2017: Year of hardwork & hardluck

Learning to fly!
Shore diving in the Tulamben!
Dip in the serene.

This year has been a year of

  1. Shifting Gears
  2. Losing hope
  3. Having hope
  4. Being hit hard
  5. Plummeted into the Connaught place inner circle pillars
  6. Waking up like that woman in those awesome coffee adverts.
  7. Face smashed like those waves at marine drive in July.
  8. Content like in those last shot of every sportswear commercials.
    Basically, balancing the entire awesomeness of hard work and appreciating the madness of hard luck.
    Magic is somewhere in between. Go find yours.

**************
On 1st Jan: Finished Advanced open water diving course with templeadventures.com in Pondicherry.
Was staying with Kipak stays which I found on Airbnb and was a beautiful place to crash.
It had 3 dogs, 2 hens, and a freewheeler jungle cat!
Unfortunately, that place does not exist anymore for homestays.
Feb 10th: Finished Goa Olympic triathlon in 04:20:23 hrs.
Feb 11th: Dived with Dive-Goa at three multiple locations. Details here.

Moved cities with couple of bags and lot of baggage!
Discovered the joy of wings and flying with templepilots.com
Earned my first taste of breeze at 500ft.
Earned my first real paragliding experience at 3000 ft from the tower hill.

Factors for good jogging location

I travel a lot, sometimes for work and most of the times for personal growth, both cases, I love to stick to my work out routine as I definitely can’t stick to my eating habits, at least most of the time.

In most of the cases, there is always that treadmill in the hotel gym which is not motivating enough for a quick jog but then if you are in a place like Bangalore where I was for last ten days, there are ample parks nearby any location of stay for you to just pick up your running gear and hit the dirt.

 

But like any other big city parks, you need to be aware of few things, tried putting it together here, do add your inputs in the comment section for everyone’s benefit.

1. Traffic: A jogger should not risk any accidents while jogging. If one is compelled to jog on the roads, he/she should make sure there are proper footpaths for jogging.

2. Jogging surface: The jogging surface has to be fairly even, otherwise, there are good chances of spraining your feet. Even stepping on seeds or fruits on the footpath can result in sprains. So, when jogging, always look for a flat surface, which is mostly available on playing grounds and parks, making them most recommendable for jogging. The hardness of the surface will not matter if you are using good jogging shoes. If you have good shoes, then it will not make any difference whether you jog on grass, concrete or a metalled road.

3. Stray Dogs: Dogs are sometimes a nuisance. They might chase you even when you least expect. You can be most susceptible to dog chases when you are jogging alone, when it is dawn (or dark) or when you are small enough to be ambushed. Dogs become especially dangerous when it is dark and you are alone. So, make sure there are at least a few people around where you are jogging. Or if you need to jog early in the morning, carry a baton with you for protection.

4. Circuit length: The circuit length is very important for the motivation of a jogger. As a convention, the circuit/lap length should not be too less or too big. The average cricket/football ground lap is around 400 metres, which is perhaps the most optimal. If you are a good jogger, then 10 rounds of the ground will give you good satisfaction. You can even increase the laps according to your capability. You can run short laps as well if you are particular only about the time you jog. It is, however, advisable to ignore your timings while doing laps because it causes unnecessary pressure. I had tried keeping time but it makes one tired sooner. ONE SHOULD JOG FOR GOOD HEALTH AND NOT FOR BEATING ONE’S OWN RECORD.

5. Trees: Pollution is an important factor. In an urban space, there is pollution almost everywhere. But there is mitigation if there are ample trees. Make sure there is greenery where you jog.

6. Particulate matter: Dust and particulate matter can cause lung problems like bronchitis and asthma. While finding a jogging track, see that it has no polluting industries or traffic nearby. If the track is a ground, then it should be grassed. Otherwise, there would be a lot of dust floating around that could harm the lungs. For this, the concrete surface of a park would be preferable.

7. Time to jog: The best time to jog would be early in the morning when there are fewer people and traffic. The best time to start would be from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. The body remains fresh during this time which allows one to jog for greater distances. An evening time jog is not equally as good. I have experienced that jogging any time in the evening makes one tired sooner due to the day-long work exhaustion and also the pollution.

8. Place of jogging: Large parks and grounds would be the best places to jog. Parks would have more people moving around, but there would be less dust and more trees. It would be least advisable to jog on roads and footpaths in Bangalore and other Indian cities especially due to traffic and stray dogs.

 

Have a good run!

 

 

 

100 Days of Running

I run to breathe the fresh air.
I run to excel.
I run to savour the high which kicks in.
I run because I cannot yell. 
I run to escape the ordinary. 
People may think so, but I am no rebel. 

I penned these words down when I was ten. Gosh, what a dramatic kid I must have been. Unlike girls of my age (the ones I grew up with), I was a sporty and quiet child. It could very well have evolved after realising, that I was faster than most boys I played with. The sense of winning and being the odd one in the pool excited me. And in the process I bumped into my first love – running! I took to running as fish does to water. (For reference, when I speak of running I only mean it in context with speed, not stamina.) 

I have been at it since the time I remember. Consequently, a variety of outdoor sports felt like a piece of cake. But amidst all, running was the constant companion. Regardless of how things were around, it always made everything slightly more vibrant. It may have been difficult on the legs but was always easy on the mind. I literally ran my way through academic life. Excuse me for the lame joke! All in all, it felt like it was a relationship which could withstand the test of time. And boy, I was wrong and how!

After graduation, days turned into weeks, weeks into months and before I knew it six years had gone by. In hindsight, I got so carried away with things and people around me that I lost sense of the fundamental thing which made me happy. Not just usual happy, it was insurmountable, relentless, irrevocable and overwhelming happiness. Why would anyone let go of something like this from their lives? How stupid!

Call it the lack of motivation in life or desperation to get out of the shitty frame of mind, I went back on track earlier this year. The idea was not to create any record or even continue for x number of days, it was simply the urge to get back to something I used to love. I was not even sure if I knew how to run anymore. Okay, I may have exaggerated a bit there but the anxiety was real. I no longer had the comfort and familiarity of surroundings. I was not at the ground in front of my home but was rather at the brink of Marine Drive. I was no longer the lone warrior of my fantasy but just a timid wannabe runner among a sea of jersey clad athletes. A fleeting thought in my head was shouting, “Abort! Abort!” but I guess I was too deep into it to swim out. I convinced myself that I would just jog for a bit and go home. The brain seemed to have fallen prey by then. With flickering joy on one side and self-doubt on the other, I managed to cover a kilometre. If only I could tell you the number of times I wanted to withdraw midway! 

Without giving much thought to it, I posted a story on Instagram on my way back home. I casually wrote Day 1 along with it and by the second half of the day, I didn’t even remember it. All I could feel was a tiny burst of joy all through the day after a passable reunion with the first love of my life.

Such was the everlasting joy, that I did go for a run the next day but forgot to post anything on social media. That was never the agenda, to begin with but so was the jubilation to run again that it engulfed any possible secondary thought.

By Day 5, I think I was getting close to get my mojo back but the negotiations were still on.

By Day 13, I felt like I had arrived. I could feel the energy in my feet. My calves were in some killer form. Every stride I took felt stronger than before. I was getting my speed back. I was clocking in a kilometre in five minutes. I did not care what the respectable record was but my happiness knew no bounds. It was no less than a homecoming!

The following days felt like a piece of cake. I was nearly doing a 3-5 kilometre each day, depending on my schedule. For a sprinter like me, each kilometre felt like a personal victory. From barely being able to breathe after an average 400 metre race to doing a freaking kilometre was unbelievable to me.

By the end of Day 28 – 30, there was hardly any road around Fort and Colaba which I was not aware of. The desperation to get back to running had transformed into a strong will to keep the relationship alive. The days I missed out on the mornings, I compensated in the evenings or even at nights. There were days when my knees felt a little sore or the heels felt some stress. I was naive to ignore them a couple of times but then as the days progressed, I lessened the distance covered. I just did not want to lose the rhythm. In hindsight, I was probably scared to let go of it all.

The journey till Day 50 and up till Day 60 was rather smooth. Barring a few issues here and there, I felt like I was in best form of my life. I was covering a 5 kilometre on regular basis and that too in less than half an hour. On days I felt strong, I would even go up till 7-8 kilometre. I was impressed by myself. It was a feeling like no other. But it came with an expiration date, I guess. 

If the highs were great, the lows were terribly low on this journey. The stretch between Day 64 to Day 74 – 77 was just the worst. I think I had hit my saturation point. Regardless of how much I tried, I was not able to better my timing or pace. It could be possible that I was being slightly greedier and more impatient with myself. After all, it was all new to me. I was used to do a non-fussy 100 metre sprints. After years of doing that, I was suddenly doing something which was a completely different ball game. I remember whining to a few friends. Many of them suggested that I should let go of this streak. But I guess I had gone a little too far in my head to retrieve. That was it, I guess. The impulse to complete a century was the new temptation.

From thereon, I was not running to break any record or better my timing. I had already surpassed any expectations I had from myself. I had built my stamina from nothing to a respectable something.

The last 20 days were about keeping the same momentum alive. It could have been the temptation to score a ton but I was already way ahead of what I had set out to achieve. The pressure was replaced with just utter fun. On some fine days, I aced my way to a mighty 10 kilometre within 50 minutes while on others, I did a reputable 5 kilometre in half an hour or so.

I rested for a few days after 100 days of running because why not! I still run although I do not document it everyday. Because to start out with, the agenda was to get back to what I love the most! I guess years later, I still am that dramatic kid at heart. I strongly feel, one cannot help but, romanticise things one feels strongly about. I know no other way.

Read this somewhere a couple of days ago – One run can change your day, many runs can change your life. Give it a go, it is worth the sweat!

APPI Paragliding Course: Prep day

Doing my APPI (Association of Paragliding Pilots and Instructors) license course with temple pilots in Kamshet is the culmination of what I picked up this season. Flying!

Camwati. adventurecamera+relfectors

 

Few things to get jet packed into my kit is|are,

  1. SUNSCREEN: Save your skin, Wolverine couldn’t. Mine is Nivea spf50, anything around 50 is safe for Indian conditions.
  2. Pick up your reflector shades and a cool scarf, I picked up mine from http://www.decathlon.in
  3. Pack your all kind of books, log books, temple guidebook aka manual, fiction/non-fiction(parawaiting is a curse you will love if you feel the need to slow down, trust me it’s a real thing)
  4. Trekking|Hiking shoes is a good addition to your kit, you can find some cool one at the local decathlon stores or on Flipkart.
  5. Check wind conditions to avoid surprises, I do this from the windfinder app.
  6. Pull on your go-pro and get ready to swing!

Hoping to do this at #Pavna lake 😀

APPI Paragliding course: Fly friends

I took a break of a day to be at work to fix an “AVENGERS-INFINITY WAR, marketing world’s big bang just released” and with it, all our target group were unveiled. 

Heading back to base early in the morning,

Rushing from home to Temple pilots school was a crazy drive through the city and the picturesque Dehu road cantonment area.

A quick stop at a tapri for cutting and some vada pav. After being replenished, I made a dash for the base.

On reaching the base, Jeetu sir a.k.a Jets had already started APPI reserve(parachute) simulation, I joined in to only realise that I have done this part earlier, but in this sport, every lesson is a learning.

Curing the harness is a beautiful experience, checking for your exact body positioning is an exercise every art, craft and sports lover will appreciate the connections one makes with their beloved tool.

In this case, one’s life depends on the preparedness of the flight.

Also, today was the day when my favourites at the camp were going wrapping up their courses and heading back home.

With a heavy heart, we made them pack the tempo again for one last time 😀

The best about the bus ride to the flying site was the pitstop at Rangoli restaurant where we would get the best sugarcane juice one could gather on a hot day like today!

I have no clue why I have no picture of this landmark of a place. *Will add up if I get one*

Quenching the thirst for that moment we moved ahead to the new flying spot where the wind was a bit cross(North West) and we had to wait up a bit for the gust to settle down a bit.

That also calls for parawaiting shots!

 

Passer by dummy caught on camera!

After a short wait, we flew and boy we flew like a charm!

A good flight of 45 min and speed bar manoeuvre, i headed for the landing spot for a “close to spot landing” spot!

Packing scenes like these.

Ajinkya figuring out his packing ends! 😀

 

Shrishti figuring out her packing end!

Ali figured his packing end I guess!

Packed!

A quick packing of glider and putting them all back in the bag, I started hunting for my favourite people and snack!

Kaka getting us chai-poha daily was the only motivation for me to land! 😀

Bidding him adieu! Om Beiber – the grown up kid!

Col Danvir, pleasure knowing you sir 🙂

Wrapped up the day with some kickass biryani for dinner, was too hungry to click a pic!

Leaving you with this!

 

Hiraeth

Came across this word four days back and it has stayed with me so much that I decided to write about it here.

There is separation and then there is nostalgia.

Something of a longing is Hiraeth.

Why do you trek?

So why do people go for treks?

Why do they risk their lives to conquer an unseen mountain?

Just for the sake of victory?


To prove that they can achieve anything or is it just a healthier time pass than watching a movie on a weekend?


Those are hardly the reasons. Treks transform you. You come to know yourself but not by looking within, it is by losing yourself. On a trek, you hardly remember who you are. You hardly remember what you do in the city for a living. You for some time let go of all the people associated with you. On a deeper level, your basic characteristic traits do not matter. All your regrets and your achievements go hide deep in your backpack. The mountain does not care whether you are the CEO of a multinational or a local sherpa. After walking for some time in nature you lose your identity and become one with d mountains. You are no longer the insecure feeble stubborn human being. You are one with the wind. You are one with the mist. You are the birds. You are the greens. You are the freshness. You are alive. Somehow nothing else matters, your work, your relationships, nothing. All that matters is the next step. It could give you a firm footing and confidence to move ahead or it can lead you to a fifty-foot fall. In that decisive moment, you are alive. More alive than ever. That’s when you completely lose yourself and realize who you truly are. Each moment reveals newer potentials. You swim across unknown waters of your soul. Through falling you realize that you have the strength to get up. Through bruising, you realize that you have the power to be healed. Through being alone you realize your own freedom. In the everyday routine of life, all of us forget who we truly are. In fact being on a trek is one of the very few times when we actually remember!

Dive fun in Pondicherry

Travelling to Pondicherry, you need to go scuba with fun people of Temple adventures,
The coral reef is man made but the lionfish and cuttlefish you sight are absolutely natural.

APPI paragliding course: Study day

Experience is the best teacher, but let the other guy be the one who flies through the rotor.

The day started with a lot of reading and studying, ensuring I get the weather chapters right!

The weather is one of the most important aspects of flying, considering the possibility of launching-flying-landing is all dependent on the wind conditions, you better know your mark.

Geography.

Keep learning!

With the early lunch done and the Sun rising up hard and strong, we moved to the hill top.

 

 

Packing the tempo to the brim with flying and kiting glider.

While making a good 60 min drive to the flying site more fun, Tarim played some good Bollywood music.

https://youtu.be/kvsgJV1r0Kc

Reaching the spot, winds were a bit cross, so we waited for a bit and while we waited, dabbled in some good old kiting.

Colourful BGD glider.

With the wind placed right, we suited up for taking off from old launch area but even that wind turned out to be a bummer, we mushroomed and moved quickly to the new launch area and within minutes hit the skies with full vengeance.

A couple of hours of uneventful soaring is what I wanted and instead what I got was a lesson of a lifetime!

We were up in the air and considerable amount of traffic(gliders) was in sight, we were following the ridge rules (set of 4 rules to follow while flying off a cliff) suddenly on my right, I see Danvir sir moving in front of me waving a big HELLO, at that point it didn’t look much of a trouble, we got back to focussing on our respective flights and enjoying the view from the top.

After a good 45 min of flying, I approached for landing in regular figure of eights and landed close to the spot.

On landing, these two village lads joined in helping me pack the glider,

Kishan & Vinayak, eager to help and learn!

I packed and reached out to Danvir sir, we both knew the importance of that meaningful man to man conversation and exchange of fear we both had that moment.

It is always good fun to catch up on co-pilots on the ground but this interaction with Colonel Danvir Singh sir would be etched in both our minds for long.

Catching up on a breath.

 

Found my sweet spot on the ground with packed glider giving me back support and chai-poha for a company, it was bliss.

 

Final evening shot from the site.

Ohh wait, the final shot has to be of Tarim’s innovative way of relaxing while heading back to base, he lunged himself into the back of the truck and snuggled into the pack of gliders.

Tarim and his relaxation methods.

Over and out.

Mountains or The Beach?

Why do I need to choose either, why can’t I have both?

Nature is for all, I choose both.

My reason to pick each of these magical worlds.

Early trekking days in the western ghats.

Beach days in #Pondicherry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountains:

When you think you know nothing, at the lowest of one’s existence, the bottom of the feeder pits, ready to be eaten alive by that goliath of that beast called self-doubt.

Go climb a mountain, hike that trail, trek that curve.

Pitch your tent, light your own fire, boil that water. Take a sip and repeat this in your head

Duke’s nose point near #Lonavala

“I just climbed the mighty mountains, I can definitely….”

What I say is,

“If you can conquer mother nature’s biggest landmark, I guess you can get over that messy relationship, abusive boss, monotonous life cycle, boring desk job, stand up to the daily mental abuse I have to go to, cause I can”

I CAN get over everything I want to!

Skiing clears your head and spirit. #SolangValley

Works for me always. Always.

Beach:

Swimming in an open pool of water is something one can only experience!

When you are doing okay in life, when you are trying to find a new way of life, searching for that game-changing thought, looking for that spark which is missing from your heap of dried leaves.

The autumn in your life is searching for its spring, head to the beach or better, jump into the ocean.

The calmness and vastness of the mighty ocean will speak to you in a language which you will be able to comprehend only when you want to, remember what you seek is seeking you.

What you want the world to do for you, the universe wants you to take a 100% go at it!