Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Trekking down to Waghure-Sacorda Day 2

I don’t what exactly happened at 5:15 in the cold early mornings of Sacorda that made four of us wake up at the same time. Nobody’ exhibited a tiredness of last night’s incomplete sleep on their face. Everybody sprung into action the moment we got up and finished the morning duties as fast as one could to leave as early as possible. For breakfast, Aniket’s mother served us rice flakes cooked with potato. Finishing it with a cup of tea, we marched on our way heading towards Waghure.
Rohan was sprinting while I and Saish found it hard to keep up with Rohan. Aniket was busy looking out for birds that showed up early mornings in the lush green fields which ran parallel to the roads through an Olympus binocular. I struggled hard to get some enough light to capture some early morning photographs while walking but the images came blurred. Sacorda is associated with mining activity and hence, every other house here owned a truck. Some of them even had two. The trucks rested outside the houses making the small road even narrower and comfortable for walking only. Slowly, we left the village and followed a narrow trail which further led us to open grassland. Aniket, being a resident of Sacorda, told us every bit of information that he had gathered about the places which we met on our trail. A White Throated Thrush was sighted on the way followed by Plum Headed Parakeet and a Chest-nut headed bee eater.

The open grassland was slowly shrinking into a forest now. We could see some traces of bison which they had left behind on the dew wet land. We halted near a small water body to decide which side to go as it had left us with three options to choose. Finally it was decided to go further by crossing the water body first, and than trek the remaining two.

“We’ll have to cross a mud field to reach the other side” said Aniket as we saw a small piece of green field ahead on our way. We had experienced walking into the mud once back at Carambolim lake when our group escorted B.Ed trainees for bird watching. We took our slippers into our hands and stepped into the mud. I was finding it difficult to balance my body and the camera which hung from my neck. We reached the other side where we saw a small lake where we washed our legs. The forest was getting thick enough to frighten me. We halted near a huge tree on Aniket’s signal for us to stop. He fingered the stem of the tree which was scratched by a bear. I raised my head to see right upto the tree top in fruitless search of sighting a bear, but it was not there. Aniket gave me a shock by declaring that he didn’t know the further road. Saish and Rohan decided to still walk forward with which I was not comfortable with, but in democracy, majority wins. I quietly started walking behind them. Somehow I could sense something run past by me from my back, but it was the fear which made me to feel so.

You can’t predict where an aimless wandering would take you with it. The trail which we were walking started broadening and we could clearly see now a small hill with dried yellow grass contrasting with hard black rocks. We climbed it up and settled ourselves on top of it. The view was magnificent. The mountains still hid themselves under the veils of fog revealing only the top portion of it.

They appeared to be floating in the mid of the skies. We held out the binoculars and glued them to our eyes in search of a flight, disturbed stillness of the leaves or a pair of wings flying across the blue skies. Our search fetched us fruits within no time when we saw a Racket Tailed Drongo flying across the nearby mountains with its long tail dancing to the rhythm of his wings. It’s my favorite black colored bird because of the bluish tinge he possesses over his black body. In the meantime, a Tree Pie sat on a leafless tree right in front of us, but it was too far to be captured on our 12x optical zoom lens and had to opt for the digital zoom. None of us was ready to walk further leaving this hill which revealed us the beauty of Waghure with a top view. Saish, as usual, started hunting for snakes around the hill while I enjoyed observing a pair of Grey Hornbill.

"Massive Python” Saish yelled coming out from a cave with a narrow opening. We thought he was playing a prank, as he always did. But his face revealed excitation similar to that of a small child who was happy after finding his lost toy. While Saish was dancing with joy, Rohan put his head in the narrow opening of the cave and he too, came out overjoyed. There had to be something! Me & Aniket did the formality of conforming the presence of a 3 meter long Indian Rock Python who was resting in the cave after enjoying a meal, may be a rabbit or so. His body was puffed and it rested like a noble guy. We clicked its photographs, but offering him this Page 3 status did not affect his solitude and nobility. Satisfied with the trip, we descended down the hill for our return journey. We halted on the same water body where we had stopped while entering the forest to drink some water. A pair of Ruby Throated Bulbul showed up while we were busy drinking water. While I adjusted the camera, the yellow wings vanished into the greenery. It was an end to another worth blogging trip. The satisfaction of Python sighting was overflowing from our face. We clapped for Aniket for the whole arrangement. We reached his house and ran near the fresh water spring in his plantations for a bath. After two hours of bath and aqua-fun, we returned for lunch and headed towards the bus stop to catch the return bus

Note:- A Marathi version of this post was published in Daily Gomantak’s supplement named “Muktapeeth” on 28th April 2008.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Half past midnight

It’s almost mid-night now and I find myself caught up in the middle of its darkness. I get up from the sofa and come out in my bedroom and stand near the table. It’s almost messed up, just like my mind. I pick up a book by Anil P and just flip the pages, trying hard to fix my eyes on one of the many pages. I give up after doing this act for some time and again pass a zero kind of look on the table. Three novels are lying there, waiting me to open up them and read. But I can’t dare to even touch those pages. Besides them, my assignments and exercises are in a waiting for completion. But I just ignore those meaningless paper sheets, just as I ignore my confused thoughts, because in such situations, both don’t make sense either.
Strolling over dried fields of my mind, I sit down to write up something. Thoughts come and go, but I am unable to put them up in order. Unknowingly, my writing slowly turns into scribbling some figures, abstract yet meaningless.
I am in a state of confused mind but not an empty one. Random flashes of seemingly unrelated thoughts strike the walls and disappear into the disturbed cosmos. The feeling grows intense and I am about to scream into silences. The lights go off, both in my room and my mind. I lie down on my bed where the sleep takes me under its blankets.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Reading Chetan Bhagat’s ‘One Night @ Call Centre’

It was almost 12:30 a.m. when I finished reading the novel ‘One Night @ the Call Centre’ by Chetan Bhagat. From the title page, it hooked me up till it’s last page of it. Well, i had a complete package of pleasure while reading it. the story of the day goes somewhat like this:

Ajay sir, Saish & Rohan left for Ponda & I waited till the book exhibition opened. I bought Vyaktee Ani Vallee by P.L. Deshpande and ‘One Night @ Call Centre’ or ON@CC by Chetan Bhagat. While I was in the bus travelling back to Ponda from Panaji, I had finished reading two chapters for PL’s book with delighted pleasure as always. Somehow I was not intending to finish up Chetan’s novel because I didn’t want a triangulation of 3 epics of three generations in my mind. I had already started reading “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand, which is in its past 50th Anniversary edition, on the other hand I had fresh copies of the books which I bought at the exhibition in the morning. Reluctantly I switched to ON@CC, may be just to have the current youth essence which other two books did not offer in some manner.
I’ve read Chetan’s “Five Point Someone’s” translated version in Marathi. It too hooked me up till the end. Chetan is an IIT + IIM graduate which add to his tariff (at least for me) as a writer. I have never met him; neither have I sent him an e-mail (I may) nor have I visited his official website. But still, I met him through his first person characters in his books. I quite figured out how he must be while reading his second book. He must be vey naughty guy in his college days and I hope he still continues being one. There are quite few similarities in both of his novels. A peculiar way of writing, sprinkles of intelligent jokes (of the level what you can expect from a naughty engineer, that to an IITian one) and 4-5 excerpts off the scene, but still related to the story. Secondly, the language that he uses is so youthful and has a kind of geeky flavor to it which makes people like me go mad while reading it over and over again.
I am not a kind of guy who would love our English text books for what they offered like some of my classmates and just crack my English paper off with every bit of correct & meaningful grammar. In short I am not a lingual pundit but still I take this critic’s job to analyze this author, not because I want to be a critic (it sucks anyway!), but for the heart to heart relationship that is set up between me & the author.
He has not penned down a hell lot of bestseller novels, but I am making my so called THESIS on the basis of the two books which he has published so far. His books are in narrative style of the first person type category, though in both the books, he is not the first person. His first person characters or FPC’s are obsessed with their life style (in Chetan’s words…hmm I’ll say FUCKED UP!) They are intelligent but not smart and assertive and rather hate themselves for not being one, while there’s another guy who is smart, active and sprinting (hiding away his personal problems) of a sort of “I don’t give it a damn/fuck” attitude. The FPC indirectly wants to be like this other guy. But FPC’s in his book enjoy a special thing that is not enjoyed by any other character and that is a love affair with a ‘not so beautiful’ kind of girl and has enjoyed love with her in mental and physical realms too. Well, let’s not make it more adult gossip here! The love affair thing is solely enjoyed by the FPC. The story kicks off describing each character in a lucid way and in a funky language, and they are caught up in a dead end moment and they overcome it somehow using the every resource available to its fullest (must be IIM funda) and end with a happy ending.
This is what I can sum up on my literature abilities about his two books, but this pattern is not a stereotype of both of them as they are presented in a quite diverse ways since both the books narrate a story with diversities. But on a macroscopic level, it commonly represents the youth.
Another interesting thing about his books is his sense of humor. He must have done M.Tech in it. His jokes are intelligent, perfectly timed and are not at all sub-standard. A perfect engineer + management level humor added with a naughty flavor, he keeps his book alive every now and than with breathes of his jokes. The following one was too funny not to share:
The situation is that Shyam (FPC from ON@CC) is pissed off about the Xerox machine’s paper jam in his desk. He explains it like this

“The copier in our supplies is not a machine. It’s a person with psychotic soul & a grumpy attitude towards life. Whenever you copy more than two sheets, there’s a paper jam. After that, the machine teases you: it gives you systematic instructions on how to un-jam it --- open cover, remove tray, pull leaver. Now if it knows this much, why doesn’t it fix itself?”

I burst into silent laughter when I read the above part. There is lot more such but I think you should enjoy them with the flow. Also his philosophies about girl’s behavior have solved many mysteries in my life that I encountered whenever I dealt with a girl. Believe me, they are true! (I mean philosophies, not the girls)
Anyways, it was already 2 a.m. and I was not at all feeling sleepy while writing this post. But still my *inner voice* told me to stop here. In the whole day, I had gained a continuous pleasure of reading such a fantastic book which made me to make this whole write-up dedicated to it. Otherwise I rarely criticize, or even appreciate anything socially.
I’ll say, read both of his books. They’ll drive you crazier and you will not even fall asleep while waiting for a *phone call from God*.
Happy Midnights!!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

a photgraphic journey.....

The earlier post was not enough to arrange all the photographs that i had clicked at Mhadei forest. Here they are

a wonderful type of mushroom (don't expect me to know the name)...must be jungle dish TV

Well, yet another mushroom!

"Pishtyachee Kond"
Petkulee, (yeah i know the name!)

Gopal Kerkar, the man who acompanied us throughout those memorable 40 kms walk

Crossing the boundaries…..

At about 6:30 a.m. Manikrao knocked on the door & me & Saish woke up suddenly. The surrounding was still cold and we were under our blankets in the staff quarters of Bhironda Forest Dept. The RFO of Bhironda Soil & Water Conservation Dept, Mr. Prakash Salelkar had agreed to use his room for a night stay for both of us. Mr. Prakash Salelkar is a dedicated forest officer and holds experience of 28 years of service to forest department. His passion and dedication to wild life and his duty separates him from rest of the forest officers. He is eco-friendly, rest are economy friendly.
The day before, we had a very nice time talking to this young lad in his late fifties. He told us several stories about the overall forest movement in Goa, how the things go on government level, the corruption etc. I may need a special blog to write about Prakash sir and his all round abilities in his duty as a ranger.
Saish passed me ‘Britannia Cream Treat’ biscuits while Manikrao, the staff in charge, served both of us with black tea. Ganesh, who was told to drop us on Bhironda bus stop by Salelkar sir, arrived at the office. We sat back his bike and marched to Bhironda stop. The morning was still cool. We reached the bus stop and caught a Kadamba bus which would drop us to Karanzol. The bus was almost empty except 2-3 passengers, conductor and off course, the driver.
My mind started running along the roads. The villages here were not as rickety as what I had expected. We crossed Khadakee, which is on the periphery on what can be called like a pseudo city. The further road was surrounded by cashew plantations from both the sides. We reached our last stop in a remote village called Karanzol where Gopal Kerkar, another staff member of Bhironda forest dept. was waiting for us to accompany us till the last spot of the trek. There is no road beyond Karanzol. The bus stopped near the temple of local deity “Devi Brahmini” which stood erect along a huge pimpal tree. An idol carved from rock is kept at the foot of the Pimpal tree. I asked Gopal, “Konachi murtee hee?” (Whose idol is this?). He nodded. Probably, he didn’t know the answer to my question. He changed the topic & askd me, “Khaisoon Eelat tumhee?” (from where have you come here?) I answered Ponda. Meanwhile, the little kids going to the primary school gathered around me & Saish. They were curiously watching the camera which was hanging from my neck. I gathered them and clicked their photo.
I held the Olympus binocular & asked one of the boys, “Baghtalai?” (do you want to see through?). He nodded & carefully took the binocular into his hands. He was fascinated when he placed them on his eyes. He passed it to every other kid present there. They were happy to see the mountains which stood tall and far from them, appeared over a walking distance. For a moment, they must have thought that the far off world has come near to them, but in reality, they lie on a far corner.
The bus started on its return journey. The base point for our trek was on a 15 minutes of walk from Karanzol. Gopal suggested us to catch the bus again so that we can reach the base point early. The bus dropped us on the base point. On the way, I spotted a peacock in the fields which ran parallel to the roads, sitting on a dry grass dump. I could not capture it from the bus. Saish said, “We missed a good shot.” I nodded. Wild life photography is all about such “missed” shots. The day before, we both missed a wild boar on our way from Shantinagar to Dhavali forest department office in Ponda. It’s a thing of fraction of second, and you miss a wild moment to capture in your camera.
The bus dropped us to the base point. Three of us started walking. Gopal was warning us about the three hours of continuous walk form the forest, but later appreciated our walking skill. ’Attitude makes it possible.’ I have experienced this several times that attitude overpowers the tiredness. We commuted a continuous walk of approx twenty kilometers (one way) with two halts to drink some water.
On our way, we spotted “Shama” and could photograph it too from a closer distance.The jungle was silent except for bird calls and the sound of flowing river “Mhadei.” After a long “attitude” walk of three hours, we reached our final point of the trek in Krishnapur. Krishnapur lies in Karnataka. We reached the temple of local deity named “Shree Pishteyshwar." Behind the temple, Mahdei flows over the rocks. This place is known as “Pishtyachee Kond.”
'Kond' refers to `kund' in Marathi which means a deep water reserve where water getssaturated. The place is undoubtedly beautiful & is worth watching hundred times.Specially, the manner in which the rocks have eroded stuns you for a moment.They look like steps carved out from giant rocks which descend down to water.
"Nobody ever fishes here, though they are plenty" Gopal adds upwhile sitting on a rock.ven swimming in this `kond' is considered to bea sin, he said. Many people flock here with their jeeps to see this place. Thereis a rough road to this place from the base point which only a jeep cansustain. After halting for half an hour near the `kond', we decided to start ourreturn journey. The return journey was bit tiring. Stomach was almost full ofhunger. Me & Saish, had only 2 cream biscuits each during the breakfast. On ourway, Gopal plucked some 4-5 cashews for us. I came across a jungle fruit called"Menkee", sweet in taste.On our way, we came across variety of species offlowers which I photographed in super macro mode. Mhadei is verymuch diverse in its flora & fauna. I could take a closer look ata chameleon stuck to the tree.Skinks vanished as soon asthey sensed our foot steps. Grey Hornbill was also spotted on thewayAfter a return journey of more twenty kilometers in three hours, I was almost sweating when I reached back to the base point. Three of ussipped a soft drink in a nearby bar. I & Saish ordered one more while Gopal refused. He said "Good Bye" to both of us and went back to his house in Karanzol. Still two hours were remaining for the last bus which would drop usback to Bhironda. It was an end of another expedition. On our way back to Bhironda in the bus; Saish asked "worth blogging?" "Worth blogging hundred times" I answered.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Everybody was finished with 12th board exams and was desperate to roam around jungles. After changing plans frequently, we decided to go to Sacorda for a night stay at Aniket’s place and a morning trail from Sacorda to Waghurme.
While coming back from our ‘inspection’ visit to Bondla Wild Life Sanctuary, we told Ajay sir to drop us on Tisk from where we caught our bus to Sacorda. We had visited Sacorda before once to see Malabar Pied Hornbills which was a memorable experience.
Sacorda is a village consisting of many sub-villages. It’s a prominent mining area of Goa. Mining here is the major cause of depletion of green forests and pollution. In Sacorda, every other house owns a truck. Since the mining business is a money-boom, it is but natural for them to own a truck. Some of them own even two.
We started walking as soon as we got down from the bus. We adopted the road which was rarely used by the people so we could spot some birds. Grey Hornbill welcomed us to Sacorada. We crossed the narrow bridge and reached to the entrance to Aniket’s house. And we heard a familiar call, Malabar Pied Hornbills. There was no doubt about it. Aniket, Saish Rohan and me started running. There were 3 of them sitting on a tree top. We kept watching them until they vanished through the skies.
We were welcomed with sugar-water and then Kokum juice. Aniket’s father was busy performing ‘puja’ and later attended us after finishing it. The chat started with gossips of forest department stories and continued to mammal sightings in the village. It was a thing in recent years that Bison are showing up in human settlements in Sacorda. While coming to Ani’s house, the compound which guraded their cashew plantation area, was disturbed by bison. The neighbors confirmed it. We even saw hoof-marks.It was dinner time and Ani’s mother called four of us for dinner. After that, we again went for a night walk. We kept walking here and their in the torch light. We were expecting a bison to show up, but I think, night time was not the right time. Behind Ani’s house, we saw this bush frog. We brought him in their courtyard and clicked it’s photographs. I was totally unaware about the super macro mode that Nature Club’s camera offered until Rohan revealed it up. My first attempts to capture the froggy were out of focus and blurred. Than Rohan took the camera into his hands and captured some beautiful shots in super macro mode.

It was shot in LED light and the cement layer behind perfectly camouflaged with the froggy’s skin. Later, the resting frog started jumping and vanished into night. I think he hated being “PAGE 3” animal. We returned back to Ani’s house. The beds were ready. We gathered around the Saish’s laptop to see the photos. After deciding the next days plans, the lights went off. But our minds were still burning up. Everybody was tired but nobody slept. We went on discussing about our life, future, unfulfilled dreams, ghost stories, reincarnation and of course, Chicks!!

I think we slept than.