Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Parenting

Recently, I came across a rather obnoxious video in which a kid is being taught in a very wrong way. In fact, she is slapped hard by her own mother while being taught. What was more disturbing in it is the fact that the kid is just around 3-4 years old and all her rage and emotions against being taught aggressively is ruthlessly ignored. The kid turns quite violent too and pleads desperately asking her mother to tell politely but to no avail. Instead of realizing the gravity of the seriousness and the torture the kid is going through, the mother is recording the whole ordeal.
And just guess what the kid was being taught?! She was learning the numbers "1, 2, 3, 4, 5". This is like the first set of lessons one starts with. And how is it being handled? Atrocious!

I'm sure many of you would have already come across this video which I am talking about in Whatsapp groups or Facebook feeds or for that matter in the news articles. [11/09/2017 Updated: I had provided a youtube link to the video which apparently is removed now.]

And today I came across one more article which reported that she is singer Toshi's niece. But his statement about this whole incident astonishes me further. He says (sic):"Ek maa ki mamta hai, judgment nahi kar sakte hain. Jisne usko 9 months kokh mein rakha hai. Ab agar bachche zidd karenge toh unko padana likhana chod dein kya? Bachon ko paalna asaan nahi hota. (One can't judge a mother's love for the child by seeing a short video. If children throw tantrums, then should we stop teaching them? It's not easy to raise children)".
I wonder what's more pathetic, the attempt to convince or the reason provided.

Now, I know many would feel that this behavior of the concerned mother isn't a big deal. They would also say that this is not something unusual in this part of the world. They will even try to further explain that there is a need to be strict with the kids otherwise they would become stubborn, and beating the kids doesn't mean the parents don't love them and etc. But I have to disagree with those opinions. And I mean it.

I had my own share of experience while growing up, both at receiving end and at the other end as well. I remember my mom being strict on occasions but all she wanted was me to improve, to learn and be good at. And I also know her strictness doesn't mean that she loved me any less. On the contrary, she loved so she was hard on me and my siblings sometimes. In fact, I remember myself also being hard and aggressive with my brothers when I tutored them. And I regret being that way. Wish I knew how to be polite and also effective at the same time. In a way, we all tend to pick things from our parents or from the surroundings we grow and that carries through when we become parents. May be or may be not.
But what I know for sure is that this should stop. People should accept the fact that this is not the right way of teaching or parenting. They should try to acknowledge there are better ways do deal and accept that they were wrong. Nothing wrong in it. It only makes them a better person or a parent.

Frankly speaking, my journey as a father so far has been enriching. I surely have learnt a lot from my 5 year old kid than what he might have learnt from me. At times, I have seen myself being tough on my kid but seeing his reactions I have only learnt that my ways were wrong. It made me realize that I can manage things in a better way and be a better father. Someone rightly has said, 'When we become parents we don't teach, we learn'. I certainly know how the kids, being kids, test our patience and give every reason to lose our cool. But these are exactly the occasions which will show us whether we are good parents or not.

Going forward, I certainly wish to see one change in our society. We all should learn how to raise kids in the best possible manner, understand their feelings, understand how their mind works, the ill-effects of our actions and try to refrain from being hard on the kids unnecessarily. This change in society can only happen if we as an individuals try to learn things by watching others, by reading about kids and more importantly by being the best what we can be.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Bengaluru 10K challenge 2017

Race category: 10K
Timing: 01:03:44

The race carried a tag line: 'The tougher 10k' and it lived up to the expectations. The run was indeed tough with all the ups and downs.

I went into the run with a target of less than 65 minutes considering my previous run's result. But my plans changed when I was saw two pacers at the start of the race with 60 mins and 65 mins tags on their backs. Though I had plans for 65 mins, I decided to follow the 60 mins pacer. Yes, I thought of touching moon as plan-A and falling on a tree as plan-B if the attempt fails.
The route had a U-turn at 5 kms mark with more of slope than uphill in most part of the first half. I was able to keep up the 60 mins pace till the end of 6 kms but unfortunately, and quite obviously, the return route was more of uphill and daunting. I did a mistake of stopping for about 30 seconds to get comfortable breathing. But that made it more difficult to get back to my rhythm and required pace. I somehow continued and finished the race. I generally finish the races with a strong sprint at the end which I couldn't in this race.

I finished with a timing of 63 mins:44 secs. Though I couldn't finish sub-1, I am happy at least I improved my timing compared to my previous 10K this year :)

And btw, I wasn't happy with idli-wada-upma-sira breakfast which was served post race. I was like: what-the-... It would've been better if a comfortable breakfast like energy bar is provided along with energy drink and bananas. Next time, I will remember to carry my own.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Himalayas 2017: Bhrigu Lake trek

“The mountains are calling and I must go” - John Muir

It’s always a great and peaceful experience soaking in the grandeur of the Himalayas.

Day 1: Reporting at base camp, Ramsu
As mentioned in my previous post, I planned for yet another Himalayan trek. And this time being Chandrakhani trek in Himachal Pradesh which was finalized after considering the fact that it was a shorter duration trek and at a location we hadn’t been before, despite it being an easy one.
Well, that was the plan until I along with my trek friends reached the base camp at Ramsu village, after our two days of visiting nearby places. The organizer informed us that he had a meeting with all other participants, before we had reached the camp, and unanimously agreed to change the trek to Bhrigu Lake trek (~14000 ft) due to less snow found at Chandrakhani at that point of time. Apparently, this is considered a tougher trek and has lots of snow on its way and I was more than happy.
The schedule was to start early the next morning at around 6:30am and reach the starting point of the trek in taxis which was beyond the check-point towards Rohtang pass. We slept immediately after making sure to keep our trek requirements for drying. Unfortunately, all our bags and contents got wet while reaching base camp. All thanks to the irresponsible and knucklehead driver who didn’t inform us that the sheet which he covered our bags on the taxi roof wasn’t waterproof. Not a great thing to start the trek with in that cold weather. 

Day 2: Trek towards Raoli Kholi
Anyways, the next morning the clothes were dry enough to be packed and we were ready with our bags on and full with excitement. However, the trek guide wasn’t happy with the group’s timing as there was a slight delay.
Adding to his frustration, we hit a heavy traffic towards the check-post and that added 2 more hours to the delay. Yes! That long we were on the road waiting to cross the check-post. We however got down and roamed around taking snaps.

We finally started our trek after a two and a half hours’ delay from Gulaba post. We were welcomed immediately by a steep climb which quite tested one’s fitness and stamina. We crossed some green pastures and small creeks on our way up before we reached a height where we encountered snow patches. The sight of snow thrilled us all and brought in a sense of comfort. However, the comfort feeling was short lived as once we started crossing these snow patches and slopes, we started slipping and fumbling. That surely is a scary thing considering we are crossing some steep areas from which we can’t even see the bottom we might reach if we happen to slip and fall. We continued further for few more hours through snow and creeks. Crossing the water streams was exciting too with intermittent drizzle. We had a lunch break at a nice scenic spot with the snow-capped mountains in front of us covering the whole wide angle. 

After a grueling few hours, we finally reached the next higher camp, Raoli Kholi. This is a beautiful place sounded by sloppy mountains and snow in every direction.

We changed into our warm and comfortable cloths, got few instructions from the organizers/guides, had tea and we were ready to explore the area. The stay was in 4 occupancy tents and post dinner our group of 6 got into one and played cards for quite some time. Late night we even explored out in that cold chatting on various subjects. These small things are such a delight when you think back and are something to cherish about.

Day 3: Trek towards Bhrigu Lake
The next morning, I was woken up at 3:30am by the strong winds hitting the tent. I further tried to sleep but to no avail. Finally went out of tent at 5:30am to witness the sun coloring the snowcapped mountains bright and beautiful. These are the very views which make you go to mountains again and again.
We were ready for our next ascend but only 14 out of 27 decided to move further considering the difficulty level and their health conditions. We started crossing snow slopes which obviously got trickier and tougher. We had to be more cautious with our footings on the snow. The group was made to walk at much faster pace and in quick few hours we reached the top i.e. the Bhrigu Lake.

This is a serene place with the partially frozen water body at the center. We reached at the right time of the day as we could get clear and complete view of the peak and the sounding mountains. We walked bare feet to the middle of the lake to collect water, rather snow, in bottle. I bet, nobody could stand more than a minute bare feet on snow.

Within few minutes, we were surrounded by mist and clouds. We had lunch at the nearby spot and were ready to descend. This was much tougher as we were asked to slide down the snowy slopes, similar to the water rides we have in water parks. Trick to control the speed of slide using elbows and not using legs. Using legs at that speed would surely lead to bad falls. I felt this trek better than my previous Sarpass trek in this aspect. This gave around 5-6 slides compared to a long one in Sarpass. I enjoyed completely every aspect of it.



In no time we came back to the Raoli Kholi camp and started sharing our experience with those who couldn’t make it. Later, we played Mafia game which was super fun expectedly. Post dinner we got into tents and continued with our card games as usual.



Day 4: Return to Manali
Next morning, we all got ready and started back descending to the Gulaba post. The descend was quicker as everyone wanted to be head back to Manali to catch respective buses which were scheduled for departure at 5pm. At Gulaba, the group assembled, the guides went ahead with the formality of officially calling it a day and allowed us to board the taxis towards Manali. We reached couple of hours early and got enough time to visit a restaurant for food and also to get fresh before boarding the bus to Delhi.

The expedition was simply outstanding and thanks to my friends: Abhi, Minal, Esha, Mahesh, Siddhu, Abhishek and many others in the group of 27 who made it more enjoyable. The friendship grew stronger, I made new friends during the course and that’s what these treks and trips are all about; seeing new places, meeting nice people and experiencing great things.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Himalayas 2017: Kasol & nearby places


It was that time of the year when the Himalayan Expeditions are at full swing and I along with my friends, who had met during my trek to Khaliya Top last year, decided to trek one more Himalayan mountain. And we finalized on the Chandrakhani trek in Himachal Pradesh this time. My friends suggested to roam around nearby places before starting the trek so we planned our itinerary accordingly: Reach Kasol two days in advance and explore Kasol & nearby places and then head towards the base camp i.e. Ramsu village for the trek.

I will organize my trek experience details into two posts i.e. this one describing the Kasol and neighborhood and followed by other one describing the actual trek.

Delhi:

The trip started at Delhi where we all met. 5 friends from Mumbai, couple of them from Vadodara and myself from Bengaluru. We had few hours to spend and I took the group to Paranthe gali, Chandni Chowk for lunch and then followed by a stroll at Red Fort. Metro in Delhi is quite convenient and remember to take the Smart card for easy commutation.

We took a HP tourism bus from Delhi to Manali and got down at Bhuntar to reach Kasol. The bus dropped us at Bhuntar in the early hours and then we took another local bus to Kasol. Kasol is base camp for other treks like Sarpass, so there were many other trekkers in the bus along with school kids and locals. I made my group get down one stop earlier to the actual stop near to our hotel where we had booked our rooms. And I made them walk for extra 2.5 KMs with their bags and I am sure hitting me would have crossed their minds :-p. We stayed at Royal Palace and had a very comfortable and pleasant stay. The hotel is situated right in between Kasol and Manikaran, the two famous tourist places around.

Manikaran:

We headed towards Manikaran immediately after getting ready. There are some nice temples at this place where we spent enough time taking photos. We went near the gurudwara, hot springs spot as well and then passed through the local market. The bridge was also a nice spot to click some snaps.




Kasol:

We walked back and then proceeded toward the Kasol market, a full 5 KMs stretch. The market had similar products as what was seen in Manikaran but costlier. And we were surprised to see so many items being sold related to smoking, the hukkas and mixers. Hope you got what I mean ;-)
Food at local places was great. And then we headed back to the hotel calling it a day.

I got up early the next morning for a run in that pleasant weather. And one of my friend ventured out for early morning clicks in the wild. I ran towards Kasol and reached the other end where Youth Hostel Association of India has set up its Sarpass trek base camp. On the way back, I got down the river side and experienced the joy of standing bare feet in that ice cold water. It was a torture as well, as it's difficult to stand for even a minute in that cold water.



Malana:

Malana village and Tosh were couple of places to be explored and based on our hotel manager's suggestion, we headed towards Malana village in two taxis. Reached the spot in about two hours’ time and there was still a walk/trek of 90 minutes further to reach the village. It's a small village at a good height. Locals claim it to be one of the oldest democracies and if the legends are to be believed, these are the descendants of army men (Aryan?) who made this place their home. This place is also famous for high purity hash, Malana cream ;-), if you are interested to know.


There is a glacier nearby which we couldn't visit due to time constraints and tiredness. We returned to hotel and ended the day with some great fun playing cards.

Parashar Lake:

The next morning the plan was to visit a place called Parashar Lake, Mandi. This place is famous for its location and landscape. And boy! it was beautiful and peaceful, away from all the crowd and chaos. The temple next to the Parashar Lake is situated at the top of a mountain surrounded by bigger mountains and believe me, it was worth the time and effort.


We reached this place after a strenuous 4 hours’ journey from Kasol through Bhuntar and the road was bumpy if not terrible. Came back to Bhuntar from where we headed straight to the Ramsu village, our base camp hiring one more taxi through Manali.

P.S: Read my trek experience here.