This is the story of the time when in one hand was our post-graduate degree, in another the final admittance slip to life and in our minds a desperate need to get away from both. And so, three young almost-journalists decided to take a short weekend trip, on a friend’s recommendation, to Dhom Dam in Maharashtra. We hadn’t ever heard this name let alone heard anything about it but it looked amazing in pictures and so we decided to be human and judge a book by it’s cover.
That was our first decision. Our second decision was to go without a plan, an itinerary or even a place where we could stay in. I think it was a year long of assignments and research work that drove us to a point where none of us had the energy to travel with an aim in mind. We were just three women looking for a place to unwind that didn’t cost a bomb.
So early Saturday morning we took a bus from Mumbai to Wai (yup that’s the name of a village and yes, we did crack a lot of Wai-Wai jokes) which cost us around INR 700 per person and took almost eight hours to reach. From Wai, we took an auto to Dhom Dam which is around half-an-hour away from Wai.
The auto-ride, minus the sketchy auto-driver who wanted to know everything about our life and travel plans turned out to be pretty okay, it’s almost a straight road and everything was smooth sailing until…
…we called up a place, whose number we had taken from the internet, which set up camps near Dhom lake to ask them if they had any availability (now this is mid-May and summers are peeking in, summer vacations are still a few months away so we weren’t being presumptuous when we thought that we would easily get somewhere to stay) and their reply? “There are no camps this week.”
A little frantic but mostly laughing at ourselves we asked the guy if there was any other place around where we could stay and he suggested Sahyadri Boat Club which had availability so we headed towards it. Now Sahyadri was located extremely near the lake so it was easy to find except for the fact that there was no one there, all doors were shut and two dogs attacked us. Dejected and a little scared we looked around at the lake which was, even under the excruciating 12 noon sunlight, a sight for sore eyes and somewhere we thought, okay…so we don’t have a place to sleep, that’s cool…not a big deal.
Anyway, luck soon turned in our favour, we found someone at Sahyadri and they promised to set up a tent for us but…after 5 PM. Until then, we had a couple of wooden logs, a swing, a table, three dogs, a hammock and a completely deserted lake for our disposable. I’ll admit that the heat was a little too much to handle but we sat beneath a tree and it was mostly okay.
I’d suggest you a) book a place if it’s a huge group and if you are going at a more pleasant time b) travel in your own car because there is absolutely no transportation available from Dhom Dam and c) don’t reach there before 4-5 PM. Even though, we had a great time because our aim was to just relax and the Sahyadri owners gave us really warm vibes and good food (they especially got eggs from the village to make us omelettes…D’awww) but if you are planning this trip then explore the areas nearby and come to the lake in the evening, which is when you can do boating, swim around and even do kayaking but with a very flimsy looking kayak.
After spending the evening down at the lake and on the boat for a while I think the best part was when we came back and there were two men who were playing guitar and singing songs at sahyadri so we just lay down and looked up at the sky and then looked down at the lake and for a while, atleast, our life had its own soundtrack.
A plus was when my friend Hamna went up and sang along with the two.
Dinner was absolutely delicious with chicken and dal, rice and chapati which had this local flavour, the kind that differs from household to household. Finally, we retired to our tents and called it a wonderful night.
The next day was HOT. I mean really, the morning was horrendously hot and we would be stupid to say that it could have been anything different considering the time of the year we chose. Nevertheless, once we washed our faces and sat with our feet dipped in the lake, it got better. And since there was absolutely no one around us we decided to take things in our own hands and get some Bollywood thumkas going. If only you could have seen those three girls taking charge of the beat, while they still recognised it…in the middle of nowhere, next to a sprawling lake, I think you would have liked them way better than us.
In the evening, we caught a bus back to Mumbai and soon dispersed to different cities but I don’t think any of us will ever forget what we were in that moment and if they do I have enough evidence not to let them.
Image(s) Source – LoiterToiter & Hamna Siddiqui