I offer my obeisance to you Rev. Sri. Sri. Om Swamiji🙏🕉

Year 2019 I visited this place Lavasa near Pune with my son, daughter in law and my little grand daughter who was barely 6 months old that time . They had come to be with me for good month from London (U.K.) .  Though I had visited Lavasa  earlier with one of my very dear friend from Mumbai who insisted that I accompany her to check out the Senior Citizen place Ashiana .

I detested travelling esp long drives in hilly areas as it makes me uneasy , but somehow managed and stayed there for a day with my dear friend who is more like an elder sister to me. She liked the place and the whole management set up very much. But honestly I could figure out that just the Senior citizen place Ashiana was functional that too with barely 20-25 couples/ singles altogether out of almost 290 units of  apartments and cottages which was close to nothing. As the whole town was in ruins, when we went ahead to see the adjoining area and facilities. 

The reason was that  whole of Lavasa city  had gone bankrupt and most of the town now bears an abandoned and spooky look , completely isolated with barely any population. Most of the construction work was halted mid way after the orders to shut down Lavasa town around 2012  because of illegal constructions so to say which we came to know later on.

Ashiana being a Senior Citizen’s place was run by a different owner altogether and that had to continue running as many senior citizens had purchased villas and flats there. The reality of how the place was being run was portrayed differently though to the ones who would want to invest there or stay on rent.  Didi liked the place very much though I was not very happy with the whole outlook.

Strangely after we left back to Pune, I somehow got a strong pull to shift there. Hence as soon as my Son came for his vacation I decided to go with him and my daughter in law to check out the place before I shifted there from Pune.

It was a good two day stay but we did sense there were many flaws to the place , with no hospital ( Apollo hospital was there but shut) doctors, or any other important facility, just in case of any untoward situation one would have to travel back to Pune or Mumbai.

My son did tell me to reconsider staying in such a place but I was assured it had good staff that would take care. For given my age and being all alone one needs a set up where you are safe and catered to just in case of any emergency. All this happened just within a month’s time. Jan 2019 I finally shifted to Lavasa.

My journey in Lavasa was very sacred in a way, I had a beautiful routine of waking up early morning at 5 am ( has been the same routine for years) to the sweet chirping of birds, with an hour long walk having a refreshing chit chat with beautiful plants and flowers,  getting back and doing my daily offerings to the Sun God with hawan , sitting in my balcony that overlooked big hill tops adoring an even bigger smile, what more could one dream of. 

My cook Vimala would serve me breakfast by 8 am, prepare my lunch and leave.My other helper Laxmi would arrive by 10 am and tidy the house.   My biggest company were my two cats Zeus and Gaia who no less than monks had always enjoyed  their own quite solitude time be it anywhere but for them too it was beautiful to see different birds and witnessing langurs/ monkeys as back side of my apartment was very closely snuggled by hills too.

The day would comprise of reading , sketching, meditation and prayers.  Evenings were quite walks alone and sometimes with couple of friends who would come out with their pets . Apart from this there was nothing but Nature everywhere. Yes, the town  was cut away from the rest of the world it seems.

Everything  adjoining Ashiana was shut for years . Just few vege vendors or couple of grocery shops were all that existed, with just basic needs . Some  residents who would visit Pune were kind enough to oblige to get anything important that was required by other residents just in case or the staff members would offer to get important medication if needed.

There was a pyramid  meditation Center on a mounted hill top adjoining my apartment and that truly fascinated me . I struck on the idea to start my hawan there as an offering to Mother Nature. The management was too happy to oblige as I sought their permission first before I could proceed with my intention to use the meditation place for hawan.
I would love to venture out there daily but with barely anyone in sight , as the place was surrounded by deep forest area and I was warned by my  neighbors that snakes, scorpios  often the place and I had to be very careful. 

I then started to carry  my hawan kund and Pooja offerings and started doing my hawan at that spot everyday and also played the Sound bowls and Tibetan Bell . The whole place would echo beautifully and I would witness many birds on nearby trees come and perch esp with the sound. Something was really very supremely magnetic about the place. Sometimes my sweet and kind helper Laxmi would accompany me and sit down and chant with me while making offerings to the sacred fire. I have to admit that the staff was very spiritual there.

The bigger truth is one look at the town as to how it was marooned, constructions shut mid way, people locked their places and left as it was deemed unsafe after the town went bankrupt, it gave a sense of feeling somewhere  that the sacredness of the place was tampered , for the hills of Lavasa appeared more like old Sages penancing and with that massive construction nature was disturbed in a way.

I later came to know from my cook Vimala that they had huge farming lands which were forcefully taken from them by the builders there giving them just few bucks , where construction was not legal and that’s how everything went into the dumps later. Saddened me to know how many villagers were forced and fooled in the process of making this town.

Ashiana the Senior citizen place suffered too because of the shut down . They cut down much of their staff, security lapses were there. Many owners put up their homes on sale and eventually out of the huge 290 units barely 35-40 people kept staying for some had invested their whole money in that dream project.

My stay lasted for 6 months in 2019 as I had planned to move to Canada . But those 6 months Blessed me in plenty. The opportunity to serve the staff , interactions with the security and how they managed to look after the senior citizens was commendable. In fact they were the true heroes I addressed them as. Though few deaths of the seniors , who were pretty aged did bother me, it was a very secluded life but each one was prepared to go.

The criteria to be part of the community was 55 years and I was 56 years  but probably the youngest of the lot. Imagine staying with citizens more or less above 70 years of age , many of them ailing , on their own, which was very introspective and moved me each day. To brighten and lighten things up I would make it a point to visit their places at times or making them smile with cookies and chocolates and to some I did make it point to address and greet  them with a smile during my walks. Residents there were very kind and loving too.

Above all Mother Nature gave me all the opportunity to serve her . The daily hawan and   prayers at the meditation corner was breathtaking . My apartment itself overlooked the hills , and I named one big hill as Shiva😊

As time went by and the security staff , most of them very religious and wise were from Madhya Pradesh and they opened up about their own journeys . It was a privilege  to serve them with edibles, fruits, tea etc almost daily. Many other residents too treated them like family.

One fine day I was shown certain places by the security while they would drive me back in the mini cab / cart , after my walk of few very old Shivlingas under some equally old trees , near to the club house , but tourists from all over or local truck or cab drivers would litter those places . So I would at times along with them would go and pick garbage surrounding those trees and suggested them to keep it clutter free. They were very sweet enough to oblige.

The day arrived when I was to bid goodbye to the holy place. It was a very emotional moment for me and all I kept thinking was, what more could I offer to Mother Nature.

Early morning I took out all my crystals , my hawan kunds and the holy ash collected over the period of time that I normally would save up after the hawan and offered all to the Divine Nature spreading in all directions esp. the sacred spots under the trees. The hawan kunds were placed under the trees too. It was an ecstatic moment. 

Realized that day that nothing is planned when Mother Nature calls you to serve her.

I still wonder what really took me there! I was staying very comfortably in Pune, what really transported me to Lavasa the town of Sages? It’s still a mystery.

Grace showed up very sacredly to me in that glorified SPACE 🙏 for which I shall ever remain grateful.

I am sharing some beautiful memories of Ashiana, Lavasa the place of Sages. Thanking the Divine for granting me this beautiful and blissful time with Mother Divine🙏🕉

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The early morning view from my bedroom, Zeus and Gaia enjoying every bit. 

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The Pyramid meditation place was my favourite 

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Zeus in his little home enjoying the peace

 

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Gaia the princess in a Zen pose

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The ever fresh mornings

 

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my daily route for walks

 

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Main Lavasa town

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A halted town now

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The farewell night

‘O’ Mother Divine, take me in your lap🌺

Hari Om Tatsat🙏🕉Hari Om Tatsat🙏🕉Hari Om Tatsat🙏🕉

Blessed times to the OS family 🦢

Jai Sri Hari🙏🕉

Siddhika Umesh 

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