Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ambling in the sahyadri woods

Kartik is 18 years old, energetic, college going person who is on the lookout for an outlet to his excess energies that does not find expression in the otherwise stifling city-life with its movies and malls. Deepti, 21 years has just started working in uptown Mumbai and has begun to love the small freedom that earning money has given her. She wants to explore her independent spirit further. Her friend’s approach to going for shopping regularly or eat-out is often a tad bit expensive & unhealthy for her taste and does nothing to enhance her independent spirit. Karnik 35, is a disgruntled corporate person tired of routine working & lifestyle that Mumbai offers. While he has no complaints on the pay, his inability to get a good long vacation break is making him irritable. Kajal 36 is suddenly feeling claustrophobic in her own home in Mumbai. She needs an avenue to be by herself and rearrange her priorities in life. Nisha 29 is unmarried and missing her friend circle who are all married and settled elsewhere. Several such people with similar need for a break, break their heads to find the right cure in vain; until they all hit upon trekking in Sahyadris!

Sahyadris - a mountain range that extends from Kerala to Maharashtra offers “just what good doctors would advise” kind of break for many living in the urban and concrete confines of Mumbai city. Being as close as 2-3 hours drive to the Mumbai outskirts, it makes the right weekend break for the city dwellers. A teenager, Kartik can get gung-ho on climbing it’s peak & find positive release for his excess energy. The independent spirit of a Deepti like women can find outlet to mental shackles and restriction through small treks and in unison also help her keep fit and healthy. The bored outlook from Karnik like people can get replaced with inexhaustible joy in trekking on weekends (There is no issue of obtaining vacation time here). For women like Kajal, weekend treks offer the time and solitude for a little soul-searching away from family & the maddening crowds with the calm therapeutic effect of nature bringing in a warm glow while people like Nisha find themselves a new hobby that ushers new friends.

Trekking in Sahyadri can be very seductive as several answers to city living problem gets automatically addressed ambling along the trials of Sahyadri peaks. While resorts and hill stations also are in the lap of nature, these avenues do not satisfy the inner core. The raw & harsh nature that one faces while trekking along the Sahyadri peak ends up bringing the feel good factor. As one struggles to overcome the harshness of nature in terms of terrain and weather, on reaching the destination one is overwhelmed with the sense of an immensely satisfying accomplishment that hits the core of being. During monsoon, the green overcoat offers regalia to the entire Sahyadri belt that is very pleasing to the eyes and the camera (if you possess one). Innumerable waterfalls along the trail make one as gay as a child. Post monsoon, the blooming of flowers along all trials, gladden and raise the spirit of the hiker making all worldly man-made objects of pleasure insignificant. The chilly winter mist makes one revere the warmth of the sun that shines everyday in the Sahyadri range. Similarly in summer, one appreciates the mild coolness of the night as one is able to easily sleep in the open, staring at the starlit-skies (there is no pollution to darken this vision).  The rural lifestyle that one is introduced to, makes one value basics (like food, water, shelter, electricity) taken for granted in city.

Truly, when one explores Sahyadri and is ready to go through the hardship (of trekking), nature opens up to let you in on her secrets places that leaves you enthralled and in rapture. Your city worries no more become the bone of contention for another trek, as it becomes irreversibly replaced by an innate craving for being nature’s favourite child.


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