Mumbai is known for its beautiful, mesmerizing monsoons and this year the rains just don’t seem to stop. This is motivation enough to let go off the sunday sleep and get set on a trail in the backcountry to explore the mountains, get away from the city chaos, weekend traffic and find some time with family and spend those tiny moments of contentment.
Today, began in a similar way. Everything was set and arranged for, to visit some ancient buddhist caves that date back to the second century at a village called Kondane , about two and half hours from the city of mumbai. Our joinees were kids tagged along by their dads or mums or both. Some kids wanted to have fun all by themselves, so they came solo. These caves also have a small waterfall around them which becomes a major attraction for the young bees and a great stress buster for the parents. The hike being simple in grade doesn’t really wear one out,but the slippery muddy feet and little patches of rocks do add in their share of adventure. The trail begins through a small village that makes one wonder of how life would be , living in a far off place that doesn’t have local transport, no constant electricity and houses that don’t have doors to their rooms! Now thats surely a starter to be grateful of having the lifestyle that we have!
This small troop of hikers explored the hills and the forests to finally reach their highest summit point after an hour. All through that hour there were so many little moments of meaningfulness that transpired amongst them. Our team witnessed these, and their hearts glowed with warmth and love. Kids went all out to help other kids, make sure that they were safe, their friends were safe. They were ready to take on adventures and face whatever came on their way. The curiosity that arose on seeing insects, different shades of greens, small water lodges, algae covered rocks, slimy mosses were interesting to witness. The conversations that happened between kids and their parents had that extra element of fun, and nurture of being in the outdoors. Like some unsaid ties had broken loose and the parent bird can give a slight push to the baby bird to realise the strength of their wings. As facilitators, the minimal intervention works best in an outdoor hiking setting. A few loaded questions sets up the momentum in a different direction and you know the families are going to be in a different state of mind all day. The beauty about this experience is the great sense of achievement that they feel individually and as a team together to have accomplished what looks like a massive task. To overcome thirst, hunger, full bladders, fatigue, buzzing insects, slippery paths, sleep and yet come back having the best experience when all this washes out owing to those chilled gushing waters from the fall, relieves all the anxieties and angst, the kids and even adults feel the exuberance from a state of self reward. It works wonders.
As parents we always want to try and give the best of the things to our kids, be it education, extra curriculars, gadgets, accessories etc. The emerging era of parenting has now started showing a shift in their approach of learning for their kids, and it’s commendable to see young parents go out of their way to engage their kids in various experiences beyond classrooms. They say, kids have an outrageous potential for exploration, and if that is mentored and supported by an adult, it can become a great transforming tool for the kids overall development in their various forms of intelligences. Spending time with your kids in the outdoors in a hike like today is a great booster for them. It changes the quotient between kids, their parents and even siblings.
Bonding over a hike surely demands efforts, but every bit is worth is !
By : Charmi Gada
28th August 2016.