The mid months of 2010 were pouring heavily. And I was in 9th which was an indicator that it was my second last year of schooling. Then, everything was new and fresh for me. Syllabus, friends, teachers, season all were new.
In 2010, the rains were late. It was as if the showers from heaven were trying the patience of the people. The summers had reached to their climax but the suspense of rain was stretched till limits. But, after all the rains were the game changers. They were welcomed by music and dance. The most romantic and charming season had finally began.
It is natural that in such a beautiful season anybody will hardly like to study earnestly. A year-refresher trek to Shivneri fort in Junnar and to Naneghat which was a part of Malshej Range was planned by our unique group (staff and group of my tutions). They were the movements of great excitement when the trek was discussed in our tuitions. Until the trek-day everyone was engrossed in the discussion of about how the day was going to be? And about the wonderful roads of Malshej Range.
Finally the day of discussions came. We left behind sun in ‘waking up’ competition for we all had to gather at our tuitions at 5 sharp. When I reached there, the outskirts of the our class were bustled. My friends were already ready there, looking out for other friends. The talks which take place between us (friend circle) are either very earnest or very stupid ones.
Our bus was late by an hour. But that hour hardly felt as it was an hour. There were drizzles coupled with cool rainy morning breeze which was chilling us from the beginning itself. Bus finally arrived and the departure started at 6.oo am. Our bus went through the deserted morning streets. It was still dark outside and the intensity of rain was alternatively increasing and decreasing. The pleasant climate was showing us the trailer of our hit day’s film. The bus then found its way out of the concrete area of Dombivli and Kalyan and entered a highway with greenness around it.
After a drive of about 2 hours we stoped for breakfast. Then after having a Indian delicacy of Upma, the journey turned itself on the road. Our first and the second last destination was the Shivneri Fort in Junnar. After enjoying the thrilling and naturally gifted Malshej Ghat, a small dusty, narrow and deserted road took us to the Junnar.
As a part of our anticipation, the way to trek Shivneri was crowded. There was a introductory lecture given reguarding our safety. We were broke into 5 to 6 groups each leaded by a experienced trekkers and one from among our class staff. The way to go up was clean and tidy. To our surprise, there were some name plates under some trees on the way indicating their scientific and common names. I found that really interesting. The way to trek was clean and tidy. We passed through many stone gates, built with there respective strategies and intentions (for war times). It took about two hours for us to reach the top. The surroundings were beautiful. The temple was magnificient. The birth place of Shivaji Maharaja was historic but the maintenance of the place was showing that ‘Raj’ of Maharaja was still alive. The rainy green aura was always there. Drizzles were still in form. Enjoying the stories of the Fort and the Maharaja, time slipped away. It was as if the era had came to life in very front of our eyes.
The down climb was even more interesting. There began a race in us to who will be the first to reach bus stationed at the place from were we started walking. We started running from over a slightly sloppy ground, dodging all other people on the way. It was the run. Unstoppable. Even if we wanted to stop, slope of the mountain would hardly allow that. The frenzy, crazy and free ‘we’ were running in a hurry-race. We would stop for moments, regain our breath and start running. It was a ‘go with the flow’ situation. We reached the bus went in it and jumped on the first vacant seat we saw. I was extremely exhausted and so was everyone else. It took a minute for us to regain our breath. My legs were screaming in pain but the situation around me hardly made me notice it. This trip was proving to be a great fun for me.
We had lunch and then we were on our way to the Naneghat, our next destination. It was 3 o’clock but there was no sun above us. It was predicted by us that it will take two hours from Shivneri but the fog and unknown roads became the reason for our buses to get late by one hour. Our bus reached there at 6 pm. The other bus was going to be even more late. As soon as we stepped out of the bus we were pulled back a step by a harsh and cold flow of wind coupled with drizzles. We were on the top of a mountain. It was Naneghat. We were at the vehicle road of ghat were it ended and the non-vehicle way began. We were waiting for the other bus to arrive. It was extremely cold out there. But the rain had already made us half-wet so, we decided to wet it all. There was a waterfall flowing through a raised portion of mountain. We all stepped into the dangerously cold water. I felt that I was about to freeze. The water was very cold but now that we were so wet that when we got out of water the ice cold wind shrivelled us by extreme cold.
I and companions enjoyed the waterfall for about thirty minutes and finally we were able to see the golden-yellow lights of bus mixed with dense white fog. The other group got out of bus wearing windcheaters and full sleeved raiment. It was nearly seven in evening and it was already too dark for us to go and see the caves of Naneghat. So, that plan was cancelled.
We left Naneghat at 7:30. It was certain that we were going to be very late than expected. I was still very cold. I had changed my wet clothes and was in a warm and dry pair of clothes. The lights in the bus were not working so it was very dark in there. Silence was all over the bus, just the vice-versa of the time at which we were heading towards Shivneri. Some of mates were deep asleep, some were soothing themselves with music through earphones and some were talking in whispers with their next seat friends. I was quiet, thinking about the whole day. The music of drizzles had mesmerised me. The extraordinary pain in my muscles was showing me the live action of this day. Even though my eyes were open I felt that I was in middle of a beautiful dream. This day was a sublime experience for me. Memories of this fine day will be engraved in me forever. I looked out of the window. It was raining. I opened it a little bit. Incoming were invisible cold droplets. I closed the window with a jerk awaking friend seating next to me and blowing some warm air in hollow of my palms I said next seat mate, “ITS A RAINY DAY!” But he was asleep!