From my kitchen to yours

From my kitchen to yours

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Day 6 -21st October 2012.
Karanga to Barafu.
Altitude:3995m to 4673m.
Hiking time : 4-5 hours
Distance : 4 km.
Terrain : Alpine dessert walk , ascend through rocks .

Woke up at 7 am,
So close and yet soooo far away
and got out of my warm tent, with my white thermal inners, wrapped around my neck, because somewhere during the night, my muffler slipped off and with gloves on, I just tugged at what ever was next to me , so had my leggings around me..
What an early morning fashion statement..

Well I think , I have finally gotten used to sleeping in a sleeping bag, because spent a very comfortable night..
We also figured a way to "fox Diamox" ..
So we time our water and liquid intake , and do not have to wake up in the middle of a freezing night anymore..
Also I'm no longer searching for stuff in my own bag anymore..
Shayamal has to first shoot to earn his break-fast ...

Today we are going up to Barafu , our final camp , before we summit..
We have been told , that we need to walk today in a single file, and that's what we did...
In as much silence as we could possibly manage..
But must say this, the guides, talk non-stop, they never tire ..
Even while we are sometimes catching our breath, they are still happily yakking away..
It's nice when people have so much to say to one another...
The terrain we are walking in , is alpine dessert, so it's a lot of scree and big boulders here and there and lots of dust swirling because of the wind...

And so on the way up to Barafu , Vikram started telling us about the "lava rocks", that are thousands of years old and how they have this shiny black exterior..
And so in a way he distracted us from this heat beating down on us,and all of us were looking out for that perfect black shiny stone to take home for our stories about Kilimanjaro ..
I found the one, I am taking back for Kabir, my friend Jaya's little boy, who told me before I left, that it would be "cool" if I reached the summit ..
And to get him a rock...
Ram and Anish...The boys always on the run..

And Anish found a beautiful piece for me ..

So now I'm done with my collection..

Or so I think ...
Because I find many more, and so now,my bag is carrying rocks..
This is what happens , when you take a girl to the mountain and she cannot shop ...ha ha ha,,
She collects rocks...

We had about 3 hours more to go..
In this dry arid,stony terrain..
Catch a "Tara" if you can ...

But when we reached Barafu...
Godlisten our guide made a fantastic call, that we should go ahead an hour more , up this walk that was steep and ridden with boulders that we had to manoeuvre over ..
And he paid 800000 shillings, so that we could set camp higher, so that we do not have to do this portion of the climb , in the night...
We walked on ....

So we call this place "Bribe-be-Barafu"..

And so we continued ..

I just walked behind Jackson..our guide..
Kept my eyes on his foot steps and just kept climbing..
Over stones, slate and shards of stone..
I do not know , how long this took..
But I finally understood the meaning of being "in the moment" ..
I don't think I have ever been in the moment ..
I have always , thought I was in the moment , but had a few things if not many, going through my mind...
But this walk was different, I had to just put my entire being into every step I took , nothing less..
Had no time in me or an inclination to think or wonder about anything else...
But as I reached up to the camp, out of breath and lips frozen in the cold and because of the constant pulling of water from my camel back...

I actually began to think of how tough it must be for the ones suffering from cancer , or their family...
When all they have is constant climb to try and beat the cancer cells, from eroding their peace..
A constant uphill task , with no breaks , no respite...

Gonna sleep with the clouds....

I just went and sat on a rock tired..
Looking at everyone still climbing up ..
We all had to walk the same path..
No matter what ..

After everyone reached up ..

We were told that after lunch, we should try and sleep, then dinner at 6 ..
Then go back to sleep ..
And then breakfast at 11..
We all make our final ascent to the summit...

Well we were all tired and excited..
There was a cracking of nervous energy and that feeling of wonderment, of what lies ahead...
I had lunch, and in the heat of that day, got into my tent,with howling wind outside..and passed out..
Completely passed out, while Shallu, got her stuff ready for the night ..
We all woke up and had dinner, together..
And then everyone , went back into their tents to sleep , rest , and basically prepare for the "midnight summit"

I opened my bag, pulled out my stuff for the summit..
Changed after freshening up ..
Layered myself a bit..
And tried to sleep ..
But no sleep would come to me ..
I just lay there, in my sleeping bag listening to the howling wind, that threatened to blow our tents away..
Our tents were rumbling with the intensity...
Was this going to quieten ..
Or was this going to continue...
I just drifted off ..
And on..
Not fully asleep , not totally awake ..
Just waiting for 11pm..
And the wind just howled on ...

The OutCause Kili Cancer Team is supporting the Karunshraya Cancer Hospice.
Karunsharya means 'a compassionate abode' and that is exactly what the hospice is. Its a sanctuary that's offers support when a patient loses the comfort and security of a hospital as no further treatment is possible. They serve to bring peace and dignity to the patients life when the inevitable is close at hand. This institution that operates solely off the generosity of patrons such as yourselves,  have managed to help more than 12000 patients since their inception.

I am writing to you to humbly request that you and your close circle of friends please join the cause and help in the fight against cancer. The OutCause Team has pledged to raise money for this hospice so that they can continue their unbelievable work. Please reach out to family and friends and request that they be generous. All monies raised will go directly to the Karunshraya Cancer Hospice.


Patrons can make cheques out to the:
Bangalore Hospice Trust.

The address for Karunashraya is:

Old Airport-Varthur Main Road
Kundalahalli Gate,
560 037

You can address it to Archana Ganesh from Karunshraya.
Would like to request you to please mark OutCause Kili Cancer on the back off the cheque along with your name, address & PAN number.

You can also mail your cheques to :
Shayamal Vallabhjee,
126, Nibana Apartments-BBlock.
12th , floor, Pali Hill Road,
Bandra West,
Mumbai- 400050.

Facebook : http:/
Karunashrays website :


  1. its all soo beautiful.. the lava rocks are amazing... its true u leave a girl anywhr and she'll find something beautiful..n maria what was the favoriye part of your journey?

    1. My favorite part of the journey was my walk everyday ...

  2. Almost there. It has been an intresting journey so far. Lychee like bananas, intresting flaura and flauna, threesomes with the electronis. May your jhola of stories always be overflowing with these wonderful stories AND MANY MANY MORE. You also rightly observed the uphill climb for cancer patients and their families and friends.But guess what?? we shall survive. And with smiles on our faces.

    1. You know Sneha my dad is a survivor....
      And Om and Kabir are too adorable ...

  3. Hey Maria,

    I am a 24 year old girl who has been your fan right since I have seen you as an MTV VJ (You were my favourite!). I thought you were a very cheerful and fun loving person. Was I glad to have found your blog about two years back. I really enjoyed reading all your posts, particularly about your stint at Tante Marie's Culinary School. I find your positive attitude and enthusiasm for life highly inspiring. So please never stop blogging and continue your great work. :)

    I was just wondering whether the film being shot by Yudi and Shyamal will be aired on TV? Do we get to see it or is it their personal video or something?

    Take care,

    1. Dear Neha,
      Thank you for reading and for all the encouragement..
      Well Yudi and Shayamal are still working on the film...
      Will keep you posted ...

    2. Thank you for your reply Maria, will be waiting. :)