Sunday, November 17, 2013

Celebration of light and colors

Tripuri purnima or Kartik purnima, is one of the beautiful festivals. And when you have a "gang of friends" like the ones we are, you can bet on creating a specatcular visual that will last memories for long times. It was precisely the same thing that happened at Kavle math, Walekeshwar on this Tripuri Purnima on Sunday, Nov 17.
We started the afternoon with making rangoli making and prepating waati. Intially we had a colorful mess and cotton strands. Then things started rolling and everyone starting contributing in their own way. Rangoli making is not an easy task but the girls were enjoying it to the core. Not to be left behind, the rest of the "gang" moved around, setting up the pantees (diyas) for the evening show.
As the evening pulled on, the stage was set-up. The rangoli was looking a masterpiece...thanks to Prajakta, Priyadarshana, Sanyukta, Tanuja and Priti. Palki was ready for the procession and we were all super excited.
On Tripuri Purnima, Shree Shantadurga palkhi procession starts from Kavle math and goes around the magnificient Banganga lake visting the Walkeshwar temple and Kashi math. During the procession, the palkhi stops whenever residents in the area offer aarti to the palkhi. It is a blissful feeling going around with the palkhi and seeing the participation from residents in the area. Palkhis from Kashi math and Walkeshwar temple also make a visit to Kavle math. When we were back from the procession, we had aarti. During this time, all the electric lights were swtiched off and the temple illuminated to the light of the pantees. The temple looked so beautiful that the entire "gang" had the feeling of efforts being rewarded.
Reward was also waiting for us in the form of maha prasad. A yummy dinner with pulav and topped with kheer for desert was much the appreciation that we needed...and we gladly accepted it. If you have noted, throughtout the blog, the entire team has been referenced as "gang". If you are wondering why, the reasons are pretty simple. A gang can barge into anything and make it their own. We have been doing that since long, the recent one being Kavle Math. We all came to Kavle math, made ourselves at home and decorated is as we would decorate our own premises. And because we do it the way we do it, saying good-bye is always the hard task. Time and again, it has always been that we have reached home much later than planned. Those who have been there, will second it.
Celebrating festivals and Maha GSB events have always been fun. There is always something you can give and there is always a lot to take. We put in our efforts and received some wonderful memories. If you haven't had these memories so far, now is the time. Join us at the next meet. For details on how, please email us at or feel free to call Ashutosh (+91-9820992403). You can also join us on facebook ( as well.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Katta friends and discussions

For some reasons, this group never has new members. It's just old friends whom we haven't met. That is the flavour of the group. When we had first met at Udyan Ganesh in May 2006, we were so unknown that a couple of us were sitting besides each other not knowing that we had come together for the same meet. What happened on this meet was on similar lines, Prashant and Sagar were at Udyan Ganesh. Both sitting at either end of the mandir, watching the cricket match while waiting for others to join in. Neither of them aware that they both were friends.

That is how it happens here. We meet and find friends whom we have never met before. The very obvious question is: Aren't they strangers before you meet? With strangers, you need a formal introduction and then some time to know the person before you can gel with him/her and be a friend. Unlike other groups, we never have had a formal "Round-of-Introduction". We start with "Hi" and "Hellos" and go on to talks and discussions as we would be our "katta friends".

Our talks are of personal experiences and fun moments, while discussions are about future plans for the group. Our group has been evolving with time, from members to content. With this change, we have now added knowledge sharing about GSB culture (without getting too religious about it) as a part of our event. The upcoming event would emphasize a lot on this new content addition. The event is schedule on Tripuri Purnmia. On the knowledge sharing, we would get to know about the significance of this Purnima. On this occassion, there is Deepotsav at Kavle Math, Walkeshwar. Together as a group, we get to enjoy decorating the math with lights. And then there is Palkhi procession around Banganga lake. To add to this, His Holiness Shrimat Shivananda Saraswarti Swami has agreed to spend some time with us. For more details, check the event on facebook.

Further, we also put the Shantikunj Sevashram plans to discussion. Shantikunj is the GSB Oldage home run by the Wadala Math trust. We talked about what we have done there so far during our visits. While we are yet to work out the detailed plans, we are looking for inputs to build the plan. Please do share your thoughts with us here.

Have you met your friends? While there is always a next time, we missed you this time. For the next time, ensure that "This is the time!" For details on how, please email us as or feel free to call Ashutosh (+91-9820992403). You can also join us on facebook ( as well.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pooja and Petpooja

Rajmachi was not an easy trek. While we completed it successfully, we had our share of obstacles; not major but a few hiccups. Lord Ganesha is considered to be the vignaharta or the vanquisher of obstacles. Hence we thought it would be apt to thank Him for helping us successfully overcome all obstacles in our trek. Siddhivinayak is the most renowned temple, situated at centrally located Dadar. Sunday would have been an ideal day, however Sunday being Sankashti, the temple would be over crowded, giving us barely any time with the Lord. With these thoughts, we zeroed in on Saturday as the day for our visit.

As expected, the temple was far less crowded and we had a good darshan of Shree Siddhivinayak. We has planned to meet at the Siddhivinayak temple on Saturday morning at 10:00 AM. Askhay and Prasanna were the first to arrive and the rest tricked in gradually. Chatting and chaos are synonymus with us. As we all gathered, we started chatting and talking about things that happened over the days since Rajmachi and during the Ganeshotsav. Not that we need an occassion or topic to talk on, but then when we have some, we do not miss out. Chaos ensued after that on what do we take as prasad, from where, and a few other topics. Eventually, all was sorted and we moved in. There wasn't much queue and it was a quick way to darshan. Traditionally, we sit in the temple for two minutes after the darshan, before moving out. We took this chance to distribute the prasad. By the time we had darshan and were out of the temple, it was noon and Pranav dropped in.
All our plans include food and today was no exception. As it was Saturday, a few had opted for to be vegetarians for the day. We (slowly) moved out of the temple to plan for our next destination, the hotel for lunch. Abhijit had a some plans, so had to move on and wasn't able to join us for lunch. In that period, Siddhesh joined in, so the count stood. Searching a veg hotel for lunch was not a difficult task and we ended up with Gypsy for some authentic Maharashtrian veg food. Some of the converted vegetarians had a change of mind looking at bharli wangi and waran bhath. So the venue and minds changed. We landed up at Gomantak for a full fledged konkan cuisine. That food suits our palate the best. Unfortunately, the veg food at such places is not very highly recommended and the pure vegetarians had to suffer, while the rest gorged (that usually happens).

We had a few plans post lunch, but the lunch being heavy, it took us some time to move out and reach Shivaji Park. At 3:00 PM, it's not difficult to find a space in Shivaji Park, that is if you don't mind sweating in the sun. We managed to find a shade and rested ourselves. The plans were not much of tasking (thankfully), still were interesting. The first of those was announcement of our next plans. We plan to visit Shantikunj at Panvel on Nov 16-17. To discuss the details of this visit, we would be meeting on Oct 20 at Shivaji Park at 4:00 PM. The next was even interesting. We are planning to launch a book on our Rajmachi experience, thanks to Gauri. The first chapter of the book was shared with all those who were present and everyone is now awaiting to read the whole book. The book is set to release in November. And if this was not all, we also announced the plans of a movie. No, not movie watching, but creating a movie. The movie would be created by the entire Maha GSB team, from scripting, to directing, to acting and even editing. A very rough outline on what the movie would be, was shared by Tanuja, our scriptwriter. So await the blockbuster coming your way.

With all this in one day, after a heavy, showed the level of energy that the team has. It was about 4:00 PM by then and time to move back to our own tracks. Sadly, we were not able to cover the very special debate on our agenda. JD, who had specially come for that was a bit disheartened. But we promise to come back on that in our next coffee session at Shivaji Park on Oct 20.

Fun, food and frolic happen with friends. You get the friends here. Feeling as a stranger? Try out the excitement, join us now. For details on how, please email us as or feel free to call Ashutosh (+91-9820992403). You can also join us on facebook ( as well.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Cloud 18

We 18 were in the clouds when the rest were way below. It was a sense of achievement, challenging our own limits and testing ourselves to the core, we had overcome everything. Hence were in Cloud 18. There is a myth that trekking needs good physique, stamina and a lot more. We proved it wrong. What is needed is perseverance, attitude and a rocking gang.
It all started over a coffee meet when we thought of doing something different. Trek was then, just a suggestion and it gradually shaped to Rajmachi. All experienced trekkers suggested this was not a first timers trek, but then we always stick to our commitment. As planned, we all met at CST for the Chennai Mail. (Yes, we preferred Chennai Mail to Chennai Express). At 2:14, when we got off at Lonavala, the entire General compartment would have heaved a sigh of relief. But then we can't control our energy and enthusiasm.
Before we proceed to the trek, a quick word that most of us met for the first time at CST. That did not matter much, as in this group, anyone who joins, just merges in. This attitude makes everyone much that we spent 2 hours at Lonavala depot as if we were all in our backyard chatting with friends. We will come back to this comfort making attitude again at a later stage. We began our trek at 5:00 am, walking thru the dark in the drizzling rains. Rains have something common with us, they love us so much that thru the entire route they stayed with us, pouring their love all the way. While that made the journey well drenched and drained energy in shivering and trudging with heavily soaked shoes, it also gave us some explicit views of nature and overflowing waterfalls.
As we moved on enjoying the nature, we enjoyed at every spot. Crossing streams, getting drenched at every waterfalls even when it was raining heavily and yet enjoying that. And with all this, we all never missed out on our own safety and safety of our colleagues. It generally is a very rare combination that you see uncontrolled masti going along hand-in-hand with a sense of responsibility. For that matter, the group was quite a diverse in age with difference varying to 15 years. When it was fun time, everyone made joked around as kids of the same age and when it came to guidance, everyone took on matured responsibility. Seniors helped, juniors supported...overall a cohesive act of unity. 
Eventually, we reached Rajmachi at 2:00 PM after some maggis, a few cups of tea, some chips, a dabba of yummy dhoklas and corn. The journey to Rajmachi had drained us physically, more as we were not used to such exertion. Oh well, we were just physically drained, mentally we were still quite fresh. The place where were to put up for the night was a nice village house at Udhewadi, the village at Rajmachi. Quite spacious, natural light passing thru the roof and good ventilation even when there weren't any windows open. It is a good point to wonder when we had such good eco-friendly technology sine primitive ages, where did we loose it? While we were freshening up on these thoughts, we had a call for lunch...and that was all we needed. A perfect lunch with bhakri, chole, batata and dal-rice with thecha gave a good reason to cancel the afternoon plans of trekking further to Shriwardhan gad. While some preferred to catch up a nap, the rest were busy with "Fuzzy duck" (more details when we meet) and capturing expressions (again something better not explained here). We spent the rest of the day at our Rajmachi home. We had made ourselves so comfortable with the family there that even they believed that we were a part of their family and no guests. This emphasizes the point on our attitude on making everyone comfortable with us. Next day, was a lazy Sunday. After an extended Saturday, we woke-up later than expected and had to skip the first part of trek to Manaranjan gad. We did a quick visit to the nearby Udaysagar lake and Godhaneshwar temple. The quick visit lasted two hours and spending energy there (except for some lovely dhoklas, carry-forwarded from Saturday), we were quite hungry and headed straight to the breakfast location. The breakfast of us 18 included 12 plates poha, 16 plates missal, 6 omelettes and 18 cups of tea. Done with all this and we were good to leave. Our stay at the beautiful home was done for this visit...and as we moved, we clicked this last pic for good memories (the home owners are a part of this pic, try identifying them)
We had trekked 21 kms in pouring rain the previous day and we were told that the return journey from Rajmachi to Karjat is not even half of that and complete downhill. With all that we had experience the previous day, the return journey would be a piece of cake. Rather we thought so. The normal start time is during the first half of the day and we were already at 3:00 PM when we begun. The start was good till we reached a spot where we could see what lies ahead. Surely a few of us had lump in the throat while the others easily skipped a few beats. In such scenarios, most mouths go shut (and some pants go wet), but we were different. We started joking, singing and enjoying so much that could put the serious trekkers to wonder whether the route was really a tasking one. As most of us were first timers, we were a tad slow at pace. By the time we reach Kondana caves, the sun had set and darkness was gradually taking over. At this point in time, as were just about confident that we are on the right track, we missed a turn and realized that we were on the wrong path about 30 mins later. Surprisingly and thankfully, at that point in time, no one panicked. We met a 3 other guys from a different group who had missed on the same route. Taking their advice, we walked back to Kondana caved and took the correct route to reach Kondivade, the base village and from there to Karjat station.
Through the adventure (and a bit of misadventure), every moment was a lifetime memory. We carried home some mud, some pain, some aches and sore foots...all those would fade away, and what would remain are the memories. And that is all that mattered. We have tried to share some bit of our experience, however the memories that we have are our forever. All those who have been for the trek vouch to one word that would have to say had they missed out this event "Regret" and one word for being at the trek "Cloud 18".
As they say, those who have missed don't know what they have missed. Don't want to be one's who miss? Join us now. For details on how, please email us as or feel free to call Ashutosh (+91-9820992403). You can also join us on facebook ( as well.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Back to the future

Banganga - The GSB heritage site in Mumbai, is a must-visit place for all, especially, we GSBians. Like the place, this fact too, is not so well known. Banganga lake is a beautiful place near Malabar hill in south Mumbai. The lake is a wonder in itself for having sweet water being considerably close to the sea. The lake at the centre is surrounded by as many as 14 temples including two of our maths, the Kashi Math and Kavle Math.
We always wished to walk around the place, not just sight-seeing, but also getting to know more about this wonderful place. It was a dream come true on Sunday, July 21 when a group of us visited this place. As we walked around the place, Nikita Rajadhyaksha shared the history about the place. While Harshada Divekar, who has done a course in Archeology was to join us, we missed as she was not well. It was good to have more information about the temples and the lake. The GSB temple trust was founded in 1879 and has been owning this area. A little that we can to do to know about our cultural past and the ever facinating ancient India. While it was a good fun and knowledge sharing session, due to shortage of time, we were not able to cover all the temples. We have marked the map to for our next visit.
Incidentally, it happened to be "Punyatithi" of HH Shree Shivanand Saraswati Swamiji of Shree Kavle Math. We joined in for the aarti and prasad. The lunch at math is a simple veg diet with no-onion-no-garlic, but the taste is simply awesome. Moongagathi, Dalitoy, Uppkeri...I am sure some of us have already starting feeling hungry. For some reasons, you can't keep GSBs and food separate.
After good 4 hours at Walkeshwar area, it was time to leave. But with such a wonderful company, we all were reluctant to all it a day so early. We decided to continue our talks for some more time. Sipping coffee at CCD for the next 2 hours, we talked about our culture, our 4 maths and how it would be good that we all come together as GSBs. While typing this, I just realized that we did not have a formal intro session and we mingled as we knew each other since a really long time...happens when you are in such a group. We also discussed further plans to meet up and the next upcoming one is an overnight trek...location to be finalized soon.

We want to spread the GSB culture and build a GSB network. Those who met became a part of this great GSB network. Are you are part of it? Want to know more? For details, write to us at or join us on facebook (

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Coffee and Wine

It's been a crazy time with everyone being quite as busy as can be. Amidst the rush life, we Maha GSB friends, still found some time for some unique meets. The first was a coffee meet with a difference. We met at Di Bella for an Australian coffee experience. Di Bella posed a interesting experience as we discussed on varied topics, including building up the GSB Football team. The GSB Football team, initiated by Akshay Keny is picking well and is getting well appreciated. The team is a mix of experienced to rookies and is a good way to socialize and exercise at the same time.

Chai Latte

While discussing this unique idea of socializing and staying healthy, we were sipping on a unique drink known as "Chai Latte". It is a light tea flavored with masala served on candle stove. We also had Hot chocolate that was served in a peculiarly interesting cup. We also talked on more plans of socializing and getting friends together. Interesting drinks, engrossing discussions and good friends to spend some leisurely time.that's what we had and have been having, as always at Maha GSB.

Hot Chocolate

The next one was a highly spirited meet. We met at the Mumbai Wine Tasting Festival.

Wine tasting

It was an amazing evening at the pier and probably the first classroom of its kind where everyone was allowed to get drunk. Some of us who were new to wine-ism learnt appreciating wines, while few of the wine "aficionados" amongst us were busy checking wine legs and discussing bouquets. But at the end of the event all of us had our own favorite wines that we would swear by, at least till next year's wine festival... Viognier (white wine) from Nine hills, Merlot (red wine) from Jacobs creek and Lancers semi sparkling rose from french wine makers were shortlisted by our gang.

Do you share the energy? Do you have the spirit? Have you missed out? There is always a next time. For details, write to us at or join us on facebook (