Alive is Awesome- With an iPad

Do you remember some of the posts that I did for Cinthol’s Alive is Awesome contest? There were some prizes associated with it. I was extremely reluctant in the beginning but the person who was in charge of the contest was one persuasive person. Once I committed I did all the posts that were required. And it was fun reliving some of those water filled memories.

Alive is Awesome by Cinthol
Alive is Awesome by Cinthol

So last week I was very pleasantly surprised when I got a mail saying I won an iPad! And the next day evening I got the iPad too!

iPad 2
iPad 2

This is my first Apple product. Daughter considers it her tab. I get to use it in between sometimes. May write more if I get to use it more. Have to say I never expect to win! And among all the thing iPad was what I was eyeing most!

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It was a cloudy morning and I was out even before the first rays of sun! It was my last day in the paradise and I wanted to make it special. I walked the few steps from my hotel and I was at the beach. There was no one around apart from a few dogs. Thankfully they paid no attention to me. I soaked in the serene atmosphere and inhaled the sea air without any residue of fumes!

There was the lone Mangrove tree with its root all exposed due to the low tide, I could spot a few birds as well. I was content to wait for the sun to come out. For a while it felt that clouds would rule, like they did the previous evening and I was really thinking why did I even get out of my comfortable bed?

But then the sun came out and it was gorgeous! Havelock looked even more beautiful if that was possible.

Sunrise at Havelock, Andaman Islands, India
Sunrise at Havelock, Andaman Islands, India

After the sun got too high to get any more reasonable shots, I decided to take a walk. I love walking and I love walking barefoot. By now if you are wondering what happened to my most expensive dip, just have some patience.

With my Canon D 350 and a brand new 70-300 zoom mounted on it, I decided to click a few bird pictures. I put my cell phone (my first with touch screen and 5 megapixel camera) in my pocket and concentrated on spotting the birds. I managed to click a few pictures but of the type that never even made it to my blog! Walking with my head firmly stuck in the trees above I started wading through the shallow water to get closer to a bird. Something poked in my heel rather sharply and I started falling in slow motion. I ‘saw’ myself falling, I was falling so slow. At the same time I tried desperately tried to break my fall because I could see clearly what was going to happen.

In the end I heard a loud thud and there I was, in the water with my SLR, my brand new lens and my cell phone. This ladies and gentlemen has been my most expensive dip ever! The camera and lens were immediately gone, never to be recovered. I could salvage my cell phone after I came back and but after a few fits and starts it conked off too. However when I was narrating my woes to my husband he said, “Don’t you think you were lucky that you didn’t break a bone?” In the end we still had to say Alive is Awesome!

I have construed many ‘what if’ scenarios since then. The most prominent was that I should have just slept till late, after all it is an easy thing to do! That way I would not have the sunrise experience but I would still have my camera and cell phone. But in the end I had to let go, what happened, happened. I thought I would not buy a camera but I bought another one (my current Canon D 550) within five months along with another zoom lens. Add this too to the cost and I am sure the Havelock fall is going to remain my most expensive ‘bath’ in a long long time, hopefully forever!

PS. This post is part of Alive is Awesome Bathing Experience by Cinthol. It has been great fun reliving my memories with this series. It is also awesome to see what time does to the experiences! Many memories become dim but not the awesome ones!

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They say into each life some rain must fall. I say it is a given that in each trek some rain will fall! We were trekking in the Triund region in Himachal Pradesh and I had been lugging two heavy raincoats for the past two days. I asked my husband if he would carry the raincoats while we walked from Ilkaka to Lehs Cave and beyond. He refused and in a fit of anger I also dumped both the raincoats in the tent. After all it had been bright and sunny for the last two days and I was tired with all the weight in my small backpack. With hindsight I wonder why did I dump both the raincoats? I could have carried mine but such is the air higher up in the mountains and such is hindsight! The base for the trek to Triund is McLeod Ganj.

The third day on our Triund trek also dawned bright and clear. The walk up to the Lehs cave is gradual till you cross a nalla (small stream); after that it decides to go sharply uphill. Both us walk slowly, but we can walk for hours, so we were OK. We reached Lehs Cave, admired it, and then decided to go further.

Now when I look at the photos I can see the dark clouds even before we crossed the Nalla but at that time we were blissfully ignorant of that fact! And soon enough two fat rain drops fell and we decided to turn back. The trouble with both of us is that even though we don’t get tired, we descend almost at the same speed we ascend! And soon enough there was hail. By the time we reached Lehs Cave again I was wondering who had asked me to climb higher up ignoring all those clouds?

We asked Babu (our guide) if we should stop there and take shelter. He said, “You never know how long this would last. If we keep walking we would reach the camp soon.”

So walk we did in hail and rain and wind for two hours. My hands were quite numb by the end of it, but otherwise I was not too cold as we were walking as fast as we could. So after this unscheduled bathing experience we reached the campsite again and that chai shop made out of wood and plastic was heaven for us!

After a change of clothes we ran to the shop for food. We decided to go back to the tent and read our books. But the wind was howling by this time and we felt that the tent would be blown away. We crept out of it and ran into the shop again to confer with Babu.

They decided to put the tent down. In the meanwhile a nearby kitchen tent (of a marriage party, yes people sometimes trek to get married!) got partially blown away and had to be flattened too. After a while it was calm again and we had a peaceful night’s rest in our tent.

The next day the weather turned bad again but thankfully by that time we had already reached Triund and we were sitting inside one of the permanent huts. After a while the sun came out once and rewarded us with a magnificent rainbow. It was a great prize for all the soaking we got the day before, it was a truly Alive is Awesome Moment.

Rainbow at Triund, Himachal Pradesh
Rainbow at Triund, Himachal Pradesh

In the picture the colorful stuff on the ground is our tent, which had to be flattened once again as before the rainbow the winds and the rain were really trying to lift it off the ground!

PS. This post is part of Alive is Awesome Bathing Experience by Cinthol.

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Vikram our raft expert was giving instructions on a serious note. The light banter of the day before was completing missing. I had no idea what had caused the change!  But it did not take me long to find out!

The Calm Stretch, Rafting on the Ganges, Uttarakhand
The Calm before the Storm, Rafting on the Ganges, Uttarakhand

We were rafting from Kaudiyala to Rishikesh (in Uttarakhand, India) on the Ganges. I was part of a large group, we were in seven rafts. There were six of us in my raft apart from Vikram, our expert. And all of us were good at following instructions. Vikram had told us about a rapid called “The Wall” but as I didn’t know what a grade 3 + rapid meant, I was least bothered.

We started off gently down the river, as usual indulging in water fights and other pranks.

Vikram Doing a Summersalt while Rafting on the Ganges, Uttarakhand, India
Vikram Doing a Summer-salt while Rafting on the Ganges, Uttarakhand, India

After a while Vikram became serious and asked us to pay attention. We were about to cross ‘The Wall.’ When we hit the rapid we got drenched within seconds. But we kept rowing with all our might. It felt that the water was reluctant to let us part. But after some struggle we were on the other side of ‘The Wall’ (click on the link to see a Youtube video of a raft overturning at The Wall).

We were the second raft to attempt the crossing. When we were safe on the other side we saw that the first raft had overturned and every one was thrown out in the water. We had been given instructions about things to do in such a situation. The first was not to panic as everyone was wearing a life jacket. The other important instruction was to swim/float to the shallow side of the river, towards the bank.

We now turned back only to see that the third raft had also flipped at ‘The Wall’ and there were paddles and paddles floating in the water. There were people too. By now our eyes were glued to the rapid. The fourth raft did not overturn but everyone got thrown out none the less. More paddle and people in the water by now. The fifth raft overturned and once again there were even more people and paddles in the water. By now our kayak team was working overtime.

We though that the final raft would pull through. It started cresting on the wave but ‘The Wall’ had other ideas. This raft also met the same fate as others. By now all the seven rafts were accounted for and only our raft had people in it. We looked in amazement at the scene. Gradually people started regrouping and four rafts proceeded once again. After a short distance our experts decided to bank and wait for the other three to join us.

As soon as we got had our feet firmly planted on land, the stories started pouring in, who drank how much water, who thought they would not make it and more such stuff. One young lad told us, “When I got sucked under water I tried not to panic, because that is what they told us. But when I got dragged the third time, I decided I am going to panic, and only after that I surfaced.”

I enjoyed an expert’s story most. He said in a slow drawl, “Don’t you think the rapid gives you enough time to ponder under water? I went down thinking, where is my boat, where are my clients, I need not worry about the paddles, someone will pick them up and only then did I surface out of the water again!”

It was getting quite late and there was no sign of other rafts. There was no cell phone signal in the area. After an hour and half the entire group was reunited. Some among us decided they had enough of rafting by now. We got to know that two people got stuck on the right side of the river along the cliffs and it took about 50 minutes to rescue them.

The stretch after this offered no fresh surprises. Even though some time has lapsed since I went on this trip, I have to say it was completely an Alive is Awesome experience.

PS. I got the first gift hamper from Cinthol. This post is a part of the Alive is Awesome Bathing Experience by Cinthol. My younger nephew is now using the iPod which was there in the hamper. And my daughter ran around with all the Cinthol Soaps and the Deo.

Alive is Awesome Cinthol Hamper
Alive is Awesome Cinthol Hamper

She is of the age when anything new has to be tried instantly. Before I could do anything she tore open two soaps and deposited it in her bathroom. These days when she takes a bath she insists that it has to be with the green soap! I have managed to hide the other soaps, out of her reach, when she got distracted for a while.

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