I took my bike, bid farewell to all, asked everyone to join in subsequent treks and left. When I was back home. I had to take off my shoes in the lobby and lift them directly to bathroom. Soon after the soiled clothes found their way to bathroom floor. I took a hot water bath and fell on the bed. I don’t even remember how quickly sleep took over.This was my first time with Giridarshan, as aforementioned, the group is doing some amazing work since 1994. All the three leaders were young, dynamic, experienced and confident. Two of them are still in colleges. This experience of group touring and taking responsibilities will go a long way for them. Even though it was the first time with the group, I felt at home. After the ice was broken, everyone was at ease. The bus full of strangers started from Pune and brought back people who knew a lot about it each other, and these people were from a diverse age groups, various careers. Some students, some bank employees, some project managers, brought together and held strong by the love of adventure and nature.Vairatgad was a nice place to start trekking again. The silence of the place helped a lot in getting to know people around me. I was not carrying earphones which I generally do. I looked around, the thirst for connecting with the nature is more heartfelt now. As we see places like Sinhgad being desecrated by onslaught of weekend tourists who care only for a car drive and few steamed corns and groundnuts, such open spaces untouched by cemented civilization are last breathing lungs of the human spirit. Such are the places where one replenishes mana. However broken, bruised and tired you are at the end of the day, you know you have refilled something much more valuable.
I reached the starting point exactly at 0630. People were already standing and our vehicle stood there patiently waiting. After around half an hour of wait the journey started with a faithful and energetic call to Lord Ganesha. We picked up a few people on the way and soon we left Pune. The long, heightened Katraj bridge followed by the kilometer long Katraj tunnel marks the end of Pune, the wandering spirit awakens and slowly the monotony of everyday life begins to fade. That mostly happens on bike when the wind is brushing your face. Today was different. There was a silence in the mini bus, the proverbial ice was still pretty thick. Thanks the winds and morning chill, I dozed off in no time.