Monday, December 27, 2010

Raigad Takmak Rappelling

24th Dec 2010 added another feather of achievement in my cap. I completed 1000 ft Raigad takmak tok rappelling event organized by pinnacle club.
oh my God... what an experience it was...!!! Thanks a ton to pinnacle club and their volunteers for their great disciplined organization of this event.
It was full of thrill, inspirational and enjoyable camp. I am proud to be member of this club. hats off to pinnacle...!!!

On 23rd, I reached Mumbai Central bus depot around 10:30pm which was pick up point for us. When I reached almost all participants were reached. Except Pramod sir, I was not knowing any one of them. Any outing cannot become fun unless you face at least one issue and here our starting itself become very interesting because of our great ST department. First of all bus came late around 12:30am. Once bus came, we got settled in it. Driver came and just started it and he felt that there is some break issue in that bus so we had to get down.... Then we went to another bus... again there was some issue in that bus and finally third bus came, we were afraid to sit as there might be some issue in that bus as well... he he he .... for a moment I felt we are playing "musical bus"... jumping from one bus to another ..... he he he he .........Still with full on enthusiasm we started our journey to Raigad around 1:40am. I guess driver was jet plane driver and by mistake he came to drive bus.... he he he he ....he was driving so fast that we felt bus was not moving on road, it was just flying... I prayed to God for our safe journey and falls a sleep...!!!

We reached Raigad around 6:30am. We had tea at very small village hotel over there. As per instructions of Pramod sir, we started our trek to reach Raiagd fort top as our base camp was arranged there. Here I clicked my first pic of this trek and while climbing hill started with photography as well. Sun was about to rise but I couldn't capture it as I was not in proper direction. While moving up I could see that valley between "Sahyadri hills" was as good as sea because of dark fog. I had captured this sea of fog in my camera. [I have given link to all the pic's at the end of this post] I am in love with this Sahyadri hills, Its true representation of power and greatness of nature. As we were moving up, Pramod sir showed us the giant "Takmak tok" from where we have to rappel down 1000 ft in valley. There were many other groups especially from villages schools with us, Everyone was chanting like "Jai Shivaji.. Jai Bhavani"... these two words have tremendous magic.. However tired you may be, you get great energy and power when you say it loudly...!!! slowly while climbing, I started interacting with other trek members and getting familiar with them. Finally we reached base camp at the top around 8:30am. Immediately we got fresh and had breakfast. "poha" was too Good. I had it twice ;)


Now we started with actual activity for the day. As I was in first batch so I went for rappelling. I had not attended any practice session in Mumbai, So I did some rappelling practice for the height of 10-12 ft. then I moved to takmak top for actual 1000 ft rappelling. Takmak tok..It doesn't need any special introduction. Its an overhanging cliff of about 2850ft. If you don't know then above pic might have given you rough idea of its height, strength and greatness. However you may be brave but when first time look down from takmak tok you will be afraid that I oh... God.. I have to rappelled down from here. but Atul sir explained us everything very nicely. He helped us to reduce our fear and feel confident. Now I started understanding meaning of all rappelling related terms like, main rope, bille, harness and all.... My number was almost last in first batch So I had to wait for long time, meantime I was just observing How other participants are doing it. One can just watch How they are starting, once they go bit down the rope you cant see them, yes its very very steep. I was astonished by courage of couple of small girls who completed this. Rajesh sir had very tough role of giving start to each candidate. meantime I got in conversation with Saujanya and Arvind. (This conversation was just start of formation of one small group....) We got friendly, started giving confidence each other for this rappelling. This 1000 ft was supposed to be completed in two steps, first 300 ft and then from there 700 ft.

One by one everyone was going down... Reshma went down... then Prajakta... Saujanya...by the time my turn came it was lunch time and so while rapelling down I had to carry lunch in sack for volunteers at first stage. I got ready, just recited "Om Namah Shivay" couple of times and started rappelling as per guidance of Atul and Rajesh sir. Initially while starting I was too afraid... :( :( but as soon as I completed 10-20 ft distance down the rope, I got comfortable and started rappelling nicely :) slowly slowly I completed 300 feet distance and completed first stage. When I was rappelling one small stone felt down...everyone screamed "watch out...", still it hit one the volunteer, Good thing was no injury was caused. really sorry for this :( At first stage on the small rock, hemant and couple of other volunteers welcomed me. (Here I was almost 1500 to 1800 ft above ground...) Watching Sahyadri range and nature around me at that height was experience of lifetime...!!! I just cant describe it. They called off for lunch break and I got opportunity to have lunch at that height. Lunch at that height and in that environment was more enjoyable than any 7 star hotel. Prajakta got cramp in her right hand while rappelling down. Just helped her a bit to get relief. She was taking back from remaining 700 ft rappelling but because of constant inspiration from Bapu sir, she got ready for it. Finally lunch time was over and I got ready for further 700 ft rappelling. This time I started very nicely and went down, In this area there was no proper rock so at one stage I struggled for contact of feet with rock but enjoyed this free fall on the rope... Hurahhh..!!! Finally within 10 mins completed this 700 ft distance. Now when I looked up, I just felt proud for this thrill "Yes, I did it...!!! 1000 ft rappelling.... Though its not big achievement in the field of mountaineering but at that time was feeling as if I have done something great.... :)" Mahesh and Prafulla welcomed me and gave glucose drink. Now there Saujanya, Rakesh, Reshma and Arvind were waiting for me. After me, Prajakta came done, She struggled a lot....!!! Anuja, first member from second batch joined us and volunteer said lets move back to base camp now. he came to show us a small tiny road and we followed him.


While moving to base camp, Me, Saujanya, Arivnd, Rakesh, Reshma, Prajakta and Anuja got gelled very well and it became very nice group. While walking slowly, we were talking and enjoying nature around us. Now we had to climb fort again to reach base camp. but the way spent time we didn't realized How time flied away...!!! While moving up we had lot of fun and couple times had refreshment drink like "tak" and "kokam sarbat". [directly used marathi words here ... :)] When we reached base camp we realized that we were too late for second activity of fort watching and now have to rush to see fort with guide. We had quick breakfast and moved for seeing fort.


Guide was telling some historical information about each point on the fort. There are different kind of vibrations in this environment. You may not believe but for a moment you feel that still "Shivaji Maharaj" is there. Couple of statue of "Shivaji Maharaj" over there are scintillating...!!! I always consider "Shivaji Maharaj" as one of my guru...!!! I got lot of encouragement. Thousand times I saluted great king Shivaji. I think even if we follow 1% of his values and dedication we will achieve something great in life..!!!
Sun was about set so it was just perfect evening, environment was already magical because of imagining king and his bravery.... you get into introspect mood and many question about yourself arise in mind.... :)
After seeing fort I enjoyed sunset photography session and finally we all came down to base camp.

In the evening, Atul sir gave us small session about mountaineering where he introduced us to this field and gave information about all the instruments. After this session, we had dinner.... puri, bhaji, pulav rise, gajjar halwa.... It was just too Good.
by the time everyone finished dinner we were all set for "camp fire"..!!! couple of small girls and one grandpa lighted fire and everyone got ready to rock.... sang some songs.... Everyone was too tired so this camp fire session didn't extended for log time but one of the poem sang by "Anuja" I liked a lot. It was the best performance of the night. Finally we went to our room and as everyone as tired fall fast asleep.


Second day, I woke up early around 5:30am in the morning as I wanted capture sunrise. I got ready, Arvind also joined me. We went to fort again and started sunrise photography session. I got really too pic's of sunrise with Shivaji's statue. The one shown above is one the best of them. After sunrise photography session, I joined camp members for breakfast and left fort around 8am for Mumbai.

Mind blowing experience of rappelling, Inspirational fort visit, some enjoyment at camp fire, excellent opportunity of sunset and sunrise photography, meeting new friends..... I think it was just perfect weekend where I completely forgot my laptop :)

It was too Good camp..!!!

JAI BHAVANI...!!! JAI SHIVAJI...!!!

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW ALL PICS OF THIS CAMP

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Sandy.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Visit to Maharashtra Nature Park

Sometimes we miss to notice the beauty of our backyard, I guess same is the story of "Maharashtra Nature Park". I am in Mumbai since last so many years but I was not knowing this place. This park is near Dharavi bus depot (15 mins walk from Sion station). Yesterday while surfing on Internet I came to know about this place. Anyways I had messed up my planned outing activities because of some professional confusion so I thought lets visit this park on Saturday.


This park is kind of small forest of around 37 acres. Its very Eco-friendly park where rainwater harvesting technology is used for its water supply. Also they use solar energy for some lamps in park. When I reached park, at the entrance itself I came to know that there are around 200 different types of trees in this park. Also there are around 20 species of butterflies are found in this forest (wow..!!! my favorite object of photography...!!) After completing all the required formalities I got entry in actual forest. As soon as I entered in forest I was welcomed by one snake...!!! I noticed one snake crossed my path. he moved very fast and I couldn't capture him in my camera :( Its very beautiful forest. They have made path of bricks for roaming through this forest.


So I was roaming through the forest and clicking some pics of butterflies and flowers. I was excited after seeing so many different types of butterflies. I was running behind them just like mad to catch them in my camera. they were constantly moving and made my life very difficult. [I think butterflies were thinking of themselves as very pretty girls and had doubt like who is this poor road romeo behind us???.... he he he he ........] I used to spot them then by the time I am done with all zoom settings and in a position to take the pic they used to fly away :( Literally I felt as if they are taking my patience test. but I didn't gave up, followed them with full on concentration and my constant effort helped me to catch some really cool pics of butterflies. (I have given link to all pics at the end of this post) Oh God..!!! These butterflies have so many different colors, its really just too Good to see. God is a great creator...!!!


I have captured some different types of flowers in my camera. But I became really happy when I came to know that I have captured "Nagchafa" in my camera. (flower in above pic is nagchafa) I was not knowing this. when I showed this pics to my sister, she confirmed that its nagchafa. This is one of the rarest flower in India. This flower has divine importance as it represents "shiva-ling" of god shiva. If you have observed this flower carefully then you can easily co-relate inner part of this flower with "shiva-ling" of god shiva. (hope your able to co-relate this...!!!) Being one of the most die-hard devotee of god shiva, this pic became really special for me :)

On one side of this forest you can see mithi river. Forest department people said that earlier some foreign migration birds used to come in this area during this season. But now days this river is such a badly poluted that I guess even those migratory birds have stopped coming here. he he he ..... There were some other groups roaming in the forest. I saw that in one of the college student group, some guys were wearing headphones and listening to music... he he he he ... come on man..!!! you came here to see and enjoy the nature or to listen to music??.... while roaming there are so many birds around you, making some sounds... as if they want to talk with you. If your listening to music, your just missing it.... he he he... Suddenly after long time I started feeling hungry and at that I realized its already 1:30pm. I went to one of the open hall over there and I had my lunch from tiff-in box. Now this lunch was more tasty ;)

I saw one quote on one of the board in this park, "Patience and Silence are two powerful energies. patience makes you mentally strong and Silence makes you emotionally strong..!!!" I think its very true and our great teacher nature always teaches us these things. Tree says even if I loose leaves in summer I will not loose patience, very soon soon rain will come and I will blossom again with full on leaves and flowers. Nature is true representation of divine silence. I think if we learn these two energies from nature, we can lead to much more peaceful and happier life..!!!
After lunch I spent some more time in forest and left that place at some time in the afternoon with such a nice thought in mind.....!!!

PICS OF THIS OUTING

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Sandy.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

PlaySpan's Diwali celebration 2010.

Today, we had Diwali celebration in our office and it turn out to be really great and one of the most memorable Diwali celebration in my professional life. Now days I am just amazed at my teams enthusiasm and positive energy. Whether its work or any other activity, we are getting really cool response from all the people. I think today, all people of my core team will be very very Happy. Since last three and half years we are working really hard to proceed each step forward but in recent times as far as team is concerned we were not able to get newly joined people to our level of enthusiasm and involvement. But we never give up and kept trying. So finally today I can see that we have got success to large extent and I can see not only core team but also entire office is having great enthusiasm and positive energy about the project. If we continue this then I think PlaySpan will reach its goal very soon...!!! Of course credits goes to entire team for its effort but we should really thanks to Vinayak Sir for his behind the scene effort. Also our HR Kavitha, PD and twinkle are really doing cool job in team building activity. he he he he he ... I guess I am becoming emotional ;)


As a part of Diwali celebration we had bay decoration competition in our office. Each team was given a theme and accordingly we had to decorate our bay. So for this CS had got "Haunted house" theme. PSM had got "Bollywood" theme. QA had got "Jungle" theme. For this activity MTX, Reports and HR were merged into one team and we had got "market" theme. So since last couple of days I can see that teams are syncing after office hours for taking various decision for their bay decoration, putting up all the creativity to decorate their bay so that it will look the best. So working during office hours and after office hours putting up some extra effort for decorating bay.... he he he he .... thats what is called a team spirit..!!! Till now everyone's identity was their professional skills only, but Now we know.... oh... some people paint things nicely, some are good at craft, Someone can give good light effects.... and all and all... So apart from our professional skills, everyone is having one or other really good skills.. Nice to know..!!! During all these activity at least for one day, just went back to school and college days where we used to do all these activities for our projects. I think this is really good short break from work where you just think differently apart from your work and gets rejuvenated.


Finally today on celebration day, entire environment was charged up. everyone was busy in getting remaining things done for their bay. My team MTX is always busy with tons of blockers ;) can't help it. Still we started yesterday night itself and today we were successful in getting things in place. For our market theme we had set up of small village market where there were many shops and small Rangeela theater. Sudha had "Poda" beauty shop. Niraj was having "Milk" shop. [this shop magically gets converted into "Gavathi bar" after 6pm ;) ] Paresh was having mobile shop. Riche had attar shop which was one of the best shop in our market. Good work riche for really small detailing in this shop. Sandeep W had firecrackers shop. Sangeet was street seller who was selling many things. Hey I guess your thinking what I was doing?? ....... I had "Usman Bangali Baba" shop (sab dard ka ke hi elaj....he he he he ) But in all our theater rocked liked anything...he he he he .... We had managed to show various Rajanikant films shots in our theater. So during entire day our theater was full in form and everyone enjoyed it... Even Vinayak sir find some time for one of our show.. We entertain all people in our market who came to purchase various things (Though nobody purchased anything because of very high cost.. he he he he ).. In fire crackers shop, "aapati bomb" was too good and we gave 11 aapati bomb salami to Vinayak sir to welcome him in our market..... Harshil's (who is our big B) entry for opening ceremony of "Sulabh Sauchalay" was ultimate..!!! he he he ..... This small part really rocked the market ;)


This time, CS was in different level of form. they had decorated their bay very nicely with their theme of "Haunted house" and also everyone was dressed up like ghost. Really appreciate their extra ordinary effort in dressing and all. Also their entry was really dashing. everyone was having some kind of ghost face... but Raj didn't had anything... I guess he don't need any ghost face to look like ghost... he he he he .....Being "Bangali Baba" in market, I also joined this gang of ghosts and we enjoyed in entire office. I was behind them and tried to push them out of office. So this ghosts and bangali baba's tu-tu-mai-mai also rocked like anything.... PSM had setup bollywood multiplex with all different variety of movies..... I liked all the different types of movie posters they had posted. QA team had really great effort in setting up jungle theme on their bay. They had done really minute level of detailing while setting up this jugle, I just liked it a lot. Also various animals voice recoding played by them, created some reality effect. Sagar was dressed up like mogali...but everyone found him like a Shakira... he he he ... Twinke was in shikari dress up. Also at one side they showed some civilization and tried to gave some global warming message. Today nobody will say that its PlaySpan's office :) Our judge vinayak sir spent time with all the people and saw all peoples creativity. Finally he declared CS as a winner team. I had managed to get all detailed pics of all the bays. (link to pics is given at the end of this post.)

Entire day was full of masti and dhammal. Everyone forgot work at least for some time and was shouting, doing some mimicry, some photo session. Whether we were in market, jungle, bollywood or in haunted house, everyone enjoyed a lot. It was so much fun. Everyone got good break from office work and energy to get back to work again ;) Finally end of the day, as usual Kavitha had surprise for us and Vinayak sir gave diwali gift to everyone. Guess what was it???... It was wrist watch. So everyone got really cool wrist watch :) Almost everyone come to office on time but I guess by giving wrist watch as a gift sir just want to convey message that "Guys, use this watch, Please come on time to office and work on time..!!!".... he he he he ... Just kidding sir...!!! Thanks to all PlaySpanian's for making this celebration really grand...!!!

I guess these festivals are "fill in the blanks" in our life..!!! didn't got it???.... see, just try to recollect your school days when we used to write a exam, which question used to give us more marks in less time if you write it correctly???.... of course it was "fill in the blanks".. where we just used to write one proper missing word in entire sentence and within a second we used to earn good marks for it. Similarly, In todays life everyone is trying to find some happiness from his stressful life... These festivals are "fill in the blanks" opportunity for us... Just fill them with great and full on energy, I mean just enjoy them, you will get maximum Happiness.... he he he he ... while writing this, its almost 2 am and I am becoming philosophical :)

Last but not the least "HAPPY DIWALI" in advance to everybody..!!! May this festival of light brings prosperity and Happiness in your life...!!!

ALL PICS OF BAY DECORATION

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Sandy.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

PlaySpan's trip to Silent Hill Resort.

23rd Oct 2010, I think this day will be written in Golden letters in the History of PlaySpan. oh.. What Happened on this day? ... We went to Silent Hill Resort for the picnic and What a day it was..!!! I think this was first ever proper picnic we had at PlaySpan. Thanks to all people like Kavitha, PD, Twinkle who worked hard to arrange it properly. Whatever may be the activity right from eating tiffins during lunch in office to working over the night for new clients demo my team always do it with full enthusiasm. But one thing everyone will agree that enthusiasm and spirit of all the people on 23rd was at a different level which lead it to the grand success. One more delightful fact was Vinayak Sir took some time from his really busy schedule and spent time with us.


We had hired bus and kanjur station was the first pick up point. I reached at Kanjur around 6:15am and we got started around 6:35 once all people at Kanjur came. During morning there is no traffic at Powai and JVLR road so we rushed to Oberoi mall within 20-25 mins. Here most of the people caught the bus. By this time our back seat team was almost settled and ready to rock under the leadership of Sangeet and me. We recited "Ganapati Bappa Moraya" couple of times and full on Dhamal masti got started. When back seat Gang, was quite busy in teasing each other, cracking some jokes, slowly bus was moving and we realized that almost everyone was in by the time reached Borivali. Here our one more proud back sit Gang member came in, who is he???.. he he he .. he is Sagar Bhute. Once Sagar got in, three muskities me, Sangeet and Sagar took the charge of back seat gang and rest is the History. One activity is very common on any picnic that is boys vs Girls Antakshari and we were no exception to it. So we also started with Antakshari. We didn't had any musical instrument but all seats of bus, upper deck was used as drums and tabla. (I hope bus owner has insurance of bus seats also.. he he he he )... Antakshari was going in full on swing. Everyone contributed very well but me, Sagar, Sangeet PD, twinkle and Akanksha lead the show. Our ustad PDji sang some really Good kishor, rafi songs. One bit bad luck was, our one more Ustad Niraj was not feeling very well but what a team spirit..!!! still he came for picnic and encouraged us really well. While singing refreshment like fruti was really relaxing. After some time I was successful in getting Vinayak sir involved in Antakshari. Shrikanta also sang couple of songs... I was expecting at least one song from my friend Sudha, But teacher couldn't get a take off :( and just continued encouraging us. Riche, Harshil got involved only in some special performances. we were busy in singing one song after another suddenly realized we have reached the resort.


As soon as we got in the resort we had Good breakfast. ah.... Jalebi was too Good ;) after getting recharged with breakfast we got changed for getting into the water. I jumped into big pool and indirectly said Akraman to all the playspanian's...he he he... slowly everyone got in and enjoyed swimming and diving for some time. After that it was time for rain dance. We rocked even there and spent lot of time in dancing on some item numbers from "Dagala lagali kal..." to "Munni badnam hui...". There were couple of slides but no none from our team was ready to come there but no doubt me, Sagar had lot of rounds on slides and enjoyed like anything. It was great feeling when you finally fall into water. Only hurdle for slides was we had to climb two floors on steps. I hope we could I have lift over there then me and Sagar would have at least 20 more rounds .. he he he he he ...... Finally there was one more pool which was not very deep and everyone can stand properly. We had a great photography session in this pool also played some games. Except some CS and PSM team people, almost everyone was in water and enjoyed to the fullest. Suddenly I started feeling hungry and at that I realized oh man..!!! Its time for lunch. We all came out of water got ready for lunch.

After having lunch it was time for team building games and PD had already find place for it. We all moved there. at that time I found that Oh God..!!! this resort is on the bank of Vaitarna and ambiance at that place was too Good. As everyone had Good lunch we all were planning to have a nice nap..he he he he ... But Kavitha and PD had planned some competition and Games. Finally after too much of resistance everyone get up from their seat and got ready for game. First Game we played was "Dog and bone". everyone as aware of this game but I was not knowing game, Sagar explained game to me. It was really funny game and we all enjoyed it. Second Game was some team bulding game where people have to work as a team. It was really Good Game. Kavitha didn't told us name of that Game So I am calling it as "Pipe and goti" game.. he he he he ..... My team co-ordination was Good but still we came second. not to worry.. we enjoyed and that was enough..!!! Kavitha, had one more surprise for us and we all got coffee mug and some chocolates... There were different animals label on coffee mug. I got lion lebeled mug. After that we had nice tea session just before leaving the resort.

After enjoying full on, around 5:30pm we started journey back to home. While coming back almost everyone was down except my back seat Gang. But on return journey we just wanted to sing some cultural songs and we were not aware of too many songs. So we sang full "Ganpati aarati" and some other songs and then everyone got settled on their seats.

As a team, It was really great day where everyone enjoyed and peoples of different teams got some time to talk with each other. It was really Good from team building point of view. Alas..!!! As we were in water resort, I was too busy in masti and didn't involved in photography at all. But my team mate Twinkle managed to get some pics. (I have given link to pics at the end of this post) Special thanks to Sangeet and Sagar whose company really helped me to enjoy and keep rocking right from start to end. Today, everyone showed great spirit.. So this is to all Playspanian's ..... Good Guys..!!! Keep it up..!!! We will have great time again..!!!


ALL PICS OF THIS TRIP

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Sandy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Native Place


Dasara is one of the biggest festival at my native place [pachupatewadi (Tulsan)]. This ten days festival comes to an end with "Palakhi sohla" on Dasara day. People may be out for work but everyone try to attend this last day pooja so even I also always try to attend this festival as its good opportunity to meet almost all the people in the village. Also during dasara rainy season is just about to end and natural beauty of my village is at its peak as all the hills around it becomes green. For one moment I felt like all the hills are wearing green shawls. This time I guess I enjoyed more because of my new hobby photography and I got some really cool pics. [ (Link to all the pics is given at the end of this post.) Thanks to all the insects who remained in steady position, till the time I clicked the pic ;) ]


During my two days stay, I spent lot of time on farms and on hills. As usual, I like the peace and calmness on hills. Roaming on these hills is just a divine experience. During Dasara I make a point that I have a small trip on bike with my uncle. He drives very well and I enjoy bike safary. This time it was not very long drive, we went to pachawad (famous shiv mandir in karad) and spent some time over there. As a part of this trip we had dinner at Hotel Raigad. ah...!!! Mutton curry was too Good..!!! Still I can feel the test :) Also journey back to home during night made a great end of this trip. Because of frequent rain drizzles, Atmosphere was too cool and I was shivering while sitting back on bike. We returned in village around 10pm. At this time some loknatya entertainment program was going over there. Even I joined people to watch this program. This program was not too fancy but still I found that all the people were whistling, dancing and enjoying this program like anything. This is the only time when people in village take some time from their farm work, routine life and get relaxed. These people's life is too simple..!!!


Dasara day is like big pooja day, In the morning we (me and cousins) went to main temple (Ninai devi) for prayer. After that, during afternoon we went to another temple (Bhagubhai devi) for darshan and prayer. This temple is on hill, so going over there is as good as easy grade trek. So me and my cousins started around 2pm with ammo like water and had all the things required for prayer with us. Climate was cloudy so its was not too hot. We climbed hill slowly with some funny discussions while walking. Also in between I was busy in clicking some Good pic. We didn't realized and around after one and half hours walk we reached at the top of the hill. We had pooja over there and spent some time in the temple. Now returning journey was not too hard and we got down easily and reached home around 5:30 pm. We have "Palakhi darshan sohla" at dasara night. All people in village fire crackers for this festival. even I enjoyed some fireworks. Joined "palakhi sohla" and finally at 2am in the midnight after final prayer we returned home.


After enjoying for two days, I started journey back to Mumbai on Monday morning. All the hills from Satara to pune were too green and looking at them is really rejuvenating feeling. Really, God is a great architect who created this beautiful nature..!!! During last two days I had forgot everything and was just enjoying my time with nature. As I entered in Mumbai, cool breeze became bit humid and hot. oh... This hot and humid air talked with me. It told me that "Sandy beta, come out of dream and get ready for your routine life...!!!" he he he he...

ALL PICS OF THIS TRIP
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Sandy.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Naneghat Trek

Now days I have got some interest in trekking so I was looking for some professional trek group. Finally I came to know about Pinnacle Trek Club. Naneghat Trek was my first trek with them and I was quite excited about it. But at the same time I was bit nervous as I had just talked with Mahesh (Trek Lead) on phone but I haven't met any member of the group. As per our plan we met at Kalyan ST depot around 6:15am. Mahesh being team lead introduced me to other group members(Prafulla, Hemant and bodake kaka). Around 6:30am we caught ST bus for Pune. During this journey we had Good discussion and I became comfortable with group.

We reached "Naneghat phata" around 8:30am. After having small breakfast session, we all looked at "Naneghat cha Anghata" (highest point where we had decided to reach) and started trek with full enegry and enthusiasm. Height of this mountain is around 2400 ft and its full of greenery all around.


Starting path was very clear and straight so we covered this distance very quickly. While walking we had very interesting discussions and at the same time everyone was busy in capturing this natural beauty in their Camera. (I have given link to all the pics of this trek at the end of this post). I was able to catch one very beautiful butterfly, I liked that pic a lot. Mahesh was our botany teacher on this trek, he knows so many things about different types of trees and flowers.

As we started moving ahead, mountain became more steep and slowly we started feeling heat. But nature has arranged everything for us. There were many small waterfalls to clean the face and become fresh. Also lemon toffees given by Prafulla at regular interval were very rejuvenating. As we started reaching top, road became very narrow and full of stone, one has to be very clear while moving ahead. Also Hemant mentioned that this is easy grade trek. (Oh..!!! How will be difficult grade trek..!!!) Slowly slowly we kept moving, it took us around 3 hrs to reach the top and finally we reached there around 11:30am. There Mahesh showed us old age toll tax collection center for traveling through this route. Oh..!!! So this was another interesting fact that people used to pay to use this route. Also I have read at place that, this is the reason why its called naneghat? Nane means coin and ghat is route between mountains hence Naneghat. Truly interesting..!!!


After reaching at top we had full fledged photo session under leadership of Prafulla. We had got some really marvelous pics over there. Sitting at the top of "naneghat cha Anghata" was a proud feeling. Look in any direction, It will be green and full of trees. We had lunch there and relaxed for some time.


Around 2 to 2:15pm, we started getting down, Initially I felt that getting down will be very easy but controlling your speed and tempo while getting down becomes bit challenging...!!! We were expecting some rain drizzles but it was bit sunny and hot :( Around 4:30pm we got down completely. Now when we look at that mountain, It was difficult to believe that just couple of hours before we were at the top point :)

Now after finishing trek everyone was expecting that we will be in Mumbai around 7 to 7:30pm. But thanks to our ST department for their pathetic service which made this journey bit painful but still interesting. ha ha ha ha .. Initially none of the ST driver was ready to stop ST at "Naneghat phata", so we started walking towards Tokavade (next village). While walking we were able to convince one truck driver and he gave us lift till Murbad. he he he he.. What a ride it was..!!! Everyone was bit afraid because of truck condition but we had no option :( After getting down at Murbad we had great chase with different ST's for moving towards Kalyan. Every ST had some or other issue or risk... ha ha ha.. Finally we caught one ST which started after waiting for one hour. but even here me, Hemant and Prafulla had great time with full on masti..!!! ha ha ha ha .... We had never imagined that journey back home will be so interesting..!!!

ALL PICS OF THIS TREK

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Sandy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Kanheri Caves

All pics of this outing

Its been almost three weeks, I am here back in India from CA. While getting used to routine life, one thing I am definitely missing is my weekend outings.
I guess even my sister realized it and she planned an outing to "Kanheri Caves" with all cousins. Outing with cousins is really different experience and we all always enjoys it.

Kanheri Caves is in Borivali and its around 7km from National park main Gate. We all gathered together at Bhandup around 7:30am and started journey by BEST bus. This time I was definitely missing my Bike [and of course Chandra sir] :). After reaching at National park main Gate, Forest department bus helped us to reach Caves. It was greenery all around us and I just felt like I am roaming some where in my native place.



These rock-cut Buddhist caves at kanheri were build around 12th century and are excellent example of great history of India. There are around more than 100 caves in this area, but we could see around 89 caves while roaming over there. All the caves have beautiful designs which represents culture at that time and are of great example of archeology. We all were just stunned by such a marvelous piece of work. I tried to capture almost all different structures (I hope you have enjoyed all pics). Earlier some Buddhist community people were used to live over here so some of these caves were used for prayers and some for residential purpose. While roaming in these caves I could easily see this difference in their structures.

As we were in National park and its rainy season, beauty of national park was at different level. It was full green and there were many small and larg water falls all around. This beauty was just speechless. We were just dancing all around there. I went on clicking pics. We were hoping that it will rain today but Alas..!!! It didn't rained today :( Finally we also went at highest point over there and had lunch from our tiffins.

After having great time at Kanheri caves while coming back we walk for around 7km to come back to National park main gate. Walk for 7km??? he he he .... It was just perfect end of this trip :)

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Sandy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

ubuntu 10.4

Recently I installed "ubuntu 10.4" as a dual boot with windows 7. Also completed setup for java development environment on linux.
While doing this activity I got help from lot of forums and blogs for installing each utility and tool.
Just revising all steps here so that it will be useful for my friends.

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Installing ubuntu 10.4:

Prepare Ubuntu 10.4 installer in USB as given on ubuntu site.
http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/download

Now restart your system and use this USB as boot device for installing "Ubuntu 10.4"

I found one video very useful for this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaqaDZZ_P0g

Once installtion is completed, next time when system is restarted you will get option for selection of windows7 or linux.

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Setup Java Development Environment:

1. Install java: Following command should be run through any terminal window.
sudo apt-get install openjdk-6-jdk

2. Set JAVA_HOME
export JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk/

3. Installing subvsersion:
sudo apt-get install subversion

4. Installing maven:
sudo apt-get install maven2

5. Using tomcat:
Download latest tomcat from "http://tomcat.apache.org/download-60.cgi" => tar.gz version should be downloaded.
Extract it at ome place in your folders.
set TOMCAT_HOME variable.

6. mysql install:
sudo apt-get install mysql-server

7. Download "helios" version of eclipse from "http://www.eclipse.org/downloads/"
Further we can use, m2eclipse plugin for importing maven projects "http://m2eclipse.sonatype.org/sites/m2e"
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Also we can use subclipse plugin for subversion, "http://subclipse.tigris.org/update_1.6.x"
But for some reason this plugin doesn't work properly so we have to disable it.
disabling subversion support:
http://subclipse.tigris.org/wiki/JavaHL#head-3a1d2d3c54791d2d751794e5d6645f1d77d95b32

8. Installing rabbitvcs: This is graphical tool for version control system (Its same as tortoise on windows).
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:rabbitvcs/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install rabbitvcs-core
sudo apt-get install rabbitvcs-nautilus rabbitvcs-thunar rabbitvcs-gedit rabbitvcs-cli

http://www.ubuntugeek.com/rabbitvcs-easy-version-control-for-linux.html

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Sandy.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

US trip - flashback

Its Sunday morning, I was just relaxing in my room and reading some news papers. Suddenly a thought came in my mind that what I would have been doing if still I was in CA? I guess I became nostalgic and just had flashback of all the events from the moment I board the plane three months ago to the time I reached home just couple of days ago. Now everything was appearing like dream. I felt like I was in long dream for three months and just woke up from it. Oh man..!!! I just can't forget those days of very hectic work schedules and still trying to have some time on weekend for myself and managing some site seeing.

I think, I am blessed to be always with Good people and same story continued in CA. while having people like Chandra, Naveen, Gaurav and John around me, I never felt that I was away from home.

Mind was going through continuous threads of thoughts and suddenly realized that someone is loudly saying "bro, please come for breakfast..!!"
Oh..!!! my sister is calling me since last 10 mins for breakfast. I came out of this dream and moved for breakfast... :)



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Sandy.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

XTREME SKYFLYER

14th August, Its just another Saturday so whats special about it? of course yaar its special.. Its my last weekend in US of this business trip... :)
I have thought of making this last Saturday as one of the memorable day. I thought of going to "Great America" again. I have been there even before this but I had missed some of the water rides over there during my last visit. Today I didn't took Camera with me because I just wanted full on enjoyment. Its around 5 to 5.5 miles from Sunnyvale. Two riders (me and Chandra) hit the road around 10:30 am.

"Great America" was bit crowded today, may be because summer is about end. As usual I started with "Flight deck" ride. This is one the most scaring ride in this park but I like that thrill. After that we went for water rides. Downunder thunder, Didgeridoo falls, Tasmanian typhoon.... even I don't have count of rides I had taken. But in all water rides I think "Tasmanian typhoon" was the best. One Good thing was Chandra likes water rides and first time he came on rides instead of just being spectator. While doing all these things we didn't realized time but when I started feeling hungry at time we realized it already 1:45pm and its time to grab something for lunch. We purchased tickets for chicken BBQ and for such tired and hungry people it was just perfect lunch. Akraman..!!! By the time we finished lunch, we got rejuvenated for remaining rides. Chandra don't like other dangerous rides, so he just settled at one place for rest and I started having all rides one after another. The only resting time for me was time while waiting in queue for any ride. It was just full on enjoyment..!!!

Around 6pm I reached at very special place XTREME SKYFLYER. oh man..!!! It was just mind blowing adventurous game. Immediately I purchased ticket for it and started getting ready for sky fly. It was really great experience... I don't have words to describe it. I hope this video will express my feelings.



Last but not the least, just before leaving park I got my cartoonist sketch from one of the artist over there. Its so funny. he he he he... may be some other time I will publish it.

After enjoying throughout day, around 8pm we started riding for coming back to home. It was perfect evening and with cool breeze. When I was biking towards home, mind was full of thoughts about this place and all Saturday's I spent here in US, as very soon I am going back home... Don't know when I will hit this road again... I guess I became emotional... :)

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Sandy

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Unplanned outing to Golden Gate Park

All pics of this outing

Usually we (me and chandra) try to plan our trip very well, at least we get exact idea of what we to do at the place of visit. But because of so much of work we didn't planned anything and just thought that lets go to Golden gate park, there are many activities at that place which we can do. In this way finally on 24th Jully was started on unplanned day trip to Golden Gate Park...!!!

As usual we started early morning and reached San Francisco (SFO) by 10:30am. After breakfast at subway we started biking towards Golden Gate park which is around 5 miles from SFO cal-train station. while traveling, biking on road next to market street became real challenge as this road was very steep. At one point we got down from bike and started walking. But very soon we realized it was worth taking this effort..!!! As soon as park road started there was dark greenery around us and while biking I felt like being in heaven... Till now I have traveled so much on bike but I can say this was my one the best biking experience...!!!


First point in this park was "Conservatory of Flowers". This was beautiful place with all different types of flowers all around us. Even there was big clock made of flowers. This environment was very rejuvenating, We had great photo session here ;) Almost every group at this place was busy in their own some kind of activity. Interestingly there was one group playing with sword and one old person in that group was teaching them How to hold and use sword. I liked Dahlia flower garden where they are trying to conserve all species of Dahlia. Also loved the attitude of people who were taking care of this garden, they were taking care of these flowers like their children. After that there was big exhibition about flowers but as we wanted to explore entire park in one day so we didn't went for that exhibition.

Second destination was the "de Young Museum", but at entrance itself we found that it was an exhibition about old art work and all. So we didn't felt like attending it. Our immediate next stop was "California Academy of Sciences". but while inquiring itself we came to know that all passes for planetarium inside academy are finished for the day. If we are going to miss planetarium show then there was no point going inside it. Slowly I started realizing result of coming here even without some basic planning. Oh..!!! What to do now???

We thought for 10 mins and immediately I suggested Chandra that lets go for some movie but even we were not aware of any theater in this area. so what?? we have solution for every problem :) We called Naveen who looked at google map and sincerely helped us to reach to "Sundance" theater. We disturbed a lot to Naveen for getting this theater route. But finally we reached there, thanks a lot to Naveen...!!! We watched "Inception" movie. ah..!! It was bit confusing movie....till last moment we were thinking that what will happen next??.. dream inside dream??... I don't think tonight while sleeping I will even dare to dream. When movie finished it took some time for me to realize whether its live or am I inside any dream ;)

Movie finished around 6pm and we started our journey towards SFO cal-train station, on that route Chandra found one place as "Japan center" and out of curiosity we stopped and went inside. This was kind of shopping mall and food center and all Japanese food items were there. he he he he ... after looking all these things there was no doubt that we thought of having dinner there. We had very special Japanese food at dinner at one of the restaurant in this mall. Also we tested "Sake" which is very famous Japanese drink. Food was really testy and still I can feel this test of it :) Some Japanese festival was going on and There were couple of trees and many small papers were tied to leaves of that tree. I didn't got what it is?? But Chandra explained me that there is saying that We should write our wish on piece of small paper and tied it to that tree. It will become true... We both grabbed this opportunity, wrote something on paper and tied it to tree..!!! [hope it will really come true :) ]

In this way, this unplanned outing turn out to be very interesting and enjoyable day, I ever had in my life..!!!

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Sandy.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Visit to Napa Valley

All pics of this visit

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Since last so many days we (me and Chandra) were planning trip to Napa Valley. Finally on 17th Jully we had Napa Valley trip. Napa Valley is around 84 miles from Sanata Clara and it was not possible to complete this visit in one day with the help of public transport so we decided to book one day Napa trip from Sanfransisco (SFO). Tour bus was going to start at 9:15am from SFO and It takes around one and half hour to reach SFO from Santa Clara so we started around 7am from Santa Clara and reached SFO on time to catch tour bus. Weather was cold and that day I had forgot my jacket :(

Bus got full around 9:20am and our driver Mr. Washington started journey from SFO. Mr. Washington was very active person and he was giving all interesting information about SFO while driving. he made this journey very interesting. I have heard lot about wineries in Napa and Sonama Valley and finally today I was going to visit them so I was quite excited. When we were traveling in Napa and Sonama Valley, all round us there was just Grape farms and Wineries. Mr. Washington told some interesting stories about How farmers in Napa got started Grapes farming and How this wine business started.


Finally around 11am we reached at our first destination, "JACUZZI family vineyard". We were welcomed by JACUZZI vineyard Guide. He gave us all the information about JACUZZI vineyard and JACUZZI family who started this vineyard. Most interesting part was while talking about each wine, we used to get opportunity to test that wine :) I enjoyed a lot this wine testing activity. while giving information about JACUZZI, guide was treating JACUZZI family as king and he was giving information about their ancestors and all. I didn't understood why he is giving so much of importance to JACUZZI family history and all but when I visited some other wineries during the day I realized that "In Napa Valley, families which started wineries have lot of importance and high respect". JACUZZI family was originally from from Italy and that's why this winery building has Italian kind of structure. One of the most distinguishing part of this winery was person who started this winery had 11 children and each brand of JACUZZI wine is dedicated to his children. You can find their photos on JACUZZI's wine bottles. Guide also took us to their store room where they kept wine for 6 months or one year depending on their fermentation process. They use containers made up of special wood [forgot tree name :)] and these containers are specially imported from France. During extra time we got chance to visit their grape farms as well. after couple of hours we moved to our next destination.


Our second destination was "SHUTTER HOME winery". This was one of most old winery in this area. It specializes in dessert wines and testing these dessert wines was delightful experience. Here also SHUTTER HOME's Guide gave us all information about this winery and some stories about family who started it. One story was really interesting. The first family SHUTTER, who started this winery had written "SHUTTER" word in very big letters on the roof of winery. If you are taking aerial view, then only you can see it. So long back when they sold it someone else, roof changing and painting cost to remove word "SHUTTER" was so high that even second owner decided to continue with same name and after that they never changed it. Oh, my God..!!! I found this story bit exaggerative but was interesting to know such facts about winery.


Our third destination was "MADONNA" winery. This winery has got certificate of organic winery. They explained lot of things about organic certificate and all but I found it boring and got busy in looking at grape farm around us. Guide of this winery taught us How to test a wine? and when I followed his steps, I could realize the difference in test.

Overall it was great experience but because of time constraint only thing I missed was wine train trip. After visiting all three wineries and wine testing while coming home, we were slightly in different world ;)

With all these different experiences, end of day it turn out to be great trip and special thanks to Mr. Washington who made this trip more interesting with some historic stories in his humorous style.

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Sandy.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Poem Of La Mancha

Last Sunday I had regular phone call with my family members. During that conversation my sister said that she had posted some interesting youtube link on my orkut scrapbook and I should just see it. I checked it and it was marvelous speech by Vishwas Nagare Patil (Senior police officer). It was inspirational speech for all young people learning at Shardanagar during one of their function. But I found that this speech is beyond age and almost everyone can learn something from it.

If you understand Marathi, Its must watch video for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QdaQgk9RUQ

In his speech he mentioned one poem "The Poem Of La Mancha" (Impossible Dream). I just loved the kind of optimism, will power and courage the poet is talking about. Though poets talk of Impossible dream, he wants to convey message as nothing is impossible as long as you think I am possible. Seriously yaar... "Where there is a will, there is a way..!!!" I am really influened by this poem and while listening it, I just went into deep introspection. More I realized it, more I like it.


I think even my friends will like it and it will be helpful for them as well. But to be frank after reading this peom if you have "ah... effect" on your mind then only you will be in position to appreciate it.

The Poem Of La Mancha
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To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow,
To run where the brave dare not go.

To right the unrightable wrong,
To love pure and chaste from afar,
To try when your arms are too weary,
To reach the unreachable star.

This is my quest,
To follow that star,
No matter how hopeless,
No matter how far.

To fight for the right,
Without question or pause,
To be willing to march into Hell,
For a heavenly cause.

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest.

And the world will be better for this,
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star.

- by "Joe Darion".
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Hey buddy, come on, come back here, you also went into deep thought?? I can see "ah... effect" from your facial expression... :)

Sandy.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

visit to "Intel Museum".

All pics of this visit: http://picasaweb.google.co.in/sandeeppppp/IntelMuseum#

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As usual this week was very busy and I couldn't find even half an hour time to plan what I am going to do on Saturday. But it was sure that we [me and Chandra (my friend)] will go somewhere for biking. Finally on Friday we just decided that we will go "Intel Museum" which is around 4 to 5 mile from our Santa Clara office.

On Saturday morning we started on our bikes for "Intel Museum", Chandra was familiar with road so there was no need of map this time. weather was quite Good and we were enjoying biking.

"Gordon Moore" and "Robert Noyce" (Founders of Intel)

When I had thought of visiting "Intel Museum", I had just thought that I will come to know about Intel's growth history and their magic in semiconductor industry. Oh... but actual visit turned out to be more inspirational. When I read about How "Gordon Moore" and "Robert Noyce" started this company for a moment I went speechless. The way they started their career and took it to different level is really inspirational. Noyce has around 17 patents on his name. oh man!!! 17 patents? really God gifted intelligence. Every time they took some risk with innovative idea and with extra ordinary effort they converted it into success. I also liked the way information about these two guys was presented in museum, Almost they covered their biography with all major info and evidence. Even there was scrapbook of Robert Noyce. It was really inspirational to know so much about these two people...!!!

I liked one quote by Robert Noyce and just kept thinking about it.....
"Optimism is essential ingredient for innovation. How else can the individual welcome change over security, adventure over staying in safe places?"

After such inspiration first section, In second section they gave all the information about How actually processor is fabricated in Intel's lab.
They explained almost all the stages in processor fabrication, right from collecting raw silicon material to testing of fabricated processor.
How they maintain their fab labs and all. It was interesting to know How this magical small chip is fabricated which has become integral part of almost every human being on this planet.

In third section there were interesting things like "digital rain" and some games. I enjoyed catching digital rain droplets while Chandra was busy in playing some chess game.

In forth and final section they had given info about all the processor models Intel has fabricated till date. (I had tried to capture snap of almost every processor).

Overall it was informative, interesting and more than that inspirational visit...!!!

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I hope my this first attempt of writing a blog was interesting experience for all my reader friends. I will share my travelogue and some more interesting things on this blog.

Sandy.