A Letter to the Mountain Gods- Please Call it a Truce!

Dear Mountain Gods,

You know how I worship your domain. Every little holiday I can scrape through, I try to run to your highest adobe, the Himalayas. Do you remember the days when I used to be your favorite child, when you would let me see so much beauty on my various treks and trips?

I would particularly like to draw your attention to the Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal in 2012. How kind you were to me. Due to my work commitments I could only take the pilgrimage in May, not the ideal month for walking in that sacred region! And yet you showered me with abundant blessings. On all those 11 days of walking you did not let a single drop of rain fall on my head. Agreed there was a bit of snow but then, it came at night, made everything look even more pretty at Dignboche and it caused no trouble while walking.

There were treks when I walked in hail for about two hours but then you produced a magnificent rainbow the next day!

Dusk at Kareri Village
Dusk at Kareri Village #Canon550D

Now I am sure I have done something to irk you, but for the life of me I cannot figure out what. When I went to trek through the Annapurna Circuit in 2013 you made it rain for four days, out of which two days started in a raincoat and ended in a raincoat as well! Now you also know what misery it is to trek so. Then at Letdar you made it snow, not the beautiful half inch but the kind that makes you give up the trek and walk back. I would not have been desolate but for the dense cloud cover which hid all the peaks on all the days I was there. I barely got a glance, a poor one at that, of the magnificence that surrounds the region. That was in 2013.

It is now 2015 Gods and I still get the same treatment. Last year even at Charndratal, Spiti I got rains! When I went to Kareri recently I got one absolutely sunny day out of the six that I was there, it was the day when I was leaving for home. It has been the same story with some minor changes on all my trips to the mountains from 2013 to 2015.

kareri-village
Beautiful Kareri Village #Lumia1020

Now Gods I am not complaining, because I am sure have done something wrong to invoke your ire. But whatever I did, don’t you think it is enough? Can you please take me back in your favor? I know you are only miffed because you have always let me come back one more time, but please can we go back to the Everest Base Camp days once again?

Your’s Truly

Mridula Dwivedi

PS. Since you were so reluctant, I just have these two watery sunsets to show for my six days of stay at Kareri Village.

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For today’s Sky Watch I bring you the Maldivian sunsets with silhouettes. Being on a beach at sunset is a beautiful experience, in Maldives doubly so. You can gaze into the golden water or watch the waves at play. On the day I clicked pictures, there was a gentle breeze as well. The heat had substantially subsided. Whatever the sun touched it turned golden. The sky was putting up a show!

Golden Waters, Maafushi, Maldives
Golden Waters, Maafushi, Maldives

Some of the sky was reflected in the water too! I had long ago discarded my footwear. The sand felt nice beneath my feet. I had let my hair down, allowing the breeze play with it. The coconut trees were gently swaying.

Sunset, Maafushi Island, Maldives
Sunset at Maafushi, Maldives

However, the sun was the star of the ceremony, all eyes on the beach were glued to it. There was a tussle going on between the sun and the clouds. The sun wanted to retire for the day in all its glory, the clouds were determined to be a part of the play too.

Sunset Silhouette Maafushi Maldives
Magical Sunsets, Maafushi, Maldives

And all that I wrote above was wrong. It may actually have been like that. But my thought process was more like this!

  • Now is TV 1/500 high enough shutter speed to keep the pictures in focus, or like always I will get them blurred with the 75-300 lens.
  • Why did I forget the connector for the tripod at home? I could kick myself again, I did this for the second time. When I was in South Africa I actually forgot to pack the tripod. No wait it was the third time as once in Malaysia I had a broken tripod with me.
  • Most of the time I was desperately searching for a foreground, like a moving boat in the picture above. Without any foreground the sunset pictures can be quite drab.
  • I was really careful about walking on the sand because I, with my main camera and the cell phone, was standing by the edge of the water. I have already fallen in the water with these two objects once at a coral beach (read that story) and I call it my most expensive dip ever! Maafushi was a coral beach too.
  • My hair was firmly tied back or it blows in front of the camera lens, mucking up my pictures. It has a tendency of not blowing in any other direction but in front of the camera. So that is how I knew there was a breeze as I tied my hair back quite severely.
  • There were many other camera wielding tourists at the beach, all equally determined to get that sunset picture and we would keep getting in each-others frames.

I really wish for one sunset I could leave the camera behind and enjoy it like I thought others were enjoying it. But I am equally sure if I ended up without a camera my dominant thought would be to kick myself again!

This post is part of Skywatch Friday, it is through them I learned to romance the skies.

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My nephew Sunil and I arrived at Maafushi Maldives in the evening, feeling quite crumpled and tired. We were so knocked out, we couldn’t even enjoy our excellent surroundings. And then when we sat down for an early dinner we enjoyed the concept of service on the island. They really take it easy, we were really tired. It was a very frustrating first evening in spite of the excellent sky.

Maafushi, Maldives
Waiting for Dinner, Maafushi, Maldives #canon550D

Somehow we managed to get served and we stumbled back to our rooms to crash. We took the Spicejet flight at 5.50 from Delhi which touch down at Mumbai on route to Kochi. From Kochi we took another Spicejet flight to Male. From Male we took a speed boat to Maafushi Island. What a nation it is from where you have to take a boat from the airport!

Maafushi, Maldives
Maafushi, Maldives #Lumia1020

Maafushi is a budget island, it is an island where local people live. Otherwise many islands in Maldives are resort islands with no one living there. It is a small place, I can easily walk end to end in half an hour at a leisurely pace. However, I usually don’t do beyond the main beach.

Maafushi Beach, Maldives
Maafushi Beach, Maldives #Lumia1020

Maafushi has a nice beach but then I am sure this would be true of all the islands that make Maldives. It is a nice shallow beach, where the waves are mild. I have seen families with toddlers also enjoying the beach. Snorkeling starts just off the beach!

There are two beaches in Maafushi, one frequented by the tourists and the other by the locals. It is not a hard and fast rule for we often venture on the local beach too. At the local beach I saw this couple enjoying a photo shoot! It was fun watching them from a distance. I could not resist taking a few shots myself, the lady in red looked gorgeous!

Sunset at Maafushi Island, Maldives
Sunset at Maafushi Island, Maldives #canon550D

And to cap it all was the beautiful sunset that I witnessed today. And this is just the start of the pictures from Maafushi, Maldives, straight from the location. I will do a more coherent post when I reach home.

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In spite of having traveled so much this year it seems I am running out of sky pictures! The good bit is that I am heading out again tomorrow, just me and my daughter. Till I click new ones, here is a sunset at Fort Kochi in Kerala, India. I did a short trip to Fort Kochi in July 2013 and I quite liked the place. It has a laid back atmosphere, a small town feel. It also boasts of many historical monuments dating back from the Portuguese era.

Sunset at Kochi, Kerala, India

Sunset at Kochi, Kerala, India

I usually underexpose my sunset images and I wish I had done so with this one as well. But I was running towards the Chinese fishing nets to photograph them at sunset! So I took this shot in a  hurry and moved on. I actually got out quite early out of my hotel waiting for the sunset. But half way through I went to a restaurant for a coffee. They had good coffee and even better apple pie but they believed in slow service. When I say slow service I don’t mean it in a bad way. I simply mean that it was a relaxed place and they assumed that none of their customers were in hurry. They also had an awesome view of the sea. And that delayed my departure for the sunset!

I liked Fort Kochi as a city but I do wish that the beach area was cleaner. When I visited there was a lot of waste lying along the walking path and the beach. And that took away a lot from the experience. I wonder why the authorities are not interested in maintaining it as the city must be getting a lot of tourism revenue. Even the vendors along the shore could get together and clean the beach.

This post is part of Sky Watch Friday. Do check them out.

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