Trip Me Baby, One More Time!

2019 has seen me through a lot of dilemmas and it’s perhaps a good time now to succumb to the realization that I’m bound to be a chronically broke person in life. How much I make may not have had much effect on me if it didn’t come with the gut-wrenching realization that I’m about to say No to another pre-planned trip. If you dream of traveling the world, and are always penniless or permission-less, you know what I’m talking about. I’ve had to start my year by refusing the biggest trip that was remotely possible in my imagination, and it looks like I’m about to end the year on similar lines.

How does it feel you ask?
It’s akin to an ache that you never knew existed! It begins discretely, like your regular mosquito bite – you acknowledge it, and you ignore. Only, it doesn’t like being ignored, and slowly, it grows into a scab that threatens to disturb your very peace of mind.

I may be able to bid adieu to a future trip well into the initial stages of planning it, oh wait. I don’t think its counted as planning if all you had to do was say yes and get on. The irony isn’t in bidding adieu. Goodbyes are pretty easy for me if I haven’t gotten attached to you, and chances are that unless you’re Katy Perry or Enrique Iglesias, what I’m doing tonight in my skin-tight jeans is really none of your business.

What I fear for is basically this: that journey which began without me, well, it threatens to suddenly develop into a one-track film reminiscent of a one-sided love affair, which doesn’t want to let go of me! And that’s where it all goes wrong.
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If you are a well wisher and have any love to spare, Oh Hogwash – I don’t believe it myself. Well, My Birthday has just come and gone, so do me a favor and wish me a future when I never have to say No to a trip. And I’ll wish the same for you! Deal?

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Somedays…

Somedays, I want to write.

I want to write about the many wonders of life that exist beyond my four walls –of the air-conditioned, monotonous office buildings.
I want to write about the struggles of the fruit-seller on the streets, or the bus driver’s mental state while navigating through the most crowded routes of Bangalore.
I want to write about the dreams and aspirations of the artist who sits next to me, his crafts waiting their turn as his mind is busy, engaged on the screen for hours together.
I want to write about my dreams – those that I’ve conquered and the many that are left unsaid and unknown – awaiting their chance in the shadows like specs of dust floating around – not knowing if they will keep wafting about or find a place to call its home.
I want to write about the freedom that the wind experiences – as it breezes across oceans and swarms through cities, gliding gleefully atop mountains, and plunging restlessly down into the valleys. I want to listen to its thrilling stories of people encountered, of animals fierce and friendly, of its rendezvous with trees, colorful flowers, and broken leaves, of billowing for hours on treacherous territory until it’s found its way to me – oh the stories untold!

Somedays, I want to write.

Click It To Collect It!

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Growing up, I never had a camera at home. My Dad would borrow his friend’s camera for special occasions like my birthday party or family get-togethers, we’d then get the negatives printed and store all the photos in those fancy albums. It was only when my brother was born in 1999, that we bought a camera after much deliberation. It was a no-frills, Olympus camera. I had a ball just clicking the plush button and seeing the flash arrest the images for posterity. When my Dad bought an Activa some twelve years ago, I excitedly got the camera out and captured my baby brother and Dad on the bike. Without even knowing my frame, Dad chided me for being in a hurry. He explained how symmetry is a very important component of any image and how I had cut off half the Activa and had more of the plain sky foreground. I remember feeling very stupid and have since followed his advice when it comes to selecting my frames and subject placement.

We then graduated to a Panasonic Lumix – to stay abreast of the digital trend. It’s been a few years now since we stopped using the Lumix – we had to replace the battery. Just like a million other chores on the To-Do-List that never actually get done, the camera awaits its resurrection to life.

 

Then came the millennia of smartphones and with it, a progressive upgrade of cameras. My first phone was a Nokia Express Music, gifted to me by my Grand-Dad. It had a great sound system and a fairly decent camera. I then went on to use a Samsung Chat (The least useful phone I’ve had). I graduated to a Lenovo – which despite being a smartphone had the most grainy captures ever. When I bought a Moto E2 with my earnings, I was most impressed with the camera – especially in natural light. I’m currently using a Redmi Note 5 but there are moments when I miss my tiny Moto E2 for its scenic captures.

I have a passion for the ancient – take me to a heritage structure and I’m going to be the happiest – noting, clicking and trying to create the perfect story in my head. Having said that, I’m also awed by nature and have a beautiful collection of nature at its best – trees / leaves/ flowers / clouds/ name it, and I mostly have these clicks. It was while I was en route Ajanta Caves that I decided to start an Instagram Page dedicated to the photo gallery that I have curated over the years.

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Just an assortment of images from my Insta Page.

Despite the magic of photography, there are moments when I’ve resisted the urge to get out my device, because the lingering beauty is so transient, you’d rather live it out and experience it than attempt to capture it and spoil the experience. It’s a call that every one needs to take on an individual level.

More on the link to the page in the next blog.

Adios!

🙂

Photo Story – Mumbai Memories

My last post was a riot of negativity. I don’t really believe in deleting posts but perhaps sometime down the line, I may remove it. Today, let’s talk through pictures.

I have amassed quite a few gems that I haven’t shared on social media and I’d like to take you through the maze.

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Let us start with a picture of an all-time favorite. Indian mothers’ love-hate relationship with this brand will continue forever and yet the kids will continue to love it! Here’s my attempt to rid myself of the guilt of indulging in this bowl of goodness. I haven’t had Maggi for more than a month now because I’m home and home means wholesome meals!

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Continuing the trend of love-hate relationships is this girl – Baman who’s like the Salman Khan of my life. There are phases when I love her, phases when I want to throttle her, and there are moments of pure ignorance. Inspite of all these phases, she’s that rock solid support system – always there. Baman – you be my bro man! Two months will be up soon, so I hope you’re going to want to talk to me soon!

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If there were people in my previous organisation that I’d want to spend hours with – it would be the two of you – Meow and Woof! I can’t stop marveling over how you just click with some people and that gets carried on!

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This lady up here has energy level that can give serious competition to your childhood’s favorite toy – the Crazy Ball. Yep, she’s here, there, everywhere, and rocking at it. Didn’t think we’d become fast friends but man, here we are!

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Mandala colouring is an all-time hobby and I love doing this while watching something. I know this might mean that the series does not get 100 percent of my attention, but I’m okay with that.

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Swag kids getting ready to eat breakfast on a holiday. #NuffSaid

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Faking a wedding pic because Madam Bestie had lied to her friends about the real reason why she came to Mumbai, instead of going on a trip with the latter. (Bestie just missed me and wanted to shower some love!)

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Just casually trying to show off  a tonne of things out here. My mirror image aka the grumpy cat, the feisty nails, and the cute little bag gifted by Boo.

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A pretty reminder of nature – notice the symphony between the soil and the sky.

This was taken on my first trip to Haji Ali. It’s a soulful place and one that is immensely calming. I took some tough decisions out here, sitting on the steps and watching the waves go on till infinity.

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Haji Ali – In all its Friday splendour and glory.

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TBH I also did a double take when it came to this picture. It’s not the finger you imagined!

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Any season, any time, and with anyone (read no one) – Mumbai’s Marine Drive is a favorite and has seen me in different phases of life and emotions.

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Any takers for fluffy flowers!?

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Washroom selfie when you think you’re dressy? Check.

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To Harry Potter – for being the constant companion in life and to ever-growing friendships in life. Also, special thanks to Ashu – for initiating me into our cult, and for being my Padfoot, Always.

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To good hair days and colleagues-turned-friends.

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A pair of earrings that have been on the wish list for a while. In other words, Barielly ke jhumke abhi tak aaye nahi.

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The second time at Haji Ali. Before heading out to Noorani cafe for the best Chicken Tikka Biryani there can be.

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Of goodbyes to the city of dreams…

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To more bends in the road,

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To waking up to a morning full of limitless possibilities….

Adios Amigos. 🙂

 

Dig Through The Data For Insightful Thoughts

I think this is the dream.
Sitting in an airport café – the window overlooks the runaway and you see these beautiful non-natural birds gliding and taking off right next to you, and you’re sipping on a mocha-café and aren’t worried that it has cost you a bomb. This phase – the pre-travel anticipation for a much-needed holiday, it’s a blissful feeling. It’s like you’ve worked your ass off, or maybe not so much, but just a little bit, for these moments.

Sitting opposite a stranger, exchange polite hellos, and before it becomes imperative to exchange more words, you take out your laptop and start putting into words the emotions you feel. Writing is a boon, to those few who have discovered the perils of doing so. I call it peril because when you write, you leave a lasting impression of yourself, on record to the world. You may move on, move worlds and pass into nothingness, but your words, those creatures of your mind, they will survive the test of time. They’re potent, yet latent, The dangers will be unleashed only if discovered by people.
For a private journal writer, I am amazed at how curious I am about other people’s work. It’s beautiful seeing people open up to inanimate paper because you don’t hold back at all, then. I recently discovered a colleague’s office notebook – I read some of her words – a letter to her friend, some words to take off the heaviness in her mind, and some random scribbles. It gives you an altogether different insight into the person. She will never know I did that. For she will never want her pages back. And that, only adds to the appeal of the words.
It’s so beautiful – the gift of gab, albeit in the written format.
I was often asked why I wasn’t into journalism – I could have been one but I didn’t fight hard for it cause I didn’t believe in my abilities. I didn’t believe I, a meek and introverted person could be bold enough to follow up with people, to dig deep into minds and I didn’t think I ‘d be resourceful enough.

I still don’t think I’d make a good journalist. For writing, is only a small part of the qualities that you’d need to have. I hate pressurising people to open up. But if you do want to open up, I will listen to you with my heart and soul and try to respect your thoughts, words, and opinions, more that I would believe in. For faith is another beautiful thing.
While I was on the drive, en route to the airport, I couldn’t help but think about the people in my life, who I love.
I came to a few realisations, that are not altogether selfless. I do not see myself as a person who can be loved. When people accept me for my flaws and idiosyncracies that is when I begin to like them. I feel amazed – like how can you even like someone like me? If you are brave enough to take that step and are not turned off my the results, who am I to not respect the beautiful piece of art that you are? That is how my emotions grow.
They say that love is not selfish. I disagree. The intent to love can only begin if there are certain emotions that are brought to the fore. And for that to happen, you would need to be aware of certain attributes, that may not al be rosy.
When my desk at the office was changed after 3 months of joining the new corporate place, I was aghast. I didn’t like that I was seated in between two people who had the unfriendliest of faces. One was super polite, one was super quiet. Every time one went for a smoke, I could feel the reek and stench of the tobacco for minutes altogether and I hated it.
It took me about three months more to actually interact with the smoker. I realise that time is the biggest catalyst in your relationships with people. Take your own family members for instance. There are different phases and emotions that you can trace from your childhood. The overwhelming emotion is of love.. but if you separate them, you can see how it stems in.. When you’re in kindergarten, you are just awed by your parents. They are your biggest heroes – the know-it-alls, the solution to your everyday problems, your biggest support.
Move on to your teens, and you begin to see your parents as your enemies. You don’t get them, their logic or lack of it seems lame to you, you want to distance yourself away and you even manage to do it quite ruefully. It’s a hard phase for them to be in. And your dramatics do not improve the situation but hey, you are the Rockstar of your life and you think that you have every right to be that annoying ass that you are.
After a slow and painful teenage and a rather rough start to your twenties when your career decisions may be impacted by your folks, you are just beginning to accept things, and you are neutral to your folks. Then comes that long-distance phase with your parents. You may move to a new city in pursuit of new ambitions and goals and suddenly you realise the importance of your family,, Things may not get back to the idolising that happened to you as a kid, but you’re at somewhat a balanced phase now.
Now is the time you begin to value the sacrifices they’ve gone through. The early mornings, late nights, mundane job responsibilities and the likes. It’s a little too difficultfor you – because you don’t even know if you could ever do the same for somebody. Not until you’re in that situation, maybe not even then. You respect and love your folks more now, maybe see them as lovable frail hearts, that are slipping by you with time.
I don’t know the purpose of this post/rant, but the homecoming and the homegoing, both are always slightly emotional. For all the perks that living away offers, home Is always love, and always will be.
Perhaps that is why whenever you go back home, no matter how long ago it’s been, it always feels like you never left.

 

Marine Mornings…

Mumbai is an amazing confluence of cultures and there’s no better place than Marine Drive to emphasize that.

It’s a cloudy early morning and it’s seven thirty when I reach the sea-front after a short walk from Churchgate Railway Station.

I’m greeted with a spectacular view of the calm sea with an occasional rumble. However, there’s another sea that greets my eyes, and this one is up an about on the promenade. I’m referring to a whole horde of people who are enjoying the breeze.

IMG_20170909_073454157While some are solitary, some are briskly walking about with their partners, there are gangs of friends meeting up before heading to college together and the ones like me who are doing nothing, just observing life moving on.

The clock hasn’t even struck eight when I see a bunch of kids studying – some taking notes and two girls trying to understand some complex looking equation.

I look at the couples out here and am amused at their nonchalance – they must have woken up quite early for the opportunity to be enveloped in each others arms, before it’s even eight in the morning, unabashed at the location and oblivious to the people around. Why, even the cops seem to have given up!

As I walk from one end to the other, I see a shriveled, old lady talking to a younger woman, presumably her child, in Kannada. I pass by a couple who has just exchanged gifts and I catch some lines of Tamil. They’re just sitting, catching up on conversation and enjoying the weekend peace.

You also have yoga enthusiasts here who are busy stretching out in awkward poses and if you catch their eyes, you may feel a little awkward.

You also have the sleepers.

IMG_20170909_074542154They’re blissfully unaware of their surroundings as they’re actually sleeping on the pedestals. Perhaps it’s safer sleeping on the promenade than footpaths, knowing the drivers out here!

Among the best sight in the entire stretch and enjoying the maximum attention – are the doggos! I see a cute pup just finish its walk and head to the Activa. The owner places the pup infront of him, on the edge of the seat, gives the doggo a kiss and zooms off while the pup elegantly holds its paws on the handle. This brought a smile to my face and I would have definitely photographed them had they waited a few seconds. 

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Mumbai is about its water. The city floods, the waves crash over you, crushing your town bit by bit, until you’re gulping for air and swimming. If you fight it, you’re a survivor. If you give up, you’re done for, and the choice is usually yours to make. This is Mumbai for you. You have the freedom to do whatever it is that you want to…Just as long as you aren’t getting on the wrong side of anyone, you’re good to go!

 

Musafir Hoon Yaaron!

I have a new, old-favorite song and it’s been buzzing in my head all day. I guess I’m indulging in a lot of retro. Here are the lyrics of the new love:

Musafir Hoon Yaaron

Na Ghar Hai, Na Tikhana

Mujhe Chalte Jaana Hai

Bas… Chalte Jaana Hai!

 

I love the melody and how peaceful it is. I do have a home and I do have shelter but I find it a solace to just keep moving on, traveling and experiencing the simplest pleasures of life.

Here’s the video if you want to revel in the beauty of this timeless music by R.D Burman in the soulful voice of Kishore Kumar.