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!
Crackers, chaos and craziness. That’s what Diwali was like this year. Did I mention craziness? 25 paragliding students, lots of family and add a couple of Europeans to that mix. But so much fun.
The week began with Laxmi Puja and fireworks, food and an air of festivity. The Raos led the Puja with everyone singing along, and Jannis and Angeliki looking extremely confused.
This week also saw the return of Doc and Emil to Native Place. And students from all over the country. We had group from Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, everywhere…Have you ever seen an assembly line? Well, this is what a paragliding assembly line looks like.Shinde hill was a madhouse, with 15 students being launched from take off on a single day, a complete circus. But the energy was contagious as students ran back up the slope on the adrenalin of first flights.
My favourite part was standing near the landing and watching their faces as they come down. The range of expressions seen is priceless. From massive grins to “WHAT AM I DOING?!”, you see it all!
Heading back to the house we’re in for a surprise. In the bathroom, we had to look out for the fish and not the frogs. The common loos have been brightened up with a bunch of eclectic fish swimming around the walls, with the occasional fish swimming against the current. So make sure you take a pee(p) when you’re here.
Yes, I have a ridiculous tan, but it’s just there to remind all of you how much fun it is to fly even if you are baking in the sun. Either way, Colin’s red face should be distraction enough!
Yup, this weekend saw a ton of pilots back at Native Place set to open the paragliding season with gusto. (And also a teensy hope of shooting stars, which we did see, although 4 was the final count). Dr Satish was at Tower Hill with his brand new tricoloured wing. The Ozone Mojo 4 was a beauty to watch at take off, and even better to fly according to its pilot.
The flying continued all morning, with pilots going back for more flights as the wind welcomed everyone back in the air. The only small disappointment was the amount of development at the base of Tower Hill. So make sure to scope out the landing field and get a brief from the Fly Nirvana crew before you take off.
And of course, the party went on back at Native Place, with the hope of seeing some more shooting stars, but hopefully we’re luckier next time (there’ll be an update on Facebook for the next meteor shower). And it plans to continue this week with Jannis and Angeliki back at the house!
They’re heading to the paragliding site with us soon, as the conditions continue to stay beautiful for some ridge soaring (and some brave attempts at thermalling from me). Who is joining us for the next parawaiting session?
This weekend Nikhil Bhide, unveiled his brand new glider; the Ozone Geo III in the sun colors of yellow, white and red. Being Nikhil’s first wing and the first Geo III in Kamshet everyone was excited to see it unfurl. The Geo III possesses the same DHV 1 safety class as the Ozone Mojo 3, but is about 2 kilos lighter thus making it an ideal travel glider without compromising safety. This suited Nikhil perfectly.
Saturday pilots and guests gathered together on the roof as usual to mingle enjoy the starry canopy above. We also joined in the wedding anniversary celebration of guests Mehul & Nikita. It was their 1st anniversary and Nikita wanted to do something different and a weekend of paragliding and stay at Native Place is what she chose. A novel way to celebrate we must agree! They thoroughly enjoyed the experience of flying, soaking in the relaxing vibe on the hillside as well as the camaraderie and setting at Native Place
We also welcomed pilot couple Chetan and Vrinda who visited after more than 3 months. Vrinda made up by whipping up some delicious gajar halwa (desert) on Sunday afternoon after which we took off to the Shelar site for some Sunday sunset flying. Conditions were great and I clocked my longest flight yet at 2 hours 10 minutes! We returned sated our smiles reflecting fulfilling flights
Students in the Elementary Pilot Course come back to Native Place after an early morning session at Shinde Tekdi paragliding site
At Native Place we capture the Grey Hornbill on camera for the first time
The Crimson Sunbird is back
Singing on the Native Place terrace at Night with Dara Hogan visiting pilot from the UK
Anand Ashwin and Kunal have an early morning flight at Tower Hill on Sunday before heading back to the city
Another wonderful weekend
Peace Bliss & Happy Landings
Astrid & Sanjay Rao