We were asked to bring lunchbox, so everyone was carrying something or the other. I don't know cooking so it was simple cheese sandwich in my tiffin but there was varied cuisines around. From Methi Paratha, to Indori Sev. From Bhendi Bhaji to cupcakes. All topped up with a serving of delicious Chitale Shrikhand. It is an amazing pleasure to eat in a group like this. Sharing food is one of the best bonding exercises you can have. Along with food, you share lifestyles, jokes, and hobbies and get to know each other better. Such exercise always reminds me of school picnics of old days, when everyone used to pack food for others, and eat mostly from someone else's tiffin. This time wasn't very different.
After we finished with lunch we headed out to see the fort. Sarang informed us that the fort was used as a watchtower to look after regions around the fort. This fort has no standing structure left. The construction was bare minimum since the only purpose of this fort was to be used a station to look after. There are many forts visible from the top of Vairatgad, but the cloud cover deprived us from those views. It did not much matter. The clouds ascended to the top and we could see the white blanket covering all sides of the fort. Although the delay of Monsoon is dire, it did present us with magnificent views of newly grown grass all over the fort. The top of the fort is relatively small. You can complete one round in around half an hour.
We stood there on the plains, and Sarang suggested a variant of Rock, Paper, Scissors. This was a group activity. We all had hilarious time playing it for a while and then we headed back towards the gate. A long climb down awaited us.
Climbing down a slope is more strenuous, physically and mentally. While going up, all you see is a large body of rock in front of you. It is daunting, but not necessarily frightening. Getting down is a different ball game. All you see is a valley in front of you. The slippery slope below your feet makes it more treacherous. Yet you go down slowly and steadily to avoid mishaps. Even when you are trying to go slow, there are moments when you tend to loose control, and those are the most dangerous ones. Even if you manage to maintain control over your speed every step you take is a direct impact on your knees. An impact which you can feel only after reaching at the base, or even on the subsequent days. Vairatgad was no different. We managed to climb down at a steady pace and all the heavy vehicles managed to arrive safe and sound as well.
When we reached the base of the fort, we met an old uncle. We had already met him on our way up, he could not comprehend why we were heading to the top of the fort, just for the thrill of it was not enough of an answer. It was like tourists going to Delhi Metro and daily commuter inquires, why would they come to a metro on a city tour, what's so special? Such moments give you perspectives on people, on their thought process. Probably that mountain being in his backyard, he must have gone up there ample of times. Such a daily activity may not be any adventure for him. Instead if we ask him to join us in a Mumbai local train, it would surely be an amazing experience for him. So when we met him again in the evening, he again tried to probe what was the reason we had made such an effort, only to remain unconvinced even after our earnest responses.