Thursday, June 30, 2022
Traveling from Jaipur to Abu road on a train during daytime triggered me an idea of traveling long distances in trains during the daylight, watching the exquisite Indian landscapes.
I executed the idea of this daylight train journeys whenever I had a chance. Whenever I have to travel and have time to extend my plans, I chose daylight train journeys. Likewise, when I had a chance to return to Jaipur. I chose to travel through train canceling my booked flight tickets.
This journey seemed to be the toughest for many reasons. First of all, I couldn't get the tickets easily. I booked a ticket a week ago with waiting list 33 and it got halted at WL17 on the day before journey. Failed booking Tatkal and got a WL3 in that as well. Hoping for a miracle, I waited. Miracle did happen and got WL1 & WL2 in general and Tatkal categories. Amazed by the pace I got cruised through WL and stopped only at 1 & 2.
Next day, I was more diligent in booking and got the ticket booked. HYB-JP. Hyderabad to Jaipur. 8.25PM
Next day, Ouchitya helped me to pack properly and dropped me at Harry's home as well.
Departed from Harry's home at 7.14 bidding bye to Anjali and Harry.
I scrolled down the screen to recheck the ticket. I could glance through these details.
HYB-JP 20:25 27.June.2022 Coach: X1. Seat:XX
All good to go. I'm excited to take this train journey, I thought. I left Harry's house by 7.14 PM, wishing I'd reach by 8PM to have 25 minutes in hand. Looking through the stream of car red lights, 'By what time, can we go?' I enquired the driver. 'By 8.10 PM, we'll be there,' he assured.
Which means, I'll only have 15 minutes to take my luggage out, carry it, reach platform 6 and walk till the coach. I was visualizing myself to be agile to do everything in time.
As the driver promised, he dropped me at the station sharply by 8.10 PM. I quickly got out and carried the bags. Carrying 30kg bags, I decided to skip the bag security check. Yeah, in railway stations, there's an option of entering through exit, exiting through entry. No one gives damn.
As I googled the platform earlier, I decided to walk directly into the platform rather than checking it on the screen. I trudged to the escalator and cruised to the bridge. All the LED boards had one message, 'WELCOME' in bright red dots with background of black screen. Why didn't they put any sign of my train, I thought. As the cold breeze turned into heavy blown cold air, I waited on the bridge for some sign. I walked till the 6th platform and looked down to see the train number display on the coach position screens. To my disappointment, the screens were also blank. I waited for a few more minutes. 8.25. The train has to come here. I checked the phone again about the train running status. The train hasn't started it yet was the update I could get.
Being relaxed, I looked at the platform number again. 6 it was written. I stepped down towards the 6th platform. I went and put my bags down, wondering how this train journey is going to be. I looked at the phone, the empty railway track and the deserted platform.
The whole reason of traveling in train was to catch up with passengers for some candid conversations and I see no one at the platform at all. I approached a lady to enquire, 'Jaipur train yehi platform par aayega na?' She nodded very quickly saying, 'nahi malum.'
Looking at my luggage and the painting I've been carrying since a month, I've started taking some pictures of it in the railway station. Suddenly, I recollected the travel anxiety tales shared by a friend. Recollecting those tales, I thought of my train again. Looked at the phone to check and the train has left and is reaching Secunderabad.
Wait, is it not supposed to start from Kacheguda? If not Kacheguda, where is it coming from? I was puzzled. How many major railway stations are there in Hyderabad, I asked myself a quick Hyderabad GK question. Two. Kacheguda and Secunderbad, I could think of. Renny, you're missing something, I told myself and got the right answer. It's three. Kacheguda. Secunderabad & Nampally.
The train has started from Nampally. HYB stands for Nampally and KCG stands for Kacheguda. I've been booking these tickets since a week and I couldn't think of what code stands for what station.
Without thinking much, I took my bags and began to climb the stairs with so much of pace. 8.43PM, I started climbing stairs. 8.55PM is when train would reach Secunderabad. Without being logical, I ran towards the exit with all the pace, not worrying how I'd fall flat on my face with 30 kgs bag, if I lose out balance in my running.
This time, I ran through the exit searching for an auto. Three autos were placed in line waiting for their customers. 'Secunderabad Jaana hai' I asked. Aa jao, 200 hoga, he responded. Without worrying of the price, 'Jaldi Jaana hai bhai' I dropped three of bags in a trice and started to look through phone.
'Time nahi hai anna. Jaldi jaana hai.' I mentioned it to the Autowala. Understanding the intensity behind time nahi hai, he became the swift super automan vrooming through the chikkadpally lanes. Before I could identify RTC X roads, I was at Musheerabad.
Anna, jaldi Jaana hai, I kept telling him, being anxious of what I'd do if I miss the train. I already post poned this travel and I cancelled my booked flight ticket for this. If I've get onto the train, I'll have to wait till day after tomorrow. Tomorrow to book in Tatkal. Day after tomorrow to begin the journey and then 3 days in the journey. I'd need one more week to reach my work place. Taking 40 day break, I simply didn't wanted to postpone my work anymore!
paanch minute, hum pahunch gaye! He affirmed. All through out this dhoom machaale ride, food delivery person calls asking my whereabouts. I ordered Bawarchi biryani to be delivered at my coach.
"Anna is my train there. I'm still coming to station." I panicked.
"The train is not yet there. It'll be in no time. Come fast." he giggled, "if not, you'll miss it."
Why is he laughing at me? I thought. Is it because, I'd miss train or is it because I'd miss biryani?
Whatever! I thought and focussed again on the road. "Anna, let's go from backside." I directed the super automan. Thinking of the 10th platform, I could think of the train journey with Vikas. We went through 10th platform and ran till the 1st platform then.
Now, I gotta run till 6th platform. To be reassured, I called the food delivery guy to confirm the platform. "Platform no. 6." he confirmed.
Thanking Nazeer bhai, the super auto man who dropped me at the Secunderabad Station safely, I got on my heavy bags and ran as fast as I can. I could only rethink of the way, I ran through these bridges with Vikas, Rathod Bhai and Sandy Bhai.
As I was climbing down the stairs for the 6th platform, I could see women in ghungat and many people gathering in crowd. Yes, this it the Rajasthani crowd, I got double confirmed and went ahead. I reached the place where my coach would come. There was one lad holding a plastic bag and looking at hte phone. I called the food delivery number and he looked at me and greeted with smile, "Train hasn't come yet. Have the food." he handed me the packet.
Two minutes, I looked around and waited, the train arrived. The Jaipur express, the one where I'd spend my next 30 hours or more!
After a strenuous train journey, I returned to Jaipur. Returning to home after 40 days break brings me to a home full of dull light brown dust everywhere. The dust has dried up and thanks to the humidity, it has become sticky on few surfaces. The white marbles have turned pale. The place is unturned with all the clothes lying on the bed and the books scattered across the desk. I imagined that I left home organizing books, clothes and other things but, realized I didn't. The only things I organized were my paintings.
Despite the dust, It's good to be back. It's good to be back at home. In the course of 40 days, I've stayed in different places. I enjoyed staying all those places and grateful for them. I know that how much ever I roam around, the last place that I've return is Jaipur, which I call home for now. A year ago, it was Sirohi. 4 years ago, it was Hyderabad. Many years ago, it was different place.
It's interesting how we own up the places we live in.
Introspecting on places and hometowns, I've stopped asking people, where are they from? Instead, I ask, Where are you local to?
I'm born in some place but, I'm local to all the places I've lived in. I represent more of the places I lived in rather than the places I'm related to.
For now, got to clean this place and live till I travel for another visit.
Saturday, June 18, 2022
Whenever I'm at home there are two places, I often visit. Kitchen and terrace. Kitchen, because, I often find mom there and terrace, because, I get to spend some time in silence under the blue skies. In Kadapa, the evening skies are always lovely. The blue skies hasn't been polluted by the light.
On a lovely late evening, I sat in the middle of trees, to write a letters to friends. As I continued writing, a dog with a bright orange neck collar reached near to me. It stepped on to the place I was sitting on. It sniffed the bag, reached out to the book. I didn't entertain it observing it close. It looked at me. I looked at her. Both seemed to be comfortable with being next to each other.
As I continued writing, it just sat next to me, scratched it's ears with it's paws and curled herself up. Comfortably, it lied down and kept staring. For minutes, it just sat like that. When it discovered a fly or insect, it just jumped on it, tried eating the little creature, got onto the place again,curled herself up and sat silently again.
I was doing my work, she was doing her work. For a few minutes, the place she sat became a place to rest. Every two minutes, she was jumping off and eating some insects. It continued till I wrote a letter and till I finished a phone call with a friend. I had to walk away from the place. As I was walking away, it sat silently without a worry of anything happening around her. I wonder, what it is to be comfortable at random places and be ourselves.
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
There are a few covers which strikes me for bringing their own sense of originality despite making the cover.
After ages, I went back to the archive to listen to this piece. Really a good one Shreya.
Tuesday, June 14, 2022
Sitting in a library, the librarian asked a person how many books did you read this year?
'Do you want me to help you or not' replied in curt manner pointing him with a book he was handling.
Thinking of library and books, J shared the story of Dharampal who lived for 40 years in library.
A Gandhian historian. "The only interaction he had with Gandhi was he met him and Gandhi said, I've heard about you. Hum aapke baare sune hain." J introduced Dharampal about how he started walking in the foot steps of Gandhi.
And that's small interaction, he had and inspired by Gandhi works, he went on to research a lot . Gandhi mentioned that our education system was beautiful before British entered. Dharam took so much interest that he spend 40 years of his life in India House library, London.
He was able to do this, as he married a german lady and settled in foreign country. He spent his prime life outside researching on Gandhi and Indian Education system before British intervention.
In the last years, he returned to India. "He would be hallucinating a lot in his last years." J shared as DharamPal was frequent visitor to Mussorie. Also, a young boy from J's village was sent to take care of of DharamPal. That boy would narrate tales of how he used to live with the Dharam. Call this X person. Bring him, Dharam would say, the young lad would take him into rooms and make him sit in his room only and then Dharam would talk to an invisible person and ask him to leave. So interesting were the tales.
He played a major role in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Government it seems. Got to know more about him through this site. His work is immense.
Monday, June 13, 2022
Living through different homes, I never attached myself to a particular home as the homes always changed. I learnt to live in the home and cherish the memories I carry with them. The current home holds a special place in my heart as it's my Dad's own home. I lived in this house for a year in 2008. Back then, I was 14 years old and the house seemed big. Now, I'm 27 and the house looks cramped for me. The space hasn't changed but the way I perceive has changed.
This house reminds me of the days I spent, friends I had, food I ate, dresses I wore, teachers I had, school I went, streets I roamed and feelings I had. I do not have a single picture of those times but, every memory is a vivid sight to remember. I do remember the hard cover notebook covers I wrote on and the messages I sent to my crush through SMS language.
In 2008, I studied in St.Joseph's English Medium High School. The choice of the school was based on the proximal distance to the home. It was right behind the home. A few steps away, I'd be in the school. I didn't think much about the studies as I got habituated by the change then. I didn't make any friendships in previous school which I thought I'd miss. I do had good friends but, never learnt the concept of growing up with friends for long time.
In this school, Sister Anitha was my class teacher. Before the month of August, I became familiar with all the classmates. I'm friends with everyone. Ibrahim, Srikanth, Aadil, Yunus, Ajay, Gopal, Rony, Kareem, Sudeshna, Yamini, Amulya, Madhuri, Vennila, Susmitha Priya, Ayesha, Shirin, Zoya, Ramana are few names of my classmates. I've a good rapport with everyone.
In boys, I used to closely hang out with Srikanth, Rony, Gopal, Kareem and few more friends. In girls, Amulya, Yamini & Sudeshna were good friends. Ayesha was my close competitor. In class 7, she was the topper. When I came in class 8, I became the topper. I was never bothered to be the topper but eventually, I used to score good marks in every subject. Ayesha was calm and she never expressed her disappointment when she scored less than me. More than for us, it was a topic for all our friends to discuss. Who got more marks and who's feeling what.
Besides the academics, I was the class monitor for obvious reasons. I was energetic, big mouthed, vocal boy in the class. I was confident in everything. In retrospect, I wonder where that confidence came from. My sister was studying in the same school but, I never bothered to worry much about my siblings, if they're studying in the same school. I used to talk to my seniors without an inch of fear. I never understood, why one need to be afraid to talk to elders. At home, I was never afraid of my parents to talk to. My Grandparents didn't like that I'm talkative and give back answers. Well, I was always like that during my childhood.
Besides my straight forward personality, I was adolescent and had feelings for a friend of mine. Being honest about what I felt, without giving labels to what I felt, I acted without judging much. I wanted to spend more time with her and talk. Clueless of what I was feeling but, I was sure of few things. I'd not do a thing which I'd hide infront of my parents. Everyday, I used to walk to my her place to spend time with her and talk to her. What did we talk? I do not remember what we talked but, I remember the walks I took to her home completing my home work in time. I remember telling my mom 'I'm going out,' without telling where I'm going. On being asked, where I'm going, I'd tell my mom my friend's name. We used to sit in a drawing room and talk, sometimes listen to music.
Also, this was the time when adults had tough time to have a dialogue with me on my adolescent behaviour. In the school, at my friend's place, I always behaved well. Talking a lot was a big complaint my parents and teachers had. What's wrong in talking was my point. None could confront me or punish me for my behaviour. I was disappointed by the distrust adults had on me during those times.
After spending first 6 months in school, I had a special group of friends in school. I was very close with them. I was very affectionate with all of them. I was affectionate with my class teacher, Anitha Sister as well.
Every Saturday, we could wear civil dress to school. I remember getting dresses stitched rather than buying ready made dresses. I was only getting shirts stitched. I had three favourite stitched shirts. One was a white shirt with blue pattern, other a white shirt with pink patterns, the third one was a black shirt with gold patterns in it. I was wearing all these shirts with black and white jeans on every Saturday. Whenever I used to match my dress with my crushes, a lot of sly smiles beamed in the class.
Ajay's mom and Pio Massimo Fabberi's father were teachers in our school. I always wondered how it is to have parents in the same school we're studying. There's always a constant fear to be supervised. In this school, I directed my first play ever in my entire schooling. As I was very active, I never bothered to venture into things I'm good at. I always wanted to do everything irrespective of how good I'm at it. As I used to dance, recite poetry, participate in elocution and monologues, I was interested to take part in something during Independence Day celebrations. Before our gang, everyone gave names to every activity. Our group was left with either drama or dance. I began to lead the group and we ended up creating a drama. I was directing the whole drama from the beginning and I became the director. A lot of my friends acted in the drama. I never came onto the stage but, I was proud when the drama went well. No one knows about my efforts except my class teacher Anitha Sister and all my friends who played in it.
Back then, creating a mix tape was a big deal. I, along with two friends of mine went to a music shop carrying an empty cassette. Selected the songs we want in this cassette. Mentioned what bits we needed and recorded them with the help of the music shop guy. I remember the walks and cycle rides we took to accomplish the music recording task. I also remember using Nero Smart frequently to burn the CDs and copy my favourite music. Rajinikanth's Shivaji Album, Suriya's Aaru were few albums I was constantly listening to. A few gospel albums also became my favourite then.
I was regular to morning mass at times, thanks to couple of my friends. I enjoyed waking up early to the church bells and getting ready to go to the church along with the friends.
During this year, I also had a lot of health issues. I was regular to hospital for checkups. Nothing serious but, visiting hospital regularly itself was scary times. Dad used to live in TamilNadu. I used to live with mom and Akhila. All my relatives were in town but, I do not remember visiting them frequently.
There's a lot I remember of my past homes. I do not know if I could ever revisit the homes I lived but, to this home I'd always come to. Grateful to have a home to revisit.
I find libraries as the best places to talk. Yes, I know that library places are meant to be silent so that people delve into reading but, what better place can we ask for, to start a conversation? For me a silent place where we're undisturbed for long hours.
I have beautiful memories with library. I spent a lot of time in library, talking to the loved ones. We gotta talk in low tone. And there area always corners where we can engage in conversations.
'During college days, in the first three years, I never was alone in college. Either I was with my gang or with the love or my basketball teammates. It's a rarity to be alone in the college. During my last year of my college, before I began TEDx community, I was doing rounds to principal office for permissions and other letters. During those days, I spent a lot of time by myself. Whenever, I have an hour or two to spend, I used to visit library, just to pick a glance through books or to sleep.
In one of those visits, during my last college days, I met Amulya Gupta. I know her as a batch mate but, never got a chance to catch up with her in detail. In the college library, next to a huge series of windows, with a good view of basketball court, we sat over a long table, stretching our legs and began to talk on friends, groups, gangs, caste discrimination and traveling, we began to share a lot. Amulya was honest in her thoughts and very sweet person. She has her own limitations and the best thing is she knows about it. She's very communicative.
I enjoyed working with her for TEDx. One of the best memories of my college days. Library reminds me of our conversation. A nice memory to cherish upon. Thanks Amulya for reminding about the best memories.
Sunday, June 12, 2022
Thursday, June 9, 2022
Whenever I visit Hyderabad, I get ready for sleepless nights and a lot of laughter and banter. No sooner I visited Bala's place, I get welcomed by all the homies and full banter. Waking up at 10 am in the early morning is rarity in the house. By chance, if one gets to wake up by 9.30, either she's supposed to wake up by 7 am in the morning or they slept early around 3 am.
The breakfasts are ordered, along with the coffee. A lot of Swiggy and Zomato are thankful to this 4th floor apartment boys.
The flat has the usual cycle. By afternoon, the maid comes in and cleans everything. By night, it's a huge mess again. The game of cleaning by morning and messing it up by night is the usual routine. The best thing about this flat is the people.
People comes up with a lot of interesting personalities and stories. A few from IT, a few into business, a few into cinema. This is the hub for all the conversations and chatter. A perfect mix to celebrate the normalcy and talk of numbers, data, politics, and much more.
More than that, friendships are made under this house. You never know whom you meet and when you manage to spend time with them you'd never be able to forget them. That's the kind of impression they'd last in our lives.
During college days, we formed a gang without a worry on who's who. It's been 10 years since we met. A lot has happened through the decade. A lot of them have left India to pursue higher studies and a lot switched the streams to pursue other streams. A lot of us loved and got lost even before we finished the college. Sunny has been with his school love since 2009 and he's getting married to her on June 10th.2022.
Celebrating the big event in life, Sunny hosted a party. A few called it Bachelorette, a few called it a pool party. At the end of the day, we were gathering in big number after ages, that's a reason to have our usual party. Ten of us gathered in a farm house, 50 KM away from Hyderabad.
Sunny, Naveen, Jaya, Sowmyth, Jishan, Abhishek G, Bala, Sam, Sachin & Myself headed to the farm house.
All of us jumped in pool while G captured the moments. Like good old days, we had great time talking to each other, laughing at lame jokes and playing around the pool.
Picking conversations from college, a lot of us ended up talking what we're up to in our lives. It's funny that no one wants to talk about how we're growing up. Our conversations wavered between jobs and other worldly stuff. Between all these conversations, in small groups, we were discussing how it is to grow up and what it is to live with another person in life.
While the booze and banter flowed, J & G left at mid night. We spent a lot of time on how to celebrate the wedding, reception and other events. While one by one took power naps- a few small and a few forever long, we spent a whole night at the farm house.
At morning, we headed to city, enjoying the good weather and long drives. Sunny shared his few tips on getting married. Rest of us were least bothered about marriage, finances and was focusing on the breakfast on road side stalls.
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
Saturday, June 4, 2022
Srikanth got married on May.30.2021 amidst all the COVID lock down situation. I couldn't get a chance to attend the marriage. I was in Bangalore and decided to catch up with Srikanth after a long time. A few messages, we decided to meet at his home. Srikanth with his wife, Siri were ready inviting me for a dinner.
Srikanth & Siri, the newly married couple was happy in their own space, doing things together having a good companionship. Abhilash, Srikanth and I got on a call, sharing what we're up to. I do not stay in touch with either of them over a call. Whenever I'm there, we catch up conversations from where we left.
As Siri, Srikanth and I decided to dine out together, we headed to Lake View Milk Bar. With a decent parking space, we had some sandwiches and ice cream. We were discussing Art and the narratives we get through art.
The best memories of Srikanth and I are spending time together to listen to music. For good old times sake, we sat in the balcony and were listening to some of our favorites.
Srikanth recently watched Shyam Benegal's movies. Mandi is his favorite. Listened to a few of his favorites. I picked Hariharan. Siri was comfortable with all the songs we were playing. Spent the night listening to the gems and ended it with a Mango dessert.
Prarthana has been thinking to restart her venture, Ojaswee Jewellers. I was keen to buy some jeweller for my friends. As she showed her collection, I couldn't stop myself from buying two big boxes of Ojaswee stuff. Neatly packed and presented. Love the way Prarthana put her thoughtful efforts to bring the best customer experience. Thanks a lot Prarthana for helping me out in selecting some amazing collection.
Often I visited this big five storeyed library, in awe of the collection they got. For days, I visited it to borrow the books. We got two kiosk machines to borrow but, I couldn't as I was not a student in the university.
Despite asking for a lot of help, none could sort out the issue. Then comes Priyatama. Yes, Priyatama is her name. As Beloved as it sounds, she was determined to sort out the issue. She asked for a few details, she figured out that a few changes needs to be done in my account to let me borrow a few books. She did those changes. Voila, I could carry 10+ books in one go.
With her bright smile, she assured me that I can walk out of library with all the books I was carrying.
Thanks Priyatama for the help.
Why do I give?
When I visited Uttarkashi, Jeet took Malavika and Myself to a sweater shop. Watching a lot of colorful gloves and caps, I couldn't stop myself from buying a whole lot. J was surprised by the act. 'What are you going to do with these?' he asked.
'I'll give,' I replied.
As I was looking at the beautiful gloves, I could think of all the friends I can gift. Do I have to wait for a reason to gift them? For a few, these could be utilities, for a few these could be souvenirs, for a few these could be cheap gifts. I never bothered much about with what expectations others could receive.
I give not because it just brings me happiness but, I give as I receive more. In giving, there's more receiving. With giving or receiving, there's more sharing.
I accept to give a lot without a need to wait for their birthdays, special days. I believe in that 'Do not wait people to be dead to give flowers to them.'
Do not wait for birthdays to let them know that they're special. A message, a smile, a letter, a flower, a card, a big painting, a box of books, a box of color ful papers. Put a thought, put efforts and give!
As giving is more receiving. Receiving is more giving. We got to accept the abundance of life. a
Friday, June 3, 2022
Ending the Bangalore trip by a meet with Vaishnavi. As we headed to Dyu Art Cafe, it began to pour with rain. Amidst a lot of rain, we got into Dyu Art Cafe. Spent a lot of time sharing conversations and what's happening in life. A good ending to the whole Bangalore trip.
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