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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Good-bye summer!

I decided to leave office early, like almost every other day.

I packed my stuff, waited for the elevator that weirdly takes forever to turn up (in spite of there being 6 or 8 of them), got on a relatively crowded one, went down 7 floors, walked to the exit and then realized it was pouring. I had to wait a while for the rain to abate before I could leave. In spite of my not-so-awesome health state, I decided to ride my Scooty home while enjoying the drizzle. Something told me it was going to be a pleasing evening.

I draped my stole around my head, sub-consciously ensuring that every inch of it was covered. I put on my sun glasses and let the bright white ambiance turn into autumn-y yellow. I twisted the accelerator n off I went. It felt nice to not have the sun venting its fury all over. It felt nice to touch my forearm and not feel the heat. This was the first ride this month that did not remind me of the full-arm gloves I had still not bought.

I turned into the main road; my stole stuck itself to my cheeks as the wind hit my cloaked face hard. I could feel the end of my stole fly up, stay taut and almost horizontal. Rain drops that hit my sun glasses stayed there blurring my vision of the road. A photographer would’ve envied my view of the drops: So perfect and fresh. The road looked like a Sepia image through my yellowish-brown glasses. The song ‘Radioactive’ refused to stop playing in my mind. I gave in to temptation and sang along - loudly and possibly in a cacophonous tune, but it didn’t matter. I felt liberated as I let myself loose. Just then, a biker whizzed past, causing the huge puddle on the road to spray its abundance on me. On any other day, such bad road etiquette might have pissed me off. Not this day. I sang merrily as I turned the accelerator a little more towards myself; my Scooty tore through a larger puddle, like ice skating blades scything through fresh ice. Water splashed on the biker almost soaking the man’s pants. I rode past smirking and savoring the guilty pleasure.

At the signal, I watched a little girl put her tiny hand out of the car window. I watched her giggle as a huge rain drop dropped on her palm. I watched her mom beam as she watched her girl. I saw two little boys jumping and bouncing in the middle of a puddle on the roadside. I could sense the elation when one of them managed to kick quite a lot of water onto the other’s face. I smiled as I watched them all. The light turned green. I rode past Nadini CafĂ©. As unbelievable as it may sound, I could smell the aroma of dosa cooked in ghee, on the road. I silently lamented not being at home munching on home-made dosas. I stopped at the super market on the way home, picked up a packet of batter.

And here I am on my balcony eating sour dosas (and wondering why they turned out sour). The view from here is lovely. The weather is breezy and refreshing. So is the evening.

Let’s hope summer has left our land, for the year.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Eager and hopeful

To be able to travel is a blessing. What can be more fulfilling than seeing everything there is to see in this world we live in? Every bit of me yearns to see so much.

I have traveled a little- Except for a week in the UK and two months in the US with my family, not so much outside India. I was quite young then, when we traveled across the USA. It was the summer of 2008. I still remember New York so fondly. I remember how I was fascinated by the Times Square: the humongous screens, the neon colors, the illuminated signs, the huge structures, the advertisements. I remember how the place was so busy. There were the tourists looking up in awe, quite typical of the place and the others, walking on hastily in different directions, like they all had something important to finish right away. They must’ve been the locals. I remember how my brother and I were thrilled and ecstatic when we spotted Mark Henry (or a man who resembled him too much) outside the RAW stadium. But much beyond all of this was the Liberty island. The view from the island – the waters leading to the impeccably picturesque New York skyline was a sight to behold. That picture, I still have safe in my mind. The Liberty Island gave me some kind of peace. It felt different, different in a tranquilizing way. I was proud that in a city as urban, metropolitan, busy and noisy as New York, I had found my quiet soothing spot. New York will always be special.

I wish I had been a little older and much wiser then. I wish I had appreciated what I saw better. I wish I had traveled the way I would now. But there is no place for regret where there is hope and time. There’s a whole life left, to do this and more, my way.

A large part of my traveling (otherwise) has been quite vicarious. I spend hours of ardent reading on travel blogs. They have taught me one important thing - the most beautiful places are always the unknown ones one finds on exploring. Every post I read, every picture I see of all the travel sites I’ve subscribed to, every time I think of Paris, Greece, the Caribbean, Australia, Sikkim and so much more, my desire to travel intensifies. This has all inspired me to want to travel-write. I hope that someday, my travel diary narrates delightful stories about interesting people, adventurous trips and unbelievable scenes, just like the ones I follow. The start is not too far away. Find my new travel blog here

Tomorrow is the day I leave. Three days in Bombay. Four in Lonavala. Half a day in Pune. And 24 hours of traveling by train – something I have been missing sorely. I hope it is an enriching week. 

Eager and hopeful,