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Subject:An Unforgettable Experience
Time:10:22 pm
Current Mood:exhaustedexhausted
The old saying goes ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. But is the apple sufficient today for people living in over populated, polluted cities? Don’t you just yearn to be in the lap of Mother Nature? And where better to breathe clean fresh air than in the hills of Goa? Goa, the land of fields orchards and forests wears an almost regal green cloak with slivers of shimmer after the onset of the monsoons.
The longing to enjoy Goa in this state combined with the spirit of adventure brought 79 ‘young at heart’ enthusiasts together on the 29th of June 2008. A day on which we all experienced much more than one had ever imagined.
On this day, the Youth Hostel of India, Margao Unit had organized a trek to Kuskem Waterfalls, nestled in the hills of the Cotigao Reserved Forests. The excitement was such that none of realized that the approx capacity (50 people) of the KTC bus that was hired for the trip was overruled and we were nearly double the number of people. Yes we were infact, 80 people in total. Anyway, we started off and after an hour and a half, disembarked at the scheduled starting point of the trek After the initial round of introductions and each of us getting a ‘roll’ number (just as in school), we were informed of the plan for the day. We were to trek for a 14 km stretch to reach the waterfall and the entire distance was to be covered by 3:30 pm or latest 4:00 pm.
Full of enthusiasm and bubbling with energy we commenced our trek by plodding through fields and through a small village. The amateur photographers kept clicking away whilst the serpentine line of trekkers went ahead slowly and surely. The first heavy shower did not deter us a bit and after pausing for a bit to don our raingear, we splashed on. A guide from Youth Hostel lead the line and one brought up the rear with the 79 nature lovers and four local guides sandwiched between.
The first couple of hours went well as the enthusiasm was on. We trekked and trekked uphill and down, crossing streams of various widths, admiring nature’s beauty with awe. It was enjoyable! Though we were forewarned of the leeches, none had anticipated the large numbers that greeted us. Packets and tubs of salt were passed back and forth to ward off the ever-hungry creatures. And yet we trekked on.
We realized it was way past lunch time only thanks to our rumbling tummies. 3 hours and time kept ticking and there was no sign of a halt. We longed to rest our tired feet and fill our tummies. It was only after 3:00pm that we got out of the forest and into bright sunshine. We were close to a tiny village tucked away between forests. A tiny spring gushing out clear water enabled us to freshen up before tucking into our lunch. It was more than four hours into the trek and more than eight hours since we had left home. We were already tired and longing to see the waterfall to relax and then head back home.
‘When in doubt, ask’ is a phrase that is often repeated!!! So we asked our guides ‘how much longer?’ Another 30 to 45 minutes was the prompt answer they gave us. We believed them and were relieved that we had finally reached the destination and that too on schedule. Despite our tiredness, we trekked on after lunch with the thought that we were nearly done for the day. After about twenty minutes or so, the local guide leading us made us stop. He then took off for a bit and on returning made us all retrace our steps and then detour on another route. We were apparently being led the wrong way. Hoping that we were now on the right path, we plodded on. All we could do was follow the guide. We had considered that the organizers knew the path, so none of us had carried a compass or had even bothered to ask which direction we were heading in.
We knew that we would now be delayed in reaching the falls, but when even at 5:30pm there was no sign of the falls, we realized WE WERE LOST!!! By now, because of varying degrees of tiredness, the group was already in three or four parts. None of us were sure of where we were going, how many groups we were nor whether anyone had reached the falls. The question that we kept asking ourselves was ‘will we get out before dark?’ No such luck. Time ticked on and by 7:00 we were straining to see the path we tread. The hills we were ascending and descending were steep and the rain had made the path slushy. We just kept pushing ahead, dragging our feet over rock and root and through the streams. We couldn’t be bothered about the leeches. They must have been having a feast. Our feet were too numb to know. The guides kept us going by saying that we would be out in fifteen minutes.
The scheduled time that we were to reach Margao was 6:00 pm. More than an hour later and we were still in the forest. Anticipating worried folks at home and being fortunate enough to get range at that point, a few of us made quick calls just to reassure those back home that we were okay. A little before eight o’clock we found the group ahead of us waiting in a clearing in the forest. They had decided to wait for the rest so that the group would be together. We were truly LOST! All we could do was pray! From this point on, the entire group walked in a single file holding hands so that none would get separated. The few who had cell phones used those to light up the path and instructions of the presence of rocks and roots were passed on verbally. Yes it was good team spirit that held us together and ensured no major casualties.
Thanks to some brave young guys who came back in search of us that we all made it back. Till we came across them we were all plodding along not knowing where we were going. Yes, we finally did get out of the forest at 9:00 pm. I guess it was a classic case of ‘Better late than never’ and we were all indeed thankful that the trek was finally over.
This particular incident in our lives sure taught us a lot about team spirit, endurance and helping one another. We also learned that for a summer trek, long trousers are good, but for a monsoon trek, shorts are the best. We presume shorts are the best as after wading through the seasonal streams, one is not left with clingy trousers. The shorts also leave bare skin on which it is easier to spot equally clingy leeches. But at the end of the day ‘Prevention is better than cure’. Perhaps oil or salt applied around the ankles may have helped in keeping the leeches at bay.
It was only on reaching Margao we got to know that instead of a 14-15 km stretch as originally planned, we had in fact done a 22 km trek. An additional 7 kilometres was no child’s play.
The irony of the entire trek was we traveled for nearly three hours by bus each way to walk 22 kilometres amidst nature. We walked through fields, over hills, rocks and roots and through streams in anticipation of a waterfall which we ultimately never set eyes on.
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Time:11:48 pm
Current Mood:cheerfulcheerful
Been back in Goa for nearly three months now. I’ve had my share of ups and downs, but it feels good to be back home and amidst friends, family and all the greenery. Three months n two jobs already. Not enjoyed my work and a good work atmosphere in a long time. Here everyone believes they are doing good and meaningful architecture. Started on one project and getting started on the second. Learning on one and managing the other. My learning process and it feels good. We don’t decide on a detail just because it looks good. It should serve a purpose. Even accessories are chosen so that they are environmentally friendly. I am glad for my experience in B’lore coz if anything it taught me to have a lot of patience :P I like the office building too. Perched on the top of a hill and surrounded by trees is very soothing. It does mean a fifteen minute walk for me form the bus-stop to my office but the fact that we work without any air conditioning is something I am very happy about. The bigger boon is the simple fact that we work using daylight till around 6:30 in the evening.
Today, I had one of the most amazing experiences that I’ve had in any office. I got to drive on my way back from a site visit. I got my license in 2003 and had not sat behind the wheel since my driving test. I took my sister’s car out for the first time last May. All I could manage was a half hour drive which went well. I had offered to drop a friend to the bus-stand and I was asked if he needed to wear a helmet. Well this evening, I was given the office car and I drove from Colvale to Porvorim (which is around 20 kms) via Mapusa. The car I was in was like a toy car and yet it was a pleasure to drive. We have two electric cars which are used by the office boys and our principal architect uses one of them to shuttle himself between the office and his home. Nissar, the guy who drove me and a trainee to site gave me the opportunity to drive us back. I was always under the impression that a Reva was too tiny for me, however I realized it was just amazingly perfect. It isn’t a car that can be used on long travels as there is no space behind to dump extra luggage. A full charge for 12 hours means 80 kms without music in the car. The Reva is light and amazingly silent and no pollution fumes. Very easy to maneuver as there is no clutch. I had the best drive ever possible today.
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Subject:Home sweet home
Time:06:36 pm
Current Mood:cheerfulcheerful
A month since I put my feet on home soil and it feels like only yesterday that I got back. Time has flown by. I have been at home and then again I haven’t spent any time at home. Being back in Goa and amidst the family, means working around a lot of schedules. It’s also that time of the year when a lot of partying happens- weddings, baptisms, birthdays, engagements. The smallest event calls for a celebration. Every goan celebration means good food and dancing and I’ve got HAPPY FEET :) At the end of last night I also had very tired feet :P

The amateur theatre group that I’ve been part of since 1994 has now completed twenty long years. We were invited to put up a play for the delegates of a conference. ‘On the Holy trail’ was written and produced by our director and founder member Ms. Isabel Santa Rita Vaz. It feels awesome to be part of my theatre group again. A number of new faces around, but we all have two things in common…we love acting and we love Goa with all its traditions and customs.
It was also a time to meet old Mustard Seeds who flock to Goa for Christmas with the family. It’s great be back in green, green Goa :)

On the 3rd was a cousin’s birthday. He entered the country sometime end of Nov and chose to spend his birthday in Goa as his mum is here. I was at an aunt’s place when I heard about his trip to Goa and since he was spending his birthday with family after years, we decided to throw a small party for him. His birthday coincides with the feast of our patron saint for which the whole of Goa has a holiday. 3rd morning saw me wake up at six to bake the birthday cake. A fun day no doubt for all of us. Thanks to my cousin, Lisa, I also got to play the piano after ten years :)

On the 8th of Dec I went to the Museum of Christian Art. No, I am not so religious that I need to visit such places. The curator is known to me and a workshop was being held for kids. I volunteered to help. Brought back loads of memories of doing craft at school :P

It feels good to be back in goa and even better to be back home. :)
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Subject:going home :0
Time:09:35 am
After more than two years of living in Bangalore...I am on my way back to Goa...land of sun, sand and sea. looking forward togoing back and spending time with mum, dad, sis and friends.

Going to explore Goa as well.

Next update will be from Goa :)
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Subject:Sustainability and me
Time:08:43 pm
I came across an interesting thought last night whilst reading an article in a magazine on sustainable architecture.

'Sustainability includes social justice as it's 3rd pillar, after environment and the economy'. It refers to the living conditions of all the construction workers in India. The workers are mostly uneducated or illiterate and usually live in these really low cost, low maintenance shelters that we refer to as slums.
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Subject:Home sweet home
Time:09:10 am
And I am finally off to Goa for a ten day holiday :)
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Subject:Who am I?
Time:09:39 pm
Current Mood:contemplativecontemplative
I am a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a friend, an architect and a whole lot more...

A weird question you may think, for me to ask myself at this stage in my life. Well I'd say 'NO'. This question has been on my mind for quite a while now and everytime I have a different answer.

No one seems to be happy with what they have. Greed seems to be the driving force for us humans. All we want is more and more and more...from a cycle to a bike to a car to a fancy house with vitrified tiles and marble and granite and the fanciest bath fittings and a whole lot of wood work to make the whole space cosy. That's what we (my fellow architects and I) end up giving them. It's sad but true. Architecture has become more of a personal style statement than doing what's good. What do we do with the huge craters that we have created whilst quarrying the marble and granite? And what about the trees that get destroyed in order to have good furniture and a sturdy entrance door? Teak plantations were the 'in thing' sometime back. But at the rate at which construction activity has been happening...what green spaces are left?

All thanks to the greed of our fellow humans...

Forests are being destroyed, to have more space for construction. All our buildings have is RCC, plaster that does not allow the building to breathe, huge glass facades with air conditioning... Where are we going from here? What are we going to do with all the money we earn? Save it for future generations? Where do they live if we destroy our planet?

Rain in the Middle East, melting glaciers, drought in parts of the country...all signs of global warming. What are you doing about it? What am I doing about it? Buying a car to travel to work every day. Why? Because there is too much traffic on the road and the public transport wastes too much time. And so there are a few thousand more vehicles on the road. Sorry, i can't afford a car. I can just about manage a two-wheeler. And now that I have the two-wheeler I'll ride to the corner shop as well. Anyway, I have the bike so why walk?

Yes, as time progressed, we have progressed too thanks to ambition and drive. Unfortunately that very ambition has also made us lazy and greedy.

Who am I? An architect. Sustainable architecture is what I want to do...I am done with granite and marble and glass facades. Yes they all look very sleek and grand, but they don't feel like home. They just make a house and a building.

It's time for me to move on and look for greener pastures.
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Subject:open spaces
Time:08:19 pm
Current Mood:accomplished
This is only the beginning...

Open Spaces


Thanks sabiokap :)
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Current Location:office
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Subject:Yahooooooooooo!
Time:09:13 pm
Current Mood:cheerfulcheerful
Hey guys (premshree, hitesh, suhaas, teemus, bluesmoon and t3rmin4t0r), it was really nice meeting up with all of you today. codemartial and sp0onman, missed the both of you.
I hope to make it more often to your office. Brings back some nice memories and somehow meeting all of you on weekends is near impossible for me. I wait for the week to get a break from my extra busy weekends.
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Current Location:at work
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Subject:Random Thought
Time:11:12 pm
Current Mood:tiredtired
People come, people go
People die, people grow.
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