Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Backpack.... Lost and Found – Self.


“To awaken alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark

I thought Freya must be out of her mind.

But you know what; Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. I decided to extend my trip by few more days to step out of my comfort zone and live the life, I have never lived.

To begin with,

Bangkok,

I had no plans on what to do and where to go. A good traveller has no fixed plans apparently. But NO! That line did not inspire me. Eventually managed to book a hostel(Bedstation) in the last minute, which later turned out to be my saviour and bliss.

A great place to stay; meet strangers from different parts of life; grab a beer and talk anything under the sun; be anyone(fantasy included!) you want to be; walk out as friends!

A glimpse of Bedstation 
Random discussions with random people over breakfast table leads to an exciting plan for the next few days. The funny part is, none had a plan before that breakfast. So I head out to explore. Not necessary to stick with the group. You can just take off anytime, anywhere, with or without.

Wake up with a blank mind, have a hot shower, grab a healthy breakfast, pocket a local map and head-out, explore, get lost, and talk to locals, relish local food, find self, smile, explore more, talk more, eat more, smile more and finally, back to bed with memories. And the cycle continued.

This is exactly how I spent my few days at Bangkok and this is what I found (not read) about Bangkok.


The city is highly busy and commercial.

Overloaded Buddhism at one section of the city and rest of all the section is famous for what you know it is famous for! If you don't know, read about it. Wait!! Rather visit and see for yourself.

It is weird to believe that, I lost not more than one-fourth of a day to sleep in all those days.

Travelling leaves you speechless, then turns you into a story teller. Absolutely true, Mr. Batutta.

I wish to share more stories.

But it is better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times- An old Asian proverb.

So. Backpack. Lose. Find. Self.


Friday, 20 March 2015

When you are not…………….

When you are not, what you are expected to be, but if you are who you really want to be, care a damn about those hypocrites and continue to be the way you really wanted to be.

The old adage “Grass is always greener on the other side” makes a lot of sense. People hardly realize that dreaming about the life they wish for, is not going to help unless you stop dreaming and do something towards it. Of course, I am referring to those things that are in their control. But those “Had you been” talks freak me out!! Life sounds so easy rosy in those talks. Wish we all know the true meaning of hypothesis.

Although above such things are common in many aspects of life, education is one of the highlighted and sensitive issues. Our society strongly believes that the right education paves way to wisdom. Agreed! Hands down! But sadly a section of us still believe that certain degrees (not necessarily it educates) leads to dignity, stardom, fame, wealth, and lastly wisdom. One such cliché is becoming an engineer or a doctor or an MBA. Every middle class Indian wants to become one of those former two. Due to this frenzy, engineering in India has become a business, and let alone the standard of education. No matter how many movies Amir khan does, the true essence will never be realised. At this rate, it would not be a surprise if being an engineer or a doctor turns out to be minimum criteria for one to get married in the near future!

I strongly believe, the society will progress only when one stops being part of the herd; stops being another cog in the wheel. But life teaches you lessons the hard way! Learnt it!

P.S. I still would carry the above thoughts even if I were an engineer or a doctor. But when you are not… Be yourself! You are unique, just like everyone!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

BANG-BONG-BANG

No! I have not misspelt the movie BANG BANG and this is not its preview either. Well, this has nothing to do with any movie. Rather, this is the personality of a man who has been amazingly insightful about life and beyond life. No, he ain't a saint; not (completely) crazy; not blindly spiritual; not my new role model. He is just another common man of my age. But what makes him stand out? An artist! Not by profession (yet), but by nature. Fascinated by theatre, cinema, art, nature at a very young age (when he was 4 years old!), he embarked on to this wild journey from a remote place in north-east to scale great heights in the city of dreams – Mumbai!

A seamless connection between his thoughts and delivery is awe-inspiring. It is not rocket science. It is just a plain, simple life. But you (I) have not seen life, the way he sees. Trust me, it is a different world.

I have never found answers to any of my deep and innermost questions. I do not believe in any spiritual guru and neither in his blessings. I do not meditate. But every time, I found my discussions with this guy to be so unique and very unlike my usual discussions with my circle. I do not claim that he has provided me with all worldly answers. Duh! No way! Yet, there is this sense of direction and clarity about life in general.

Unable to recollect many, just quoting a few of his views (screw my bad memory).
“Only when you let your sub-conscious to take over your conscious mind, will you begin to appreciate life. That is when you begin the true journey of life.”
I was dumbfounded.

On another instance, he logically contradicted my views against The Chanakya’s wisdom, “He who is overly attached to his family, experiences fear and sorrow, for the root of all grief is attachment. Thus one should discard attachment to be happy.”

I vehemently opposed it. I believe or rather used to believe, happiness is family; family is happiness.

Although he was not against my views, he asked me to define happiness. It is not as easy as it sounds. I stumbled, searched for it. I could not define it.

Later, he remarked, true happiness is beyond family. When your roots are tied with your family, you fail to explore the world beyond your family.
And thus, he certified the Chanakya’s words successfully.

How simple and elegant. A true artist. Dumbfounded.

Speaking of artist, I said, you see things differently about life probably because you are an artist. He denies. 
Every individual, irrespective of their profession can be an artist, he says. Learn to appreciate everything in life. Life is not a Salman Khan movie (btw he is eagerly waiting for the release of kick, not for Salman, but for Nawaz Siddiqui) where everything goes in favour of you. Learn to find the silver lining at every stage. Do not be in a rush. You will reach your destiny when it is time. Meanwhile, enjoy the journey!
Just dumbfounded!

All of this might sound like I have turned in to his disciple or you (I) may have even heard this before. But like I said, when you hear from the horse's mouth, it feels like the first time, each time. What began as a causal and curious experiment of cooking pan-Indian cuisines for lunch/dinner has now grown much more significant. It is no more a delight just to my tummy but to my mind too.

Once I poked this non-commercial movie freak, who is the best director in Bollywood currently? He replied, “Ek la**a bi nai hai”.

Maybe not currently, but I reckon in the near future, there will be one named “Amitav Deb.”

My best wishes!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Looking Behind – Comedy of Errors!


It has been 3 months now since I moved to Baroda. At times, life seemed to be fast, lively and fun. But mostly, it has been dead slow and dull. For someone who is lazy by nature, staying away alone could turn into either a boon or a bane. Well, in my case, it has been the latter largely. To be fair on myself, I have tried my hand on various stuffs to keep myself away from boredom.

Read Books  – Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is collecting dust in a corner.
Watch Movies/Series  – My age old laptop is dead.
Learn Gujarati           – LOL.
Try Cooking               – My first attempt’s result is positive. Likely to pursue.
Explore City               – After 6 days work in a week. Really?
Party                           – A distant dream. FYI, I am in Gujarat.
Self-Introspection      – Who am I kidding?!

One might argue that, I have not really tried all the above. No! You are wrong! I have given it a thought (literally)!

Any suggestions to kill boredom are invited. The sooner the better as boredom is killing me real fast.

Meanwhile, I shall give some tips on ‘what not to do’ when alone. Whilst I was sick and bedridden a while back, a colleague of mine bought me a bottle of sugarcane juice. I had a little of it and forgot the rest. A couple of days later, I found the bottle rolling aimlessly under my bed and decided to empty the rest. Now, listen carefully. NEVER EVER shake a bottle of sugar cane juice before emptying it. Alas, no one warned me before. I gave it a quick shake and turned the cap a little. Just a little! That was it. A mini bomb exploded! The bottle cap went on a mission to mars, the bottle back fired on to the wall. The stale juice was all over my head and neither the ceiling was spared. The noise was so loud that my ear continued to buzz for hours making me seriously worry and the blast left my palm numb for some time! Amazed at the nature’s trick, I was profoundly laughing at myself. I thank my stars for being sick at that time, my neighbor cleaned up the whole mess while I was on a hunt for the missing cap!


Lesson learnt – When someone gives you something for free, consume it ASAP!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Weekend Madness! Courtesy - THERHT!

Worried of missing my destination Nagda (I recommend clicking it to know (more) about this place!), I decided to stay awake during my 6 hour journey. But by 1.30 AM, I could not resist taking a nap counting on my co-passenger’s promise that he would wake me on time and of course, I always count on Indian railways, seldom has it reached on time. After my hour hand had swung 360* few times, the same odd smell from Harihar struck bells and I sensed Nagda was just nearby(For those who are wondering, Grasim industry is in both towns). I alighted and there was my man, waiting ready to receive me grandly! (Oh Wait!! How I wish it was the case! I am speaking hypothetically! True friends always make you wait!). Eventually Rohit turned up in his Indigo (2002 model :P) and we zipped away. 



Situated on the banks of Chambal River, Nagda is a small industrial town with tall chimneys coughing out pollutants. But the Grasim colony is certainly a cut above the rest of Nagda. To my surprise, every Tom, Dick and Harry smiles and waves at my friend leaving me bemused with two options. Either, Nagda, being a small town, I am seeing the same set of guys circling every street or ‘THERHT’ is the ‘Modi of Nagda’. Wondering if I should prostrate completely or in a semi-fashion, I met the elders at his house and my back recommended a semi is good enough and executed it multiple times. On the other hand, I have to admit it was strange and nice, seeing Rohit behave (I still think he acts) responsibly to his inmates. Authoritative to his younger and obligated to his elder brother!

Post feasting on some authentic breakfast, we went around the colony. Every street, every building looks identical and a newbie like me will end up roaming for light years. Landmarks and milestones don’t work either (tried them too!). Later, the heavy lunch made me realize how he bloats in a matter of few days. The food was so delicious that I ate as much as he did (Which I claim as a record) and I ended up swirling and coiling semi-consciously for hours in the bed. To burn some calories, we decided to go for a swim. Apparently only Nagda residents are allowed to enter the pool and have to carry an ID card. But Rohit, like every other day, made his way through using his deceiving skills and got a pass for me too.

On constant nagging for a party from Gaurav (A mutual friend) and me, he agreed for one (A silent party though!) post dinner. Studies show that there might be a positive correlation between intelligence and alcohol consumption. Gaurav proved it wrong and so did we! (Gaurav – I am guessing you will disagree with me on this). Many (e)X, Y, Z subjects were discussed during the long marathon. It has always been a pleasure listening to THERHT’s non-sober talks. So was this time.

The visit was a much deserved break and certainly was worth its weight in gold. The weekend madness will continue!


Behind the sceneEvery average Indian male scans the name chart in his train coach, not just to see his name, but also at others, hoping it would be his day! As I was reaching my coach, a stunner was in the same coach. Curious to know more, I hurriedly scanned the charts and did not find any relevance to the detail on the chart with the one seated. With my longing dying down rapidly, I tried looking up my own name to confirm. WHAT THE! My name was missing! Later I realised that the charts were outdated. DAMN! Indian Railways derails my dreams too! 

Monday, 19 May 2014

Elixir of my life – Alluring at its best!

Malted barley, hops, yeast and water don’t make much sense when they stand alone. But when you put them together and manipulate the natural process, you get the elixir of mankind! A curious mind would reckon what I am talking about. And only those minds would understand the true essence of this random piece. The harmless* mixture – the reason behind euphoria for some, dysphoria for some and endless other emotions vaporing out of their souls, has been a distant dream for me in the dry state here. Had it been a case where it is absolutely impossible to find one, it would have remained a dream. But it is India! There is nothing called as unavailability of banished ones and Yeah! Dreams come true! Don’t they?!

After being ubiquitous, it was seldom seen, heard and it was a ‘TABOO’ here.  Having laid multiple baits with few (Reality-with almost everyone I knew here!) friends here, I made up my mind that the one who hands me the elixir will be promoted from a friend status to my best friend! Days became weeks, weeks into a month and the wait was getting cruel. The night is darkest just before the dawn! And as promised, the dawn was coming! (Again, curious minds would recognize this punch line!)

One of those baits had worked and eventually I managed to lay my hands on the elixir of my life. Without a surprise, it was truly an elixir and casted its spell over me briefly over the night. Nevertheless, it was worth the wait.

Funny yet a very true FB quote strikes me at this point, “Oh NaMo! Please do not replicate your state’s model in India. It is quite hard to drive down to neighboring countries!” I bet he wouldn’t dare to do that unless he has plans to lose his PM seat!

* depends on individual & their appetite level/pattern. The author does not promote it by any means!

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Feeling Home – It’s not just the SUN!

My only non-home advantage has become a mirage (I only see those nowadays!). It is blazing hot and brings back memories of Chennai. But you know it! It is not one of those happy nostalgic moments. However, I am feeling home for more than one reason. My experiments with different food at different places turned out pleasant yesterday when I had dosa at a lari(road side shop in Gujju). I was waiting patiently for my onion-masala dosa and my colleague fought his way out of the crowd carrying two dosas over his head with a triumphant smile. My olfaction was at its best as the dosa came close.  And the moment I tasted it, I knew the cook’s DNA had some part of Tamil in it. Post savouring it blissfully, I met the cook and his looks had “I am a Tamilian” all over him. When I started conversing in Tamil, he seemed startled initially giving me the look “How the hell did you know?” rubbing his sweating forehead (as I imagine, trying to rub his Tamilian look off his forehead). Eventually, when he replied, the sound of Tamil in an alien place was the best feeling I could ever ask for! We instantly hit it off. His other customers extended their plates for more sambar and chutni giving us a quizzing look. For a moment, the guy was so into talking with me that he did not notice the customer asking for extra chutney and it pissed off the waiting customer. Instantly, he apologised in Gujju (Yes! He ought to speak Gujju staying here for more than a decade) and the very next second he turned to me and passed a witty comment (Typical Tamilian way!) on these demanding people here! Both of us roared in laughter. His parting comment was, “Dosa saapdla naalum adikadi inga vanga!”(Come often even if you don’t want to have Dosa). I just waved him back thinking, his customer base just increased by one and I just found someone to talk with! A true moment of mirth!