Waking up at 7 am on a Sunday morning is no mean feat. But it had to be done since the withdrawal symptoms were severe. It had been 4 months since a trip to Kamshet had been made, and there was some serious Native Place craving. So even if it was for the day, up we woke and piled into the car in anticipation of the lake and some of Shyam’s chicken curry.
3 hours later, around the corner we turned and the gasps in the car were audible as Vadivali lake came into view (I had a couple of first-timers in the vehicle with me). The view of the lake makes all those potholes bearable, which by the way are much less in number as the roads seem to have survived this monsoon.
A short walk down to the lake reminded me just how much I was missing the place, and I can’t wait to take a dip in the lake again to escape this incredible Mumbai humidity. As we lazed around under the Umbar, after a satisfying lunch, we watched the butterflies flit around and listened to the birds, a wonderful change after the cacophony of the city.
From barbeques under the stars, swims in the lake, learning to soar with the birds to making new friends in the Nirvana crew and staff. Not only have I learnt to fly but in such a short time I feel confident enough, through great tuition, to take my first flights away from the support and encouragement of the patient instructors here.
As for the others students I’ve met, what an assortment of international fun loving characters, all like minded people with same excitement to fly.
I am very grateful to Sanjay, Astrid And Sunith for their kindness, openness and for sharing this wonderful and fun gift of flight.
Until we meet again I’ll leave you with an old Irish blessing –
“May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May sunshine warm upon your face,
And the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of her Hand”
Once again the monsoon season approaches signaling the end of another fantastic paragliding season at Kamshet. Nirvana Adventures set the dates for our end of season party (7th /8th of June) We had lots to celebrate and be grateful for – great flying conditions, a safety record to be proud of, bringing lots of new entrants into the world of free flight and the Nirvana Paragliding family.
Scroll down for picture highlights captured by yours truly
Peace Bliss & Happy Landings
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.