From my kitchen to yours

From my kitchen to yours

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

ABANDON...

I used to be a bit wary of how I feel..
Like I was stuck in a never ending dream...

But I realised that...
You are like me, in more ways, that you would ever know ..
Your blood is as red , as what pulsates through me ..
Your heart beats to a rhythm as old as the mountains with snow ..
Inhaling each breath , the same air that roams the earth so free
You still need water to quench your thirst , or then sometimes wine ..
You have hands that want to hold ..
And lips that want to possess ..
You have eyes than yearn a gaze ..
And salty tears that sometimes over take a maze ..
A maze that exists only in the mind ..

Love is simple, not unkind ..
It wants to share , all that it owns without a care ..
To quench ones thirst without a goblet of fire ..
But just with an insanity divine ..

I feel a love ..
Or just a madness in time ..
It has wound around me like beautiful vine...
It holds me tight when I tremble in plight ..
And let's me loose, when I want to take flight ..
It takes over my senses with drunken abandon..
It sears through my soul sometimes and plunges like a knife ..
And also heals me , with just the silence of the night ..

I'm earth and fire ..
Night and day!
Calm and volatile!
Winter and spring!

And there is nothing, that I want to bring ..
That I have not already shared ..
I hold no chamber of secrets ..
My heart just leads straight to the core of me ..
Where , if you ever you pushed open the gossammer door....

You would know ..
That I truly do love you so ..

I don't need nothing ..
And no matter what  ..

I know I'm not here alone ..
You walk this path with me ..
Each and every day..
In every waking moment ,in every sleepy night time...

But you will never know ..
How it feels to love so very deep...
Or will never really be able to feel this
Amalgamation in contradiction ..

I think it's the woman in me ..
That walks a path with a knowing ..
That she will always be ..
The one ..
The one who was not afraid ..
To love and love some more..
With a shiny beaming heart or one that has fallen many times...

So walk beating heart ..

Walk to your throne ..
You are the queen of your soul ..

And I know these seem like meagre words in time ..
But if you can embrace the depth, of my breath in the words that I say ..
They will sear your soul forever and a day ..

But now I'm just going to sit in my world and feel a pulse that beats, just as fast as mine ..

Friday, November 23, 2012

NOTHING LOST , NOTHING GAINED...

It's days like today ..
That you walk through my mind ..
You stop ..
To smile..
You hold out your hand ..

And in those nano seconds ..
Where I'm pondering if you are real ..
I see me standing again all alone..

Alone we came into this world,
And alone we will go ,
I know the drill ,
I need no one to tell me so ..

But the time I spend upon this earth ,
I don't want it measured by seconds or by years..
I want it to be weighed with the life I loved ..
With the ones I held..
With every breath that was mine ..

And so again I hold out my hand ..
Are you going to hold it ..
Or step back and smile ..
And pretend I do not exist ..
And still, all will be fine ..

I have but this one life ..
And I want it lived ..
With mistakes and moments .,
That will have my name etched..
Tattooed on my soul ..
Forever more..
It does not really matter ..
If this moment we spent ..
Knowing it may not last at all ..
But knowing you were with me for this moment ..
Is actually blissful and divine ..
Sometimes I want all ...
Sometimes just a second in time ..

Maybe it's too much to ask for ...
Maybe I'm just all consumed ..
Maybe ..

There is just me ..
And nothing else in this moment in time ..
So should I just stop ..
And let this pass ..
Pretend ..
We do not exist ..
Except in a spark ..
That lasts for nothing more ..
Than a flicker in the dark ..

I give up ..
My tears are spent ..
My love I leave for you ..
Till the worlds end ..

It's lying on a boat ..
Some where mid -sea ..
But if you are frightened of the waves ..
Just let it be ..

I'm just going to walk back ..
Walk to the place I know ..
Sit among my flowers and the weather that's growing a bit cold ..

This love I have ..
Is flowing no matter what ..
It's part of me ..
And that's how it will be ..

I guess , you will never understand ..
How it feels to hold my hand ..
To look into my eyes ..
And escape this world ..
To gaze deep inside my soul ..
To hold me close, closer than my skin...

Yes, I may be just a wee bit too much ..
Too overwhelming ..
To touch ..
To much to behold , if you can speak to my soul ..

It's better this way ..

Nothing lost nothing gained ..

So pray tell me , 
What do I do ..
With all of this ..
That I want to give you ..

I'm going to cast it out into the sparkling sky ..
And hold my pillow ..
Bury my head ..
And just ..

It's funny ..
That love can make me feel sooo ..

So I'm going to walk down paths ..
That we walked ..
And talk ..
And never stop making plans , that never materialise ..
I'm just going to walk ..
And walk some more ..
And if you miss me ..

Well all you have to do , 
Is....
Come walk with me ...!

Monday, November 19, 2012

LITTLE FOOTSTEPS...

Sometimes I look back,
To a time when my footsteps were smaller,
And when I ran with real freedom in my soul,
I never ever thought much of it,
It was so free.....

All I thought about was exam papers the next day...
Or the pleats on my uniform so grey..
I prayed that it would rain...
So that I could make paper boats and watch them run away...
Catching raindrops as they sped...
Where they went I never knew..
And neither did I care..
I just made boats in spare..
On some I wrote letters..
On some I drew..
I did not know much ..
But I knew I just loved the rain ..

Sometimes I see that little girl in me ..
The one who ran with paper boats ..
Free..
Happy..
Innocent ..
And full of dreams ..

I meet her now and then ..
And she still has that big broad smile ..
Ever trusting...
Ever open ..

Sometimes we just smile ..
Sometimes we talk..
Sometimes I ask her, if this is what she thought life is all about..

She looked at me today ...
And ran around like she does..
And then just stopped..
And gave me the tightest hug ..

You are fine she said
You have love and forgiveness in your heart , and that's the best ..

You love like no other can ..
Get mad because that's you..
Are sometimes over cautious
And sometimes so carefree.
So trusting sometimes
And sometimes as quiet as the deep sea ..

But stay who you are..
Because that's the only way ..
You will protect me ..

Tears well up ..
When I sometimes look into my eyes..
That I quickly dry ..
And put on my smile ..

I'm going to stay happy ..
I'm going to stay blessed..
Because as I sleep at night ..

I know I have a little angel with shiny wings ..
Who sits right near my bed ..


Juggie and me....


THIS IS FOR MY SISTER AND ME...
JUGGIE I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU ....

Friday, November 16, 2012

KILIMANJARO-CLIMB : DAY 8

Day 8..23rd October 2012.
Millenium to Mweka gate.
Altitude : 3820m to 1640m  .
Hiking time : 5 hours
Distance : 9 km.
Terrain : Descend through, rocks, then big uneven steps of mud, through the rain forest.


Was up at 5, and then crawled out of my tent , and borrowed tooth-paste as usual..
Never found my tooth-paste the entire trek ..

Picked up a packed break-fast, half of which I devoured,before I left, because I cannot function without breakfast ...
And we all set off on our last walk down the rain-forest of the hugely handsome, rugged  and beautiful Kilimanjaro...

We walked, stopped for breakfast and also did a bit of filming along the way...
We again bumped into the Canadians who were filming in order to raise money for water purification in one of the  African countries..

After a bit of our own shoot wrapping up ......

It was Shallu, Shyamal, Vikram and me again walking, our last few hours down the rain- forest again...
Shyamal, Shallu and Vikram.....thank you for the awesome enlightening company..

Bid adieu to the black and white colobus monkeys and a few horn-bills..
Saw the prettiest flowers on my way out, it was like Mr. Kili, sent them specially for me with all his love, the wildest and the prettiest flowers ever..

We walked back at our own pace, with knees that hurt , but hearts filled with the most satiated smile...

We finally reached camp , to be greeted by  this big entourage of our porters, with a guitar , who welcomed us and congratulated us, for making it up and down the wondrous Mt. Kilimanjaro ...
We then had an amazing lunch, by Rashidi...

Rashidi's amazing lunch ...DEVOURED...
Anish on the guitar, and Chef Rashidi sings"Kuchi Kuchi hota hain"

The last one ..
And then we packed our self into a big bus..
And we did it ...we finally walked down ...


And ,made our way to Hotel Planet Lodge..
Well en route, there was lots of singing and revelry...

And in the middle of this ..
Tara and me were finding ways to go to the Masai bazaar , so that we could shop..
And so , that's what we did, without a shower...
What's another few hours ...ha ha ha
Compared to shopping...

Godlisten ,
The naughty Godlisten...
 took us girls , and smart boy that he is, left us there...
Well we had just about an hour and a half...
(Sorry no photos of that gorgeous Masai market, because was too busy looking and , zeroing down and bargaining)
But we managed to buy, slippers, salad bowls, jewellery, Masai blankets, tables and trinkets..
All a a great price ..
And proudly told everyone willing to listen , that we came straight down from their mountain straight to their market to shop ..
Without a bath ..
Well we gained brownie points and got good discounts...
Happy with our loot ...

We returned to the hotel ...






I had a looooong shower...


Never felt more beautiful...
My face is tanned..
My nose is burnt..
My toe is hurt..
My knees still paining ..
My finger-nails, finally clean..
My hair is soft and smells lovely..
I'm scrubbed clean...

Feel just like a wild-flower from Kilimanjaro...
With a dash of Kenzo..














We all went to our favourite place in Arusha, to have dinner and get our certificates...
It was a beautiful long evening..
Filled with mirth and laughter..

Came back , packed and slept...
Gosh on a bed, with pillows and clean sheets ...
This room is fit for a queen...

Our last sunrise from the foot-hills of Mt. Kilimanjaro...


Flying back home Tom...


Just had an amazing time ..
Could not have asked for a more blessed way to bring this year to an end..
Well two months more ..
So I'm sure , there will still be a few surprises and plenty of great times..
But till then ...

JAMBO - hello
JAMBO BWANA - hello mr
HABARI GANI - how are you .?
NZURI SANA - very fine !
WAGENI - visitors..
WAKARIBISHWA - welcome
KILIMANJARO -
HAKUNA MATATA- No worries..

Yudi, Shayamal, Me, Kabir, Tara, Shallu and Vikram....We took a walk above the clouds..




NOTE FROM SHYAMAL...
FOUNDER OUT_CAUSE....
 
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:

Karunashraya
Old Airport-Varthur Main Road
Marathahalli,
Kundalahalli Gate,
Bangalore
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.
India

Thursday, November 15, 2012

KILIMANJARO-CLIMB DAY 7

Day 7...22nd October 2012
OUT_CAUSE.. KILI-CANCER
Barafu to Millenium Camp
Altitude : 4673m to 3820 m
Hiking : 2 1/2 hrs
Distance : 4 1/2 km
Terrain : Descend through heavy scree and gravel.

After the summit ,

we had a long walk down..
What goes up must come down , that's the law of nature..
But this was actually more difficult than going up ..
We were told that we have to come down in the scree in a ski motion ...

Ha ha ha what's that ...

Anyway , all I can say is that , this walk down over rocks and scree, killed my knees..
They were abusing me..
Vikram leading the pack, and the stuffed black thing is me....

And I only continued because I was hungry and wanted to sleep ..
So walked and ski motioned down , with visions of my sleeping bag in my tent and Rashidi's food ...

When we reached "bribe-be-Barafu" ..there was no camp ..
We were told that , the camp had moved to Barafu ,that was further down , we could see the camp , from where we stood, and that we had to pack and continue down ...
Well I was thinking , God ..please infuse me with super-powers,because this was ridiculous...
Burnt faced and hungry , I continued ,like everyone else ,before and after me ...

So we have walked all night, we are still walking and by 10.30-11 am , we finally reach Barafu, and was greeted by Sistus and his broad smile and Samay and all the porters and was offered an orange drink ...
I gulped it down...
So all the porters knew that I cried because I thought my "fingers were falling off" ,,,,
Stop it guys, really, dont laugh, I was in serious pain...
But now, its really funny ha ha ha ...

I joined everyone already seated in the tent with a hungry look pasted on their face...
We laughed, talked about the climb,and how it was for each of us,laughed about the blizzard...

And then a few fell asleep right there on the chairs and the rest ..yakked...
Till some food was laid on the table..

We ate as fast as we could..
A better disappearing act I have not seen in a long time .....
And then we were told that we have a 1hr walk to Millenium camp..
We all got up and took off...

But after an hour we realised that this camp is nowhere in sight...
I just slowed down ..
I knew its going to be a long walk, my knees were begging for mercy..
Shallu, Shayamal and me just walked slowly ..
And then I stopped ..
I decided I will reach camp ,but I'm in no hurry ...
So I stopped along the way , just sat, said hello ,to the ones from other camps passing me by, took photographs of pretty flowers ..
And had conversations ,with the ones I have not talked to in a very long time ...
And by 2PM,  I think I reached camp ...

Tired ...
And my knees giving me bad-words, in a language I had yet to learn ha ha ha
I went into my tent, and just sat there...
Shallu had already reached ..

I had no intention of having a wet-tissue sponge, or changing my clothes..
That's it ..
I'm now a mountain -girl , and had come to terms with and was extremely happy with my hair that had not even been brushed for 8 days, not bathed 8 days, and today I did not want to change ..
Ha ha ha ...simple life .
It was cold, so there was no sweat, so happy with the lovely Kenzo on me ..
I proceeded to the eating tent,where I could hear chatting..
And it was wonderful, we sat there talking about food and slowly but surely, started eating up the , peanut butter , drinking up the milo..
Asked for bread ,that we devoured with chunks of butter and pickle..
We then asked Shallu to ask for food...
Because some how , we realised, our unruly bunch would be told , all supplies are over , and she would get cookies...so we made here ask for bread , and told her to tell them , she was very hungry and to please get lots...
So we called out to Sistus, and then Shallu in that soft sweet voice of hers, asked for bread, amidst us all saying , get lots , she is hungry, ha ha ha ...
Sistus just smiled , he did not believe this at all..
But after 15 minutes , there was bread on the table ...
That was jumped upon, while we talked about all the food we wanted to eat ...

We sat there at that table from 2.30 pm ,waiting for dinner that was going to be served at 6.30 ....ha ha h a
At 6 the cutlery started trickling in,with Sistus and Samay...
And finally dinner was served in candle light ....

I have never had a more fun enjoyable festive meal..
It could not have a better setting than at the feet of the mighty Kilimanjaro,that well finally made friends with...
Avocado with salsa...
Followed by a rice salad , and
Bananas and potatoes in a lovely gravy..
Banana fritters....

We devoured it all....
And had licked our lips like the cat who got the cream...
It was a happy meal ..
We were so happy for one another , and for ourselves that we all made it ..

We miss you Kabir..

We also decided that we are going to tell all our friends , that they all needed to do this, so that they could feel what we did..
All and everything...

So next morning we had a five hour walk to the gate ...
This is it ..
It's done ..
It's nearly over...
Think at around 8.30 most of us fell asleep  (dammit my kids don't sleep so early, No matter what I try)
Tom we wake up early to leave at 6 ...

Good night ...
I'm sleeping with a smile on my face , and immense love in my heart ...



NOTE FROM SHYAMAL...
FOUNDER OUT_CAUSE....
 
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:

Karunashraya
Old Airport-Varthur Main Road
Marathahalli,
Kundalahalli Gate,
Bangalore
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.



Friday, November 9, 2012

THE SUMMIT...KILIMANJARO-CLIMB

THE SUMMIT

We said"YES".....



And after struggling to sleep post a lovely early dinner of mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables, on the 21st October
At 11pm, I finally sat up in my sleeping bag..
To listen to the continuous howling of the wind outside my tent...
If I did not know better..
I would be petrified of my tent flying off..

Shallu and me started getting ready for our final climb..
I had 4 layers of leggings of which two were thermals, and over that a snow pant that belonged to Rajeev, who is over 6 ft in height..
And had 5 layers of inners and polo necks etc , then a down jacket and then a rain jacket...
I had heated pads in my shoes and in my gloves...
Two warm caps , a warm muffler ...

And frankly each one of us , had put on nearly all we had ...
We all  gathered inside the dinner tent, had some porridge and we were shivering and excited and were raring to go ...

G-boy our guide or God-listen...that really is his name ..
Told us to stick together, listen to him and 'pole-pole' (slowly) walk up the beautiful Moonlit Kili ...
So we followed after him, Tara, Shallu,  Shayamal, Ram, Anish, Yudi ,the rock-star Vikram who stayed at the back ...
and me ..

And so started our 6 hour climb to the top of the world on the African continent , the highest free standing mountain in the world , the fourth highest summit amongst the 7 continents..
Well I put on my bravest face , and I'm thinking so did every body else, the winds were howling at about 20-40 mph and the temperature was anything between 0 to -10 degrees Celsius ...

After walking for a bit...
I just could not handle the warmth of all my layers and was completely breathless...
I just could not breathe and was gasping for air ..
I made g-boy stop...
I opened my jacket ..
The speed of the wind ..was making me feel like I could not inhale a single breath..
I was a mess...
I was sleepy ..
And I made a few stops , before , I finally opened up my jackets,freed my entire face of any covering and then started to walk...
Again all in a line with the head torches..
It felt surreal like I was in a Tim Burton script , that was being written as we walked ...
I was like in a sleep trance...
Just following Shallu's pant ..
Why, you must be wondering, well I broke my head -lamp and so it was stuck together by tape , so I could not adjust it ...
And so it shone on her pants instead of the path...
We could see nothing but where we walked and every time we looked up , we saw headlamps of climbers who were higher than us and then , some still higher..
God ..I was thinking , this is probably what sleep walking felt like ...
Then there were the gu-gel eating stops, maybe that helped too....

In my head I was just praying ...and continued to pray till I reached Stellar point ...
Prayed to Jesus, Mother Mary, St.Anthony, all the guardian Angels and all the saints...Because , I do believe that prayers do work miracles, and I needed a miracle ..

And also had Dorrie's voice from "Finding Nemo" saying 'just keep walking, just keep walking "Instead of swimming
Or like the Johnny Walker slogan .." just keep walking"..
Where the hell were the hip-flasks, or at least a cute St.Bernard....

We all walked ..
Was it difficult...bloody hell , yes very very very difficult...
At one point I was thinking , I would rather give birth to Zene all over again , without any epidural or drugs...
That felt far easier...
We drank freezing cold water, out of our camel-backs..
And ate gu-gel like it was a miracle food ...
I just wanted to stay awake ..
All of us did...
Everyone, just went on, like we we all had super powers that were taking some time to kick in..
And I know for sure that we all had our own personal battles that we were all fighting ..
Well I know I sure was ...

And in the middle of this, I would hear Vikram's chirpy full of life voice , filled with a broad smile saying "Jambo" ...
Oh my god how...how on earth does he do this...
He just stayed behind , and kept the spirit of the climb , positive and reinforcing a strength that we all needed..

At one point I was thinking, I'm completely crazy to have ever agreed to be part of this ...
Why would anyone in their right mind, start walking up a mountain at 12.30 am in freaking blistering cold, howling winds and head-lamps, when we could all have been sleeping happily in our own homes in our snug beds ...
But when I looked around me , I saw Shayamal, Yudi, Shallu, Tara, Vikram, Anish and Ram ...
All completely insanely sane people , walking , doing this together...
We were all on the right path ...
Kili-Cancer in all it's glory , with all the life we had in us..
This is what we were here for , to climb for @Out_Cause..
And that's exactly what we were all trying to do ..

It was a struggle..
Much more that I could have imagined...
And yes, none of us even once thought of going back ...
Though I'm sure at one point , we must have been wondering , what the HELL...

Our guides were fantastic, Morris or Mox
MOX-Thank you for everything ...
 as he is fondly called, just kept singing , so that I would keep awake...
And he just kept near me all the while ...

God-listen , bless him , was just amazing, he patiently tied my scarf around my head and fastened my warm cap over it, and looked at me and said, " Just stay close to me , or you are going to be in trouble"

 Good-love, Evans, Jackson and Daeo , all just hovered ,all around us, every step of the way..
Asking us if we are OK,encouraging us on...
And looking after us like angels in the dark ....

Incredible and life changing, is how I will , always remember this 6 hours, and filled with a sense of inner-strength, and single -minded focus to just reach the top ...
And not to forget Gu-gel breaks...
And Shayamal told me later , that every time I stopped because I needed to loosen a layer of clothing, some of them heaved a sigh of relief because they were tired or out of breath, and some , just felt that we needed to trod on, as they were getting cold ..

Nothing and I mean nothing could prepare me for this climb, this was "the real thing".
No amount of running up and down stairs,no amount of cross-fit, no amount of of anything , that I did .....
This was nature at its very best..
And all you can do is actually walk with the forces of nature with respect and thankfulness..
I learnt one thing for sure, when you are dealing with nature, " you BETTER obey all the rules, or you will MISS  all the fun"

I really do not know how we all walked up-hill for 6 whole hours in darkness with howling winds and sleep as our constant companion ...
Guess we were just feeding of each others energy and determination..
We "ARE" all going to summit ..
And that's that ..
And as morning broke into a faint light amidst a dark sky, we all panted and pulled ourselves up to Stellar point ..

At that point, as I saw sunshine, I felt a burst of energy, maybe it was the sun , or then the Gu-Gel...
I really do not know...
But I was up and raring to go further fresh and full of energy...
So unlike what I felt as I was climbing up-hill..
As we all climbed on, we came upon the most beautiful glaciers , right here on the roof of Africa..
They looked like , God had just poured tons of ice-cream on the mountains...
Was completely awe-struck at the beauty of the majestic glaciers ...


And from here, we trudged further to Uhuru Peak , which also means "Freedom"...
And that's exactly how I felt, terribly cold but free from all the shackles I had tied around my self, free from my own negative thoughts, my short comings..
Free from any kind of anything, that would ever drag my spirit down...

I walked with Vikram , who walked like he did not climb for 6 hours but was air-dropped on Mt. Kilimanjaro..
He was like the smiling sun...
I walked with him..
Not tired , not out of breath and grinning from ear to ear, full of boundless happiness...

And I'm going to make an honest confession, it felt great being one of the first few of us reaching Uhuru Peak...
These shoes were made for trekking...

When on all days I always reached camp right at the end..
I took "pole-pole" really seriously ..(slow-slow)
Think I was the incredible "sloth" ha ha ha

We were greeted by Ram , our cinematographer , who was there,for  some time now, ready to film us all summit the highest free standing mountain in the world and the 4th highest summit among the 7 on the continents...
Ram is something else, have not seen anyone run around , shoot and summit with ease like he did ...awesome is exactly what I would describe him as...

And as we all  hung around the peak , a blizzard broke out, so Yudi quickly, unfurled the Indian flag and in that biting cold, amidst the onslaught of wind and us all freezing, we managed to smile for camera, with chattering teeth..
And "WE" did it ....

And had to run away as fast as we could, because we were freezing, there were icicles on my eye-lashes and everyone had a thin sheet of ice on their jackets ...

Anish our sound engineer , got hit really badly by the altitude, and Tara and Ram, helped him , till the porters took him over, the porters then ran down with him.....

Breath-takingly eventful and full of gratitude and thanks-giving is how I would describe our summit...
I think we were there for just a bit of time..
We could not hang there because of the blizzard..

My last three fingers froze , because I wanted photos, and I pulled my gloves off, but my camera shut down in the extreme cold..
And I was just left with frozen fingers that hurt like crazy and I thought , they were going to break off...
I think I started crying, I don't know...
Mox just started rubbing my fingers ...
And I  was just shaking like a leaf ..
Actually now in retrospect , I'm sure ,it must have been funny to watch ...(Because Mox told all the guides I cried..feel a bit stupid)
But I was definitely not laughing..

We all reached the summit..
We felt on top of the world...we were on top of the world ... Dammit ...
It just could not get better...

We were all freezing, but our hearts were warm , filled with a joy and a sense of freedom and boundless love , that will always stay unexplainable , to anyone who was not there that 22nd Oct 2012 at 6.30 am ..

I was finally able to make friends with the ruggedly handsome Mt. Kilimanjaro, after a long struggle,
It was a slow , steady , single minded progress, I wooed him like no other, and knew he would finally fall for my crazy insane love for him and my laughter ...ha ha ha
I can proudly say I have a friend that opened his heart to me, and left the most beautiful flowers for me along the trail...
That I collected with a lot of love...
Quite a charmer this Mr. Kili is I must say..
Just the prettiest, I received

And a heart ...c'mon....
Every time I was just too tired to go any further, he wooed me with flowers and hearts, that he strategically placed so that , it caught my eye...

Completely romantic , strong, tough and ruggedly handsome and loving..
What more can a girl ask for ...













Well I sincerely hope our effort  to bring a small change towards the awareness and fight for cancer is going to build as raging as a forest fire ..

While climbing I was thinking of my mom and dad , who lived in and out of hospital for seven months, while my dad went through, chemo and all it entails..
My dad had to shave off his hair, well he looked as handsome as Yul Brynner , and he and my mum and us just never gave in...
He kept himself positive ..
So this 6 hours I dedicate to my mom and dad and , everyone who has been touched by Cancer, directly or indirectly ..

This 6 hour walk up to the summit on a cold , howling night ,is for "ALL OF YOU" ...

And before I end this I need to say


Shayamal -
to the guy, who kept his word and always walked two steps behind me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, for always staying by my side like a pillar of strength ..
From the time we set foot on that incredible mountain, to the time we bid it adieu..
You are just an amazing soul , and I'm incredibly lucky to have you as my friend now..
Hope to walk up and down many mountains with you ...











Yudi-
thank you for being my dream-catcher, you just made one of my dreams come true, you are just too cute and for  always being "Yudiji" , for infusing a song and dance, on every road, it did not matter , how tough it was to climb, to always have a smile , even when you were troubled..
You please stay the "all heart happy Yudiji" always ..
And may life always be in love with you ...













Vikram -
for being , the most positive, encouraging and full of life person , pushing us on, even when we had no fuel left anymore...
For walking with me everyday, for always believing that I would be able to walk up..
To impart your knowledge about the flora and fauna ..
And for just being the infuser of "super-powers"











Anish-
for always having a smile on your face, whether we were freezing at Shira plateau or scampering up the Barranco wall,for laughing at my stupid jokes, like they were incredibly funny, to be so  unprepared and yet be so positive about climbing with us everyday, no matter what , with all the heavy equipment..
And for finally learning how to put sun-screen on your face, you metro-sexual , Ethiopia trotting guy... Ha ha ha










                                                                                                                                                            Ram -
well I can never quite understand, how on earth, you kept running all over the mountain side, and were never out of breath, and was always in a good mood..
It was a complete pleasure, getting to know you...and I have finally come to terms , with the fact , that you still do not trust me with your camera..ha ha ha ..
And I pray , that you get work that entwines you with nature, because think ,that's where you are happiest ..










Tara -
true to your name, you were the guiding star , each and everyday, you led the way to every camp, with your positive energy and exuberance, and could hear you sing or laugh as you just effortlessly , flitted from path to path with a smile and a beaming heart..
And I'm really really happy to have made one more insanely loving friend...
And thank you for the caffine gu-gel, I think that's what made me wake up...















Shallu -
 if you were not on this trip, I think I would have tried to run up the mountain and would have never acclimatised, but I saw in you a calm, silent, soft, but determined strength and I thank my stars that I followed you ...
Those crazy "diamox mid-night" walks in the freezing cold..
The insane laughter , where we thought , we were probably suffering from altitude edema..
You are such a beautiful lady mind , body , heart and soul..
And I will always cherish this for the rest of my life, our shivering conversations, filled with madness , in a tiny tent , that was our home for the 8 days we spent together, in sleeping bags that would slide down ....
May love always follow you where ever you go..

God-listen -
for being a good shepherd to a wayward herd of sheep ,for understanding , our strengths and our weaknesses..
For always pushing us more than we thought we were capable of..
To always encourage us with kind words and your naughty ,infectious smile ..
To take us shopping ..
To see that we all reached the summit..
Your royal highness, you are "Iron-man"...,




Kabir 

'YOU WERE MISSED"






















And to the entire team, Rashidi, Sistus, Samay , Quasim , Shadrock...
I'm horrible with names, I have forgotten most ..
Just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart...
This trip would not ever be an incredible heart warming part of my life, if all of you did not make it so much fun and so comfortable for all of us ..
I saw nothing but big smiles, wherever I looked..
And kind words and helping hands ...

God bless you all...

And on a parting note , " IMPODODO" ...
Which means "fat-ass" ha ha ha ha ..



NOTE FROM SHYAMAL...
FOUNDER OUT_CAUSE....
 
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:

Karunashraya
Old Airport-Varthur Main Road
Marathahalli,
Kundalahalli Gate,
Bangalore
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.
India 

Facebook : http:/www.facebook.com/OutCause
Karunashrays website : http://www.karunashraya.org/NewSite/Index.html






Wednesday, November 7, 2012

KILIMANJARO-CLIMB...DAY 6

Day 6 -21st October 2012.
OUT_CAUSE.. KILI-CANCER. 
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 ...



NOTE FROM SHYAMAL...
FOUNDER OUT_CAUSE....
 
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:

Karunashraya
Old Airport-Varthur Main Road
Marathahalli,
Kundalahalli Gate,
Bangalore
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.
India 

Facebook : http:/www.facebook.com/OutCause
Karunashrays website : http://www.karunashraya.org/NewSite/Index.html

Monday, November 5, 2012

KILIMANJARO- CLIMB...DAY 5

Day 5 - 20th October 2012.
OUT_CAUSE.. KILI-CANCER.
Barranco to Karanga.
Altitude : 3970m to 3995m.
Hiking time : 4-5 hours.
Distance : 4 km .
Terrain : From moorland plateau to cliffs and scree.

It was not a good night.
Could not really sleep , kept waking up, thinking about Kabir, and if he has reached safely.
(Well we got to know , he did, post 3000 m, he walked down 6 hours to the base, was in the hotel , had showered , was having eggs for breakfast, while we were waking up ,for a looooong walk )
Well I was very relieved as was everyone in camp...
He was safe and out of any danger...

Barranco camp ,while climbing the Barranco wall


Woke up finally before 6 am..
And put some some Michael Buble on ..
Really needed him to just just distract me with his honey voice ...

Breakfast today was omelette...
And can't even begin to tell you , how good an omelette with frozen peanut butter, and chunks of frozen butter smeared onto bread tastes...
Have also started drinking Milo, like my life depended upon it..
Well frankly if not my life , then my acclimatisation does depend on my liquid intake ..
So cheers to Milo...

Well today is a small trek ..
Just 4 hours...
Ha ha ha did I just say "just 4 hours" .. Yes please take me immediately to a hospital , it is definitely altitude edema ...

The Barranco Wall...
We had to go up the Barranco wall today ..

It was also Shallu's birthday..
But we all just kept quite , because in the morning when we wanted to wish her, "Shadrock and his rockers" we're still sleeping, as they work longer hours, they are the ones who carry everything up to the next camp , set it all up, start after us, and still reach , before we can say "Kilimanjaro" ...
So we all did not wish her, and just went about climbing the daunting looking Barranco wall..
But this climb was ok..
I'm not going to say that it was easy..
This big wall of rock, that you clamber through, and walk through, jump through, tiny areas and basically in an hour and a half you are done..
It's not super easy , but it is definitely happily do-able...

It was an amazing walk, because you are walking over the cloud line..
Actually above the cloud-line...


When suddenly a cloud envelopes you, and you suddenly feel freezing cold...
Well we have just been going up and down various hills and valleys and today after 4 days my calve muscles hurt..
Well I'm not going to start about my thigh muscles..
But it's all good ..

Through all our walks with our various guides, I have just been resisting the urge to ask my guide, " are we there yet?" ....
Jackson our guide, who I followed like Mary's little lamb..

Well only kids keep asking these questions, Zeke and Zene do all the time, when we are going somewhere ..

Today when I had my last hill to climb, I decided not to look up to my camp, because sometimes camp is no where in sight..
And today I had a very rocky trail ahead of me..

Barranco..The prettiest camp ...
So I decided to look down and across the paths that I had already crossed and feel happy about that, and just took one step at a time"pole-pole" and I slowly reached camp ...

Vikram said a very smart thing to us," Don't walk too fast that you need to take a break, walk at a pace that you need no breaks" and that's what we did, from the 2nd day onwards, as much as we could...

Since it was Shallu's birthday, we were all waiting for her to come, all the guides, porters, kitchen staff , everyone got together to sing and dance for her...
And slowly we all joined in..
You know it's kind of difficult to stop yourself from getting dragged into the infectious rhythm ...
Even though you are completely out of breath at this altitude...
We had an awesome lunch prepared by Rashidi...
And then they got Shallu a cake and sang , till every single person in camp was fed a piece by her, they kept singing "cakey-cakey-cakey"...


Well after lunch, I unpacked and packed my bag for the umpteenth time..
Got fresh clothes sorted for the climb..
Tomorrow night ...oh my god , it's already here...
This close..

And as it was a nice warm afternoon..
Was able to use deo ..
The little joys of life , on a beautiful mountain side...
And I also sprayed my favourite " Kenzo" hmmmm...
Now if only I could find a water-fall that was not freezing ...
Ok ok ...not asking for any more ...

We got into our tent , and Shallu and me were discussing , how scrambling into this tent , actually felt like we were coming home...
We arranged all we needed in the tent pockets , and settled our stuff..

And then we all sat in our food tent, and discussed what we wanted to eat, when we reached back down , and what we will eat , when we reach home...
The tent of immense knowledge and food ...

To mostly all of us , it was some form of dal...
Gosh we just kept talking about various types of food..
Vikram told us, quite in the beginning that this would happen...
And we had some hysterical laughs about various other things , I cannot remember now ..
I remember one thing, about all of us, we laughed like crazy...
And sometimes Vikram would say, craziness is a sign of Altitude Edema, and it's good we all knew each other, so would be able to detect it ..
Well we probably were all suffering from it, and that's why , the crazy laughter...
And thats that ..
It's no longer open to discussion ...

Oh forgot to tell you, we also do a huddle in the morning, and shout out "impododo" ..
Why ? Because it's a new word we learnt, and we love the meaning ....ha ha ha

Anish and Tara, we're feeling a bit under the weather, but know they will be raring to go by Tom morning ...
Yudi and me , continued singing stupid Hindi songs ..
Yudi and me...being completely FILMY...ha ha ha

And frankly it was just too much fun, never knew Yudi knew so many songs , and scenes with dialogues...
And I have switched to talking in Hindi, which in my opinion is pretty good, or then it could just be "altitude edema" , or then I have gone completely " keecha" or "crazy"..

Dinner was pasta and soup and , all we did is talk about food...
Dal , chawal, ghee, achaar, warm bed, shower...
Have not had a shower in 5 days, this now is a personal record , that frankly I want to break..
But then , I have been doing a "wet wipe bath" with freezing wipes, then deo, and then Kenzo that I love..

Well another night under the stars at Karanga, a brand new camp!
And the summit is just 11 hrs away ..

Mt. Kilimanjaro is actually a 11 hr walk from here..
It's been a tough 5 days, and my knees really hurt today..
So put violini on it, listened to music and decided to try and make a pillow , with another pull-over , since I have a crick in my neck..

Tom we actually try and "summit" ...
This has been fun , because of the company, but a tough journey , if I had to do this alone..
Its the energy of everyone together that pushes us all "skyward"...
No amount of info, can prepare you for this physical and mental journey, that you go through , once you are here..
It's amazing, but your legs just continue, it does not matter how far the camp is, it's like they have a map, and they just take you there..
En route to camp...

Your mind takes over , every other objection , your muscles may put up ..
Mysterious trails...

And your heart, it figures stuff out..
It's beautiful .

I'm just going to leave myself, in the hands of the one above and the plan he has for me..
I'm tired, very tired...
I'm sleeping in a sleeping bag, that's slipping down because our tent is on a slope, it's cold and my fingers are becoming like ice-lollies..
I went and cut all my finger nails so short, to avoid getting dirt stuck into them , and now they're too short to even clean, it's not cool at all..

What a day, my muscles are crying out, my right elbow hurts because of a past injury..
It's weird but any injury you may have incurred physically or emotionally, comes to visit you, when you are walking on a mountain..
Mr. Kili busy wooing me with pretty flowers..

I realised , all you have to do is keep walking , and it kind of stops, because , nothing and no -one can be with you if you do not want it anymore..
And Mr. Kili does not like it if , he is not of paramount importance..
So your aches and pains of life , just walk away, or stop ...

So, with the thought of the "summit" in my head ...
Can it get prettier...

Yawn.....I'm going to sleep ..
Tom is a brand new day



NOTE FROM SHYAMAL...
FOUNDER OUT_CAUSE....
 
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:

Karunashraya
Old Airport-Varthur Main Road
Marathahalli,
Kundalahalli Gate,
Bangalore
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.
India