I have always felt a very strong connection with sunrises and sunsets. I find them to be the most soothing and calm moments of the entire day. Time almost freezes for me in those few minutes when the sun is on the horizon. I am able to drop anything and everything at hand during those times, be still and take in as much as I can of that experience – and still, somehow, can never get enough of it !! It always, always makes me feel fresh and alive, irrespective of where I am !!
It was only when I started pursuing travel and treks as a genuine hobby and when I could get hold of the mobile camera that I started capturing and treasuring these moments a lot more. Every sunrise and sunset started to have its own story and unique identity in my albums. Its extremely difficult and harsh to pick just a few…..
It marked the beginning of my experience with SLOW travel – thanks to Kulbhushan and Karan !! We spent two full days in a radius of not more than 2-3 kms. and that allowed me to connect to a place like I had never experienced before.
We spent the entire day discussing everything under the sun (both literally and metaphorically) around these huge and beautiful rocks but was gifted with the best moments only at dusk …
I would have never been able to capture and cherish these beautiful moments had we not decided to stay put at one single place. Adding this place as a tick-box item would have been a loss I never would have been able to assess !!
2) Early Morning in Office:
As strange as it may sound, I was able to capture one of the best sunrise moments from my office. It was winter time (which is also my favorite time of the year) and it was my turn to stay over-night in the office. Other than the monetary benefits (which was a huge part of this once-in-a-15-days shift) , it was also a welcome change to the daily rut of the usual office timings. By then, I had also started realizing that I did enjoy my own company, so it was good to be in the office – all alone!! One of the biggest advantages of being in IT companies is their amazing and secure campuses. I could go on long night walks and not be bothered by anyone questioning my intentions !! And then one fine morning, I was able to capture this….
It still remains one of my most favorite moments as I could capture the calm and stillness of the otherwise chaotic office environment. It reminds me to look at the brighter side of things when all’s not well !!
3) Kalsubai – the highest peak in the Sahyadris:
Had always wanted to trek to this place, more so after I started going out on other treks regularly. As I grew in confidence, my expectations also started growing !! Now I wanted to see a sunrise from this peak – which meant I had to do a night trek to this place. This was even more tempting. Finally I found the right company in Sagar and Dhruv who were equally excited with the idea. We chose a full-moon night of February 2013 to trek to Kalsubai. It has been one of the most amazing night treks I have ever done.
But the best part will remain the sunrise from the highest peak in Sahyadris :
I don’t remember watching a sunrise more beautiful, soothing, pleasant and calm than this. It was also a very special and rare moment to watch the sun rise from a level lower than where I was – it actually felt to be on top of the horizon !!
4) Vasota Fort :
After Kalsubai, this was one fort I was very keen to trek to. It’s located in one of the most beautiful locations in western Maharashtra and a ferry ride to the base through the backwaters of the Koyna dam promised to be a memorable experience. It will remain one of the most pleasantly unique experiences – thanks to a young Viraj – 7 yr old son of my colleague – who completed the entire trek like a true champ !!
The beautiful sunset with the even more beautiful hues was an apt end to this amazing trek.
This was more beautiful than any drawing I had ever seen / made in the drawing class of my school days !!
Moments like these make me feel a strong connection with my land – an unparalleled feeling of empowerment !!
5) Pune – Bengaluru (Night) Drive:
For quite a few years on the trot, Karan and I had been travelling down to Bengaluru once a year – to hang around with Kulbhushan. All these visits had been through buses and we felt it was time to take it to the next level – driving down all the way !!
Of course while we were still trying to implement this plan, both the boys found their respective life-partners and had even started their families.
Finally, three-and-a-half-of-us (Karan, Dhanashree, myself and the very young, 18-month-old Veer) hit the road to Bengaluru around Christmas 2016. We started off from Pune around 1600 hrs. with a planned stopover around Kolhapur or Belgaum for the night. However, emotions and excitement of the road trip got the better of us and we decided to continue through the night. After a coffee break at 3 AM in a CCD and a power nap in the car itself (I still feel very sorry for making Dhanashree do that), we were back on the road. We had stretched ourselves a little bit but had also given ourselves a lead of about 4-5 hrs.
I was completely fresh after the nap and was enjoying driving on the beautiful NH-4. We were now on the outskirts of Bengaluru when I was greeted with these beautiful sights..
Since the road was almost empty, I could soak in the beauty of this sunrise even while being at the wheel – one of the moments that made me realize time actually freezes for me when I am watching a sunrise or sunset!!
6) Dandeli Dec 2017 :
With the huge success of the Bengaluru road trip behind us, it was us again heading to Dandeli – a year after. All of us including the little Veer, were a lot more comfortable with each other. This time around we had started a lot earlier in the day and with 300 kms. less to travel our ETA at Dandeli was 2000 hrs. same day. All three-and-a-half-of-us changed seats throughout the day, with Dhanashree fighting to stay on the driver’s seat most of the times !! We were running slightly behind schedule and were just outside Belgaum when Dhanashree captured these amazing hues of the sunset…
I still thank her for not being on the wheel at this time !!
7) Aero India 2017 :
I was travelling with Zafer on an early morning flight to Bengaluru to visit the biennial Aero-India show. Both Zafer and me were aspiring pilots at one point and so visiting the Aero-India was kind of a must-do-thing. That’s also the reason why I always look forward to flying – I rarely get bored on a flight. I knew we would be at cruising altitude when the sun rises and was hoping to catch a good view of it. But I was on the aisle side with a couple least interested in watching the sunrise, still kind of cozy-n-busy !!
So I asked Zafer if he could click something, which he did oblige to…….. with an amazing shot……
Couldn’t get a glimpse of the sun but this is an amazing shot nevertheless…..from his iphone of course !!
8) Chanda, Ahemdnagar:
This will remain close to my heart for a long, long time to come. I was visiting Pawan in his village Chanda, in Ahmednagar. He had lost his father about 2 years back and being the only son, had to give up his job and urban life to return home to look after their farmlands. He also had to take care of his mother and newly-wed wife. This, by no means, was an easy task but Pawan had taken it on his strong shoulders to ensure he stood up to the occasion.
We were in his fields where he was giving us an insight into what all efforts he had taken in the past two years and all that he had planned for in the coming years. It was extremely heartening to see him shoulder all these responsibilities with a broad smile and an amazing attitude.
Looking at the sun set into his fields, I once again experienced that feeling of being frozen in time, feeling extremely happy and confident about Pawan….
It would be really hard to find someone who doesn’t admire and appreciate the beauty of a sunrise or a sunset. In today’s fast and furious times, I guess these are the moments that remind us to slow down a bit and appreciate everything around us.
There’s so much more to life and I certainly don’t want to miss out on any of these beautiful and priceless things !!