23rd September, 2018
I am writing this account with the hope that many more about the trips I made this year would follow.
Basically I invited myself on this trip and I am glad I went out of my comfort zone because it was totally worth it. This weekend when I am at home for the entire time and I am now completely sure that the days without sleep are much better than lying on the bed with your lone thoughts.
To begin with, luckily Gaurav was in town and I met him on Saturday where I got to know about his little outing plan. He, Itishree and Animesh were planning to go on a road trip that was all that I knew and I asked Gaurav to take me too because as per my experience, trips with Gaurav are fun and so I was instructed to be ready by 9 am the next day. I woke up by 7:30 am and called Gaurav up and the trio was in deep sleep and they told me to sleep again cause ‘its okay to be a little late but I was too excited to go back to bed. So I got ready by 8:30 am, cut some papaya for the trip packed my bag and waited for them to come pick me up.
They came in a maroon car and I wished Animesh a happy birthday and sat beside Itishree. We started with some small talk about the weather but it was only after we had breakfast that we all got comfortable(that’s what I like to believe). It was sunny but when we crossed the city and entered the countryside the area was beyond my expectation. The rains had resided a month ago but yet there was greenery.
Halfway through the journey, we found a lake. After returning from the trip I searched about it and I guess it was the Chas kamam dam.
We spent nearly half an hour or so there. Clicked some pictures. Prevented Itishree from doing stunts. Got wet in the water. Enjoyed the coolness of it and then even skipped stones in water. Animesh and Gaurav were good at it and when I couldn’t learn it quickly I took to throwing heavier stones in the water, sending them to where they belonged. The water was emerald and I saw that color for the first time in real life.
During the drive, I got to learn that we were going to Bhimashankar, which is one of the 12 jyotirlingas. Well, it’s not my ignorance but my efforts to not know where I am headed. I like surprising myself. Animesh and Itishree counted all the jyotirlingas on their fingertips and I felt like a noob. The childhood memories of such videos playing at home that displayed all the holy places of India started coming back to me.
I thought that my mother would be really glad to know that I am visiting a holy place on Sunday. Ahead of the lake, the scenery turned more beautiful. The weather became cooler we had good music playing in the background and the water of the lake turned into a stream by now was glistening. The green was bright and then the whole route had purple and yellow flowers on both ends. The shades of green and these colors gave me the impression as if I was driving through some painting that usually hangs on walls.
Bhimashankar was less crowded so it was a relief. We climbed down some flights of stairs. Bought flowers and leaves to present to the God and all the way Gaurav and Animesh talked about which all sweets they’ll eat on the way back and from which stall. As at all the temples in India nowadays, we were given only 30 or so seconds to really bow down and offer prayers in the main temple. Indian temples force the fact upon you that it’s about the journey and not the destination.
We had all kinds of sweets and all of them even got some boxes packed. Gaurav pointed out that we were the youngest people there who weren’t there with family and I was somehow proud of it.
On the way back, after lunch, the sun started setting and the drive was pleasant because I was sitting on the front seat now. A flock of birds flew by and as it was the day of Ganesh visarjana, we passed so many groups who were leaving for the ceremony covered in gulal and then there were groups who were dancing on bhajans and one group was immersing Ganesh by the lakeside in that peaceful evening. Itishree told me about some awesome tracks and we also listened to Enrique. We clicked some pictures along the roadside and the valley reminded me of Mangalore. In the entire trip, the memories of Rishikesh kept coming back too.
With them, I felt comfortable. I didn’t have to think twice before playing my playlist cause it was the first time I felt no one would find me weird rather they knew the songs by heart. Plus they preferred tea over coffee. 😀 To be confident of you are and not questioning your own identity is what I learned that day. Accepting and being proud of my childhood was something new. When we crossed the bridge where the whole community was participating in Ganesh visarjan. We slowed the car and could see so many colorful idols of different sizes. People were there with their lords in hands offering the best they could to their god and then letting him go with the promise to have him back the next year. Maharashtra and Pune shocked me that day. That was the first time I was happy to be here. Settling here hasn’t been easy.
This is the bhajan that Itishree shared and she said I can always ask her if I want to know some more prayers.