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Lavasa:My Appeal to the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India, New Delhi

January 3rd, 2011

To,

Shri Bharat Bhushan

Director

Government of India

Ministry of Environment & Forests

Paryavaran Bhavan

CGO Complex, Lodhi Road

New Delhi – 110 003

Dear Shri Bharat Bhushan,

The object of government in peace and in war is not the glory of rulers or of races, but the happiness of the common man.

– Lord William Beveridge (1879 – 1963)

25th November 2010 was one of the saddest days of my life when the MOEF using its powers brought work at Lavasa to a standstill. Lavasa was to be a benchmark for future Indian cities – the world would not consider Indian infrastructure companies & Indian architecture as third-world any longer. This was to be the showcase of Indian environment planning & city-planning for the world. I am a fertility physician & have done my bit in bringing India on the world-map (see http://www.iwannagetpregnant.in). I am one of the National experts appointed by the Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi to formulate National Assisted Reproductive Technology Guidelines, which are now with the Law Ministry about to be presented in Parliament. I felt proud that we could now showcase India to the world and am planning my retirement at Lavasa. I have also volunteered my services for treating the local tribals & the poor villagers in the area. I am keen to drive the Reproductive Medical Tourism Program at the Apollo Lavasa Hospital and make it an Asian hub for ART treatments.

I started visiting Lavasa about four years ago and have seen the city take shape. I have seen the care with which the city-planners have developed the present-form of the city taking care of the natural habitat. Only when I was mentally convinced that this is truly an environment-friendly, nature friendly & socially responsible city did I buy a home in Lavasa, which I intended to move in by March 2011. I have invested my life’s savings to buy this home in Lavasa. It took me years to save for a home and it was quite a blow to have my dreams crushed with a dictatorial order.

As a fellow Indian, you should be proud of this city. I have traveled widely across India lecturing in almost all corners of our country. I have never seen such inclusive development in any other city. I want you to visit Lavasa & see what exemplary work has been done here. The government of Maharashtra should be lauded for their vision. This project brings roads, electricity, revenues, jobs & a sense of National pride to this previously “backward” area. As a Gynecologist interacting with locals, I have heard horror stories of women dying in childbirth & babies stuck in the birth-canal & being taken on make-shift stretchers over 8-24 hours down to Pune. The infrastructure & roads developed here because of this project have made these 6-year-old horror stories obsolete. Today, the poor have an OPD at a tertiary hospital at Lavasa. Today, you have locals with Tata-Sky dishes on every house in the surrounding villages. Today, you have no unemployment in this region. This is Lavasa. This is the truth.

I am witness to the massive tree-replantation measures, hydro-seeding to prevent slope erosions & conservation of local flora and fauna through such diverse measures as pisciculture & aviculture. As a responsible medical practitioner, I have seen the trouble the Lavasa environment team has taken to grow Ayurvedic plants in and around the region to keep our medical heritage alive.

The CMD’s dream is to set up a museum here that will depict the history, art, culture, medicine & heritage of the state of Maharashtra. Please do not get taken in by ‘professional” infrastructure-opposers & ”professional” anti-India” NGOs and movements. These individuals and NGOs only work to stop development & infrastructure in India. If this was not a democracy and it was China, they would be locked away for a lifetime and the keys thrown away. Be proud to be an Indian & help us re-start the city. I truly hope and pray that you can convince the Hon. Minister, MOEF to visit Lavasa once personally & interact with citizens of “Free India”. He will go down in the history books as hero for having seen the truth once he clears Lavasa from its present shackles of court-stays. This is the future India that the next generation will enjoy.

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit” – Nelson Henderson (1902-1976)

Jai Hind! Jai Maharashtra!

Thanking you,

Yours Sincerely,

Dr Gautam Nandkishore Allahbadia MD, DNB

Copy to:

1. Shri Jairam Ramesh

Minister of State (Independent Charge)

Ministry of Environment and Forests

Government of India

Ministry of Environment & Forests

Paryavaran Bhavan

CGO Complex, Lodhi Road

New Delhi – 110 003

Telephone:+91-11- 24360605, 24360570, 24360519

2. Shri Prithviraj Dajisaheb Chavan,

Chief Minister of Maharashtra;

Government of Maharashtra

Office of the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, Mantralaya, Mumbai-

400032.

Tel. No. 22025151, 22025222, Fax 22029214,

PRO Cell : Fax : 22817068

3. Smt. Supriya Sule

Member of Parliament (Loksabha)

Address: 6, Janpath Road,New Delhi – 110 001,

Tels. (011) 23018870, 23018619 9820060033 (M)

Fax (011)23018609

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Lavasa Rules!

I was on my last egg-pickup procedure & it was already 2:00pm. The ribbon cutting ceremony was scheduled for 5:00pm. I left the clinic immediately after the patient was settled and got into a big traffic pile-up at Chembur! The express-way was empty at that time of the afternoon & I clocked just over 80 minutes to reach the end of the expressway. Once you turn right from the expressway, it is exactly 20 kms to the Chandni Chowk underpass which leads to the Pirangut-Paud tollgate. Taking the short-cut from just before Pirangut passing the Indai Lawns, I cruised onto the Lavabahn at 4 pm.It would have taken me just 30 minutes more to reach Lavasa, but I was hypnotized by the shades of green, rust & reds.dsc00520dsc00528 March was a different spectacle altogether from February! The Jowar crop had just been harvested & the dried fields were being converted to bundles of hay. I would have thought that the heat would have turned everything around into shades of brown, but I was surprised to see nascent green all around. The 30 minute jouney now took two hours & I fell in love with the wild flowers all over again. dsc00530These were a completely new set of species, which were not seen in the past six months. The majestic trees on both sides of the Lavabahn were swathed with a sheet of exotic red flowers. The helipad appeared around a curve in the road & seeing the helicopter, I realized how late I was. I reached the lobby bang in the middle of the Inaugural ceremony. Hugged my buddies & rushed up to freshen up. Another pleasant surprise – a WOW room!!! ITC has again excelled itself & have created a lovely hotel with ultramodern comforts. Rushed down, but the ceremony was over. Decided to visit Jimmy Shaw’s Waterfront Serviced Apartments. Fida & Jimmy took us for a sneak preview – “WOW-WOW”- this was a whopper surprise. Beautiful & spacious serviced apartments with every imaginable five star amenity in these 43 apartments! The future of Lavasa had arrived. We had time to kill & decided to “experience’ the LEC (LAVASA EXPERIENCE CENTER) next to the Fortune building. Another architectural masterpiece – Elegant straight lines, a airy majestic atrium & a superlative auditorium. This indeed is the showcase of modern India! dsc00540

Around me I hear my friends Deepak & Jimmy remarking on the several species of birds that have congregated on the broken limbs of what at one time must have been beautiful proud trees.  And that’s when it hits me.  This wasn’t always a dried up grove.  At some point this was probably a full and lush grove of trees.  They once claimed this space for themselves.  They lived here, providing a safe haven for countless generations of creatures.  Somehow over the course of time these trees became a casualty of the elements to which they were exposed. Slowly, they succumbed, one by one to the inevitable effects of being deprived of water.  The little collection of trees, that had managed to survive for years unattended, died.  Now only a few brave soldiers still stand tall and proud.  You can see them trying so hard to maintain their dignity as all around them life goes on. At first glance it’s easy to overlook them.  We tend to get so caught up on the hustle and bustle of the life we see all around them.  This bird or that one going about their daily life with the same nearsightedness from which we all suffer.  Each keeping to themselves, going about their day and following their own urgent agenda. It’s not so difficult to understand.  We are ourselves a reflection of the nature we came out here to be with.  At one point or another all of us have been exposed to loss and grief.  Though we might think we’ll never survive such losses; we inevitably do.  As is in the human spirit, we survive and overcome and manage to live day to day in spite of it all. dsc00576dsc00583dsc00596dsc00597These once magnificent trees are a testament to the frailty and beauty of life.  They have struggled through many changes and managed to remain standing through many seasons.  And though they stand here before me; I know they are dying.  Life is no longer theirs to have.  They are destined to keep struggling everyday for that last shred of sunlight to touch their trunks before finally giving in to the red caked earth below. They have so much they would like to tell us.  But it’s hard to hear them over the squawking migratory white birds nearby.  It’s only when we stop and find some stillness that we can hear their tale.
All of us had congregated at Lavasa to witness the grand opening of the ITC Fortune select Dasve Hotel.dsc00609 Our honorable MP Sou Supriya Suleji had inaugurated the hotel & the celebratory party was a few hours down the evening. A group of us friends decided to take a walk around the lake & that is where we discovered this dead patch of trees. The most visionary project taken up by Team Lavasa is the re-forestation of barren slopes & the re-greening of the hillsides which have been cut to make way for the Lavabahn that is the connecting artery to the outside world. This is such a serene world by the lakeside. A beautiful blend of nature & its eco-friendly environment. We walked ahead from this barren area towards the dam and on towards the Portofino street. Jimmy had also inaugurated his out-of-the-world American Diner (A replica of the successful restaurant from India Habitat Center, New Delhi)  that afternoon. We were in for a pleasant surprise… our first onion rings & peanut butter smoothies in Lavasa. We were joined by Dr & Mrs Suri who had also come in from Mumbai for the Fortune launch.dsc00532
The Fortune Select Dasve looked resplendant & bedecked in shimmering lights like a newly wed bride. The glitter of the sparkling lights reflected off the serene waters of the lake. We walked across the “venetian” bridge & joined the party on the lawns of this magnificient building.

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Lavasa Is Red

Red Translations

red in Afrikaans is rood
red in Dutch is rood, blozend
red in Finnish is punainen
red in French is rouge
red in German is rot
red in Italian is vermiglio, rosso
red in Latin is rutilus, puniceus, rufus
red in Portuguese is vermelho
red in Spanish is tinto, rojo

dsc00587dsc00591dsc00626dsc00633Color is an intense experience on its own.
-Jim Hodges

Lavasa is gorgeous. The sunshine in Lavasa is gorgeous red in March. Red is any of a number of similar colors evoked by light consisting predominantly of the longest wavelengths of light discernible by the human eye. In human color psychology, red is associated with heat, energy and blood, and emotions that “stir the blood”, including anger, passion, and love! Lavasa in March is the season of Love. The word red comes from the Old English rēad. Further back, the word can be traced to the Proto-Germanic rauthaz and the Proto-Indo European root reudh. This is the only color word which has been traced to an Indo-European root. In Sanskrit, the word rudra means red. In the English language, the word red is associated with the color of blood, certain flowers (e.g. roses), and ripe fruits (e.g. apples, cherries). Fire is also strongly connected, as is the sun and the sky at sunset. Red is frequently used as a symbol of guilt, sin and anger, often as connected with blood or sex. A biblical example is found in Isaiah: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” The association with love and beauty is possibly related to the use of red roses as a love symbol. Both the Greeks and the Hebrews considered red a symbol of love, as well as sacrifice.

Red is the ultimate cure for sadness.
-Bill Blass

dsc006462dsc00654dsc00658dsc00659dsc00661dsc00663
I was having my “missing-Lavasa” pangs & drove down Friday afternoon to my destination of dreams. Had my usual addictive “batata-wada-pao” on the express-way & zoomed onto the Lavabahn, which was as inviting and pristine as ever. The “short-cut” from just before Pirangut towards Lavarde has been tarred & widened for 3/4ths of its length. The Beamer slipped over the top of the Lavabahn like “makkhan”! On the ascent, I noticed the forest covered in red!! The color red is associated with lust, passion, love, and beauty as well. These 4 words describe Lavasa as well. The trees were swathed with red flowers (genus unknown!).The usual drive from the beginning of the Lavabahn takes just 30 minutes, but this time I took all of 75 minutes to reach the Lavasa Dwaar; making many short halts on the way admiring & photographing nature in its full glory. The red flowers on the trees were mesmerizing. The flowers were glowing in the radiant sunlight like fireflies around a bright flame! This was in stark contrast to the jowar fields which were enveloped in rust-brown shades with a little green of dried grass peeking through. This was hay-making time & the villagers along the route were making bundles of hay. The jowar pods reminded me of how life begins from earth & ends there too. The wild shrubs by the sides of the Lavabahn were also sprouting flowers in shades of purple. Nature seemed to be smiling in March.
I got out of my car and decided to take a walk on the wild side.  As I walked and thought about what to spot that resembled nature, I would notice trees with palm-like fronds, flowers, grass, and birds of assorted kinds.  Some of these trees were as high as a third floor building. Nature is amazing no matter how it is created.These huge trees with the red flowers were the predominant feature of my tryst with Lavasa this time.

And then I passed through the Lavasa Dwaar. The landscape here was well organized.  I mean if nature had done it by itself, I know it would not look the same.  Since man organized it, it was different.  It was different in a pretty way though.  The different plants organized in such a manner.  One kind of flowers was in a row and another kind was in a row in back.  The way they placed vines to spread in a certain manner around the plants made it more colorful.  All this was close to the helipad and not a forest, yet it was nature. The sun shone however, it seemed that its rays never quite made it to the deep nature trail created by the Ekaant team which leads to the Dwaar.  Nonetheless, my surroundings seemed to have no complaints at all.  The wild bush, medicinal plants and trees, and flowering shrubs danced merrily to the tune of the wind.  It was then that I realized that even though it was Indian summer time, the area was filled with a colorful scenery.  Adding to the hues of nature were some birds who hung out nonchalantly waiting for a bite to eat.  As I stood there feeling the  wind against my cheeks, I couldn’t help but admire nature’s unique way of taking care of its creatures. I think what impressed me the most was the number of different species that shared the same abode without threatening each other’s territory.

I now spend my days at Lavasa fleeting from flower to flower, photographing these miracles of nature and I’ve discovered that I am not alone. There are hundreds of butterflies out there, in all the hues of nature. For now, it is enough that I have become what I was meant to be and the flowers seem equally happy.

The true color of life is the color of the body, the color of the covered red, the implicit and not explicit red of the living heart and the pulses. It is the modest color of the unpublished blood.
-Alice Meynell

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Tuk-Tuk to Lavasa

dscf98683We must get beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths… and tell the world the glories of our journey. -John Hope Franklindscf00062dscf00652

An auto rickshaw or tuk tuk (auto, rick, autorick or rickshaw in popular parlance) is a motor vehicle that is one of the chief modes of transport across many parts of South and East Asia, especially as a vehicle for hire. It is a motorized version of the traditional rickshaw ordscf99672 velotaxi, a small three-wheeled cart driven by a person, and is related to the cabin cycle. Auto rickshaws are particularly popular where traffic congestion is a problem and is most preferred by the cost-conscious developing economies. They are common in many Asian cities like Bangkok, Pune, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad , and Bangalore, and some can be seen on the streets of China Town in London. Auto rickshaws are often portrayed in Indian films (Auto Shankar, Basha, Aye Auto, Oram Po) dscf00742dscf00992as well as some Hollywood and foreign productions such as the James Bond film Octopussy and the Canada-India film Amal. Auto rickshaws are also prominent in the fuel-poor London of 2027 A.D. depicted in Children of Men. A memorable tuk-tuk chase features in the Thai film Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior, climaxing with many of them driving off the edge of an unfinished elevated expressway. James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) rides in a tuk-tuk in a Visa Card commercial seen here! And why am I talking about autorickshaws today? Because I just discovered a new land-route to Lavasa via our humble autorickshaw(see photos).I chased the autorickshaw for almost a Km and realized that it was ascending the ghats with a 8-pax load effortlessly. Eureka – another way to reach the Land of Zeus! If you reach Pirangut at the foothills of the Sahyadridscf01002dscf01052(which is amply connected to Pune), you could take an autorickshaw to Lavasa:)))

A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made. The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air. -Eric Sloane

The colors of Lavasa change every month. The township is growing day &; night. There are over 12,000 workers giving it all they have 7 x 24! The predominant color now is rust, which goes very well with the red earth color of the terrain. The Warasgaon lake is shrinking at a rapid pace throwing up swathes of red earth giving dramatic pictures.The shrubbery is dry &; literally crackles under your feet. The very much remembered Eric Sloanes lines as above withdscf98202 every step I took. The lake is like a picture post-card now, with migratory birds in droves sitting on the branches of an inaccessible part of the outer boundaries of the Dasave lake. The multicolored flowers complement dscf98292the rusty dried bush all around. It is as if a life cycle of Nature is in active motion all around… new life blooming and old life getting recycled into the red earth.”Ashes to ashes, dust to dust” — A phrase from the English burial service, used sometimes to denote total finality. It is based on scriptural texts such as ‘Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return’ (Genesis 3:19), and ‘I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee’ (Ezekiel 27:18). Physically, we are made of chemicals – a carbon based life-form, so we come from the earth and when we die, we re-enter the carbon cycle. For our lifetimes we have a consciousness and many would say a spirit/soul as well as the use of atoms from planet earth – on death, our mortal remains naturally return our chemicals to the earth/system. The Bible and the burial service both reflect the transient state of human life in those words….I think the same goes for the Nature around us.. ditto for the flowers & the shrubs &; the trees of Lavasa…. Let me now tell you about the first love of my life – the seas…..dscf98322dscf98642dscf98682

“Many’s the night I spent with Minnie the Mermaid, Down at the bottom of the sea. There among the corals, That’s where I lost my morals, Gee but she was good to me, oh, oh, oh, Ashes to ashes and dust to dust, Two twin beds and only one of them mussed … It goes on from there for a bit. -Anonymous

At Lavasa, it is the huge expanses of sweet-water that are the love-of-my-life. And then I glided on the waters of both the lakes – The Dasave Lake on a Pontoon Boat &; the Warasgaon Lake on an Inflatable search-and-rescue dingy with a fast Mercury outboard motor! We darted over the waves at around 60 kms/hour, skimmed the water in chilling curves and zoomed into the rising sun at 6:30am! They have the water “scooters”, the sea “Vespas”. No licence is required and it is so easy to ride them that not even a course is necessary. In case of fall, nothing to fear: a device turns off the engine and the vehicle remains standing in order to enable its passenger to climb up and start again.Cedwyn &; his team have started the marina activities only on December 01, 2008 &; have already kicked up the expectations sky-high! For the more athletic ones you can try water skiing; those who do not have a weak heart can experience the thrill of paraflying, that is flying with a paraglider following a motorboat; those who only want to have fun in groups can try the pontoon boats or the crazy-squirty-bumper-boats. A pontoon is a flat-bottomed boat simply constructed from closed cylinders such as pipes or barrels creating a raft (See video). Pontoon boats generally are low cost and less expensive to insure than a normal boat, even when equipped with engines of over 200hp. They are also almost foolproof to operate and cannot be sunk. Their shallow draft also reduces damage from submerge collisions and being run aground. Pontoon boats are also used asdscf98713dscf98832 small vehicle ferries to cross rivers and lakes in many parts of the world, especially in Africa. Pontoon ferries may be motorised, such as the Kazungula Ferry across the Zambezi River, or powered by another boat, or pulled by cables. A type of ferry known as the cable ferry (called ‘punts’ in Australia and New Zealand) pull themselves across a river using a motor or human power applied to the cable, which also guides the pontoon. In the rural town of Richmond, MN, a farmer called Ambrose Weeres had an idea that if you put a wooden deck on top of two columns of steel barrels welded together end to end, you would have a sturdy deck that would be more stable on a lake than a conventional boat. This proved to be right. dscf99342dscf99622Being in the land of 10,000 lakes, Ambrose thought this idea might have some potential to be marketed. He started out building a few boats and sold them with the help of select dealers. He needed a name for his first pontoon and he couldn’t think of a better name than “The Empress”, because of what it started. He never knew how popular these boats would be. Some time later, Ambrose was labeled “Mr. Pontoon” for his invention of the pontoon boat and was elected to the Minnesota Marina Hall of Fame for his accomplishments.India has imported its first Pontoon Boat for the Dasave Lake Family Cruises. You can hardly hear the silent petrol engine that takes the Pontoons effortlessly across the lake. You could have cocktail dinners on the Pontoons & would not spill a drop from a full glass of your favorite cocktail. Cheers!!!!

We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment. ~Hilaire Belloc

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The Lavabahn, Cloudscapes & Artichokes of LaVaSa

We write to taste life twice, in the moment, and in retrospection. We write, like Proust, to render all of it eternal, and to persuade ourselves that it is eternal. We write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it.
-Anaïs Nin, entry for February 1954, in The Diary of Anaïs Nin

As little as five years from now, a sprawling township will spread across the Mose valley. Hindustan Construction Corporation (HCC) — that has a 60 per cent stake holding in the Lavasa project with the LM Thapar group, Venkateshwara Hatcheries and private investors for company — believes that by then there will be 100,000 primary inhabitants and a floating population of a million. Their vision is of a self-sufficient hill town. The likeness, if all goes to plan, will be to Davos. Nearly 12,500 acres of high valley land, contracted by Lavasa, circling most of the 20-km dammed Varasgaon lake, is in the throes of massive infrastructure building. The approach highway is the first sign, leading up to a network of arterial and trunk roads. For now, all roads lead to three hotels that are under construction, with a total room size of 560. To be managed by the Novotel, Starwood and ITC chains, they will be the first to see completion later this year. An 18-hole golf course is being laid out, a club house planned and, eventually, shopping centres. 

The star attraction at Lavasa is the waterfront; all development springs around it. According to locals, however, Varasgaon lake actually all but dries up in the months leading up to the monsoon. That problem has been addressed. HCC, with their strength in infrastructure, has built a mini dam that has created a reservoir holding of 1.8 million cubic metres of water. Eighteen such dams and check dams will ensure year-round lake views. Dasve’s architectural style is derived from the fashionable resort town of Portofino (Italy) and its pastel-coloured coastal residences, Damanhole in Phase 2 will sport a Western Ghat vernacular style.

A Hill Station encapsulated inside the mystic Sahyadri ranges provides a perfect setting for a getaway for many a travelers and tourists. The maddening pace of city life, the endless traffic jams, and the stifling work cubicle…is all conveniently forgotten at Lavasa wherein different kinds of leisure and recreation activities provide a refreshing escape from the metropolis. Lavasa offers exciting diversions such as star-gazing, boating, treks & relaxing. There are also cinemas, theatres, parks and meditation centers planned over the next decade. Setting new benchmarks in construction, planning and service delivery Lavasa offers its residents a level of town infrastructure hitherto, unknown in India. The high quality roads to Lavasa would provide total connectivity to its residents and visitors. Lavasa is approached by various routes. World-class road from the Chandni Chowk (Pune) to Lavasa makes traveling speedy and comfortable. I have christened the road from Pirangut to Lavasa as the Lavabahn (Autobahn – (German: IPA: [ˈaʊtoːbaːn], plural Autobahnen; English) is the German word for a major high-speed road restricted to motor vehicles capable of driving at least 60 km/h (37 mph) and having full control of access, similar to a motorway or freeway in English-speaking countries.).This road was laid out three years ago & has weathered 4 Western Ghat Monsoons with not a pot-hole along its length. this actually tells you the whole story about corruption and Mumbai Municipal Corporation Road Contractors!). Along the Autobahn, the drivers can stop at rest areas for fuel, food and beverages. In Germany, they are called Raststätte(n), while in Austria they are known as Raststation(en). These rest areas have restaurants serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurants may legally serve alcoholic beverages. Many of the rest stops also have motels. In Germany, the rest areas were operated by a government-owned company until 1998, when it was privatised. On our Lavabahn you get excellent Masala Chai with Jaggery (Instead of Sugar) at small village rest areas selling Chaha! Just before you leave urbanization, there are numerous small & medium sized hotels & restaurants selling Bata-Wada & Masala-Chai.

The best Cloudscapes on the Lavabahn are seen between 9am and 11am and then again 5pm and 7pm in the monsoons.The color of a cloud tells much about what is going on inside the cloud. Clouds form when relatively warm air containing water vapor is lighter than its surrounding air and this causes it to rise. As it rises it cools and the vapor condenses out of the air as micro-droplets. These tiny particles of water are relatively densely packed and sunlight cannot penetrate far into the cloud before it is reflected out, giving a cloud its characteristic white color. As a cloud matures, the droplets may combine to produce larger droplets, which may combine to form droplets large enough to fall as rain. In this process of accumulation, the space between droplets becomes larger and larger, permitting light to penetrate much farther into the cloud. If the cloud is sufficiently large and the droplets within are spaced far enough apart, it may be that a percentage of the light which enters the cloud is not reflected back out before it is absorbed (Think of how much farther one can see in a heavy rain as opposed to how far one can see in a heavy fog). This process of reflection/absorption is what leads to the range of cloud color from white through grey through black. For the same reason, the undersides of large clouds and heavy overcasts appear various degrees of grey; little light is being reflected or transmitted back to the observer. Other colours occur naturally in clouds. Bluish-grey is the result of light scattering within the cloud. A greenish tinge to a cloud is produced when sunlight is scattered by ice. A cumulonimbus cloud which shows green is an imminent sign of heavy rain, hail, strong winds and possible tornadoes. Red, orange and pink clouds occur almost entirely at sunrise/sunset and are the result of the scattering of sunlight by the atmosphere. The clouds are not that color; they are reflecting the long (and unscattered) rays of sunlight which are predominant at those hours. The effect is much the same as if one were to shine a red spotlight on a white sheet. In combination with large, mature thunderheads this can produce blood-red clouds.The sky is a veritable canvas at Lavasa. Ekaant is the place for cloud-gazing & the best cloudscapes from Ekaant are visible at Dawn/Dusk.

Saturday morning I was woken up with the whiff of fresh “Bhuttas” wafting into the clouds entering my bedroom at Ekaant. I was wondering at the odd sense of timing of roasting Bhuttas & then heard the pitter-patter of kid’s feet. On looking out of the Balcony, saw over a dozen kids being chased by a Yogi Bear. This was my first introduction to children’s voices & laughter at Ekaant. The kids were having a blast. Yogi Bear was a big hit & now was being chased by the tots into the Ekaant lobby. The parents were getting them to pose with Yogi Bear for their proud vacation snaps. Lavasa had something for all ages.

Had got up late & decided on an early Lunch. I was the first resident to come in for lunch into the multi-cuisine restaurant. I was greeted by the new F & B manager Mr Pant who requested for ten minutes before the buffet would be served. we got talking and incidentally he had set-up one my my favorite watering-holes at the Radisson, Jalandhar in 1999. Since I work 5 days a month at Jalandhar since 1999, someone talking about Jack-Daniel’s got me hooked! Jack Daniel’s is the finest pub one can find in North India at one of the most unlikeliest of towns-Jalandhar. I was amazed at the buffet layout- there was an artichoke salad, a tandoori-chicken salad, deicious prawn-curry at 2500 feet above sea level topped off with hot Kheer-Sevian. As I was finishing my Lunch, the gang of kids accompanied by a large tourist group descended on the Restaurant. I decided to leave behind the fun and frolic & laughter and take a walk around the Lake. The Dasve Lake which is designed to provide sporting and recreational facilities is enhanced by a 2.4 kms promenade which once completed, will form part of the retail and entertainment hub at Lavasa. With arbours, pedestrian bridges, shopping enclaves and dining areas, this will be the heart of Dasve. I was back to where I belonged – the time of the day not-withstanding. This was bliss.

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” 
-John Muir (1838-1914)

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