What happens when it rains gems.

Oh! What a majestically looking surreal sky

Falling gems is a pleasant perplexing surprise

Yet we fail to fathom inherent vice

When it falls on the head of my little princess

She picks it and plucks it to her cute shiny dress

Traders simply settle it to evade cess

My moody Maria wife ain’t impress

She wishes to eat all those falling pearls

I have no clue,why she suddenly swirls

My sister is decorating them to her bizarre bag

My father is skeptic of this unexpected downpour

My mother is frantically furious, a massive uproar

My neighbour runs in with basket,bullishness and boys

As if collecting gems is her only vocation of choice

Random uncles lose their restraint and poise

Suddenly these gems seem more valuable than Rolls Royce

Oh!what a strange funny scene,extraordinary,unseen

Everyone is running crazy from old to middle to teen

For me,it’s magical,hilarious and absurd to witness this glorious scene

Ode to my gritty blue bag

Blue,bold and bright

Gritty grips,on shoulders,lovingly light

A loyal friend,A new flashy trend,a means to an end

Carries my essentials as I climb mighty mountains

Soaks up rains,brushes off dust,rarely relents

Perfect companion for my back as I roll down the hill

Smooth as a kiss,admirable in my thrill

In Office,my adventure field runs

My gritty blue bag,reliable and never shuns

Carrying my glasses,towel and masks

This seemingly miniature form,effortlessly multi-tasks

As I move out in Sun or try crazy courageous muddy run

My cute blue bag,always a part of fun

Brisk bruises,bold battles with mud and snow

Like our emotions,this one,fades on every low

Selfless love without a hint of desire

Just an ordinary wash and ready to fire

No downtime,always obliges in meanest of weather

It makes me feel,I can fly without a wing or feather

My blue,bold and boisterous bag,always with me,never lag.

Chasing Butterflies on Mountains

4th May 2019:Sleep deprived yet filled with hope and anticipation,I set out for my next adventure.Mumbai Airport always feels a dreamy place during this early morning hustle. I had my usual coffee at rather unusual place.The price was unusually high considering the taste,but that`s the specialty of Airport drinks.It was a special day,for I was about to begin a special journey with a special person to a special place.Excited,nervous and ecstatic all in the same breath,I completed my check-in formalities in a flash.Fact of the month-Staff at Mumbai Airport are far more efficient,polite and helpful than at Delhi(after a decade of travel experience and close honest observation).

I boarded my favorite Airbus 320 with semi comfortable seats.They say,celebrities put a lot of efforts on Airport looks(they hardly put any effort on acting in movies though).You are mistaken.In this modern narcissistic era,Sapiens who regularly fly or act like they are always in air(high flying attitude),do experiment with unwavering energy on airport looks.I was amused by seeing ladies sporting flashy lipstick with over the top golden glasses and men sporting designer kurtaas just to contrast with seat color of their modest looking seat.I observe these cute idiosyncrasies and dream of having another memorable adventure.I plugged in psychedelic music,and in two bleak boring hour,I arrived at Delhi Airport.

Only thing I love about Delhi is it`s Metro connectivity.It is easy,reliable and less risky than Mumbai local trains.I seamlessly changed metro to reach Rajeev Chowk.Rajeev Chowk is a place that shows everything that is wrong with our country-Chaos,Rush and ever expanding population,shamelessly suffocating this beautiful place.Everyone is in a hurry,even I was,to meet this special person.Finally,after traversing miles within the metro,I met her outside Gate No. 6.With a childlike innocence and charm on her face,she looked eager for this unknown adventure.It was her first ever trekking experience and she looked all set with her bold blue backpack,determined spirit and inspiring smile.We both quickly marched through streets of Connaught place to search for a good restaurant.After circling around for quite a while,we finally found an art cafe.Soulful tracks,beautiful paintings and sumptuous food was enough to get us going for our venture.After few hours of crazy conversations,experimental coffee shots and berating Delhi culture,we were jumping in excitement.We reached ISBT to catch a bus to Dehradun scheduled for 10 pm.We reached ISBT at 9 pm and felt we had many light years before we catch our bus.In this deluded state,we sat down on the only seat that was empty.We had our usual tea and accidently bought an unusual book:5 am Club by Robin Sharma.To this date,I wonder why I bought that book or Why did I never woke up at 5 am or Why did Nikki suggest me this gem?

Dehradun has a special place in my heart.We imagined ourself being awestruck by upcoming thrilling Himalayan experience,talked endlessly on human values and bought kachha Mango Candy(it was that phase in our relationship) at 2 am.I made an unsuccessful attempt to sleep and she was already asleep as we reached Doon Station at 5 am.(Sleeping is her passion and overthinking is mine)

Himalayan Experience:I had already trekked once with India hikes and had an incredible experience.Scenes outside Dehradun Station resembled summer fair; families with children, enthusiastic youngsters and spirited older folks were all waiting in excitement.Summer vacation, unlivable city life and newly discovered mountain spirit of Indians was responsible for this grand festival.We had to wait for an hour before we started our journey.My partner was jumping with joy, excitement and bit of nervousness.I assured her of an incredible and beautiful journey.

As we drove over hills, capturing the beauty of Ganga Asi river,breathtaking valleys and mesmerising trees,I felt completely at home.Nature always brings me back to peace.After absorbing pristine sights for few hours,we halted at a small Dhaba(road site eating place in India) for lunch.Just leaving the city and entering hills gives me immense joy.My dream in life was always to chase butterflies on mountains rather than green notes in the city.I wish,someday I achieve this dream.We reached Kaflon campsite around 2 pm.I,my partner(let`s call her Nikki,because she is a total character) and unfamiliar families stepped out with a dream of exploring lower himalayas.After a short circuitos trek up(even this was challenging for Nikki yet she showed grit and anger and climbed with a sarcastic smile).Shining bright yellow tents welcomed us on this awesome day as we saw the leader and his team waving from a distance.

Day 1:Kaflon Campsite:Our trek leader Vijeet welcomed us with welcome drinks.He introduced us to his amazing cook Harpal and his masterchef team. Ever smiling Pankaj bhaiyya was our co-guide.Vijeet made us play an innovative game to help everyone remember each other`s name. I could easily spot few 10 years old genius boys in that game.One of them was indeed remarkable.His name was Adith and he was unabashed,super curious and funny.I,Nikki and Adith had a short trek down the hill in the evening.Boy was indeed a genius rap artist with immense knowledge on history,geography,mountains and almost any subject you can recollect.His prefontal cortex was in advance stage of development.Nikki also had a special talent(apart from sleeping and talking).She invariably finds a serene,beautiful and perfect spot to simply get lost in nature.Yes, she found it in a flash and we could absorb the vibrant air,graceful aura of Mountains and mystical lights from the sky.We quietly listened to chirping of birds,soothing sound of water from the lake and ever majestic colorful sky.Campsite was sheer delight and with her it was even better.

Our team had dinner at 7 pm where trek leaders gave us basic instructions on precautions to be taken before the trek.Food was sumptuous and Night sky was even more beautiful with stars and galaxies igniting my already elevated mood.Another exciting part of trekking on mountains is sleeping in tents.They provide you with sleeping bags and expect you to sleep in a cosy manner.I struggle to sleep anywhere and mountains were no different.While my partner could sleep literally anywhere and everywhere and sleeping bags just gave her an additional boost to pursue her passion.

Trek leader had given us clear instructions to wake up at 5,breakfast at 6 and start trek at 7.Most difficult part of the trek is waking up at 5 and getting out of that cosy comfortable sleeping bag.Excitement to explore beauty of himalayan forests pushed us out of our tent.Team got ready to start the adventure.Before we could start our trek,we were taught how to dismantle our tent.It was fun to learn new skills in this expedition.

As we began our journey to our first campsite-Shiladuni,enthusiasm of adults was at par with kids.Trekking up the mountains with backpack is a skill to master,if you get it wrong,you suffer a lot while climbing.Nikki felt the weight of backpack while making her way up,it was her first time and she clearly was struggling.She never gives up and that is her strength,she carried on without assistance in scorching sun as we crossed a village on the way to our first pitstop.Adith kept us engaged by his astonising stories of himalayan wildlife and forest expedition,even Trek leader Vijeet was impressed by the depth of his knowledge.I meanwhile was trying out different stunts like crossing a stream on wooden logs(that could fall off and send me to heaven).While the crowd cheered me on,Nikki clearly wasn`t impressed by this stunt.She is never impressed by poems,letters and gifts or even genuine praise,she is a strange sweet girl.We moved on through pristine forests, decorated by rhododendrons, green oak, brown oak and a few maple trees.As we cross these lush green beauties,we could hear melodious sounds of Himalayan birds.This place is a heaven for bird watchers.As Adith and Trek leaders were sharing inspirational mountain expedition stories,Nikki was gasping for breath(her backpack was proving to be a difficult companion for her) and I was simply absorbing nature`s delight in the most innocent and spectacular form.I forgot to mention our loquacious Gujarati Fan boy group of 5,who were enjoying this trek in their unique yet loud obnoxious way.I felt bad for Himalayan birds for their tranquility was disturbed by overenthusiastic humans.We reached Shiladuni Campsite around 1 pm. Place was serene,green and beautiful as is most of the places in lower Himalayas with less human footprints.It felt as if I was finally home.

Team Leader Vijeet asked us to assemble in a circle.Stretching exercises to relax our muscles was a fun way to release tiredness of the day.Soon after,we got instructions to make our tent in this glorious place.Making your own tent was a fun exercise(not for everyone though,Adith and Nikki were least excited for this activity).After 20 minutes of struggle and help from trek team,everyone managed to build their tent. It felt like an achievement to build your own house from the scratch.After a short afternoon nap on this magnificent meadow,our team was bubbling with energy to play ball at 7000 feet.After much deliberation, we chose to play “Pitthu”.Pitthu is a crazy Indian ball and stone game,where you either hit the stone or get hit by the ball or simply run to evade attack.Anyways,it was super fun and exciting to watch everyone play with freedom despite the difference in age group.Forget everything,live the moment and just enjoy the game.That`s the beauty of any sports.Sports unites,brings out innocence and sheer joy in people.After this breathtaking game in which 12 years old Adith almost never got caught by mere old mortals like us,we decided to call it a day.Vijeet narrated some unbelievable stories on famous mountaineers and their indomitable spirit in extreme conditions.It was a day to remember for life as folks of all age group from 9 to 45,got together and played Pitthu (In reality-An Indian game played with stones and balls,where you break the stones or save yourself from getting hit by the ball as opponent chase) at such an high altitude.9 years young,energetic and swift Adith being chased by 20 and 30 years old legs was a scene to cherish.Effervescent Evening turned into a gorgeous glorious night.

Camping on mountains at night is an unforgettable experience.Star gazing at night, when our very own milky way with it`s fascinating constellations, welcomes you with glitter,hope and excitement.It is a sight you cannot miss.You look up,absorb the vastness of space and pray sincerely,you don`t want this night to end.

Next day ,Team got ready by 7 am as Journey was longer and more challenging.After having delicious breakfast,we set forth to our next campsite:Chaithathar.We Trek through a forest patch for an hour, where Green Oak trees are dominant. This is where the maple trees start competing with the oak trees in vegetation. Soon after that we cross a small stream using wooden logs and stones placed on it. We hiked for an hour with a steep ascent and then through oak and bamboo forests.Finally,we reached our campsite by afternoon.Nikki had a dream of camping in the middle of the forest and today her dream finally came true.Campsite was surrounded by dense forests on one side and a breathtaking view of valleys on the other side.

Playing games,making tents and enjoying sounds of melodious Himalayan birds(which you can rarely spot unless you are an expert in bird watching).Bird watching is a serious profession as displayed by two middle aged warriors of our diversity rich trek team.Sophisticated fancy cameras on their back and desperate dreams to capture Himalayan Splendour. My dream is simple:Chasing butterflies on mountains.It sets me free and I feel limitless.As I was lost in this beautiful meadow,I turned around to see what my precious partner was upto.My already sensitive eyes took absolute astonishment as Nikki literally disappeared in fresh air.I searched around her along with my crew.I almost had a minor heart attack when I saw a reflection besides a lake.On the other side,was a massive mystical rock.On it sat my magical princess,in a meditative Yogic pose.I was stunned by the equanimity of the moment and her serene reflection in the lake.My trek leader Vijeet had only yesterday told us about a spirit that roamed in this magnificent eerie lake.I began to wonder and rushed towards her in anxious careless steps.

Mystery of Mountains never fail to surprise me.Was that my illusion or is she really emanating that glorious rusty radiance?Suddenly,she had become Sun on this starry serendipitous evening.Stranger things happen in most beautiful of places.

Nikki,Nikki,Nikki,I shouted to only hear a powerful echo of “OM,OM,OM”

I always find something funny even in dark situations,but this moment stunned me in silence.Suddenly I was one with mountains and everyone and everything around.

Chance to Play

5pm,shoes,socks and hope inside

Taking his sizzling cycle ride

Carefully parks,walks and stand by the side

Smelling the grass,watching a thrilling game

Oh!He is not a part,what a shame

Everyday He watches in regret

Volleys,kicks and slangs on this dew kissed grass

Meekly makes an effort,a pleading sign

Ah,In hesitation, resign

He knows the bends,freekicks and razor reflexes

Why doesn’t he simply ask,is what perplexes

That day,it rained,something within him changed

He gathers courage,to mutter few syllables

Divine was amused by his incoherent babble,heroic yet hysterical

When the blue cap captain gave him a nod

A sign to wait,A glimmer of hope

A chance to play,that delicious dope

5pm,shoes,socks and excitement inside

Taking his steady subtle stride

He runs,reaches and waves at blue cap captain

Smelling the grass,watching the game

Oh,Finally a part,moment of fame

That eventful evening,he grabbed his chance

When Sturdy Sizzler fell into a trance

He entered with an uncomfortable stance

His tryst with football,a riveting romance

Blue cap captain in awe of his swivel and timing

I hope,story made sense with perfect rhyming

Alas! He got a chance to play

5pm,shoes,socks yet,a spirit that shone like a rising Sun

Fall in love again

As I stumble,slip and slow down in pace

I refuse to drown,effortlessly embrace

I can sense this unhealthy risky race

For the day will come again

When my efforts won’t wither away in vain

For now,I find comfort in devouring Twain

Let the words sink again,find a new alley

Life is in wonderful waves, with peaks and valleys

Shall flow again in rhythm and rhyme

Taking a break ain’t a cruel crime

I sit in quiet,contemplate,sipping a glass of lime

As I rejuvenate,recover and reveal

I touch upon this newly found zeal

First mildly,then wildly,immersed in ocean of words

I gently watch those cute colorful birds

I humbly receive,revive and recite my tunes

I wake up,whisper and wish for

Million magnificent moons

I flow with fervour,with a zest for life

For the day has arrived,I dive into those magical words again

Gangs of Belapur

Scene 1:In the Post Corona era,everyone looks a goon with a mask,some cute,others threatening and wild,while most strange and lost.It’s a weird new world that has led to evolution of already notorious eccentric characters in my land.

Sappy was just over five feet with an innocent illuminating face donning a green mask.Yet looking at his eyes,you could see he had the eyes of the tiger,spirit of a champion and was here to rule.Sappy had that affable yet powerful aura that shone bright in this unforgiving summer in Belapur. He was the leader of diligent goon squad.

Wearing a full cover mask with a fancy goggle enters our local dude goon,Kaashi. Guy is tall,dark and handsome yet full of poise,presence and serenity.He only works in emergency,a no non-sense guy who otherwise maintains a low profile.

I am greeted by Sappy`s benevolent smile.When I first joined the arena,even I was mistaken by his innocent smile,affable persona and boyish appearance.After witnessing few of his heroic deeds,I am in awe of his raw,ravenous and fearless personality.I refer to him as Tiger Goon,always on the move,hunting for a new leakage in our arena.

Then comes Chintu,small in size but always full of overflowing nonsensical gesture. Chintu possesses grit without concrete knowledge(common characteristics of his mini gang).Last night,there was a gas leakage at our arena and I,along with Sappy and Kaashi were called upon to handle the situation

Me(in polite tone to Sappy):Can we depressurise this pipeline?

Sappy(in super confident tone):Sir,Lords blessings are there,we shall do it.Let us first ensure that all valves are closed( For non technical folks:valve is a device that controls the flow in pipelines).

Me:Cool,lets go along.

Scene 2:In scorching heat and unforgiving mercaptan(chemical whose smell lingers with you for multiple lifetimes) smell,our diligent gang set out to arrest the stubborn leakage.

Sappy along with kaashi and his junior Nani,were walking along the pipelines as if there was a war on the other side of the arena.Purpose was to find a way to isolate the pipeline.Sappy was using every cell of his prefontal cortex to devise a plan to do this seemingly formidable task.Kaashi was as usual cool donning dark shades and carefully examining the arena.Suddenly,Kaashi starts sprinting for no reason.I look around for any danger and then follow him with both curiosity and fear.He saw a giant lizard sprawling around this bizarre broken arena.

Sappy(in strange tone):Did you see that thing?

Me(in urgent tone):We have an urgent leakage to attend.We can`t lose time,playing man v/s wild here.

Sappy signalled to Nani to bring 3 m long hose pipe.Thus,began our crazy rescue operation.It is far easier to learn quantum physics than to find a way to isolate lines in our arena.I ordered notorious Chintu to bring materials for fixing up pipe connection.Circus had already begun with Cool Kashi crossing crazy crevis filled pipelines with a spanner in his hand with an ease that is only seen when Roger Federer serves Forehand on court.

Nani brought the flexible pipe and some hope with it as sun shone as bright as confidence reflected on Sappy`s face.

Our Big Boss:Einstein,called to know the status.Just like Einstein,most of our gang members go numb,start floating in air or refuse to breathe for few seconds as he floats a genius idea in our innocent impressionable minds.This one`s hair is not as frizzy as Einstein yet his mind seems to be more complicated than our great scientist.Einstein encourages us to try arresting the leakage by making some provision to depressurise the line.Mere mortals as we are,we set upon this risky yet ridiculous task,as I come out of my momentary coma state(state I usually experience when I receive genius advise from Einstein).

I sat alone in the scorching heat,thinking of another idiotic strategy to solve this magnificent problem.Sappy said,he will take a break to drink coconut water.Sappy is an expert in climbing trees and on our minds(if you let it rumble free).How on earth does this petite figure gain incredible energy to climb coconut trees and bring us sweetest coconut water to drink,is unimaginable.Sappy is on drugs,I assume or he is a special spirit.As I further deepen my imagination,Kaashi and Nani vanish,as if in this polluted mercaptan filled air.I begin search operation by contacting them on walkie-talkie.Walkie-Talkie is a strange communication device,where you always end up talking to yourself because you rarely find the person you want to communicate to,on the other side.It`s far easier to track Dawood Ibrahim than to know whereabouts of our notorious gang members.

Alas,I finally found them.We began our never ending task of depressurising this rather stubborn line.It seems,God is filling it up every time we empty it.To lighten already comical scenario in our quasy arena,I strike up a conversation with fire man.fire man is someone who is supposed to be alert and active and put off fire to save us.This one seemed the most carefree,partially enlightened guy.

Pardon me for using this format for writing conversation.I will change it in my next story.

Scene 3:

Fireman:sit for a while,let`s enjoy the air,the day is long

Me(frantically):Day is long but our tender lives can be short if we dont act now.Already half a day has passed and leakage is still not arrested.

Fireman(in calm tone):Whatever has to happen,will happen.Why worry mate.

Fireman seems a big fan of Murphy.He has already accepted his fate,he has no fire left in his already protruding ballooning belly.

Sappy to me seems the only real hope in this comical tragical situation.I turn to him to resolve this problem.

Sappy(in perpetual confident tone):Don`t Worry Sir,Lord`s Blessings are with us.We shall conquer this.

In him at that moment,I could simultaneously see Russell Crowe(In Gladiator) and Tom Hanks(in Forest Gump),Always ready to fight and run.Kaashi quietly went about his task to fix the clamp on the pipeline.

By manual intervention of adjacent irritating neighbourhood pipe(lines are so close,I am really curious to find out who designed this system,must have been a super optimistic or total nut guy to have faith in this vulnerable arena).

Kaashi and Nani suddenly changed their Avatar and donned on dedication cap to somehow arrest this ever flowing divine gas.

As flow in the line reduced,my hope rose like a phoenix and in my mind,I repeated cliche Obama statement:Yes,We can.And we did.Even I was taken aback,part amused by the turn of the events.

Sappy celebrated the victory by climbing another coconut tree.Kaashi removed his glasses and helmet to set himself free.I along with Nani sat beside the nearby Mango tree.

Another astonishing day ended in the arena.Characters in our arena always keep it alive,arduous and light.

Until Next time,Sleep well,drink coconut water and Wear mask.

Raindrops

This Noon,as glorious Sun is gently masked by notorious grey

On my terrace,I playfully lay

As the first drop from heaven,kiss my brow

Precariously,letting it flow,washing away tears of despair

Bring in health,happiness and hope

As Birds change their Song

I know where I belong

This season brings everything alive

Vibrance,virtue and vitality thrive

As I gaze at a bee-hive near my window

Deep in thoughts,a shock or blow

This first drizzle resolved my puzzle

A sign of prosperity

Nature yearns for respect and restoration of parity

I lose myself in this beautiful weather

Looking happily at a bird’s feather

Sipping a cup of tea

My heart expands to infinity

It calls for you and me to merge

My emotions experience a rythmic surge

As I take in the drops from above

Everything changes after the first shower

I vividly remember this glorious hour

When Nature bestows it’s true power