Monday, July 16, 2007


Does the thought of shredding a snow-covered slope, dropping in on a 15-foot wave, tearing down a mud covered mountain bike trail, or slicing through the ocean at 30 knots interest you? Nature has all the ingredients for adventure, packed with excitement and thrill - an unexplored valley, towering peaks, flowing rivers, snow-capped mountains, a splendid combination of flora and fauna and vast tracts of virgin snow. It offers some of the best venues for adventure sports such as skiing, river rafting, canoeing, para glidng and rock climbing.

Blessed with diverse geographical and climatic conditions, Pune has lots to offer when you feel the need to escape in to Mother Nature’s lap. Here are bits from Pune’s adventure diary for all adventure lovers.

How many times do you open your arms wide and take a deep breath to relieve yourself from stress and tiredness due to work? Do you envy the winged creatures and feel the urge to free yourself, away from the world? Ever wished you could fly? Soar over the hills, dip whenever you aspire to get a better view of the Earth, glide and sail, feel the freedom of the bird! No noise pollution, no smoke just plain fun. The thrill of having your own wings, the big wide sky with no traffic jams! Paragliding is fun for the people who constantly would love to reach new heights. It has attracted many in the form of a new age sport. Avi and Anita of Temple Pilots have been actively involved in training people who want to experience the freedom in the open air. (Temple Pilots is the first and the only training institute registered with the Aero Club of India.) “The course is divided in to two parts- P1 and P2. You can learn to fly in the P1 course, where you break the barrier of fear and feel confident and free like a bird. P2 teaches you to stay longer in the sky and soar like a bird for almost half hour,” informs Avi, ex-fighter pilot (IAF). He has been teaching for 10 years now. Your first attempt that breaks the fear block generates the urge to go and fly again and again. Anybody as young as 13 years and as old as 65 years old can experience the high. “Young professionals want to accomplish challenging activities that pubs and the discs do not fulfill. They form a major bulk as students,” says Anita. This club provides an international level course and gives a certification/log book where you can register your flying logs. Temple Pilots arrange the flight sessions at Kamsheth, Khadakwasla, Panchgani, Raigad and Pavana. “The weather and topography of India makes it one of the top places’ for para gliding. We have the high mountains, Sahyadris, hill stations and 8 months of good weather. This also welcomes number of visiting pilots from all over the world,” tells Avi. You can visit for more details.

Another sport that is picking up gradually, is mountain biking and, Pune is one of the best palces’ in Maharashtra for the sport. It has number of trails to offer for the sport enthusiasts- the trails on Pashan Hills, Taljai Hills to the Parvati Temple, Sus Flyover to Baner Village, Baapdeo Ghat to Katraj Ghat, Pashan Hills to Chandni Chowk, Indian Law Society (I.L.S) College - Prabhat Road, A.R.A.I approach road - from Kothrud Flyover, the Truck Route - Front of Abhimanshree Society on Pashan Road, the Chaturshingi Temple, Vikhe Patil School, Sinhagad, Lonavala and Khandala. Ride2026 ( is a group of bikers who are involved in the sports of BMX (Racing & Freestyle) and Mountain Biking in India for over a decade. “I started riding Bicycles off-road. I met few enthusiasts, who shared the same passion of riding bicycles radically like me, and thus a group of 5 started going up the Pashan Hills and - the Mountain Bikers in Pune were born. Also, the initial bicycle rides to school developed interest for the sport,” tells Sami Makki, founder of this group. BMX movies also formed part of inspiration for them. The group now boasts of 50 members from all over India. They have participated in number of events in Delhi with National Geographic, in Pune with Yahoo, in Mumbai and many self organized events. “All you need to know is to ride a bicycle. Anyone in the age group of 10 to 60 years can proudly trail through as a biker,” says Sami. However, he points out that the sport should get its due recognition and support here, as lot of talent and potential is still unnoticed.

And, for those who wish to race with the running waters, we have one of the best places’ to splash around. The Kundalika River in Raigad district, 90 kms from Pune. “The river offers a 14 km stretch for rafting that consumes almost 2 ½ hours to cross. People who want a change in their routine from a simple working day to an adventurous ride, are all welcome,” says Nitin Bodas of VAdventure, who organizes events like white water rafting, waterfall rappelling, kayaking and leisure holidays.

Pump the adrenalin and seek your thirst for adventure.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Oh Boy!

Oh boy!

I love her power, her style, her performance, her … hold on; here are no quotes of anyone expressing love for his partner. These feelings are natural for any male to express / emote about his bike, his love. Me(a)n machine, is what it is called. Referred to as a boy’s first love, bikes and biking have always been considered a male domain.

And, this very notion is forced and imprinted in to our minds through the most influential form of media, advertisements. Let me talk from my point of view, than just generalizing my concern. Whenever I watch an advertisement of any bike, I have always felt that they promote these bikes for ‘boys only’. I don’t mind watching boys zooming on those wonderful machines but, it really gets irritating to see girls being portrayed as puppets who get lured to a boy just because he happens to possess one of those bikes’!

This gives me a reason to sit and think over it. When I see myself or like minded girls who have a passion for bikes and biking, this very notion of the bikes being called as me(a)n machines sends a rage through me. I am tired of this stereotypical attitude. Especially after myself experiencing a series of reactions and comments from number of people. When will people come out of their way of convenient thinking and mindset regarding the female abilities or capabilities? The least these girls do is, ride the bike. Let them do it with peace!

Why cannot it be accepted that a girl, who rides a bike, does it through sheer passion and love for the bikes, just as it is considered for boys? Weird reactions like a disgusting second look, street side comments, laughs, disbelief, and lunatic gossips about girls riding bikes, so much so that people have come up to me and asked if I am just trying to show off my outrageous or rebellious act. In the first place I don’t understand why such a thing should be thought as outrageous or rebellious when a girl loves to live with her aspiring in life. Nothing grows on ice. So I feel that the frozen thoughts and beliefs towards girls should change and let them live the way they wish to, with no bothering from others cynical notions.

I don’t think that I or for that matter any girl is going out of her way when she hits the road on a bike. Sometimes I feel that these bike manufacturers should take in to account of their female customers and try to make a difference. I would like to see female models in their advertisements, not as puppets but, as riders. It is disgusting to see them as dumb models wooing those guys possessing the bikes.

I don’t know the statistics, but there are quite a number of girls who ride bikes. The number might be minute as compared to male customers for the manufacturers. So it might not be a suitable target audience for them to invest in to advertising. After all, for them the product is ultimately getting sold. But at least I feel that female models must not be used as dumb puppets in these advertisements.