Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Something gre8

On one fine day email conversation started amongst us like this.

Shrikant: What is the plan of abhijit,Shankar & aNNa. Any idea pl.

Abhijit: Anna is working on it. :-) 23-24 weekEnd. Hint: be prepared for Satara trip...

Shrikant : Gr 8!

Mandar: See what anna said..“We might go for 5-6 forts within 2 days in Satara region.” Now ur “Gr 8!” shud bcome very Gr8! ?

Abhijit: say Gre 6. or should we add 2 more forts in list

Mandar: What an idea! Anna, plan it ‘8’ to make it Gr8!!

Shekhar: Done!!!

That's it and we were all ready for something which we have not done before. And nobody in our cognizance. 8 forts in 2 days. Target was demanding and we were determined. Rain was distant dream even in month of August and sun was just blazing earth. But it was not enough to prevent us from doing what we thought of. We decided to hoist pride of Maratha’s, the saffron flag, on each fort we complete.

After thinking over the choice of forts, we decided to take on the twin forts Chandan Vandan, Vairatgad, Pandavgad, Sadashivgad, Vasantgad, Sajjangad and Ajinkyatara. We were very eager to go for Nandgiri i.e. Kalyangad but due to farther distance from Pune-Bangalore NH4 highway we had to settle for Sadashivgad which is in Karad.

We were ready with all maps and books to help us in finding route and base villages. On Friday night at 10 we 6 friends (Rohit is the only name missing in above conversation) left from Pune in a car and with a bike. Shekhar aka Anna was with his Maruti 800 and Shankar with Discover. The name of his bike itself suggests our motto. We reached Kikli near Bhuinj in Satara approximately at midnight. The base village of Chandan-Vandan, Belmachi is not very far from here. It was a clean and neat village with concrete roads, so had a walk in the midnight. Rather than waiting for sleep we were anxiously waiting for dawn to arrive to launch our mission.

Early morning we started for Belmachi. All the dogs we barking like hell at us. We started our climb at five O’clock in the morning. Sun was yet to get up. We lost our way in dark. The forts were visible in moonlight and we kept climbing upwards. Finally we reached at the junction between two forts. First we decided to go for Chandan on left. Though we had covered most of the climb, the entry to fort was on the other side. We had to traverse all the way to other end of the fort. There we raised the first flag of our mission on Shiva temple. The nature around came to live with the resonating sound of slogan “Shivaji Maharaj ki Jay”.

We felt like we will run out of time it we take lot of time in finding the right place and tying the flagpole firmly to that support. But then we can not just hurry up the things we respect. After Chandan we immediately walked back towards Vandan. The door was almost intact. A dargah and one temple were there on the fort. After starting back to Belmachi, we realized that we had quite an easier route to Chandan and Vandan than we tried while climbing up. By 10 am we were in Belmachi. Villagers appreciated our efforts of completing both forts so quickly and putting flag over the temple.

We were not in mood to rest. We drove back to Pachwad city on NH4 highway. Vairatgad was visible and it was 11 O’clock in the watch. We had sumptuous breakfast Pachwad and reached Kapsewadi village near Vairatgad via another village Sartale. We started for Vairatgad at 11.30 and reached the top in 1 hour. It was a tiring 80-85 degrees up climb. Scorching heat was taking toll. We had big GluconD packet with us to rely on. After hoisting flag on Vairatgad, we got our water bottles filled with ice cold water from water tank in the rock of the fort.

It was just 2 when we were back to Kapsewadi and we thought of changing our plan a bit. Instead of going for Ajinkyatara we decided to trek Pandavgad which was quite bigger and time consuming. We had 5 hours of daylight with us. Instead of wasting time at some hotel for lunch we had dry snacks and headed for Wai, 12 km from Pachwad. From Menawali, a road on left goes towards base of Pandavgad. There is another route from Mandhardev but it goes through dense jungle.

We started our trek for Pandavgad at 3.15 pm. Not sure of the route, we kept asking every villager we came across. One uncle told us that it will take 6 pm just to reach the fort. ShekharAnna promised him that we will be back by 6 pm. And we have never dumped Anna. After a moderate climb for an hour we reach a hamlet of koli people. Pandavgad was straight up there but there were many false roads diverging in forests. A shepherd helped us in finding the right way towards the top. An old flag was fighting with wind on the bastion. After reaching the top we went to the same place and placed new flag on the poll. A spectacular view of Dhom dam, Matheran table land was holding us back from getting down. Sun was setting down fast and light was getting worsen due to clouds. At 5 in the evening we started our journey back to Menawali. In no time, i.e. in one hour we reached the place where we met the uncle first. In menawali we visited Krishna ghat. It was the most beautiful ghat I have visited ever. It is the same place where some shots from movie ‘Swades’ were filmed.

We left for Karad, my hometown, at 7.30 pm. We all were hungry but quite pleased with our performance. All four forts we trekked, none of us had visited earlier, at least by the routes we hiked. On the way to Karad, we had dinner at Assal Satari hotel. Though it was not all that great, it was certainly good for crying stomach. We reached my home in Karad city at 11 in night. All things were set for us. In no time we went to sleep.

Next day morning, we wanted not to spend time on breakfast. So carried the breakfast with us and left for Sadashivgad. Sadashivgad is nearly 7 km away from Karad city. The steps to the fort are built from collective contribution from the donors and villagers. The Shiva temple and a well on the top are the only structures on the fort. Spellbinding view of Karad situated on banks of Krishna and Koyna can be seen from the fort. It definitely took more time than we anticipated on this fort. We were back to base at 8.00 am.

Vasantgad is close to Talbid village. Talbid has immense importance in Maratha Empire. It is birthplace of Senapati HambirRao Mohite, who was behind Shivaji maharaj and Sambhaji Maharaj like Rock of Gibraltar in tough times. With target of coming back by 11 we started for Vasantgad at 9.30 am. It was a simple climb and we managed to reach the top quickly. We found a bastion to place the flag. We spent almost an hour there, thanks to Anna’s heroics of climbing the 25 ft high bastion.

We visited memorial of Senapati Mohite in Talbid and started our journey to next fort in the line, Sajjangad. Sajjangad, known as spiritual capital of Maharashtra by then, is blessed with intact walls, doors and beautiful temples. The whole atmosphere is serene and enlivened with spiritual chants. We spend for some peaceful time in retrospection. We were on seventh fort and only Ajinkyatara was left.

At Satara, we bought special Kandi Pedhe and we started for Ajinkyatara. We were relaxed as we had enough time in our hand and we were at the base of Ajinkyatara. But things were not going to be that easy. Our car started giving some sound on steeper slopes. So we decided to take it to doctor first. Maruti service station was available at 200 m. And doctor diagnosed that one of the cylinder is not firing at all. That was heartbreak for us. But it could not throw sand in our gears. Thankfully he said that car will go to Pune but we will not be able to raise the speed beyond 60 km/hr. All of us were stunned. Shadows of evening were in plain sight on Ajinkyatara. We decided to complete the campaign whatever it takes. We hoisted the eighth flag at the main door of Ajinkyatara and roared the famous slogan for the last time on our trek. We shot a brief concluding video about our mission.

After having lunch and dinner at 6.30 at a dhaba we started our return journey to Pune. The slower car came as blessings for our tired body. Shankar and Shrikant were riding the wind. We felt like victorious warriors returning home. Things will come and go but we will cherish this achievement for our lifetime.

An article by one of our trekmate Shekhar is published in E-Sakal marathi daily. Here is the link to it.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Identity crisis

Ohh..congrats!! Sunita did land safely. That's great. I feel great to see somebody of Indian name achieving milestones. Just indian name? What abhijit so illiterate and so rustic you are? You don't even know that she is of Indian origin. Oh really. I never knew it before she took off for mission.

A loooong list of names passed in front of me. Some indian born but flourished in other countries and some totally foreigners(some call them NRIs). Mostly both had US (predominently) citizenship. We do take pride in saying them of indian origin. I am not going into details about what they would have been if they were in India. I am also happy to see them growing.

My only question is do we take ownership of those indians or people of indian origin who are involved in bomb blasts, terrorist activities, frauds etc ?. Please see these links 1 , 2

They haven't mistaken their identity. Its we who are suffering from identity crisis.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dark side of a silver cloud

And it is final now. Bob Woolmer was killed. Latest news from NDTV says:

The Jamaican Police have now confirmed that Pakistani cricket coach Bob Woolmer was indeed murdered.
Cricket, now, is not as simple as we used play on streets. Neither it is as simple as South Africa chasing 434 target successfully. Till yesterday we knew that it's money which is having the first say on who will win or lose. But happenings in recent past are indicating that money is having the first say on who will live or die in cricket.

A benign coach was mercilessly murdered by somebody or some organization that really does not know or do not want to see cricket as gentleman's game. We proudly say that it was Jagmohan Dalmiya or Kerry Packer who brought money into the game. But people with loose morale are taking the heart of the game away. We call it 'The game of glorious uncertainties' but now it is on the verge of becoming 'The game of inglorious happenings'.

A two minutes silence and that's it. The show must go on. But are we sure that show is going as it used to go usually? How can I be assured that India-Sri Lanka match, a virtually final match for India, is not fixed? My excitements about a dropped catch or a miscue shot from the bat of well known batsman will always have a tint of doubt. Doubt about genuineness. Who knows whether it was spontaneous?

With technology and brains, the game has reached new heights. Cricketers are role models. They are brand ambassadors of social and commercial organizations. Cricket, at least in subcontinent, is followed by riches and rags. Marketing executives of big shot companies take it as best way to reach out to people. A lot of money is involved and that lures bad elements of society to step into. They came, they fixed and they earned. And now whosoever favors them, becomes rich and who tries to expose them, goes the Woolmer way.

Let's take an oath that we will watch cricket for passing time. Now onwards nobody will burn posters or throw stones at houses of cricketers. Nobody will suffer from heart attack. Nobody will go and buy mobile or coke because their hero is advertising and nobody will cry if their team loses.

Let's take an oath that we will not be angry because losing match against Pakistan is not a national issue. A team of some private body called BCCI lost against another such from Pakistan. Players are not playing for some country, rather they are contract labours(although skilled) of these private bodies. We will watch them like how we watch horses of race course because people are betting on them like that. We have understood that calling it as Team India is an emotional trap. Sponsors are doing the same advertisement in different countries and projecting each country as winner. huh..how funny!?!?!?!

Let me pray for Bob Woolmer's soul. It was an eye-opener for die hard cricket fans. At least now people should be conscious and cautious followers of the game.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Life is full coincidences these days. Unexpected, unforeseen but delighting. Let me explain. When I came to Hyderabad, being homesick, I use to search for people from Karad, my hometown, who are in Hyderabad. And I met Amol through orkut. Amol and I decided to meet on some weekend in Hyderabad. We were in good touch but could never meet in person. One day he mails me that he got transfered to Pune. I just left the thought of meeting again. To my goodness, when I went to appear for SNAP exam to Pune, I saw Amol too at the same exam centre and in the same exam hall as of mine. Well out of thousands of people appearing for the exam, he was one of those 20 (lucky) people sitting in my exam hall. We people call it a coincidence, for almighty GOD it is routine.

On another day in Hyderabad, I had sumptous dinner with two of my office colleagues. While coming back at one corner our ways parted. We were discussing something. I decided to continue walking till their home and not to leave just for the reason that I could leave as my house was nearer. So we continued the topic and around 11.30 in the night I was coming back to my shelter. While returning, singing a old KishoreDa's song, I noticed a familier face crossing me. I felt I have seen him somewhere. Then I recalled that he was one of my IIT friends, Satish. I rushed to him and asked,"Were you in IIT KGP?". He said, "Yes". And by that time he too recalled that we were staying in one hall. It's always a pleasure to meet somebody hum-alma mater. A small decision to accompany my friends till their home awarded me catching up with an old friend. We people call it a coincidence, for almighty GOD it is routine.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Inspiring nothing

I felt awefully distressed to see what I have seen. I don't know why I read it. The best way to tackle any problem is to not know the problem. It was IIM A s PGP shortlisting criteria. I lost my composure and was almost crying for those who appeared for CAT with full of their preparation, pertinence and patience. I do not need to explain anything.

See this:

"A total of 280 seats are available for admission to the Post-Graduate Programme 2007-09 of IIM Ahmedabad. The break-up of 280 seats for various categories of students is given under:
General - 192, OBC (6%) - 17, SC (15%) - 42, ST (7.5%)- 21, PWD (3%) - 8."


“Please note that the cut off for short listing SC/ST/PWD candidates for group discussion and personal interview would not be less than 17% score in each of the three sections of CAT-2006 and no less than 25% score in aggregate. For other categories, it would be no less than 25% in each of the three sections and no less than 33% in aggregate. The actual cut-offs used for shortlisting, however, may be higher than the above mentioned percentage scores and would depend upon the performance of candidates in CAT-2006.”

Category-wise, the number of candidates, who met these criteria in CAT 2006, is as under:

General : 3431
OBC : 174
SC : 168
ST : 20
PWD :14

Please note that there are only 20 candidates in ST who are qualified.

Now : Category-wise Short-listing Criteria and Number of Candidates called for Group Discussions and Personal Interviews
1. General Category candidates: Out of qualifying candidates, who applied for PGP of IIMA, 608 General category candidates were short-listed. Candidates, whose percentile in each section was above 95.33 and who have an overall percentile above 98.3, have been called for the GD&PI.
4. ST Category Candidates: Out of candidates, who applied for PGP of IIMA, all 20 ST category candidates, who met minimum cutoff requirement, were short-listed for the GD&PI.

After qualifying through a minimum criteria of 33% or so, a general category student have to pass criteria of 98.3 percentile to get a call for GD PI. In the same place an ST candidate will get call for GD PI with only 25%.

So my one friend from general category with 99% is not getting call from IIM and another friend from ST category with 25% is getting call. Wah!!!! Is that the future we are looking for? Where are we heading for? How one can grow bigger by pulling others down? Where is the system in it? How does it justify conducting a so called COMMON admission test if people are going to be judged by their caste instead of score?

If somebody is going to get hurt after reading this, oops!!! I really do not care.

Reference: See this

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Not really Silly

Simillar conversations of Gandhi and Nehru have earned lot of publicity; have found places in museums. Then why not ours. Watch for these two. They are not just looking at the menu. They are discussing future of mankind. As Shreevallabh portrays the future as bright, I am really worried about whom to pass this tag-chain?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera!!

Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera!!
Your country, your own country is calling you
You are tied in eternal bond which can never break
How could you forget the scent of mother earth?
for sure where ever you go you will come back to home
Your heart is lost at new place
you are feeling like denied breathing space
Somebody from here is asking for your love
Your country, your own country is calling you....
Listen, life is calling you..
What else you want when you have earned everything.
As such you are lying on golden bed,
but what worth it is being away from mother
Come lets go back to our home
Come to the people who say you are their own
Your country, your own country is calling you....
Yes, this is the time to decide.
Future of centuries is hidden in it,
with power of changing lives of plenty your brothers.
Then why is this dilemma? why is this hesitation?
You are the one who will guide us, you are the leader
You will show us the road to prosper
And for you there is only one way, come back
Your country, your own country is calling you....
Your country, your own country is calling you,
You are tied in eternal bond which can never break!!
A small effort to translate this inspiring song!! Please bear with me. :-)

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