It’s been a week since I’ve been back to the city, and I’m still unsure if I like being back. One thing I do know is that I definitely miss Native Place and Nirvana Adventures. Unfortunately, it was back to reality (and traffic) for me. These are some of the things I miss most about being in Kamshet:
The Madness at the site:
People running around to figure out which glider is theirs, kids chasing you to carry your glider, and then looking for that elusive spot in the shade. It’s all part of the sport, especially if you’re flying at Kamshet.
Obviously up next is the parawaiting, although I’m not sure if I really will miss that. But on most days it is the bonding time that you get with your fellow pilots (and also when you snigger about the poor students who are listening to “run, run, run”)
Soaring at Kamshet:
Of course this makes the list. What would Kamshet be without the flying? Whether it is soaring at Shelar, watching the sun go down over Vadivali lake, or watching the expressway as the tower gets smaller under you, both these views are breath-taking. And it’s what is surely going to make me keep coming back for more.
What can I say about the people? The Nirvana crew, the staff at Native Place and all the other loonies from all over the world. I’m going miss seeing each of you 24×7 (although I’m not sure if the feeling is reciprocated always!)
The Umbar Tree:
The little escape spot, right in the middle of the guesthouse, but still manages to retain it’s peace and quiet, and of course the battleground for the hammocks. A favourite afternoon spot for all, and one that suddenly makes everyone want to climb a tree!
Sunset at Native Place:
After a long, hot day at the site, you grab your evening chai, or soup on some days and head up to the roof. Watching the sunset here never gets boring. Each sunset is different with the colours and clouds, and the gold of the lake and it’s something I could do every evening (unless, of course, I’m watching it from the sky at Shelar hill).
The Lake and Garden at Native Place:
Waking up to the sound of the birds at Native Place and then walking out of your room to a view of the lake, what can be better than that? The only thin that can complete this picture is probably a cup of chai. Well, I guess I better get used to waking up to car horns and a view of the neighbour’s kitchen.
Saturday Nights on the roof:
As the stars come out, the aroma of the Tandoori chicken wafts through the guesthouse. No weekend at Native Place is complete without the Tandoor on the terrace, and occasionally a treat of cheese naans. And these nights often get crazy, so make sure you have your party hats on.
Even if we didn’t know the name of the constellations, we spent hours staring at the sky to be occasionally rewarded with a shooting star (not it was NOT a plane!) Midweek on the roof was the ideal time for this. I am definitely planning on being there for the next eclipse or meteor shower (I hope).
Well, this list could go on for longer, what with the bonfires, the swims in the lake, water-fights and all that other crazy stuff that goes on at Native Place. But I’m going to stop now otherwise I’ll have to start packing my bags and hitch the next ride out of Mumbai. So yes, it is goodbye to Native Place for now, but I’m still going to be there every weekend possible!
Happy Holi everyone and hopefully the effects of the festival have finally worn off (you know what I’m talking about). In the week leading up to Holi, Native Place had a few of our favourite pilots around (or should we be calling them pirates?).
Marco Doveri also stopped by for the weekend. He’s been one of the most regular pilots and has been flying with Nirvana Adventures for the last 9 years. Even when he’s not flying, he’s happy to sit back and relax with a good bottle of wine and other pilots for company. He calls it a “happy accident” that he discovered Nirvana while in Mumbai for work in 2005 and since then there’s been no looking back. So everytime he’s in India, this is where he spends his weekends. (I think some of you Mumbai and Pune pilots need to follow suit!)
The only flipside to this week was this it was Jannis and Angeliki’s last week at Native Place. As they head back to Greece via Goa, we wish them Bon Voyage and hope that the recycled boat reaches its destination. Made out of old gliders and used plastic bottles, this boat is definitely sturdy enough for Vadivali Lake.
Just in case any of you were wondering, the bird nest is still doing fine. In fact the sunbirds have worked hard, and we think it’s ready. Here’s hoping to see some baby sunbirds soon.
Another crazy week gone by at Nirvana Adventures and the madness continues. I can’t believe I’ve been here 5 months already and now I’m struggling to make the most of it (every second spent in the hammock counts!). But the wind gods have favoured me in this aspect and have had some amazing flying days at Shelar, and the forecast continues to look good.Meanwhile, Michael is back and Native Place with a new wing and the same enthusiasm. Although, the new Ozone Swift makes sure he is doubly careful with his packing while the rest of us wait on patiently. While we don’t need an excuse to party at the guesthouse, this week we actually had a legitimate reason. Rao’s birthday was celebrated the Native Place way, with fireworks and dancing and a bunch of crazy folks. The party continued for a few days, but, what happens at Native Place, stays at Native Place. Spring is almost here making the guesthouse bloom with life. Trees and plants are in flower everywhere and birds don’t stop chirping. Make sure you spend enough time in the garden when you are here next and tell us what all you spot. Drongos, bulbuls, caucals, bee-eaters, they’re everywhere. And my personal favourite is the sunbird who has decided to build it’s nest right outside the office. As the days get longer, the sunsets get better and more vivid. What better way to see a sunset then from the top of Shelar? Hope to see you guys back here soon (and share some sundowners as well!).
While the Nirvana Adventure pilots were away in Nepal for SIV training, we were left at a little bit of a loose end as there were no paragliding Elementary and Club Pilot courses on for that period. So I felt pretty kicked when I flew without having someone at the other end of the radio for the first time, and I’m sure there’s many more who can relate to that feeling of cutting the umbilical cord.But with plenty of visiting pilots for company it’s been a blast. What made it even more interesting that it was one of those weeks where the mornings were spent at Tower Hill and afternoons at Shelar. And the pilots definitely made the most of it.
With the local pilots away though, Native Place was quieter than usual and it really gives the house a different charm. You should definitely visit during the week when it’s quiet around the house and you can hear the birds and watch the lake (and not fight for a space on the hammock!)
And it was also time for some garden fresh veggies and fruits. We had our first papaya from the Native Place garden and what a treat that was. The tomatoes are almost there, and we’re looking forward to bananas from the garden pretty soon. What’s really amazing though is the dudhi in the garden, go take a look, we’re planning to rename them dudhaas. Summer is coming and with summer comes Shelar and long flying days. My favourite part though, is that one perfect sunset after a beautiful soaring flight. There’s the five minutes of silence where everyone watches the sun set, before the excited chatter begins discussing the day’s flights and experiences.
While I’ve been at Native Place, I’ve realized that one thing I’ve definitely become a pro at, is parawaiting. And of course some people are better at it than others. New games, new friendships and lots of mad new ideas are born out of parawaiting. Although we are not flying, it can be a lot of fun (depending on the company of course).
Emil was back at Nirvana Adventures last week, and then there’s definitely entertainment at the site. However, some can’t wait for him to take off so that they get their peace and quiet back (sorry Emil, but you know it’s true).
But there’s no doubt that the best feeling after hours of waiting in the sun, it’s getting up into the air and soaring through the sky.
Here’s some tips for parawaiting for those still inexperienced at it:
1. Carry lots of chocolate (or even chikki), it takes the edge off
2. Watch out for flying pebbles (throwing pebbles seems to be a favourite pastime)
3. Find the slightest bit of shade that there might be, you never know how long you’re going to be up there
4. Hone up on your social skills, you’re going to have to talk to other pilots when you’re there
5. Finally, be prepared to walk back to the car (and then lift your spirits with some more chocolate)