Sanjay, Sunith and I drove up from Mumbai to Kamshet on the 9th of November with the happy intention of spending the entire Diwali break in Kamshet. I had only just returned from a week long permaculture course and had my head full of plans for the garden. All through the week I slaved in the garden (happily) saying bye to the paragliding students and pilots each morning as they left for the flying site. Each evening we gathered on the roof at dinner and I listened to the excited reporting of each ones experiences.
Saturday the weather was exceptionally good and pilots gained enough altitude to leave the hill and head for home. Ravi, Bandya, Sandeep, Doc Pathak (yes he is in the house) and our very own 16 year’ old Sunith Rao braved the instability and got all the way back to Govitri the nearest village to Native Place. Sunith had only just got his first vario the day before and boy had he made good use of it.
Sunday saw me ditching the peace of the Native Place garden and scurrying off to the site. I could not stay away from the excitement no more. Colin was visiting from Brunei, Nikhil and Nisha drove up from Mumbai, Doc had arrived the previous day from Pipalkoti and Algeliki and Jannis from Greece, Gregory from the US, Jose from Hyderabad, Ben from the UK, Emil from the Koh Tao … the list goes on. A happy group of paragliding pilots all hung out on the hillside waiting for the wind to calm down a bit and embrace our wings. It was wonderful to be in the air again. I can never get over that million dollar post landing expansive feeling that lingers on, making you feel like you are walking on air and the whole world is beautiful
Peace Bliss & Happy Landings
Due to the late monsoon the season opening was delayed. Nirvana Adventures was scheduled to start paragliding courses at Kamshet on the 18th of October. Impatient brothers Dwane and Dylan ditched the Mumbai city weekend and took a slim chance to get to the Tower Hill flying site on Saturday the 13th only to be rewarded with some wonderful flights. Dwane uploaded the above picture on the Facebook Nirvana Paragliding Group last week announcing ‘Super weekend … it’s on people! It’s on!!” What’s on? another wonderful paragliding season – 8 months of sunny weather and the possibility of soaring the sunny skies with friends and family … snoozing peacefully in a hammock in the Native Place garden … hitting the flying site for bliss in the air and coming back home to Native Place again after a happy landing.
Sherwin and Dharmesh had got there the day before and they were all thrilled to be back in the air after 4 months of rainy weather. The picture made us all feel we missed a great opportunity but no worries people the season is here to stay for another 8 months.
Courses are on again once more. Here is the first batch of the season. Look forward to seeing you all at Native Place and Nirvana Adventures
Peace Bliss and Happy Landings
Astrid & Sanjay Rao
Hi All ,
Many of you may be aware of the Golden Glades School, the only secondary school in the villages around Kamshet catering to all the children who complete their primary education in their respective village schools.Nirvana Adventures has been associated with the Golden Glades school since the 2009 when we assisted Dutchmen Eddie , Oscar and gang donating the money they received for a delayed baggage claim to a good cause by suggesting the GG school as the beneficiary. Check the full story.
Since then we have maintained a close relationship with the school organising tree planting drives, attending their school sports days, holding dental camps and Independence Day functions. We have committed to work closely with this school as we see it as an opportunity to impact the lives of the children from all the nearby villages. The school is rather tiny yet it accommodates 400+ students. . Despite the large numbers and the lack of basic infrastructure they have an overall class 10 passing of 86% of the students which is a good number for a village school thanks to a vibrant teaching and support staff.
It has 2 classrooms for class 8, two class rooms for class 9 and one for class 10. There are 102 students in class 10 this year the kids have been sitting on the floor all along in a cramped fashion.This year they approached us to help them procure a 100 benches for the students , and the teachers themselves sourced out a supplier to make the benches locally.
We are very happy to let you know we achieved the target with the support from our well wishers and friends and have now been able to provide the students comfortable seating for the hours that they spend in the classroom. Now the school has started work on a new classroom for the class 10 kids and the plan is to have a projector and computer set up for E learning to better their chances to get good grades and get exposure to modern training methods , current information and technology.
Peace Bliss & Happy Landings
Astrid & Sanjay Rao
Friday we approached the Shelar Paragliding site to see a large Cu Nim peeping over the back of the ridge. Kind of like an iceberg where you get to see the benign top and not the huge expanse lurking below. That put paid to our takeoff ideas and we hung about playing cricket, flying kites, ground handling or cloud watching.
Soon we headed back to Native Place and up to the terrace to witness the drama in the sky and wait for the big thundershower that the looming dark clouds were promising. Big clouds were sneaking in from the west, slipping behind the ridge from the north and joining the bank of clouds behind the ridge.
Soon the entire ridge was encased in a formidable yet fluffy cloud wall. There were hints of lightning in the distance too. We settled down with refreshments waiting for the big rain.
We could read it in the clouds and smell it on the breeze yet we looked up at the sky in vain… heavy clouds but no rain. The shower bypassed us to shed its load elsewhere teasing us with that familiar haunting smell of drenched earth.
Saturday and Sunday proved to be good in the paragliding department. As it always is post a big shower at this time of the year and paragliding pilots and students went back to the city sated.
Peace Bliss & Happy Landings
Sanjay & Astrid Rao
It was to be a moonless night on Saturday the 21st of May, a perfect night to spend on the Native Place terrace, far away from the bright city lights, with a cool west wind blowing over the lake and an inky sky studded with stars hanging above.
After a hot afternoon at the site, a soothing sunset flight at Shelar all we could think of was quick shower and head up for the action on the roof. It proved to be a wonderful night with shooting star sightings and even the odd firefly ethereally floating by.
The next day was Nirvana Instructor Sandip Bhalshinge’s wedding and we headed out in all our finery to the marriage hall ready to be accosted by a riot of colors, share a simple meal and meet many familiar faces. Sandip hails from Karanjgaon the village near the Shelar site and it was interesting to meet all the glider packing kids of Shelar, and especially nice to see some of the glider packing girls like Pashi and Ushi who are now married and have moved away.
The best part of the village weddings in the area is the village trance like party where dancing in the streets goes on till late at night powered by the hearth stomping monster speakers with incredible audio power aboard a mobile silver carriage that comes with a DJ console, seats for the bride and the groom, a generator and a contagious tempo guaranteed to get your hips shaking and your feet tapping.
Full on crazy dancing was the order of the night and every one let their hair down, jumped into the fray and kicked up a dust. After the street dancing the party moved back to Native Place where singing continued till the wee hours.
Monday morning saw a sleepy but happy rejuvenated bunch of people heading back to the city and to work after a very special weekend. It sure was the perfect recipe for a memorable weekend of paragliding, culture and camaraderie.