Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Reviving Trek To Tikona

We all know the hand of second. How fast does it run? We all run with it.
We are ruthlessly bounded to our jobs and we have to do it by hook or crook. Though our mind needs rest and it reminds you many a times, we reluctantly ignore it and run to achieve our targets, finally our short term and long term goals.

But do we think that there is life beyond all this? There are lots of things which make our life vivacious.

Going for shopping and following all western standards to enjoy the weekends is I think not the correct way to relieve stress. By doing such things today’s youth is straying from the path of ethics and finally ending up with not contributing anything meaningful to society and to themselves also.

I think the best way to forget stress and rejuvenate life is Trekking. It can not only make your life exuberant as you go close to nature. It adds vitality and pride to your life as you remember the incredible lives of Marathas which are filled with miraculous adventures of Shivaji Maharaj (the incredible emperor of Maharashtra) and their divine aspirations of making the motherland independent and prosperous by gaining victory over evils.

I am going to share my experience of trekking with you all.
One day we planned a one day trek to tikona fort, which is near to pune city.

Tikona is a hill fort in Maval in western India, located near Kamshet around 60 km from Pune. The 3,500 feet high hill is pyramidal in shape and the name Tikona means "triangle".

Our team leader was Tanmay who is a proficient trekker and has all the knowledge regarding trekking. It is really important that you are guided by an experienced person while trekking.

He took a small meeting of all the amateur trekkers and provided all the necessary information like Items to carry: Water bottle, Caps, Sports shoes (recommended), Dry food (Preferably more biscuits and less oily stuff) for breakfast, Optimum one or two pairs of clothes, Cutting knife, Lunch, Safety matches, First Aid kit.

He also made us aware of all the DO AND DON’TS. Do’s include instructions like -Keep the surroundings clean, Collect and dispose them once back to the city, Trek together and ensure the safety of your fellow friends in the group. DON’TS include the instructions like, Avoid noise pollution (music systems, screaming, etc) as this may disturb the silent surrounding, Do not throw garbage around, Do not smoke and consume alcohol.

Finally keeping all the instructions in mind we started the journey. As we crossed the city area after chandani chowk, we started coming across the village life. We crossed the ghats leaving behind amazing sites of water reservoirs and finally reached tikona peth , the village near the fort . As Tikona is located in the region of Pauna Mawal and hidden just behind the twin-forts, Tanmay showed us the forts adjacent to it, like Tunga.

As we started climbing the hill, we could see clouds crossing the hilly area of Tikona, which was the ultimate view. We started climbing the difficult route and heard chirping of some birds which can be considered as extinct. As we crossed the first hill, the view was extremely delighting and the cool breeze was like a cherry on the cake.

The way was extremely beautiful; appearing like a green carpet sizzled with tiny, colorful flowers. The hill in front of our eyes was lush green and full of tiny waterfalls. Violate, Red, Purple, Yellow and White colored flowers were ensuring nature’s unbelievable art. Nobody could control the numerous clicks of camera.

Here we took a small halt to eat though we were totally fed by the amazing views. We started the trek again to explore the pages of glorious history.

As of now the route started becoming difficult to climb. It forced us to admire the energy and courage of Marathas who conquered numerous forts which were extremely impossible to climb.

We climbed the hilly area and enter the jungle. Here the instructions of the trek leader were really mattered a lot, as there were huge rocks and slippery steps to go up. We came across a huge green wall where we thought that we lost the route and there is no way to go up. The only word we could utter was “Khul Ja sim sim”. But trek leader guided us the correct way to go up and we were shocked.

The huge creations of nature were literally making us humbling. The colleagues were extremely helpful to each other, which was a good example of team work.

Nobody was tired, but keen to reach to the end, which was in front of our eyes. Suddenly it started raining and we all became mesmerized with the beauty of nature. The temperature was extremely soothing and cool. We could feel the purity of air and redefine the fresh air.

Finally we reached to the end and saw the divine creations of nature. We were among the clouds. We started singing jingoistic Marathi songs. It was hard to see down as we were on 3,500 feet high. Still we experienced the thrill.

I was astonished and happy to see that other trekking groups were also following the rules. The environment was very clean and beautiful. It was hard to find Plastic bottles and dishes there which we generally see on forts and historical places.

We ate our lunch in the caves enjoying the dripping water. We also went to the two ancient temples on the fort. This obviously made us spiritual and tranquil.

Unknowingly we were connected to nature and not willing to come back. By keeping the heart-throb view of Tikona in mind we headed towards the way of return. This route of returning was easier as there were no huge rocks and hills. We finally returned to the base where we parked the vehicles, and planned to visit Pauna dam. We crossed the ghat and explored the beauty of this water reservoir and took the way to Pune.

This astounding experience was plainly reviving and cheerful.
So when are you going for a trek?

All photographs by: Tanmay Mehendale.
For amazing snaps of this trek, visit:

Monday, September 28, 2009

Interesting characters in Short Stories

I like to read short stories a lot.
Let me tell you some interesting facts about short stories.
Short story is a popular literary genre, a fictional narrative prose and it is more concise than fiction. Short stories are less complex than novel. Generally a short story focuses on one incident, has a single plot, single setting, limited number of characters and covers short period.

Elements of short stories are Plot, Narrative viewpoint, Characterization, Language and style.
Within these elements, I find Characterization very interesting. Characterization plays a very important role in short story.
Characterization refers to the author’s manner of presenting his individuals. If the characterization is direct the reader is told at the traits that identify the characters either by the narrator or by the character, if indirect the reader learns about the character through his actions.

Recently I read various short stories of Khushwant Singh, which has a flavour of Indian culture. Let me tell you about the interesting characters in these stories in brief.

In the short story, "Karma", Khushwant singh has elaborately sketched the character of Sir Mohanlal and Lachmi,his wife. The character of Sir Mohanlal is revealed through his thoughts and feelings. When he thinks about his personality and image, he appears snobbish and proud. He calls himself as distinguished, efficient and handsome. He regards Indians as inefficient, dirty and indifferent. This discloses his hypocrisy. Further the author gives the physical description and behavior of the character. He has acquired the manners and attitudes of the upper class, he imitates Englishmen and likes to talk on books politicks and people. He considers his wife as dirty and smelling like any other countryman in India He thinks that being Indian is shameful. This reveals his frivolous nature. He can be called as flat character as he does not change throughout the story.
The character of Lachmi is contrasted with him. It is more authentic. She represents a common Indian. This character is revealed through description. Author describes her as she is more than forty five,fat,fair and short. She wares a dirty white sari with a red border. One side of her nose gistened a diamond ring and she had several gold bangles on her arms. After this physical description author describes her behavior, that she is talkative. She chews betel leaves, eats chapattis with mango pickle. She reflects typical Indian ness trough her dialogues and behavior, hence she is a type or stereotypical character. The minor characters are the coolie,Bill and Jim and the bearer. By this way the characterization is done and it helps the story to proceed further and enables the reader to draw a conclusion. In Mark of Vishnu, The protagonist is Gungaram. The minor Characters are children of Gunga Ram’s master, The teacher,Kala nag and school children.Here the minor characters are not focused at all. The story revolves around GingaRam and his nature. Author portrays him as illiterate and superstitious figure. The description reveals that he is very religious and interested in rituals. He gives a sassure full milk to the cobra without knowing the science that snakes do not drink milk. His blind belief over the religois stories does not let him think rationally. He represents a stcok character.He stands for the group of peipoe in India whio believe in supersticioud nad it is really impossible to convince the tha t it is wrong .Gunga Ram proves to be a tragic figure as thae story comes to its emnd,Where cobra bites him,and he dies. Author successfully leaves a melancholic note through his character His character conveys that how blind belief leads to destruction.

In the story "Voice of God", The antagonist Sardar Ganda Singh is focused more to satirize the Indian political system.The characters are revealed here through description.Author porttraies the character of Ganda Singh by describing his behavior and his personality.ilke, He is tall and corpulent,his eyes were darkened with antimony and his trimmed glossy black beard gave him the lecherous look.he wore a white shirt which hung just above his knees and a pair of baggy Punjabi trousers whose blue silk cord was displayed under the hem of the shirt.On his feet he wore a pair of black pumps which squeaked as he walked.This elaborate description enables the reader to understand that how this character is .He was always accompanied by two armed men. This shows that how he is powerful and rich. He represents the rude leaders of Indian political system who always win the election with the help of money, power and all wrong ways. He is a type character. The other major characters in the story are Kartar Singh and Baba Ram Singh. These characters are also revealed through description. Kartar Singh is a city lawyer who takes help of Seth Sukhtankar who is millionaire owning a chain of cloth mills and well-known nationalist leader. Author discloses the dishonest and corrupt nature of these characters by telling the ways by which they made their fortune. Author uses them to show the corruption in politicts. Author introduces Baba ram Singh as a very honest and genuinely patriotic person who is not corrupt and willing to work for farmers who are suffering a lot. He had been arrested several times for peasant movements. He was homeless. People respect him a lot for his sacrifice and honesty. He is popularly known as Babaji. His character stands for the hones and patriotic persons who still exist in politics. He is a total contrast with other major characters. He is a static character as he is firm and does not undergo significant change. The minor characters are Forsythe,Zalidars,lambardars and villagers who contribute to the effect of the story.

In the story, "Man how the government of India run", the major characters are Sunder Singh, Ghosh Babu,Sambamurty they are type character as they represent a type and minor characters are Clerk, Chaparasi,manager of the restaurant. Here the characters are revealed through the dialogues and actions between the characters. The central character is of Sundar Singh. Author describes his behaviour in detail and discloses his lazy and hypocrite nature. His character enables the author to satirize the officials in Government office i.e. Indian beaurocracy.Sundar singh and his colleagues reveal their own follies when they praise and boast themselves. They represent the people who are corrupt irresponsible, hypocrite, lazy and still think that Government of India run due to them. They arise the humour and irony. Author successfully discloses this truth through their conversation and description of their behavior where we come across the art of characterization.

In the story "Kusum",author portrays a character of a young girl called Kusum.This character is revealed through description, that she was a short, fat and has dark oval face spotted with small pox marks. Author narrates about her nature that she is good-natured, traditional, unattractive but clever in studies. Old people like her but not the young. The Her character changes at the end of the story, so it can be called as dynamic character as there occurs a change in behavior and views. The minor characters are hawker her college friends who contributes to the change in central character.

In "Death comes to Daulat Ram", characters are revealed through description and thoughts and feelings of the central character. There is not much scope given to the characters but they add to the effect of the story.Ranga is the protagonist who can be called as Stock character, which represents any common man who believes in intuitions and loves his family. One major character in the story is the beggar, which adds to the mystery, suspense and supernatural elements in the story. Silver locks, bushy eyebrows, wrapped turban, his melancholy stare, etc. are the words which describe him .The minor characters in the story are nurse, Ranga’s brother, barman, moti, Daulatram and his relatives. These characters only contribute to the story. They don’t have much significance.

In the story "Grandmother",the major character is grandmother. Author has unfolded various aspects of her personality. Remain static till the end of the story. The story ends on a tragic note. Her character is different shades like dynamic character but her character is revealed by her behaviour and shows that she is type character. She does not change her way of thinking and remain firm on her nature. She is loving and caring. She is religious. Author describes her as old women and with wrinkles. Though she is static in her principles and religious she is courageous, generous, and loving also.

The "Insurance Agent" is the ironical comic story, which unfold the mysterious person and his uncommon behaviour. This character is Mr.Swami whose name is introduced much later in the story is revealed through his behaviour and dialogues. The protagonist is insurance agent, People’s thoughts and reactions also his image in their minds. His character conveys that he is a happy, light hearted, philosophical, sympathetic, sensitive and humorous person who greets and praises others, pretends to be rich, and remains mysterious through out the story. He can be called as round character as he is complex.

These are the glimpses of various stories, but it’s really interesting to analyze different characters and their nature.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Horns still blow

Sometimes some instances teach us a lot. They make us think differently. They dramatically show us how our perspective was wrong and how need to keep our eyes open and see the world without any bias or prejudice. They contribute to become more kind. This is one of the incidences in my life; I’d like to share with you all.

Horns still blow

We all know how these beggars irritate us, mainly at signals! I hate beggars as they do not work and beg money. Sometimes they force and scare you. Sometimes people give them money but sometimes they really trouble people a lot.

One day I was going home on my two wheeler. I came across the red signal and stopped. I saw some poor children with torn cloths begging at the left side of the road. I felt very sad about them and their future but thought it is not right to donate them money directly, we should help them by giving them a good opportunity to go school.

One of the poor girls from these children looked at me and started running towards me holding a dirty cloth in her hand. I was confused to see her and felt irritated. I started thinking how to avoid her. By the time she caught me, before she could ask me anything I shouted at her, “I will never give you money, you should feel ashamed of yourself, while begging. You know you should go to school.” As soon as I said this, horns started blowing and I realized that in the fit of anger I didn’t notice the green signal.

I started my vehicle and stopped when the next signal came. One little girl was coming towards me, I was able to see her through my side mirror. She was running fast and calling somebody. When she came closer, I turned back. I was shocked, she was the same girl. My anger crossed limits , I was just going to scold her. How disgusting she followed me till the next signal! Just to irritate me and beg money?
I controlled my anger and ignored her totally. She still came in front of me and showed me something.
“Your Mobile” she said.
I was bewildered, it looked like my mobile, still I couldn’t believe her and started searching mine. I used to hang my mobile to the string which I wore around my neck, as many other girls. I checked it was not there and embarrassingly looked at her. I took my mobile from her and said “Thank You”.
“ I sell Alepak (name of a sweet made from ginger) at the roadside and go to noght school.” She said..
I kept looking at her I failed to understand what was happening. Before I could tell her anything that poor girl vanished. She ran away and again horns started blowing……, but this time in my mind too!

That poor girl proved, how my point of view was wrong. How the perspective was biased.
These little incidences teach us a lot and enrich us to become a generous, good human being. Whenever I see these poor children, horns still blow in my ears, to encourage me to make their life better and do something for them.

Demurring Common man

We keep on thinking on various issues continuously. Sometimes we get upset by whatever happening in our country. I was also thinking of India, its unending problems. I got depressed and felt that somewhere the common man is responsible for all theses and his reluctant nature is the only reason behind it.
Just want to express it through this poem:

Demurring common man

I am strolling near a chilled lake
And frozen grass
With my chilled mind and
frozen thoughts
Nothing can break the ice, nor a prayer or a smile nice.

Neither a riot, nor a massacre,
Neither an earthquake, nor a storm
Neither a war nor a blast
Nothing can break the ice, nor a prayer or a smile nice.

Neither a speech nor a poem
Neither a lesson nor an advice
Neither a fraud nor an injustice

Nothing can break the ice, nor a prayer or a smile nice.

I am a common man
Nothing can touch my waterproof heart
Neither a God nor an evil
I’m strolling with chilled mind and
Frozen thoughts
Till my blood clots.