24 th April, 2011. Location : Near Pune ( Mulshi Dam) Time: 1300 hrs.
Never has a gesture so innocent caused so much distress to so many!
So there we were sipping beers and red bulls, asking directions for our next destination after completing a long 200 km drive and without lunch while checking the air in the tyres when we decided that was all the adventure we could take. The man explaining to us the route options suggested 2 – the oft taken regular route and a “rocky” road that was a shortcut that led straight to Lonavala. Now, ordinarily we would have taken the regular road. But this was no ordinary time. We were on the road for
a good 7 hours already, had 3 location shoots, travelled 200 kms across the Tamhini Ghat, exhausted, famished & had beers in hand. ( well I had a Red Bull – But just saying). The route to Lonavla was the proverbial patli galli route that would take just 2 hrs. And just as we were contemplating which route It happened- The gesture. Thats exactly when our gang member , lets call him – Captain, who was standing right behind the directions guy and in front me made the innocent gesture which meant just one thing – lets take the patli galli. A gesture that every Indian has seen. The one so remarkable close to Billy Bowden’s 4 sign. The one that said: Short Cut hai! Patli Galli se nikalte hai Boss! A gesture so innocent, so alluring,. The thought that within 2 hours we would be sitting in a restaurant in Lonavla… We jumped immediately. All of us. Into a a journey where minutes became hours and hours well days (well only because we still dread it.) But that was at 1300 hours. the perfect day began much earlier at 5.00 am.
Earlier that day at 5 am:Mcdonalds
The day began perfectly.. We left at 5 am to empty roads from different parts of Mumbai… Converged at Mcdonalds just before the Mumbai – Pune expressway. A quick light breakfast & off we went to our first stop – The
Karnala Bird Sanctuary.
Karnala Bird Sanctuary
A super place for morning photography. Managed to get quite a few shots, including Sunrise. But the highlight of the place was – The Jumps. Ooh the jumps. An excellent idea by Captain, the jumps were a perfect way to get us out of our slumber – n boy did v jump or what !
[fgallery id=1 w=450 h=385 t=0 title=”Karnala Bird Sanctuary”]
Village, Railway Track n the Mulshi Lake
An hour later as we passed made our way to the Tamhini Ghat, had the opportunity for a few super locales. A Village with an abondones rail track, Mulshi Lake ( Tata Power) & The Tamhini Ghat. Oh, there was also a Restaurant that we didnt go to ! Yea, a very BIG mistake in Hindsight.
[fgallery id=2 w=450 h=385 t=0 title=”Mulshi”]
And Back we are then at 1300 hrs to Billy!
So, there we were after traversing the ghat and off we went on the shortcut. This is where the ordeal began! The 2 hour journey was a merciless rocky road with no sign of a ROAD anywhere. It was just stones for 4 straight hours. There were mango trees on the way. A snake even! And one of the cars a Civic almost broke down – Poor one never realized it was meant to be driven on Rock Strata. The amazing part were the villagers who confidently said we had only 60 kms to go… thrice every 60 Kms. Finally reaching Lonavla for a Vada pav break at 5 pm. 12 hrs. When was the last time Mumbai to lonavla took 12 hrs. Naah, even I cant remember. Will we go through it again.. Hell yes. And will we take another shortcut.. Maybe! Coz it was 1 incredible journey.
[fgallery id=3 w=450 h=385 t=0 title=”Rocky Roads”]
The Gang meets up again on the 27th of May for a trip to Harihareshwar and everybody’s invited. Only thing is do not make plans for the 29th, coz a wrong turn is but a shortcut away!
Gang Members: Ankeet, Manav, Amit, Sudhindra, Nipun, Keyur, Girish, Punit, Mayur & Nishank