After Matheran, it’s Khandala.

This time, the Hydooglers Adventure Club Trip was targeting Khandala. Thanks to Aamir Khan in Ghulam, this place is not so unknown as Matheran. This trip did not trigger much excitement as the previous. However, this trip proved to be a real adventure trip.
The man who made it possible was Suresh of Google Concierge. Instead of canceling 10 tickets and retaining 45, he did the other way. This was turning out to be really exciting…four in a seat. Luckily, some were generous to move to the General coach and freed a little space for us. Even then it would not help much. Myself, Lakshmy aka The Quantum Queen, Loveena, Hari Parishe, Tasneem Calcuttawala and Shobha Raman were confined to a single seat.
Time and the train were moving. Soon, the ladies in the General compartment began pouring into our coach. The result was that I had to part with a quarter of a seat that I possessed then. I was pitying myself when I got down from my seat and was surprised to see Loveena and Hari (despite his knee pain) on the floor. I sat on the lower berth, leaning a little forward. I managed to get some rest in that position.
The train wheels came to a halt at Lonavala (never ask either Shobha or Vikram how to pronounce it) and we took our bags to get into, or rather pack ourselves into a Swaraj Mazda. We were supposed to stay at Rainbow Resorts. It was so picturesque and near to the fabled Mumbai Pune Expressway.

We left our bags in our room (not rooms), refreshed ourselves and were ready by ten to set out for the real adventures. The first spot was the Big Z waterfalls at Khandala. The waterfall was will hidden in the bushes and we had to make our way through thick greenery that grew on slippery paths that went winding through the crevices and the gaps between tree trunks. We could hear the loud hush of water falling on the rocks. Our excitement was intensifying with the sound (remember the inverse-square laws?)
On clearing some bushes, we were surprised to see droplets of water fly as a misty cloud and kiss our face. We could not resist getting drenched and we hopped into the water only to get banged on our backs by the heavy blobs that were falling from such a great height. We waded through the flow to explore the ‘other side’ of the waterfall which was rather calm and more like a natural swimming pool. After spending some peaceful, funny (hitting waters on each other) and thrilling (Tasneem almost drowned and Gowtham saved her), we had our lunch at some Gujrati hotel. The taste was enough to satisfy our hunger (Our Kaiyaendhi Bhavan’s are far better…believe me..) but the best part in that hotel was the hotel backyard. I do not want to say much. The pic says it all.

From there we left for our rooms, changed and set on a dull-mood trip to Aamby Valley City. However, our mood changed when we reached there. Now, I know why the Indian Cricket team, Anna Kournikova and Richard Gere have their house in that beautiful place. The place even has a private-jet runway.
It was thriller-time again then. Our dear Swaraj Mazda was void of diesel, in the middle of the road… amid the pitch darkness. What a wonderful moment it was!! After the arrival o the rescue-party, we went back to our rooms and came out in a little while, for the camp-fire. We came back to the rooms after the camp-fire after some fun, fight, and photographs, we want to our rooms to get our share of sleep.
We got up pretty late the next morning. One among Lakshmy’s many (read: a million) friends, one happened to come over there. We left Lakshmy in the resort and left for the caves, which were some ten kilometers form the resort. I was in the van and the van had already left before Loveena, Harikanth, Tasneem and Shobha could make it. I made friends with a dog which was near the cave and spent time with that creature until they arrived there by an auto. Our tour party was already coming down when we were starting our way up, but that would, in no way, stop is from seeing the place fully.
The place was absolutely spectacular. Mukesh Ambani could give all the riches he has, but can never get a place to stay, like those Buddhist monks have. A waterfall which is like a curtain to the rocky main door, and stairways leading to rooms which have windows opening the view to the mountainous grandeur. After taking a few snaps there, we came back to the resort and spent a few moments packing stuff there and spending some time in the swings and slides, we went to shop at Lonavala for chikkis. After a heavvvvy™ lunch, we went to the station to board the train..
The train journey was full of drama and tension-there was an unclaimed baggage in our compartment ans it was, as usual, suspected to be a bomb. However, it was found that it belonged to an innocent, old man.
The best part of the journey was that, I played dumb-charades on the train. This happened after a long time and I was lost in nostalgic moments of those college days. After playing on some seventy-odd films, we went to sleep (and each one was able to sleep on one berth each). We reached Hyderabad the next morning after all those adventures and fun and the unforgettable train journey which proved that space is not a constraint for any adventure or fun.