Saturday, 3 January, 2009

A tribute to my Adopted extended family

It’s been four years since we came to Mumbai. Relocating to Mumbai was a tough decision to make as Mumbai always brought an image of cramped spaces and underworld, thanks to some Malayalam movies. Another aspect that added to our indecision was that I’d to quit my job of three months. We even thought of Unny going there temporarily (his company wanted him to set up a team in Mumbai) and I staying back in Chennai. But that was too much for me to bear – staying away from Unny for a long duration. Finally, after a lot of deliberations, we decided we’d try Mumbai out when our youth still remains. And I was pretty sure to get a job in the city of opportunities, which turned out exactly the same way.

The initial days were too oppressive – everything unknown. I brushed up my Hindi, but was bombarded by Marathi. Comparison between a nice, large 2-BHK and the compact 1-BHK at double the rent added to the irritation. Our top-of-the-mind thought was ‘how to go back’.

Then Nature Knights happened. I chanced upon an event listing in a website, wherein a one-day trek to Peb Fort was listed. We registered for this, wanting to get out of the daily hectic schedule and busy city life. On February 27, 2005, we did our first trek with Nature Knights. We were worried about our ability to do the trek and if they would accept our limitations. The ever-cheerful Nimesh, who was leading the trek, made us relax and finish this somewhat difficult trek with ease.

A slice from the Tikona trek
There’s no looking back since then. We participated in a few more treks, got to know Asif, the founder of the group, his family, and other senior members more; the bonding ensued unconsciously. Nature Knights became our extended family.

Another slice from Mahuli trek
Nature Knights is an eco-adventure/trekking organisation, founded 20 years back by Asif, a nature, wildlife, and adventure enthusiast. What started as a nature club by a group of like-minded friends has grown today into an organisation involved in trekking and other adventure activities, in addition to facilitating corporate outbound training as well as adventure activities for kids and families. Asif's long-term girlfriend and now wife Lopa is his pillar of support while Nimesh and Dnyanesh act as his left and right hands; rest of us tag along.
Lopa & Asif
For us, apart from having our share of adventure, fun, and a lot of learning, we’ve got a bunch of friends, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces – the newest one was born day before yesterday.
The family is ever-expanding with a few participants getting bowled over, like we did, by the Nature Knights spirit during each event and coming back for more. Asif, Lopa, and their daughter Anoushka along with other knights are there with open arms to welcome everyone into this cheerful family.
Unny's b'day celebration with Nature Knights
At this juncture, as we just stepped into another year, I salute the wonderful Nature Knights, of which I am proud to be a part of. Mumbai is not oppressive any more; 1-BHK house is not very small; and I understand a bit of Marathi. Our youth still remains. And we have second thoughts about going back.

To know more about Nature Knights, have a look here
Asif, Nimesh and Dnyanesh
A photo feature of our first trek, Peb Fort, is here.


!! Oxymoron !! 7 January 2009 at 9:07 am  

Hi Bindhu! Nice post, nicer pictures! Some of my friends are trekking regulars, though, I've never tried it myself (unless you consider trekking to the second floor of my apartments..!!). However, in two weeks, I am going to Pollachi for some wildlife trekking..! Cant wait!!

!! Oxymoron !! 7 January 2009 at 9:10 am  

..and oh! I read your oxymoron post too! Some more - pretty ugly, true lie!

Bindhu Unny 7 January 2009 at 5:07 pm  

Oxymoron: I feel odd addressing you like that :-). Thanks for coming here. Enjoy your trip to Pollachi and the trekking. Do post on that too.


Ranjith chemmad / ചെമ്മാടൻ 7 January 2009 at 10:30 pm  

wish u guys all the very best of ur future travelling dicissions!!!
and heartly congraaaaaaaats

മുസാഫിര്‍ 8 January 2009 at 5:51 pm  

It was really nice to learn about your extended family and their activities !

Bindhu Unny 8 January 2009 at 9:17 pm  

രണ്‍ജിത് ചെമ്മാട്, മുസാഫിര്‍: Thanks

Dnyanesh 9 January 2009 at 9:18 pm  

hey people,
gr8 job. Nice start to the 2nd decade celebration of Nature Knights. As more and more people join this extended family and attain 'Knighthood' we are sure to have many more adventure filled years ahead.
Proud to be a NATURE KNIGHT
Happy new year!

Ramaaah 10 January 2009 at 3:01 pm  

Hi Bindu n Unny, its a coincidence that i too came to Mumbai 4 yrs back and share the same feelings like urs about Asif's team. NK is like an extended family to me, a support to survive alone in Mumbai.

Bindhu Unny 10 January 2009 at 10:03 pm  

Dnyanesh: Thanks and let's have more adventure and fun :-)

Ramaaah: Nice to know we're family :-)

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