Sunday, August 17, 2014

the icy seductress

the soft gurgling noise of the icy rivulets fills the stark silence of the pitch black nights.

the silvery water keeps rolling and knocking against soft round pebbles that fill the river bed

the soft streams cradled among the rocky mountains seem to carry a strange divinity

I went to sleep every night with the same soft gurgling sound filling my ears, and the images of the clear blue water tumbling all along the rocks filling my mind before I lose myself into its magical hypnotism
dipping oneself into the hypnotic trance

I wake up each morning and walk over the icy rivulets and seat myself on the rocks by the river, often letting my limbs play with the flow of the icy waters. I kept wondering about the tiny streams flowing eternally, gracing rocks of all shapes, tumbling on and on, forming the shape of the land for huge distances, and making up the eternal cycle of life.

Clocks were seldom needed here as the river seemed tell the time in synergy with the sun and the thick mist. They together formed and dispersed all sense of time in the valley. They decide when you wake up and when you can summon enough courage to walk out of the tent. They decide when you get tired and when you get into slumber.

when ones very breathing moments are left to the mercy of the skies, the boulders around and the ever strengthening currents of the icy waters, life becomes a synchronous embodiment of the very same elements that surround us. In their company I had the strong sense of being alive as a human being again.

Left to the wild in a group of like minded and similarly witted human beings, man learns to create a sense of community and life among the forces of nature.

Felt like being close to the real purpose and sense of being human... again.. a sense of continuous rebirth :)

Image copyrights are owned by Cijo George

Saturday, August 16, 2014

writing travelogues

When I look back at my five years of self reliance, I must have visited many places in my free time.  Many short and long trips, many silly and many life changing memories fill my mind when I walk down the memory lane.

And often I think of writing them alongside the various travelogues that I have penned here. But I don't think I am such a good travel writer as those I see out there for some reasons. Maybe I can't really get out of the sphere that each trip creates around me and write about it in a manner that new travellers might want to read.

Something sticks around from all these experiences in some corners of my mind and comes out at various unexpected moments, and makes me behave in ways that set me apart. So when someone recently said that experiences stretch our minds to a new level, and once you are there, there is no real coming back, I couldn't agree more. You can of course act and try to put up with the world as if you are getting along completely. But being someone else to be part of the world, however attached you are to its members, is a crime. And I am pretty sure that almost everyone is guilty of it.  While the world doesn't allow one to be what one wants to be, it does allow one to know what one wants to  be. Believe me, knowing it can make huge differences in the way one lives his/her life.

In tat manner, travelogues are a personal and spiritual guide to understanding myself and my reactions to the wonderful experiences that travel provides. I often crave to be able to sit down and note the passing thoughts and conversations in my head and those had with fellow travellers. That , according to me is a satisfactory piece of travel writing. Providing a guide to other travellers or a piece of well placed words to sooth connoisseurs comes later to my mind..

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Maduraikku pogathedee..

After pacing around in the scorching heat of Madurai, I finally find myself in the temple complex of the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Kovil.

The first thing that catches my attention is the blissful ecosystem with the peepals and the neems hanging over the ever clean tiled street surrounding the  Amman Kovil. I would consider myself a criminal if I ever understated the bliss and calm around. The soothing hymns floating along keeps the air even more rhythmic.

For those with an appetite there are many options. But right now I am after the famous Jigardanda alone. Waiting for some space to be made after the heavy lunch I had at the wedding, not to forget the extra load of soft drinks and tea that I had.

The experience becomes even more blissful after couple of hours of roaming along the streets under the hot sun, carrying a sizeable bag. The heat is slowly getting on me, and sweat flows down my face but I was strolling slowly.

I had been to the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Kovil a couple of times before this, and I still had around three hours before my train back to Bangalore. Having lots of time helped me observe many things around me. The hawkers selling  a variety of colourful bangles and cosmetics passed by with their wares, and were followed by a father holding his son's hands and telling him stories while walking around the compound. I wondered how many times my father would have held my hands and took me to umpteen places telling me fake stories to prevent me from running away ;) That moment, I wished to be home, to stop roaming and sit besides him and listen to the stories that he has to tell now.

Snapping out of my emotional whirlpool after a moment, I decided to take a good look at the gopuram. I think it was the South one I visited first. After a few attempts at clicking photos, I felt like an idiot and decided to examine the art work with my eyes. Roving my eyes over the large structure made my neck pain and I decided to take in the sight at ease. So, very much unlike my usual practice to stand and walk for long hours, I decided to sit down and enjoy the marvel in front of me. Nothing else was in my mind when I was immersed in the beauty of the ancient construction. Each demon, each God, every mythical figure in it seemed to weave stories in my head as the facts about Madurai's history kept rolling into my head from some storage. I might even have had a full blown historical and artistic conversation within my head before I decided to snap out of it and tweeted the pic of the beautiful tower :)
the towering beauty
Seeing me sitting on the footsteps of a closed shop, staring at the sky, a couple of roadside palmists approached me and tried to make me take the bait by offering to predict my career, matrimonial ventures and even going as far as claiming that from my face it was clear something big was coming :) I managed to break out of their circle and walked to the next tower. On the way, I found a hand loom showroom where I decided to check out sarees for Amma and found even more beautiful ones than the ones I had bought from Pothy's a while ago. But after getting a firm scolding from Amma for overpurchasing I managed to filter only two good sarees from that shop and moved on.

I didn't find the other towers to be as imposing as the Southern one, but they were pretty good as well. I soon found myself approaching the shopping areas and bagged some Amla and also managed to down a tasty cup of Jigardanda

 before I decided that I had eaten too much and started walking in the direction of the railway station, hoping I will take a couple of hours to reach. But it so happened that the railway station was too close :(
Tired after all the walk and all the food, I dropped my bag and sat down beside the platform, tweeting and whatsapping a bit even as my phone battery threatened to die out soon. All of sudden it started raining and I had to pick up everything and move to the first platform, grumbling all the way. My eager eyes soon found a notice which read "AC waiting room. Rs.10/- per hour. Tickets available at Platform I". It was pasted outside the waiting room, and so I guessed it meant I had to take the tickets from the ticket counter and went in search of it. Phew, it was a near 10 minute tired walk to get there and after another 5 minutes in the queue, the person at the ticket counter informed me that the tickets were available at the waiting room itself. I smiled a weak smile, thanked him and trudged back.

What followed was an hour of a repacking, recharging and telling the stories to all my friends. I stayed some extra time in the AC room until the train finally arranged and I had an uneventful journey besides a fully loaded
The murukkus, paan packets, kaaracheeva packet and couple of sarees bulged my bag as I put myself to a tough sleep among the chug-chug of the railgaadi :)