Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Shoes For the Soul: Learning’s from My 1st Trek

The Word “trek’ would mostly only have reminded me of the Movie Series ‘Star Trek”. Never ever had I visualised, not even in my wildest dreams had I envisaged ‘an actual, real, on foot’ trek up a mountain-top at a height of 1600 feet (490 metres) above sea level.

We started from the foothill at Pali Village (Raigad, Maharashtra) on our way up to Sarasgad Fort. First step onwards was an upward climb on a hilly terrain, in the mild drizzling rain.

Here are 6 Life Transforming Lessons Learnt on my 1st Trek:

1.  Well Begun is truly Half Done: 
My biggest lesson was, when preparing to venture out to accomplish an unknown / supposedly - impossible looking task, Planning and Prior-preparation helps give a good kick start. 

As a thumb rule - Make Sure You have at least one person along whom you trust fully. Its also a great help to join the company of people who are explorers on the path, but more knowledgeable than you.

Be sure to make prior arrangements for atleast the known or predictable challenges ahead. 
For Eg. A trek is a long arduous journey on foot – prepare with good walking shoes;
it’s a long upward climb – so carry a haversack with minimal necessities like enough water and some biscuit packets;
This is the rainy season – so carry a lightweight raincoat.

 -  and Well Begun is TRULY Half Done!

 2. On Every Difficult Path - There is No Substitute for Experience:
Even on a trek, the most important element was the presence of an experienced person or professional trekkers who would help and guide at every complicated step on the climb. The trek leader asked us to either follow his exact foot steps, or, to place the next step - check if the foot is stable and then transfer our body weight on the front foot and lift the back leg. A technique that was most helpful through out.
On any difficult path – presence of an experienced guide can make the steep upward climb and also a slippery downward climb, a lot easier. A Guru or teacher in our lives does exactly the same – sees a pathway where we cannot see one and guides us on our every single immediate next step forward.

3. We find Our Best Friend and also Our Worst Enemy in Ourselves:

All the way Up and Down the mountain, we were all in a single line. Even though, we are in a group, yet on a uphill climb, its each to his own. One single person slipping downward would also mean throwing all remaining people behind him / her off balance.

On a challenging path & in critical situations, opinions and judgements of other people don't matter at all. In the end, one's own mind can either be one's best friend or worst enemy. 

Win Over Your Mind and you can win the whole world!

4.  Letting go of knowledge about myself, helped discover a new 'me':

On a Mountain trek, Nothing beyond the last 3 steps and next 3 steps existed in the world. No matter how big a worry or fear or anxiety might fill one's mind and heart, we cannot but keep your mind in the present moment and focus only on the immediate next step.  

Incase the tried and tested Meditation techniques are not appealing or working for you, GO for a TREK. A Trek is as good as a 6 hour ‘Open Eye Meditation’, literally! 

End of a long trek, the resultant satisfaction, sense of accomplishment, inner quiet and contentment is unparalleled. It changes the way we see ourselves and what we think we can do and cannot do!

5. Crossing Your Threshold: Its all Mind Over Matter:
I am quite a fitness-freak, but still, nothing could have prepared me for the physical exhaustion that comes from climbing upwards continuously for couple of hours. At One point, I felt totally out of breath, throat parched, my sugar levels really dropped and I felt cold sweat on my forehead. It suddenly felt that it would not be possible for me to go on.

My expert teammate immediately gave me 2 spoonfuls of Glucon–D and filled my bottle with glucose and said ‘Simply keep drinking the water, you will be fine’.

My legs were shaky from exhaustion. I felt unsure about going on. At this point, a dear friend said ‘Take a sort break and then continue. And Don’t worry, once you have crossed the threshold, then you will be fine through out the remaining trek’. AND TRULY that is how it was! After this I even climbed 111 steps of 2-2 and half feet height each, without any problem whatsoever.

This is true even in our lives. Once we manage to cross the maximum-known threshold of a seemingly impossible situation, then the problem ceases to exist completely.

6. We Take back Only Pictures, We Leave back Only Our FootPrints:
Our Main Guide on the trek, Hitendra Patel, was ONE Consciousness “with the pathway – with the mountain – with the group”. In the Spiritual World, He would easily be referred to as a ‘true Yogi’. I was telling my friend at the end of the trek, ‘Remove this one person from the trek and it will all not be the same’.

When even One person believes FULLY in a cause or a life path, then his consciousness is able to carry many other people along, up a mountain And down back with total safety.

Also in life, Belief of the leader and willingness of the followers – truly helps Scale Mountains!

After all, From Every experience in life, we take back only memories and leave back only our footprints.
Original Pictures from Trek to Sarasgad Fort

Thursday, 19 May 2016

India, As I See it : Floods in Mumbai

Most of us would remember that Mumbai was flooded on 26th July 2005.

That morning I was in dadar market, out shopping with my mother.

2:00 pm: 

The 2 lane streets were filling up with water and my Mom and I felt, it was time to start moving homewards, only to avoid an excessive flow of evening traffic.

3:30 pm: 

We walked without finding a single taxi. We soon heard that the local trains had stopped because of the increased water level on the railway tracks; Offices were closing down early to help people get back home to safety.


We had walked 2.8kms and reached Mahim Church. By then, we were part of an ocean of people, moving in a single direction.

Each one walking with a single thought, “How will I get back home today?”
Traffic had come to a standstill.

Mobile signals were jammed; All around we saw scores of people, each one moving an inch at a time. 

We had slowly but gradually walked 4.4kms and reached bandra. My mother moved homewards and I moved on towards my destination in santacruz.

I was on my own.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Finding Cinderella

As kids, we have all enjoyed reading Fairy Tales and fantasised growing up and living a Magic-filled life in a Palace and also imagined living with Step-Mom's not 'Real-Moms'.

Is there a possibility that even today, we can find a Cinderella or a Snow White in our own lives.

Sharing 3 experiences, where I was able to connect to one or more Fairy Tale Characters:


Once, as part of preparation for a birthday party, my elder Sister had kept everything ready for me: my outfit, accessories, shoes, handbag, my hair-do was planned, nail paint at the best nail-art gallery. 

I looked my very "best" in every sense of the word.

After the party, little tired and very happy, as I got into my worn-out pyjamas, bundled up my hair into a untidy bun, thinking about how my nail-paint would wear off after I got home, I laughed out loud and said "Oh! This is such a 'Cinderella-like Moment'. From princess to pauper when clock strikes twelve".

My sister retorted immediately, "Whats wrong about being Cinderella! She found her Prince at the end of the story".

A very positive thought indeed! 

We are able to connect to stories because the characters share challenges faced by each one of us. 

In a world where we are constantly battling between our free-will and destiny, stories can provide inspiration and positivity even in the most dire circumstances and help keep our hopes alive. 

Never Mind whether I am Cinderella or not, my Sister is most certainly the Best Fairy-God-Mother anyone could ever find.

Snow White

I recently encountered a challenge whereby no matter what I did, it was impossible to please a select group of people in a particular city who thought I was intruding in "their territory" and thus stepping on their feet.