10. what you seek is seeking you.

Previously, 09.Ek nadhi thi

Note : this post doesn’t speak of itineary/tips of travel, rather the experiences born out of travelling through the place : Sonamarg.

I was meaning to post this from a long time, about my travel partner.

There were a dozen drafts before, innumerable improvisations to express what she means to me. Unfortunately, outcome of all those attempts turned to “not good enough”. This is one such unsatisfied attempt.

She is the reason, “I” has changed to “we” while narrating experiences.

For the sake of narrative, I will call her Mallika.

Back in September 2016, after paying respects to the fallen, while noting down epitaphs at the kargil war memorial, I saw a girl talking to an officer. Highly unlikely place and unlikely time for a girl to travel  alone I thought to myself. I entered military canteen for some warmth.

“Its Friday, you wont find much transportation today. But try your luck” said the solider at the checkpoint.

There was dead silence except for the sound of strong winds.
I have thought till kargil. Beyond this point, I had no idea where to go.

I was waiting there, with a fatigued brain without a restrain. A thousand mental tragedies took place in my mind before they really happened.

There was only one Xylo left lying at the parking space. I was waiting eagerly for their onset. “get transport = leave. No transport = stay kargil” I told self.

It was Mallika’s cab. I requested pleaded the driver if I could join their ride. “towards Leh or Srinagar. Anything works”

[short silence] driver half turned to backseat and waiting for signal from mallika over his shoulder.

A “hmm” of acceptance from the backseat.
I jumped into the front seat immediately thanking for the kind consideration, never been so happy to hear a “hmm”.

Tiger hills. Zero point. Zojilla memorial. For the remainder of the journey, I did nothing but to stare at the beautiful desert until, tea stop breaks broke the silence between us. The only adventure in this trip is sitting in a car that technically rides on the inch of the dangerous track.

While we were ascending and descending zojilla, it occured to me that we are carving around the same mountain at varying altitudes. “Zojilla or godzilla.. what is this place”, She gave a calm serious look which roughly translated to ‘one more word and I will throw you out’.

As we cautiously descended into the valley, a board read “Welcome to YHAI Sonamarg!!”. I was excited to find YHAI, since i was on a tight budget. Only to learn later that the hostel is fully booked by some college students as they were on some camp programme.

I walked into sonamarg’s  little street on foot and saw JKTDC house. The moment I saw,  I knew I had to stay here. Of course, who can resist this mini mansion house.

Needless to say, she was staying in the same guesthouse, just next door with a proper booking. I had learnt about this when i returned that evening from thajjias glacier road.

I was happy a moment, scared the next to meet her again.. she spoke something at those tea breaks, none of which i couldn’t even remember, even her name.

I was in a pure state of trance.. the feeling of being brought back to life for finding a transport… Never had i thought transport itself as luxury let alone the comforts in interior!

After a few stutters and stammers trying to cover up, i admitted and apologized that i didn’t pay any attention to the conversation we had earlier. She was a little taken back.

After a few minutes of talking in the middle, she said in a mocking tone
“would you even remember this?”

A comfort in the stranger valley is the least expectation I had. A wittier one is a blessing.

“Shall we have dinner together, dinner is on me”
beware what you are asking for sam [in a playful tone]
[ofcourse] I remember your name, you told your name at tiger hills.

At every opportunity she got to tease me, she did.

Thajjias restaurant[7.30pm]

I kept wondering how she has no inhibitions and a least scarce of hanging out with a stranger in this quaint village. Its another story if the city was packed with tourists, but its almost the village of silence.

We got to the restaurant in the nick of  time just before he was about to close and while browsing through the menu –

“so, where to next?”
nowhere
seriously?”
seriously nowhere, I like it here for now. calm, peaceful, alone.
“lets order something. any ideas?”

I couldn’t stand those questions. Precisely att that moment because I was completely lost.

“where have you been to?”
Dal lake, Srinagar. Have you been there? you should visit…  about the dal lake, about the people, about the hospitality.. about its current sad state.. and how i managed to reach kargil..

She tried to interject in the middle but poorly failed several times. Until she got her chance, she was preparing to weave a tale. She has strong bonds with Srinagar, of course. 

Mallika was glad about her new company, because she gets to order more dishes without having worry about food wastage.

When we were having our dinner, one of the hotel staff sat close to us watching tv.

I asked him something casual just for the sake of having a word with him. And he responded with utmost interest. One word led to another.

Next moment, he spoke of how the fire broke out on the top floor accidentally, how the season remained denying their fair share of business/let alone profits.
I just listened in silence, she encouraging him to speak by nodding. He spoke of his mishaps, he answered himself. We were feeling sympathetic towards him. But didn’t speak of it. We spoke in silence that’s not going to do. Instead, the good things and about gushtabha preparation diverting his focus.

We came out talking about the struggles they had millitary-wise, terrain-wise, and most importantly of the greatest demon of limitation – weather.

Waving good-night, we went into our respective rooms and was dead to the world till next day morning.

I lost track of time  at sonamarg. I was afraid this company could impact my self-healing-therapy of being away from crowded life and activity.

She stopped me blabbering one time saying to stay quiet,”happiness like silence”

I was in for a surprise for things she said. “Have I found my clone?“a voice within

I had the good fortune of visiting mallika when she was at work.
Her ability incredible, patience infinite.

I was so swayed, that I picked up some of her habits unknowingly and reviving my old habits of communicating in mails.

“we barely spend time to think and write to someone,
these phones promote lazy talks losing all the intensity of emotions,
when the beloved goes far away,
the distance, the longing is not felt because they are just a click away.
How great it would be, if there was no instant lazy talk options, imagine”

She kept talking staring at mountains/ eyes closed/ reading something.. i kept listening all day.

Finding a company that lets you stay -self is a blessing. I believed i was destined to reach this place, just to find this travel partner.

And this one was just a prelude to the magnificent days in south.

Its almost an year I left sonamarg for srinagar->delhi->hyderabad. But a part of me, a part of my day still roam with mallika around sonamarg. “Doing nothing”, our favourite activity.

Who should I complain to for the insanity she promotes,
who should I complain how unpredictable she gets,
and who should I thank for the mystery she is.

when I asked her last 3 lines, she answered, “Thank your hardships“.

Thank you, hardships!!

Meadow of Gold by Samuel Reddyprogu on 500px.com

mechanised stallion by Samuel Reddyprogu on 500px.com

the lifeline by Samuel Reddyprogu on 500px.com

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On wheels – Teenage Spirit.05

Disclaimer : This isn’t a travel guide or itinerary.. rather an account of my experiences.

For the sake of continuity, please refer :On Wheels – An Old friend.04

[December 02, 2015]

I have reached my destination in one piece.

Karwar, the sign board read.City clasped by the mighty western ghats on the east and Arabian sea on the west.

I have learnt 2 facts before arriving here:

  • It has a sea coast and is at the bum of Goa
  • Karwar means a corner [safe corner| bay of safety]

Thoughts of highway cacophony, damaged patchy roads and the troubles I dealt with lorry guys were quietly sidelined by the senses of ocean.

Every wave came to the shore breaking away with a message “another wave is coming”.

Sun went into the west,
Birds flocked into the east : leaving ocean to my company.

Roof over my head is the least of my concerns at the sight of rustling sea waves.

Everytime I paid a visit to ocean : chennai, kanyakumari, vizag, pondicherry, danushkodi… the ocean took away something or I had given up something voluntarily.

It has become a regular ritual, this transaction. As if I was bribing the ocean for doing nothing. There wasn’t a reason or expectation for this like the transactions that happen in temple.

This time, I felt ultra-light at heart and could feel the strange karmic connect.

Hampi has made my heart lighter, this ocean just gave wings.

Start a discussion about ocean with me and I would never stop this dabble.

Food I had at Sree guru dhaba earlier has gone down my intestines, and a craving began inside that only a proper dinner could satisfy.

At first, I felt chained by my bike. That this companion is restricting my freedom to move. But not longer. There is no train to catch, no seat to bargain for, no private travels to bargain with.

Oh hearing from a local guy that Goa is ~25km away and the  fact that petrol is 7rs lesser than karwar bunks got me excited.
Excited not about saving money, but finding an excuse to drive again. Isn’t it a pleasure to cross a defined border and move at one’s will.

Two kinds of spirits to be excited about  : 1. teenage spirit and 2. C2H6O.

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The fact that  my teenage dream, apache along with me made the goa-karwar sprints euphoric.

I was in my 6th grade when I saw this Apache RTR 160 TV commercial.

#Flashback

A boy watches TVS Apache through glass-pane with his tiny hands bracketing his view,
admiring the beast it is.
He dreams of driving it one-day, [flashcut] he envisions his youthful self driving apache
banking sharply on a racing track pegging at its full throttle.

His father interrupts him and takes him away.
But the boy keeps his eyes fixed on the bike.. and the commercial ends with the tagine unleash the beast.

Few days later, I ended up at the local showroom staring at yellow Apache in display, just dreaming of having it one day.

I have been deeply sentimental to ride the Apache that I have to my name. I rode Apache only after my father has brought it for me in my early engineering days [2011feb], without a test ride to check for suitability.

Flashback#

similar commercial with different story-line:

Many valentines day has passed ever since Feb 2011. Apache, this Apache live with me despite the disasters, despite the accidents.
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The students of Engg college, karwar were very generous to include me in their evening beach volley games.
Sunset and beach volley. I need nothing for the moment.

Is there a greater pleasure than being the witness of sun’s act of waning and waxing, in the morning and evening?
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Is there a soul satisfying construction than building sand castles with the kids as the color of skies change?

Is there any better channel of wisdom sharing than listening from a veteran early in the morning ?

And, Is there any competing pleasure for eyes than watching beautiful women at the beach posing?

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That way, I have decided to end my watch here and go back home with several crucial decisions.

Decisions like not to use pantene again no matter how fucked up hair is.,
not to expect spicy biryani anywhere outside Hyderabad.
and never to let anyone have a say in my life ever again.

 

Glad you made it till here. If there is anymore patience left in you, here’s a video that could test your patience further.

Thank you for bearing with me.

Until Next time.. Peace!!

06 . Chocolates – 01

Hi, is this the road to lamayuru monastery?

No, you’ve crossed already.

Oh, can you tell the route please!!

Go back, reach there turn there, reach there turn there.. there you will find the monastery.

[While the kid was giving out directions, my focus slowly shifted from finding route onto him, wondering what he was doing at this construction site.
Slowly another kid faded in from the background running towards us]

The two had complementing skin tones and the kid’s hat was visually appealing.

Can I take a photo of yours?

They didn’t say anything, but stood focused with frozen expressions.
Is a smile too much to ask for ? should I ask them for a smile?
“Take what there is. Avoid forced expressions!!” told myselves trying to capture their natural best in the cold.

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Moments later, three others joined the party.
Now there are 5  in the frame .. laughing, smiling, giggling compensating for the silence in the village.

They were excited to be captured, to pose. Quite visible

I asked them permission to capture although I knew their answer.

Would you mind if I take your photo? in a Hindi that I knew.

There is a psychological reasoning behind asking permission to capture people.
Not only this grabs the attention but also facilitates comfort in frame.

Developed this new habit from someone close…

IMG_8219.jpg Thank you, I smiled at them and was about to leave satisfied with my shots.

The one in the middle dubiously stepped forward, asking for preview of what I took..

Then there were 5 heads into the lcd monitor of the camera assessing my shots.

they looked at themselves, mocked their friends, and left with a smile giving their approval.

They made sure that I took their pics right… verified, certified OK.

One of them asked softly,  “Chocolates.. do you have chocolates ??”

Sorry, no chocolates. But let me see what I have.. wishing to find something that could satisfy these kids . There was badam pack I picked up at leh market… you like these?

he took a sample from the pack, did QC and then took a handful assuming them for chocolates.

The one in the middle hesitantly took a few into his hands, ‘take take..’ I welcomed them to have it as they wish.. just like that, they almost emptied the pack of badams.

The first one came again and I gave him away the cover. Their pants had little holes that drained the badam in one’s pocket. Op.Save Badam has began.

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It was indeed a pleasure to have lost my way. Otherwise, I never would have crossed these little souls.

Chocolates, chocolates. Like a Nomad looking for food, I was searching for hot water and Chai anywhere and everywhere I go.

The way he said chocolates clung onto me that I desperately looked for chocolates everywhere. At chai stops, at petrol bunks, at restaurants, at dhabas and in the wild but couldn’t find one.

It was cold, and the drive made the atmosphere way too cooler. And I need a chocolate. Chocolate is my new destination.

Sharing some other moments —>


 

Little boss in Lamayuru
IMG_8262.jpg Smile
IMG_8200.jpgHappy to pose
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05. sweet riverine

When we were growing up, many of us were told the stories of how being good, doing good things in life takes us to a place called heaven.

At some stage in life; after the imperfection and obstacles, we find reasons to believe that there is no goodness in the world, that this place is just another rude hell we end up rotting in.

Forced to believe that this is how it’s supposed to be, often translated as reality..
We surrender.

The winds along the river stirred a strange reminder of what I grew up longing for.

A place where even minute feels forever.
Where water rustles spoke music.

Without a hint, I was living in the past. Sep nov 2016.

Isn’t it how it is? Switching to past unconsciously, then pull ourselves into the present.

Past|Present|past|present and then Future (dreams in the dark), wondering if the timeline pattern is same for everyone.

Those moments were so pure,  when I thought of them just remembered nothing but the river itself.

Have you noticed ? the flow of rivers and the uncanny resemblance to humans ?

  1. They break away while flowing, forming meanders on their path.
  2. They break away, but wouldn’t stop.
  3. They may change their course in time, but not the direction.
  4. They leave away their broken parts as lakes and move on to unite the waters of ocean?
  5. The lake / leftover parts of the stream acts to purify itself with terrific stillness.

Inspiration  Travel  Relax.

May be I would never figure out why I am here.

I am in my own company, but there was a feeling of togetherness.

After all,this river is the character that reminded me, helped me realise what I was missing and what I deserve.

I always had this fear of forgetting. Constantly recollecting the memories wouldn’t help, may be its a big deal to my little brain.

Trying to capture every finest detail in words and pictures and hopelessly failing at it,
I kept following the course of river|Life on my borrowed bird.


Connecting dotskarakoram ranges by Samuel Reddyprogu on 500px.com

Off Season Greenery

Nimmoo by Samuel Reddyprogu on 500px.com


Easy choice.. Chiling!!
Choice in hand by Samuel Reddyprogu on 500px.com

Roads & mountains that guard the zanskar river borders.
Kaatru Veliyidai!!
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Silently, the wind stole water.
Here is the proof.IMG_8449

Finally, the meeting place!
How many colors would blend in to form this!!

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04. Broken backs

Sunrise just as everyday, but special in its own ways.

It was one of the best night; probably  because I do not remember falling asleep.

A couple from Delhi checked-in next door that morning.
At first, both seem struck by AMS.
Later learnt that they revealed themselves to the desi herbs.

Explaining the possibility of nightstay at Lamayuru, left half luggage with the Landlord and went straight to do sanity check of Bullet that I borrowed yesterday.

Not the bullet that kills, the bullets that can take you to places.

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Only two things mattered to me the most that moment..

Leather Jacket & Rayban Shades. All else is in mute.

At first, I  Though the DSLR gives more freedom of expression by having the choice of Aperture, Shutter and manual focus. I was equally fatigued fearing that these pictures might deprive me of my “me time”, that I will spend the most time taking pictures.

Every shot was a challenge. To hold the camera still is a challenge let alone composing a shot. The time spent taking those pictures was worth every little discomfort.

In the process of adjusting, I just got addicted to the breezy expanse. As beautiful as the landscapes were; the more challenging they were to own, to capture, or even to embrace.

I was running short of words. Every frame that I tried to capture, demand me to breathe a little heavier next time ( High altitude, low on oxygen.. duh!!!)

After several sharp curves and mountains, came a straight path, where the mind took turns.IMG_8075

Noticeably, there were sudden strong winds blowing from west..from Sonamarg.

Having someone to bother, to experiment and to dabble in air together.

Should I have agreed to travel together? Was it mistake to go alone?
Flurry of thoughts/ideas floated in my mind until the road offered challenges.

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I kept asking her to pose to get the best shot, but only got it right when she isn’t paying attention.
So were my best shots.

“Wish I could stand by these mountains forever“, a voice said. One among the many voices that reside in me. comfortably forgetting the chilling pains of cold weather.

A few drops of vinegar in 100 kg sugar and no one ever will ever taste sugar.

So were the little discomforts : the vinegar.

so was the experience : the sugar!!

Whom should I thank for routing me here..
whom should I thank for the mystery she is!!

Consciously, I fell for the harshness yet again…


 

Of course, no travelogue is incomplete without the mention of Chai.

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03 . Destination

Travel-and-tell-no-one

There are always two destinations: The one we know and the one we do not know.

This destination I have heard of, read of is much different than I thought.

I was suggested to rest for the day to get acclimatized to the weather.

A surreal mix of fact and fantasy it is.

The rapidly transforming weather confused me. I kept asking my senses what time of the day it is.

“just 10 minutes passed away?” asking myself, kept tapping my watch.

Creative potential of these young fold mountains is intense.

Usually prone to excessive adjectives whenever I come closer to nature;

I became deaf. I couldn’t move a muscle, I was stoned. Plus I was sleepless last night reading to Rumi’s parables.

Closed shutters, abandoned roads welcomed me just like Srinagar.
Only this time, it was the weather responsible for close down, not insurgency.

Perhaps, intense weather could be the greater villain that no one dare challenge.

In a way, going to places during the “OFF” season is a blessing.

Off season = Authentic peace – (Selfie experts + tourist chaos)

While thoughts took time to germinate, I began working on the Map that I took from JK tourism help center, hand-picking the routes and adjusting mind compass.

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After several negotiations with the weather, began my scout with borrowed lens.

Sometimes, you don’t realize the happiness within but you are smiling. The same happens when we get what we long.

I chose to start this journey solo., but karma had something else in its backhand.

I chose to be secretive about this trip. There is no point trying to explain difference between awe awful to people who think both are same.

Nervousness and the hesitation still stayed while socializing. But a comfort has developed with self being.

Of course, every journey is a journey in itself.

Some faded memories ⇓⇓⇓

clasped by mountains by Samuel Reddyprogu on 500px.com

Leh city bus stop by Samuel Reddyprogu on 500px.com

 

School students by Samuel Reddyprogu on 500px.com

 

 

Dryfruit mart by Samuel Reddyprogu on 500px.com

Gompas by Samuel Reddyprogu on 500px.com

uninvited by Samuel Reddyprogu on 500px.com


 

02 . Layover

Layover of 6 hours facilitated me to breathe normally and prepare for another cabin atmosphere.

This could be my last trip!

That’s what the thought always was.

We often get stuck, get out of it, then restart/start hoping that this would be the last time.

Nothing finds us on a trip, there isn’t a hidden treasure.

How could there be a treasure when the treasure itself is oneself?

—–

As I roamed around passing through each and every gate my boarding pass has access to, a group of people wearing most typical Indian attitude with vegetables and rice satchels in their hands caught my attention.

In no time, the thought that came across my mind “why are these people here, they look so poor. How do they afford this”.

Retracing back those thoughts with guilt,
I cussed myself for reducing those people on grounds of appearance.

But the thought of where they are going kept me fascinated.

……Thousand words, thousand water drops and some thoughts later..

As soon as the first announcement for my flight was aired, a long strolling queue was formed by the same people mentioned before.

It was the most defining moment. There was a Ladhaki family, few Indian Army personnel, countable outsiders like me and the whole charter been occupied by people with rice bags and vegetables as their cabin luggage.

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Another round of personal judgement has begun. I was more curious this time.

What business do these guys have in there? the question traveled along until there was an answer.

The usually welcoming Air-hostesses were visibly grossed out to welcome these people aboard.

Such racists!! I thought. Who am I to judge the crew for the similar thoughts I had earlier.

I haven’t paid attention while check-in. “any window seat with good view please” I asked.

In a way, my wish became true,  but wings/engines kept obstructing my view.

While the flight was taxing towards the runway, I was examining the rudders, cabin design, wings pattern and this..

the little breather hole.

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Flight safety instructions began, air-hostesses were growing insensitive to pitch the people about emergency door exists.

“If there would be any complications in this flight and have to use emergency doors, we would disappear in these mountains”,I thought.

While I took out camera to do what I came for and asked the possibility for a seat change, the air-hostesses suggested I stay at my seat as the flight was full.

Immediately, the person sitting beside me asked,”kya bola tha janaab aapne usko?”(what did you ask her ,sir?”

I responded to the eagerness, “for a seat change.. to take photos from the window seat” in my most polite tone.

In close firing range, I shot my questions to them like a reporter as to how why they were travelling by flight.

They responded very humbly, for every word I spoke, there were head-turns which turned exciting from being scary.

As rough as they seem, they were extremely polite.

May be that’s the thing living in harsh environment that leaves them polished; leaving no scope for inner-harshness.

After 48 photos and heavy turbulence due to the mountains’ echo, reached my destination.

Some moments form >40,000 ft altitude :

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PS : Unedited images : Please bear with the sensor dust in the images.

 

 

01. packing, unpacking : In between

Have I packed well atleast this time?

the question that have always bothered in past,present and future tense of any travel.

Even after a good recovery from what was biggest setback in my career; I couldn’t move out of the city.

One fine morning, there was an ad;there was a quote I came across.

“take your body where your mind is”…

words are translated inspirations of human experience. And sometimes those words in its entirety guide us to seek  new experiences.

After a long exercise of packing and unpacking, nervously kicked off for yet another experience after 99 days of hibernation in hometown.

Spice-jet has this amazing tag line if noticed.

Which goes as:  hot. red and spicy.

The moment  I saw air-hostesses, I was enchanted by their designed smile and beauty. The tagline maybe about them.

As soon as the flight took off, the window seat offered a magnificent view of the city.


On a normal day, we look up for stars in the sky.

But that moment, it felt as if I was searching to find out which constellation(city), those stars on earth belong to.

Somehow, fight-club deeply impacted my conscience that i envisioned engine failure/ mid air collision/ Radar failure/ going south for north/ crash-landing or a failed take-off.

Thanks to Air Crash Investigations by NGC which taught million possible ways to die on an air travel.

Being addicted to railway travel, the flight left me wanting more.

Unfortunately, its the era that values time more than the experience and quality..
Like a fan feels for a classical tale longing 8 hours is slashed to 8 min musical skit.

Though adaptability has its demands, there is this deep sense of satisfaction in living with the original.

The question just got its answer while retrieving luggage at the destination.

Not packed well. One of the shoe fell off from the bag and traveled solo on the conveyer belt. It became a comic relief for the fellow co-passengers after a turbulent flight.

and some of the songs on my playlist weren’t fit to purpose.

Of course, the packing may be imperfect… but not the content the bag and my mind had.

And the best companion I ever had is with me.*(except that one time in Kashmir)

thanks to fukat ka tata-docomo airport WiFi.

Recurring gift

 

With an endless greed for supremacy and will to conquer, wars have been fought.

Whatever  the cause of war was,img_0739

Sunset brought peace asking the undead to retire for the day.

On a fortunate early evening(s) when my boss left early;

 

metaphorically, the sun peeked through the curtain and wavered me peace.

 

Who would pass on such a view?
so have I walked down to celebrate the evening with orange mystic clouds and mild winds.⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓

 

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The sun slowly induced its art in the evening by painting shades of orange and yellow all over the sky.

Every evening is a unannounced gift

where sun’s solo trip comes to an end, making its way for starry skies and the occasional moon.

I could just do one thing, ride. Ride into the madness of night with no option but to surrender.

Ofcourse, the light is best served/valued in darkness.

 

Celebrating Sunset⇓⇓

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⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓

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⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓

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Calling it a day!!

©Sam

9. Ek nadi thi

8. The Story teller

Note 1 : I made a promise to self not to speak of anyone explicitly on this blog, but here I am breaking my rule 1. Now that I have warned you, proceed at your risk..

Despite the continuous ongoing drama in the valley, the journey never stopped surprising me.This time, a company in chaos.

With her by my side, what was turning into sleepy groovy bass turned into an unpredictable hi pitched synthesizer beats.

We settled down at Wani restaurant after early sunrise where the lorry drivers were smoking.

She pulled out a cigarette cursing the smokers in mute and took one long shot saying “smoking takes away lives faster, do not smoke.. EVER” as if its her last breath and passed it on tossing away the ashes.

Taking the cig into hands, what she said and what she did was a head-scratcher..

I looked at her shifting my eyes from the cigarette onto her. She  was already wearing an evil smile.

Somehow I secretly began hating the recent developments : having a company being #1.

I only chose to travel alone so that I have all these memories associated with me, just me.
But silently she nudged her way into my moments, disqualifying this for a solo trip.

This doctor had the unswerving wisdom that can destroy any romanticism left in cupid, responding loudly to emotions with reasoning, science and fluent sarcasm.

At breakfast, we fed ourselves with left over insults from last night.

When we returned back to the hotel, Sheikh Bhai asked her about her stay with his infectious smile, “as long as it pleases”, she replied looking at the mountains.

There goes the commitment phobic“, I said.

She turned back and tried to look serious.
Instead, she broke out smiling turn back towards me to shut up.
Dimple left her cheeks long after smile has left.

This wasn’t the first time I have seen “her smile”. It was during one of my poor joke the other day that earned her first smile.

One thing led to another and we began discussing what led us to the Kargil despite the insurgency and its sad state.

When I summarized my life story and what has built me to the moment, she was sitting opposite to me with a terrific stillness.

Unable to comprehend, I took my chai glass for warmth. Then began music in background.. “emotional atyaachar” from DevD.

And she grinned like a donkey.

I was angry the moment and smiling the next. She had a infectious thin air laugh too cute to watch.

“template life wouldn’t suit you”, she said.

In her words, “we wear a practical mask. we make excuses with this practical mask; the worst being “Afterall, I am a human being” thing. Being a human being doesn’t entitle one to play with others emotions or time. You need not live in everyone’s perspectives. There’s no wrong in being wrong. You are not 50, but precisely half of it.
Live your age….. love is noble,courageous only in fairy tales while in real life, its a cover for one’s selfishness…… (a good 5 min monologue)… +rumi metaphor 

“Live your age” is what stayed with me.

From then, the “emosional atyachaar” has become my ringtone.

The chotti Eid in Kangan with sheik bhai’s family, the wazwaan cooked together, the improvised movie conversations, serious puns exchanged, sharing playlists, listening to just released ADHM, Mirzya.., playng with sheikh bhai’s kids, she fighting to read my unpublished wordpress drafts in onenote., … and many little little moments which felt like an era lived too soon.

It wasn’t a dream, for the place is already a dream.

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Sindhu river in moonlight

While I was contemplating on taking up the job back in hyderabad.. she spoke while watching night tv..

“You earned it… there’s no glory in throwing away what you achieved. That’s not disgracing yourself, but your effort. You’ve did it once years ago, don’t do it again..”

With a sponsored ticket, flew back the very next day with lot of hesitation to leave the place with a fear that we may no see each other.

Zendagi Migzara… I’ve told myselves.. life must go on.

Farewell is an event when a closed one becomes stranger again,
this farewell has made a stranger into closed one.

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Our rooms

Revisit : 04. Songs of Déjà-vu

Previously, Revisit – 03. Oh so Stoned!!!

“Love and romantic relationships brings out chutiya version of oneself, not letting one to operate at their optimal best”  – a friend at Sonamarg.

The dividing line between love and lust is always blurred.
When one attempts to discover the line, it fades away with a dirty smile.

This love/lust is the evolution of expectations.

Expectations that make the blame game sound sweeter,
Expectations that take away the innocence of youth,
that glorifies all right-doings and wrongdoings.

But there is this strange force
that draws one’s heart towards women, like the moon that causes high tide.

Pulls us towards young women for their glamour and wit;
towards old women for their wisdom and experience in life.

I was carrying myself around with these pack of preconceived notions, and have encountered this couple on strangest tides that swiveled me.

Unlike the normal couple that indulges in Public Display of Romance, these doesn’t seem to believe in live action before and seem to have stayed in their senses.

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©Sandeep

These couple were busy travelling  into each others’ eyes.
Eventually, they exiled themselves from surrounding social world.

*On the pretext of taking selfie, switched to rear camera and took these shots*

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The way they looked into each other was despicably adorable.

The wind blew mild and  music played songs of deja-vu.

A fraction of my heart yearned to have such chaotic ecstatic moment in life.

There isn’t a conclusion for a feeling like this,

difficult to understand, hard to explain.

Only the presence is felt, and absence experienced.

 

-In fond memory of,
Partner in crime 😉

Revisit – 03. Oh so Stoned!!!

The Revisit – 02.Freedom

There is a river and two shores.

On one side, there is spirituality divinity, history, art and architecture.

On other side, there is  Kishkinda. The roman-chic place in complete contrast to Hampi.

We got the first hand information that last boat on either shores leaves at 6pm.
But heard someone saying, people will transport even late at night at extra cost.

Laziness prevailed on us.
And then we were on one side of the shore in the dark waiting to be smuggled to the other side of the river.

A coracle has come to out rescue in darkness. But surge pricing has hit us hard. What costs 10rs at day time has been priced at 100rs.
Thats around…(you do the math)

This is nothing like my last visit. Finally we have encountered the rare species with rare clothing.

Girls were mostly in shorts, hot and extremely hot and sultry.

A few of them have joined our coracle, squatting, facing each other inorder to balance out the boat.

In the early moments of the short journey,

a girl giggled and said in breaking tone”my a$$ is getting wet”

another shortly made a statement, “I am wet” laughingly.

Our captain was not able to row us to the other shore because of the strong current, and the coracle was filling up with water slowly.

They were mixed emotions.
There was fear of drowning in the middle of the river, and the excitement of hot girls that spiced up the moment.

Confused, excited and scared at the same time.

Expecting  to reach shore ASAP, and expecting the moment last long.

This GIF perfectly sums up our situation 

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It was an emotional moment when we reached the shore watching the girls walk away.

We reached our room and stretched a little over the table getting ready for dinner.

My friend had the privilege of watching intense action over other table where the girl was provoking the beast in her boyfriend.

Imagination did play dirty picture, what more can a dirty deed lead to!!

“Shortly”, in shorts came our neighbors and settled at a table opposite to us.

We gathered the courage and money and finally ordered a beer that costs a fortune.

We had chicken, we had beers, we have ‘live action’ infront of us, BOOM!!

Then came the most important cameo in our trip.

Meet Miss.Cat who was initially shy went blazing guns when she saw…

We caught him several times in his herculean attempts to get hold of the beer and handed over to his master.

We felt lazy and started playing with him and set him free.

She went to the opposite table and surprised the short girl. she freaked out and asked us to help with the cat.

Then at that moment, the ice broke.

The short girl asked us for a little hash in exchange of weed.

She gave us a look when we told that we don’t smoke.
Then, there for a moment we thought of contemplating suicide for the insulting top to bottom look she gave.

She came in like a little angel in our life and “rolled” the evening for us.

The girl opposite to my friend started touching herself on the mattress. May be she was high, or may be she intentionally did that. It was a wild night.

We were busy drinking eternity from the fountain(pippet rather) of youth 😉

Kishkinda was indeed too hot to handle.
It took several hours for eyes to adjust to such a humanly naked town.

Up Next→Revisit : 04. Songs of Déjà-vu

The Revisit – 02.Freedom

← The Revisit – Hampi.01

There is an unearthing comfort in relieving childhood memories.
With every new friend, the moments of childhood are constantly discussed and debated.
When mother runs out of ideas to embarrass, she picks up the childhood mischief stories to narrate.

As puberty hits, the belief system takes a shift. Love and social acceptance takes the center-stage.

Craving for love from people we haven’t met in our short existence becomes the life-goal.

In the transition from a kid to an adult,

We allow our memories to be ruptured,
smile corrupted,
feelings abused,
dreams hacked,
intent challenged,
heart bruised,
peace squandered,
and happiness dependent on others leaving ourselves vulnerable.

It is the dynamic thought process and questioning ability that resurrect the freedom of one’s own independence lost in history.

There are several phases in one’s life.

There has been a phase in our existence timeline.
Where,we spoke more through eyes, rarely with voice.

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There has been a phase in our existence timeline.
Where,The world was too small to wander. Mother’s lap is the most comforting place to be.

There has been a phase in our existence.
Where,where calm behavior seems insane!

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There has been a phase in our existence.
Where,the real existence has been sealed in embracing the moment rather than striving to capture

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There has been a phase in our existence.
Where, we celebrated little moments with freshness inside chest

Traveled the world with bigger footprints

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we didn’t shy away to watch what is happening around

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When love brings in freedom, that freedom brings in reverence and also the child in oneself.

Then, that way, I became the child for the moment.Again.

———————–

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This is how I pose when asked to (posted  this pic just for the hot lady)

Revisit – 03. Oh so Stoned!!!→

The Revisit – Hampi.01

In a banter over email with the Doc, came the discussion about the places that needs another visit, which triggered me to go Hampi to settle with my ongoing drama in life.

I went on saying doc how it felt like in Hampi,
“Hampi is an emotion!!
like a kiss that doesn’t demand kissback but deserves one,
like a dream that I would conveniently forget to redream again,
a place where I built a house full of memories”.

Unlike the usually long addictive solo trips,
this time started out with a known company, a borrowed DSLR, and planned return date for the weekend.

With cancelled tickets, we boarded the train weaving different stories on how to plead innocent and get away with fine from the TC.

The TC fined us fairly and we paid up agreeing not to budge him for confirmed berths.I got used to the ordeal of rough beginning and a journey full of hiccups but my friend had to struggle.

The journey has begun.
A man with half-burnt face with his partner,
a racy couple consumed by the cold night,
a musician from Hubbali exporting his congo and dholak were the notable passengers.

There were these obvious statements.  Again.

Why Hampi? Go Goa.
“Hampi has nothing but ruins”, came a travel advice from the musician unasked for.

He went on with his free-advice of assessing what’s in Hampi, what to watch out for and I stood there listening his tourist knowledge while my friend was struggling for a suitable position for the night with the packed congo beside him.

Eventually, the discussion boiled down to what he was transporting. Congo, Dholak and several percussion instruments as I’ve guessed earlier.

He introduced himself as the lead musician mostly on tabla and congo.

I drained him with questions like, “who is your audience, won’t you find these instruments in your city, how is your income like, do you feel respected, do you get paid well?…. ”

When he asked my name and I answered, he asked if I was a christian, “My parents are” I’ve replied with a smile. He asked curiously ‘why hampi’ to which I tilt my head and smiled.

As we arrived Guntakal, he found a vacated berth.
He joined his hands with a faint smile and said “good night”, rather hinting goodbye to me and my questions.

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A profound happiness filled in me, its been 54 days I haven’t been in a train or on a rail platform. There is something weirdly strange about train travel.

While the railway employees  separated our coaches from others that are headed to yeshwantpura, I stood there as spectator to see the proceeding. Disengaging and engaging  air locks, augmenting coaches to the other link. A ritual that I wouldn’t miss.

The train made its way into Karnataka in a few moments.
Though separated by territorial borders, governing bodies and telephone carriers, unified by language as majority speaks Telugu giving the feeling of home state.
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Just a couple of hours and we’ll be in Hospet.

With camera in hand and good music passing though ear canals, passed through the foggy green farms of Toranagallu.

The news in 29th october read, “colorful procession (…) hampi utsav” has rekindled my sleepy eyes with excitement.

Just like that, we passed through the track of neatly plaited agri farms and coconut trees on either sides,

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reached Hospet, end of yet another journey marking space for another travelogue!!

The Revisit – 02.Freedom

On Wheels – An Old friend.04

← On Wheels – Hampi.03

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07:30 hrs, a visit to the temple just before leaving unsure of next visit.

Surprisingly, I have found the 3faced nandi while walking away.

I have been searching for this since day one only found it moments

before I left the place.

Often happens,finding things at the last moment when least expected.

Also these art pieces I have failed to notice during my brief stay.

It stinged a moment when I saw the board, “welcome to Hospet“.

Of course, no place is to stay forever.
we might call ourselves settlers but deep down, we are nomads.
Nomads at heart.
the mindless, unbounded travelers for a lifetime.

8am and my stomach asked for a refill.

As I crossed Tungabhadra Dam headed towards Hubli road, the merciless trucks derailed me off the track. I was furious and blessed them with abuses, though they couldn’t hear, it was all to my satisfaction.
With so many transport vehicles mobbing around, I sensed some dhabas could be nearby.

It was an industrial area and there was a company (hospet steels?). Opposite to its entrance, there is a dhaba  where I had the best dosas with best chutneys.
Fresh from the pan, fresh from the grinders.

Dosa thin as a wafer, hot and sweet at the same time and the chutney that slides down the throat like butter with perfect chilli.. a breakfast to remember. Felt as if I’ve crossed miles and miles just for these amazing dosas.

I rested for a while and started again expecting to reach karwar  atleast by latenoon around 1500 hrs. ~330km @60kmph.

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Flat straight road with windmills on either side of the road is all it is.
Most boring part of any journey is to travel a path without hurdles, without twists and turns. This is where I topped speed, setting new record on my odometer.

Though the wind and bike kept playing loud all the time, all that stayed, all that reverberated in my ears were the tabala drops in vittala temple.

Koppal – Halegere – Lakkundi – Gadag – Annigeri and finally… Hubbali.

With pints of pride and contempt for leaving hampi, reached Hubbali around 1PM.

I felt the need to rest for a while.
Around 20km after Hubbali city limits on NH63 towards Kalghati, found sree guru dhaba. stopped looking at the cots available to rest upon.

Ordered my food, asked the Punjabi boss if I was headed in the right direction.

Conversations with him and the people I’ve met typically went like this:

“Where are you coming from ?”

“Hyderabad”

“from Hyderabad…., on bike…., to where?” (wondering what madness has brought this guy)

“Yes.. going to Karwar as of now”

“What for ?”

“just wanted to stay as far as possible from the city, from the life I know”

A mix of shock,surprise and concern clearly visible on their face,
the pauses they take in between, narrowing their eyebrows.
That look on people face when I answer their questions is priceless.

Karwar.
A place suggested by the locals of Hampi.
There is always a hidden pleasure in going to a place where nobody knows you.
It was one of the meeting place of  Ocean and land.

Every song has a dullest point and best point. To really enjoy the best, one has to deal with dullest points.
Such is any journey.

Shortly after Kalghati, the best has come. Forest Area. Forest roads.

One of the finest road with smooth curves, and thick forest cover barely allowing sunlight to fall on the road.I forgot that I was away from home, that I was alone these beautifully dangerous roads.

Whenever I see a sign board of sharp curve, I sped up to bank sharply..
like a Motogp Racer on fire to burn the road with tyres (with a speed lock of 107kmph). Clouds challenging me to race with its fast moving wedges of shadow, it felt like a dream.

I felt like a child left alone with a bowl of ice cream.

Just when I was getting friendly with happiness, came the uninvited guest : reality.

Lately I was living in a state of denial.
Denying the way I lived, kept my ears busy listening to too many voices not listening to my own. Being marked, asking to be thrown away and being thrown away, being “advised” the right doings and wrong doings by the society.

How do I run away from the books of history, I am miles apart now.
How do I win over?, when I chose to lose
How do I get over my insane choices?
How to heal myself,when I was the one to cut myself bones deep.
How do I forgive myself, deal with myself even thought knowing “its not my way”

With a high degree of randomness in thoughts and speed fluctuations, I was driving with deep thoughts.A team of a trolls approached in the form of heavy cargo trucks.
But this time, not to derail me off the track, but with a force that could push me away.

If I wait for all these trucks to pass by and later travel, I wouldn’t reach before dawn.
I had to go against these trucks, challenge the heavy air friction they carry with themselves.
Holding on was even a difficult task let alone keep going.

Each passing truck was a neck-breaker. Jacket being the saviour of the day.

And then came the place, leaving me clueless in the unknown jungle, where signals couldnt pass through heavy tree trunks, through the heavy mountain ranges.

Few million petrol drops later…

I came back to my senses and came to know that Karwar, the new destination is just 50km away at the last pitstop.

It was then that I realised how lost I was in that green lush enchanted forest roads.

Just before the dawn, reached the coastal plains, the west of the ghats pumping strange sense of  happiness with a hint of melancholy.

The emotions of meeting an old friend after ages, the sight of ocean from few metres awayWP_20151201_16_03_02_Pro.jpg

I have finally reached my destination, karwar.

I am clueless again. Not knowing what to do.

You reach a destination, become clueless. then root for the other, become clueless.
and then another..

One thing remains constant at all stages.

Being clueless. Hence continued my clueless journey.

 

8. The Story teller

←07 : The nature’s game

At first, I was Jaded and wondered what possessed me to this sleepy little town.
My senses took its own time to adjust to the accentuating silence, the grassy meadows and mountain cleavages.

Cars whiz past, heading east on NH1D, hoping to cross Zojilla before trucks clog up the ghat section. Tired motorists heading west look eagerly to arriving at Srinagar.

All doubts were gone when the clear blue skies and gorgeous mountain vistas reveal themselves posing existential questions before me.
Sun glanced over the peaks pumping a strange sense of strength and creativity.

Cold river banks in mountain cleavages welcoming us to sit on and watch the world go by.
It felt like the town was designed for us.

Strolling on the meadows of the valley along the curvy waters,
hiking the steep(almost vertical) mountains with cold sweats and grunts.

We kept our eyes fixated on the gorgeous mountains.
Moments later, the poignant story-teller came along.with his troupe under the supervision of the lonely eagle, the sun and the passing clouds.

The wedges of sunshine, the symphony of silence and the shadows of clouds were the lead artists.

The rooms we stayed were unsung heros of the story, with the roofing sheets responding to every nature’s call: to every minute weather change indicating signs of sunshine, rain and power switching with different alerts.

You hear a story that you already know.
Even with no thrills, no twists and no surprises you hear it again.
You knew of the tragic moments. Moments of love,pain and sufferings.
Yet you want to revisit them, re-dream the known dream and drool over it.

Perhaps,the art of story-telling does not lie in the story but the nonchalant ways of representing the story. Its the way story has been perceived.

Sonamarg for me is a great charming story-teller presenting itself in a new way everyday.
And the reason it stayed special for me is because I lived there.

Like an unexpected smile from a newborn, this journey has been full of surprises.

Like the perennial “Sindhu” river, things just started rolling for me, in my way!!

07 : The nature’s game

06 : Saheb, Biwi aur Kashmiri Pulav

Going out alone is possibly the deadliest risk of life. Apart from benefits of agility and hitch-hiking, one may realize their true physical endurance, potential and emotional capabilities which is cautiously contagious.

Short trips, real short trips making my way out of main city to the road connecting Manigam bypass with a hope of getting transport to the destination I’ve longed to visit since ~13 years, kargil-Drass.

Been an hour, the lonely road, the lonely me with the star studded sky. I cursed my misfortune as the lorries took halt for the night exactly where I was waiting and none were moving ahead.

Is there a way? Is it written in my fortune? Should I head back giving up again?
“Not this time!!Let’s challenge fate”, went away another hour.

Then came an unexpected vehicle at the most unexpected time with top priority clearance in the city town country.

5 hours, 3 vehicles and 4 chai later, reached!! Finally!!
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What the cook from last night said was true. There were little to no movement in this tiny village except the cargo heading to Leh-Ladakh, a cold desert. But nevertheless, glorious and beautiful from the gallantry of fallen men, who stood up for greater cause.

Post breakfast, the usual rites of begging for transport has begun. Not because I was miser to hire a cab, but there weren’t any cabs. Friday after-all. People’s Prayer day. Fridays and Kashmir, you’ll only get it when you visit Kashmir.

On a lonely road, in the lonely planet, a yellow board vehicle that says JK 16 which means Ganderbal district, which means, headed west. I waved alarmingly bringing the tiger to a screeching halt.

Where to?
I have no specific destination, just take me along.. sonamarg/naranag/gulmarg/Kangan. Any low key village is good for me.

The driver turned back and got his approval from boss of the cab with whom I’ve exchanged a weeny surprising smile strolling around at the war memorial.

Embracing the beauty of dusty cold road, sat in the front seat just looking out at the empty brown-fields. The plain path till zojila which I’ve crossed in early morning under dark skies and invisible valleys.

It was as if a blonde girl’s hair parted plaited into two units and driving through small deviations in the partition.

Just at the zero point snow sheet cover,


the driver retired  to prepare himself for the deadly zojila pass.

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The black sweatshirt boss with a hair bun just got down and was having chai.

Solo? Yes.
You? Solo.

Not another word spoken neither a glimpse. Just embracing the hurling music of winds in the valley and the curves.
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Along the curvy elevated roads, it felt like having traveled a distance but still around in the same place. Like how it feels ending up at the same place having traveled the distance, having moved away from the beauties that knew how to pull us back and trap in its clutches of memories.

There were tall trees suddenly after a section. Like someone demarcated the boundary for trees. Seems like the cold desert and the green trees had a rift on who to have the trees.

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Khudrat ka khel“,told my conscience. (Nature’s play).

When I checked the physical map, police station is the checkpoint of the village, neither a district magistrate nor a panchayat office. Just police station is the highest authoritative office according to the milestones. Perfect!! I thought and got down.

A youth hostel, village of large exotic villas. Not my type. Went around the town to scout for better place to stay.

JKTDC guest house with two crowns over it. I sought if the specific room was available.
He quoted a figure I couldn’t afford and told my budget. Probably the effect of low-no visitation in the season got me the room I required at my price. Mansoor bhai opened up the room for me.

I saw one of its sort. In Dalhousie : kalaptop wildlife sanctuary forest guest house where Lootera was shot. Vikramaditya’s next after Udaan.

As expected, a British construction with indoor chimney, unfortunately sealed 20 years ago

Just as the afternoon Azaan had its closing cermony from the nearby mosque, a familiar face next door. The same girl, 3 instances. I feared if she took me for a stalker. Which later turned out to be the best company I’ve had.

The hibernating introvert in me came to life again.
Sure she would be irked with my one word responses and drifting through aisle like a whizzing mosquito.

A walk towards south. An informal visit to the flock of sheeps, the horses, another ramzan bhai and the wani restaurant. Drafting, documenting using the recall memories from the past few hours-days.

The dawn was not puncutal, the usual 7PM came.

A company for dinner after a long time in thajjias, just beside the mosque.

 8. The Story teller→

06 : Saheb, Biwi aur Kashmiri Pulav

05 : The Mehmaan

A half closed shutter,
Pincer vegetarian foods.

Today’s special
Kashmiri pulav
Paneer pakoras
Masala Green Tea

Hesitantly ordered “Kashmiri pulav?” I asked them if they would put in bananas or sticky fruits in them. I shared with him the horror of bananas and papayas in spicy fried rice being sold as kashmiri pulav and how my stomach responded to that “kashmiri pulav” to which he delicately laughed and said to trust in him.

I kept waiting meanwhile the autowala whom I’ve struck a deal has come up into the restro. The unusual Kashmiri Hindi accent. I offered him tea and he offered several words.

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I remember to have lauding him endlessly for the amazing pulav, the mirchis that complimented the cloudy cheese, the carrots that give bugs bunny feel, carefully marinated dryfuits. Sympathizing how wrongly one can spoil the name of “kashmiri pulav” down south hogged the pulav slowly, completely.

Just as Zakir and I parted goodbyes late in the evening, I was thumbing up for lift back into the city for the chaos, “so much of silence and peace is not good for health”, told my conscience.

An old man ‘?’ ,A proud Kashmiri has responded to my thumbs up with a bag of clubs.

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The man himself and his clubs.

Usually I would play the insanely curious interviewer, but this time he shot me, with questions.

Right from my travelling, my reasons,  my destinations and the papers in jacket.

On knowing I was free for the early evening, he asked if I want to watch a game of golf.
One of the golf course biggest in size and altitude.

Probably the loneliest game ever invented involving a lot of travel.
Hitting out of the park with the heaviest, strongest available club available and later search extensively to find it. Isn’t it what we do with ourselves sometimes?
Hurt ourselves knowing the obvious conclusions and later trying to heal ourselves?

The old man had the tongue of a gossiping aunt which never cease to flow.

He said holding the heaviest club positioning, swaying his bum in restricted angles,”I have all the comforts in the world. A home and a gypsy, a Wife and a issue.”

And there goes the first strike with the heaviest club that left a dubious thought, “is he imagining the poor innocent ball as his wife?.

When I complimented him of his nehruvian looks, he scoffed and said.. “I’d have been a much better looking PM”.

He told me later that I reminded him of his grandson abroad and how much they miss him around, wondering how career and life could harden one’s heart for their elders.

He is a young man trapped inside an old body. The old body and its package of apprehensions, sickness that restricts to live, eat, travel on his terms admiring the way i’m carrying myself through rich experiences.

He screechingly halted the gypsy saying in the middle of intense conversation buying flowers then calmly saying singing, “apni mehbooba se milne khaali haath nahi aate”. Laughs erupted in the gypsy.

The mischievous child in him is still alive and the aunt grew older quicker than her silver hair. A cup of coffee, conversation with his saheba.

He stormed out of his home with a fight and has walked inside with an unusual pleasantry forgetting the past rift between them,
may be  that’s how love works!!
I told them how stunning both were. A trip back to boulevard road with his driver, he was hesitant to leave his quiet house.The curious investigator is back with his questions with the shikaras around dal gate.

“What’s there in kargil? Why kargil. See book.. What is there.. See Kashmir.. Real Kashmir”,told the man who made my dinner.

This being the uncounted instance of the countless times I’ve been told “you cannot”, “not worth the effort”.

As if I listen!!

Its difficult, but there’s got to be a way out. The cattle has to move, people has to move, things are on move, why can’t I move?

“There is always a way out”, told my conscience.

Packed back the half bag, took ramzan bhai’s address and took leave for the day, waving goodbyes. Found out that the hotel’s name is Bombay Guest house”. the unusual mumbai connect, at least can you explain this my dear conscience.. ?

I realized how boringly philosophical I have become speaking to myself more than ever before. But isn’t it how conscience works ? Constantly deceiving mind to think of things that took-off, judge and have an opinion on every damn thing?

post.jpgAt the stroke of midnight, strolling on the dark lanes of dalgate road in search of a viable safe transport to visit the most influential memory of childhood, a place of sacrifices and memorials. Back on the roads promoting “thumbs up!!” with a tagline “pick the thunder”.

Not knowing that a team of trolls were waiting for me in the east.

07 : The nature’s game→

05 : The Mehmaan

←04 : Gateway to Heaven

No problem, I can make it on my own.
“aap tho hamare mehmaan ho, aap ki khusi hamari khushi”, Gulzar bhai told flexing his muscles around eyes and a broad nonchalant smile.
you are our guest, your happiness is our happiness.

“He really means it”,says my conscience.
Went with him with a leap of faith. Do I really have an option?

Beyond the hotel gate, A girl and a boy playing at the porch turned towards us in response to creaking gate sound and gifted a cute smile.

One of the best surprises in this unexpected journey.
Most underrated pleasures.
Like a smile from a new born looking right at us, just happy at our presence needing nothing else, looking eye to eye. Life is full of suprises just like this unexpected smile.

Gulzar was guiding directions to the hotel stay but I couldn’t take my eyes off from their strikingly beautiful light grey eyes and their smile.

At the hotel he introduced his elder brother, Ramzan bhai.
I nervously smiled and darted into the room.

Brushed.bathed.drank water. That’s when I realised how much I’ve troubled my jaws to chew gums to stay alert and awake.

Ears burning hot out of despair, fear and the warnings has cooled down

Land of paradise has cast a spell on me from thereon beginning with a children smile.

There were simple questions with deep concern.

Where do you come from?
How did you reach ? How was the journey ? for many days ? Alone ?

I was rarely asked my name during my entire stay in Kashmir.
Let alone the question of religion.

Gulzar brought his son, Faisal. To take me on a Shikara Ride.

The saying is truly true,
“Gar firdaus bar-rue zaminast, haminasto,haminasto”
If there’s heaven on earth, its here(kashmir).

mehmaanmehm

Like a  magic land which says no for footprints, there were miniscule ripples distracting the mirror images the lake has been forming.

Not just a treat to eyes,
the sounds of water being rowed back, songs of unknown birds welcoming the mehmaan,
sunshine providing the warmth by being mystically available peeking through mountains,
and the florists spreading their flower’s fragrance by their constant movement.

Justification of such experiences could only be relieved by experiencing again.Period.

I couldn’t see the time spent, neither did Faisal let me knew, but it was late in the evening I have returned.
mehmaan-2

Bliss. Eternal, pure and euphoric ones.

Just as we reached back to the residence, in hindsight of ongoing hartal, Gulzar bhai recommended to have home made food. I’ve decided to have wazwan and humbly said no.
Ramzan bhai escorted me to nearby best restaurants on foot which turned out unfruitful.

Leaving no other options to have food at their home. I shyly asked for more quantity.

10 minutes later, Ramzan Bhai brought these beauties into my room.
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Never have I preyed upon food admiring each bite as I did now, thanking each grain for being on my plate, chicken for its sacrifice, beans for its best-toned shape.

One fine good meal, without which the night would have been incomplete. All the adversities and apprehensions I came with just vanished into thin air like the clouds. Left without a trace.

“please don’t feel shy, feel its your home and you are our little brothers”,said the brothers in turns.

From the nearby mosques, chants of Aazadi reverberated in my ears after azaan.

A brief conversation with bhai’s family, about how helpful the people are how delicious the food is and about my journey. Wish I knew kashmiri to praise the hands that made great food.

People aren’t against India. They were against Indian govt I quickly realised after several conversations.

Literal translation for Mahmaan in google is: A Guest. A stranger. A visitor.
Which is all I am for them.

And my new name for the time being, “Mahmaan”.

06 : Saheb, Biwi aur Kashmiri Pulav→

04 : Gateway to Heaven

03.Kings, Queens and the greenery.

The pack of apprehensions with which I began started piling up.

Which route to take? Is there a safe option?
Would I return In a single piece?
Would I be shot down?
If caught by the terrorists, would they feed me valley specials?
would they hire me? If so,what would they put me into?
Precision shooting? Recruiting? Human resource planning? Research? Or cooking?
Or would they leave me back where they found me saying “we’ll get back to you”  and never come around like it usually happens?

“I’ve come unprepared anyway, I will own it and accept what may happen” spoke my conscience.

The loud music, the annoying driver mishandling highway
as if he was high on grass,
racing as if he just got the news that his wife is in in bed with her lover.
I couldn’t recollect sins I’ve committed to deserve such atrocities. On top of that, hunger and sleep drove me to the verge of insanity.

The sort of music that I hate the most is now flowing in my ear canals. Unbearably loud.
I’ve made my truce with my ears to bear for a while.. For as long as this journey has to go. Indefinitely.

Greeted by abandoned streets of Ananthnag, Qazigund with shutters sprayed of black objectionable revolutionary slogans all over.
“Go back India”
“We love U Burham”
“Free Kashmir”
“Kashmir not for SALE”

Women passing by with face half swollen red. Terrified at first and sympathized of their situation in utter dismay. Wondering what put them in this situation.

Have I walked out into a War to find peace?
What sort of a person visits during someone’s distress ??
While the beautifully curvy valley has nullified my breakfast, the guilt filled my stomach for the afternoon.

Its heaven. But the heavier kind of..
Heaven filled with iron.
Iron: Carefully crafted barrels, triggers and the bullets.
More men in metal to hurt and metal to guard themselves, than the people around.

May be nothing happens if I can doze off for a while during the drive.
But the fear took over hunger and sleep. 2 birds at one shot.

Possibility of pellet gun making its way right into the eye,
possibility of stones hurled, the vehicle performing somersaults on roads.
Endless possibilities, an undying hope and a blind self-confidence that I can make it out safe is all.

Hope, just a pinch hope is all I had in my empty hands.

Just as the sun set out wishing happy journey, the apprehensions took a back seat and later shifted to dickie.. into the backpack.

Meanwhile, co-passengers in the backseat in a heated debate.
Conversations in the backseat trail off into head-shaking and agreeing to disagree at times about the engulfing love story the other is involved in,
the usual clash of egos and hesitation on who to say out first, on whether its love or not.

Fresh brewing love story.
Wish I turn back and say in a low descending voice “don’t get into it brother!!”
Instead sat quietly for he has to learn on his own and spoke of the situation in Kashmir.

Travelling in bits and pieces, by walk, by hired vehicles who could stop anywhere to save their vehicles being broken away from damages, begging for lift.
Inspections, questions and a lot of discouraging words, “why now, situation is worse here?” for which I was calmly dejected and hanging my head low, I chose not to respond when it sounded unconcernedly.

“Bypass bus-stand” screamed the driver, Thought I  didn’t hear properly. Upon confirmation, it was once a bus station. Now occupied by CRPF, barbed wires and fence of security.

Children approached the auto*, spoke  threatened the driver in kashmiri and he gave away a 100rs note smilingly, pleading something.

I guess threatening and pleading doesn’t need a language.

I am in plainsight of so many guns that I eventually lost count, I am in cross-hairs of some long range guns.snipers may be.

Never been so terrified in my life as I have been at this moment. Never been so watched, scrutinized.

I was scared to even raise my thumb for lift, fear fear and fear is all it was.
After several passing by vehicles, came a JKTDC bus at rather unusual time at unusual place.

I wasn’t asked my destination, neither did I ask them their’s. A safe place, a getaway from the surveillance was the need of the moment.

Dropped off at the last destination. Dalgate. People were moving around, vegetable vendors were out. My hot ears have calmed down.

As I scouted for a safe stay walking along boulevard road, Gulzar bhai met me and saved the evening for me. Like he was sent to find me.

An end to 2days of continuos journey of zero motives, just for the cheap thrill of being on move, to live, to see the place heard of in childhood.

Gates to heaven are never simple neither impossible..
However in this impractical world,
even with distorted ethical activites, this alternative heaven commonly known as kashmir and its quaint people had ticket to everyone with warm regards.

To the same question framed and shot in different ways with lots of concern:
“Why now ? its not safe now.”

I shot back a crisp reply peacefully : “Sahi ya galat, Jannat toh jannat hota hai.” ( however it might be, heaven is heaven).

05 : The Mehmaan→

03.Kings, Queens and the greenery.

02. Trains,tunnels and lullabies

Just another day, another train. This journey in itself is a story-teller.

Besides the gloriously urbanized down south,
existed its counterpart in the city up north: a deprived slum.

Abandoned stations were someone’s home.
Shadows of flyovers and foot-over bridges are kids’ hangout spots.
Space in between railway tracks their pavilion to dry grains(wheat).

Shirtless kids holding cards in their hands as proud as an oyster holds its pearl.

In the age of learning history of kings, queens and empires,
they had king, queen,jack and ace cards in their hands.

In the age of learning geography,
they were into deep study of viable sellable trash digging heaps of waste.

Though Patches of pale face skin hints of the vitamin deficiency,
their smile overpowered their malnutrition.

Sun was at his scorching best, but they were blissfully unaware of the adversities they are in.

With shrill elation, they waved and waved and waved.
Smile in exchange for a wave-back.And a high frequency shout in return.

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“Uncrowned kings and queens”
That’s how they got etched in my  ephemeral memory.
—–
These new co-passengers were very enlightening.
While one had pattern of leaves on his shirt depicting his love for the nature;
the other had disoriented arrows on his shirts displaying para-magnetism.

I could annoy them with my stupid puns, but I really hate to have elevated red patch on my face they might gift.

Had to water my fueling curiosity and shut up.
Though they looked like Anurag Kashyap’s antagonists, they were pleasantly welcoming and humble when spoken to.

And then just post evening, Loco-pilot took us into greenery. Variants of green having not seen before.
Even seen, unnoticed.
That is the trait of beautiful things, they don’t seek attention.

Lush green(in variable tints) farms, black soil, water bodies is all I could see around for the next 60-90 minutes with stations in between and negligible tractors, humans.

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Stinging wind blew across. Blissful fluttering of farms creating their own music.
Hampi is all I could think of. Repository of memories unfurled.
Vague green pictures flashed.
And came along the package of scars.
Scars that have been glamorously hidden in the disguise of words “letting go”.

The thing with memories and recollection is, they are hard encoded. One cannot refrain from those ugly scars the past left and just stay with the beauty.

Some things come with their own punishments.
One cannot refrain from past reprises and repentance.

The dawn came punctually. So did the night, came along a piece of moon.

10m wide water body. Trees. Green farms till visible end.
This was the view. While the moon adjusted its one half with brightness and other with darkness, its mirror image in the water body just romanticized the evening.

Just as I dozed off, the moon went to sleep.
When I woke up, the loud music of track and wheels questioned my intent to travel.

With darkness around, rounds of fear began firing up,
the thrilling speed has becoming scarier;
The art house turned into scary dark house.

The train became scanty and dark while the pleasant music of track n wheels sent shivers down the spine.

The usual questions popped again and didn’t let me sleep.

Have I gone insane ? Where am I headed to ? Is it worth the risk ?

Many questions but no answers, no hear backs. Just as the job interviews.

04 : Gateway to Heaven→

02. Trains,tunnels and lullabies

←01.Humble beginnings

This slow journey is a sleeper class Is like being in a public library.
Open to everyone.
Freshness out of the window.
Different faces.
And most importantly, Could wander around.. And chose where to stay*.

Packed my stuff and occupied my allotted berth. To join vikram and Sanjay, co-passengers for the next 24hrs(26)
Vikram dressed in  camouflage pattern shirt and sunglasses. With ab itch of curiosity asked if he belonged to any armed forces, for which he smiled and replied no. Of my many more random questions to him, that was the first.

Post Mysore, this got to be the destination I am happy to head towards.

This being away from a known place, known people felt good.
Distance and time of travel tells us how far we’ve come from home.

I kept looking out into the window. There were power lines. Towers of power lines were of two types. The one which offers huge opening in between so that wires can pass in between them and the other sort being tall erect with wires hanging on its shoulders.

Guess human anatomy  might have inspired those engg designs. Pun intended.
And then suddenly in the evening, the air is filled with sadness.
Melancholy prevailed.
Behind the sad blue skies, near the horizon were the happy golden smiles.

When I started assuming that the path is linear, began the curves.

Curves. Tunnels. Gorges. Rivers. Meadows.

The tracks were carefully banked and curved like brahma designs his daughters with intense care and attention.

Time flies away when we feel pleasure. The sun dawned and the night came.

Berths have been killed.Ripped. Supressed. But they stayed silent just as the earth.
Within half-hour of lying down on my berth,got involuntarily indulged in the the dirty business.
The dirty business of dreaming.

For the night,
Lullaby of wheels and track has replaced soft rock music,
Middle Berth chains replacing the pillow army, can sleep in peace without the fear of falling down.
—–
Its a tragic moment when we woke up in the middle of a dream not knowing its inception and the end. And moments later forgetting the dream.

perhaps life progresses in the same way.

Woke up. Packed.

And so, out of the station, up the road, and to the left. The bus stand. A begging mother and a weak child, 6₹ and a tea.

03.Kings, Queens and the greenery.

01.Humble beginnings

A journey began.
not to prove a point, not in search.
With half filled backpack and fully packed apprehensions,
With million unsaid words and silent thoughts.

A journey began,
To find serenity in myself that effectively cuts through the clothes of nationality, caste and religion to reveal the bare bones of humanity.

Every journey starts with these warning signs.
RISK.DANGER.UNSAFE.
Start listening and the commentary goes on.
Its better to leave footprints and fall than not to try walk at all.

The lines above holds valid and true if and only if the outcome is positive.
Failure is the rejected twin with deformities no one likes to accompany.
No one really cares the emotions it holds, the beauty inside the beast.

People always have an opinion no matter what you do.
On a finite timeline, everyone turns out to be a hypocrite.

One may accept whatever comes his way, call it destiny.
Perhaps that just might be lack of hesitation. The inability to say NO.
Destiny isn’t what we settle for,
it is what we make of our capabilities to realize that unfinished dream.

All roads lead somewhere. Well, not necessarily in every case.
It feels good to be lost sometimes.

At some point of time in life,
Aren’t we all lost somewhere trapped in the wrong direction,
with all the lamps lit in darkness,
unable to retrace back to when we were good
because the footprints got swept away,
because we no more identify our past footprints.
The bee that lost its way back made flower its home.
Home is where comfort is.

Trains passed by, wonder when my train arrives.
An old couple were waiting for their delayed train.
Conversations kept us busy.
The train arrived.
They boarded.
It left the station in a jiffy.

Isn’t it amazing that things we look out for come and leave like it never existed before.  while we wait a life-time to board them?

Perhaps its more of our interest than their presence that makes the whole scenario exciting. It matters most to those who have crave, those who seek pleasure in its presence.
While for a regular passenger, its nothing more than a carrier.

The same train, same time and the same ID proof.
But a different person:qualitatively and quantitatively.

02. Trains,tunnels and lullabies→

second chance

What is second chance?“, asked Laila during her bedtime story.

He grabs her close, and says..

“If you put on shoes that are too tight
and walk out across an empty plain,
you will not feel the freedom…
until you take off your shoes.

people at a distance see you walking there
and wish they were out in the open like you,
but as the saying goes, they are not in your shoes.

Before sleeping, you take off  the tight shoes and release yourself.

Second chance is a chance for freedom we gift ourselves”

The little girl couldn’t understand what her father meant,
and so he continued…

We all come from mother’s womb,
we all had a life in there
9months pass,and its time to be born
she gave us a second chance to live in an alternative universe, this place.”

Laila asked him to elaborate further, to which he told,

I was once travelling alone on a bike
I was alert and cautious, then a heavy vehicle came on to me.
like a raging bull in sight of red flag.
I thought I will die but miraculously escaped..
I boast that missed accident as adventure”

but in reality, that’s the nature’s way of giving me second chance to see another day”

Little Laila unable to comprehend shook her head in all directions. And so the father continued trying to explain,

“when your mother was about to leave this world,
she knew I couldn’t live without her
so she gave me a beautiful princess
in the name of Laila, she gave me a second chance to live”

but daddy, you got more than one chance/cause to live another day,
then why would you consider every time as your second chance when its 3rd chance, 4th chance, 5th chance..” asked those tiny little eyes..
her father replied
success is full of relatives and friends whereas failure is an orphan..
many times we fail to achieve what we desire,
all those failures are considered as a single entity, an orphan
success that follows failure is the second chance everyone talks about..

second chance is when we give chance to ourselves.
thought of Second chance cross the mind when we count the first.

Laila had a broad smile on her face, pecker on her father’s cheek and slept like a baby.


 

existence of excuses

lock 1000 people, and they fight with a banner of a god
they created “religion

Lock 100 people in a cellar, several groups unite and form a community
they created nations and the tag “sons of motherland

Lock 10 people in a room, they formed groups and divided themselves
they invented a  rule book “social acceptance

Lock two people in a room, they fought for dominance
they  started being “competitive

leave two people in a forest, they fought together for survival against wild species
they termed it”fittest of survival

leave a person on an island, he battled his way out
he finally came in terms with the term “humanity

Whatever comes in this world, comes from a need,
a sore distress, a hurting want.

every existence has its excuses

 and every excuse create ruckus
answer to that ruckus is the reed with holes drilled into it
reed that plays music of love, peace.
Ever thought of The God we are praying to, has been in human form at-least once.
We fail to grasp the underlying message of the basic concept of God,
God was and is in the human form for the selfless service one renders to their fellows.
God’s message is sound and clear, our translation is poor.

Like this

There are thoughts that cannot be bluffed

like this.

There is a constant war going inside the heart

like this.

Recollecting the broken pieces from past

like these.

World made me realize a smile can be corrupted
Deception is easier than being transparent..

like this.

How do you manage to get a passage into my dreams
amidst a busy day with mind cluttered with work

like this.

I stayed awake the whole night accompanying moon to stop dreaming of you
I ignored you like I ignored my sleep

like this.

But the moon reminded me of you

like this.

I slept during the days so that I can consider you as a daydream

like this.

I tried channeling my thoughts..
But when you or your thought passes by,

like this….

My mind became a Prism exposing bad n good moments in my life
Like a child left alone in a room full of ice-creams,
knew nothing other than to gobble up.

Like this.

How do I emote my feelings ?
How do you lock me in this prison of feeling I have no key for?

Like this??

How do I explain something I have no idea about?
Why do I keep answering myself ?

Like this.

My mirror says move on, my beloved says move on,
Why do I stay in the same place ?

Like this???

Why do I derail my concentration letting such thoughts cross my mind ?

Dear Memories, I’ve been meaning to tell you..
Go away!! Or give me more wine.

I realized and started living life of my own,
Whenever I feel proud of myself on my decisions

like this,

you poke and create a ruckus in my mind..

How foolish I was to ignore sleep and you, my dear MEMORIES

like this.

you whip me not to forget the past

like this.

I hate to admit.
This pain from this whiplash keeps me alive,
expand realms of my emotional balance
and rediscover myself by each passing day..

Questions lies in the answer and answer lies within the question

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Just like the paradox of happiness!!!

 

 

 

choices

It starts with one thing

making a choice

with great expectations and set of beliefs; we set out to make all the right choices in life.
Only when we see other side of the world, we realize fair-play is a myth.

Fair play – most talked about, heard about, but doesn’t exist.

One preaches about peace and patience
but when its their turn to face;
the saint transforms into hypocrite.

Mistress runs to her lover with love
wife to her husband in need or out of jealousy
Every race is different

A sun at midnight knows no east, no west
a sun at midday look pointless, but on its race to meet the dawn.
Its lack of light/perspectives that make a difference.

feelings and time move like lightning and wind
they wont let anyone drown in the rain of memories.
don’t ask a settler a better place to live,
ask a traveller time-traveller whose home is the place he is headed to.

What makes nightingale unique among other birds?
Its’ SILENCE.
Nightingale only chirps 3 months in an year,while other birds chirp everyday.
Speak your mind carefully like a warrior swings his blade : swift and precis.
No one cares about chirping of a daily bird.

There is a constant stream of new jokes on how to to lead a perfect life.

• Study  Find  job  Find partner  Get involved in the creative project of making babies 

Then push those poor babies into the same rigmarole.

We are unwanted children of God[existential citation required]
We start as children – pretend to be a grownup – end up as children again.

Its easy to be judgmental,
tough to retrospect and own their own faults.

A great mutual embrace is always happening between hope and satisfaction
we get hope from one source, satisfaction from other.

When time tends to absolute reality,

There is no morality,
neither perfection,
There is no right/wrong.
All that matters is making choice of their own liking.

After all, life is too short to live,laugh,love and travel in a safe verified path.

Companionship

One day on a sea shore,

conversation between ocean water and rocks went like this

Rocks:
Don’t you have any moment of despair ?

Why would you hit me with your tiny waves?
I’m not gonna move an inch..

Ocean:
I’ve felt the setback several times.

I was calm as dead in the middle of the deep sea.
But then, my friend Air created ripples in me.
At dusk and dawn tides motivated me, pushed me to try further

Rocks:
you are rich with pearls, fishes, treasure and minerals.. why me?

How could my inclusion make you complete ?
Don’t you see, I have my roots here, My family is here.

Ocean:
Did you observe basalt deposits on you I’ve managed to protect you with ?
I’ve made you smoother with these waves
Don’t you feel the synergy, It would be good if we unite

Rocks:
I’ve seen your confluence with the rivers,

What identity is she left with?

Ocean:
Her waters got much space to explore now..

I could make you soft like beach sand…
Children would love to build castles with you
People would love you when they feel you beneath their feet..

Rocks:
I don’t need that quantum leap

This is my home and it will be..
I don’t wish to be trapped in a glass-hour
When your waves become intense,
you drag people into you and kill some.
I don’t wish to be part of that blood-bath

I would rather be safe-point here than a pleasure prize
One day, this algae might wash away from me.
There is room for hope If I stand strong..

Yesterday, I’ve decided not to join you


and some yesterdays always remain

Sometimes standing still could be the best move.

I love your companionship!!

You are the one motivating me by constantly challenging
You might wash away sand beneath me
but you couldn’t make me fall ever
I don’t yearn for a comfort zone

next time, don’t just gently touch me with your waves
Splash me with your energy..

This shore is our meeting place
This shore is my Paradise.

——————————————-
Ocean – the way world works
Rocks – your moralities/inhibitions


Identity Crisis

What hurts you?
What could possibly make you happy.

What is love?
A joy that wounds.

What is pain?
Constant reminder of how it was better.

What is trust?
Giving more access of oneself to others.

Who has the the loudest voice?
Silence.

What is Reality?
A dream to the Dreamer.

At the end of the day, Who wins ?
Selfishness, Lies.

Who loses ?
Honesty, truth.

I thought there is no parameter to define Humanity, Freedom.
But there is… Status and Money

Yesterday I was young, I thought of changing this world..
Now I’ve grown up and thought of changing myself.

But my silence says not to go the rogue way….

In silence, I heard my inner voice otherwise called gut feeling..

I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.

I’d rather hurt myself and keep things to myself than hurting others..

I’d rather disappear than pretend to be tough n happy when I’m not..

practice makes man perfect & nobody is perfect are the most used statements

=> Nobody can be perfect. Then why practice to be perfect??

Why try to be someone else who you are not  and insult the person you are ?

After all, life is all about mastering the art of deception and being acceptable.

Inspiration : Kurt Cobain

Golden Hours

n.(photography) period shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which daylight is redder and softer compared to when the Sun is higher in the sky

n.(medicine)  a time period lasting for one hour, or less, following traumatic injury being sustained by a casualty or medical emergency, during which there is the highest likelihood that prompt medical treatment will prevent death

Please refer Male “HE, The Boy” to Sun

————————————

Has anyone seen The Boy with red-face coming out daily from the East?

Like an annihilated candle, he doesn’t wish to leave a mark of his existence

Neither does he crave for recognition by casting a shadow of himself

Instead he casts a shadow of yourself under clear sky to give an idea about yourself

He exists just to burn and show that the room is not empty

He chooses to fade away slowly rather than dying out immediately
to guide the birds flock to their home.

Look at the shadow you’ve cast during Golden hour..

He says you are more than what you appear to be…

Mirror is an mythical projection of oneself, hallucination of one’s beauty

Beauty lies in what one does for others with generosity not out of sympathy..

He laughs at our stupidity of feeling that one person is more than the other when everyone’s shadow has the same darkness.

Your size may change but your darkness wouldn’t.

What a Kid he is with sublime generosity

Generous enough to give heads-up while navigating when all other tools are lost

He fades away in the  quiet corner to give someone else the golden hour they deserve

When you mistreat his Woman(Earth), he sends you to an Egypt that doesn’t exist(Summer)

He shows us how to be selfless, generous and kind.

He says we could be kings, we could be walking stars.

There is a way feelings translate from thoughts to words, words to poem.

and this is how it always is to finish a poem.

———————————————————————

A Tribute to Nobel Laureate Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, A true star on Earth.

Balanced Wings

 

A bird that flies with balanced wings always couldnt make a turn
To bank on left/right, it needs to unsettle itself
come out of its comfort zone
Birds are you see are huge metaphors of inspiration

These writings are poor translation of my thoughts
These pictures are poor reproduction of my vision
Though the experiences are rich

Experimenting my hand at Photography; a game of light, colors and shadows.
This article is a brief stint to express my love for nature and birds.

1
Icon of Peace and Love
4
Angry birds, pigeon version
3
*Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere…..
2
……they are in each other all along!!*

5

6
Existence has no better gift!
7
Don’t move away, Don’t ask me to move away.
8
Flapping wings would take further than any thinking.
9
Balance of Wings
10
Let the beloved come and sit like a guard.
11
Leap of Faith
12
Embracing Nature during Golden hour
13
A life without calculations
14
I’m not here to just visit you, I’m here to be with you forever.
15
Loneliness Solitude
16
Unfold your own Myth*
17
Journey home….
18
….is never too long

19

An experiment with Aperture, letting more light come into the subject is the reason behind these amazing captures.

20

212223

24
When Light enters, nothing else matters (observe missing vehicles)
25
karma always follows
26
Undistorted minds
27
finally, pitta pita pita 😉

*captions Inspired from Rumi’s poetry & ARR’s Bombay Dreams.

On Wheels – Hampi.03

Previously, On Wheels – Hampi.02

Disclaimer : An overdose of telugu romantic songs, cloudy mystic weather, good company and a series of unforeseen events previous night are to be blamed for what you are about to read.  Please consider feminine HER mentioned below as Hampi, the beautiful city of ruins.

Its tough to get out of a warm blanket on a winter morning but not when someone bangs your door so loud as if they are trying to break in and bust you.

It took me a while to get conscious. We set out on a hunt to catch Sun on its first appearance today. 5.45am and its still dark. A little fog here and there made it clear that the sun is going to to arrive late..

That gave us a chance to roam around. In the dark, we first went to road that leads to vittala where we saw milking of cows. Asked them directions to the temple.. we were headed in wrong direction initially and set our course right immediately.

On my left, there was a stillwater body, possibly tungabhadra kamlapura lake and on the other side are green farms. I slowed down to embrace the view but didn’t stop to unveil what comes next. We drove past the road with farms on both sides.. we were lost in our playlists…

~10km away from Hampi, saw a road which has total farms on both sides. Made quick left turn onto that road.. I just felt like moving down that path.

Her beauty cannot be captured nor contained
she is beautiful not only for what she looks like
she is beautiful for what she made me feel
I couldnt dare take my camera to capture her at that moment..

Early morning Fog started melting
the pleasure of early morning drizzle combined with smell of sand acted as sedative, made me immobile.
I havent been more happy waking up early morning..

There was a hint  of Sun coming out.. so we headed back to still river

Its almost 7 and the sun is playing hide and seek with the clouds like a kid unwilling to get off his bed.

We were expecting to see the sunrise… but this is all we’ve managed to seeWP_20151130_06_57_16_Pro.jpg

When I looked into water while sun’s rays refracted through ripples.. I felt being hypnotised, I felt I was moving..

I couldnt resist to take picture with the nature..
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The sun ignored us.. its 8am. Sunrise is  shrouded with clouds..

With random thoughts in mind, freshened up and went to see Lakshmi take bath. Heard tat she stays naked all the time.

What a happy Chained soul!!!

8am and the sun didn’t come out. People, travelers, kids and school children kept my eyes busy me till Lakshmi came.

As soon as Lakshmi came into water, she bombed all around…

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this picture speaks about temperature there… look at those clouds..

It was fun watching her take bath thought it angered me when that guy hit Lakshmi to make her sit, make her lay.
He was her caretaker, her master after all.

European family that came from other side of bank and locals took interest to bathe the elephant.
She was playing in water with its trunk, playfully collecting water through her nostrils and blew at people..

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Because of her gigantic frame, it took him almost an hour to bathe her. I felt hungry and searched for available food options where I found these..
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I remember having them at home made by mom but these firewood made ponganalu melted softly in my mouth…

Pleasure of having food prepared in old style is eternal bliss. Each round costs 20INR and I happily had 2.. conversation with the woman making them reminded my mom.

The view from parking lot is nothing short of dream sequence, a beautiful painting..

and like that, Laksmi walked away to its humble abode of chains…


 

Every place I visit, I realize I leave a part of me there.
This time, I’ve lost my room key too.
Fortunately, my neighbor keys matched with mine and the “breaking the lock” hassle has been avoided.

I kept locking myself in a place, in a heart and kept losing the key. How could I unlock myself ??

Experiences taught me that love hurts.
I grew up and realized that love doesn’t hurt
What hurts is the intensity in love.. Unconditional, unflinching..
I made a decision to never  get too attached and get hurt
But I am frail to be perfect

I started falling in love with her
I wanted to stay here forever with her
there was a dialogue in my mind of 2 polarising voices
one wants to stay and the other wants to leave

I became an expert in walking away at the right time and never turn back
I want to make an exception for her
If I stay longer and let her get onto me
All I would be left is pain and agony

Having Best things is a blessing and a curse in disguise that makes you never have anything good again..

I would regret leaving the place
I would regret staying longer
I would regret making a decision to visit it in first place
and would end up hating myself for making those series of decisions..

I will leave tomorrow” told my selves..

I need a good road to ride, destination is an excuse.

“Karwar”flashed my mind and searched in here maps to find its geo location.

~350kms away from Hampi

Hospet-Gadag-Hubbali-yellarpur-Karwar. 

I jotted down route map on a paper.. trusting maps totally is foolishness. Sat with the restro owner while planning.

Earlier I had doubts on my ability to travel solo on a bike… my confidence was low, and the shift of tone in diary says it all.. I had motorcycle diaries for inspiration but never read that.. it has done its part.. boosted my confidence..
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She (Hampi) has brought my fluctuating mood to a midtone.

Its the ghat section I am headed to this time.. NH63
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I am scared like never before. I want to make home alive in one piece.

I will drive with utmost attention and care.. but what can I do if someone runs onto me.. ??

I couldnt go to bed. Memories kept haunting me.. good ones and bad ones.

Conversation with Poland couple, a single parent with his cute daughter (reminded me of Yennai Arindhaal) and few travelers reeled.

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This Kind of seating  is common at restaurants in Hampi

The thought of leaving this place made me happy yet sad.. Happy because I am going to ride again.. into the wild. Sad because it won’t be Hampi.

To pluck a Rose, you have to deal with the thorns she is surrounded with..

During day, the earth and sky in presence of Sun appear to meet at infinity
Just like existence of infinity, there is no meeting place.
But when Sun sails out, darkness creeps in,
When the moon shy away into a dark corner,
When the stars’ presence is hid by dense clouds, Earth and Sky unite..

In such Darkness, I will find you.. I will meet you there… 

Till then, Goodbye Hampi.. See you again!!

Up Next, On Wheels – An Old Friend.04

On wheels – Hampi.02

Previously, On Wheels – Hampi.01

I woke up to the early sunrise that set over main gopuram of the temple,  amidst the fog and mystic climate….. sunrays hit my skin softly like a feather.
I used to wake up rolling on bed and falling on the floor or to the plot twists in my dreams (nightmares)

Drove bike to Kamalapura Junction and reached back Hampi bazar…
It has become a ritual..
this driving up and down till I remember each curve, each turn, each speed breaker..

I ordered a plate idly but came along 2 bajji… on asking them if it was bonus for chosing their tiffin shop, they blurted out in laugh and said people eat bajji along with tiffins… I smiled and had them too… never had mirchi bajji that early morning which is usually an evening snack

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Yesterday, I remember having crossed the roadway to Vittala… there was a footpath from Bazar to Vittala and chose to go that way.

As I started walking,

I felt I’ve been here earlier.
How could a place be so strange and yet so familiar?

As I saw those circular shaped boats, stopped a moment… a fisherman soon approached if I wanted a ride.. spoke in fluent  telugu… he asked 600 for solo ride and 400 to go along with group… I said I am low on budget, he smiled and let me go without any bargain.. he gave a few advices on interesting off beat places around…

When I asked about his business, he told about the lease they got from Tourism dept, how they operate and water levels varying in seasons…
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A Shady tea spot near the temple. And an amazing view of TB bank.. those were the moments, my itch to visit Godavari has began.. So lost in the moment that I forgot to take a picture..

In the path on the right bank, saw a board that says “beware of crocodiles near water”.. I wonder why I took that warning board as a welcome board..
What is the purpose of holding back with fears after all I’ve battled myself to come out this far..

I want to stay here for a while… the music that came from water-flow, from the child’s play, from washing clothes and the rustling leaves were all in perfect sync…

Its only after settling down at this place have I realized what it was…. A place used to be music training institute which remains immersed when water level is full…

I cannot stay at one place.. I have to be on move.. and I started again…

Rock pillars,Motifs, ASI sign board of excavations and a ticket counter…

Visit Vittala to witness The glory of Vijayanagara empire…

Musical Pillars, Stone car and the architecture detail in every nook and corner of the temple..

Mindblown, Masterpiece is  an understatement…
Genius cannot be contained..
they cannot be trapped in some words, preserved in pictures…

they are not some backgrounds to take pictures with… to pose with
its when you realise its history, its architecture detail you would acknowledge of its might…

some still remain a mystery…
how could anyone imbibe tabla beats in a pillar ????

when you tap a rock, you listen tabla beat… Tabla.. the core of music which gives talam (beat).. without which there is no music..

Some fools to figure out how it actually works have  destroyed a few pillars.. and the reverberating effect it produces in the mandapas…

Acoustics, Astrology, Science, Poetry… you name it..

In silence I heard songs of glory and destruction… 

Have I been lost??  I left a part of me in Vittala temple… so stumped by the marvellous vittala… while returning thru same path.. what seemed like ruins got reconstructed in my imagination and appeared as beautiful constructions..

This place is getting onto me… it takes a considerable time till a place gets onto me… but this is different… may be beacause I’ve changed..

Wish I could travel back in time and live a day in vijayanagara empire…

What has this place gone through…

We are the Archaeologists with intense curiosity to dig into our pasts…
we so dwell into our pasts to find how good it was,
only to realise how everything shattered to pieces..
we search for happiness dwelling into past but remain with ruins.. broken, churned and spoilt…

It matters what we dwell into… a beautiful art might take years to be carved while a scar is made in matter of seconds..

you could be a beautiful carving or a deep ugly scar..

this effort to document my experience is to remember the best time I had..

Ask a tree that got burnt in the wildfire..,
what do you remember, years of happy growing up or getting burnt to ashes.. ??
Dreams are reality to the one sleeping..

We are intristically wired to negativity.. preserve the good..

I decided to have heavy lunch and some rest…

300per day-sharing bathroom-no tv.. and I thought i was Miser in the town..

French guy in room next to mehas been staying there since a month… @260/day… felt little good about myself.. and the Russian couple in the next room are in company..

I laid back a while accessing WiFi from a nearby restro.. getting ready to watch sunset..

We pay attention to sun when it fades in and fades out.. nobody bothers of the consistent day…

all we care is about the transition..

Sun gets gentle at sunrise and sunset when the yellowish orange gradient of its rays unite with darkness..

Its during this transition
you realise that Sun is not the only star
Its just been brighter than other..
but who looks out for stars when sun is out…
So is love.. So is a soulmate

Its easy to spot another solo traveler.. perks being a solo is you could find people with same madness and passion on some scale.

Conversation with people of same mind-set, listening your thoughts from another mouth than yours feels great awesome. Its like having a conversation with mirror.

Remember you are a guest house and people are travelers
nobody stay forever
keep the river inside you flowing
Like an ocean, push back to the coast the algae blooms that  floats in you

Sun got into its quiet corner..
Birds flocked  to their shelter..
so did we .. 

Me possibly to Bengaluru and she to shivamogga in a day or two..

Ritual again… reached kamalapura, asked in pure telugu about theatres around (bruce lee in telugu was running is a theatre – I wanted to experience telugu movie in another state.. not a fanboy of shitty commercial movies)..

He is unable to understand, and the first time it has happened.. telugu didnt work…

I wanted to drive actually.. to get over the hangover Vittala temple gave me and so asked for Tungabhadra dam.

He hopped on as he was headed in same direction.. at a tea stall he got off, asked others to help me in telugu…

A conversation that changed my destination.. I said I wanted to drive… I need challenging, long beautiful roads.. KARWAR is what they suggested.. first time having heard of the place.. checked  on maps… 80kms less than Blr… zipping through Western ghats..

I still havent decided when to move out.. no plans.. just living in the moment…

I didn’t query about the place.. I just inquired how the road is.. They suggested some good sunrise spots around Hampi..

I might start to Bangalore.. or to Karwar.. or to home or stay here..

I didn’t impose any restrictions on my soul.. I let it rest peacefully..

I slept like a baby listening to ‘my mind is a sranger without you’ with no fucking clue what’s in store for tomorrow..

Up Next, On Wheels – Hampi.03