Tag Archives: peppy

Bonfire, Dancing and Folklore

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan. To read from the beginning, click here.

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As everyone completes their dinner, they move the party outside the dining tent where Dashodh had collected small twigs and pieces of wood for bonfire for their last night with the stars. Ruhi captures the small orange particles rising in the air from the bonfire.

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Pic by Sid Sinroy

Everyone huddles around to take the warmth from the fire and begin singing various songs. As time passes by, the songs change from yesteryears to current ones, romantic to friendship, festivals to travel and patriotism. The kitchen staff join the bonfire and begin singing Kashmiri folksongs. Nobody understands it, but they encourage them as they dance with the music banging their plates for music.

Seven days later, there was no distinction on the basis of caste, profession or language; everyone had got one with Kashmir’s soul! Every face glowed in the warmth of the fire – their life had changed forever. Darkness helps one ignite light within, for everyone shines during sunlight, it is the night that distinguishes.

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As time passes, Tarun begins the DJ session and plays party songs aloud on speakers. Everyone starts dancing in the circle.  Songs hit newer lows as Honey Singh begins singing. Niket then plays the peppy gujarati anthem – Sanedo – a song which is played in every gujarati function – be it diwali, holi, navratri or even success parties. He explains what everyone is expected to do as music progresses. They all sit down waiting for the cue from Niket, and spring together to dance again the moment Niket gives the cue. It’s super fun.

After the DJ session, most of the trekkers head back towards their sleeping bags, exhausted and happy. Rest linger around to take in the final warmth the bonfire has to offer. They sit down around the fire, Ruhi asks everyone to share what was their best moment during the trek.

She goes first – her best moment was when the Army jawan offered her hot water with a huge smile at Gadsar Army Camp. Prachi’s best moment was when Rajiv proposed her. Rajiv’s best moment was the one where she said yes. Tarun’s happiest moment was sliding down Nichnai Pass. Karthik’s moment was the first sight of Kishansar lake. Madhu’s happy moment was watching the wild horses sprinting the enormous green meadows. Niket was happiest when he reached the campsite on Day 1. Swami’s favourite moment was watching Harmukh peak. Arpit’s happy moment was dancing alone under star studded sky. He winks at Ruhi and they smile at their private joke. Abhinav’s happy moment was when they all jumped into the chilling water together. Kanishka’s happy moments were everytime she managed to wash her hair during the trek. Divyah’s happy moment was Dashodh motivating her to continue walking ahead.

As night progresses ahead, everyone walks back towards their tents. Just seven days into this lovely place and it felt home. Leaving it tomorrow is going to be difficult task. Arpit requests Madhu to stay with Niket and Swami for the night for Abhi and he have a lot of things to catch up on.

Arpit and Abhi sit together outside their tent in complete darkness, observing the milky way. It is beautiful. They talk the night away underneath the starry sky.

 

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Pic by Sid Sinroy

END OF PART SEVEN

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Bathing in Gangabal

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan. To read from the beginning, click here.

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They exit the tent together, with joy on their faces. Ruhi watches Arpit smile freely for the first time on the trek and is happy for him. He overcame his fears and took action to make things right with Abhinav. As they move towards the lake, Arpit exchanges a quick wave a gratitude with Ruhi.

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Multi-coloured water in Gangabal Lake

 

Gangabal lake shines with exuberance. The sunrays warm their bodies as they walk on the edge of the lake. Everyone is around the lake, doing various things. Couples are occupying various boulders around to have some private talks. Kanishka is contemplating whether she should shampoo her hair in the chilled waters. Shobana, Tarun and Karthik are getting a photo-session done by pro photographer Sandesh. Pawan is helping Sandesh with his lens bag. Chris and Sara are shooting the landscape for their travel blog. Dr Sudip and Dr. Karan are talking to Raunak about things to check while buying mediclaim policy. Nikita and Siddharth are going through their trek documentation filling in any missing information. Ravi is sitting by the lake reading Tuesdays with Morrie.

As they walk on the edges, a crazy idea enters Arpit’s mind. ‘Guys, lets jump into the lake! I don’t want to go back home thinking that I should have jumped in. I’m done with having regrets. Carpe Diem!’ Niket and Swami laugh at the suggestion, they think Arpit is joking. ‘Don’t tell me you are even considering this stupid idea!,’ Swami asks Madhu. In no time, Arpit removes his shoes and warm clothes and enters the lake. As chilled water makes contact with his legs, he shouts in agony and excitement. Turning around, he asks who is going to join him.

Abhinav joins him in his madness – afterall, they always do things together. As they keep going deeper in the lake, their bodies go numb, but they’ve seized the day! Madhu and Niket join them soon. Swami decides not to enter the lake. Excited, Niket splashes water on Swami, maintaining his peppy smile, Swami is left with no choice but to join in the madness. He forgets his grudge for Niket the moment he starts having fun with everyone. As everyone enter the chilled waters, they realise the importance of the sunrays giving them some amount of warmth. Sandesh clicks some candid shots as they play for five minutes in the lake.

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Cold enough to be used for revenge 😛

Arpit feels the bath in the sacred lake of Gangabal has washed all his sins. He takes a dip inside the water and arises as a new man! This is the day he gets freedom from his inhibitions and fears. He now knows what he wants to do in life. He’ll remember this day for years to come – August 15, 2015 – the day he got independence, like Mother India.

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Mesmerised by the beauty of the twin lakes!

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan. To read from the beginning, click here.

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As they reach the top of Zach Pass, winds roar with total freedom; they clutch their belongings to ensure they aren’t swept by the wind. The view from the top is mesmerizing! It is a 360 degree view of all the surrounding mountains as the peak is right in the centre!

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It is here that Niket actually understands the spirit in which the poem Leisure was written by William Henry.

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

Niket feels peppy and alive; he jumps for some time, screaming at the top of his voice as he watches the mountains all around him. He is happy to have accomplished the trek so far and is looking forward to trek again. He realises why others had laughed during the introduction round when he had answered this was going to be his first and last trek.

They sit at the edge, observing the depth of the valley and trekkers climbing towards the top. Both sit there in complete silence, oblivious to each other – just living in the moment. Huge clouds passed through the skies, casting magnanimous shadows. It was like they had the balcony seats to nature’s light and shadow show on one of the biggest screens ever!!

They turned to observe the twin lakes – beautiful beyond words.

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‘Thank you for coming to this trip. I’ve missed you a lot and so have others over these four years. What happened then doesn’t make sense now, it seems so minuscule to hold it as a grudge. Were you able to have a conversation with Arpit?’ asked Niket. ‘No, he is still living in the past; he hasn’t accepted it and is screwing his life completely. He has started liking Ruhi but is not able to accept it.’

‘You understand everything about Arpit, but why are you screwing over your life? Didn’t you have feelings for Latika? Why did you leave her and go abroad?’ Abhinav hadn’t expected this question, he wasn’t in touch with Latika since two years, all he knew is that she was working in Pune and still single. ‘Things didn’t work out between us.’ he replied confidently. After all he didn’t want to disclose the reason why he broke up with Latika. Cursing a bunch of swear words at him, Niket told him to wake up. ‘She is still waiting for you but won’t wait forever. Stop ruining your present in your attempts to correct what happened in the past.’

They got back to normal chat as if nothing had happened on their way down the lunch point. Everyone was eating lunch in complete silence, awed by the beauty of the twin lakes. They had to descend towards Nundkul lake after lunch, traversing through various mountains to reach the foothill of the Harmukh Peak.

END OF PART SIX

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This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted onIndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Punch-ed

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan. To read from the beginning, click here.

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The kitchen staff serves hot upma to everyone and opens the jute bags to check the stock of vegetables remaining to plan for dinner. Horses are eating a mixture of jaggery and chickpeas which is given to them every morning and evening. For the rest of the day, they eat grass.

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Taking stock of vegetables left

Rajiv is busy in his tent, unpacking his backpack. He calls Tarun and Karthik to help him with it. Karan has been given the responsibility to not let Prachi inside the tent. Prachi is occupied with other girls, discussing the day over upma. Kanishka comes back to the campsite; she has shampooed her hair as usual and it shines in the evening rays. Her face is glowing from the satisfaction of having washed her hair – she doesn’t like bad hair days.

Sahil and Stuti go for a small walk around the campsite. They are given strict instructions by Vivian to stay within 2 kilometres of the campsite – the Army men have permission to shoot at sight in case they feel anything is not fitting together.  As they walk through the huge meadows, Stuti opens her heart and praises Sahil; she had never seen this side of him and is starting to fall in love with the new Sahil.

Sara and Chris are discussing the schedule ahead with brother sister duo Siddharth and Nikita, both pairs helping each other for trek documentation. Exchanging notes make Siddharth realise how each person gets different things from the same trek – all due to different perspectives. And what one experiences, becomes one’s reality – a thought strikes Siddharth – there is nothing called as reality, only perspectives.

Arpit is in his tent, resting for some time. His head is filled with thoughts of Ruhi. He got to know a lot about her as he helped her walk along today. All amount of efforts to divert from that topic were going in vain. A thought crosses his mind – have I started having feelings for her? I cannot let that happen to me again, I am happy and do not want to get into all this.

Remaining trekkers decide to play mafia – Raunak takes the lead as God, unchallenged by any. After already teaching them basic characters, he introduces two new characters today – the doctor and the vigilante, having exactly opposite roles. Things become interesting with additional rules and further confusion. Pawan is the vigilante and he kills Sandesh right in the beginning. Niket’s peppy talks help him to convince the villagers that he is also a villager; he fools them and mafias win the first game!

Abhinav excuses himself after some games to talk to Arpit; he has to ask him one thing. As he enters Arpit’s tent, Arpit asks him to go away. ‘When are you going to accept that you have feelings for Ruhi?’ ‘How dare you even talk about love and feelings? Don’t you remember what you did four years ago – You went behind my back, betrayed me and started dating Latika.’

‘Latika didn’t leave you because she liked me; she left because she couldn’t see a future with you.’ Thud! As these sharp words hit Arpit he couldn’t help but raise his hand to land a powerful punch on Abhi’s face. Abhinav stood there in peace, as if he was expecting this; he could easily fight back Arpit but he didn’t feel it necessary. Arpit was already fighting  himself; Abhi felt bad for him. He knew Arpit is still a little child in the inside – naive, innocent and blessed with one of the purest of hearts.

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The Storyteller

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.

Read the previous post – Mumbai, City of Dreams. To read from the beginning, click here.

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After the cricket match, they walked back towards the campsite. The sun was about to set. As everyone fill their bowl with soup, Sara comes out of the kitchen with a steel plate and spoon. She bangs them together until everyone gets silent and huddles up in a circle to listen to her.

She begins narrating a story – “There once lived a proud king in the mountains of Kashmir. He had a vast kingdom and wealthy subjects. His lands had the best apples amongst other fruits. He had three beautiful daughters, out of whom he loved the third one the most! he gifted all the three daughters three dresses each – one was made of silver which gleamed in the moonlight, other was made from the sun rays of gold and the last one was made out of swan feathers ordered from a distant kingdom.

Proud and arrogant as he was; he summoned his daughters to court one day and asked them in his deep manly voice, ‘Tell me how much do you love me?’ The first daughter answered,’Daddy, I love you more than all the silver in the world.’ ‘Wonderful!’, the answer pleased the king. The second daughter answered, ‘Daddy, I love you more than all the gold in this world.’ ‘Wonderful!’,  the self-absorbed king smirked with happiness in front of his learned counsel. It was now time for his favourite daughter to tell how much she loved him. She stood there pondering. ‘You take so much time to think how much do you love your father?’, the king was angry. ‘Daddy I love you like the salt in meat,’ she answered in a peppy tone, expecting him to come and hug her. He felt insulted by his daughter’s words, he stood up from his throne and walked down towards her.

‘How dare you compare me to common things like meat and salt! That means you don’t love me at all. I declare you a traitor today! You are no longer a princess! Join the kitchen as a commoner and never show your face again.’

The princess sobbed as she was dragged out of the courtroom with her bag of three dresses, cursing herself for not being able to explain to her father what she meant. She joined the royal kitchen under their trusted cook who allowed her to stay and help.

She would get up in the morning and scrub the dining floor, until she could see her own reflection in it. Then she would help the cook with the various dishes throughout the day. Tired by work, she would go to sleep on the floor, wondering how her father would be doing.

One day the King ordered a grand feast, to commemorate the engagement of her eldest daughter with a nearby prince. The kitchen came to life amidst the madness; everyone got busy preparing various dishes. After eight hours of hard work, all the dishes were ready – they were served in front of the guests who were hungry. The tables felt the weight of the delightful preparations kept on them.

The King was happy with the items presented for dinner; he asked the cook to join with other servants in the celebrations. He toasted to the thief of his daughter’s heart and announced the feast to be open. Everyone looked at the sumptuous meat preparations laid on the table and helped themselves. As they tasted it their mouths went sore, the meat was without salt and they wanted to eat no more.

At this juncture, the King realised the true meaning of his daughter’s words. He was the meat who was incomplete without salt – his small princess. Astonished by how deep this analogy was, he broke down into tears; for he had punished her for loving him the most. She entered the chambers wearing the silver dress, dazzling in the moonlight like a damsel. She removed a silk handkerchief out of her skirt pocket and advanced towards the King to wipe his tears. The King had become wise that day and apologised to his daughter. He lifted her in his arms and kissed her on her forehead. Their relation was indeed like of meat and salt – the King couldn’t be happy without his dearest daughter for long.

The crowd burst into tears as they watched the reunion. The King had changed in front of them after learning a lesson!”

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Arpit recollects New Year’s Eve

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.

Read the previous post – Hail stones disrupt plans. To read from the beginning, click here.

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Friday, December 31, 2010

‘We need to break up.’ ‘What? What’s the matter with you? Are you insane?’ ‘If we don’t end it here, it will end sooner or later, eventually. Lets do what is inevitable right away.’ She said this with a straight face and started to walk away from him. The fact that there was loud music in the background and he was drunk didn’t help much. Arpit followed Latika as she walked out of the club. The silence that followed was killing him. The love of his life had just ditched him on New Year’s Eve.

‘Are you seeing someone else?’, Latika didn’t have to answer that to him, he must have doubted her, but she had been in a relationship with him in integrity. Realising his pain, she decided to say it out in clear words, ‘You’ve got way too possessive about me. I don’t like that. I don’t want you to change yourself, it’s not possible and not required. Also, I have realised I have feelings for Abhinav. And that isn’t the reason why I’m breaking up with you.’ It hit Arpit like a punch from a trained boxer.

Dumbfounded, he turned around and went back to party. After all, it was new year’s eve and he needed a drink to think things through.

Three Hours Ago

Arpit felt peppy about new year’s eve; they were going to party at Club Royalty. It was supposed to be the hottest party in town. This was the first time he was going to have a girlfriend to welcome the new year with. The best part about the entire thing was she had gelled well with his gang and everyone had accepted her – that mattered a lot to him.

The drinks were on Arpit tonight, thanks to a stupid pact they had made in first year of college – the person who gets a girlfriend first will treat everyone on new year’s eve. He had saved money for the party. Abhi was kind enough to get them into the guest list through jugaad. Everyone got ready in the best party wear they had. Arpit was wearing a club shirt from Zodiac gifted by Latika on his birthday. They picked up Latika on the way. She looked ravishing in the red one piece dress Arpit had gifted her last week; but she looked tired – as if she had done a lot of brainstorming at home.

As he sits inside the tent connecting the puzzles, he avoids looking at Abhinav.  He still isn’t able to come to terms with the fact that Abhinav could betray him. Unsaid words on the tip of the tongue take a back seat again as he stares into the darkness outside; or rather, inside him – since the New Year’s Eve of 2011.

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The one where everyone moves in together

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.

Read the previous post – Shaabash, Shaabash! Aage badhte raho. To read from the beginning, click here.

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The frequent passing of commentaries and peppy nature of Niket when he is along with his gang intrigues Ruhi. How can college friends be so close to each other? Abhinav catches up with Ruhi and she is not able to contain the question in her mind – she goes ahead and asks it. Abhinav explains that along with doing same course in college, they also stayed together in the same PG. That’s where the major part of bonding happened – over Counter Strike.

Arpit’s parents had arranged for a rented place for four in Sion. Two of them were Arpit’s relatives and their seniors in VJTI. Arpit and I knew each other since school days and we moved into the PG together. Niket and Madhu were staying at their relatives’ place. After two years, the seniors graduated and left Mumbai for further studies. Niket and Madhu joined us in the second room; it was time they moved out of their relatives’. So that’s how we spent the last two years of college together. ‘What about Swami?’, she asked. ‘Swami joined the gang at end of year one when we had gone for an industrial visit (which had nothing to do with any industries) and we saved him from getting ragged. He stayed in the hostel in the college campus, but would frequently be at home for the majority of time he wasn’t studying.

Together we did a lot of mischief and were often called as backbenchers. Niket remained unbeatable in carrom till the end of fourth year; Madhu was a typical businessman – often doing small assignments for money. Arpit was free and happy, the way I’ve never seen him be later’. Realising Ruhi had touched a nerve, she changed the topic.

The heat has burned Niket’s skin – his decision to wear half sleeve t shirt inspite of the heat was incorrect. As he applied UV protection on it, it burned further. Same was the case with many others who had not covered their neck with gaiters. He sits down in the shade to get some rest from the sun.

Shobana is walking behind, alone, enjoying every bit of Kashmir’s bounty. She is carrying her own backpack and humming songs of the movie Highway. As she passes by Niket, she gives him some home-made ointment to apply on the burnt skin, but the damage is already done.

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The paths are narrow but beautiful; often passing nearby to various small rivulets. Karan dips his hands and washes his face in every rivulet – it is pure and tasteless. These rivulets are made by the melting snow on the top of the mountains.

Kanishka, Raunak, Chris and Sara are walking with pace – descending quickly is an art; it is risky too as one wrong rock on which you place your foot, you’ll tumble like Jack from the poem Jack and Jill.

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Canteen Diaries

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.

Read the previous post – Kashmiri Wazwan and Kahwah. To read from the beginning, click here.

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There was a regrouping of members and the gang now had four other members in the car.

Sahil and Stuti Ray are married since three years and have their own fashion boutique. They’ve decided to stay fit and trekking to Kashmir is going to be the test of their level of endurance. They are Bongs from Kolkata – Niket loves their sweet accent. Kanishka and Pawan are also in their car.

After chatting with Kanishka and getting out of topics to discuss, Pawan turns behind. The bongs have slept. He asks the gang about their work profiles, and later they get into various coding opportunities available in start ups in India.

Kanishka tries to change the topic, ‘So how did you guys meet in college?’ Arpit replies, ‘How each person joined the gang is a different story. It’ll take a lot of time. Which one do you want to know?’ ‘Lets start with how did you meet Niket.’ Arpit and Niket grin at each other, they can visualise the college canteen and the carrom board in front of them. Arpit takes a page out of the canteen diaries.

It was the first week of college. Our college had an amazing canteen and a games room just next to it. Abhinav and I had come from Jaipur and were roaming around the campus. We decided to check out the games room and play carrom. Niket was there; he had won a game and was about to win the next one – he got the queen, now was planning on getting the cover – He said to his opponent in  a peppy tone – ‘Beta, Rani to Niket ni!’ (The queen always belongs to Niket!) and played the winning shot. There were claps after the intense match. Never earlier had a first year student won against an experienced fourth year player. I was good at carrom – I misunderstood his vibe for his arrogance and challenged him to play. Abhi backed me and we started the game. In his first strike, he had already pocketed two whites; I was struggling behind. He always had an edge on me – he was playing to have fun while I was playing to make him loose. When he had one coin left, I had yet to pocket three. He easily won the game, and concluded happily – ‘Beta, Rani to Niket ni!’ I lost the game; but won a new friend for life!

Over the coming weeks, we ran into Niket quite a few times in the canteen – until we realised that he always is there only. He never attends classes; he had done some jugaad so that he doesn’t get blacklisted. Niket was a businessman from beginning – always looking forward to make money. But he had some weaknesses – food and friends. He loved eating out and stood for people whom he considered friends.

The more Abhi and I got to know him, the more we fell in love with his simplicity. Niket was a pampered kid – his dad had gifted him an i20 which he drove to Mumbai from Rajkot. Niket loved his car a lot; we all loved it – we took it to out for so many long drives! He was staying at his aunt’s place in Vashi, travelling to and fro in his car. Together the three of us formed a gang; and our lives changed forever. We were collectively termed as the backbenchers.

‘Wow! Interesting, I’ll listen to the remaining ones in the coming days!’ mentioned Kanishka as the car stopped – they had reached the end of road and had to now walk with their backpacks towards the basecamp which was one kilometre away.

Arpit got totally silent as he thought about the story he just narrated – he had stopped talking or even thinking about Abhinav after 2011; for the first time in four years the door had opened, that too unknowingly.

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On their way to Srinagar

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.

Read the previous post – Swami boards a flight to Srinagar. To read from the beginning, click here.

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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Niket is the first person to leave home. He is also the first person in the history of his family to ever go on a trek. His school friends and Siddhi had come home to bid him farewell. Some mock the fact that he’ll be walking 6-7 hours everyday just to have some basic quality food – is it a vacation or self-indictment? His mother is worried he will loose more weight. His elder sister and brother-in-law are happy he is trying something new.

As he boards the overnight bus from Rajkot to Ahmedabad, he cannot keep his eyes off Siddhi – he realises she wants to say something, but isn’t able to in front of friends and sister and brother-in-law. He has two options – wait till he comes back and propose formally or say what he feels right now; he goes with his gut feeling. Leaning out of the bus window, waving a goodbye to everyone, he shouts in his peppy tone, ‘Siddhi, I love you!’ Amidst the noises of bravo, oohhhh and awww, he can see her face turn pink with embarrassment and then red with love as she gives him a flying kiss! The road route to Ahmedabad and flight thereon to Delhi and later Srinagar is indeed going to be memorable – filled with her thoughts.

Abhinav and Madhu had booked flights to Delhi and from there they were in the same flight to Srinagar. Niket’s flight from Delhi to Srinagar was an hour earlier than theirs. Madhu booked an Ola to drop him at the Bengaluru airport which was an hour away from the city. He grabs a subway there and goes through check in formalities. It’s going to be an awesome trek; he declares.

Abhinav gets ready to leave home. His dad is coming to drop him – he has something to discuss on the way; Abhinav will come back home after the trek and after a week fly back to Berlin. As he takes blessings of everyone, his mom cannot stop crying, ‘Why can’t you just stay at home when you come here! You hardly come for some days and have so many plans during that!’ Abhi consoles her with a hug and a charming smile, the tears stop, ‘Go enjoy the trip. Take care of your health and come back in one piece – don’t break any bones!’ His mom never fails to deliver instructions – be it in any situation, he muses!

On the way to the airport, his dad asks if he is in any relationship in Berlin or he likes anyone to settle down with. On hearing a no for both answers, he further asks if he would consider meeting girls once he comes back to Jaipur. Abhinav didn’t have to think to answer that. He had already decided, ‘You go and meet the girl and family, if you feel she is ideal for me, I will marry her.’ These words comfort his dad and he takes his blessings before getting down at the airport.

Arpit catches a cab to the airport, he has a direct flight to Srinagar and is carrying stuff for himself and Swami – it is dark yet, sun has not risen. It starts drizzling – Mumbai looks the best in rains! He puts his hand out of the window to catch the droplets of water; this trip is important to him – he has taken time off to think on what he wants to do ahead from here. Also, he wants to know how his other friends are doing and take their counsel.

END OF PART TWO

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Niket’s Peppiness doesn’t cut him any slack

This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.

Read the previous post – Madhu prepares a fitness regime . To read from the beginning, click here.

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Excited to join the gym and start working out, Niket shopped for track pants and t shirts with witty one liners. He purchased new running shoes, gym bag, a cool sipper and other accessories. He joined the gym on Monday morning, March 2, 2015 and explained to his trainer Abhay what he has to accomplish by August.

Abhay asked him two days’ time to prepare a diet plan for him. They started the workout with some basic warm-up exercises. 3 sets of 20 squats, 3 sets of 20 lunges, 3 sets of 5 push-ups (which Niket wasn’t able to do) and 2 sets of 10 crunches. Sweating profusely, Niket looked at the watch. It had only been 10 minutes! ‘Take a 5 minute break and then we start workout’, said Abhay as he moved around. Niket took time to digest that the fact that what they had done was only warm-up, workout would now follow!

After 5 minute break, Abhay asked Niket to use the cross-fit trainer for 20 minutes. Looking at the machine, he felt its going to be easy – after all the speed is in the user’s control. 10 minutes cycling on the cross-fit trainer, Niket was able to recollect all the places where he had eaten junk food in the last month. He wanted to stop himself from having that cheese burger and pizza. He was paddling at speed level set at 6. Soon, Abhay came around informing him that level has to be increased after every two minutes. Once he reached level 12, Niket had to find a lot of energy in his body to push the paddles hard enough. After completing 20 minutes, he felt like he had conquered the world – until the reading reflected – 350 calories burnt! That was so immaterial! Niket’s peppy attitude didn’t seem to be working on the gym instructor – he asked him to jog for 20 minutes.

Niket then moved towards the treadmill. Setting the speed at 6 km/hr, he walked on it with easiness for 6 minutes. Post that, he increased the speed at 8 km/hr, he started jogging. Everything was happening in slow motion – he could listen to the thud of his feet hitting the treadmill. He removed his napkin to wipe the sweat off his forehead. Time seemed to be walking at turtle’s pace. He could hear the sound of the second’s hand in his watch – tick, tick, tick. It took him ages to finish the 20 minute jog.

Abhay asked him to rest for the day,’We’ll follow this schedule till two weeks. Post that we’ll begin your actual workout sessions – different days for legs, shoulders and abs.’ ‘WTF! This wasn’t a workout for preparing me for the trek?’ ‘Lol, no. This was just to activate all muscles in your body so that you can start working out after two weeks.’

Niket left the gym with disappointment, he was worried how the actual workouts would turn out to be. His entire body was sore and aching. He took an off from factory that day and went to sleep. He didn’t go back to the gym for the next two weeks!

It was only when he met Siddhi for coffee for an umpteenth time, did he consider the importance of being fit for the trek; and on her insistence joined back the gym after a fortnight. He went continuously till June. Siddhi was excited for him going to the trek – and kept him accountable to go to the gym, making Arpit’s job easier. They both had started liking each other – and their parents were happy with it. By end of June 2015 Niket was fit for the trek.

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This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.