Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dive Agar - A weekend getaway from Pune.

7 guys + 2 cars + 1 weekend = A totally outrageous weekend getaway. I am talking about last weekend, when some blokes (Salil, Hemant and me) decided that it was time to head to the beach. In no time, we found four more blokes thinking alike. The destination was Dive Agar – 150 kms south west of Pune.

Hemant, Abhijit and me reached Salil’s place on a cold Saturday morning. Time - about 6:30 am. Pranav, Salil, Amit and Abhishek joined us. Of them, Abhishek and Pranav- two crazy ppl were in my car along with ‘Truck Driver’ Salil. ‘Truck Driver’ is an honorary title, ‘encomium’ would be a better word, for Salil and Hemant, in appreciation of their superior driving skills.

We decided to take the usual and most popular path to Dive Agar – Chandni Chowk -> Mulshi Lake-> Tamhini Ghat-> Mangaon->Mhasle->Dive Agar. Weather was …well perfect for driving. It didn’t turn one bit inclement any time. We stopped just before Tamhinis for quick breakfast and soon continued our way through the long enchanting Tamhini Ghat. Whilst on the way, I was getting invaluable driving tips from, 'Truck Driver' Salil. Mind you, they were helpful!

Break Point, Tamhinis – Dunno what this spot/point is called, but all of ‘em stop here. It’s like you automatically press the brake pedal once you get here. The view is one of a kind. The mighty mountains are folded to form deep gorges in between them. The last time I was here was in Summer of 2006. Now it was just past the monsoons and I could clearly make out the difference. See pics below…

Summer of 2006

Oct 2007 - After monsoon

After a few clicks, we were on our way. I expected the drive to be bumpy. But surprisingly enough, most of the Tamhini Ghat was good to drive except for a few rough patches in between. We were averaging 60 kmph all the way. After 5 hours including some stops in between, we saw the familiar arched Dive Agar entrance welcoming every visitor to the beach town of Dive Agar.

Salil had booked a cottage with the Joshi’s. It was a clean room lined up with neat beds. No TV. No Fridge. No Phone. Why would anyone need it when you’ve come to enjoy the beach? And I would recommend everyone visiting Dive Agar to stay in such cottages offered by local people, as they are cheap, clean and comfortable.

Okay, so after a rest/refresh time of about 15 mins, we went to have lunch at the Bapat’s. Again, this was organized by Salil. He knows his stuff well, this guy Salil. Coz we had one awesome Vegetarian lunch. No one talked a lot during lunch. It was a sign that everyone was hungry! We hogged so much that some of us were unable to get up from the chairs after the lunch!

It was scorching hot in Dive Agar. So we decided to rest for a while and then go to the beach in the evening. With all of us full after a good feed, it was time for some PJ’s and pulling of legs (literally and figuratively). But soon the tiredness and sumptuous lunch had its effect. Slowly everyone drifted off to sleep only to be awakened twice by a power outage. The fans stopped spinning then and it got humid which evoked a few cries of desperation. But the stoppages were only 5-10 mins, which didn’t disturb the sleep pattern of many.

Evening, refreshed by a cup of tea, we headed to the beach. Parked our cars by the beach and then as we saw the clean beach of Dive Agar, everyone was ecstatic. I had come here about year and half back, but to notice that it hadn’t changed a bit – it was still so clean as it was last time, was so satisfying. Alrite now we were 7 of us and there was a bat and a ball. That would mean only one thing - Beach Cricket!! No teams- we were all playing numbers – a cricket game in which all the players bat and bowl in sequence. Three varying length sticks made for three stumps. Bowlers bowled, fielders fielded on imaginary boundaries and batters enjoyed hitting it to all parts of the beach. It was a unique game of cricket where fielders were sledging bowlers and likewise. It was fun. Everyone was laughing all along the way. Beamers and long hops were the order of the day. The third game was played under bad light, but no one was willing to stop. Eventually after the last batsmen got out in the third game, it was so dark, that we would have to turn bats to be able play cricket in those conditions!

We had planned for beach dinner. It meant we had to organize stuff and so we decided to implement ‘divided we do better’ strategy. Hemant, Abhijit and I bought dinner and other things mandatory while Salil, Pranav, Abhishek and Amit gathered paraphernalia necessary for beach dinner.

We drove to the beach. The time was about 9:45 pm and it was pitch black. I could just see the white foam of waves hitting the shores. Our lantern was the only source of light for miles, I guess. And the only sound was of the waves. It was pleasant and calm out there. We arranged the dinner and the 'mandatory things'. The lantern was kept by the side. The ambience coupled with balmy breeze and cold sand multiplied the relaxing effect on our tired nerves. Soon after an hour, everyone opened up (figuratively) and started revealing their dear secrets. This was the time for venting out suppressed emotions. And one by one all the frustrations in everyone’s life were out in open. Amit, Abhijit and I took countless midnight strolls on beach. The cold seawater was soothing. Others slept on the beach gazing at the stars and may be contemplating life – lives of software engineers!

We finished our dinner by 1 am. Headed back to our parked cars. Somebody thought of playing some music. It turned out to be a good idea. All of us sat down on the unpaved road by the cars and listened to music in the light of the lantern. Nice setting that one. When we reached our rooms, it was 1:45 am. Dead tired, we slept like logs.

Day 2 and we were up by 830 am. A good home made breakfast at Joshi’s and we walked to the beach. It was 930 am and very sunny. This time, we played Frisbee for about 40 odd minutes. After that everyone jumped into the waters. With all the time in the world, everyone just enjoyed being in the cold salty water.

We were back to the rooms by 11 am and then after a visit to the famous Suvarna Ganpati Temple, we started our journey back to Pune.

By the time, I reached my place, it was 8 pm. Needless to say that I slept as soon as I hit the bed. It was a trip unforgettable. Some pics from the trip at this link