Wednesday, 22 January 2014

All India Radio

No I am not 50 years old. And no I did not grow up listening to the Binaca Geet Mala. And no impressions of Ameen Sayani do not impress me too much. But why do I feel like I am in this ethereal space when I listen to the Radio?

Is is because I hear most of the tunes on my dad's old stereo from the time he was my age?

Or is it because I like the feeling of sitting in front of my heater on a cold breezy evening with nothing to do?

Or is it because I like the fact that I actually hear what the other person is saying?

Or is it because I know I can do something else while the radio plays?

Or is it because there is mystery to what I might hear next? Or the spontaneous excitement of hearing the song I was just thinking of.

Or it might just be cause I know that at the hour every hour I know I'll hear the news. And because I know that if I tune in to 102.6 at 9am I would get to start my day with the Matchless Music Hour and hear some Simon and Garfunkle or Floyd with a mini detour to the bollywood of the 50s. And I know I can expect a match commentary on FM gold.

Or maybe I just like All India Radio and the classic broadcasting format.

Who knows? And who cares as long as I smile to myself listening to Neela Aasman on a cold windy night....

Take Care

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Mobile Post : From the city Rediscovered

Sometimes there is nothing more beautiful than seeing the sunset over the mountains with wind in your hair. It's even better when there is melancholy in the air. That sweet mixture of happiness and sadness. Sometimes there is nothing better than a feeling that all would be well. When trekking up the hill to a temple which claims to fulfill wishes, and you actually hope that your wishes come true. That desperate yet thought evoking behaviour of complete submission. Sometimes there is nothing better than twinkling lights by the lake side on a beautiful moonlit night. As if the water and the quite would transport you to a place of joy. Sometimes there is nothing better than mundane conversations without care and thought. Of sipping coffee and making the silliest of conversation with your lil sister, about the latest item songs. Sometimes there is nothing better than flying confetti and the dancing drag queen, celebrating a festival with strangers in a crowded market place. Sometimes all you need is to drive on without respite. Without fear through the crowd. Sometimes all I need is a bit of this home town should I call it; to be happy when I'm also a little sad.

Embracing my Inner Romantic

Someone just told me that I was a romantic and I really couldn't disagree.

For I can't help but think...

That there is nothing better than smell of rain, that umas from the hot scorched earth when varsha ritu comes home. Of dreaming of long walks on moonlit paths. Of the idea of living in the 60's and waiting for letters. Of making iced tea at home starting with actually boiling some tea first. Of looking at lights from hill tops. Of sunrises and sunsets. Of cool wind blowing in my face. Of water gently lapping at my feet. Of kids running with phuljhadhis on Diwali. Of firecrackers and bright lights in the sky. Of summer nights on rooftops looking at the sky, finding new constellations and catching some shooting stars. Of talking about life with a like minded stranger. Of seeing a one toothed old man smile, as you stop your car to let him pass. Of laughing in my head when noticing people impatience, of smiling to myself when I remember my own such times. Of being stuck in traffic jam with your favourite song on the radio and not a worry about the destination. Of crossing bridges by road or by train. Of listening to train tracks when the metro approaches. Of spending an afternoon look at the sparrow and hearing it chirp. Of spending hours playing with a half filled bottle and catching the light. Of coming up with many thoughts, hoping that I'll blog and then lazing away with them tucked away at the back of my mind. Of thinking that the Hijra at the signal is a friend, cause he always says hi but never asks for money. Of loving the thought of an orange bar on a hot summer night. Of standing at the train door looking the world go past. Of being happy and of being sad. Of being lonely and a little thoughtful. Of feeling blessed and dejected at the same time. Of friends and family. Of me and myself. Of my future and of my past. Of myself in an avatar quite free and not just cast.

Friday, 17 February 2012

The Birthday Blog!

I may sound this way because it is a little late at night. I may sound this way because I have seen something I somehow relate to. I may sound this way because I remembered something from my past after something I read.

It was my birthday 2 days ago. I really didn't care much for it. But maybe because I knew it was my birthday, ordinary events leading up to that day felt like an epiphany after the other.

I was on my way to the metro station. Holding my second Kulfi, laughing about French grammar. It was almost careless, the laughter. Till I helped a blind man cross the road. From what I have heard my entire life, this gesture is supposed to make you happy and satisfied. All it left me with however was shock and grief. I don't know if you have felt it, that numbing sensation that sort of removes you from the world around. Gosh! I couldn't help but ask why was this happening that day.

My birthday, I spent my day in travelling to and from Agra. I was covering an election rally. A staged election rally, with the sun shining in my eyes for 3 hours. The crowd around me seemed all paid. RG gave his 10 minute speech after making us wait for 3 hours in the sun. He took out his neatly folded piece of paper and got the crowd holding forced banners and flags. Democracy failed for me that day, as the masses repeated practiced slogans and cheered not because they really understood what the really reason for a rally was supposed to be. Maybe it was just that horrid Congresses UP election version of Jai Ho! The last rally I went to had really lifted my spirits. It had convinced me that there was something right about our democracy till it came crashing down that day.

Everywhere I go, I see suffering and poverty and apathy. It makes me feel guilty for being privileged. It makes me feel guilty when I crib and because I am sad.

I read these two Status Messages todays, on gtalk of two of my friends. One of them has his birthday today. His reads " A soul in tension is learning to Fly ". Maybe he is in that state of mind too. But there is comfort there in the next SM " A sole intention is learning to fly ".

My soul does hurt. I just wanted my birthday to go by. It gave me so much to think about. But not a single solution. One of the major reasons I had accepted the Agra assignment that day, might just have been to escape. I just want to escape. But wanting to escape also makes me so guilty. Stupid convents I studied in told me to count my blessings. So now I am caught in this limbo. Shuttling at the speed of light between the want to just disappear to wanting to learn to fly.

I think I need that helping hand here. This is my birthday blog. A few epiphanies. I few dreams. With the really strong desire to escape and an equally compelling one asking me not to...

I think right now, I am just a soul in tension.

Take Care

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Ears Open

It's been images till now. Snapshots of memories. Like scenes from flashbacks in movies. This time however, it's a little different. I don't want to take back with me the views and vistas but the sounds of Sikkim.

The chant of Buddhist verse at the Phondong Monastery. The chirp of the little sparrows at Rumtek. The turning of prayer wheels as Ranka. The crunch of gravel walking up a hill. The sound of the cars approaching on a turn. The continuous hammering of the stones on the way to Nathula. The silence of the border of China. The flutter of the Tricolour when the winds picked up along with the gentle metallic clink of the flag mast hitting the flag pole. The sound of the fog creeping in suddenly on a bright and sunny day in the snow clad mountain. The bustling of the market on MG Marg and my mother's voice in an empty silent restaurant overlooking the hustle of the market below. Sikkim Tourism playing Pink Floyd (Wish You Were Here) to my utter surprise on Bose speaker in the promenade with the interwoven mix of Nepali, Bangla, Hindi and English. The shuffling of papers in the permit offices and the comforting sound of our room heater in the biting cold. How can I forget the the sounds of our car as it went over mountains and crossed bridges both metallic and wooden; Sometimes bare and more often with the fluttering flags red, blue, green and yellow. The squeaks of the ever curious Red Panda's to the sweet roar of the snow leopards. The rustling of leaves and the flapping of wings. Even the silence of it all.

I wasn't really awestruck by East Sikkim, but I wish I could take back with me the sounds, for they are worth recommending to another wanderer.

Take Care.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Letting Go!

I am a junk collector and come from a like minded family. For a bunch of three wandering souls we have a lot of stuff between us. It finally got to us. We had to let go.

Dad and I started work on a room aptly defined by us as our cloak room. At home we always have people in transit; and this room yesterday resembled the "Room of Requirements" (for all the Harry Potter Fans out there). You could find anything in that room. It could have been a "lost and found" at a busy railway station, considering the number of bags that room contained.

It was a treasure trove of our lives. As we threw away the many empty boxes of things gone past. I relived the last few years of my life. I found a 2001 cd of Encarta Encyclopedia and laughed about the progress we as humanity had made with technology. We wondered what to do with our large number of cassettees ( They are still with me, I wonder if I can throw them away) and played the old music in my head. I found my college notes and the large bunch of research papers I had read, which made me look back at the life choice I left behind. I found an old postcard from a dear friend with a painting of a Parisian day in the rain ( That got tucked away in my treasure trove, wasn't junk was it). I threw away a lot today and helped my dad get rid a lot more.

Junk was it? Well it was... But letting go was just as hard. I feel good that we let go... Life goes on and we need room for new memories and new mementos.

Take Care.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

I don't think I can be a travel writer

Bill Bryson has this amazing ability to write a travel log. I dunno how he does it! Here I have an amazing story to tell and I can't find a decent enough way to start.

A lot went through my mind today, as I walked the 15 mins from Chandni Chowk metro station to Red Fort. Having being cooped up inside the house for five straight days, all alone, I had had enough. It was decided, Lal Qila it was.

I have always prided myself, for having lived around the country, having lived the life of so many places, of shared cultures and regional emotions. Having lived mostly in the metros offlate, I seem to have forgotten the real India.
Chandni Chowk that way was incredible. It reminded me of a city described by Dominique Lapierre in the city of joy. Yes, this is not Calcutta, but the hullaboo was all there. There was rhythm in the chaos. Stark poverty contrasted with the bustling commerce. There was a temple right next to the gurudwara, which was a stones throw from the mosque. The myriad attire ranged from the flaming orange of the yatra devotees to Linkin Park tee shirts, from skull capped heads in white to sequined pink saris, from the dirt on the clothes of the street beggar to the man with the sharp black tie. I dunno why, walking down this bustling crowd, through the dirt and the muck was exhilarating. There was nothing right about the place but neither was there anything wrong.

The energy was contagious, it stays with me right now too.

Take Care

P.S. Frankly, Red Fort was a let down. With all the security checks, and the fancy tickets all I can say is that the Archaeological Survey of India better buck up and get something done. For a national monument and a world heritage site, it feels like ruins are better maintained.
But, the thing about going to a national monument in India, is not all about seeing the place. Its like a trip around India. You usually end up hearing 70% of India's major languages, you get to hear at least 4-5 regional songs, get a look at the dress code in the country. Its like the annual day in school, Unity in Diversity. All that combined, you also get a sneak peak into world. ;)