June 2014. I visited Ladakh for the first time. It was a family road-trip and my mother was more excited than me. We spent a week in the region doing everything touristy like day trips to Pangong & Nubra Valley, visiting famous monasteries and eating Momos. The trip ended, Facebook pictures got updated, everyone got back to work but since then, a part of me continued to live in those mountains.
Where the air had something that makes me think I’ll go back. For more… More of what metro cities don’t have. Neither do the villages. Cheap Uber rides, malls and markets to choose from, street food stalls as well as affordable cafés, un-crowded yet relatively safe neighborhoods to go on long walks, folks who are neither too interfering nor too indifferent.
These days, my Facebook timeline is generally filled with three kind of posts: People getting married and married people celebrating anniversaries. People producing kids and people with kids celebrating their birthdays. People checking in to colorful café and exotic destinations. I never want to see myself in either of the first two categories. But definitely the third one!
That silent touch, sound of water crashing with rocks, clouds making ridiculous patterns, the ruffle of grass on your feet, distant chirp of birds, the way your best friend calls your name. Such priceless things in life are often free!
As much as the mainstream Bollywood movies are known to be far from reality, let’s just accept all of us have at least one favorite. Be it a young girl living on the streets trying to copy Anushka Sharma or a business tycoon hopping from one luxury hotel in India to another, we all have that filmy keeda we group up with.
Ever wondered why Gurgaon is known as the ‘Millennium city’? Oh why am I even asking – the folks who stay there must either be working hard, stuck in traffic or lying on a couch, half-drunk. Those staying elsewhere don’t give a damn. So, no time for such questions, right? But, I know you all often sneak into the more colorful virtual world when boss is not around or between two traffic signals or when, for a while, you are somewhere between sober and sleepy. After all, I’ve spent two of the most frustrating years of my life in town.
If you’ve ever tried to bring all your family members together, you know how it can be a huge task. In a recent Bollywood movie, they took years to click a family photograph. But as we all know, things are often exaggerated there. You don’t have to wait for years or even months if you want to take your Indian joint family for an epic vacation.
On a trip to the misty (because it was June) mountains of Darjeeling, we (I along with my parents and sister) were driving on a road when a local accompanying us informed, “Ye right side wale ghar Nepal mein aate hain.” (The houses on the right side of the road come under Nepal). Much to our amusement, we went on for about 10 minutes on the border road that was common for India and Nepal, left side belonging to former while the right side to latter.
If you’ve read my last post, you must be aware how I’ve committed to spend next one year in rural India. Maybe, more! It’s easy to say drinking water isn’t a problem when you’re sitting in that apartment on 11th floor where the guy delivering 30 liter mineral water bottle earns more than double of a farmer family in rural parts of the country. But, visit this side and you’ll meet the challenge right in its face.
As I sit down to pen this post, there’s a sudden calmness around. The to-do list at the back of my mind has shut itself up for a while. The recently emptied yellow coffee mug kept on the right side of my laptop just gave me some instant energy and the weather in this part of the country couldn’t be better. All in all, coming back to the blog after one and a half month feels great!