Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What a week!

Took an unexpected break last week, went to Manali and Shimla. Had to suffer a number of glitches, but had a great time despite all that.

I visited Manali when I was around four years old, so I hardly remembered any of it this time. My companions were my mum and my two massis. We got off to a bad start at the airport itself. The thing is, we’d booked our tickets to Kulu on the Kingfisher website, and by default landed on the terminal for Kingfisher. We were queued up to get our boarding passes at about 8:10 am when the kind lady at the counter told us we have Deccan tickets. That’s coz of the merger between the two airlines, yada yada but nothing was mentioned on the damned website. And now the big problem was that Deccan was on a different terminal and we had about 25 mins to get our boarding passes, get the security check done and board the flight. We were like three damsels in distress. Thankfully the Kingfisher ground staff coordinated with the Deccan guys and rushed us to the other terminal and we caught our flight 5 mins before takeoff. Whew!

We reached Kulu in a little over an hour’s time. We had practically the whole day to ourselves so we took a taxi and went to Manikaran, about 2 hours from Kulu. The weather was warm and comfortable and the long drive felt refreshing. Manikaran is really an awesome place. It’s amazing to see this naturally hot cave, where we just sat and sort of took a sauna. Then we saw a natural hot spring. The water was boiling hot and these guys were actually cooking rice in it. I was amazed. We visited the temple and Gurudwara and had yummy langar there.

After that we took off to Manali, and the drive was beautiful, with the roads lined with a mix of orange and green trees, and snow clad mountains at the horizon. We stopped for a lil while by River Parvati and soaked our feet in it’s ice cold waters. Felt soooo good!

We reached Manali in the evening, sometime around six. Our lodge was closer to the Mall, at a place called Aleo. It was next to the Mountaineering Institute and right in the middle of a forest. Absolutely gorgeous. It’s a place called Chandertal run by a couple who take care of you like grandparents fuss over their kids. The lady was so warm and always used to send us these extraordinary jams and jellies and pickles and absolutely yummy food. It was almost like a home away from home.

We stayed in Manali for three days. During this stay we visited all the possible temples- Vashisht, Manu, Hadimba and the Buddhist monastery. Hadimba was superb. It was in the middle of a beautiful forest and so calm and peaceful. Never felt like leaving that place.

We also went to Rohtang Pass and Solang Valley. It was super fun to play in the snow at Rohtang, though we had to wade through tons of slush to get to the top. The view from there…I can’t even begin to explain how it was. You have to be there to believe it. Oh and I also got a chance to do paragliding at Solang. What a thrill!!! I felt like an eagle in the sky, just floating about aimlessly. Felt absolutely at peace.

The underside was that my massi and I got separated from my mum and my other massi at Rohtang and wasted time frantically trying to locate each other. Apparently my mum had made announcements for me, as there was no network on the cellphones. And at Solang while I was floating in the air, my mum almost got run over by a mad horse. Thankfully, no one got hurt.

On our last day in Manali we visited Naggar. The Roerich Art Gallery and the Naggar Castle. Roerich was a Russian artist settled in India. His son, Svetoslav, was also a painter and had married actress Devika Rani. Her portrait was unimaginably mesmerizing and we couldn’t help collect some of his works as souvenirs. The Naggar castle had history of it’s own. It once belonged to the King of Kulu, who sold it to the Brits for-hold your breath- a gun. Bloody psycho. It was handed down to many other kings and finally it was given to the government and converted to a hotel. Too bad. The wooden carvings on the doors and verandas were exquisite. There was also a little museum in the basement with some interesting sculptures recrafted for our benefit.

During our stay, we also discovered that Manali has some pretty amazing eating joints. These are basically set up by foreigners who have married the locals and settled there for obvious reasons. (For the ignorant ones, read: hash). We ate at a place called Pizza Olive that had a-ma-zing Italian food. Then there was a restaurant at the Mall called Chopsticks where we had delicious Chinese food along with some plum wine (Himachal has excellent fruit wines). There was also a Johnson’s Café which was slightly on the higher side, but claimed to have the best trout in town. And we also picked up goodies from a couple of German bakeries.

We spent the remainder of the week in the Shimla, celebrating my grandfather’s birthday and just generally chilling. On our way back yesterday, since crises was the game of the season, we were blessed with yet another one. Mum had booked tickets for the two of us in the 5:30 pm Shatabdi from Kalka. We boarded the train well in time. At 5:15 this staff guy checks our tickets and casually informs us that our tickets are in fact for the next day. Ten minutes before the train was to start, my dear mom gets a panic attack. Somehow we talk to the TT and he tells us we have to buy tickets on board and pay double the fare. So lots of monetary loss, but we made it home safe and sound and in good time.

So like I said in the beginning, barring a few technical glitches, we managed to have a wonderful time. The scenic beauty of Manali was really admirable. I’m glad that I got to make it to this breathtaking land again- and this time I won’t forget any of it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Don't ask...!

There was a time, when I was at the peak of happiness. Everything was going great for me- personally and professionally. That’s when I used to think, life’s good. Then, like the sensex, after reaching the peak, my life’s graph crashed and bombed.

First, my more-than-a-year-long relationship ended.

Second, my reviews in office didn’t go quite as expected.

Third, I come to know, that my long lost friend has expired.

And now, fourth, I’ve quit my job.

I’m heartbroken, depressed, single and unemployed. Trust me, the graph can’t get lower than this.

Sigh…just hope the good phase comes back again. And soon.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

His song

Oh oh oh oh oh oh, You don't have to go oh oh oh oh oh
You don't have to go oh oh oh oh oh, you don't have to go.
Ay ay ay ay ay ay, All those tears I cry ay ay ay ay ay
All those tears I cry oh oh oh oh ay, Baby please don't go.

When I read the letter you wrote me, it made me mad mad mad
When I read the words that it told me,It made me sad sad sad,
But I still love you soI can't let you go, I love you- ooh baby I love you.

Oh oh oh oh oh oh, Every breath I take oh oh oh oh oh
Every move I make hey hey, Baby please don't go.
Ay ay ay ay ay ay, You hurt me to my soul oh oh oh oh,
You hurt me to my soul oh oh oh oh, Darling please don't go.

When I read the letter you sent me, it made me mad mad mad
When I read the news that it brought me, It made me sad sad sad,
But I still love you soI can't let you go, I love you- ooh baby I love you.

Oh oh oh oh oh oh, You don't have to go oh oh oh oh oh
You don't have to go oh oh oh oh oh
Oh baby, ba-bee bee please please pleaseah ah ah ah ah baby ah ah
I really love you babyoo oo oo oo oo darlin' oooohhhh oh
Oh baby I still love you so, Oh baby I still love you so

ohohoh, ooo, oh oh oh oh oh yeah
(Fire?) ah ah oh ah ah ah oooohhh
(fire?) ah ah ah ah ah, oooooooooooooo
(fire?) Ohhh baby....

You know how it feels when you just come to know one day, that someone you were once close to, is no longer in this world? Someone you lost touch with, rather broke all communication with, is now dead? You know, when you stop talking to someone, you still live in the hope that things may be revived some years down the line. That someday, you might just bump into each other, and old times would be forgotten, and everything would just be ok. But then a truth comes and hits you in the face- he's dead- and you just sit there not knowing what happened.

Hey Rian, or should I call you D'yer Mak'er, or Jason Bourne ...I don't know what would've happened if we were still talking. I don't know what happened to you, how it happened...why it happened. I don't know what were the thoughts that circled your mind as you lay on your death bed. It kills me to think I couldn't speak with you one last time. You went away, as always, without a word. And just a month before your birthday. You always said people didn't love you enough. If only you were around to see this. Gosh... I still don't believe this. I hope this is a lie. Coz if you'd read this, you'll know you touched my life in more than a million ways. And now, it's just shocking to realise you're never coming back.

I hope you get happiness wherever you go. You were a good person, Rian. May God bless you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Starry night weekend

We had been planning a weekend break since a long time, but nothing seemed to materialize. Finally one friend suggested we go to Rishikesh for river rafting. It was more than two years since I'd gone, and I couldn't resist going for a second time.

So last weekend I, with five other friends, packed our bags to leave Delhi and forget everything for a while. I was the last one to be picked up, and when we were all together, we just hugged each other, thankful that it's finally happening!

We didn't even realise where the 7 hour drive went. Continuously chatting, listening to music, cracking jokes, eating, sleeping....we didn't discuss anything about our daily lives, probably because we all wanted a break from our stressful routines.

We reached Shivpuri around 2.30 pm, and immidiately changed to hit the water. The ambience of the place was just breathtaking. Mountains, white sand and the Ganges, and around it, a whole cluster of camps. We were far from civilization, and that's all we needed.

We were all strapped up in the raft in the next 30 mins, ready to get some action. The instructor told us what we were supposed to do, and then finally we started off. As we approached the first rapid, we held our breath and wrapped our fingers tighter around the oar. Then as the instructor screamed 'Forward' we all put our entire power and paddled forward. Harder with each stroke. The water was ice cold as it hit our faces, and the raft bobbed threateningly. But it was over soon. And gosh, what a high! We cheered ourselves for our efforts and geared up for the next one.

With each powerful stroke, I could feel myself releasing all my pain, all the stress, all the misery that I'd been holding on to. And overcoming every rapid, felt like an accomplishment. We'd covered close to 20 kms, and boy that's something to be proud of! By the end of it, every lil part of my body ached, but I felt completely at peace.

We drove back to the camp and changed out of our soggy clothes. It was getting really chilly, and I was glad I'd carried my woolens. And when we stepped out of the tent, the sight that greeted us took our breath away. We looked up and saw zillions of stars, twinkling away in the sky. It was so beautiful, it didn't seem real. It was as if some one had sprinkled all the world's diamonds on the black velvety sky. We were speechless for a while and just kept gazing up, in awe. At that moment, I realized my own troubles meant nothing. Nothing at all. Why was I sad, when there's so much beauty and joy around me. I found myself wishing I could stay here forever. Just laying on the white sand and gazing at the stars that were there only for me. I felt one with the universe and nothing could break me down.

Needless to say, I was heartbroken the day we left. I knew it was going to be back to the same old, stressful rat race of life. But I also knew that life can be better; life is good, and that I'm taking all of God's creation with me, forming memories that would last for a lifetime.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Life once was
a myriad of hues
Now drained of color
save for blues

Like day and night
like black and white
It’s dim and dull
devoid of light

The day you left
I bade goodbye
To pinks and reds
and shades of joy

Now I live
In tones of grey
Clinging to the past
A shadow of dismay