain Park is filled with little gems of places with the most surprising cousine – Our favorite has been Arthurs theme and Tertulia’s. Not to mention the little micro brewery which makes a lot of noise on social circuit called Doolally’s. Never did i get a chance to enjoy such a variety in such a short span of time. FC road and JM roads are a foodies haven, with popular joints like Vaishali and Good Luck Cafe to gorge at.

Fields of Good

On of the best things to have happened is that I got back to my hobbies, writing and photography. The more we traveled the more stories there were to tell.  Desire and passion to write were back and i was slowly mastering the art of photography. I got active on twitter and made some very nice twitter pals- it was a totally new experience of socializing. Suddenly I did not feel so exhausted, there was always something that kept me busy. While all this was happening, work kept its pace up and did not hamper career front, I got my promotion and my raise and things were looking good. Friends kept visiting and so did family. The home began to take shape as more and more “things” came into the house. Walls got photo frames and shelves,mattress got a new bed, windows got new curtains, the cycle is now replaced by a motorbike and life as we knew it changed for the better.

We still visit Mumbai often, but we long to be back in Pune. The city has taken my heart and Home is where the Heart is ….. We both are still pursuing our dreams and desires, and working equally hard to fulfill them. But in the midst of all this, life in Pune has given us that little cocoon to take a breather once in a while and I still have some time left to LIVE a little bit more.

In which Trupz says THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC

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Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing

Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me

– <i> ABBA</i>
 

Music is the best friend ONE has (yes in this case too ONE is ME), the songs and tunes to suit every mood, to heal every wound, to feel every emotion. It describes love as well as rage and often found as the best analogy to define sadness.

In my life I have been greatly influenced by music, all thanks to very important people in my life who have helped me explore the various facets and faces music has.

Early childhood was ruled by the radio these were the pre – FM days, i remember waking at 7.30 am to the sounds of “Finolex pipes ads” that ran on the Vividh Bharathi.  The “Cibaca Geetmala” presented by Ameen Sayani was where my early education of film music began. These were the days when Hindi songs were just Hindi songs and not Bollywood numbers. The title track of the movie used to be more popular than the ITEM numbers. So I caught on to the bug of Filmi Gaane and soon began following the likes of Rafi, Asha, Lata, Kishore, Manna Dey, Hemant Kumar et all. In our house these names were taken as though all of them almost lived with us. Since downloading was not an option at that time and buying HMV LP records was still a rich mans muse, we had tons of cassettes on which songs were recorded from other cassettes often borrowed from friends and acquaintances. I owe a lot to my father for nurturing music in me. Although I have not become a singer or a musician myself, I have learnt to appreciate music. Slowly I graduated to the more serious phase of Ghazals, although the Urdu language was new and alien to me, the soft sounds and grandeur that I felt in pronunciation attracted me. Soon I was on a spree of Jagjit Singh, Chitra Singh, Pankaj Udhas,Ghulam Ali etc. I remember how startled my mother was when i asked her what was the meaning of “Paimana” !!! Music was the reason I was attracted to learning different languages and understanding their meanings.

Micheal Jackson was someone who my brother always listened to on the player. What this person looked like in real life and what the MOONWALK was, I saw only when satellite television was available in India. Just like MJ there were many other talented folk who made some awesome English music, so early school years were dominated by Micheal Jackson, George Michael, Madonna, Phil Collins, Billy Joel and the likes. Most of them were just names I didnt know much about them except for MJ he was a phenomena. Soon the Vividh Bharathi was replaced by sounds of rock, when my brother decided to literally bring the house down with Metallica, Nirvana, Pink Floyd and U2, Dire Straits. I was too young to understand that music then, most of it was pure noise (pardon me), just like morning prayers my brother had taken it quite seriously to educate all of us with Alternate Rock, Heavy Metal etc. My mother being the most defiant student amongst us all. No one could stop her when she decided to do some head banging, the head in this case my Brother :).  I thank my bro entirely for introducing me to this genre very early on, there have been some really fun times we had.Through the whole girlie phase of life, it was the boybands that rocked my life, so BOYZONE, BACKSTREET BOYS, N’SYNC, WESTLIFE and of course PETER ANDRE and Enrique. MTV and FM radio had made an entrance and now a 24 hour non stop dedicated channel to music available to watch not just listen. I got a chance to be introduced to many other forms of world music like RAP, JAZZ, COUNTRY but my first love still remains ROCK.

My mother has been largely responsible for installing the radio in me, She always had the radio on in her kitchen and she she gleefully shifted among the shortwave frequencies. Old hindi and marathi songs, including BhavGeet I absorbed were thanks to her. Many a afternoon were spent with me returning from school to play Antakshari with her, and this was our favorite pass time on nights when electricity went off. This habit rubbed off me well, those graduation years of late night studies were made more interesting with radio by my side, I almost looked forward to that solitude time of studying and music.

The musician and his muse – Adi with Emily – courtesy Quasi

The Exodus – Raju, Barve, Adityo, Rajesh (clockwise)

Music is and will remain an integral part of my life. Many a dates and dinner conversations have gone by with Adi trying to explain the fineries of Hindustani Classical music to me. I knew from early on that the person i share my life with has to be someone who shares an equal interest in music, little did i know then that this person would also be a talented musician himself. my first encounter with Adi was in our college when he was participating for a college competition, all geared up in traditional batik kurta, calm and composed, deep in thought with his muse, Emily (the Sitar). I knew it the first time I laid eyes on him that he was the ONE, we later found that the ONE he was in many other ways also. i always liked and listened to classical music, but was not so closely associated with it. Most of the years all festive mornings began with Shehnai from Bismillah Khan or to the sounds of bhajans and abhangs of Bhimsen Joshi, all that passive learning and liking, I had finally found someone who could share my interests.

Band of girls – Me, Pallavi, Ananya, Harshika, Pronoti and Ridhima

Strangely, my close friends too are like me, who listen to appreciate music in all its forms. Better part of college life was spent outside of college (nothing new about that), with these blokes, Rajesh, Barve, Raju and Adie dressing up for Exodus – their fusion band. And my friend Pallavi and myself almost did a Phd in Antakshari during our college fest – Utsav. Music was among the many other things we all got a bit high on. Walkman’s and discman’s in our college days were a rage, pretty much like the MP3 players and Ipods are  now. Countless amount of songs and CD’s had been exchanged amongst all of us, it was the advent of Internet and PCs in homes and we all made sure to make use of all our resources adequately well!! Thankfully I have also got married into a family which not only appreciates but lives and breathes music. It is defiant correct to say that music runs in the family, and I am now part of it.

My companion on many a long walks and journeys, my caffeine on tiresome work days, my energy to pump up for exercise and my recluse when I want to disappear into my inner world, my best friend at all times ……

I wish to thank everyone in my life, my family, friends, musicians and artists for creating this beautiful song of life for me… 🙂

Happy Diwali!!