Posted in Personal Observations

My Mount Snowdon Hike – 2013 –Tell It Like It Is!

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Warning! It’s not the longest article I have written but it’s close, but you will enjoy the read.

My first bit of advice, get some training!  I am not talking about walking miles and miles on flat ground, but the one’s where you have to walk “up”.  A week before, four of us walked five of the 7Sisters, from Seaford to the beloved lighthouse (pushed by our hiking expert).  That was a good call from our Hiking Grand Master, just the right sort of preparation needed.

You can make a weekend of Mount Snowdon, but we travelled up, up and down, and down again to home all in a day.

There’s always a first time!

Our coaches were to leave 3am sharp Saturday 15th June, all meeting up at 2: 45am in front of Gravesend Gurdwara.

I am Mr punctual and therefore had the responsibility of picking up my brother and Hiking Master.  My alarm went off at 1am and I proceeded with switching it off and resting my head back.  Next thing I know a text at 2:25am wakes me up, holy crap I have overslept and the panic begins.  I rush out of bed, phone in hand dialling Grand Master’s number, only to be met with a chuckle on the other end. Thankfully my lovely other half calms me down, helps me do final packing and I am off to do the pick up’s. Time recorded in getting ready….six minutes.

Coach of nutters!

I will probably get told off for this one…but we had the best “peeps” on our coach and this certainly helps on long journeys. For safety reasons I can’t use exact names, so here’s my attempt at describing them. You had….”Miss Trouble”, “Hiking Grand Master”, “Clubber Boy”, “Kenyan Connection”, “Baba Shades”,  “The Organiser”, “Jaggers” “Mr & Mrs”, “Non-Asian Contingent”, “Team Storm”, “Gatka Crew”. Sleep came to all at different stages, I thought I had missed a pit stop but that was a joke.  Our pit stop allowed everyone to meet and greet and have a coffee/munch/leak break.  It was also the start of “momentous but silly quotes of the day”. The first one directed by the honourable me.

Day’s Quote: To me < Hello, didn’t recognise you, have you grown your beard?

Me with an amazed look > Just left it open!

The Path!

Fast forward and we arrive in Wales and at the foot of Mount Snowdon, there is an expected buzz around the place, the sun is shining and everyone is ready to go.  Quick *snap* *snap* of pictures, exchange a few smiles and wish everyone good luck, and we are off.  The flat surface climb certainly sets the tone! I would have died right there and then had 7Sisters hadn’t been negotiated week before.

The path then gets rocky soon after, an additional challenge for those poor feet, but we were well equipped. Along the day we bumped into crazy members from our coach, overtaking and then being overtaken. You concentrate so much on your walking that you forget to take in the beautiful scenery around you, but we managed to grab some good shots. As we reach the archway before turning right, we notice climbers up above, moving slowly like cars in a traffic jam. No, this is not because there are too many, therefore causing an obstruction, it’s because they are walking up very slowly as the climb is frighteningly steep. I take a large in-take of oxygen, my legs telling me they will eventually crack under pressure. It’s now the beginning of a mental game.

Its all in the mind!

Yes that steep climb was tough, for me. To make matters worse a mysterious mist descended upon us, making it virtually difficult to see in-front of you. Then like a mate calls another mate to attend a party he just gate crashed, along comes the rough wind, blowing us from side to side. I forgot to mention both “clubber boy” (my bro) and myself suffer from heights, well I am not bad. He needs someone to walk alongside him and I am quite literally “bricking it”. But its all in the mind and we get ever closer to the summit. You  know the best feeling… (if you discount having kids, watching your favourite footie team win the league, win the lottery), watching other climbers walking back down on a frequent basis as you know it’s not too far to the end.

The Summit!

There she is, a small podium with a dial on it. Small steps will take you there, question is do you have the balls to make that final climb in swirling wind? I climbed 4 steps and turned. Then Hiking Grand Master held me up and got me there, even if I was on all fours to begin with. I had touched it, I felt like the chick out of 5th element at the end, flipping liberated. I just wish the visibility was better as opposed to seeing a white sheet of cloud. Together with Miss Trouble, Clubber Boy, Hiking Grand Master and myself, we did it.

In true style I finished off with a Jakara (Traditional Sikh call), loud and clear, although others on the top may have thought I was about to let something off, no offence taken people.

The mountain strikes back!

So we did it, like sticking two fingers up at the mountain, “take that mate”, told you we get up there. Little did we know that the mountain was quietly laughing at us. If someone tells you it’s harder coming down, do them the decency by not laughing at them because they are spot on. You have no bloody control, I got so frustrated I started running, leaving the bad boy crew behind. When they finally caught up (because I had to rest), they said I looked like “gorilla’s in the mist”! Charming.

Curley fries and ice cream all round

All I can say is yum yum.

The ride home

I once went to a wedding in the midlands, it was crap, no really crap. The best moment was the coach ride home which made it the best “wedding experience“. Not only was our trip up and walk something I will never forget because it was a major achievement, the coach ride home was a laugh, we were all tired but that didn’t deter us. The gang leader of Team Storm challenged the front end hikers, the royal we, to a game of Antakshari ( a spoken parlor game played in India). In short we “Blast Radius” them, even when they were looking up songs on the internet.

Another experience!

This ticks more boxes in my small sized life, but it’s a great feeling to achieve this with friends and family. It challenges your emotions and brings you to tears, its the only time you can talk to yourself without anyone thinking you are going insane.

I would like to leave you with a further two silly quotes if the day, taking our total to three.

Day’s Quote: To Jaggers < Hello, what are you doing here, for a walk ?

Jaggers with an amazed look > No, just out here to see the scenery

Day’s Quote: To me < My legs are aching, I think I may need to do some stretching

Me > Considering you have just walked 8miles, I think you are a little past stretching!

Images from the Day

The Crazy Gang

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Posted in Personal Observations

Age of Wise Old Uncle-ji has Vanished!

Disclaimer: A couple of things to confirm here….

1. It’s the first day of 2013, so a bit of fun as I have put together a sketch and mish-mashed the images from the web

2. The following sketch applies to both male and female

3. Images plucked from….mentioned at the bottom

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Images courtesy of:

Old man – forums.digitalpoint.com
Indian Dad – http://www.theoriginof.com
Indian Mum – http://www.theoriginof.com
Girl – clipartcandy.com
Sikh Boy – sikhtoons.com

Posted in Personal Observations

My Series on LIFE – Can I Survive the Early Journey?

The previous two articles under the My Series on LIFE can be found <here>

Preamble  – I was asking two simple questions, Why Am I Here? | What is my purpose in life?

I was but a twinkle in my mother’s eye, a twinkle which now became a reality.  The process of birth had began, however, it would take some nine months, 3/4 of a year, for me to emerge.  If there was a reason, a force, which enabled this women to be on the cusp of motherhood, then something of equal proportion would need to keep me safe throughout this journey. 

I once heard someone describing a woman’s body to that of a ball of fire, and how a child growing inside her womb remains protected, safely tucked away, and that the child is emersed in the total thought of God, for this is the reason a child cries on entering the world because of that bond that is broken.  (Appreciate there is a scientific view on this and that not all children cry at the time of birth). 

Consider this, I, like yourself, have been exceptionally fortunate to make it through those nine months, to arrive at the doorstep of World, to those so many who never made it, drawing their last breath within the womb. My arrival would start a new leg of the journey, however my path is still unclear – but…..I guess I was meant to be here

Next post, titled “My Being Here” coming soon.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Reluctant Detective

Disclaimer: I don’t normally do book reviews….so bear with me!

Having by chance followed Kiran Manral on Twitter, I came to know about her first book.  I restrained the temptation of reading other reviews posted via Twitter and purchased The Reluctant Detective while on a short break to India from the OM Bookshop.

Kay, short for Kanan, is the central character of the book, a thirty-something suburban housewife on murder trails while managing family life.  The book opens with Kay facing a women’s worst nightmare, what to wear for an evening party.  Straight away we get some sort of visual of Kay with her reference to her tripple-support harness like bra or how she wishes she could snip away inches of celluliteNonetheless, Kay is a busy mum of a five-yr old boy, Kabir and wife of a pragmatic and what seems a BlackBerry addict husband.  One can’t help realising that by the end of the first chapter, you have a very good idea of Kay’s wardrobe and the book continues to make references to this, co-ordination, it seems is omni-important.  Certainly my female counterparts would better enjoy descriptions such as off-white linen drawstring pants, with a coordinated tunic top or chocolate-coloured satin pyjamas.

The book has nice moments of humour, with references to Kay trying to understand the wrestling lingo by her son Kabir, or the debacle around the pepper-spray incident. 

At times you do forget that this book is centered around two unfortunate people being murdered, however there are short references throughout the chapters to keep the reader in touch.  Hence the book does exactly what it says on the tin, our so-called detective is indeed very reluctant and therefore you are left wondering what route this book is taking at times.  In fairness there is no real suspense behind the motives, although you do feel a sense of justice being done when the truth comes out.

Having followed Kiran Manral’s tweets over time, I do ponder the question of how similar the characters life is to Kiran in reality.  Is this book really about the authors daily life, the school drop-offs, the morning jogs, the socialising with friends and keeping up of appearances?  With the added bonus of a murder or two thrown in?

Anyone who genuinely writes from the heart and manages to publish their book deserves a huge pat on the back.  This book is a good first attempt at story writing and I for one will be looking forward to her next book. 

Well done Kiran.