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!!

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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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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


 

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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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 😉