Monday, December 13, 2010

Dear N73

Today is our third anniversary and believe it or not, I haven't loved you more. It seems only yesterday that I planned my Kerala trip with you. Many a travelogues have come and gone by but you stood with me the sands of time like an enamored soul.

Days into our relationship, I let you slip into the Athirapally but you came out intact and, I believe, even stronger. Only last fortnight the way you pulled yourself together from a twenty feet fall at Naples fort was unbelievable. You are my Seabiscuit.

I know I have not been a good friend all these years. If I say I have used you, it would be an understatement. I downloaded movies from you. I reduced you to a GPS guide on my Delhi- Bangalore drive. You were my music library and you were my photo album. You were my single point of contact to this world. It was always me. When was I thinking about you?

People say you look old. that you don't look like a three year old. I am to blame. I have not treated you like an equal. Call it an anniversary gift, but the least I can do is dedicate to you the pictures you collected for me these last three months. For 90 days in 35 different cities across 11 countries you never let me down once. Let the world know that it was not me. It was you - my BFF. N73.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Calvin says ...

"Why isn't my life like a situation comedy? Why don't I have a bunch of friends with nothing better to do but drop by and instigate wacky adventures? Why aren't my conversations peppered with spontaneous witticisms? Why don't my friends demonstrate heartfelt concern for my well being when I have problems? ...I gotta get my life some writers."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

the fifteen miles stroll

It must be the 11th mile when I started dragging myself. By the 13th mile I had this queer feeling that I will not make it. When the youth hostel finally materialized at the other side of the river, I was incapable of joying. Another 10 minutes, which felt like an hour, went by before I filled the forms, collected my bed sheets and checked into my room. I must have rushed into the bath.

The hot water coming out of the shower were drops of pleasure as my legs and brain recovered back to sensation. Walking was painful in the beginning. A pleasant combination of warm sun and cooling breeze welcomed me outside the hostel. I bought a few bananas from the nearby Coop store and settled at a round wooden bench in front of the sea. I have always loved the kind of landscape that Norwegian Fjords epitomize. Sky high hills suddenly give way to water.

I reflected back at the very morning when I started walking downhill from Myrdal for Flam. It was an act of innocence and had its rewards and pitfalls. I would cherish both of them. They add to the beauty of life - pain and pleasure. Pain makes pleasure a little bit more fun.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

interesting perspective

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” 

– Cesare Pavese

Thursday, September 23, 2010

it happened in Basel SBB ...

Its 5.13 PM. I am sitting comfortably sipping a hot cup of coffee. In front of me is tri-nation point - which means that I do not even need to angle my face to see what people are up to in France Germany and Switzerland. Simple exaggerations won't hurt the thin readership of my blog. What was the time of my train? Was it 6.41 or 6.31 PM? Let me check.

6.04 PM? The train departs at 6.04 PM? Its like a mild thunderbolt running through my spine. Even if I run for the bus it would not be possible - its already 5.15 PM. Still I run. The bus is there to take me to station. Now let me get the ticket from the vending machine. Before I am back with the ticket the bus departs . Its 5.23 PM on my watch. The next bus is scheduled at 5.32.

What are my options now that I have missed the train? I can take another train for Hamburg. Or I can enquire if it would be possible to catch a fast train to catch this one? That is for short run. The long run option is not to be such a dumb slack wanderer. I can only curse myself and I am not liking it.

The bus moves slowly through traffic. It is now time for me to curse the driver.  I check my watch - 5.50 PM. We are not even on the street that leads to the station. I have given up - and yet that little flicker of hope is there. These two never desert you - hope and doubt. It is as if: hope + doubt = 1, while none can be absolute zero or negative. Only god knows if the equation is correct.

The bus reaches station at 5.59 PM. In the milieu of thoughts I almost forgot to see the time. I run again - this time through the crowd. I glance at the big board while running. There it is Basel SBB - Kobenhavn at 6.04. Platform number 5. The train is there.

Now that I introspect, I shouldn't have been so hard at myself while at bus. Actually I am a dumb slack lucky wanderer :) and I am liking it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

हज़ारों ख़्वाहिशें ऐसी ...

हज़ारों ख़्वाहिशें ऐसी के हर ख़्वाहिश पे दम निकले
बहुत निकले मेरे अरमाँ लेकिन फ़िर भी कम निकले ।

डरे क्यूँ मेरा क़ातिल क्या रहेगा उसकी गर्दन पर
वो ख़ूँ, जो चश्म-ए-तर से ‘उम्र भर यूँ दम-बा-दम निकले ।

निकलना ख़ुल्द से आदम का सुनते आयें हैं लेकिन
बहुत बे-आबरू होकर तेरे कूचे से हम निकले ।

मोहब्बत में नहीं है फ़र्क़ जीने और मरने का
उसी को देख कर जीते हैं जिस काफ़िर पे दम निकले ।

ख़ुदा के वास्ते पर्दा न काबे से उठा ज़ालिम
कहीं ‘एसा न हो याँ भी वोही क़ाफ़िर सनम निकले ।

कहाँ मैख़ाने का दरवाज़ा “ग़ालिब” और कहाँ वाइज़
पर इतना जानते हैं कल वो जाता था के हम निकले ।

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

DETP Assignment 2 Submission (Word Limit 250)


An inflextion point was reached in 1967 when the landless agricultural labourers of Naxalbari, led by few CPI (M) leaders, could not tolerate further and revolted against the exploitation of landlords. The first phase of Naxalbari Movement (1969-75) was characterized by ‘direct action’ taken by dalits in the form of attacking the landlords, burning the mortgage papers and looting granaries for redistribution among themselves. The second phase (1978-90) was known for the repressive measures taken by the state and the involvement of police as an agent of the state. The third phase (1991-2005) was contemporary to the economic reforms.

One of the prominent repressive measure taken by the state has been in the form of ‘grouping’ where villages after villages are relocated in a single area to cut them off from the underground Naxalites who depend on these villagers for their daily needs. The area thus vacated is being allocated to MNCs like Tata and Essar. On one hand renegade Naxalites are receiving protection from state to become powerful and exploitative. On the other hand it is not uncommon to declare Naxalite a person who questions the state and its institutions. This is happening all over India.


It seems the problem is not disparity but it is the 'forces' which want to sustain this disparity and to thrive on it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

life is ...

There are moments in my life that, I am convinced, were created exclusively for me. The universe colluded, conspired and constructed the moment for my pleasure. Standing at the top of Chitradurga Fort, I had exactly this in mind. Clouds were gathering around me. The surrounding hills were as green as could be. It was windy up there. A sprinkling started which later on developed into a drizzle. The entire city covered itself with mist in front of my eyes. I watched and felt. The more I watched, the more I felt, the more and more I craved for. It was an insatiable hunger to feed the senses which was building upon itself.

There are moments in life which are worth ages. I believe that that is how we end up living more than the years that have been stipulated to us. I know there are also moments which are forgettable and yet not forgotten - so terribly painful that they stifle life out. It is a game that someone very powerful is playing with us and I have a hunch that that someone is only interested in  knowing one thing - are we game enough?

Monday, June 7, 2010

across the nimbus

no more blue was the sky
no more white was ground
no more was horizon clear
no more was I bound

the maze is visible oh so well
now that Nimbus' above
and yet I love the binding
and yet I love love

Monday, May 17, 2010

i ain't no shantaram :)

I started walking from GTB Nagar Station. CGS colony was still two miles away. I love walking. Crossing the overbridge, I saw poor people sleeping on the pavement. A young mother was trying to cover herself and her daughter in a net. How do they sleep with the train thundering past below them every three minutes? May be they sleep after midnight when the trains stop. May be they are used to it so much that they won't feel sleepy unless two three trains pass by. I was indifferent.

There was a big jam building up on the road towards Antop Hill. No point taking a bus now ! I walked past the traffic policemen who were trying to manage the unmanageable. There was a stretch of small shops selling from juice to oil and offering from hair-cut to massage - all kind of services. Gradually on the left a hillock came up with a temple right on top of it. It was beautiful against the backdrop of a full moon. I started looking for a path. There were several gullies created by little homes made on the foothills of the hillock. I ventured into one. The gully was wide enough for me. Another person would have to stop at a corner for me to pass. Fortunately there was nobody. It was 10 PM. I could see through the creeks into the houses. There was a tube-light, few little children and a TV. What is a TV doing here and how did they bring it in?

The gully started ascending. There were houses still there on both the sides. However now it was much more open with the sky visible. I climbed further. It was sweating hot. That's one of the problems with Mumbai. Once you sweat, you won't be able to dry it - not even under a fan. The temple was getting closer. Another turn and I would be there.

I stood there on the front yard of the temple. GTB Nagar and beyond was visible. It was a harsh view - the land had elevated a further level and had accommodated thousands and thousands of slum dwellers within itself. The full moon was not helping. It could have not been there. The view might not have been visible to naked eyes. I would have been saved those painful moments. It took me a minute but I was indifferent again. 

Walking down I came out on the road at the point where the jam had started building up. A truck was standing there innocuously keeping the road three way jammed. I started walking again - towards my two bed room apartment - faster. I had to complete a couple of chapters from Shantaram tonight.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

मैं ...

चलते चलते उन्ही राहों में मैंने लोगों को भागते देखा
रहा न गया मुझसे, जिद की आदत से जो मजबूर था
मैंने बहुत रोका, पर मैंने तो ठानी थी सबको हराऊंगा
दौड़ पड़ा मैं जो, पता न था की कभी वापस न मुड़ पाउँगा
फासला जब कुछ तय हुआ, एक पल मेरी नज़र औरों पर गयी
हैरान था की हर कोई मैं ही था, मात तो मेरी ही हुई !

(Acknowledgement: Rohit Ag)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

the cyclicity of life

What has started has to end. But then the starting and ending is also in reference to something. There is something before 'start' and something after the 'end' . Except that for the thing that started and ended, the thing itself was not aware of when it started breathing and when it stopped.

Frost relieves me with his words - 'life goes on'. I am alive and will remain so.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

SRK se bachna ...

Last night we were giving the final touch to our Apex (Application Exercise) Report when Viraj mumbled - 'Why do they call this thing Apex. They should rename it Rapex.' We laughed our heart out on the humor which was actually not very far from reality. Each one of us had already invested more than 20 hours to this exercise and yet we were not sure how things would turn up today.

We were on our toes as Mitra started presenting. We knew that Rambo can tear us apart if he doesn't feel that we have put efforts. It actually turned out that we were able to please Rambo and he had some nice words to say to our team.

The world looks like a feather-bed after the Apex presentation. Nothing looks incomprehensible. Nothing looks invincible. Nothing ... I feel sleepy ... When was the last time I slept?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Junior Woodchucks Guidebook: Delhi :)

There are five exits from Delhi for a traveler as numbered from 1 to 5 in the map below. The number in bracket in the writeup indicates minimum time for which one should plan for these places.

Route 1. There are two hot spots on this route - Chandigarh and Pathankot. Chandigarh is base to Shimla (2), Chhail (2), Kullu Manali (3) and Lahaul Spiti (5). Pathankot is base to Kangra (2), Dalhousie (2) and McLeodganj-Dharamshala (2). One can also go to Jammu (2) and through there to Srinagar (4) from Pathankot. Amritsar (2) is also within a 100 miles of this spot.

Route 2. This one goes to Haridwar. From here it basically splits into two - one goes to Mussoorie (2) and the other goes to Rishikesh (2). Rishikesh is another hot spot. It is a base to a plethora of religious places like - Badrinath (4), Hemkund (4), Kedarnath (3), Yamunotri (3), Gangotri (3). The ones that attract tourists the most are Valley of Flower (5), Auli (4) and Chopta (3).

Route 3. This one is another treasure path and opens up at Nainital (2) which is a hot spot. Most of the natural beauties of Uttarakhand are accessible through this place including - Mukteshwar (3), Bageshwar (3), Pithoragarh (4), Binsar (3) and Ranikhet (3). There is one diversion on route 3 that takes us to Ramnagar which is the halting station for the giant Corbett Wildlife Reserve (2).

Route 4. This one goes directly to Mathura (1), Agra (1) and Fatehpur Sikri (1). Undisputedly, this route accounts for more foreigners than rest four added.

Route 5. This one goes to Jaipur (2) which is another hot spot. From here one can go for Chittorgarh (3), Ajmer (2), Jodhpur (3), Bikaner (3) and Jaisalmer (4).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

वाह वाह...

का लफ्ज़ कहने के लिए
वो तेरे सूखे लबों का
थरथराना याद है ...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

ग़ालिब कहते हैं...

सब कुछ हो रहा है इस तरक्की के ज़माने में
मगर ये क्या गज़ब है के आदमी इन्सां नहीं होता

या तो दीवाना हँसे या तू जिसे तौफीक दे
वरना इस ज़माने में रह कर मुस्करा सकता है कौन?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

a case of compulsion

Rambo (our behated conb prof) was just warming up for his breathless act (one and a half hour of non-stop blabbering) when a student asked him what exactly is the difference between compulsive and impulsive buying. He promptly replied that both are the same. Now these are one of those few moments when I allowed my mind to do that extra bit of exercise to find out if what he was saying was correct (or an impulsive reply :)

So I impulsively drew out my mobile and compulsively searched for the definitions on internet. Compulsion is urge or addiction to behave in a particular way. Impulsion is reacting to a situation without considering the consequences. What is the difference?

Lets say I am a compulsive traveler. But am I impulsive about it? No. I plan ... which means that compulsion takes time to build up while an impulse is rather for an instant after which it may die out. Looks like Rambo was finally wrong about something!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

let the next page be fun

The world is a book and there is no point staying on one page for a long time. So the next page is Hampi ! What should I expect from Hampi ? On second thought maybe I should not expect anything . Expectations are the worse kind of spoilers. Well actually thats when we expect a lot and don't end up with that much. But why do we expect a lot? Is it a basic human tendency? Or does it vary with people? If it does vary with people I am very much sure those who expect less are a much happier lot. So is expecting such a bad thing?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hebbe Falls

5.30 AM. Room 312 @ Hotel Soundarya. Chikmagalur. Ashutosh is up and ready. Sumeet is making a 'hangover face'. I am also trying to get some sense out of the morning rush. We get down from the hotel and sit on a jeep. Its cold. Our immediate destination is Kemmengundi. Somebody told us yesterday that Hebbe Falls is one thing we should not miss and so we, who don't get up on time for a 10 AM class, are moving briskly through a treacherous forest at 6 AM to check out this place. The sun is visible now.

9 AM. Kemmengundi. We should have been at the fall by now. The roads are tricky and our stomach is empty. We halt at a roadside dhaba. Vivek pounds on the lemon rice served. I am drinking my third cup of tea. The sun is warm. The wind is chilling. The tea is hot. Some moments are priceless.

10 AM. Hebbe Falls. Almost. Last few minutes were 'nail-biting' to say the least. The jeep took us through a hill road which was more of a thin trail. No doubt the view on both sides was panoramic. Still someone should have advised us to check all our insurance papers before we started. Now we are standing at a barrier. Thick tropical kind of forest confront us. We are supposed to trek half a mile through this forest and walk through few streams. Big deal.

11 AM. Hebbe Falls. Finally. Am I dreaming? It is huge. The sun is shedding light at an angle which is making it difficult to estimate the height of this fall. It is more than 100 meters definitely (169 meters actually). We are ready to take the plunge. The sprinkles of waters are giving me goosebumps. Its lush green around. Cold wind is gushing in with the water. A permanent rainbow is visible.