Monday, July 11, 2016

Far from the madding crowd

When one thinks of Mumbai city, the words traffic, crowds and mayhem immediately comes to one’s mind. Who would have thought that amidst the busy roads exists a gateway to an adventurous expedition of being amidst natures embrace? 

It was one random Saturday afternoon when I stumbled upon a Facebook post of a runner friend-Prerna, who had posted about her trek at Yogi Hills. The photos showcased a visual treat of the enchanting mountains which left me wondering if such a place actually existed in the city. “Where exactly is this?”, was my comment to which she replied saying, “In Mulund”.

Mulund is a suburb in the North Eastern part of Mumbai and a place where a lot of my runner friends resided. I had run a race there sometime in December 2015. Though it was quite far from my residence in town, it took just 45 minutes in the wee hours of morning. The prospect of exploring this little retreat was exciting enough for me to get in touch with the group which organised this trek every Saturday. The best part about this expedition was that one could get back home by 9:30 am, unlike those treks at the Western Ghats which practically robbed the entire day, sometimes even two. 

We landed at Vasant gardens at 5:20 am sharp as instructed by Arjun Virdi, a runner friend and the organiser of this trek.  After the initial warm up rounds and selfie clicks, we began our hike at 5:30 am. Considering the fact it was still dark, there was this initial trepidation about landing our foot in the right place. However with constant guidance and reassurance by Arjun, we slowly accustomed ourselves to the twilight hourOn the way up, we began to acquaint ourselves with our fellow trekkers, some of whom were runners and avid cyclists as well, dedicating their Saturday mornings to the hills. 
Daylight slowly seeped in, giving us a chance to bask in the beauty of our surroundings. Clambering up those rocks was certainly an uphill task literally. Considering it was the monsoon season, we had to ensure about finding the right footing which otherwise would have made us slip and fall as these steep inclines were moisture laden. However the rains seemed to be playing hide and seek with us that particular morning which in turn soared the humidity levels. 

As we were making our way to the top, I suddenly recollected my mother’s words of advice which she had doted out whilst I was in school. Her words were,Working ones way to the top involves immense amount of struggle but when they reach the top, they are so blown by the view that the initial struggles seem worth it.” Keeping these words in mind, I moved forward. Laughter and jokes floated around to ease the grim task we were accustomed to, making the upward journey a joyful one. 

We finally reached the top and as promised by Arjun, we were treated to a mesmerising sight. Whiffs of clouds zoomed by, making it seem like it was literally ‘a walk in the clouds’. Surrounded by greenery all around, it felt like Yogi Hills had given us a green carpet welcome. The view of the lakes in yonder took our breaths away. Squealing like little children, we posed like there was no tomorrow, our mobile phones clicking away furiously, anxious to ensure that our social media page caused our friends to go 'green' with envy. The newcomers like us were made to do push ups which was a mandatory custom to pay homage to Mother Nature for having guided us through these rocky pathways in a safe manner.


After basking in the view, we finally prepared ourselves for the descent. Climbing down was an arduous task, far more grueling than going up, once again drawing parallels to life’s philosophy of how coming down after reaching the pinnacle of success is a test of one’s character and grit during those turbulent times. However this gradual decline made it relatively easier to come back to earth, not to mention a fun filled one given the animated chatter by our easy going trek mates. The journey was even more delightful as we were privileged to bask in the company of an unexpected companion in the form of a dog. True to its nature, it faithfully followed us downhill, till we reached Vasant Gardens-our initial point of embark.  

 Its surprising how simple lessons of life were incorporated by nature. It was a test of our grit, determination and humility at every juncture. Aspects of leadership, team work and team building were vital elements while working towards a particular goal, in this case, reaching our destination in a safe and sound manner.

It was a satisfied and a wiser lot of us who went home that Saturday morning. No doubt, we had to give up our Friday night out which would have otherwise been spent in a dimly lit night club or sports bar over a drink or two. However waking up wee hours of the morning to conquer the hills nevertheless left us feeling on a high, only this one not being induced by a ‘spirited’ drink.

Thank you Arjun Virdi for this wonderful trek. It gave us a new found purpose, not to mention a adrenalin rush and an activity for life.


Blogger KParthasarathi said...

I am amazed at your sustained interest and perseverance in running marathons,trekking,climbing mountains and traveling.
The scenery in the Mulund mountain walk is enchanting.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Whirlwind said...

Thank you KP!

3:25 AM  

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