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)
It’s 2014 and I can’t believe I’ve been at Nirvana Adventures for 3 whole months already. And each month has been very different (in a good way). People say that the way you begin the year is a sign as to how the year is going to be, and I hope it is, because water fights are a super way to begin the new year!
The end of 2013 also came with the first signs of the west wind. Eager pilots and the Nirvana crew made their way to Shelar hill along with a very young and excited audience.
December at Native Place was also probably the first time I saw a full house with almost 60 people at the guest house, but with all the nooks and crannies, everyone still had their private space to escape to. My current favourite spot is the bench near the fish pond (although this preference changes almost every 3 days).
Although, I don’t think people wanted to escape, except on the 1st morning to hide those hungover faces (if you ask nicely, I’ll show you photographic evidence).
And finally since this is the first blog of the new year, it needs to have some mandatory resolutions in it. So here goes:
1. I will try to fall less and fly more.
2. I will not begin water fights (unless provoked)
3. I will not hog the hammock and promise to share (or atleast pretend to).
4. I will not throw stones at people while parawaiting (it’s time to find new ways of entertainment)
5. And, I will take less afternoon naps (am getting too used to these).
So have a great new year everyone, and good luck with your resolutions as I’m already struggling with mine!
Native Place was abuzz with activity last weekend as everyone gathered on the terrace for a glimpse of shooting stars. And we weren’t disappointed. Friday night we saw atleast 2 stars each (and those drinking Old Monk saw a few more of course) with a cumulative total of 12 different stars seen. The Geminids continued to fall late into the night while everyone warmed themselves around the bonfire (yes, it’s finally getting cold).
Meanwhile, the wildlife at Native Place seems to be blooming (we’re talking about real animals here. Spotted in the garden were a Caucal and a few green bee eaters. Meanwhile, the Red Whiskered Bulbuls are flying all over the place (the suspicion is that they have a nest somewhere around which we are still to spot). Around 8 am, when the pilots leave for the site leaving the house and garden silent, seems to be the best time to spot the birds. But we still haven’t seen the Kingfisher (the bird kind, although the bottle seems to be in abundance), even with baby fish now populating the pond.
Not just the birds, we’re being treated to fresh greens from the Native Place vegetable patch. Some spinach and bhendi was made last week and we’re waiting to see what we get next.
While this week has been about Native Place, next week we’re hoping to see some madness at the site. Chicco’s back, and along with Bastien, (both test pilots with Flying Planet) there promises to be loads of action here at Tower Hill with Nirvana. So who is joining us for Christmas and New Year’s Eve?