About me

Namaste,
first of all, a very warm Welcome on the Road to Nara !


My name is Narayan Kaudinya. I am a Teacher and a practising Indologist. I write, work as a Nerve Therapist and an Imagemaker.

: ँ :

Nara means ‘water’ or a ‘being’. And ayana is ‘the way’.
I welcome you to my home ‘Road To Nara’ where you will find my days into words. And my eyes in Images and moving picture.

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In 2012, leaving most things, primarily an urban life, job and an ambition, I took up working as a teacher in far away regions of Kashmir and Baltistan. And later in the Indian mainland states of Punjab, Haryana and in various regions of Rajasthan. During this time i was involved with children, their families and local folk, observing and archiving their oral histories, documenting the journey altogether. During the times i extensively wrote about education and the ways of developing children minds through arts, culture and environment. While understanding life myself, outside of me as much within.

In 2015, the story of indigenous Balti tribes was published in Yale Journal of International Affairs

In 2016, a story was featured on my journey of being a teacher in the Himalayas

When i grew up I took long distance buses, one state to another. From Delhi to Madhya Pradesh, to Maharashtra, Goa to Calcutta and a few times back. Travelling in them, many a times alone throughout night on the state highways going through forests, was somehow never assuring that I would reach the right place, but one thing was that I felt nearer to the road, at home around villagers travelling in buses. And after sometime soon it wasn’t exciting anymore.

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On a bus somewhere in Maharashtra on the way to Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

I remember the first time I got down from a bus desperately, somewhere on the National Highway in Maharashtra to travel in a truck going to Delhi. Afraid, yet dared to ask passing by truck drivers if they can allow me to get going with them, many refused, but this young truck driver, allowed me in the cabin. He was going till Udaipur but what happened in that journey,  made that hitchhike an eternity, and left on me an impression which i still carry lightly. I am an Ancient person. I believe in the presence of the past in our present lives. I have been a disciplined traveller in a way but i like to stay around the earthliness of a country. To go inside villages, finding out about a community documenting old rituals, folk tales and rural weddings. If you consider Indian Subcontinent having a mix of the right amount of rough and old. I love it.

FullSizeRender-7.1 This is the first instance where i am spending time writing, a blog. I thought what would i do if all memories only remain inside me, i would burst into pieces from just the mere weight of carrying them around, i decided to write.

Because once this body drops, I would like some of my experiences to live on to see future sunsets. ँ I have lived and worked in high intensity conflict zones, walked literally on the roof of the world, for 8 days through the mighty Karakoram ranges. I have crisscrossed India on a 150cc bike four times. Lived through a Silent Massacre; people killing countless, innumerable maybe a slaughter of over a lac animal; seeing fields turning red with blood at a fair in southern Nepal. There came a night, where i was asked to and somehow uncomfortably managed to drive a sixteen-tyre truck from Pune to Udaipur on a hitchhike gone strangeDuring a fellowship in Cambodia i cycled through her countryside recording the banned songs of the father with the golden voice of Cambodia, by a Cambodian Organisation. Learnt rowing a local boat/shikara, while living through the longest curfew period in the history of Kashmir; doing which i became so good that i started ferrying locals from land to their respective houseboats, where in the meantime I and team were able to make a cult, much appreciated web series of six short episodes Live from Kashmir; Paradise Waiting

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Ways of Being There are no secret ways to travel but one, though for completely non-mandatory reasons. Other wise seekers, when they decide and go out after their way, the way appears. I have always travelled by myself, apart from organisational assignments where a team is required like our first experimental film Bongu, set in the isolated mountains of Karakorams, Baltistan, which was premiered in the first Laddakh International Film Festival or likewise many other assignments. But the first ever Balti film happened while we were teaching in Turtuk, Baltistan. We taught kids in the morning, and worked on the film in the night.

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Like Roald Dahl’s famous book “Going Solo”, i absolutely love and prescribe people to understand the importance of travelling solo. Having observed myself on the hard road for more than ten years, there is no other way i feel about it. Also, Having been living with the ways of the world quietly, listening to the winds, leaves and trees in communion, looking at and hearing people patiently and still letting it be are some traits that are slowly earned, though late they certainly arrive like juicy apricots in harsh winters. I use local transport or best i look out for a bike, finding off the map or off the track home accommodation. I carry my own utensils, a copper bottle; refilling water from homes or natural sources. Over all, all my travelling life i have tried to become a bridge between rural and urban economies. One essential thing that i deeply feel helped me survive peacefully, in less means and in any given environment is being a vegetarian. Somehow i managed to never grow an intent to eat any animal, bird or insects. Like most travellers, i have had my awkward moments and tough times of expressing it in a way, of not offending anyone; But i have done it and a few ones have been offended too or so i feel. But Looking back now passing through what all happened i consider this the only magic; because of reasons that go way deeper than merely eating. I have spent majority of my travelling life in meat eating societies, and i feel not only i saved a few animals from earth but kept my unasked vow intact.

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Being inherently an educator, over all the past travelling years wherever i stayed; i made sure to visit a nearby school to see the education system or to just have a conversation with the local teachers. Sometimes I offered a talk, a small workshop on the importance of Yog and breathing as body science, simple ideas of storytelling and visual communication. I make it happen also because i have always felt this to be my responsibility to pass on, may be motivate or at least put a thought of hope and love in children. I believe It is an unconditional necessity to recognise the importance of you being there, representing a whole mankind who has been travelling, understanding the world, to these children who might never be able to go beyond their village or state. And because of this i have been fortunate to meet hundreds of children and teachers from all around the country.

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In my abilities, as i run a small school myself with my mother; i have tried to put my views across at any given place on the importance of primary education years as foundational pillars for children. I remember one of the quotes i heard once while listening to Khushwant singh’s interview that “to make your children, tomorrow’s responsible adults, make sure to read them three R’s, and they were R.K Laksman, Roald Dahl and Ruskin Bond.” When i come back to Delhi, i look after a primary school for children  with my mother for the underprivileged community here that we started in 2008.  here Speaking with Sai, an Indian data scientist in the US, who was visiting India, while bathing in the river Tungabhadra https://vimeo.com/348306201 DO WRITE You know, It always feels great to hear from you, artists, fellow travellers, friends, photographers, writers, bloggers, Now when you have read some tidbits of my life story, i invite and welcome you to write, say, ask anything that you may have thought or felt. It would be lovely to hear from you, more so in these times when there are only celestial beings to look at. You can share and write to me at – narayankaudinya@gmail.com You may also like, only if, you’d like to be a fellow traveller, through many small, every day journeys that i keep posting from assignments, film or photographic works on Instagram, Or may be closer still on Facebook or even my newer explorations on Twitter – feels better at times to meet outside the domains of work, right!  : ँ : Once when things shall give way to the brighter days, i would like to invite you all to our small school. If any one of you are interested in holding a workshop, share stories, artworks, experiences or even want to screen a film, you are heartily welcome. If any child can learn and get inspired from you, It can be a whole new him for life.

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If you are a foreigner reading this, imagining and deciding on coming to Bharat/India; and would like to know, have some questions, are inquisitive, on things relating to where, what, how – about seeing, travelling, trekking in India, on a Civilizational or a spiritual quest, about her ancientness, traditions, region; you must write. I will be happy to read from you and will guide you in your journey wherever you want it to be lead to- in exchange of your time given, sharing your stories and experiences with our school children in Delhi. If you are a media house, a travel organisation, a publishing house, tourism board, working in education, interested in collaborating on creative writing, fiction, non-fiction projects, film or Photographic assignments, please visit my Work with me page. : ँ : You may also like to go through some of my extensive long-term Socio-Political Photographic Book Projects at Narayan Tushar Kaudinya. Thank you so much for being here, and i hope that you will come along as my Fellow-Traveller, here on the Road to Nara !

205 Comments

  1. Travelling is definitely more than just the some of the physical distance we travel and the things we see while we are travelling. It is what we experience while we are in motion and the wonderful people we get to know while we are doing it.

    Thank you for sharing so much of your story in such a relatable way. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hamish, thank you so much, you have been a delight to me with your words here, you know i felt time and again that the most important aspect while in motion, while travelling for long and for days is sleep. It is sleep that adds tremendously to our experiences, which is almost out of our control but plays a vital, vital character in building it.

      And ofcourse there are many other aspects that we keep building.

      Thank you so much again Hamish.
      Nara x

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Nice web site, Nara.
    Happy travelling and best wishes from the First City to see the light
    craig

    “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.”
    – G.K. Chesterton

    http://www.craigsquotes.wordpress.com

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
    – Mark Twain ??

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Craig. Delighted to have your company here. Also please tell me about the city that first sees light? I always thought it could be Tokyo as it is far in the East.

      Nara x

      Like

  3. You have had an interesting life, teaching underprivileged children, visiting rural communities learning about folk tales, and photographing your travels. I’ll read more of your posts. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dearest Ruth, have tried however little i could amongst the options i had while growing up. Parents being teachers already helped. But love lies in the rural, tribal stories, understanding life deeper though mine and other experiences and probably what else but to share it, express it in ways it accumulated inside.

      Thank you very so much for taking out time. Understanding, reading. Means a lot.

      Nara x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is an incredible story! Thank you for the inspiration- your life speaks to the possibility of richness and wonder that comes from taking risks to follow your spirit.

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    • Delighted to read this Pauli. Well yes, with spirits it truely can be risky and other times you just wait the moment of that risk ! 🙂

      It was lovely, likewise to read your unsual(for me) about page. Thanks for coming over.

      Nara x

      Liked by 1 person

    • Very humble of you dear Bernadette, You are heartily welcome.

      I am just trying to swim in the mud as beautifully as i can 🙂 with hope.

      May be i will need lot energy as i will see you cook from far. Welcome again.

      Nara x

      Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! I wish i were young again, and could have the opportunity to do what you’re doing! You are so blessed to have such a wonderful opportunity. Ciao, my friend!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I admire your passion for education. What’s the story behind your name? How did you get your name? Was it because the river Ganga was dry on the day you were born? Looking forward to reading about your traveling and adventures! Infinite blessings to you!

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    • Dear Andrea, gives me joy to welcome you. Thank you for coming.

      Well, passion has kind of been inherent as all, i mean all my near and far kins and uncles, my parents are teachers of some subjects of the other. Now many have retired but all carry that way of giving, teaching even in day to day conversations.

      Not the Ganges was dry, fortunately it has never been. But a Well. A big deep hole or shaft sunk into earth to obtain water. It went dry around the days i was born, in a village. It could be my father tried balancing it with naming me flowing water, Narayan.

      Thank you, need all your blessings.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome, Nara! & thank you for your sunny welcome! It’s beautiful to hear that you’re part of a fam of educators who are so needed always for each generation. It’s interesting how an educator’s qualities go beyond one’s work and transfer to, like you mention, day to day conversations. Ah, I see, thank you for clarifying that.

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        • Yes, certainly they start reflecting in everything. Probably if lived and done right, they hold that aspect of the society which is high morals to start with and should speak in every teacher’s actions.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Also if i may, because this world is too big, let me bring you to two somethings that must open this world where you would love to swim, or i will hope 🙂

      When Krishna calls. A dream life of an Australian Photographer from Paris : Travels in Vrindavan

      first one, which is a beautiful, colourful pilgrimage of sorts.

      and second is an ongoing series of my recent travels across the Himalayas to Baltistan, on Indo-Pakistan border, have published IV chapters till now; but this one was detour i took on Rivers

      A Dip in the Rivers

      With gratitude and Joy
      Narayan x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. hello
    Congratulations for your blog
    Wonderful photos and stories and adventures…
    I m following
    I invite you to visit mt blog and i hope you like it.
    Bye
    Natalia
    Nice to meet you

    Like

  7. Awesome adventure, Narayan. Whenever I feel weak about my travel plans, i only have to return to your tales and i am gifted with a stronger resolve to travel. Your notes are a gift indeed, my friend. 👍👏🏻😋

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  8. I devoted a couple of quiet hours this morning to reading this series I-VII. I feel as if I have been on a long journey to faraway places. Such wonderful, heartfelt, and at times, heartbreaking stories! Your lead a life rich in experience and in relationships with many diverse people. I am sure you would never trade such a life for any corporate career!

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. All the best! ❤

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    • My dearest Cheryl, it took me such a long time to come back to this and how!

      You must know how well i have felt time and again in the moments i remembered these words from you. But it is the last line that stopped me from not writing or even moving away to write later. And i would say i do not know anymore. In these times, it has been hard to really be well on the road and make ends meet.. Even though i might never go the corporate way but i would like to build an empire to serve, to work for the planet and her beings. And keep writing to say the least.

      Liked by 1 person

    • And i hope you are well, and all family is happy, coming together for the christmas. My heartiest wishes dear Cheryl.

      Thank you, your support has always been the most valuable.
      Narayan x

      Liked by 1 person

  9. AJ says

    Wow that introduction blew me away. I hope to see you when I finally make it to India. But I’m afraid I have nothing to bring to the table. It might be sheer selfishness on my part to take in your rich experiences and profound ideas while I offer nothing in return.

    Liked by 1 person

    • AJ, Hi. Lovely to have you here first of all. Thank you so much for writing.

      O yes, i looked up and you have been to everywhere in the world but India. May be you are preparing for the shock but i am certain you are all righty ready already.

      With your as much rich experience AJ, it is but evident you are wealthy with wisdom and experience brimming off your face 🙂 not being satirical but please write if you plan to come and do a trek in the Himalayas. We will try working things out.

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      • AJ says

        Thanks for your kind words, Narayan. I’m not sure if I have the physical constitution to trek the Himalayas. Planning on visiting my Nepali friend in Kathmandu in the near future. Perhaps I can swing by Northern India after that trip. I appreciate your welcoming spirit.

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        • Pleasure, we can always see if and how would you like to get introduced. Also much will depend on your season of visit 🙂

          And Yes, if Nepal’s calling- India should be touched then, will wait how things come out to be dear AJ, thank you.

          Narayan x

          Like

  10. Gwen M. Plano says

    I’m greatly moved by your journey, Narayan. Your thoughtfulness and your photos bring me to my heart. Blessings on your journey …

    Like

  11. Your flight of life resemble to that of mine . Your spirituality touches my seventh chakra . Life means spirituality without everything . Everything minus spirituality is no life at all . Traveling may be your passion . But your creativity denotes your action towards life . Big things germinate from small one . Your one step may , one day , proved to be a giant leap for mankind . Carry on your flight . It will take off in the days to come . Thanks !

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  12. Hello Mr. Narayan,

    I must say, what you are doing and the way you are living your life seems appealing and ineffable. I wish I could do the same. In simple words, I can say you are living an extraordinary life. Kudos to you. All the best!

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    • Dear Sonali, if i can only feed on your words, i will never go hungry again. But travels and times have been on high rather, a reverse ride. But we try to sail. I can only show my gratitude for your uplifting words, and hope to keep doing it to carry and take the mankind forward.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi, Narajan. What a profound life! I realise that what sounds adventurous is often also very hard. I’m starting to read your blog and look forward to vivid impressions and insights.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Myriade. I am very happy to read from you. Your sentences are small but carry that vividness that you have written about here. Makes me light and feel like welcoming you whole heartedly. Thank you so much for writing. I have now, a new someone to read again, and a lot. Accept my wishes.

      Narayan x

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Narayan ji, your blogs make for a fascinating read. Managed to peruse a few narrations here, like a traveller covering a few terrains out of the vast geographies looming before me. Like the celestial ‘Narayana’ (nara meaning ‘male being’ and ayana meaning ‘journey’ or, in other words, denoting Arjuna and Krishna respectively equating to an omnipresent or all-pervasive principle), you seem to be spreading out across the wide open spaces. Thanks for visiting my site and liking some of my offerings, and thereby enabling my connect with your world. With best wishes…

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    • Rajagopal ji, your presence here delights me as now i can happily surrender and wait too in anticipation. Your words settle in my world deeply Rajagopal ji. It is certainly my fortune to come across and meet you at least and as of now here. You are heartily welcome.

      Narayan

      Like

  15. Hi Narayan ,

    Thank you for visiting my site. I truly appreciate. I have looked around a bit on your site and you must live a life loaded with adventure. Thank you once again.

    Like

  16. I spent twenty years travelling around Bharat Mata by all forms of transportation so would have a good mental image of most of the places you have travelled.

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    • This is such an iconic comment dear Ian. And so much for this blog. I was delighted when I read these words because you will know. Two decades is like blood becoming Indian understanding. Shall over soon dear Ian. Thank you for writing here.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Delighted to have you and these words that you chose to write here dear Nancy. I have flowed as you may have felt, achieved nothing really, may be just earned some words along. Happy to have you in this journey now. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Narayan, your long journey over the years has been a delight to read. Also the India history post was most interesting. You are very inspiring, in your journey and in the way you write. A gift for sure. I look forward to reading more. 📚🎶 Christine.

    Like

    • Thank you for your affectionate acknowledgement dear Christine. It is inspiring to meet someone who herself is making world a better experience for one and all. Striving all the time. Thanks so much for coming and uplifting the spirit !

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I grew up in Bangladesh and went to school and worked in India. As a child I never imagined I would live anywhere else and as an adult I have never enjoyed living in Europe. I don’t belong in Europe and I know in India I will always be a foreigner but it remains my home. It is where I find peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Eva. I am happy that I learnt something more about you and even it makes me happier that reading my about made you reflect on your own. I would take as a compliment for my love and this life expressing Indianness in living.

      I cannot completely imagine as I haven’t myself spent even a day outside Asia but seeing and feeling through friends and seekers whom i have met and spoken to, I can really imagine the dryness and coldness with which western civilisations lives with. I am certain I might not like to stay for very long in those cities as I cannot even stand cities in India.

      Thanks again Eva for opening. I hope I can share some country love through my writings.

      Like

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