Thursday, December 1, 2011

Crazy november 2011

It has been a long time I even wrote anything. I tried nanowrimo and was so optimistic I would finish 50000 words but could not. But I am glad I touched the 20,000 mark. I know I should not give reasons but yeah I was tired like crazy. But then there were these fun memorable days and the interesting new people I met..and a few of course who let me down...but yeah I am glad I am getting to see new faces of people..

It was the international ornithology conference on indian birds. Sacon was the place I spent half of my time after home. I would climb the tiny path, admiring the colorful flowers and the call of the birds. I met many eminent ornithologists..Rauf Ali, Suhel Qader, and many many people..I shared a wonderful rapport with the new people. After being active in couchsurfing I got this interesting mail from an ornithologist from Gujarat. I was happy to meet him. We all had a small couch surfers meet in Coimbatore. I met Dr. Christopher who worked on elephants in Kottayam. I spent long hours chatting with him. I was much appreciated for the work I do and I did really feel humble and great about myself. I was indeed bringing in new dimensions to journalism and research writing. I do feel proud. I met Arpit, the guy from Gujarat and told him where he can do birding around Coimbatore. I met Jigna who run her own boutique in Coimbatore. She said I can drop in whenever I want to and her home is always open..I said..I love you for saying that..She was damn friendly..I met Harish who did his fashion designing from Canada and launched his new label for adventure apparels. That was so cool! He was a wildlife photographer as well..Buddy, count me in for any travel..I love wilderness..I said in a jiffy..Sure he said..We all had a great time at coffee day and it was fun. I love the people in Coimbatore..they dont speak the galeej chennai tamil, they treat people with a lot of respect and are warm..

The next day at conference, I spent lot of time with new people and old was great..the weather was cold and I loved to watch mountains and sip my tea sitting on my usual steps outside the canteen..

I conversed with scientists, did some work for my story and then headed off home..My friend just then called me over for dinner. He was my very old friend, but I saw a new side to him. It was shocking, it was bad! But then I got to know the truth. I moved on. Sometimes you know about people after long time! I chose to have a few good friends and be happy. Rather there are a very few people I talk to and very few words. Reticence is my best friend. In between I have been reading Eat, Pray and Love and I quite love Liz for writing the book!

I made a trip to Chennai with one of the top ten ornithologists in the world, Dr. Rhys. He was so quiet. Writing and reading. I chatted with my friend Sumant and laughed. We walked out of the AC coach and stood near the door and talked about life..watching the green fields and breathing fresh air. I was heading to my best friend's wedding. Little did I know that it would be the most hardworking week of my life..I spent hours and sleepless nights right from cleaning my friend's room (literally dustbin).

I had to go do shopping with her and in between developed an eye me! I was fine later. I did no shopping for myself and I knew I was gonna wear my mom's saree for the wedding. I did just that. But my friend's dad picked up a dress for me. I kinda love wearing sarees..anyway, the madness was really madness..I had no time to breathe..literally..The last one week I lost a sense of time and place and my life and everything..Last night after the wedding reception was over, my eyes became as red as tomato and I think that was it..The wedding happened in a jiffy. Raced through in the last five minutes before the auspicious time was over..I was keeping my fingers crossed..

I loved my friend's in laws. FIL looked like a strict person but I kind of liked him. He has this certain sense of calmness which I admired. I loved the guy's family..I think I just need a family like that..calm, dignified people with absolutely no show offs..finally my friend's dream of marrying the guy she loved became true!

What happens to my friend next? Don't know...But I wish for her happiness..

Amen. Can't write more details on blog. But I learnt a lot about life and the brouhaha over weddings, the expensive outfits, relationships and how difficult it is to carry something called marriage. I think I love my tiny space..till and if I find someone naturally!!

I am damn tired right now! And you know why. Between, forgot to mention..I made a trip to Kotagiri and witnessed the beauty of mountains. It wasnt as cold as I expected it to be and then went to Ooty and brought in ornamental plants for home..and came via chocolate tea! I went to an old St. Stephen's church..amazing! On the way to kotigiri, I almost escaped a bison..thanks to my friend who got off in the middle. I was so mad at him for that. What if the bison had really attacked me! :( Anyway, thanks God for making the bison run back to hills and saving me! phew..

Lot of things..but yeah I think I am becoming saner and wiser day by day like my friend Renju was nice to see your looked were so calm and serene..Yes honey, I am close to nirvana I said..Renju is one girl for whom I can thank God a million times gave me a priceless treasure..

In the wedding, my friend's cousin (a 15yr old girl) became so close to me..that she fed me sweets..fed me food..made me coffee..and kissed my cheeks..I love you akka..still ringing in my ears..and everytime she said I looked gorgeous than ever before, I smiled..she said I love you Sharada a hundred times..I dont think even a guy has told me I love you so many times..Sweet things of life...

adios time and cant really blog too many of my experiences here ...:) cheers!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Time to live my bucket list?

High time! No rant, but I am tired of living for others, in a sense, making others happy through a certain action of mine. I certainly can't convince every person in this world and justify, listen this is what I want to do and this is how I want to live my life. Being individualistic is great! Atleast I am not bothering others!

Anyway, coming to the topic, there have been things that I wanted to do in life and I am going t list out things I have done, and some things I want to do and I hope and believe I would be able to do them.

What I have done:

Published a book. Well, that was a long time dream come true. But hey, I am not done. I have still two books that are knocking on my mind right now.

Traveled to Egypt. It was like a dream come true for that is one place in the world I wanted to go, that too by myself. Visiting the Pyramids was one more tick mark.

Being an environmental journalist-dream since 16 came true after lot of struggle and hard work. But it did happen.

Travel in a backpacking way- Done it in the last 5-7 years of living by myself- villages of tamilnadu, kerala, architectural monuments, forests, tsunami struck places, waterfall..the list can go on...

Bird watching-I was a duh when it came to bird watching. Used to watch my friends spot birds and identify while I looked like an idiot..Now, I don't, I learnt. Another tick mark..Yayy!

Did still water river rafting with mom! :)

Started Graphite Ink :)

Started teaching writing

Started giving public talks (big dream come true)

Gave many the confidence to speak and shed inhibitions (pat on my back)

What I want to do

Travel global. Every year or once in two years, visit a country. Yep. I am glad I am starting this new year in Singapore/Malaysia. The journey begins.

Want to travel to Botswana, explore Africa, travel to Vatican city, Venice, Innusbruck in Austria, Fraser island, France, Antarctica and the list goes on.

100 countries before I die..I want to make that dream come true!

Bungee jumping, sky diving, scuba diving, and any freaking adventure sport.

Write travel books and books about people I met in life.

Want to go back to college, probably international. I have been planning this from 19, but yeah now I wanna make it happen. Study, work and travel. Life is simple!

Spend a year for one thing-one year of hindi writing, one year or two years of studying environmental law/education/science, one year of creative writing, one year of writing in hindi, one year of writing in tamil (one year being minimum), one year of short stories, one year of poetry ..and more ...

Want to apply for the semester at sea cruise..Its world travel in a ship for three months. I want a free ride. Actually! I am gonna find ways!

Traverse through the forests of world.

Throw away the mobile phone and men..Both are useless..

Right now, this is what is on the top of my head. I shall think more and write if something crops up!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sweet surprises

Life is full of surprising things. Last Jan, I was in train traveling with a bunch of sardar uncles, who took care of me like their own daughter. They shared home made parathas with me, and when we landed in Ludhiana station, in the freezing winter, took me out to a local dhaba to feed me some more parathas. God bless them. One of the uncles, was so happy that I was a writer. In the train, he recited some shayaris to me..It was amazing. Uncleji, kya kavita hai..I said..Apna email id do beta, he said. I gave him. After I hugged them and bid them adios at Ludhiana station, not knowing when I would meet them, I was suprised to receive email of Sukhwinder uncle. He sent his poem to me...I read and replied. :) I was thrilled! Actually!

Today, I got yet another email from Sukhwinder uncle..Been so long..Beta, I am in Canada with my family..aap kaise ho..I am smiling now..ear to ear..what a surprise. He lost my number and he has promised to call me from Canada. I am sure he will call me..beshak! :) Oh how much I love these people of Punjab! And the sweet things of life..priceless moment!

Introspection after long..

It has been a long time since I have introspected on my life, but when I look back, I feel there are lot of things I have learnt and maybe I have changed people's lives in lot of ways and that makes me feel so much better!

It has been almost two years since I chucked my job as TamilNadu correspondent of Outlook Business. How crazy was I to chuck a job in national magazine? How many people get through it to chuck? But after spending two long years working for the magazine, traveling to the most rustic corners of India, seeing people suffering in abject poverty, lacking even basic medical facilities and then coming back and writing about it, putting it my emotions and thoughts and my writing skills..eventually I thought, yeah I write, but does it impact others? No! To a certain extent, yes! Some stories I wrote did make a lot of sense and put things in perspective. But I was tired, mentally, to answer endless phonecalls from PR people, from boss, my editing team, all of weekend, with no sense of time. I was oblivious of my life. I was so sunk in job that I seldom got time to introspect and then it hit me. And then there was a trigger to rediscover myself and wonder what to do..One, right at the time when I was tired of my job, I was going through a relationship crisis. Everything put together affected me massively and I had decided it was time to move on.

After I convinced my boss, and told him I am not sure what I am going to do next, I breathed hard. For a few months I stayed in Chennai. I traveled and backpacked with my friend, and sometimes alone for about couple of months. It was in Athirampally waterfalls I met a gentleman who was editor of the Week magazine. He just called me to click his picture and casually asked me. I told him I quit my job and was thinking of pursuing environmental journalism full fledged..hey sharada, that's awesome, I am starting a a magazine on the same, why don't you write for me and be a south correspondent. Life I thought! Sure, and I pulled out my card and gave him..I took his card as well. How God shows light and makes you meet people in the most unexpected circumstances of life...

I traveled a lot and cleared my head. My phone remained on silent for long. The PR calls stopped and I was happy without my phone. I truly was enjoying this phase. I got internship at the university of waterloo's environment department, but sadly did not get my visa..but the editor was like..whenever you come to Canada, you can work with me..That was so sweet of her!

It was then I decided to move from Chennai, from the usual city life, socialising, partying..just leave everything and push off to Coimbatore..where my dad lived his best..and happiest..I had anyway quit my job.

I packed up my bags, told my house owner, bade adieu to my neighbor aunty who shed buckets of tears when I left..who will motivate me, she asked..You have to just call me and I will come here. Coimbatore is not far. Hugged her and left. emotions..yup!

After I moved here, I found peace of mind, and developed an interest for birds, started taking care of my house, backyard, planted trees and life was just so good. I did not attempt to make friends. I just needed long days of solitude..My life wasn't planned. No! That was the best part. I never planned my life, but yeah moved along when things work. I create ideas and work out and that is how I live my life. No plans, but maybe I also learnt to be organised.

I spent a year writing bird book, I learnt bird watching, read books on ornithology, discovered nature..End of it, I published a book last year, much appreciated by people! It wasn't planned. I met Priya who edited the book only once and after we worked on the book for a year, we became such good friends that we decided to capitalise on our strengths to start something on our own. That worked too. We clinched a big project and finished it. That was unplanned too!

I became a cat lover..And I realised that love when genuinely given to an animal is reciprocated in the right way..even animals understand true and fake love..:) I am an unabashed lover of cats..I just love when they cuddle upto me and I feel their soft furs..

I published a book, published a story in an anthology, discovered that I am a good creative writer. Two of my short stories were long listed for urban shots' national best seller. Boosted me further. Then I signed a contract with TerraGreen and got into hardcore environmental journalism-exactly what I wanted..I have nothing to complain. I did go through relationship crisis, but I got over it..I am happy to know that the very same people thank me for having changed their lives even today..That makes me feel that every individual you meet, there is a reason, God chooses you to change them, or chooses them to change you..and I have learnt from every single person..No regrets!

Unplanned life is indeed great but I am done with my share of broken relations. I see only me now and want to live to make myself happy and in the process if I can benefit someone along the way, I will do it.

I traveled, I met many people, I learnt many lessons and now I do not know where I am heading next. Life is still unplanned! Very much, and I hope it keeps throwing me sweet surprises!! Always..Amen..and thanks to all the people in my life who have made me what I am today- mom, pri, k, anurag, krupa, divya, mean a lot to me!! Life, thank you!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rant for the 999th time

I wanted to put it as men rant, just deleted those three letters so that people don't think I am a man hater or a feminist and honestly speaking I am NOT! I rather love being in the company of men, for I always felt they are easy going on life, than women who bitch and bite each other about everything..coming to the topic..I seriously wondered today, why men are men..I remembered what my brother told me -we are practical and we only think problems and solutions, we don't really look at emotional side of decision making. I have seen that in lot many men, and it does hurt me at times, but then what do I do, sit quiet and let them think and form perceptions about my state of mind or express how I feel about what they feel about me...Darn! There is no end to thinking..and for the first time, my usual casual remarks were taken seriously by someone..and it pains to see that..I mean dude, that is how I am with anyone I talk..Saying get lost does not mean =please get lost. It is my state of mind. For once, why can't people take things in a not so literal sense than jumping to conclusions, thinking and acting emotionally. Drat! I am mentally tired and sick of explaining that I joke!! And this is how I joke, its nothing to do with fooling with someone's emotions or giving someone sleepless nights and sitting and apologising the entire day...I need a life..I have my mood swings..I am a woman, I am a Gemini, and I am a writer! So, I can be double, triple, emotional and have greater mood swing than a normal person..But yeah that's me!! What do I do if someone feels that my turmoiled state of mind affects him or her? Move away, try and explain or do what! I don't understand. A time when I feel it is time to move on and speak to my women friends who undergo the same thing and share their lives with me..similar rants or different, but its unburdening of the self..It helps me calm down, get a grip and move on..

Sometimes I go to an extent of thinking- until you are married, people have a problem you are single, when married, deal with a husband, and then a kid and then the in end to individualism and your private space? Why? I mean why? Why can't people just stop admonishing me for not what I am..and stop being judgemental about every word I utter..Dammit it hurts!

I was telling my mom..why get married, oh no! It is a pain, rather go and seek some solitude, lead a minimalist life, meditate in the hills, do good to others, globetrot, and die writing a book. Why make life so complicated!!

Pri, if you are listening, thanks for hearing me out babe! Love you!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Self-awareness, joy, contentment and learnings

It has been almost a week since I landed in Hyderabad. I did not have plans to come this month, but I think it was a strong 'call" that made me come here. When I was invited by the Director of Vivekananda Institute for Human Excellence, one I could find it hard to believe, a man of such a high stature choosing a young girl like me to share stage with him and give sessions. Yes, why not, he said. You have traveled so much, met many people and you are a journalist. I sure jumped at it and I am thankful to 'life' for many things. Sometimes, things just happen, with no plans or agenda or blueprint..thats how I love and cherish it..

The day I reached here, I was dead tired, but no sooner I reached, I had to recharge myself to give a talk in one college. I went and met the Director. I have given talks, judged events, but this is a huge class and I haven't done one bit of preparation. How am I going to manage it? It is going to be a huge challenge. Go share your experience, don't be nervous, he said.

When I stepped into the college and met the principal, I was quite humbled the way I was treated.I walked into a classroom full of students. I was a little nervous. But then, I started off, quite naturally, breaking the ice and being friendly with the students. Session one on communications skills-not bad. Second session was better, even better. I was able to just pull the students like a magnet. I remember what my college buddy and best friend Prince used to tell about me -you are a crowd puller babe..I used to laugh, but now I know I am..The students were going gaga...and said a big thanks..What did I do...I reflected upon some thoughts..What did I really do and how did all this happen? I just realised many things about myself-I had a strong power ..the power of motivating others, the capability of controlling a huge audience, the confidence to speak up and express my thoughts and ideas, to pass on the energy and knowledge I make them let go of fear..and make them confident human beings...This was self-discovery for me.

I gave more than 7-8 talks, and every talk, I learnt something about myself, the immense power I had..I also did not give up. On the first day, I remember a girl sitting on the bench, shivering, her head down.. I went up to her and said, today, you are going to talk. No way, she said in a low tone. Let me see how you don't do it..For almost ten minutes, i stood next to her, coaxed her, to stop assuming what other would think when she spoke, how others would mock her, react to her..or what if she make mistakes..those things should all be ten minutes, she stood up..i was also persistent..she spoke..and she spoke on for five minutes..end of it..there were claps..she felt a great sense of accomplishment- led me to a point..we all have self confidence, but we are not confident of the self confidence within us..before teaching them communication skills, I had to work on making their fears disappear, make them believe in their own capabilities...and that did the trick..the girl sent me an email to me..thank you for making me over come my stage fear..this was achievement for me..I created a someone's life..and its a priceless feeling..Every session, I went for, the students stood up.,.and spoke..and it was my task to make them do so..the girls would just not cooperate..I also realised giving a sermon never helps..before they learn anything, they should be equipped to know themselves, train their mind and then absorb..I just did that..

The next day, a girl came crying to me because she could not talk in English..but she was actually talking to me in English..You are fine I said as I wiped her tears...You are good, where is the mistake..We are all good, we just dont know how good we are..Never stoop down, you are special..everyone is special...

The past few days there have been great experiences..There were arguments, discussions, questions were thrown and I answered it all..I also learnt from them, I learnt their problems and worked on them to give a common own solutions...from my experiences or learning from life..It was simple as I shared with my students, how it is important to be open and honest in anything you do..Some did say it was not possible in practical world. but why lie I can only when it is life and death situation, not otherwise, it is better to be truthful..and truth is the only thing which actually purifies your soul..I know many people would not agree to me on lying to pass off temp situations...but I definitely do not appreciate it...It puts me off..I know why I can't stand liars now..I am learning about myself...

Today, was an extraordinary day. I went to a college...the girls there came from a totally rural background..I had a very very tough time in breaking the ice. For almost half an hour, no one was cooperating with me..I got angry, but I did not show it. I rather said, I will not leave the place unless you are with me..the next one hour, things changed, I fought with a hard make them break their make them confident and I did it all..

The students were overjoyed. That was it. Today though I thought I almost failed, self motivation helped did..After I left the class, some students went and thanked the principal for bringing me and they said they want to hear more of me..I noticed sparkling smiles, energized faces, confidence...I was happy..The principal called me and gave me a gift..I could not accept, but she justified it...what we could not do, you did..When are you coming next? I was lauded by the department people for my incredible patience (got it from my mother and grandmother).

Anytime, I said. They are arranging workshops for me in Hyderabad and all the colleges I went to wants me now..My students are happy, they are confident, they will go places, I know they will..

For me personally, it was 'mastery on self-discovery'..Last, I told the students..Why fear, we all have one life to live, lets be happy and throw everything that makes one weak..Fear is the greatest Swami Vivekananda puts it..

It is probably one of the most satisfying days of my life..I know I am good at motivating people..:)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hyderabad story..Part 1..

I was standing on the corridor in my crisp white pale blue and white salwar..with the chiffon white dupatta sprinkled in gold..swaying to the wind, and drops of rain trickling on me..I turned around...saw a dashing guy in a yellow t shirt and denims, in a confident walk, a smiled adorned his face...I looked at him and turned away...I soon got to work, I was judging the Youth awards this year in Hyderabad and the director, was so much in awe and respect for me..that he chose to take me in the esteemed panel of judges...

I was sifting through a book and putting forth my questions to grill the students when I was called..Yes, sir, I told the director and walked up to him. As my eyes shifted, the guy in the yellow tshirt was standing right next to him!! For a moment, I became silent. Meet C, he said, he is a HR head in one of the leading companies (I do not wish to name the company). I gently shifted by books and papers to my left hand and shook hands with him..Meet sharada, journalist and an excellent writer, I was, you and C will sit and prepare the questions to grill the kids, he said..He left us then. C and I walked together..Shall we sit here, I asked..sure, so what do you think how do we go about it. I pulled out some chits and placed in front of him, and asked his opinion..Are these okay? He went through them one by one, and said, hey great questions..Lets think more..

For an hour, we exchanged thoughts and ideas...Hey, do you think we should put a question on how society impacts the decisions of students...he asked me..I hmmm'ed...I think its good..For example, and then he went on to voice his views..I don't think I want to get married, because the society wants it..I jumped..exactly..even I think the same..why should I get married..

In between these discussions, I noticed his hand, no ring...hmm..single..I thought..Soon, his phone rang..excuse me, i need to take this call, he said..Sure, i said..Hey S (it was a girl on the other end), what happened to you, are you ok ..Maybe gf I thought..then the conversation drifted to recruitment..Bah! He hung up and said, You know these official calls...Lets get back to work I said..In the midst..he was punching sms after sms, taking calls..It was okay though...

This was great, a GUY thought like me..I just realised..!! As we further explored the questions..he shot, "hey you are a journalist, because you wanted to be one, isnt it?" Yes, I said..But your family sure would have wanted you to be an engineer..I looked at him and smiled..Yes, my brother dreamed of me getting into IIT which was far from what I even imagined..But I chose this and I am happy..See, this is what I want the students to do, do what they want..and he smiled as he emphasised..

What an amazing guy!

After breaking our heads, we took a break and then I asked, you grew up here?
Yeah, he said, hardcore Hyderabadi...We spent the next three hours judging the the time it was 4.30. In the midst of the judging session, he was on phone, smsing all the time. I so badly wanted to snatch his bbb (bloody blackberry) and tell him..concentrate on the talk..Darn! I felt helpless. I kind of didnt like the fact that he was using his phone when something serious was happening, but his smart talk and questions made up for all that..

It was very late, I thrust my total score sheet in his hand and said..I need to run now, my friend has been waiting for long..I was so thrilled by the idea of going to Laad Bazaar to buy bangles, watch charminar, have some nice irani chai and sip it slowly watching the rains...I forgot to even take his email id..

It just happens, you meet some interesting people and there you go..especially when you are single...hey he seems my type..:P

But now, it feels like heck, it was just another bumping into someone..and hey I did have a great time at Laad bazaar...sitting right inside charminar, feeling the towering monument, watching the lanes of colorful bangles with generous amounts of gold and silver, rich broacdes of silk and silver...chandelier ear rings, mehndi, colorful footwear..I could keep staring at my lovely feet..all this was worth it..and about the guy...well, he was just another passerby. Things change and you grow up!! :) ha ha!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cochin tales

It was when I was a kid that I visited Cochin. I have vague memories of seeing the Jewish Synagogue and going in a boat, but do not remember much. I wanted to go and spend time with my friend Ranjini, wanted to take a break from work and also spent some time traveling. I realised I did not want to the rough travel that I usually do. I think I was mentally, physically drained to the core. I went to stay at my friend's granma's house. They called her 'Ammana'. I got her sweets..My mother always says that when you go to a house for the first time, especially when there are elders, you should get something. Ammana was happy, when I touched her feet and offered her sweets. I do not know Malayalam, but yeah I can speak and somewhat manage..I could understand what she said...Thanks to the Palakkad Tamil. She said, she understood english, but she also told me she would teach me Malayalam and as always I was game to learn a new language..

The rice is Kerala is unlike the rice we eat here, huge ones..but after traveling to so many places, I was flexible to eat whatever was offered to me..another thing which travel taught me is to be grateful for having what you have..Ammana cooked authentic Kerala style dishes, like how my amma makes it..and for everything they used coconut oil..She made variety of food and papadam everyday. I just hugged her and told her that she is awesome. Ammana lived alone, but she is a strong willed lady, enthusiastic, cheerful, a great sense of humor and cheeks that you can keep pulling..:) I loved teasing her. I literally asked her to make new things for me..and she made it..and she also appreciated that I ate every single thing that she made, including karelas..I never eat bitter gourd, but for her, I ate. She had taken so much pains to make it.

She used to get me stuff from outside, vadas..and I loved it..At night, she recited Ramayana, and I used to sit and listen to her and then pray and go to bed. She gave me whole loads of tea, and I loved it. Sitting on the steps outside the house, watching butterflies, reading book, playing with the cat and sipping chai. The cat also became very friendly with me and everytime I came back home, she would call me out..waiting to be pampered..

I also got to attend a two day conference for environmental education at Mangalavanam bird sanctuary where I met Anup's mom and dad. After the conference, I went to their house. Aunty made ada..and I always loved it..I had loads of them, shamelessly..aunty and uncle became very friendly with me and I had loads of coffee..with coriander and jeera..I never sampled a masala coffee before, but I loved the taste of it..Anup's house was an eco friendly house and aunty and uncle had a huge garden full of medicinal plants..The next day, we went again for lunch at aunty's place and ended up talking about old scriptures and all that..Suddenly, I heard a tuk tuk sound, and when I looked out, it was a woodpecker..I watched it for a long time before it flew away..I loved Anup's home..I told aunty and uncle I would come and stay with them and sit and write there..they were only happy..they were living by themselves..I hugged aunty before I left..

I met many people in this journey, an auto wallah who was at a roadside tea shop at Fort Kochi..His name ended with Cochin..So, isnt it a created name, I asked..Yes, and he laughed..He said he belonged to Bombay and we started chatting up. Right from the ticket sellers, to people on the streets, everyone was helpful to me and I am really thankful to God for making me meet such wonderful people.

Ammana and valli chechi (next door neighbor) showered so much love and affection that I belonged to that part of family..I was humbled..The day I left, Ammana told me that I should live with her and go to Coimbatore once in a while, I smiled at her and promised to come often.. a promise is a promise..I am gonna take amma and go there again very soon..

I called ammana yesterday and she said, how do you do? English,,hmmm..I am good and how are you I asked..she started laughing..I managed to pull a broken malayalam conversation for 5 mins (big deal for me) and end of it she said..if you cant communicate something in malayalam, say in english..I am glad I could figure that out..I was happy..New families come into my life like this..I love my life!! :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Another night at SACON campus :)

My visits to the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural history (sacon) has become very frequent in the last few years..I love being in the campus..right from the gate, entering into the main campus, the one km stretch is filled with birds, surrounded by mountains and mist..I walked across watching different birds..

Anyway, I went to the campus again to meet Dr. Pramod, who heads the nature education and outreach division. I work with him. He called me to the seminar room. I am giving a talk, he said. I went and sat with some college students, hearing his talk. His talk is so full for admiration for nature and completely gripping. I sat there listening to him, and then he put on a few slides and was telling the students about each bird. I could rattle off the name of the bird, slide after slide, and I was getting excited like a little kid, that I could identify most of these birds. I was happy for myself. Soon after the lecture, I met two girls who were working with Dr. Pramod. I went about chatting with them and I spoke to Dr. Pramod. Sir, you know, I was able to identify most of the birds. Of course, you had to, you are an author of bird book...but still..something about nature always excites..I get excited hearing about birds..

Soon, we went to the canteen to have lunch and got into a conversation. As we came back from the lunch, I met Shoms, after a month, she had just returned from UK. She is the only expert of small cats in India, and a great friend of mine. I went up and hugged her. She was there along with another prof from Scotland and they were standing there searching for a chameleon. I stood and wondered if we could see it. Soon, he spotted a beautifully camouflaged chameleon in green, sitting on the top of the tree. I pulled up the binocs and saw its splendid color. I was lost in admiration of the pretty creature. The way it walked, and suddenly pulled its tongue out to pull it prey was interesting to watch. We watched it for many minutes ...then I went for a discussion with Dr. Pramod. Shoms, said, hey we are staying back in the campus, why don't you stay with us? Sure, I jumped! I loved the campus, sitting on the steps outside canteen with my hot cuppa, watching the valleys and feeling the cold wind.

Later I met Dr. Balasubramanian who worked on hornbills and told him about what I do. We spent one long hour talking about various things, especially tree bird relationship. He said something about one hour, sharada, I feel you are a very balanced person and your thinking is comprehensive. I thanked him for making my day!

I went to Shoms's room and we started chatting, soon Aarti joined (she worked on fishes). My friend Nikhil came along..he worked on biodiversity change in Bharatapuzha river area in the last 50 years..We all had a great time..soon Ramesh and Ramesh worked on Indian pythons and one worked on a project in Nagaland. Then there was my friend Sheeba, who worked on spot billed pelicans. There were three girls from Delhi who were doing there masters in biodiversity conservation who joined us as well. We all went and trekked a few places from behind the Sacon campus..we had hot tea and bajjis after the little tough night, we got eggs and other things to make dinner..We walked back on the main road to the was pitch dark, we could not see a thing, but we kept talking and walking in the mountain was a beautiful night..soon, we went to the campus kitchen and started cooking...we wanted to make lemonade and realised we did not have lemons..hey wait, said Nikhil, we will go and pluck garden fresh lemons...great idea, I said..soon he came with half a dozen lemons..We were creating ruckus in the kitchen and after dinner, we went to the terrace..and wanted to sit down and sing and have started we went to another place..which actually looked like an auditorium..sat there and sang until 12..we had so much fun and we were all in the same interest group- all of us were nature lovers and were working on those issues..At 12.30, went off to sleep finally, after spending an awesome evening..we would have walked some 8 kms it was great to just crash on the bed..I woke up late in the morning and looked at the mountains and breathed deeply..It was time to get back home..I took my long walk on the winding road, watching robins and babblers flying all over..a beautiful day and a great break after long...

Monday, July 18, 2011

obsessive men? grrr!!!

A few days back I was clearing off "interests" expressed in me on tamil matrimony. As I was sifting through the profiles, I came across one profile and I gently clicked the view profile tab to find who the gentleman was..From what he had described about himself, he seemed to be a person who liked to live and let live-simple straight philosophy and I strongly believed in it. I think like my friend Pri says when I talk about space, its the need for giving time for one's self..people don't get it! So, she says you find someone who needs space..and then he will understand what you mean by having your personal space in the relationship..

Without further digression, I looked at the profile, and he had written a lot about himself, he loved writing, etc etc..So, I emailed him, saying I liked his profile..And left a text message as well. He sent me a message at like 2 am asking me if I wanted to talk..what on earth was that..No sooner, he sent one very long email full of what he is all about. I wasn't that enthusiastic, manybe it has curbed in the years ..but at times yeah, I do talk a lot to people I connect naturally to. So, I thanked him for the long email and said let me think about it.

The next day, a message pops in. It was him. Are you seriously considering me? I was like..pooff..why is this guy after my life..I just emailed him yesterday...I did not reply to the message and the whole of Monday I was out and busy. In the evening another text popped in. I didn't want it to be him. I was already tired of his obsessiveness. Are you seriously considering it? I said, I am open to it, so let's see where it goes. Even then I was willing to give it a chance. The reply came" you don't seem to be making effort to answer my call or make calls to me." That was it. I got ticked off big time and then sent him a message, it is easy to jump to conclusions without knowing about someone and FYI, I have meetings and work and I can't keep answering calls all the time. Also, I wasn't well from one week, with a bad throat. I mean, i hit myself, why was I explaining myself to someone like this? This guy was born to a doctor parents, was an engg, MBA working in a good company, young and good looking, but no sense...its only nonsense..

In toto, I conclude that please do not believe ALL the men who write glorified things about themselves in their matri profile..for you all you know, not everyone can be as honest as you..and all probability, some people might write exactly the opposite of how and who they in this the morning, I got another message, how are you and I blindly deleted it..I am now going to delete his number..I don't know how people can get so obsessed with someone..obsession out of love would still be acceptably but not like 'whiny' guys like my friend Pri says..

Pri, thanks for being my listener of men-rants. :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ladoo bhai, salaam

It was a long pending task for me, I was to interview a stuntman from the Gujarat Film industry. He was waiting to talk to me and today I finally decided to pick the phone and call him. I heard a very sweet voice on the other end. Laddu sahib aap hai, I asked? Haan, main hi bol raha hoon, aap mujhe interview karne wali thi na. He could not speak English, so I spoke with him in Hindi.

Laddu bhai (that's how he was addressed in the film industry) was a fun person to talk to. I was asking him if he was ever afraid of doing stunts for many heroes and from what he spoke, there was no space for fear in his life. I took some inspiration from him. As I was talking to him, he suddenly thrust a few questions to me..madam, ek baat boloon, he asked..haan kahiya (yes, tell) I told him, aap dil ke bahut saaf hai (you are very clean by heart). I smiled, and even laughed. Laddu bhai, I don't like lies. Madam, aap dil ki bahut acchi hai (you are very good at heart). I had heard that many times from many people, but here was someone who was talking to me over phone and in a few minutes gauged the real me. Further, he said, you are stubborn, aren't you? And a go getter, you never leave till you achieve things, fighter. I had to agree, that was my true personality. I am stubborn at times, especially when it comes to fulfilling my own dreams, for me that is the only integral part of my life. I was surprised by Laddu bhai's talks. Aap sab kaise jaane hai? How do you know so much about me? Madam, from your voice. I know people. He continued, Haven't people told you have a beautiful smile? I was speechless. Haan bhai, I have heard that very often but how do you know. I can feel it from here. You have a lovely smile and you are a very honest person. I was really moved that I forgot my questions.

Here was a man, who said he was happy, really happy in life. He lived in a match box house, lived a risky professional life, but his voice, soft and subdued, effused with happiness, gentleness and respect for others. I am of course not going to reveal his life story here, but this day taught me a lesson of happiness. How people can be happy despite what.

Laddu bhai is definitely one inspiration. I loved the way he was upfront with me. I loved the way he was himself, not judgemental, but speaking from heart!
Salaam to you Laddu Bhai, aap mahan ho!! Now, I can't wait to meet him!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Meeting a friend after a decade

It was another short trip to Madras, it was wedding reception of my friend Gayatri, who has been my inspiration when I just needed it..I was meeting her after a decade. I never met her after she left for the US. She has been an inspiration to me, from the time I knew her. I was 21 when I met her, and she was 22, we met through a common friend, who was actually my cousin. Gayatri's mother is a renowned carnatic music singer but she never depended on her family to support for her education. She completed her masters in Bombay and left for Ohio to do her MFA and then ended up doing MBA in Arts management. As a 21 year old, I was worried about getting a sanction for every action of mine from my family and only then I would be at solace. I was telling Gayatri about how my brother was influencing me to pursue science and MBA, than economics. You know Sharada. my sister tried telling me that too, do MBA, why ART management, it won't pay, but for us it is the sheer passion that is the driver of life. I was listening to her in full attention. I was seeking her help for my Ph.D apps. I remember spending long hours with her. Walking down from Wadala station to her house, talking to her and relishing food made by her mom, and chatting with her granma. Those were the lovely few days. Soon, it was time for her to bid adieu. She left for the US, with a full scholarship. Indeed, I was proud of her and I knew what I had to do to be like her. I followed my heart, and completely did what I wanted, despite many oppositions. I remembered her a lot. We lost touch...months ..years passed..sometimes I would get her emails..Sometimes her mother would tell how busy she was..

I never met her..One day, she suddenly buzzed me and I chatted with her for a few minutes. That pepped me up. We got back in touch but on and off...And one day, she told me she is coming to India and she is getting married. My joy grew no bounds, of course for the fact that she was getting married, but more for a reason that I was meeting her after a decade.

I went to the venue and my heart stopped looking at her. You look stunning, she said as I went and hugged her..Wished her, spoke to her husband and chatted a bit. Later I spent time listening to the Manganiyars, a folk music group from Rajasthan who graced the occasion. I spent time with her sister, who was a stunner. Didi was pleasant, like her.

I also got a chance to dance with the Kalbelia folk dancers on stage that day, it was fun, was doing spot the celebrity on the side. There were so many of them. :)

In between, I kept bumping into Gayatri and we must have hugged like 10 times by now. It was time to leave. Gayatri was moving to London after nine single years in NYC. I will miss it, she said. Thanks for coming dear, she said. Suddenly, she turned back and said, Sweetheart, you mean the world to me.

I gave her another parting hug. If there are inspirations in my life it is from two women friends of mine-Gayatri, and Shweta!

Gayatri, I love you!! :)

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I have been a big big big fan of Siddharth. Had a gut feeling that 180 would be a great movie and the movie was more amazing than I expected! The movie spoke about a simple fact of life-living in the present...

As usual Siddharth was charming, stunning, looking great and hot, of course and its undeniable, he is a classy actor..The photography and cinematography of the movie is much better than even the Mani Ratnam movies..The music, well, even better!

The movie talks about intransient life...changes and how one needs to live in the present..beyond, love, emotional attachments and everything that revolves around the normal life of a human being and it is conveyed in a subtly emotional way..That movie is still running in my mind..

The movie talks reality!! And I loved every shot, the pace of the movie...everything was just amazing..mesmerising...I sunk into it and yet to regain..but there was a lot I learnt, how to enjoy every minute of life, despite all odds and how precious one's life is..and how we should cherish it and live it like it were the last day of life!!

Sid, mwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh, I love you!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

I need a break!

It has been quite sometime, a couple of years almost since I quit my job but ever since then life has been even more crazy. My bucket list of things seem to fill up as n when I fulfill my goals and dreams...lot of success and lot of strain..many sleepless nights of work and writing..sometimes I would doze off at the desk and sometimes I could not get up at all..yet something kept me going.
and now, I feel I really need to slow down on life and enjoy the nitty gritties. I think I need some mental space. I want to write with the wishes of my heart and soul..or maybe potter around with my camera and travel alone..the chennai summer is getting on to me brains..:(

time for a big hiatus!! indeed..i need a break!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Men, shoo off!

Grrr..I am writing this post in a high mode of irritation..I guess being friendly is a great thing but how some men think that if you are friendly with them and open to talk, it means they can propose you and say they have a crush on you.
After knowing a line up of men who have said they have a crush on me, and they like me a lot (dont know in what sense), they sometimes encroach my personal space even during my vacation time with calls and sms when the least thing I want to do it talk to someone who has a crush on me..Ah, I dislike it..I love my freedom and yeah sometime back I had to be blunt with a friend of mine saying, I don't like people trampling my space..So, please do not question me like zillion things..and I like to talk when I want to and with people I choose to. so, men please go and get a life..there is more to life than women, dating and crushes..And spare me! I love my freedom!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The home shifting weekend for friend!

i could not break my head on a title. but to put it simply, it was a super awesome weekend. My friend Shomita, was shifting her apartment. To the world, she was India's only cat expert, to me she was a friend, guide and philosopher..who was there to hear me out, be pragmatic, honest and upfront...which was so much like me..

So, hey Shoms, I am going to be there to help you out with shifting. On Friday evening, we went for a nice dinner, spent long hours at coffee shop, talking about life and what not. Friday night ended late after a long chat with Shoms and Ranjini. The moment I actually stepped into her house, I settled on the couch, pouncing on the copy of Tinkle. I love reading Tinkle. Oh, so do I, she said! :)

The next day, we went for a nice hair cut, a much needed change for me! :) And after that we went and had a meal and set to clean the house, wrap things in the carton and hundred other things. Renju had made a yummy lunch, rotis and mouth still waters...after a nice lunch and siesta, we woke up to the sound of the door bell. The movers and packers were there, we sat around monitoring them and spent the whole time, shifting things here and was so much fun!! actually! We girls were enjoying it..

As we moved into the new house, we just smelled the fresh paint and breathed in some fresh air...the house was lovely, better than the previous house..we spoke to an uncle who lived downstairs and we started chatting with him. Uncle was oh so friendly and we had a nice time. By the time we moved in it was almost 9 pm. I was terribly hungry. Mopped the floor, helped the cartons move and change. Hey, you are tall, why dont you fix this, said Shoms. More than happy Shoms, I said..At 9.30 realised, fans and lights were not working in some rooms and there was no electrician available at that time. We sorted it out with the watchman..and went to have a yummy dinner..most needed..came back home, crashed...

The next day was again filled up with emptying cartons and then I offered to make was pasta in tomato sauce...i love cooking for others...and for myself too! The pasta disappeared in seconds and Shoms just couldnt resist eating it! You are hired as a cook, she declared! Thanks I said, and smiled at her..

It was siesta after lunch..oh forgot to mention,.I was craving to eat chaat since friday and no luck..on sunday evening we decided to go out and try something..and at turned out to be a horrrrible experience...the pani puris and chaat were all just so bad! I think I have to get over it now and I think I can only do that when I manage to have a good chaat somewhere else! After whole lot of work that day, I had a long chat that night with Renju about what I wanted to write and threw in my ideas..the talk went till 2.30 am as usual..and we crashed..

The next day, I left for home after the hectic crazy and amazing weekend with friends..They make my life..some special ones do! Shoms and Rejnu, love you!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Flashes and memories..looking back!!

It usually happens with me, everytime I set to clean my house, I find junk, I find interesting papers..sometimes the letters my aunt wrote to dad in days when only telegram existed..or my dad's report card..Ah how I wish he was alive now, would have told him how bad he was in studies and how he kept chiding me to study well..

Today was yet another day. Last couple of years, I saw a transition in the way my brother relates to me. Maybe, he understood and realised the compromises I made in my life for him..bore every little thing, his behavior, yet I remained silent like nothing happened. What I found:

A card he gave me last birthday:

A birthday thought for my sister

From letting me have the best of toys, stickers, goodies,
to letting me have my way each time...
I might have taken the pampering for granted in all these years
but never your love behind it all
Wishing a truly special birthday to a truly special sister,


I remember the moment when I saw this card. He just casually thrust into my hands and walked away. My face changed as I read these words, it was really apt, it really defined the relation we shared and the fact that he realised what was happening with us. Today, when I looked at this, I just remembered him.

I have this thing of treasuring pieces of paper..I think they are priceless. As I was sifting through paper junk, I found a beautiful poem written for me by my best friend, well wisher and guide, Anurag Mathur. There can be no one really to beat him and come close to understanding me and what and how I am as a person. We lived a few apartments away in Chennai, and we caught up at poetry meets, and we became such good friends. He would sometimes sing out the songs he wrote in his college days and we would sit together and try composing it over many cups of coffee...I would play guitar and he would sing..we had many arguments, many fights. We even sing for each other, sing together, over phone..small joys..he tells me about how men are..when we met in Mumbai, I took him out for a drink at Fluid..Over a drink, I told him I was breaking up with someone and things aren't working out. He saw my forlorn face and said "This is not the Shar I know." Where is your smile lady? That did made me break into smiles..He makes me happy in the worst conditions of my life..I can write a book on him..

Here is the piece of poem he wrote for me:
To Dear Shar,

Your little corner and mine

I waited at your little corner
Until the moon rose high
And the traffic had began to fade
And people slowly stopped passing by

And then your thoughts came back
Along with the smell of the brew
As I wondered what you were thinking
While the moments flew

I watched curiously as your face
Turned from worry to despair
A slight shift of position
A subtle movement of the chair

Suddenly the sun was
No longer in your eyes
But your slowly spreading smile
Was lighting up my skies

And then you turned and rose
And glided on your own way
Leaving me in my own corner
With memories of another day

Anurag Mathur,
August 17, 2005.

That does say a lot about me, my tears don't stay for long, my depression does not, shaky mood swings, but I bounce back and find my own corner, alone, yet happy, in the world of my own...

Found pictures of me with my dad and my grandfather. I was maybe 2 yrs old then. Diya just looks like me, there is no change. I will treasure these pictures, some of the most admired men in my life.

Found a card from my childhood friend Mithila. We used to cycle and go to Ganpati Visarjan at Marve road as kids, hopping and jumping in the streets, with no worries..She has hand painted a card for my brother. She is now married and lives in Pune. How time flies..
Another day fading as the sun is set to hide behind the clouds?

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's me, the crazy me!

This post was triggered..thanks to Krupa..I am feeling better after writing this one!! Thanks for this babes

2. I love myself truly madly deeply, yeah more than anything else in the world, thats why I love my life
3. I never let someone hurt me very badly, been hurt enough. And when you love yourself so much how can let you let ANYone hurt you?
4. I dont care a damn about this world when I live in my own world, I am sometimes so oblivious of whats happening around me and I am happy about it
5. I write poems in mind and it stays in mind..when I want to put it on paper, it vanishes
6. I love the waters-waterfall, lake, river, or even puddles...
7. I love spending time with myself..more than spending time with others
8. Solitude seeker and lover
9. I hate hypocrisy, liars (cant stand them), hate people who make excuses and people who cant stand up on their own and take decisions in life
10. I am independent and wear a positive attitude
11. I love Popeye the sailorman and spinach too
12. I love solving crossword puzzles, for once my mind remains focused
13. My mind is focused again when I am bird watching
14. Life has changed ever since I moved to a smaller town, I have discovered happiness that was always around me but I failed to a honeybeee sipping nectar from flower..or my two cats jumping happily in a run and chase all around the corridor..small joys of life
15. I miss being a journalist..i totally do..miss the chaos, miss the fact that I never had to think about myself when I was working..
16. Once a journalist, always a journalist-I totally stick to it..Reporting days were the memorable work days of my life. I could never imagine sitting in a cubicled office choked and wanting to get out..
17. I once used to paint and now my brushes have gone rusty...Someday I shall do it ..again
18. I love brings life into my life
19. I love watching the stars at night..i feel happy when i do that
20. I am a night bird..i love the nights..especially on the days when the moon is bright and I take a long walk breathing in the cold air
21. I love the rustle of bamboo trees in the forest
22. Can never forget the sight on a green vine snake when I trotted the forests
23. There can be no one like Krupa in my life-she is the one and only-to have cutting chai, street food, daaru or talk nonsense..i can be more than myself with her
24. I am quiet..yes I am..
25. I am a deep thinker, thats why I am a writer
26. I am very emotional..ganga jamuna flows...but now I learnt to be strong..
27. Sadness is not bad, it helps you grow over things..even tears has been my best emotional outlet
28. My next emotional outlet-writing..whatever I feel..even what I am doing right now
29. I hate when people show off, I run away
30. I hate when people throw attitude that they are something..I wont even care about you
31. Big fan of ladysfinger..i can eat truckloads of them..
32. I love mountains more than the beach
33. I love sitting and staring at nothing..people think I think, but I am actually staring mind is empty..
34. I am emotional therefore I love..
35. I never fell in love with someone...and I never missed that..I have had great friends
36. My friends mean the entire world to me-they made me strong, they made me happy
37. I love rains and walking in the rains and the smell of earth
38. I love writing in hindi more than in english
39. I dont know to say no
40. Sometimes I even put up with nonsense and crib..but then I hate it..
41. I meet new people and love it..every person has changed my life
42. I miss bicyling on bombay roads..that used to be my greatest freedom in my teenage
43. I loved the MM ki lassi and samosa and jumbo vada pav at Malad station
44. I miss playing Holi, water balloons
45. I love my life now..I dont miss the big city of Bombay though sometimes I think back and look at great memories..
46. I love chai with ginger and lemon grass
47. I love Turkish and double shot with no sugar..
48. Going to Egypt was the best thing in life..childhood dream come true
49. I love looking good..yes I drop dead gorgeous..
50. I love can make me forget the world
51. I never stop myself from enjoying anything..
52. I dont think about what people will say if I do something..Dude, its my life
53. I live breathe writing..I cant live without it..thats the greatest asset
54. I love strumming my guitar and singing Annie song...or winds of change or summer of 69 or hotel california
55. I love love love singing..I dont do it often now
56. I can be incredibly romantic..(its my thinking, dont know if I can or cannot)
57. I love surprises and throwing surprises
58. I love travel, its an indelible part of me...
59. I love being with no company..books, music and coffee and couch..doesnt take much to be happy
60. There are only a handful of people with who I can go bonkers talk talk..
61. I love traveling alone..
62. I love villages, especially granpas village in kerala..there are only four lanes there..and every house has a pond..
63. I am not tech savvy and dont really care about it..
64. I want to travel the world the most exotic places..
65. I want to go to Africa
66. I love doing my own things..I seldom ask others for help
67. I want to do something which not everyone is doing..Its being truly Shar..
68. I love my mother and feel she is the greatest blessing
69. I love listening to Rafi and watching movies of Gurudutt and Sayajit Ray..They take me to a different level
70. I love cooking...absolutely..its a great form of art
71. I meet the most amazing people in the most unexpected ways
72. I am unconventional and love it
73. I love conversations, love arguments
74. Passionate lover of Economics...Someday shall grab a Ph.d
75. Confused, many times
76. Disorganised
77. I am crazy crazy to the core and can do the weirdest of things
78. Animal lover, nature lover.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Randomness in pieces

A three week hiatus from writing. I was writing in my mind, some retained, some lost with the fog, mist and dust, the byzantine lanes of Jaipur, disappearing in the walls of the pink city, some clouded thoughts and emotions..some great feelings, some miseries (rather huzun or melancholy) as described by Orhan Pamuk in Istanbul Memories...I can feel it now..huzun...engulfed in a state in my own world..the day was rolled into one, like all the seven days happened in a day and it is all happening fast..again..left paths are waiting for me to tread on it...mind is showing me the way..and suddenly a twist of events..some peppy voices, some tired, some eager..some..old memories..when past comes back to your it was never your past..Mind oh mind, why do you create these thoughts? Why do you colour my happy being in this sangfroid state..indeed..without excitement, without joy or sadness...devoid of any intense emotion..I like huzun..soul drenched...with words overpowering me, talking to its own its the company of these words, I find solace, in this solitude, I find myself intense..

Randomness...indeed...its the state...a state that revolves ...stays with me, comes and goes these flashes of deep thoughts to provoke me to melancholy (my most favorite emotion)..sinking..I peace

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Heading to Moga

After Inder picked me up at Ludhiana station, we walk into the car, freezing..thankfully the car had a heater..we drove through some 70 odd kms to reach Maddoke village in Moga district. The roads were very good, wide..and with no traffic, the drive was very smooth..rather fun with some great Punjabi music to our company. I did see one part of Ludhiana..the one that resembled much like my city Coimbatore. There were huge shopping malls though..

The 70km drive was done in 45mins. We passed through many marriage palaces..yeah you heard it right..marriage palaces indeed..people in Punjab spend a lot of weddings..and one thing for sure..they definitely know how to live and enjoy their life..I counted the number of limousines on the way. Phew...I could count on and on..

We stopped by Haveli for a coffee..its a nice quaint restaurant with huge domes and splendid architecture..As we entered the village, I could only see green fields..wheat and mustard farms..bullock carts in plenty..haystacks..I just felt out of my city life..the radical change enticed me, enthralled me and took me into a new world..the yellow flowers on green fields happily was a sight to we were driving a few people stopped us..sharada, do you want tea, inder asked..why not I said..its so perfect for this weather..I grabbed a cup of tea from a little boy who was wearing turban..some more people came and offered us pakodas..I turned to Inder and asked him..why are people giving stuff to us..This is called Seva, he said..where people donate food..this way no one stays hungry in Punjab..I had no words..This was so wonderful..imagine in a place like India, if middle class families does it..we can actually save people from starving..

We soon reached home..This is our farm Inder showed. We walked into the house...and right outside his house were farms..what a place to live..I quickly went home and hugged Aman, aunty..met more people..We quickly freshened up and headed to a Gurudwara. It was a beginning of a new month. After praying in the village Gurudawara we had some rotis made in the community kitchen and some chai..I was already full by then. I went home and crashed for two hours. It was the 14th of Jan. My journey had already begun and I had started to like it. I skipped my lunch and in the evening we went to Inder's uncle's place. We had more tea. We went to the terrace and I saw the mist covered fields and the sunset in the was picture perfect. Some parakeets were flying and some rested on bare leafless trees on the cold winter evening. Some girls were playing..with their heads covered in dupattas..some men were riding a cycle...wearing thick turbans on their head, protecting themselves from cold..There were buffaloes in the house and soon a lady came a lighted a make her dinner..we had another glass of milk..some boys were playing football on this winter evening..We went back home and had some dinner and hit the sack after lots of talking..I met Gurpreet, Inder's brother after long and we started chatting like it was the end of the world..the night was was my first winter night..harsh winter night..and i tucked away into the blanket..after a great day...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

From Chennai to Punjab

It has been almost a week since I landed in Moga, Punjab. I wanted to blog, wrote a few lines, but never managed to write anything much. I have been on the road for long. This trip was more visiting the holy Gurudwaras and the farmlands of Punjab...

But this is how my journey began..

It was my first longest train journey-from Chennai to Ludhiana. Sleep deprived, I knew all I would do is crash and grab all my lost sleep. I boarded the train at 4.45 and slept by 5. I woke up only at 11 to have my breakfast. Soon, I fell asleep again. The day was soon over before I realised. I had one more day to go before I reached Ludhiana.

The next day I woke up early, but realised that there was no pantry car in the train. I skipped my breakfast and lunch. Some nice people around me helped. One sardar uncle came forth and offered me a guava. I had that and went to sleep again. The evening I woke up. At Gwalior station, I got off and picked some samosas. I had a quick chat with the samosa seller and then he told me..madam train will leave now. I turned back and got into the train and the train started moving. The sardar uncles striked a conversation about how I did not eat lunch. I slowly started talking to them. Realised how friendly they were. I was quiet, but then slowly words popped out of my mouth. We started talking about what each one were doing. I told them I was a writer and they were slept all day..we were wondering..oh uncleji, I have been working too much and thought this will be a great opportunity to catch up on my lost sleep. I was hungry still. We got off at Mathura station. Uncle got me a chai and it eased off the cold. I realised how as we crossed different states, the weather, the language and even the taste of the tea changed. It was amazing. One uncle gave me yummy home made parathas to eat. I had them for dinner after two days of bland biryani with some dry peas. I loved the parathas and told uncleji to thank the people who made it..loji, tumjhi thank you bolo. I spoke to a strange, new voice and said thank you, your parathas were yummy.It was a man on the other end. Thank you for your compliment. You are very kind, he said. At about 9, uncles chased me off to sleep. I was wondering why. After sometime, one uncle told me, beta, can I be frank? We wanted to drink and not sure how you would feel if you know and see. I just smiled. Please carry on. Wait uncleji, I will click behind the scenes..chhupa rustam. They all burst out laughing..They told me to be always happy and smiling, like how I was. They lauded me with compliments. One uncle patted me and said you are like my daughter, come home and have parathas. I was really moved. The uncle from Chandigarh read out some shayaris and we went wah wah over it. He took my email id as well. My train journey was almost coming to an end. We walked out of Ludhiana station and uncles took me out to have parathas. It was cold outside. I was waiting for Inder. The parathas had tooo much of butter..too much is an understatement. I would not have had so much butter in last two years put together. Suddenly I was getting health concious. After a while Inder came and we told bye to unclejis..I hugged them out of love...and promised to be in touch..We then drove off to Moga..