Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Imagine Falling In Love With Someone Who Does Not Drink Tea!

Writing here fees so different. Most of the times, I write on other website that I run. And when something does not fit there, it gets published here. My boss there is too hard to please. But that's another story altogether.

Our mind is one long-ass checklist. We almost always know what we want. Or what we don't want. Even when we say that we don't have any expectations, we have a list of what all qualify as "expectations" in our mind. And that's how our mind works. After all, not having any expectations is an expectation too, right?

Life works in a funny way. We have so many perceptions about so many things. We have so many reservations about how we want to live our life, or what kind of jobs we will never do. What will be our career choice. And so on. But when we hit the field, very small percentage of people get what they really want. Most of us end up with what we manage to get at the end of the day. Our choices are limited. Maybe because we lack talent. Or resources. Or both.

I tried my hands at CA, MBA, GMAT and what not. I wanted to work in a fancy corporate doing some fancy job in finance field. But I ended up in sales department in a bank. And from there I ended up being a lawyer. I did not even know if I really wanted to practice law. But there I was. Preparing for an interview in a law firm I knew nothing about. I borrowed a pair of formal clothes from a friend and went for the interview. And cleared. 

That's how my true journey started so far as my career was concerned. My initial plans of becoming a finance expert were nowhere to be seen. 

Not only career, but I got such surprises in case of relationships too. I still cannot answer what do I really want. But I did know what I did not want. And I almost always ended up with the one with the quality/qualities I did not want. Most of these things were not so important as tea. Tea is such an important part of my life. Whoever knows me knows this. And I would always say this to my friends that I cannot imagine dating someone who does not drink tea. I mean, I just cannot picture someone I like not liking tea. 

And guess what happened next?

Friday, December 06, 2019

And You Shot Them Dead

She did not call you first, because she did not have confidence in you. She knew you would not believe her. Or help her. You would question her character instead. Thus she chose to trust those strangers because, anyone but you. And you shot them dead.

When they were raping her, you were suggesting the exact same things she was expecting you to say. That she may have eloped. Don’t worry she will come back when she realises her mistake. They raped her. And you shot them dead.

They were 4, she was alone, in the middle of the night. They raped her again and again. They killed her so that she would not testify. And you shot them dead.

They hurt her. And burnt her alive. So that they would destroy any evidence. Or just for that sadistic pleasure of watching her die. We may never know. And you shot them dead.

You arrested them in a day. After being the reason behind her death. Had you believed the victim’s family, maybe she would have been alive. Or maybe not. We may never know. And you shot them dead.

You took them to the crime scene. In the middle of the night. Maybe so that it would be easy to kill them without anyone watching? Or maybe you simply wanted to show your efficiency after your blunder. We may never know. And that’s precisely when you shot them dead. In the middle of the night. Just so that you don’t have to answer awkward questions. You killed criminals by becoming criminals yourself. Will we ever trust you? No. Because for you, we will always have eloped when our family will come in the middle of the night to file a complaint. Because, who will go to look for a girl at night? Why will she be out at night? Bloody characterless whore. And we will continue to get raped. And killed. And you will escape from every crime that you will commit. Every crime that you could have avoided. And lives you could have saved. But you decided to shoot them dead instead.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

I am not a traveller

Note: It's just a rant post.

I don’t call myself a traveller. I like to travel. And I travel a bit more than a normal person. But a lot less than a full time traveller. I am quite happy, content and slightly proud of the places I have been to. Over the years, I have come to realise one thing.

I don't remember destinations on the basis of popular places there. For eg, I don't remember a hillstation for that popular waterfall, or a city for some monument. To me, most of the memories are associated with either food or some random places I happened to discover.

Or even a random memory I associate myself with, or some mindless bargaining to buy something really small. When I see people going to places I have already visited, I so badly want to recommend them places to eat at, dishes to try in that particular restaurant/thela.

Or buy that small piece of souvenir item outside a touristy destination, or go for a drive around that place and try to find some breathtaking landscapes. My association of any place is connected with these small small memories and experiences. 

I don't remember the popular monastery of Coorg, but I do remember making up stories about Tipu Sultan's loo since we were bored of hearing his stories everywhere we went. I don't remember Burj Khalifa or Dubai mall or aquarium. but I do remember staring at that fresh bun at Papparoti they made right in front of me and served me in the same tray. Or that thai meal at Benjarong. I don't remember many attractions of China or Hong Kong. But I remember going to a public swimming pool and sitting at the stand, staring at all those swimmers - oldies and kids - for hours. And I remember not being the only one to do so. That's the pastime of many people there. They come. Sit in the stand. Watch. Leave.

I don't remember how I felt when I saw the Eiffel tower at night for the first time, but I remember bargaining for those Eiffel tower keychains and magnets. I remember meeting an Indian guy selling them. 15 keychains for 2 Euros was a kickass deal. 

I don't remember what I did in Shimla. But I remember where I had chhole kulcha. Or that awesome meal in a very cool cafe in Kaza. Or wai wai in Sikkim while missing Maggi. Or using landline in Nubra Valley where there is no other network working. Yes, I do remember watching Northern lights. But what's more clearly etched in my mind is, in the middle of Iceland - the most unlikely place to have someone speak in village gujarati. Or meeting an Icelandic lady on the flight that was delayed and have us dropped just in time for our lights chasing tour. 

No, I am not a traveller. I am not even an explorer. I am just a curious soul that happens to find right things at the right time. Well, not everything is right, or pleasant. But they are still there. Reminding me of little moments of happiness every time I hear the name of that place. 

I want to go back to all those places. But only if I could relive all those memories all over again..

Monday, September 10, 2018

New beginnings

Life has been good to me overall. Especially from this side of the fence. If you asked me about how my life was 15 years ago, I would have cribbed about a lot of things. Be it dating or falling in love with wrong guys, or making wrong choices. Rather, choices that seemed wrong then are right now. 

I have had a not so rosy life. From starting to earn and finance my studies after 12thexams, to choosing wrong partners all my life – I struggled. I fell down. Failed miserably. And got up again. Broken, but not undefeated. I never really gave up on life. People came into my life. Walked all over me. Tried to break my spirit. But my spirit is a tough bitch. Tougher than I expected it to be. It got up every time and joined the fight.

After all this, I realized that there is no point in sulking about anything. You cannot let people defeat you every time. You cannot let them break you. You cannot let them win. And for that you don’t have to defeat them either. You just have to win your own battle. You have to stand up for yourself. Respect your own self. And that will make all the difference.

It all started very late for me. I took hasty decisions at the time when people are busy studying or shaping up their careers. I was living in a fantasy world then. And I continued doing so for years. By the time I decided to make amends, my friends were already making a six-figure salary. I felt like a loser back then. Did I regret my past? No I didn’t. And that was my first victory. I did not let that past affect me. 

I started everything from the scratch. I started building my life from the beginning. Brick by brick. Pillar by pillar. Wall by wall. I would see my friends travel to Europe and think if I would ever visit those countries. I started fulfilling my dream of travelling by going for short trips. Within one state. With a budget under 10k – something that I could afford. At times, I would think about leaving my business and start working somewhere. That comfort of fixed salary was too tempting. Those Eiffel Tower pictures would make me crave for that life. 

But I didn’t give in to the temptation. I did not give up. Yet again. The inner bitch won yet again. From under 10k budget to longer and better trips started taking place. Slowly it grew from India to other countries. I started ticking off things from my bucketlist one by one. I was damn nervous when I applied for Schengen Visa. I never believed or expected that I would ever get a visa to any country. But here it was. A small thing for many, a huge deal for me. For what I was and what I had become. I had travelled far. And it was no small feat. When I witnessed northern lights on my birthday last year, I realized how good life has been to me. 

From there, to today when I have moved to my own apartment. No, I didn’t buy it. You cannot afford a house in Bombay anymore unless you take a hugeass loan and are ready to stay indebted for most of your life. I cannot live under the burden of loans. But having my own space means a lot to me. I fought against all odds and reached here. Again something I never thought I could achieve. People and experiences killed my belief in myself. I was foolish enough to let that happen. But I was also wise enough to come out of it and changed it.

Only you can decide your life and what you want to do with it. Listen to others. But don’t be blinded. Don’t ever lose faith in yourself. You are the good and the bad in your own life. The day you give this power to someone else, you start losing your battles. But remember, even that’s not the end of your life. Every point can be a new beginning if you want it to be. Every point can be the end of everything if you let that happen.

I am writing after almost a year. It feels good to be able to write what is going on in my head. I feel powerful again. And I am still melodramatic about these things. Some things don’t change. Thank god!

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Hampi - A Dream Destination That's Actually A Nightmare

No, don't get me wrong. The place is beautiful. It's full of history, culture (both ancient and current) and traditions. Probably the only city full of temples where most of the atheists pay a visit. Okay, it's a lame line. But I cannot help it. I am writing after almost a year.

Let's concentrate on Hampi for now. A city of ruins, they call it. And it is indeed one. As soon as you enter the place, you get very calm vibes. Something that you feel in a temple. Something that you you feel at a holy place. And yet something just does not feel right. Let's come to that later.

The place welcomes you with greens (thanks to ongoing monsoon even in October damnit!) and rocks and structures. Every damn corner has some unfinished structure made from stone. And mountains are a collection of rocks. They seem to be leaning on one another. Like you move one and the entire lot will fall down and create another mountain? Yes, that's how they are. Naturally organised. Systematic. 

Hampi is vastly divided in two parts - temple side of the river and the other side of the river. Temples or ruins offer you a historically rich and ancient experience, while the other side is called the hippie island. Temples. At least 10+. The ruins. Built in 14th century. 15th century. Weathering. Yet standing tall. And strong. You fall in love with them as soon as you set a foot inside. You marvel the art and the artist. You want to capture everything. You want to absorb every corner. You want to know and see more. You enter the temple. 

And that's when things start going crazy. Batshit crazy. Like, literally. As soon as you enter the temple, you are greeted with bat shit and piss odour. That smell is so strong that you just cannot stand inside for more than 10 seconds. In some of the temples, you are even greeted with human shit. I could not enter a single temple because of this sole reason. It broke my heart. Something that's so precious, so ancient, and we don't even value it.

So yes, Hampi is all about appreciating the outer beauty. Appreciating those ancient stone structures crumbling. And people harping on them to get clicked. And it's not a pretty sight. As much as I had waited for years to visit these ruins, I was more eager to leave from there at the earliest.

If you ask me whether or not you should visit Hampi? Hell yes, you should. It's a wonder. The overall beauty is mesmerising. Coracle ride is an experience to remember. Rivers and greens and stones and mountains and roads - everything together makes Hampi a beautiful painting.

Tip - Try to take shortcuts and walk as much as you can to go from one temple to another if the path is passing by the river. You will come across some beautiful trails. Like the one we came across to go to the most popular viththala temple. The rocks that you see, you walk on them. You climb and cross small hills. You come across some more ruins. Abandoned temples. This entire experience is something else.

Now let's move to the other side of the river. The Hippie island. Now, this place came as a shock to me. I was expecting it to be a normal area with a few hotels and guesthouses here and there and a cafe or two serving regular food. But Hippie island lives upto its name. Cool and laid back cafes, bakeries, awesome food, easy to score nooks and corners and everything else that you would like on a holiday.

I had my fair share of good and bad food experiences. The most popular laughing buddha cafe was one of the most overrated places there. While the view is awesome, you will get the same chilled out vibes at other places, with far better food and services. By services I mean that if other cafes take 40 minutes to get you a sandwich, Laughing Buddha will take over an hour for the same. But it's the most popular place among Foreigners.

My favourite place was German Bakery. Awesome food, happy people and mattresses you can lie down on after a hectic day of roaming around the town. The evening when I went there, every table had a beer bottle and every second table had weed. The guy there was pleasantly shocked when I ordered for a hot chocolate (which was bloody brilliant) instead of beer. Advantage? He remembered me and would joke around every time he passed by our table. Yet we didn't get our order fast enough. No complaints though.

Another good place was Chilled out cafe. So, here's the thing. You get non-vegetarian food and alcohol only on the other side of the river, ie Hippie island side. Temple side serves only pure vegetarian food and no beverages. Chilled out was an exception. It served eggs, if no meat. And you are still allowed to smoke pot there.

Before I sign off, when you plan to visit Hampi, go with an open mind, don't expect too much from the ruins, carry mosquito repellant and brush up your bargaining skills. It's a safe place for women solo travellers. Food is so good that you don't have to carry thepla there. They will go wasted. And have hot chocolate at German Bakery! 

Here are few more pictures of the place. I am not a dslr photographer. I click on my phone and yet they are bloody brilliant pictures. Yes, I take the full credit.

Only this picture is not clicked by me. But well, it has me!