Making Of A Traveller: Or How I Learnt To Stop Worrying And Start Travelling – Part I

At the turn of the year, I knew I wanted to move on. Move on not from people or places but from myself, and the tardiness that had set in in my everyday functioning. My day would start with thinking about how long do I have to get out of bed, dress up, look presentable and go to work before I could start calling myself (and obviously become one) a millionaire.

Well, that clearly has not happened and may take forever + few more years to fall in place. But there was always a sickening worry about how I would make it happen? Did I have it in me to work towards a break that my mind had asked for, and did I have it in me to just lock my computer, stand up and walk away from it, #likeaboss?

Social media had begun proving itself to be less of a friend and more of a foe aka occupational hazard when it kept throwing these posts by travel portals and travel bloggers trying to evoke this sense of jealousy I could contain no longer ’cause all that I was doing was sitting there, dreaming with my hands and my work laptop chained together.

Then one fine morning that opportune day and moment arrived for I suddenly had clarity on what I wanted… Or so I think or thought.

Nonetheless, all this inspiration I had been amassing from the works of Rumi, Kahlil Gibran and Ghalib, I decided the time to let go was here. I had started seeking what sought me, and thus, the days to the start of this ending was set in motion and everything seemed to be working out smoothly thereafter. No long hours or silly things seemed to be bothering me then. This could have been the big picture of that moment that helped me get through those times. Mentally I was already in this better place – exploring, hiking, trekking, road tripping first in the culturally rich Rajasthan, followed by revisiting the gulleys of Delhi (so to speak) that I had left behind a few years ago, and then head to my favorite of all time – the mountains!

‘Twas how Dr. Seuss had said, “kid, you’ll move mountains”. And here I was, preparing to come to terms with reality outside the comfort of a cushy office and air conditioned surroundings to go au naturale. First to experience the taste of sand that flew in the dunes, followed by feeling miniature infront of the majestic mountains, in this case, the Dhauladhar range which is home to Dharamshala and Mcleodganj, primarily. This was also when a lot of firsts were going to happen to me, from effectively the first-ever solo trip to several others. I’ve called the solo trip a soul trip ever since, ’cause rarely do things speak to your soul, and this was one of them, a permanent memory that will give way to several more I’m gung-ho about creating.

Even today as I write this piece, I can feel the cool breeze of the mountains and imagine Moon Peak smiling down at me every time I shut my eyes.

Silences too have a sound, if you listen carefully you can hear a story in every corner. For someone who has not just been bitten but could be a travel bug herself, every time the wind blows through the trees, or howls in your ear, you could sense a message she carries from these beauties of mother nature waiting to be heard.

……………………………………………….

Part II continues in next post

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Tumhare Liye, Pyaari

Itne saal beet gaye, hum mile, door hue, phir ek doosre ko shayad bhool bhi gaye. Phir hum dobara mile. Iss baar tum meri zindagi ek naye roop, naye rang, naye libas mein aayi.

Pyaari, kya tum jaanti ho ki meri (recently turned 31) ki zindagi mein tumne kitne avatar badle hai? Bahut se acche, kuchh yaadgaar lamhein, kuchh sikhlai bhi diye hai? Woh kehte hai har jan ka ek waqt hota hai tumhari zindagi mein, shayad woh sahi hi honge, nahi toh tumhare avatar kaise milte mujhe iss chhoti si badi duniya mein?

Jahan gender ka itna bias hai, jahan woh kehte hai ek aurat doosri aurat ki sabse badi dushman hai, wahan mujhe tum mili. Tumse kaafi kuchh seekha hai maine, kuchh acchi yaadein sameti, kuchh buri aadatein door bhagayi…

Pyaari, jab main tumhare baare mein sochti hoon toh khushi se dil baag-baag ho jaata hai. Humne kayi kisse, kayi sukh, kayi dukh baatein hai. Kabhi hum duniya ki parwah kiye bina zor se hass diye, aur jab aansoon sambhale naa gaye toh bathroom jaane ka bahana bhi nahi dhoonda… Kya mujhe tumhari aadat ho gayi hai? Shayad.

Tumhari uss *throw your head back in laughter* waali hassi se,

Tumhari uss innocence se jisse tum mujhe woh darja deti ho jaise main khoob jaanti hoon,

Tumhari uss khilkhilati hassi se,

Tumhare uss badi behen jaise mujhe sambhalne se,

Tumhari unn intelligent baaton se,

Tumhare bass ek uss message se jisse hum dono samajh jaate hai ek doosre ke dil ka haal…

Haan Pyaari, you may have come and gone, but everytime you and I have parted ways knowingly or unknowingly, the universe has conspired once again to fill that void.

With love to all these ‘pyaaris’ of mine ♥️

Thirty Plus…

It always made me wonder why no one was ever clear about how old they were or were getting year on year, everytime we spoke about birthdays and age. For me, that day of non-acceptance has finally arrived. Until two days ago I was sure to embrace my 31st and the subsequent years to come as happily as I did my 30th. ‘Cause 30s are the new 20s, aren’t they?

Sadly, it all seems like bookish fluff from where I am seeing this situation, trying to be as objective as I can be, focussing on the good and not the negative et al. Why is this getting so difficult then? This cannot be described as anything other than a fish out of water or a mountain climber breathing laboriously because he has to reach the summit anyhow.

What started as an odd year a few days ago has carried on into the hour that changed my 30th into the 31st and here I am, still throwing these volley of questions at myself, hoping for an answer or a solution that has seemed so far away.

Another year of depression and anxiety isn’t something I had hoped for and I sure wish I can move on. Just that. Detach. Move on. Zen mode on.

Happy birthday to me. Still grateful for a new year and a chance to start anew and keep that fire in the belly lit. Let’s just say, that promise i made to myself this time, last year is a tad delayed, but I’m getting there. The process has begun. *Fireworks*

Shabd

Cheenkhna chahti thi lekin aawaz sunne waala koi nahi tha,

Bahut kuchh kehna chahti thi par samajhne waala bhi koi nahi

Phir socha jo kuchh kehna hai woh usse kaho jo kabhi naa de daga, aise mein sirf ek sujhaav mann mein aaya…

Siyahi, kaagaz, laptop ya phone uthake itna likhne ki iccha hui ki mann mein jitni uljhan thi woh khulkar bahar aa jaaye aur saari taqleefein kam dard dene lagein.

Toh ab status kya hai, kisine poochha…

Main apne uss zone se iss tarah muskurayi ki unhein aisa vyateet hone laga jaise mujhmein kabhi bhi koi tamasic bhavnaye thi hi nahi

In the words of the great Piyush Mishra:
सुकून मिलता है लफ्ज़ कागज पर उतार कर,
चीख भी लेता हूँ आवाज भी नहीं होती…

Shabd. Words. Power. Freedom.

Pink

Aerosmith said pink was everything from the color of passion to love at first sight, even “Pink it’s like red but not quite, and I think everything is going to be all right…”

All these thoughts hit me yesterday on what I can call my own promenade set along the Arabian Sea in this part of the bustling city of Bombay (Mumbai for most). The serene waters when the ebb was low transported me into another world just as I realized how blue I had been all these months. It wasn’t a moment of finding myself, but it was surely a step in that direction. Find myself not ’cause I feel lost or aimless, it’s just the fog that’s been thickening which needs to clear sooner than later, so the strong beam from the lighthouse doesn’t misguide the lone ship on unknown waters.

To put this feeling in a few words, I’ve seen red, I’ve felt blue, but it is the pink hue that makes me want to make my dreams come true.

Sunset-at-us-club-mumbai

sita-sings-the-blues-saumya-sharma-movie-review

Nina Paley’s Sita Sings The Blues: A Film That Deserves Your Time, Sensibility And Sensitivity

The first thought one gets when having watched Nina Paley’s Sita Sings The Blues is that she is a dreamweaver and this story can indeed be termed as the greatest breakup story ever told. With the simple use of 2D animation, Sita Sings The Blues is a tale you just cannot get enough of. Speaking about life and love from a woman’s perspective, every woman who watches the film is ought to feel moved yet very inspired to move on from ever being bogged down by the blues. Eventually a woman must do what she must, as long as it nurses and heals a broken heart. Chronicling her real-life via this animated film, the writer-director-animator draws inferences from Goddess Sita’s tale as written in the many versions of the Ramayana. The most noteworthy point – the revival of The Blues sung by Annette Hanshaw, a popular singer from 1920s America. As stated by Nina, the stories that she read in books got more meaning with the songs by Annette Hanshaw, as they truly set the essence of the film.
With three sets of characters taking centrestage (so to speak), this re-telling of Ramayana is one by Sita – wife of Ram, object of affection of Ravana and point of inspiration for many women thereafter. She loves with all her heart, devotes herself to her husband and her one true love, faces dejection, weeps for days on end, and finally emerges strong from her plight of being the woman who was frowned upon for no plausible reason and hence, decided to move on, and move on like a boss she did. Most of us who’ve watched the film already know the complete story of the epic tale, but what we may not have understood was the pain our central character felt. Her voice, her emotions, have given many distraught, sometimes destitute women a voice of their own. Sita gained her Goddess stature because she proved herself to be the epitome of womanhood and this film reminds us of this.
The three narrators have the face of ancient kings (and queen) who are discussing this story like a group of individuals would make intelligent conversation of the topic of discussion. Kind of like the ones you’re likely to see at social gatherings, theatres and literature events around the country. (some views are usually borrowed tilting towards pseudo-intellect unfortunately, but we’ll get to that part later).
Nina Paley has masterfully ‘re’-created each of these characters to tell everyone about her own breakup (and how she probably moved on from it) which happened via email, and most certainly left her befuddled, without a clue as to why her husband/partner found such an innovative way to let go of the relationship. Once you get into the skin of this 2D character, you too, may find yourself empathizing with her, and perhaps, feeling what she felt. If a heartbreak causes the person at the receiving end to walk onto a path of greatness… then this is it.
When you walk into your room at the end of the day, and kick off your shoes, read a book, before you curl up and sleep, remember that there is always a better tomorrow and one partner’s choice or the ill-fate of a relationship doesn’t alter your life. Feel every bit empowered. Having said that, it’s not just about the women eventually, it’s likely to reach out to the men watching it and ensuring that it tugs at their heart-strings as well.
So, hear Sita Sing The Blues to you while she narrates her story in a span of 81 minutes. This is a crowd-funded film and every frame of it deserves to be watched repeatedly, and likewise, shared with one and all. Not to mention the beauty with which Annette Hanshaw’s classics shall become timeless through this apt usage.
*A version of this has been published under my author profile in July 2014, during my professional stint at BookMyShow*

Behne Do

… inn aansuon ko

Yeh duniya tere dard se anjaan hi rahe toh accha hai. Aakhir tu kisse sahanubhooti ki umeed lagaye baitha hai? 

Yaad rakh ki tu khud hi apni taqdeer likh raha hai, kabhi apne karm se, kabhi apni choices se. Toh phir iss kahaani ki dor kisi aur ko kyun diye jaa raha hai? 

Kuchh diggaj sajjanon ne kaha hai ki teri khushi ka faisla tu khud hi karta hai, aur phir inhone hi kuchh aise rules bana diye ki khushi aapke bank balance ke size par nirbhar hone lagi. 

Aise mein jab jigri doston se comparison hone lage, insecurities badhne lage aur frustration hoti rahe toh tu kya hi kare? Isliye inhein behne de, behte rehne de… lekin yaad rakh ki isse apni uss kahaani ka ek chapter hi maan kar chal, kyunki chalte rehna hi teri kismet hai, tera karam hai. Yehi iss duniya ka sabse pehla ‘rule’ hai.