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
I have waited a long long time for this….my first flight . I have been going to Native Place for as long as I can remember and have seen Anand Mama (uncle), Jan Mami (aunty) and Dada (dad) learning to fly and have had a good many laughs at the many many funny landings of Anand Mama. I have climbed Shinde hill and Shelar hill multiple times in the hope to fulfil my flying dreams. I had been after my dada who has been promising me a flight with Ravi Mama for ages and I had almost given up hope till last Saturday when we made it to Kamshet in Jan Mami’s brand new car.
I climbed Shelar hill and was really excited at fulfilling my dreams of becoming a pilot. At take-off, I had to wait quite a bit as winds were cross and I was wondering why all those Pilot Mamas were sitting down and feeling so sad while Kavya and I were having so much fun. My dada says that this is called Parawaiting….well, Parawaiting is fun!!! Kavya and I danced and explored the place with my Mom.
Finally, after a lot of waiting, Ravi Mama called me to get ready. Ravi mama looked serious as he went about checking all the straps while I was excited and a little bit scared, but Ravi Mama made me feel OK and put the helmet and harness on me. Dada was more excited than me and was running around clicking photographs. I was of course having the time of my life since I would finally make the run for my flying dreams to take off.Ravi Mama and I were strapped to the paraglider and Pramod Mama was helping us. Then Ravi Mama lifts the glider and starts to run and before I know it, we are in the air. As we took off, I said “bye Dada” and flew off into the sunset J. It was a small flight but a big dream coming true for me as I looked around the hills and at the sky.
As I came for landing, Anand mama, Kavita mami & Jan mami came running to meet me and they all seemed super excited. I had ofcourse completed my first flight and as a good pilot who had done his first flight, danced around the landing field. I saluted Ravi Mama for the flight and then waited for Dad and Mom to come down the hill. I want to do this again sometime soon. Dada has promised to bring me back here for a few days during my summer holidays.
And no offence to my grandparents, but I would rather go to this Native Place than to Goa or Bangalore.
The only thing I did not understand was when I told my Mom that since I am now a pilot, I will have beer instead of milk. All hell broke loose and dad and Anand mama ran away. These grown-ups have funny ways !
Ghost written by Anand Mama aka Anand Palekar
Thought it would be yet another great flying day at Shelar for me on Saturday – Paragliding with Hiren Anand, Ashwin, Richard, Colin, Shubhang and Nidhi and then getting back to the guesthouse to watch the 2nd half of the cricket world cup finals on the terrace with the entire flynirvana gang. But there were two big surprises waiting for me at the site. A long billed vulture is back to roost at the Shelar cliffs – now this is great news. I have been on the lookout for them since they left the cliffs of Shelar a few years ago. I have spotted one here and there but to this endangered skylord in its eyrie with the tell tale white droppings gave me hope. Welcome back I called out to it as I soared past.
All these and countless more wonderful experiences at the amazing
Shelar site come to mind. Somehow I am just not happy about this road. Roads bring their own fair share of changes and troubles and this one makes me uneasy.
Pray people pray. Our wildernesses are shrinking. We need to take care of our playgrounds.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul.” John Muir
Peace Bliss & Happy Landings
French paraglider pilot and instructor Philippe Lebre visited us again for the 6th time this January accompanied by a bunch of old friends and pilots from Moustiers Ste Marie. They spent a week at Native Place enjoying the paragliding, the food, fragrant plantings in the garden that are so different and yet similar to the countryside in Provence with its highly scented lavender the fields and herbs growing wild on the hillsides .
They made the most of XC January flying from tower hill back home to Native Place and from the Lake view site behind Native Place to Shelar and back. Guests found it very exciting to see them touchdown on a spit of land just below Native Place pack up and stroll back home in the evening to chill out on the terrace with a sun downer.
Today I flew for more than two hours. My vario was now sounding me out but since I never paused to look down at the screen I had no clue as to my exact height above takeoff. Have my own theories about flying with or without that beeping gizmo but since I’ve only just started using one I’ll hold my tongue.
Once more I landed beautifully and confidently after a simply amazing flight. Traveling from one ridge to another is a lot of fun– the conquering hero now feels as excited as a child who has discovered a shiny new toy.
I feel fantastic and can’t wait to tell Rao all. But for now I pack my glider in silence, looking out at the sun as it dips over the mountains ahead taking deep breaths of wonderfully clean mountain air as I dwell in this wonderful moment.
It is our last night and we are meeting up for dinner at the Colonel’s place – bonfire, huge moon and many friends. I finally caught up with Damayanti who I had the pleasure of meeting on my first evening here. Jyoti Thakur a local pilot who ranked after him in the last competition came over to talk to me about yesterday’s flight. He had been flying tandem below me and wanted to know how I gained height with such weak thermal activity. I told him the story about my new vario going quiet on me and inviting me to use my other senses.
An interesting person, Jyoti: a shepherd boy who dared to follow his dream. He was drawn to paragliding as a child and was told by his people that shepherd boys could not fly – It was simply not an option. He often played truant from school, running off to see and touch the gliders at landing until he had saved enough money to pursue paragliding. It’s the kind of inspiring story that films based on. I visualized the entire scene as he narrated it in the most unaffected manner. He reminded me of Ravi and the kids back at Kamshet – this is one sport that has the power to make dreams come true – after all free flight has been an age old quest for man!
Tomorrow morning we will be on our way home to Mumbai. Back to husband, son and Diwali in Kamshet. Cant for the life of me; figure out why I hesitated so much about going on this trip. Sanjay gave me some serious encouragement and I’m so happy hedid. I widened my boundaries, and my senses are overfull with new experiences, beauty, admiration and gratitude.