I was shivering even with fan speeding at 2 last night. We normally keep it low, as it starts getting cold towards morning. I was still too lazy to realize the fact, that it was only 12 pm, though I happened to look at the clock clapping its hands together – I ignored it as usual and picked a nice warm blanket from the closet. I was about to hit the bed with half closed eyes, but could hear the rain drops on the terrace.
The rainy season is yet to bless us with the amazing greens that cover up the hills in and around the surrounding area. I just pushed the window curtain aside and peeked outside; the rain drops were busy washing an already soaked tree in the light of street lamp. Wow, the morning is going to be great – I then dragged a blanket up till my head, slipped the pillow under my head while other in my arms and with folded legs to enhance bodily heat, was back into the night gardens.
I woke up early the next morning today; I always pick up my morning tea and news paper as a first thing but this Saturday I couldn’t hold myself back. I just rushed to the terrace to grab a show from last night highlights – It had rained all night last night.
The air was damp and fragrant, birds chirping, raindrops pudding in my terrace plants and dripping from the fencing, the sky was clearing and the fading grey clouds were skipping across it. That’s one of my favorite kinds.
I was looking at the soaked tree just outside my terrace and it was looking spectacular. The trees had gained that bright green color on its leaves which only got washed lately. Pleasant soil odor – which normally you experience in your wet gardens, washed cleaned road and the last few drops clinging to the tree branches were just the beginning of what my senses could gather out of a first glimpsed outside.
A voice broke that silence, “We’re getting a lot of that weather from northern disturbances.” – After a while, I just said “Yes”. But honestly speaking, I did not even want to reply to that. I was just busy, had been waiting for a year to experience all this.
Well, a minute later I picked my cup of tea, slipped the newspaper under my hand, got back to the terrace and just sat on the floor. I was gazing at the street lamp-post which was still lighting up to my surprise when I felt a ball came rolling near my foot. A second later, my sweet little daughter grabbed me from the back, with her feathery arms over my shoulder. “Hey, Good morning Shubhu” – said I.
She is still young enough to talk properly, but everyday she tries to speak in her own grown language which I anyway manage can understand.
She sat on the floor next to me and started pointing fingers on the advertisements. I gave her, the Pune Times with lots of pictures of Page 3 star and furniture festival promos– they are of no use to me except for keeping Shubhu busy for next 5 minutes.
By the time I finished my tea and had grasped the nature through the fences, Shubhu was already done reading and doing the newspaper into multiple pieces – But that’s okay, I got some time to remember the old days when, paper boats were the technology of the future and catching cough in rainy season was the only way to tell your teacher you cannot attend her class.
I was playing with my daughter when I received a text about how to start a day – my Sis is very fond of those quote-ful messages, which she tries to forward to every person on this planet. But this time, it was a “just in time” kind. It was about inspiring yourself from nature and was the first time, I wrote back a “big thanks”.
I went down later in my society to notice a few puddles which grew from last showers. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that kid within you, don’t need much more than a puddle to keep you happy.
In the afternoon it was raining again not heavily but still good enough for me to switch off the idiot box and stand by the terrace door. It was pouring just a foot away, with one step ahead looking at the sky, you experience the taste of pre-monsoon showers, right over your forehead. Another step gets you pretty wet shoulders, arms and chubby toes. You try another one and you are soaked and happy as much one can be.
Sometime I feel rainy seasons are the one when you enjoy only when nothing is organized or planned, just as it should be… free to explore, get wet, have fun or simply just “drive” it out.
The Sun isn’t shining a lot, and so we are going out in the evening for a long drive. I will let you know, if I found it difficult to look through the moving wipers of my car or did I had to adjust my car AC to fight back humidity because of the early showers. Whatever it may be, for now the only song on my lips is …
… Rain Rain Come Again…. Little Johny …still wants to play.
Not long back, I leveraged an opportunity to smudge Panchgani within my closed eyes under the stars. It was the first camping trip I had with bunch of my friends and it was something more than just the trip.
Everyone was in the party mood and had already planned stuff. Some of us left office at around 2:30PM, stopped and stretched our self at a small tea stall on the highway – we were almost half way through. People who are travelling a lot know, sometime even a regular cup of tea gives you wings and strength that can run your car at 110 km/hr. And that’s what happened with us – it didn’t take much time for us to realize that we had already crossed those sparkling tunnels, struggling overloaded trucks on the steep roads, and had started seeing the outskirts of Panchgani.
Though we took some time to locate the actual camp location on various 3G mobile GPS systems we had, but never the less it still helped us in locating various other options for future – not to forget, we even landed near a cremation center which looked quite similar to the one which we were aspiring to go.
It was already starting to dark, so we finally called up other folks who had reached the spot and just found we were quite close. We quickly reached the place, ramped the car down a long steep narrow road, for which we thought thrice because it was looking more like climbing down the hill with a steering in your hand and knowing that you may not completely depend on the brakes. It was quite dark now but more of fun out there.
Yes! Yes! Yes! We are finally here. Wow. It was pretty scenic out there, it felt like we were on top of a plateau. One of the first thing that caught my eye was a green sheet of shrubs and trees down the beautiful valley, plenty of open space, a few tents, a large white box filled with bottles of beers and the sun saying goodbye for the day. The scintillating stars and a quarter of a moon were already waiting to join us for the bash. The booze had already filled up the stomach of early birds and so folks were looking for more options.
God I just love barbeque chicken!! Who is in? Oops Sorry, I think I just asked a wrong question… ! The folks on Corona diet were already in their twenties by now, and it was like asking “hungry tigers” – Who wants the goat?
We cooked not only Chicken Legs but also some Paneer Tikkas as we did had some vegetarian tigers as well. Though, it was really difficult to keep it away from the omnivorous ones, of which I was one – Glad we had sufficient snacks.
Just gazing around the spot fencing we stumbled upon a small area around the corner, where we found some ashes and stones. It did not take us even a flash of a second to think about hosting the sun again in this cold night …. It was a bonfire time!
Few very enthusiasts just managed to collect some dry woods and its dust while another few still trying to figure out why was the snake-skin lying around? It was an intelligent question after gulping down 5 bottles of Coronas, 1 Vodka and plenty other legal stuff each! Don’t get me wrong – I meant soft drinks.
The bonfire started – it was the much awaited item after a long and tiring attempt to lit the woods as we latter realized, the enthusiast had also dropped in some green trunk and leaves. And it took a lot of technical analysis to finally achieve the target. Team Won! Okay no cheating – I think we also tried some petrol tricks.
We gathered around it for a couple of minutes as the bonfire did not last long. However, it did managed to listen numerous organized and some non-organized jokes while gazing at the final non-corona’s bottles which got empty in the hands of people who though were at the bonfire but were still waiting for their turn at the barbeque queue.
Later in the night, we had some good food and started pouring into the tents. The tents seemed quite comfortable after 6ltrs of Beer with vodka and some delicious barbeque chicken resting in peace inside our tummy. While a few chose to sleep inside the tents, I and few other just dropped onto the grass under the sky searching patterns and stories from the past. I was there for some time, watching the stars-I never ever slept like this before.
It was awesome and at the same time very strange. What was I doing here? To be honest, I am not very fond of going around for a bonfire trip. Though now things might just change. There were bunch of questions shot by myself including – Is this life about – drinking, camping, bonfire strategies and barbeque? Okay, what else can you expect out of a drunken workaholic software engineer staring at moon and thinking why the stars look curvy in Panchgani.
Never have I seen a place this mild, this soft-spoken – The dew comes quietly at night, melts off early, before you could catch a glimpse. If I wasn’t staying up until 3am that night, I doubt I would even notice that it was so cold, in fact this chilling night at all. By now, Panchgani had already won hearts of many and of course pockets of the organizers.
The last thing I remember before surrendering to mosquitoes was some French person co-camping near by, asking for the remaining bottles of “spiritualities” which we failed to utilize.
Apart from the teetotaler, few others, woke up early morning and went to Mahabaleshwar to see the beautiful Sunrise. Me and my friends? As always, woke up relatively later in the morning (early morning for us 9:30 AM) and were counting number of people who were there last night…. And to mention are still there. By now, the little bonfire was buried by the morning dew though the ashes still were telling stories of the past few hours.
Finally as the sun started to creep towards the horizon, begging us to start the day! We started our journey back, with loads of memories.
It was a quick night but was enough to capture the essence of living under the open sky. I enjoyed it and I felt this effort was deemed necessary to sit down and write – about the sky gazing, drinks, bonfire and not to forget the mild soft dew. It’s just a glimpse of my way of looking at the world and things around me, nothing more and nothing less. I now had enough memories from all this to sail through the busy week ahead.