If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler?

Starry nights.... hmmmm and Moonlight..

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler?

A traveler what? A traveler anything! He is the protagonist. Where? Anywhere. What does he do? He doesn’t know. Why? He did not write the script.

I saw the book cover again and with it’s title screaming out. Tossed me into a whirlwind of so many of my own winter nights. The people in it. The things we did. The moments we shared. The places we discovered. The drunken alibis. The ourselves we met. The adventures we encountered. The tipsy moonlight. The child like laughter. The mature tears. The deep conversations. The senseless banters. The reassurance in just the look of an eye. The stoned stars. The philosophical/spiritual know it all beings. The hippie like carelessness. The empty gas tanks of our cars. The roads traveled by our shoes. The music discovered by romantics. The meaning acknowledged by lovers. The affection of friends. The smiles that tickled. The dances that welded souls. The silences that captured sagas of stories untold. The warmth of artistic fingers. The nows lived forgetting the then. The racing of wild hearts. The meditation of soulful bliss. The magic that never faded. The spells that were broken. The being. The living. The completeness. The missing piece of the puzzle. The songs that trespassed. The scar that stirred the soul.  The knowing. The mysteries.

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler?

If on a Winter’s night a traveler travels with a co traveler who feels right.. Then he experiences adrenaline and stillness together.

P.s. : “Do you believe that every story must have a beginning and an end?  Italo Calvino (from his book- If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler?)

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I, oh, I’m still ALIVE!

Pearl Jam

For some strange reason listening to this song made me realize that I indeed am lucky to be alive. I have my reasons to believe someone’s got my back. I have been able to live carelessly and this is often mistaken as living freely coz I feel something/someone is looking out for me. I don’t know when but a long time ago I got this reassurance that I could indulge in trial and error and come out shaken not stirred. Scarred not scrapped. I have had a lot of close shaves, seemingly miraculous escapes. From almost drowning in a high tide, to just about falling off a cliff into a valley on a bike, to being threatened by an armed person in a desolate subway, to being in a car that rolled over on a highway, to almost cycling off to the edge leading to a ditch which would spell disaster, to being on a flight in trouble due to a sudden snow storm, to several other such almost fatal accidents. I won’t even attempt to recollect all the everyday innovative, not so dangerous (still don’t try it at home) ones coz there are just too many. From tumbling over sleeping street dogs and falling like a circus clown, to running into a herd of angry screeching owls while trying to figure out what that white object in a dark terrace were, to chipping my tooth trying to sneak in and bouncing down a staircase, to understanding the weird way why must one not hitch a ride in a foreign country.. Errr this would take all day! Lets just say I have a history of what is perceived as my goof ups and mad even stupid incidents. Some have gone as far as stating that my life is charmed.

Oh! and am fairly certain I was fated to meet all the people I’ve met in life. Those were designed to happen by accident or not.

I have been given a lot of names like hurricane, tipsy toes, butter fingers, accident zone, clumsy oaf etc. I guess there must be a method to this madness. There must be a reason why I am wired like that. There must be an answer for all those who have asked me why I wear my heart on my sleeve! This pattern has repeated itself once too often for it to be a sheer “accident”.

“You’re still alive, she said

Oh, and do I deserve to be?

Is that the question?”

I am here to startle like thunder clouds. To leave bold footprints. To make some adventurous co travelers come out of their closet. To hear more songs and learn new dance moves. To see the wonders of creation from its most angelically amazing to its  most devilishly dangerous forms. To star in stories. Maybe someday to write them too. Maybe…

P.S. “Hey I, BUT, I’m still alive”

P.P.S. It would be so cliched if I used Robert Frost’s “I have miles to go before I sleep” line here no?

You think you know!

You say you love nothing more than simplicity

Yet I see you take to confusion and complexity

The high highs and the low lows

Heartwarming words coupled with harsh blows

 

Everything thats good need not have a catch

We are on the same side if this is a match

Somethings just are good and so good is really rare

Why must you treat something so charmed without a care

 

When years go by and you look back at this

Something tells me you will reminisce the bliss

Nostalgia will take you to some special places

Someday you will search for one face in all those faces

Water under the bridge!

Why is it that water under the bridge is mostly shallow and still? I guess like most cliches this one’s difficult to pull of. Honestly, how many of us really let go of things? Whether its forgiving ourselves for mistakes made or forgiving others for their wrongs? Whether it is giving a fair chance to ourselves to start over or getting stuck despite deciding to refresh our relationships?

Water under the bridge should ideally be free flowing and charter its own course. If one tries to decide and enforce the fate of the current thats when I guess the stream rebels and troubles us.

Only if we could really genuinely move on and ahead then not only will the traversed waters be smooth but the bridge we tread upon be steady and unwavering.

“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that our eyes watered”   Tom Stoppard

In my life I love you more..

of strange things…

“There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all”

I have met a lot of interesting folks. I appreciate diversity and respect it immensely. I think if one has an open mind and is willing to accept people with their quirks then more often than not, it is those quirks that become endearing. It happens when strong friendships with radically different people is at the initial stages. It could be curiosity about a person who gives you good vibes but is still decidedly different and difficult to figure out, in ways so strange and weird that it propels you to try to figure out what their deal is. It could be a strong compelling attraction towards a random face in the crowd. It may take the form of a person you have known is a particular role assuming an entire different role in your life. It happens when it seems like someone was sent to you for a reason, for a purpose just when you needed them.

That is a big reason why traveling is so interesting. From warm smiles exchanged with strangers, insightful conversations with neighbors on journeys, stories of the locals of their land and people, you being anonymous and experimenting with feats and ideas, sometimes bringing out your real self who often gets lost in day to day living, sometimes discovering a side of you that you never knew existed, sometimes going undercover and doing things you normally consider questionable.

I think who we become is so much a function of who we’ve met, who we’ve let ourselves accept, who have inspired us, who we left behind, and the kind of people we are about to meet and let ourselves meet. From talking mergers with an Invest Banker on Wall Street, to sharing the offering of a backpacker in Sudder Street, From partying like a teenager and nursing a week long hangover in Miami, to a quiet walk with a struggling poet in Rome, From a meal with a staunch Hindu Italian guy studying Indian religion and Culture in Harvard to listening to the outpourings of a depressed heart broken businessman in London, from the impromptu street performance for the friendly random crowd of strangers in Barcelona to a picnic with old new friends by the Eiffel Tower. From bungee jumping with a random guy in NZ to listening to a closet hippie guitarist(business school student by day) all night in NYC. From the regular meetings we take for granted with our friends to cherishing meeting some close ones when time is short and distance is long..Every person gave me an experience and thus a moment and a memory.

Suddenly it could happen that you have an encounter which becomes such a serendipity that it is the single most interesting person/experience of your life. Like being hit by a moving vehicle, it could strike that suddenly. Something tells you inside that this life as you knew it will never be the same. If you stand back and observe yourself closely, I bet you would see the most surprising and interesting slide show of you and your life changing in slow motion in front of your eyes.

I also discovered that the forbidden fruit has un undeniable irresistible appeal and attraction. This is most true when it comes to people. They become all the more desirable and crucial coz you know you can’t have them. All human traits suddenly get activated and amplified. From thinking of it as an interesting challenge and wanting that trophy screaming victory, to thinking the best and worst about yourself and often seeing a stranger in the mirror, to fighting that devil of envy teasing your otherwise good mind, to the need to possess something that doesn’t belong to you and mark your territory, the temptation to trespass and explore, the kleptomania for stolen moments, the sinner who thinks its worth it for that partner in crime etc. etc.

And once it so happens.. Specially when somehow you have always known you are one of those most interesting and amazing people you know and finally you think you’ve met your match!

P.S. “Though I know I’ll never lose affection.. For people and things that went before.. I know I’ll often stop and think about them..In my life I love you more”

A river in the time of dryness..

White Water Rafting: Ayung River, Ubud, Bali

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods; There is a rapture on the lonely shore; There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not man the less, but Nature more… – Lord Byron

I saw the color green for the first time. Every other time was a cheap imitation. Now I know why a ‘Christopher McCandless’ becomes an ‘Alexander Supertramp’ in ‘Into the wild’.. actually now I understand. “The freedom and simple beauty is too good to pass up.”- Super Tramp. There is immense peace in living with nature.. lts sights, sounds n smells. Something about laughing with strangers and sharing moments. They often give u the final nudge required to go through with a stunt which was always on your list. I would recommend rating through the tropical forests in the outskirts of Ubud in Bali. I have done wild water rating several times in several rivers before and this was a whole different experience..

It was like the movies.. a narrow strip of river sandwiched between lush green thick tropical forests where u just can’t help be awestruck by the wild life, waterfalls, wild fauna etc. This also reinforced my faith in free falling.. letting go.. jumping.. quite literally no strings attached.. Conquering your fears and takin a giant leap and really soaking in everything.. the rendezvous between you and the wild rivers.. smoothly swimming with the current and struggling against it. Much like life eh..! Sitting on the cliff with a friendly curious chatty local happily accepting his words, humble and sincere gestures..

Also I would recommend hitching a ride with a local pick up truck coz the way to the base camp is all uphill. Something about a rickety beat up vehicle which has more character than an All Terrain Vehicle also I think. Oh I also tried an ATV and discovered it wasn’t for rookies. So no detailed accounts of me looking bad. Back to the truck. Sitting there as the sun dries you in the openness.. it sinks in that you were there in the middle of the greens on that splendid river which you navigated.. under water falls.. through rapids.. maneuvering rocks.. realization underscores the disbelief.. and you can’t help but smile!

P.S. “If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed”- Alexander SuperTramp (yet again)

 


Bali

A place blessed by happy spirits. Imbibing in it’s soul an attraction that compels and propels one to stay and come back. Bali goes under many names. Some call it the ‘island of the gods’, others Shangri-La. The ‘last paradise’, the ‘dawning of the world’ and the ‘centre of the universe’ are yet more names for this truly beautiful tropical island inhabited by a remarkably artistic people who have created a dynamic society with unique arts and ceremonies.  I remember watching this episode by Anthony Bourdain where he declares he has finally found a place he would like to stay back in. Maybe its owing to the friendly folks, the art in every object you see, the sheer beauty of the place.. It’s owing to what its sheer soul has become.

Bali has the strongest most developed, dynamic yet traditional culture I have encountered. Tt is in it’s music which besides Balinese music incorporates tunes from around the world. It is in it’s art from its sculptures, wood work, paintings to regular objects such as door knobs, cafes, ambience of places etc. It is in it’s dance, the free spiritedness of its various dance forms..

The only Hindu island in Asia, with majority of it’s people following Balinese Hinduism the subtle contrasts with their ideologies to the form of Hinduism made it’s culture even more interesting. For instance, It was amusing to see their physical representation of Ganesha in a slimmer and sterner form. Regarding the folks their curiosity, genuine interests and fascination is reflected in how they talk to you, treat you and respect you. It is not the plastic smile that customarily greets tourists, it is that of an honest genuine and fascinated islander towards a familiar foreigner.

From mountain ranges to paddy fields, from the vast sea to the wild river, from the vast expanse of beaches to tropical forests stretches, from Goa/Miami/Barcelona kinda parties to the Kurseong/ Niagara Falls/ Venice kind of quiet evenings, from intricate sculptures by master artists to charcoal or woodwork of a street artist, from traditional folk song and dance to the contemporary music and dance forms, from swanky world class resorts hotels and cafes to small quaint shacks shops and set ups I have reason to believe Bali is a cross section of so many landscapes and experiences. A slice of life literally for a true traveler. I for one fell in love.

I had seen such natural beauty after a long time and after Europe and NZ. I will go back.

“For I cannot be part of the cocktail generation: Partners waltz, devoid of all romance. The music plays and everyone must dance. I’m bowing out. I need a second chance.” Don McLean