June 2015: I flew from Mumbai to Bangalore to spectate a sporting tournament. I had just discovered that Ultimate is seemingly fastest growing sport in the country. Till then I only thought of this game as Frisbee / Disc Flying, that we play when holidaying outdoors.
(Photos Courtesy: Deepthi)
Event: Bangalore Ultimate Open (BUO) 2015 had 31 teams participate from across the country, with a large number of teams from Bangalore and Chennai.
Venue: Jain International Residential School. I am amazed to see the school that could offer 7 large fields for parallel matches, and that its curriculum is tailored to get young students participate actively in sports through its dedicated Sports Academy.
Uniqueness: The vigour in playing the sport feels comparable to football. And its format combines nuances of rugby, basketball and hockey. What is unique is that Ultimate is a mixed-gender sport, and must have atleast 3 women players, among 7-players a side, on the field at anytime. The sport is self-refereed among the players, and there is a post-match ‘Spirit Circle’ grouping among the playing teams to discuss the game, as one unit. Teams identify, nominate and reward two players (male and female) from the team they just competed with, who they think as ‘Most Spirited Player’ of the opponent team.
Ultimate in India: I happened to sit through the General Body Meeting of UPAI (Ultimate Players Association of India), held openly during a tournament-break. Having been into organizing events and building voluntary organizations, I saw this energetic group very passionate, open and clear about its mission, execution and structure. Particularly, I met Manu Karan who heads College (and School) Sport Development in the country. He offered possibilities to arrange residential coaches, for institute sporting clubs interested to bring in this sport to their campus. IITB junta, lets introduce this sport in our campus.
Note: Thankyou Deepthi (BUO official photographer) for impromptu travel and stay arrangements, and persuading me to write this post.
Location: A Local Train in Mumbai
Time: 8.30am, Office Travel Hours
Observation: Mobile phones with large screens now allow users to watch video content, like an entire movie. If you are travelling in a train or a bus; sitting or standing; you hold the phone for the duration of its use. Some of the smartphones weigh between 120-180 grams. Holding this weight in hand for long durations can be awkward and get painful for the wrist and the fingers.
After clicking these pictures, I started to think of some solution. The one that I could vaguely imagine is an assembly with chest strap or a neck strap, with a flexible cantilever to hold a weight at a distance of upto a foot from the eyes. (Till the head-mounted displays become affordable!)
I had aspired to do an annual year-end yatra
Experience the chilling North India became the mantra
Off we booked an adventurous camp at Darjeeling by YHAI
What a cool experience it was, must express I
Bought a big back-pack to get the proud feeling of being a trekker
Made checklists and filled the bags, as if weight didn’t matter
From Mumbai to West Bengal, journeyed two days in a train
A lot of height up in the mountains, was in the gain
Hey, a broken window in the train gave us an overnight shiver
However, we got all pepped up walking on the Howrah bridge over the Hooghly river
A quick orientation at the base camp gave us some idea of what to expect ahead
Meanwhile, we kept off some ‘excess’ baggage, to get our bags’ weight shed
To start the trek we were first driven to Dhotrey
On the way, we had momos with spicy chutney
All the participants started the walk with enthusiasm
But some of them got a muscular back spasm
After learning to adjust the straps on their bag
The tough going became less of a drag
First halt at Tumling and the delight of a hot soup
Dumb Charades, Antakshari and impromptu dance broke ice among the group
Next leg was a long walk to Kalipokhri
The difficulty level was rising by many a degree
New Year Eve up in the mountains
A lot of fun and frolic, difficult to contain
The highest spot of trek at 12000 feet
An amazing view of Kanchenjunga was waiting to greet
Uphill we climbed to Sandakhphu
Taking unpaved steep short-cut routes quite a few
This one was a daunting part of the 5-day circuit
I got geared to train further and get more fit
A pleasant sunset that evening, and a long-delayed next morning sunrise
Overcame the acute water scarcity surprise
Now it was time for a rolling downhill
Don’t be amazed, this made a few ankles get a kill
Thick forests looked like a green mountain carpet
Gurdum felt so lovely for an amazing evening date
The hospitality of the locals in the lodges at the Highs,
Cheerful smiles, narrow eyes, served us puris and potato fries
Well dressed native damsels were envied by some
The serenity and peace of the Himalayan life felt really awesome
The culmination of the trek was a gentle long walk
I ensured to stroll slow, till it hit 5pm in the clock
Into Rimbik settlements, that have made way in the big Rock
On the return descent off Darjeeling, clouds surrounded our bus
The above experiences would have been different for groups who trekked after us…
Numb hands and feet in the freezing cold waters
Blissful embrace of the mountains and its memories is all that matters
PS: Blog shifted from deepak-malani.blogspot.in
Verghese Kurien worked with several international agencies, either learning modern techniques in dairy farming or getting support or trading. He worked with dairy institutes at New Zealand, and also dealt with World Bank and UNICEF. He was invited by Pakistani and SriLankan governments to replicate ‘Anand pattern’, where he deeply studied and diagnosed what hindered the co-operative model in those places. Kurien’s efforts were honoured with three Padma awards, Ramon Magsaysay award and World Food Prize.
When you work merely for your own profit, the pleasure is transitory, but when you work for others, there is a deeper sense of fulfillment.
(A family friend to Kurien’s wife) You must always remember that you are Kurien’s second wife. His first wife is the dairy
I have always been an employee of the farmers
The more monstrous the crisis, the more I am tempted to rush at it, grasp it by horns and manoeuvre it until it gives me what I want!
With our freedom, we had inherited a bureaucracy, which was designed by the British to rule, not to serve.
When you stand above the crowd, you must be ready to have stones thrown at you.