Sunday, October 2, 2011

ABVIMAS 1 - Life at Manali Campus

25 days spent at ABVIMAS for Basic mountaineering course was truly divine and speechless experience. It was experience of lifetime... I will try to share some interesting things under 5-6 different blog posts. Under this first heading I will be talking about first 10 days spent at main campus of the institute in Manali.

This course gave good start and perfect introduction to the field of mountaineering. One important thing is, It tell you where you stand? We say in hindi "Ab pata chala hum kitane pani me hai....." It helped to develop lot of endurance, tolerance. Even if we don't become successful moutaineer, This experience will definitely help us to grow as a person.

There were around 79 students gathered together from 17 states of India and one from South Africa. Yes, I could see mini India at this campus. Till now we have read lot about different people and different cultures of India but This was first real experience of it and it was awesome...!!! First day when I entered in campus and went to dormitory I could see nine beds in that room and almost five of them were already occupied. I also choose one of them and got grand welcome from really unknown people who became good friends of mine.
"Hi, mai Satish... Uttarakhand"
"Hi, mai bini...Shimla"
"Hello, I am Surya.. Shimla"
"namaste, hum Hussain, Uttarakhand"
Finally, I said "Hi, mai Sandy... Mumbai-Maharashtra se hu"...
oh.... God... This was just starting point... when I went out in campus... almost every guy was telling name of different states and cities. I could experience real "Unity in Diversity of India..!!!" and you know height of this diversity??? slowly as we started knowing each other we used to call each other by the name of city... so people used to call me "Mumbai"..... he he he he..... Among all these Prathmesh from Lonavala became good friend of mine and we always remained together. Many were from police, NCC, some were working in adventure field and there were national players as well. Among all these strong guys with great stamina, I was bit poor guy :( still I got lot of encouragement from them and gave best of my ability in each activity. We all were from different background with different educational level, different physical strength and different perspective towards life... apart from mountaineering I really learned lot of other things while being with all these peoples.

Whenever we go in mountains for any peak climbing, we may face three kinds of obstacles rock, water (river), snow, ice. So we should be master of all the technical skills required for overcoming these obstacles. So during our first 10 days we learned some the basic technical skills required for rock and river. One of the most experienced and passionate person "Jagat Thakur" was our course in-chagre. he is really simple down to earth person and always used to talk in motivative way. he is having more than 25 years of experience. "Dicky dolma" was our other course in-charge (Youngest Everest climber). With these two main teachers we had group wise instructors (Namgayal, Pyarelal, Sunny, Prel, Suman, Kiran, Nilu, Kapoor, Suresh, Giri.... some more). All were Young, co-operative and strict as well.

(Myself, having great time with jagat Sir during Tea break.)

During the entire course discipline was the most basic part. It was kind of military style of working. After each activity they used to tell us our next gathering time... Its called as "FALL IN". I never thought that simple word like "FALL IN" will create such a big terror, but believe me whenever we used to hear word "FALL IN", we may be in any condition but we used to gather together within 5 mins. Our instructors were nice and in most of the cases they used to forgive if you come late by 2-3 mins. But if you get very late then obviously you deserve punishment like push-up's... but there also some student unnecessarily used to act over smartly and do push-up's in improper way. but even for this kind of mis chief once Prem sir showed his anger in calm way. he said "Hamari khamoshi kohamari majburi mat samjhana, yeh aanevale tufaan ki aahat hai...." he he he he....

So usually during first 10 days, our first "fall in" used to be at 5:30am or 6am. We used to to go for 6-7km jogging and after that very severe physical training exercise. This session used to continue till 7-7:15am. This session used to be very tiring specially because that area was not plane like our mumbai roads. It was totally hill area. Many times someone's muscle used to get pulled and lot of pain as well. But our instructors used to motivate us in very funny and nice way.... I could remember, if you tell about your pain to Pyarelal sir then he used to say..... "come on, come on, shabbas.... mard ko dard nahi hota" (It means men should never feel the pain).... he he he he....
After that 7:30am was fuel refilling time for motor, I mean do proper breakfast in mess and get ready for on field activity by 8:30am. Now we used to trek to rock field with all technical equipment. There Jagat sir used to explain everything with demo and then group wise we used to practise it with our instructors.
Here we learned techniques like rock climbing, rappelling (quick descending from rock), river crossing. [I have added some video's/photo's of various activities at the end of this post]. After doing couple of climbs, fruity drink break around 10:30-11am used to be very refreshing. Jagat sir was very particular about our activities, if you have climbed one rock then you have to go to another rock. You can not sit at all :( So in this way till 1:30pm we used to practise a lot and return to institute.
At 1:30pm we used to have lunch. After lunch everyone used to feel sleepy but still we had to attend next "fall in" at 2:30pm and now there used to be theory lecture till 4:30pm. I guess I don't need to tell that after such hard work since morning, almost everyone used to feel drowsy during these lectures. I used to try to control my sleep and take some notes but all attempts failed. I used to start writing from left page and because of sleep my pen used to travel in parabolic path and used to reach on right page, creating shape of mountain. Me and my friends still couldn't control our laugh whenever I used to open my notebook. Finally we used to wake up for 4:30pm tea break.... he he he he.....
After tea break sometimes there used to 3-4 rounds of "obstacles" till 6:30-7pm. Obstacles -- It means you have to run long distance and while doing this you have to overcome/jump different obstacles like big wall, crawl through very short patches, jump trough tire...... This used to be very tiring and clothes used to get muddy because of crawling and all. After this if you have energy then you can play some games till 7:30pm. At 7:30pm we used to get dinner and finally at 8:30pm last "fall in" used to occur to get next mornings instructions. So in this way finally around 9pm we used to get free. If you have observed I never talked about having bath. Its up to you -- If you want to take it then take it, any time during the day whenever you will get some free time..... he he he he....

(Rock climbing -- Almost done, 1 mins sir, I will be there.)

We have learned lot of different types of knots of rope. Being climber one should be Good in knots. Whenever there was some free time, we used to practise knots with rope. Many times in the afternoon we used to have "knots" test. To be frank it was test of presence of mind. This used to be most stressful and funny test.... stressful and funny at the same time??..... Yes, Actually it was simple but The way exam used to be conducted if your giving exam then stressful and when someone else is giving exam, watching him was funny. So one by one sir used to call everyone and he used to ask any knot.
Sir: "Sequence 3 from all groups come forward".
(7 students from 7 groups will get up and stand at front, fully tensed. I being sequence 3 from group 6 joins them.)
Sir: "show me equal diameter rope joining knot and your time is 30 seconds".
(oops ..... just 30 seconds..)
Sir: "Your time start now".
(I quickly bend down, pick up the rope and started to tie a knot.)
Sir: "Stop, time up".
(At this moment, you have stop... thank God, I am done. then he will come and check the knot)
Sir: "Sandy from group 6, Its right....!!!"
(hhhhuuuurrrahhhh...!!! I will get 5 marks....come back to your place Happily and relieved.)
Thankfully I never did mistake in this test. But because of 30 seconds time frame people used to do lot of silly mistakes and observing them was really funny. We all used to enjoy it a lot...!!

(My one of the favourite tree in the institute.)

After such a hectic day, finally around 9pm we used to get some time to relax. Being busy in activity, day time goes very fast and now mind get relaxed. You start remembering your family/friends. You can see everywhere people talking on mobile phones.... I liked one tree in institute where I used to sit alone till I feel sleepy. It was just divine.
of course, you miss your family but there is someone whom you miss a lot..... and poet inside me murmur...

"App se door aate hi hamare liye hajaro raste khule hai,
lekin usame se kisi bhi raste ke har ek kadam par yaad sirf aapaki hai....."


Please click on the following picture to view all the pics.


Manali Campus:

River Crossing:

Rock Climbing, Rappelling and Jumaring:



  1. Dude, am so happy to see you doing this fantabulous stuff. Keep on enjoying dear...

    1. hiiiiiiiiii.....

    2. sandy if u can read my comment then plz rply asap..plzz
      i am anjali

    3. Yes, I am getting your comments.


    5. Hi, I know Mr. Rajeev Sharma dir, dont know Manoj sir.

  2. haare bhai...casio.....?? nice one man...i could , kind of relive those days...wish to go back there again,,.:)

  3. You almost took me there dude.
    I was reading this on the way from Mountain View to Foster City in the shuttle. Its a 30 min journey.
    After 30 mins I don't know how I reached Foster City. I was in & around Manali. Really awesome blog sandy.

    "come on, come on, shabbas.... mard ko dard nahi hota" LOL

    You are right, its really about testing oneself - Mental & physical discipline. I would like to do some thing, but its needs a courage & devotion to spend time for yourself. You are a good example dude. Hats off

  4. I used to start writing from left page and because of sleep my pen used to travel in parabolic path and used to reach on right page, creating shape of mountain.
    So i sleep also ur dreaming mountain .
    come on, come on, shabbas.... mard ko dard nahi hota
    Waiting for next episode

  5. " Mard ko dard nahi hota....mard ko dard nahi tango ke bich maro dard nahi mard nahi".....kidding....enjoyed trip to manali through your blog ...waiting for next blog...

  6. Hey, m yasha from nagpur.. i am doin the bmc at ABVIMAS this june... i wanted a heads up about the medical facility there. I read its pretty shkay, have things improved now?

    1. Hi Yasha, Institute has Good medical facility. Also you can keep your personal medicines with you. Your going in june so you still have some time. Please do lots of jogging and get ready for the course. All the best....!!!

  7. hey, going to join the basic course in october... had a question:
    what kind of fitness activity is a must... i am also a mumbaikar like you and will do jogging this entire month to get ready... anything else i shud do?

    1. Hi Ruchir....try to be as fit as you can.....Jogging is must....along with that if can do some exercise then it will be really great........!!!

  8. Hi Sandy..
    Some People Say That ABVIMAS is not that much good..i mean nim,uttarkashi or him,darjeeling is much gud (lot of people say) ?? is it true or myth ??
    i'm planning to do bmc in ABVIMAS,bcoz other institute schedules are not in my schedules...

  9. Hi Sandy..
    I'm interested in doing what time i should Book..before...?

  10. Hey !!
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  11. Hey Sandeep,
    I m Sanjay. The experience u shared was very helpful.
    I m joining the BMC this may..
    i wasnted to ask that, as the course will b over on 26th may, can we depart the same day from the Institute?

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