Thursday, August 11, 2011


He opened his eyes. The sand felt nice and warm against his back. He lay barechested on the beach, under the shade and watched the flight of the seagull, skimming along the waves. The sun was just beginning its journey back to the sea and the sky was changing its shades by the minute.

He didnt have many belongings. He felt no need for them and anyways they were just another weight for him to carry on his back. Others would term him a drifter, a person without a goal, just wasting his life but no, he found more meaning in his life than those people who were bound to their chairs all through their waking hours. His aim in life was simple, to see all that there was worth to see and to him anything made by man did not qualify.

He had far too many brushes with death to beleive that he had any control over his destiny. The only thing he could change was his present and he intended to do just that.

He squinted. In the distance, hidden beyond the foliage was a massive rock shaped like a dagger. Below the rock the sea raged, lashing but it stood firm relentless. He decided to have a closer look at it. He beat through wave after wave of vegetation which seeemed almost desperate to not allow him to go through. The wind was fierce and made a howling sound as it ricohetted off the rock and through the caves along the shore. It was terrifying.

He was delighted. Slowly he made his way to the rock and sat down in relief. It was a tiring hike. He gazed at the sunset in the distance. It was beautiful. The sky seemed to be illuminated with so many hues and shades that it seemed God Himself had decided to paint it that day. He weeped with joy.

He looked at the deep swirling waters below. What had been a clear deep blue just minutes before had become black and forbidding now. He watched the water with fascination, almost eagerness.

He stood at the edge, arms outstretched on tiptoe. His body was like a piece of art. It was perfect, without blemish; you could watch it for hours and admire every fine line of it. He stood swaying forwards and backwards. Just when he was about to tip over on one side, he would sway to the other. The wind ruffled through his hair, caressing it like a lover would.

He smiled. He was at peace. For now.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Just found this lying somewhere on my computer...

He woke up with a start.

It was just Ivan snoring loudly. It was not yet morning. Thank God. How he hated the mornings. He looked at the sky outside the barred windows. There was a red glow in the sky. Dawn was but just a few minutes away. He clutched at his blanket tighter, holding it against him. It was cold and the tattered blanket provided him little warmth against the biting cold. He wondered how much longer he would be in this wretched place.

He lay back on the stone floor and looked at the ceiling. He could remember every crack, every spider web on it. He recounted the day when they had come to his farm. It was the same time about now.
“Zhebir . Zhebir, wake up”, she had said. “There’s someone at the door. Who do you think has come at this unearthly hour?”.
“It must be Ivan. He must have …”.
“Open the door. Quick.” came a loud voice from outside.
“Before we break the door.”
There was a resounding crash and the door was in splinters. In entered a lieutenant with seven soldiers behind him. “We have a warrant” he said holding a piece of paper before Zhebir’s face. “Take him away. Do what you have to. I’ll be back in some time”, he said looking at Zhebir’s wife lying naked, who was desperately trying to cover herself with the blanket.
They dragged him outside holding him by his legs and took him to the middle of the field. They tied him so hard that he couldn’t feel his hands anymore. Then the beatings started. They took turns beating him with batons until they got tired of it, all the time accusing him of being a traitor and calling him a terrorist. All the time he could hear ear shattering screams from the cottage. He closed his eyes trying to block it all out. He could hardly stay awake anymore.
Finally the lieutenant came out, a smile on his face.
“Take him to Stavropol”.

They shoved him inside the back of the truck where there were more than thirty people all of them covered in blood, some of whom he thought he could recognize. After what seemed like hours, the truck finally came to a stop. They were lined up outside the iron gates. He remembered having looked up at the imposing prison walls and feeling a sense of dread pass through his very soul.
One by one they entered the prison with both sides of the path flanked by soldiers holding batons.
“Welcome to hell”, he heard the lieutenant say. They were made to strip in the biting cold. And then the beatings started all over again. They beat him on his head, neck, kidneys and testicles until he passed out.
The next day when he woke up, he was sore all over. His body was bruised and swollen . He was sure he had broken a few ribs.He looked around. The room seemed to shrink everyday.
He felt claustrophobic here. How he longed for his warm home. For just one passing moment he could feel the warmth of his wife’s touch on his hand, smell the fresh bacon and hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet running around his house. A tear rolled down his eyes. What had he done to deserve this?

To be continued....

Monday, August 10, 2009

Looking Up

I was a bright eyed kid... The world was one big wonderful place...
I wanted to be a cartoon character... but that was not to be...

I grew older... Sports interested me... I wanted to be a pilot, a soldier , go on adventures like those characters in fairy tales... i was just a kid... i would know better, they said...

I grew older... studies gained importance - more to them than me... The world was still bright... sure, we had to learn stupid things like coils, biology and other stuff... but then this was important i was told... i did not understand why... but they knew better...

I grew older... i was out from dawn to dusk... hopping from one class to the other... this was all for my best interest i was told... to make sure i would succeed... The world seemed a little less brighter... but then to gain something you had to make sacrifices i was told...

I grew older... they said it was a crucial juncture... i had to study hard or else i would end up being a failure... i knew what i wanted to be... atleast i thought so... I did my best... and got in a place which was supposed to be the best...

Only later would i know that this was my pound of flesh... the world seems so dark that i wish the sun would rise someday...somewhere along the way someone had forgotten to teach me something important... how to be happy... the only thing important is the future... in our hurry of making it better, we have forgotten to live in the present...

I wish life would be simpler...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

How to travel – A beginner’s guide to the untamed world

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Mark Twain

For different people, travelling means different things. The destination too thus depends on a lot of factors, depending on what you are looking for. For me, travelling is about knowing and understanding the people, their culture and well - having a lot of fun. It’s that time of the year again, the time to go on long holidays. Here are some tips for those of you who’ve been bitten by the travelling bug and want to get away from this mad mad life.

First, get rid of the travel agent. Sure you might have a lot of money, but if u really want to blow away ur money u might as well just give it to me. If u want your expenses to balloon by 3 to 4 times the actual cost feel free to contact ur friendly neighbourhood travel agent. Two years ago I went to Uttarakhand on a “backpacking trip” and our cost for a 15 day trip was about Rs. 15 thousand. The next time we did it properly when we went to Himachal, and our cost was just Rs. 3750 (including travel both ways), that too for a 15 day trip.

Backpacking in India is possible. You don’t have to go to Europe to rough it out. Sure your parents, siblings and friends might think otherwise but it is quite safe to travel without a plan on a tight budget or even alone if you want. You just need to be street-smart. Sure you cant experience the comfort of a nice plush bed, room service or possibly even hot water when its really freezing outside. But then you have the knowledge that you can take whatever life throws at you and still go on with a smile.

Choose your travelling companions with care. You might want to rough it out, not caring about what you eat, where you sleep etc. but if ur mates have a very different idea than you, the trip can be a disaster, not to speak of how it can royally screw the budget.

When packing for your trip, remember one thing – you are not going to use most of the stuff u are carrying and since you are the one who’s gonna be lugging it around, you might as well keep it as light as possible. You don’t need more than 2 pair of jeans and one pair of shorts. You can wash it wherever you are staying. But remember to keep the important stuff like a torch, a first aid kit etc. Always carry lots of plastic bottles. You end up spending quite a bit on water, so you might as well fill it up wherever you are staying. If you are going someplace unsafe, and if you are alone it isn’t very wise to carry your camera, especially if it is expensive. Leave your iPod, iPhone etc at home . U don’t want to be attracting a lot of attention when travelling by public transport.

It is not below your dignity to sleep in dhabas or crap in the bushes. (Haven’t tried this yet but definitely gonna do it on the next backpacking trip I go for) It’s a great way of saving some money and gives u a new experience. Also when looking for a room, bargain hard. Don’t accept the first offer you get. Or go to the first hotel which is close to the bus stand or the railway station. Try further down the road. U will probably get a much better deal. And yes if ur up for it try sleeping in the open, right below the stars. Just make sure that there are no snakes and other dangerous stuff around.

Get a map of the place you are going if possible. Usually each state has its won tourism department and they have their offices at WTC Mumbai. So u might wanna go there to get info about locations which interest you and to get a map of the region you are going to.

And finally be careful. Travel safely and don’t take more risks than u need to and can handle. It’s not just a physical journey. Broaden your thinking and your view on life. Talk to the locals. Don’t just chat among ur friends, u will be missing a lot if u don’t interact with the locals. Remember they stay here, so they can guide you on what to do and how. Experience the local cuisine. It might just surprise you.

Just go out there and enjoy urself.


Below are a few of my favourite pics of my trips...