Down the memory road
(With Namit Chugh: CCAP Batch V)
What began as an experiment in 2011 – the journey called CCAP- has come to a fruitful end and so has my stint with CRISIL. But as they say, it’s not about the destination but always about the journey; same has been the case for my journey so far.
In retrospect, I have not just learnt the twenty four subjects in finance that were taught in classrooms, but also quite a bit about organization culture, varied leadership styles, people and places, love and hatred, friendship and animosity. I have learnt all this not just because of CCAP, but also through my stay in Mumbai. I have made some friends of lifetime, whom of course I didn’t even speak to for the first few months of the course given my introvert nature; sometimes read arrogance. The Mumbai episode was a compilation of numerous road trips on bike, car, and bicycle, some of which are mentioned below:
Mahabaleshwar: My friendship with a few people nurtured while I was crazily asking them if they would join me for a bike trip to Mahabaleshwar, a territory unknown to all of us; as none of us was from Maharashtra and that was our semester 1. Those three days had set the standards for more such fun filled trips in the years to come. Though, it has always been difficult to convince people to satisfy their wanderlust (given the stipend paid vs. expenses in the costliest city of the country).
Tips: paragliding in Panchgani, kayaking and rafting in Kolad, fresh strawberries in Panchgani.
Alibaug: The trip was followed by a short bike ride to Alibaug (merely 110 kms. from Mumbai). The road being a spoilsport dampened the spirits, but the seafood made up for everything else. I later realized that a bike trip was not the best way to reach Alibaug, and I knew I would be there one more time, before saying good bye to the city. But more on that trip later.
Tips: Sea food
Tarkarli: This one was a classic trip, as I was travelling with fellow batch-mates, to an unexplored Konkan location of Tarkarli, 550 kms from Mumbai. Most of us had not heard of the place before we decided to go there. And also for a change, we were travelling by train and not our bikes. The highlight of the trip was the country made toxic influences. I also directed a short film on the way back in a Volvo bus which cannot be watched while you are sober. The journey has been the most infamous one so far in my life. Details cannot be furnished, but we were almost stranded in a strange village named Kudal. We somehow managed to reach Mumbai safely. All five of us never went on a trip together post Tarkarli.
Tips: snorkeling and scuba diving at Sindhudurg
Lonavla: There is hardly anyone who in is Mumbai and has not been to Lonavala and Khandala. The place is famous for Maganlal chikki. But we wanted to do more, and chose to go on bikes, in eleven in the night, while it was raining. Some would say that’s crazy, and I wouldn’t deny it. That night was crazy. We rode in foggy terrains, with reflectors on the roads being our only source of direction. We were also caught by the highway patrol because we were taking photographs at 2am in the night on the highway. And, as always we came out of trouble somehow, and continued the trip.
Tips: Maganlal chikki, tiger point
Dapoli: This one was a car trip, for a change, and the only blunder we did was parking the car on the beach for some nice photographs. Consequently, we were stuck in the sand and high tide approached and we had two options: either let go of the car with the receding tide or pay the local beach fellows to help us drag the A-star out. That was such a wasteful expenditure!
Tips: Sea food, beach bonfire, peace
Bhivpuri: This is an unexplored trek place near Matheran, usually unheard of by most people. But was one of the most exciting trips. We challenged some tough rocks by rappelling on them, and not to forget, rappelling was under a waterfall. All of us got ourselves hurt, but it was worth the bloodshed. If you happen to go trekking there, keep a few things in mind: go in a large group and carry a first aid box. Both these tips have their consequences.
Matheran: You got to travel by the toy train from Karjat to Matheran, trek on the railway track, cross the valley (literally) via a rope, take photographs on corners of step-hills, etc. Matheran never fails to amaze you. And it’s usually crowded, being so close to Mumbai.
Kashid: So when I asked my roommate and a fellow CCAPian to join me on a cycling road trip, around 160kms in two days; the reaction was ******. But once we completed the trip, he was extremely proud of the fact that we undertook the journey. It was sheer determination that helped us finish that trip alive. The two of us were a team, because cycling that much in two days is no joke. The constant motivation from each other kept us going, and made us do what we have had never anticipated. Fellow Trip itinerary – bicycle ride to Gateway of India, ferry ride till Mandwa and bicycle ride again from Mandwa to Kashid, en route Alibaug. And this was my second visit to Alibaug.
Tips: Sea food, roads
Apart from all these destinations, we have also been to Raigad, Shirdi, Jawahar, Pune and Harihareshar and innumerable bicycle rides to Juhu and Gateway. There was a distinct learning from each of these trips; I have grown as an individual, have made friends of a lifetime, have met with accidents, etc.
But travel leaves you speechless and then turns you into a storyteller.
This last piece of writing is dedicated to fellow CCAPs – Anish Nair and Kshitij Gupta, for being my travel buddies.