All posts tagged: India

Homeland

He woke up four inches below the snow like bed. But the day ahead was going to be as treacherous. He felt excited because travelling to rural India gave a smile to his face. Indian villages to a good extent still practice their civilisational old traditions. The air is different, the land for miles is green. But leaving Delhi behind is a lengthy affair. Their is an infrastructure push. Hundreds and thousands of trees that once gave beauty, breath and shade have now given way to expressway and highways and along with it empty, always being constructed high rise buildings. Slowly we start going past it. And we start seeing cow dung cakes kept for sun drying for kilometres. For centuries cow dung cakes known as “upla” in Hindi are used for cooking, cleaning homes and for homa- the fire worship. It’s smoke is known to purify the environment killing small insects and creatures. Many years ago someone said to Nara about India, when he was roaming in the river valleys of Kedar, that India …

LAST FLIGHT OF AN OWL

She kept looking towards the sky while floating in the water kept for cows. Her death seemed such that at one time I felt she chose it.   But do birds more so when one is a predator choose their own death?   When Maharaj ji arrived, he first closed his eyes. May be she needed someone to close her eyes before it could be plucked out by hungry ones. May be he earned this burial. To only put a stop to this cycle. May his body rests and the spirit awakens. Aum Shanti In Photos 1  

The Pride of the Capital Parade

Sometimes guilt pushes for better results. Thus Chatter woke up dot at four in the brahm mahurat. Even though he left home at five. We were able reach Rajpath in the darkness of the dawn. It was no less than grand theatre going on there. Never was Delhi be heard and felt from the pride and the energy with which they marched past. With the bands of each regiment leading the way. The drums, the beats, the smell of the sweating young, the valour in the air. The discipline, the clacking of the iron bar beneath their marching boots to the tar ground woke us all up. The mist, the vapours coming out of mouths while a woman officer commanding against the street lamps of Rajpath takes you close to India’a colonial cold faced armies. The practise and improvisation that has gone in the making of them. Oneness in the motion. The pride. It felt like they were owning the day. It felt like they made it our day. Whole, united. It was a day …

The day of the U-Turn

Winters had started settling in Leh. I used to get up the earliest, take the coldest shower from the waters of Indus. For at least half a day to come, my peace with that. I was making tea when i heard Cynthia, singing. An old American woman who had been teaching in Leh for last 29 years. From the US, she arrived each winter to teach Laddakhi students. I offered Cynthia Tea. She said “I am sorry, I am still not Indian’ and laughed out loud. And asked me to come up and look at the old lines on her table. The table had a beautiful map. And this map sounded fulfilling. It had a path along the river Indus, that left the road way down and lead one to an ancient looking narrow canyon. She suggested, I must take that. And then without asking walk for an hour or two to the village called TAR. There lives my best friend; in a cave, like kitchen, where Ibex’s and snow leopards come sometimes to say …

One day win and other days Out

The night was strange. It was a mix of sleeping deep and aware of some thing gone wrong. Two weeks were over in Leh. And as I had planned I got a bike for myself from Angchuk. I wanted to have a classic 350 but after the new UT status, government ordered the bike union to commercialise all the bikes or they’ll be seized. I got a Himalayan with me. While riding down to the narrow path of lama ji lane at upper changspa, something happened; the tendon, the tissue that joins the back part of the knee just went numb. For a moment i could not lend my weight on to my left leg. As I lied in bed in the night the pain was such nonsensical that I couldn’t straighten my leg, and if i even pushed and did, i could not bend it again. Throughout night as I moved from one position to other, I could feel the weight of my knee. Somehow i completed the task of sleeping. In the morning …

Amarnath in the times of article 370

Even after thinking about doing something daily, one ends up doing it, achieving it, finishing it only in the head. In the head is good, as it creates enough compound interest in head but it is not good enough. I have had ups and downs, and have been away from home for some time. I was in Kashmir when article 370 was taken off. I was one of the last person to have trekked the majestic Amarnath ji this year. Without any plan or any inclination to have wanted to do it but surrendering to flow of life is such it takes you along on the paths, and you would enjoy. I fell in love with the harmony of the few people who walked along, some saints barefoot, and two without a leg who finished approximately sixty kilometres in as many days as I did. Food, sweets, tea, love and the name of shiva. But the feeling was erratic even then. Tents, people were leaving a month before. And many had already left. The way …

Shoes and the Sage

After forty four days, I arrived home. Home is wherever mother lives. When I was leaving, the only thing i desired on the 43rd day, was to buy good walking shoes. I had even spent a good second half of that evening trying to find anything likeable. The ones i was wearing now, a pair of black trekking shoes; i had bought them four months ago in early August. Even though there is nothing as such like over-walking in the mountains, but by the time I finished my journey in the Himalayas, they seemed done. Any ways I could not find new shoes and at last left India with the same black ones. I traveled around Thailand and more so for a month long work-fellowship in Cambodia. From there I flew back to Kolkata and while spending my ninth evening in Kashi on Assi Ghat I met an old man whom I felt kept looking at my black shoes. As I followed his gaze and later his worn out feet. I walked up to him …

In the land of Snakes

Twenty six days ago and three hundred fifty kilometers north I Moon I reached Aldona late in the night. It was Purnima, the full moon of Holi. Vishwan was away, gone to a border village, tsar. A place somewhere in the middle of the jungle at the border of Goa and Maharashtra. But I had no idea of that then, I was waiting. I sat downstairs at the bar. Grandmother was pouring feny to a local. She told me about Vishwan smoking too much. The room was lit with two cyan bulbs. He arrived. We kept my backpack at his place. He lit his cigarette. We sat. His hair had grown and white; beard thickened and black. Soon, we were off, feeling the dense wind of the leaving winter, scooting through the western ghats in the night going towards the moon. We entered the fair. Vishwan parked the vehicle somewhere outside and we started walking away from the lights towards the jungle. It was late. But it wasn’t dark. The night seemed to have dissolved with …