Hostway Lohagad Picnic/Trek

Not always I’m a part of a picnic, probably people around me are afraid to get me into one. So this one started as a trek, and changed into a picnic/hike by the time we were about to start it :P.

The album is titled as ‘HostwayCartoons’, not just because we work in Hostway but also for the souls that we possess.

7 soldiers, myself, Mukti, Vj, Zuber, Amols(2) and the infamous Sudaani on march to seize Lohagad.

Health Warning: Not everyone reading this content is gonna enjoy it, You probably could be dizzy half the way through.

15 Dec, 07, 3.45AM:
Trring Trring …

Rutu: Hello..
Mukti: Hello Good morning, (I don’t know how can a morning be good if someone is awake @ 3.45 in the morning!)
Rutu: उठी?
Mukti: Ya!
Rutu: Vj को फोन किया ?
Mukti: Ya already did, ur’e late.
Rutu: whatever.. ( 😀 Mukti hates that word ! )

Trring Trring …
No reponse.. some time later again…
Trring Trring …

Kulkarni: हां ऋतुभाई, उठगया…
Rutu: ok..chal

I’m a bloody Alarm!, Alarming isn’t it !?

5.00AM (SHARP!)
I’m at the Dadar Station FOB, as expected nobody is present. I had called Vj when I’d left Khar, he was the Borivali platform (ya right!!!, IST). I called up Amol (the one with the Eating obsession), he was gonna reach Dadar in another 10 mins. or so with Kulkarni and the Jamkaa lad. I called up Vj again for the tickets, he said 6 are confirmed. Wasn’t sure of Zuber. After watching the mad public breezing past me early in the morning as if they’d been kicked from their homes, the Amolgroup had arrived. I headed with them straight for the Ticket counter. Another call later with Vj had confirmed that Zuber had left, and we needed 7 tickets in total for Malavali.

At the counter, no direct ticket was available for Malavali so Lonavala, a stop before, had to satisfy our fare. I had no water with me, and we headed out for the shops, Not surprisingly, 5.20 was not early for most of the Dadar TT public. Traffic, People crossing .. as usual. Got some bottles in the bag and headed straight for the tea. While having it, Vj and Mukti came from the Stairs @ Dadar TT’s mouth. All hi!, hello, Good morning (yet again ! God!! what’s wrong with people !? err.. Mukti)

5.40 Platform 2
1021 Down, Mumbai – Pune Indrayani Express is scheduled, But there is no sign of Zuber, We started to move towards General compartment. And thats when we saw Zuber, with his cap running .. As the movie plans, he was late. IST. The train arrived on time and we got in somehow. Intially we sat in a ‘dispersed’ manner but slowly the iron fillings managed to gather around the magnet, Mukti, our TP.

December, Early morning, tea, water all leads to only one direction. Susu room. Everybody had their rounds, ofcourse me as well, and others with overactive bladders. I came back easing the pressure and everybody was laughing..! I gave them the odd, whats wrong look. To that Zuber wrote a SMS on his phone and made me read it.

Sudani had put a hand on the seat to block it and another man came sat on it, Sudani’s hands right below his ass. The man even twisted, turned, but Sudani for some reason, stuck his hand under his butt, (feeling it probably!)

As if that wasn’t enough, Mukti, Vj and Zuber started with their “___ and all…!” drill. Ya a drill, cause in it, its necessary to grab any verb, noun in the conversation and append “…and all”.

Sudani feeling ass and all ‘huh!?

some random ha ha…

ass and all ‘huh!?

Vj continued and all.. Shit!! i’m influenced by that even now! Zuber, Mukti and Vj.. never stopped.. they continued with their jokes (which they consider could amuse others as well). I was sitting on the side with Kulkarni exactly opposite to me. I could see the face on his look. It was like when some interviewer asks a wrong question and expects a right answer. Kulkarni clearly in the interviewee’s position. Can’t laugh, can’t understand..! but knows something is wrong. I knew that feeling, I knew Vj since long and Mukti obviously no stranger to me.

This all continued with endless snaps and we reached Lonavala around 8:00. Again, I had to drain the extra water. We took a tickets for Malavali and ran to a neighbouring platform where a local was waiting for us. Soon it moved. Sudani sat with an old man near the gate in the shitting position, as if he knew the guy from long. I said to people.

ये सुदानी के बडे चाचा हैं, काफी दिनो बाद मिलें है।

ये गुजराती साला कब सुधरेगा? #$%#$%

8.25 or so and we alighted at the lovely little stop, Malvali. Just a simple 2 platform stop, nice and clean. we could see a small little office on the other side of the tracks. The platform bounded on the far side by the railway crossing. The 8.30 sun was golden and very gentle. There couldn’t be a better place for snaps.

We crossed and started walking along the road taking us away from the station and over the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.

yeah!!! yeah!!! yeah!!!

Over the bridge, we sat for almost 15 minutes, taking portraits, Group snaps, watching the cars buzz beneath the bridge. Sudani the self-obsessed, Jamka simpleton couldn’t have enough of his snaps, If I clicked others, he promptly got his phone and snapped himself. And when it comes to photos, I can’t forget Kulkarni who with is devil’s appetite for snaps, couldn’t be away from the lens. Rajoba comparatively a shy guy (according to Mukti, diverts all his energy focusing on eating) too had some snaps. We finally moved towards the village, considering that we weren’t on some Calendar shoot, but a trek.

On the way, we saw a group of buffaloes, one of them white in color !

जो! सफेद भैंस

ya, right !!

as if that wasn’t enough to please Mukti, we had some snaps of a lovely little carcass of a rat. The climb began, more of a stony road climbing up along the hill. Suddenly Vj called,

देख मूछ वाला झाड

and as it turned out to be a Tadi tree, and all were discussing the chemistry of the ‘Neera’ drink turning into ‘tadi’. And we kept moving.

Mukti: God!!!, Ruturaj … stop adjusting your chain.

I couldn’t help it, the mechanics of my shorts’ chain had deserted me at Dadar Station itself, and since then I was regularly monitoring my malfunctioning garment. As the climb progressed, we took some shortcuts (meant to be harder) to cut the distance, as the road was a typical zig-zag along the mountain. And ofcourse, at the scenic moments (well for a Mumbaite anything without concrete is scenic) we had our shutters open. Zuber and Rajoba kept posing weirdly and Sudani snapping self portraits.

By 10 we came to a place, intersecting the two hills of Visapur (Visagad 😉 ) and Lohagad. This place is truely amazing, as the winds from back side, converge due to these two mountains and passes through this area. Hence extremely windy. Even @ 10 it was cool. We saw a small hut, and there it is. Another photo session!! Well this one was really good. We snapped atleast 30 over here and then ventured to the right side towards Lohagad. Sudani spotted small vendors in their huts selling ‘nimbu sharbat’, etc.

मुजे छाछ पिना हे

पछी हुदानी, पछी

By this time Sudani was talking a lot, He has a distinct Gujrati tone to his talk. And as if that is not enough to distinguish him, he talks fast and most of the times missing some ‘Anuswaars’.

मुक्ति चिगम खाएगी?

And we all were imitating him, talking fast and wrong. Soon we were at the steps of the fort. People enjoyed some ‘kheera’, while Vj snapped the fort from the base. Its amazing how this 2000 year old fort still retains its solid structure and walls. The steps were big, making all of us pant.

मे पानि पिउगा

Sudani continued. While we kept teasing Rajoba about his room mate, Sudani always.. interrupted.

मुन्ना को कुछ नहि बोलनेका, मुन्ना तु बुरा मत मान

The camera continued to do its work, and we were soon more than half way up where we were clicking ourselves on the wall of the fort when a monkey came from the top of the wall towards the wall, jumped down and tried grabbing Zuber’s bag. Sudani’s village instincts came up and he shooed the monkey away trying to pull his bag. The monkey had scared the shit out of Mukti and Zuber both. Ya Zuber too, the biggest fellow. He stayed away from his bag, not fearing the loss of his bag.

मैं सोच रहा हूं वो बंदर बॅग तो ले जाएगा लेकिन उसे खोलेगा कैसे?

To that statement of Zuber’s, Kulkarni for the first time laughed out loud. Kulkarni and made sure he enacted the incident and statement time and time again. Kulkarni a typical MPite is good at imitating and getting his ‘kissas’ right. Mukti never stopped laughing till we were the topmost part. Always giggling, no wonder she is always ‘wanted’ in any of the treks or meets.

On the way up, we came across a small rectangular entrance to a carved room, and people couldn’t stop trying to get the perfect moment for their Orkut profile. Vj even managed to stay upside down. To that Mukti laughed out again.

अगर फोटो को उल्टा करके दिखाया तो लोग बोलेंगे.., इसमे क्या हे

and the khee khee continued.. At the top, we had to see the Vinchu kaata, I and Vj had missed it last time we were here. I had missed it twice. So we ventured straight towards its direction, and we saw it ahead, peeking from below. Had some more snaps with that view. I had less than 170 snaps on my 2 day long Bhimashankar trek, and I’d already crossed 100 by this time. We moved along passing by water cisterns, which were full with water, till we came to a halt, there was about 7-8 foot drop, and we had to descend on the flat रोक. So we went back a little, and descended with a neat looking route along the left edge of the mountain which we had disapproved.

मौत के घाट उतारना है क्या

Kulkarni had stated, when we had initially seen that route, but that had to be it. And we reached the edge, ‘Vinchuu kaata’. Its called by its name, ’cause the whole narrow hill that continues from the fort, till it ends with a drop resembles a tail of a Scorpion. Enjoying more clicking moments on the tail we finally made a point to move back. Mukti got hurt by a thorn and the finger started bleeding. Kulkarni offered for Dettol in his bag.

Sudani: मुक्ति तमेरे पास थेपला हे ना? मुझे दे.

Sudani was cribbing since a while back for food. Kulkarni too had checked his watch. Back to the fort. On the way, as if we had absolutely no agenda, we stopped yet again at a small water reservoir where everyone snapped, dipped their heads like an ostrich.

Sudani: मेरेको खाना हे, छाछ पिना हे

Ok Ashko!!, lets eat when we get down. We then quickly descended the fort and came back to the intersecting place, where we went inside an empty ‘Hotel’ (Hut), and opened our bags. Mukti with her ‘potli baba ki’ got out a huge box full with theplas (should have seen Sudani’s face then) and bread. Zuber too got parathas.. and we started munching.. We finished with our food and yet again lazily just sat there. Sudani taking full advantage of the shade, dozed off. Almost an hour later we finally moved. Sudani still needing ‘Chaas’. But we couldn’t find it anywhere. So we decided to have ‘kokam sharbat’, and we started descending.

We found another small make-shift shade, where a vendor was selling ‘kokam sharbat’, it was close to 3.30. We sat there where everybody ordered ‘Kokam sharbat’ except Zuber who had limbu sharbat. The guy came gave us the glasses, When suddenly Mukti bursted out laughing so did Kulkarni. We were all ‘What!!?!’. To that Kulkarni narrated..

Vj ने अशोक को पूछा, पिएगा ?
पी ना…
नही चाहिए
लेकिन जब ग्लास मूं को लगाने वाला था, तब… सुदानी को रहा नही गया…
अच्छा देदे, टेस्ट

अबे साले पेहले क्युं नही पिया? गुजराती साला… khee khee

No awards for guessing whose statement it was !
We waited again for 10-15 minutes, to which Mukti again started laughing..

क्या हुआ हे, तमेरे लोग को जाना नही हे क्या?

But nobody was here for any mission, any timepass sufficed, so what if it was under a small shade somewhere near lonavala on some hill. करो TP.

Mukti: Kulkarni I don’t know if u’ve realized its more than an hour, and I’m yet to get Dettol.

Vj, Kulkarni, Rajoba had gone ahead, tired of waiting 🙂 while Mukti and Zuber trailed. Me and Sudani were clueless between the two extreme groups. Finally Sudani decided he had to move fast and went ahead. I followed. I came across 2-3 bulls grazing, and they seemed not very friendly, somehow I managed to go past them. I looked back, Mukti was scared and followed the road along a trench, trying to be as far from the bull she could be. But I saw her giggling.. And it continued till she reached where I was. She kept giggling.

तूने सुदानी को देखा? वो बैल से डरकर, भागके नीचे उस काटो से उतरा। बॅंड बजीथी उसकी !!!

She never stopped, Zuber too couldn’t control himself.

dude, सुदानी को देखना चाहिए था, फटी पडी थी, फुल ऑन

We came down, only for Mukti and Zuber’s horror, that we were gonna see the Bhaje caves. The path to cave was a steep winding ramp leading to the caves. Both were not gonna come. But I somehow persuaded Mukti, and Zuber eventually followed. At the top, there was a big group(best to be quiet about 😉 isn’t it Mukti? ). Click !! click!! and more till we finally after 5 we started to move back towards the Malavai station.

At the station we got tickets for ‘express train’ for Dadar, and waited for a Local for lonavala, which would connect us to Indrayani express. Along almost an hr long wait we enjoyed all the snaps and the photos. Its really the most enjoyable experience remembering the moments. The local came on time and we reached lonavala in 15 minutes where we again had to wait for 1/2 hr for the train to come. Our legs tired, no seat on the platform

Sudani: मे इधरहि बेठूगा

Finally the train came in and we managed to get seats after some adjustments and negotiations. As if the train ride is never complete without munching, we had to get out something to eat yet again…

We reached Dadar around 10, where everybody had to change their mindset of the Picnic/trek/hike back the troubled, crowded life of Mumbai. We got into an Borivali local, crowded as usual but empty enough so that we could stand. We were staring at eachother’s faces when.

Mukti: Kulkarni, its been more than two and a half hours and I’m yet to get Dettol.

The day ending in giggling and laughing!

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