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 danced..it was a sight to watch..as 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 backdrop..it 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 choola..to 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 freezing..it 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 like..you 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..