Friday, March 17, 2006


the dignity township for senior citizens at neral(7kms from matheran) is nearing completion.hopefully most of the external work will be completed before the onset of the monsoon.the annual rainfall in matheran is about 500cm.which is very high compared to the all-india average.last year due to the very heavy rains work had to be stopped several times.we hope and pray that it will not happen so this year.we decided to have the 'gruha pravesham' havan and other religious rituals this month on an auspicious day.13th march was chosen by our family purohit.there were about 450 people who had assembled to participate in the function.the pujas were followed by lunch for the guests and village elders.about 58 cottages will be ready for occupation by end march/1st week of april.we expect most of these to be filled up before june.the administration building,the dining hall and the club house might take another 2 to 3 months for completion.phase 1 would have been completed by is s's dream coming true.

s has decided to stay there temporarily till 1st week of april.on the day of holi,i made another visit.and we decided to go up to matheran and take a look-in after many many years.matheran is about 2500 feet above sea level and is a quiet and beautiful hill station.population is only about 6000.from jumma patti which is the last rail stop, one has to walk up the hills or go on horseback or take a handpulled rickshaw.there is a toy train going right upto matheran, but currently out of order.the distance is covered in approximately one hour.the rickshaw can take only one person.we were three of us and we therefore took three rickshaws.though it was close to noon when we left we did not feel the heat at fact it was very pleasant.the rickshawallas steered the handcart with dexterity on a very kuccha boy pulled the rickshaw and another two boys pushed it from behind.we had some breathtaking view from atop and i took some pictures.we also looked up the neemrana hotels 'verandah in the forest'.they also own 'villa potti pati' at bangalore.this is the best hotel in matheran.the downhill ride was easier and by 3pm we were back in neral for a late lunch.

the evening was spent in various discussions with s and another colleague.we expect to get connectivity through reliance who are the service providers.i plan to spend most of the coming weekends in neral.i love the peace and tranquility at the dignity township.neral is 92 kms from our home at mumbai.the road is excellent and it takes only ninety minutes in the mornings when there is not much traffic and about two hours during day time.i want to make the most of it before the rains arrive.


Lulu said...

hi appa,
thanks for sharing the pictures. matheran has such a special place in my heart. remember how many times i went there for the D.E.A.S camps? we used to walk from jumma patti all the way up to the top. i think it was 8 km only but with the incline it takes a long time. i have forgotten the names of the various points except one - echo point. from this place when you screamed something you will hear an echo. it was very cool. oh yeah, there was sunset point also which was breathtaking. did you visit any of the points? it;s really great to see amma's vision for dignity lifestyle coming to fruition bit by bit.

rums said...

this is such a wonderful project uncle. i saw the times article today where aunty s was quoted. what she is doing is truly admirable. in our busy lives we always overlook the needs of our elders, dignity's efforts are bringing important issues to the forefront.
more power to dignity!!!

gs said...

lulu honey
you missed the honeymoon point.don't forget how many times i dropped you at cst and picked you up from there! thanks to the matheran municpal corporation,cars are not allowed on the hill station.matheran has maintained its pristine,a dime a dozen,no doubt have sprung up.but then you need a roof over your head if you want to spend a holiday there.and particularly so because when it rains,it pours.yes slowly but surely a dream is becoming a reality.

gs said...

thanks rums for your remarks.s is doing a great job.almost single-handedly.the real satisfaction will come though, when dl has the first phase completed and is able to provide personalised service to the elders living there.if things go as per plan,by september/ october first phase should become completely operational.that would be a good time for you to visit.

maya said...

gs - your description of matheran is very evocative and appealing. I am very happy to see S's dignity vision come alive brick by brick. what an amazing accomplishment! i am a regular chumma chumma reader and thanks to Lulu's encouragement I'll be a regular comment-er too :)

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