Category Archives: Journeys and travels

My first long-distance relationship

There are a few things I remember about him. But with each passing year, my memories of him dwindle and I forget that they were ever there. My first long-distance-relationship. My father.
I am told that, as a little girl, I once proclaimed that I wanted to marry a person who would be just like him. A very special person, full of kindness, joy and warmth, he was always my hero when I was growing up.
He was a fairly strict, disciplined in many ways but totally lacked it in other ways. He would make uswake up early even during our summer holidays and go out for a jog or to the park. On most days he would accompany us. But he would come back from that exercise and take a long siesta in the afternoon, this made my mother very angry. She said that there was no point to his morning walk if he slept right after a heavy lunch!
My father made me learn the multiplication table upto 15 x 15, front to back, back to front, just when I was 6 years old. He was of the opinion that intelligent children ought to be strong in mathematics. He was a chartered accountant himself. Unfortunately he din’t do his own personal money maths too well, so he was in a lot of debt. This part about him being bad about his own money is my mother’s opinion. I think that he cared about us so much and loved us so much, that he wanted to leav no stone unturned in giving us a good education. Even if it was difficult for him to pay the school fee each month, or send us to hobby classes such as dancing and tennis, he made sure we never gave it up. He had a passion for life and his motto, of live and let live was something he followed to the T. He lived large and was always kind to everyone. His zest for life is evident in all the things that inspired him and tat he shared with me. In class six, he sent me letter on a yellow page. and attached the letter was the poem that still remains among my most cherished ones. It was called Don’t Quit.
When he came back home from work, I could hear the jingle of his keys one the second floor, even as he entered the building on the ground floor. To me it was the most joyous sound, of my father returning home. My favourite person in the world returning home to spend the rest of the evening with me!

It was quite a shock to me when I stopped hearing it. At that time I think I dealt with it pretty well. Looking back, I think I looked upon it almost as a fancy event. That my father had gone to another land to save us all from hunger and despair was a superhero fantasy. I believed we would go and join him again and be like the family we were, once again.

I just realized that I have even been writing of him in the past tense!

I am not sure when I realized that it was going to happen that way. Some time after my father left, it was my mother, my brother and I.
We learnt to make all decisions independently without having to consult my father, or even eachother sometimes. If my mother din’t feel like cooking, she would independently decide that we were eating out. It was just the 3 of us for so long and for the greater part of my memory. (It has almost entirely been just the 3 of us in my brother’s memory. I wonder how he feels about this all.) This is why a lot of things I know instinctively are for 3 people. I know the measurements of rice, dal, vegetables that need to be cooked for 3 people. I know the cost of living for 3 people. I know water quantities used and number of luggage bags and life lived by 3 people.

I have forgotten what it is like to have appa around, often forgetting him altogether. I think of him a bit later than one would think of their father, when I want to share a good or bad news. I have few things to say to him and now, as I have grown up, all the fights that come from generation gaps have manifested themselves. This has made communication even more strained and difficult, for two people who already spoke less. Two people who are so intensely bound together by blood and truth and love, but have forgotten to love.

But perhaps its only me who has forgotten to love. I wonder how he feels about this. I know that he thought about us all the time in the beginning. But I am wondering about now. I wonder if he is moved by love or if he thinks of us forlornly in an alien manner.

I suppose he wants only the best for us and wants us to be happy. as I do wish for him.

But this is only in the times that I think of him. I am sorry and I sad about this, but it its true that these times are few.

My father was my first long-distance relationship.
and it has taught me things about myself, it has determined how I interact with people, my desire for intense privacy, my desire to trust few, my desire to seek for people and then run away on finding a hand to clasp. Perhaps it will change one day, but for now, I know that it certainly has moulded how I feel about relationships, and deal with people who I am distanced from.
Out of sight, out of mind. Not necessarily “out of mind”, but certainly cast aside. With friends and relatives, I pick up from where we left off and am absolutely fine with it.
But perhaps there are relations that are not meant to be cast aside. This is where it begins to hurt and I fear to let another person close to me, believing he would leave to go far away.
Leave a gaping hole.
An empty seat in a table meant for four.

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Filed under Don't want to talk about it, Journeys and travels, La vie, Me, My favourite people

Bombay of mine, thank you for you.

So! On the 17th day of January, I decided to kick off with the Number 1 thing on my Bucket list for the year. I booked a ticket for the very next day, on the train to Bombay!
The 1.5 days I spent there were a crazy fest of amazing food, friends, family,barely any sleep, warmth and memories!

Its difficult to talk or write about Bombay simply because I am so aware of my bias to the city I call home, where I know I will always belong but probably would not want to go back to live in. Walking down familiar paths with old friends and breathing in the sea-breeze, it felt like the easiest and most natural thing to be there with those very people. It was so wonderful to be able to talk about things to a friend who knows you since you were 3 and someone who has seen you through all the masks and facades you put up until there were no more left, and knows you for real. and accepts, and embraces and loves. you. There was no need to give a context or explain a story, it all just came from the knowledge of growing up together, in the same little town where most people knew eachother, and lived as a community, with its small failings, and small victories.

I met exactly the people I would meet if I had a limited time in my hometown and the one person I would love to meet but hadn’t made a plan with, I bumped into her on the street although she doesn’t live there anymore either! I ate exactly all that I would have eaten and have been missing.

I had several realizations in the hours I spent there, some whilst sober and other not, which I would like to put down here.
1. Every person from Bombay is an AMAZING dancer of the street ghaati/Ganpati visarjan style. (Look at the little boy in purple going for it here to know what I mean!) I keep forgetting that in Delhi where I have no company for it!

2. Into the Wild should be the next book I add to my reading list. Heard Eddie Vader belting out Society in a room full of happy people and realized that I am someone who likes to live on teh edge or outside of society and thats the kind of people I end up making friends with. hmmm

3. I live intensely in the moment. In the night I spent in Lonavla, for most of the night, I din’t remember or think about a single thing outside of the exact minute I was in, There was no past, no future.

4. A thought about my current partner or the fact that I have one, passed my mind for the first time in the night at 1.30am. I wonder if thinking about someone you think/claim you love  after a gap of four and a half hours is normal. How are people supposed to be in love if they are supposed to be any one way at all?!

5. I love Pav Bhaji, and it will always be my number one favourite dish.

I am glad this is how 2014 has started. I am feeling at peace and yet all the atoms that make me are going crazy bouncing off eachother. Thats what Bombay does to me. Its my medicine and my bane. I love it there.

Also just realized that I haven’t been doing much from the rest if my bucket list, oops! Signing off, here’s a song dedicated to Bombay and its warm showers.  Bombay Rain, I think of you often.

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Filed under Journeys and travels, La vie, My favourite people, novel, Stuff I like, Thoughts/ Ideas

Life is like a bus stop

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have come across some very useful gyaan (TERMINOLOGY: gyaan- knowledge/ advice (Hindi)) about life and the state of things as they are in the world and think it might be nice of me to dispense it to you guys.

I should like to give credit to my friend Gilgamesh who is the creator of this theory and also in this process am attempting to set him up with any women who read this (only because thats how he leans though I think guys should try too).

So the theory goes like this —

Most things in life are like a bus stop.

You wait at the bus stop for ages and forever, but there wouldn’t be any sign of the bus. But suddenly, after forever, 3-4 buses come together one after the other, and confuse you about which one to take. If you board a bus, can you get off before the final destination? How committed are you expected to be to the bus? Can other people board the bus? Will the bus get moody and break down on the way? What if the bus isn’t going where you want to go?  Would you do best to leave all the buses and take your own private vehicle even if that means cycling alone for miles?

Or do you take a chance?

Its in your hands, your mind, your heart. It is in you.

By the way, I love the guys who made this. Its zenpencils.com. They have a lot of other wonderful life adoring cartoon colour sketches about  several inspiring quotes

EXplore, Dream , Discover

 

Anyway, the point was that as Gilgamesh has profoundly pointed out, Life is like a bus stop. Whether you apply it to work, education, passions, love lives, oppportunities, or anything that might not even matter at all. Are you taking a chance?

Are you boarding a bus?

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February 20, 2013 · 6:06 pm

delhi times

I left something in the hills.

This was during the recent trek in the Himalayas. I left something in the hills there. A little joy, a little love, and came back with a promise to return.
May be when I go back next time, I’ll get some of the weather back. Delhi needs it. and I emphasize, Delhi needs it.

I came back here four days back and although its supposed to be monsoon, I have not even seen a drop of water fall from the sky. Not even a bird has pissed down. Who ever in the first place decided that Delhi was a habitable place when they first started settling man. WHO?!! Its terribly hot and humid here and lately, the irritation level has been so high that getting any closer than 2 cms to even your  best friend can result in a sparta like reaction. You know like this-

“Yea we are fucking meeting after more than 2 months but don’t fucking hug me! and if you step any closer, I’ll shower you with my sweat! It’ll be sparta forevuuur!”

Yougaiz, I hope, are in a better place. Is it raining where you are? Sweet blessed warm showers like Bombay? I am longing for the smell of wet earth.  By the way, did you know that there was a word for that lovely smell- its called petrichor.

 

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Filed under Don't want to talk about it, Journeys and travels, Why?

My Himalayan Story 2012

I was in the Himalayas this summer. Trekking upto almost 13000 feet, we crossed the Saurkundi pass in the Kullu valley through an expedition organised by the Youth Hostel Association of India. From reporting at the base camp to touching the base camp again after the trek it was 11 days in all.  As we climbed and went to each campsite, nature in all its splendour was revealed to us.

The thing about the Himalayas is that never ceases to amaze you. I have been to the Himalayas before while trekking on another valley, and yet, this time again , I was moved beyond words to see snow-peaked mountains. It’s incredible to see these shimmering white all around, except perhaps a few mountains far across that have black clouds hovering above and are shrouded in fog, and you know that it’s snowing there. The fresh sweet water, the wind whispering tales of where its been, green blades of grass uncrumpled, the kiss of the first few snow drops –  everything resides within me.

The wind is young, the wind is alive.

This time, we were the 15th group to leave from the Saurkundi base-camp at Babeli and were hence called SK15. Quite funnily, my younger brother was chosen the group leader and after two days of acclimatization, we set out for the top.  I have been on such treks before, but what was extraordinary was that 25 deaf-and-dumb students from a school in Bhavnagar(Gujarat) were trekking with us along with their teachers for guidance. Spending many days with them, they taught us not just the sign-language, but many more lessons. They were always so excited to learn and really see what was around them. They accepted their handicap as a part of something god-given and never were they upset about it. I remember, once I was talking to one of them in sign language and telling him that I love to dance. I asked him what he liked, drawing?singing? To that, he indicated, ‘yes, singin. But I can’t really sing because I have no voice.’ Thats when I realized. I had become so engrossed in conversing that I had forgotten his disability. A glass shattered within me as I realized that even our hobbies have so much to do with our senses which we so often take so much for granted. They could not hear music. I was distressed. I apologized to him and he just replied saying that god had made him that way. I also realized that its stupid that I was surprised at these children being able to trek. Ofcourse they could. They had their limbs, but more than that, they had the will. It was me who was disabled in the mind, to think that this was a great challenge for them. They had conquered much more, a long time back.

I suppose some disabilities are apparent, and others are not. In some way, we all are disabled. Or “differently-abled”, as its called in the parlance of our times.

Wes once told me something very remarkable. He pointed out how they laughed so uninhibited and with so much truth, when infact, they couldn’t even hear themselves or each other. Its been more than a month since this, and I haven’t gotten over what he said.

Well, getting back to the trek. We lived in tents at each camp and got simple yet nourishing food that will give us the stamina and strength to climb. It’s always fun at these treks. There are so many different people around, there is time to socialize and yet be alone and contemplate. Everything from politics to stupid toilet habits are discussed, and a new intimacy is found. This is a comfortable one, where there is not much hope of meeting again, though there are promises. This is an intimacy , that you think might soon fizzle out with distance,and so there is also an uninhibited-ness about the bonds formed. I met a lot of fabulous people here. Aparna, Minhaj and Wes, being the closest. Ofcourse, I found out once again, that my brother is a superb guy. At one of the lunch stops, a guy came along with the local attire and jewellery that women in the Kullu valley wear. He rented it to me for Rs 20 while I clicked pictures with it on. I even held a kid (baby goat) while I posed and learnt some steps from the local folk dance from him. 🙂

In one of the camps, Dora Thatch, I witnessed a sight we only see in paintings. Up away a little above, the hill we were on was silhouetted against a deep navy blue sky. In it, was a single large planet, the shining Venus. I had never seen her so large. On the hill, we saw silhouettes of ponies grazing and bounding around.  I saw this, and such beautiful sights that I don’t have the right words to describe.

I hope my brain and my memory, can forever recollect these sights and images and people in the exact shape and shade. I don’t want to forget the details. I don’t want to forget the water’s taste. Most of all, I don’t want to forget that freedom. I don’t want to lose it.

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Filed under Journeys and travels, La vie, Love and all, My favourite people, Stuff I like, Thoughts/ Ideas, World

Rozgaar(employed)! :D

So guess what?!

I just got my first appointment letter!

This time it ain’t any internship or shiz, its the real deal! its a job!I am going to be working in a Travel Magazine/Website!! Waov! Isn’t that such a dream job?!

As you can see I have been exclaiming! in the last four sentences so I am obviously very excited. 🙂

The magazine is called Globe Trekker and the same company si launching three travel websites. The CEO who took my interview and to whom I had to submit my written test sort of thing seemed very impressed with my writing for God Knows What reason. He said something like my writing was very mature (haha!) and that I could grab the attention of a large audience. He also said that its very very rare that he likes anyone’s writing so I must definitely be doing something right. This guy is called Rajarshi Roy has worked in top creative positions in all media fields like national newspapers, TV news channels, radio, cartoons et al. This company also has a production house along side and I think its the official Shatrugan Sinha Shotgun Productions office because they have his wacko posters all around the place.

Anyway, so Raj(as he is fondly called) said that I will be in the core writing team for these websites which might be associated with. He is really impressed with my writing (this is just hilarious!) so he said he won’t put me on any probation and will keep me as permanent directly!Initially we will be forming the structure et al and later I would have to travel, come back and write. HOW EPIC IS THAT?!!

My salary? Rs 8000! Look I am not an engineer or MBA holder. This is really good amount for a fresh English Lit graduate especially for a job that I will enjoy.

A slight downside to this is that the office is located at Andheri East in Chakala. Something like the farthest point from where I live. Its actually the farthest point from ANYWHERE and always has traffic. I really don’t understand why all offices have to be located there.  😐

But anyway, I got a job! Yay! So I start from July 1st or so. I already told him about my dance classes and performance(s?) , and told him that I have to be getting back to Navi Mumbai in time for practice. He seemed really encouraging about it and said that sometimes I can work from home or wind up early and leave sooner or catch up the next day. He said its flexible and that as long as I sincerely finish my work, they are cool. He even said he would like it if I went ahead in my dance in a big way, so I am really happy. He is hippie at heart just like me!

So lets hope this journey takes me far, that learn many lessons and most importantly that  I have fun!

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Shangri-la

Shangri-la is an  imaginary remote paradise on earth.A remote and secluded hideaway of great beauty and peacefulness. Correction : Its not imaginary.

I was just there.

A bunch of my friends and I went for a trek to the Himalayas along with a trekking group.We scaled Sar Pass at 13800 feet which over looks the Parvati Valley. The Himalayas in its quiet snow-clad peaks makes one listen to their own inner voice.Each of us had new experiences, secured new bonds and friendships, new ideas,new insights.The beauty all around , the snow,the greenery,the waterfalls,streams,the countless stars, the oh-so-impossibly photoshop blue sky and the fresh air keeps everyone in good spirits.It can make you appreciate nature and make us realize what we are loosing.It can give us answers that we have always had within us.It can make difficult decisions easy to take and accept.

Its not just the atmosphere that does this to you.Its the people around. Our fellow trekkers came from different fields and belonged to different age groups and different parts of the country.They all had wonderful qualities and love for nature.We would trek together for hours , discuss philosophies and issues that are important to us,learn from each other, support and cheer each other. We encountered some heroes too. These were the lady porters who carried the rucksacks for some trekkers.The would trek up all the way from their village way below and be at our campsite before we leave each morning.After we reached our next higher campsite, they would go back all the way again to their village and walk back once more in the morning.All this with such a cheerful demeanor.

This trek taught a lot of things. Every place has something to give and teach us.And so do it’s people.

It was definitely a welcome change from the fast never-ending circuit life that we lead in the cities.For a change , there was no 8.03 train to catch. It just never mattered what the time was. There was no cell phone,no facebook or internet, no news to occupy your mind and time.

Most importantly, there was time for oneself. To think. and the surroundings were such that gave you clarity.There was love for the world.And love for one-self found.

I made peace with myself. I believe again.

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