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.
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?
It’s time to go back to the basics. And to watch the pros at it, is even more fun. Between them, these pilots probably have over 70 years of flying experience. But when they decided to make a day of groundhandling, it was with all the gusto that beginners have for first flights (it was extremely contagious).
So 6 pilots headed out one morning, with even more spectators to watch the fun. With French pilot Bastien around, it promised to be entertaining. (Try and make your way to Nirvana in the next couple of months just to watch him fly!). While the pilots geared up, the rest of us got rid of the slight chill by basking in the sun.
And what a trip it was, watching them was so much fun, it makes you want to do as much groundhandling as you can. But it should definitely come with a warning. “These stunts are performed by professionals, please don’t try this at home”. As one pilot got on to anothers’ shoulders, all the while controlling the glider and then jumped off onto the ground landing gracefully on his feet, the rest of us watched in awe. This stunt is called a Totem by the French, and a disaster when the landing is not so graceful (of course sending the rest of us into spasms of laughter).
You can never do enough of groundhandling, and watching these guys definitely inspired me. See if you can wrangle a demo from them whenever you make it to Native Place. And, of course, next time you are at the guesthouse, stroll down to the pond in the garden to check out the new additions to the Native Place family. You’ll see some guppies and mollies floating around, and a homemade “porcupine fish”. Only request, please don’t feed the fish!