“It will be a long day”, said Vinod, who was accompanying me to visit SHGs (Self help groups) in rural Karnataka. I was eager to know how similar or different they would be, from the SHGs I had met in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Goa on my earlier work-trips. Several activities were lined up in different villages. We had a heavy breakfast at Mysore and drove towards our first village, Doora, through green and yellow Paddy fields with patches of Sugarcane in between.
Last month a group of friends were planning to Go Goa because they were getting cheapest air tickets and they invited me to join. Two minutes into the conversation, their itinerary (or lack of it) helped me from wasting my five valuable days staying immersed in pools of Goa Hotels and getting drunk on Baga beach. Don’t get me wrong. Its fine if that’s your idea of a vacation. What made me cringe even more
I have spent nights (and days) looking for affordable flight tickets, trying various websites, filters and permutations, all in incognito window of course so that those advertisements on the side bar don’t keep popping up. After a few successful attempts, I’ve learnt there’s no fixed equation to grab that dream deal without any terms and conditions. I’ve also learnt that just being mindful of the following,
Backpacking trip can mean different things to different people. For me it’s a combination of budget (not dirt-cheap) stays, semi-planned itineraries, occasional adrenaline rush, breathtaking landscapes, ancient architecture, long walks and of course, a backpack. The first time I traveled with just a pack on my back, it was a Himalayan trek in Uttarakhand, with 9 strangers who became friends by the end of coming down the mountains. While most things went well, a few smaller ones did go wrong.
Indore for me is LOVE. A part of it is because of city’s obsession with food. But, a larger part of that affection comes from a fact that I never expected Indore to be amazing. When you continue to stay in metro cities for a long time, you tend to underestimate second tier towns. That’s exactly what I also did, something that I’m not proud of.
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!
If locals are to believe, the total audience for Alleppey boat race is more than double of what Wankhede stadium can accommodate. The oarsmen row the boats up to a speed of 80 rows per minute. That’s even faster than your heartbeat. There will be drums beating, supporters dancing, police patrolling and first-time visitors like me trying to make a sense of this one big party, where the entire town comes together to celebrate the biggest event hosted by them. In pictures: Reaching the venue Practice sessions Viewers On duty The battle Departure It was my first trip by myself –
As a child, whenever I’d make new friends, I’d come home to tell my mother all about them. She would listen, while ironing clothes, or helping me with homework. Once I was done, she’d ask their last names, to mentally figure out their castes. Probably to tell me to get closer or stay away from them. Only, she never did!
“How did you go?” “Well, I bought a ticket.” “How did you know where to stay?” I didn’t. It was a risk worth taking. “How did you eat alone?” Just how I eat in someone else’s company, with my hands and mouth! “Did you ever step out of your room?” “What did you do?” “How did you roam around?” Sometimes, I roll my eyes on these questions before answering. Yeah, I can be rude.