Monday, December 31, 2018

Goodbye 2018

A quiet year comes to an end. Slow motion towards the future. Watching the daughter grow.

Serious Observations of a Funny World

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Just, via Malshej

A brilliant morning sun.

I was in Kalyan. The master had requested me to drive her to Kalyan in the “Hexa gadi”. So I complied. We have to comply with the master's wishes. The wife was happy. The master was happy. I was happy. We decided to take the picturesque route. The old NH-4 was chosen. The nice tar road made the journey buttery smooth. The new car is a lot of happy. From Chowk we turned towards Karjat. The road was almost non-existent. At the usual junction, we had the bhaji-pav at the Thackrey hotel. It was almost dark. We debated heading towards Kalyan via Murbad or Via Neral. The Murbad road was almost a 100km/30 minutes longer. So we chose the Neral way. Again the road was in very bad condition. Passing through the once remote hinterland of Vangani, Neral, Badlapur we headed towards the industrial towns of Ambernath, Ullhasnagar. I was a novel journey. The master was gracious and did not demand any attention. Just at the entry to Kalyan, we got stuck in a Jam of about 45 minutes. Man made. Greedy man-made, rather.

Returning to Pune on the 11th via the usual route seemed boring. The new car had been whispering Malshej to me for a while now. The Sasurji, being very enthusiastic of travel, decided to join me. So come early morning, together, we headed east.

The air was crisp. The road nice. It was a beautiful drive towards and up the mountains. This road has memories for me. Long ago (about 15 years) I had travelled this road on my first long-distance bike ride. Almost 350km that day from Dadar to waterfall to Malshej back to Dadar. It had been an adventure.

Our plan was to head towards Junnar and visit the Shivneri fort. Nearing Junnar we saw a board point to Lenyadri Ganpati. So we changed direction and headed that way. The Ganpati has been established in one of the ancient Buddhist caves up the hillside. The cave complex dates from 300 BCE to 300 AD. It was a nice climb. Once down we had some local limbu sherbat and very tasty missal.

The sun had already climbed to it's zenith. So we decided to head to Pune. The Nashik highway is poor. Still undivided and passing through towns which have grown massively in the last decade. There was traffic all around. After the arduous journey, we reached Pune. Travelled the new route from Bhosari - Sanghvi - Wakad.

And then home. Small adventures of the curious travellers.

Harischandragad Range

The Malshej Ghat mandir


Lenyadri Cave Complex

The large rectangular cave is the home to the Ganapati murty from antiquity.

A tasty missal

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


As darkness falls
the colourful fairy calls
the irresistable pull of expected places
fancy dresses and strange faces

the company of a chosen few, the search for a new new
there is passing fun to be had
high in the swirling drifting clouds of angst,
and the myrid empty bottles of whiskey mad

dancing wild to the inner beat
the warriors of the night fight on
unbroken dreams from the sleepless street
scattered on the shores of a new dawn

— q
Serious Observations of a Funny World

Monday, November 12, 2018

Watching the duke's nose

The air was cooling down, the sun's soft rays felt nice on the skin. We watched the distant peak and the traffic flowing down below in the expressway.

Friday, June 29, 2018


“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
– Buddha

Thursday, June 28, 2018


“Today I escaped anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions – not outside.”
– Marcus Aurelius

Watercolour painting based on a painting by my guru Vilas Kulkarni

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Kille Kothligad (किल्ले कोथळीगड़)

“Remember: Matter. How tiny your share of it. Time. How brief and fleeting your allotment of it. Fate. How small a role you play in it.”
– Marcus Aurelius

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Surreal Vessals


Artist Dan McPharlin's work is fantastic and surreal. It can transport one uncomfortably away from one's comfort zones and into strange places where the imagination wonders around trying to find a foothold.

Inland 5

Inland 1




Serious Observations of a Funny World

Thursday, May 03, 2018

The Old Fool and the Hot Road

The Ashva and the Nandi

The old fool had become fat has been hiding behind some invisible walls for the past few years. In fact, he was getting to be an older fool now. Life had changed and calmed down and had become peaceful. But once a fool always a fool.

The laig had been damaged for long – and the inherent laziness had made recovery very hard. But a couple of years back the operation was done and the broken ligament was replaced. In his excitement of the impending repair, the old fool had gone ahead and purchased a new bike. Not just any new bike. Such was the grandeur of this new bike, that he needed to wear high heel shoes and use a stool to get on it. All this on jittery laigs. But such is the way of fools.

The bike had been laying eggs for a couple of years with only short trips done. The odo had not crossed 3k, even. The younger fool – the same one who has shared many-a-adventures with the old fool – too got a new bike. Bright and shiny and powerful. He too had been lamenting the absence of adventure or even the smell of one.

So one fine supremely hot April morning it was decided to ride to the abode of the bald fool. As was the custom, the search for necessaries, like the keys to the abode, was done at the last minute and unusual circumstances discovered. A bit of spice had to be generated. So instead of the insane 5am departure the fools ended up with a regular 11am departure.

It was perfect weather for riding and boiling their nuts. Both riders, older one with what-not paraphernalia and younger one with loads of energy, soon made good time. Lunch was had at the Mahabaleshwar Fata. From there on to the right off the highway past Karad and towards Malkapur. By this time the temperature in the helmets had become conducive for the ear wax to melt and start coming out of the ears along with the fumes. So the fools took a break and sat among some busy ants (are there any other kind?) in the shade of some trees and contemplated.

The ride became interesting after the packed highway was left behind. The country roads are soothing to the soul (if not for the buttocks). Nearing Malkapur the energy of the younger one made them take a short detour to a grand spot. The vista was mesmerizing. A little bit of rough riding on the Himalayan and some contemplation and they were off.

Younger one got hungry so a break was taken in Amba village. There was a crazy loud procession in front of the known eatery and so a new one was sampled and discovered to be a great find. The owner was a good host and the missal pav was pretty good. By the time the food and tea were shoved down the throats, the sun had bid adieu. The Amba ghat was got down in the dark. At one point the old fool got a scare of his life as a rash car overtaking him on a blind curve had to jump left due to an oncoming lorry. *phew* life saved by a nick.

The 16km on the dark narrow winding road were negotiated and Devrukh was reached. The house needed a bit of cleaning, as is usual with abodes infrequently habited. After marking the territory, the fools set out for merriment and food. Kaka's joint of tea and contemplation. Spirituality was discovered to have become sparse in Devrukh so the company of the Old Monk was sought. Fools take to the Monk like moths to light.

A night of some spirituality and conversations and the long day ended with the fools thanking the bald fool for the abode and hitting the hay. err... bedsheets. Next day was spent in lazy slow motion with plans of travel to nearby destinations like Marleshwar being scrapped in favour of laziness. The afternoon post lunch power nap was unavoidable. The heat was intense. Evening brought minor relief. The Monk and the Fools had a longish conversation...

Another lazy day. Hot day. So hot that local vehicle drivers were driving shirtless. Being a Monday it was the Sunday of Devrukh and deathly still. Everyone was hiding in some hole away from the heat. This evening the fools did not disturb the Monk and slept early. They had to leave at the insane hour in the morrow. All the packing and locking was done.

Come 4am and they got up. Come 5.30 and they were rolling. This time it was Sangameshwar then Chiplun, Khed and Poladpur. The ride was memorable. Soon the famous Goa highway will have 4 lanes. It will be a lot safer but with less character. We saw a fresh head-on accident with a crowd of people around. These happen almost daily, especially in the holidays when people from Mumbai flock to the Konkan. Weekend drivers with severe lack of experience and too much aggression resulting from their say in the dirty city.

At Poladpur, breakfast was had and then on in the direction of Mahad. A few km before the city a right takes off towards the hills – the infamous Varandha ghat road. It was fantastic in parts and back breaking in others. Long. Finally we got to Bhor and then to Kapurhol and the highway.

The younger fool very graciously offered to take the keys back to their owners on his own and excused the old fool who shamelessly headed home.

And that was the end of a nice foolish ride of about 650km. May there be more such journeys...

Top up the fuel at a Shell pump just past the toll naka. Photo by Unmesh.

Lunch near the Mahabaleshwar fata. 'Maharashtrian' thali. It was just OK. Photo by Unmesh.

The Maharashtrian thali.

Waiting for the sun to loose its wrath. Photo by Unmesh.

The Nandi and the Ashva. Photo by Unmesh.

The Grand Vista.

Hotel Deepak, Amba

View from the Amba ghat

The Amba ghat selfie. hehehe. Photo by Unmesh.

The Salvi house. Photo by Unmesh.



A small excursion.

A new Mandir.

The outside and the inside

A branch of the 'raatamba' (kokum) tree has broken.  We harvested the fruit.

Some fun. Used the koyta on the broken raatamba branch. Photo by Unmesh.

Early morning. Ready to start. Photo by Unmesh.

Breakfast at Poladpur. Photo by Unmesh.

Varandha ghat starts

Varandha ghat starts

Black wall.

Varandha. Photo by Unmesh.

North view. This is before we crossed over inside – that's the Konkan on the left.

The customary ghat temple of Varandha.

Nira-Deoghar backwaters.

Sometime in Devrukh. Photo by Unmesh.

At the end of the trip.

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