Down Memory Lane


Mulund. Devi Dayal road. My father’s home.

We visited an aunt last Saturday. After a long time, we met her and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We got to know that the lane in which my father lived his childhood has changed, the buildings are replaced by residential towers, the road is bigger and slum dwellers at the end of the lane are now up scaled to a building.

Only thing that stayed the same was Hanuman Temple.

My mother’s curiosity gave the necessary nudge and we walked father’s lane,  down memory lane.

I have heard my father’s childhood stories numerous times. Nonetheless they are always hogged down by my ears, my face may actually light up on hearing those stories.

He pointed out small garage type house that his family of 10 or more used to live in, I feel proud to see how far he has come, how humble his origins are, somewhat closer to understand why he aspires greatness from me. That house is now the office of Rotary Club.

Father’s friend used to live in the building opposite, now there’s a new ornate tower standing there, the friend moved away now.

My mind begun coining a line, something inspired from a WWE match I saw. Before I digress and ramble upon my fandom of The Undertaker, I’ll quote the lines:

Fortune fame 
Mirror vain 
Gone insane 
But the memory remains 

Buildings torn down. Shopkeepers changed. Gardens built anew. Pictures faded. Friends moved away. But the memory remains.

As our trip down the memory lane finished, the stories were just getting started. Father told me again about how he and his friends would hang out at the gate the Lalchand Laxmibai hostel, his school Dayanand vedic highschool. His tea ‘adda’ or spot with his friends and later my mom joined him after marriage at paach rasta. (five way junction) He remembers the cost, 4 paise for a cutting tea back then.

He showed us his favorite restaurant in its early days, Kirti Mahal. That restaurant is extremely popular now, with a huge queue waiting for their turn. His pals would visit the restaurant and with hand skills steal spoons and forks for their hostel. My dad looked for a pan wala but that shop was missing.

Alas, no visit to past memories would be complete without loss. He found out that one of his school classmates passed away a year ago.

I had great hopes for finishing this evening with the best dinner possible: Pav Bhaji from the stall that he used to eat from. Yes that stall is still there after 40 years, the food delicious.

After waiting for 30 minutes for the food, I quickly hogged it down, burped on the road without any shame. My dad satisfied by eating there, greeting the busy cook.

The evening was a mix of melancholy and ebullience.

It made me think about why I always loved Mulund more than my home Dombivali(both are city names).

The former has a family connection, it feels homely. It feels part of my heritage, my roots arise there. The exact same feeling arises when I visit my maternal grandparents.

There’s a bond there which runs across a generation. It is like homecoming.

Cypress Thank You


I’m confused about what kind of post this is. But this is definitely not a directional/instructional trek post. (I got lost a couple of times myself)

I have had enough. I needed to prove something. To whom I didn’t have the courage to ask. But yeah I had to make a point. And to do that I climbed a mountain. Or hill actually.

And so I went, alone, to a nearby hilly area in Mulund, Mumbai. Cypress its called famous among college students as a making out rendezvous (couples there should at least clean up after they are done. I saw enough packets) So with almost no guide other than mighty internet and no known route I began my climb with water and Parle G!(they are a life saver) a huge umbrella because it was raining when I left home, which I later strapped to my back along with my bag as a two handed sword.

Now I should explain how I went up and the route I took, but unfortunately I don’t have any pictures for the said route. Cause it required me to kneel use my hands for support in climbing. And I’m a little confused too.

I’m a novice in trekking and hiking. I have been trekking in Pune area and they have always been amazing. I am better than most of my friends and I can say this because of the 7 to 8 treks I have done, I never slipped. My breath gets labored but that’s okay.

So I knew the way to the top would be upslope. So I saw a path and I took it, a dried out waterfall is a sure shot way to reach the top. Alas, I’m severely out of practice. The route which would have been done in 30 minutes took me an hour, me all the while sweating and puffing and more than once scratched from the scrubs. (I should have worn full tracks) “Almost there almost there” was the only thing I kept telling myself. And I couldn’t go back the route that I came. I wanted a different route. With the absence of rains and the occasional sunshine today was really hot. Winds did what they could but it didn’t help much. I was tired when I reached the hill top, I planned on screaming “I did it” but I was too tired to do so. So sat on a stone, caught my breath and tried to pacify my heart which I was afraid would give in.

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The Top of the Hill, there’s my bag near the stone where I sat

I ate the Parle G biscuits. Yes, they are a life saver. The tiredness quickly washed away, crunching sound somehow amplified and reaching my ears. I kept looking around. And the views were spectacular. The hills stretched from left to right, a lake mostly Vihar right in the middle of them, enclosed like a water held in palms. Another lake was partially visible behind the trees. The city Mulund was behind me, obscured by the tree growth.

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The Panorama From Top
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Mulund

Just being on hilltop gives a great feeling. ‘I did it’ is an understatement, the accomplishment gifted by the heavenly view all around you. The artistry of Creator. To add my awe of the nature, I noticed the butterflies.

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The First Click
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The Second Click

Small, multivariate and fickle. Fickle because they couldn’t decide which way they want to fly. My eyes traced their random flight unblinking to not miss them. Green orange and white. And they deserved to be clicked. Because it was a while since I have seen any butterflies in my area. Even though there’s no lack of vegetation I hardly ever see butterflies. Funny I never noticed that till now.

Highly sensitive to movements around, my efforts to have a great photo of them were mostly in vain. Some serious control of my limbs and patience and I was able to click some trivial pictures. If you are in any way as impatient as I am, trying clicking their photos. Slowly, steadily. It is difficult.

Coming down was rather hilarious. Being alone makes you wanna start a monologue with yourself, asking which way and let’s go. And i did the monologue loudly because I knew there would be no one to overhear. Same idea here too, just pick the path which is downslope. And I’m sure I got lost. But I didn’t care much, because I saw the city in front of me so I knew I’ll figure a way out. Not a very good tip if you are trekking in a place totally aloof.

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Somewhere downstream

Like I said a new route I took, telling myself I’ll see where it goes. Luckily it was downslope and I was in right direction. My ankles and calves in pain, not because the climb was arduous but because I was out of practice and weak. I went slowly, and the sound of waterfalls greeted me in a while. A small waterfall, merely a tickle, was exhilarating nonetheless. Cold but not too cold. I washed my face and legs, drank some water too. Careless to drink but it was flowing water(and I need to go to a doctor for a checkup I know)

And here is the funny part: while climbing there was a signal tower at the start. And that is what I was looking for while coming down, though the trees severely limited my line of sight. Almost to the hill base I saw people heading up a different direction from where I came from. I traced their paths and reached the gate from where I started, near the temple, completely bypassing the signal tower(there is always a temple either at the peak or at the base) Again, this would be a whole lot less hilarious if I was trekking in a remote area.

I had fun. The tiring journey giving me nothing but satisfaction and much needed change of scene. With a huge smirk on my face, I came home tired, hurt and thirsty.

With a nagging question, why were other people going in a different direction. Did I climb the wrong hill?