7th July, 2016
When you breathe the air that reminds you of your college town, feel the rain as you felt it when you were young, and fight over food as if it’s your last bite, then the friends reunion makes much more sense! Especially when you are climbing the hills. After long brainstorming for over 4 months of hardworking conversations over phone, our trek over Sinhagad Fort proved to be one of our best decisions for the reunion.
Go back in time, not in the 19th century, but just 3 days back. An MP-ite , a Delhi-ite and a Mumbaikar were trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle. Matching pieces from all three ends to get the perfect dates. Eid was the answer. What next ? We left from our homes in a flash and reached Pune immediately. We were meeting after two long years and it was the time to celebrate. It was the time to climb, the time to rise. Rise from the city of Pune to the western Ghats of Sinhagad.
Getting us a routine check at a tea stall was important. Finally, after buying 3 horribly cheap quality raincoats, we drove ourselves comfortably to Sinhagad. Thanks to the monsoons, parking was a double trouble. Didn’t matter much though. Because we had reached the top, or at least, we felt that we had reached the top. Soon, we realised that the “top” was much above us & it was the just the parking area.
It was 12 noon. Nature was flying with it’s colours. It was amazingly beautiful. Oh ya ! And the Hunger Attack started right away. Vadapav, Kanda Bhaji, chai and the drizzle prepared us well for the rise.
Narrowing through the steps and shops selling raw mangoes, cherries etc, we kept climbing uphill. Light showers hit us all. But a determined crowd paved the way for us. Group of Punekars shouting “Shivaji Maharaj ki Jai” and crazy selfies were most commonly found. At some point on this journey, we relived our past. Going back to those first year days when our college was at a height from our 16th & 17th Block hostel.
Things turned better. Our speed increased as we made our way upwards. I wish I had wings. It would be a done deal. Climbing for over an hour now, the fog had almost covered everything. Married couples & small children were all tied up in their jackets. We were the coolest of the lot, chatting, laughing, enjoying our time in the arms of nature.
Placing ourselves almost at the top of the fort, we decided to descend. Green grass, heavy rains & our words of wisdom. The top three things that were driving the time at the moment. 3 Kulfis, please ! We paid 90 Rs. for all the three. There was more water on the steps and we carefully put every step forward. We spoke less and walked more. We reached the ground much quickly than expected.
This was the just the beginning of our reunion celebration. But what starts well, ends well. Expect for the gargantuan traffic jam on our way back, the rest of it was almost perfect.