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178: Bangalore, This Time

28 Jun

I’ve been wanting to do a look-back on my trip to Bangalore this summer because it’s been different than all the others I’ve had so far. What highlights my summary of it was the fact that it was restrained this time. Little did I scurry from place to place, desperately trying to grab on to opportunities for memories. Seldom did the idea of restaurant-hopping make itself dominant (unlike the other trips). It just didn’t really obsessively revolve around food even though I did manage to have all that I always go to Bangalore to have. This time I even added brownie points in the form of an Andhra meal, and crab ghee roast.

It was also a time when I decided to stay put at home and prioritise the concept of resting more than I would have, ordinarily. There was an active effort invested in saying no, staying in, letting go, even if that meant sitting with family and doing nothing over traipsing across town to meet and catch up with friends.

I also didn’t really have the energy to do as much. However, we did throw in the usual trips to Commercial street and the tailors. Ma and I made additional time to hop over to Cubbon Park (while it rained) – something we’ve never done in the longest time.

There’s something very calm, collected, and yes, restrained. There was no urgency, no hurriedness, no desperation. It felt ample in all that we did and chose not to do. It couldn’t have felt more perfect. :)

175: By Default

25 Jun

We’ve had to take a detour because the highway we use to exit the mountains has been closed for repair. This hasn’t come as a surprise because we always have some new “adventure” coming our way every single time we embark on a road trip. This detour is one that A has never taken. We took the left turn instead of the usual right turn that we do, and ended up driving past beautiful mountain towns, fruit orchards, and brilliant terrain. While the road was indeed too narrow – often resulting in jams in order to allow vehicles from one side to pass at a time – it was one the two of us enjoyed going on. A large part of me was more tempted to get off the car and pluck myself a bag of berries and peaches, but there simply wasn’t any parking space to do so.

It looks like we have a long day ahead, even though it is Sunday. We’ve already been on the road for a while now, and it just feels never ending.

Our main entry into city life is welcomed by a ginormous KFC sign on the highway. There’s no better way than to undo your detox with greasy, fried chicken in between bread (my in-laws are strictly vegetarian and do not have even eggs!). And so city life begins. Again.

174: It’s Almost Time To Leave

24 Jun

It felt like just yesterday when school shut for the summer, that I packed my bags for Bangalore, that A came to Bangalore, and that we came here to the mountains. Time has flown by and I’ve lost track of days and time, to be honest. When you switch your alarms off for longer than a handful of days, daily routine does get warped, and how.

The idea of going back home is both exciting and tiring – because I’ve lost track of doing any and every kind of work that my house demands from me. But I’ll keep those thoughts aside for now and enjoy the last day that we have here. :)

166: Back To The Mountains

16 Jun

We’ve landed in the midst of my immediate and extended in-law family, who have come from near and far to spend their summer in the hills. There are cousins, aunts, uncles, servants, cooks, and what have you. It’s madness, there’s chaos, and there’s also the peace that mountains tend to automatically emanate selflessly.

Our drive yesterday was rather long, but we were thrilled to find our maggi point guy’s stall standing as we climbed up the mountains this time. Maggi stalls speak of the arrival of mountains by default. We pulled up the only two chairs that were lined near his cart that was parked under the conifers, and we ordered ourselves some omelettes and tea, to go with the methi paranthas ma had packed for us. My appetite didn’t permit an extra greedy order of maggi, but I was mighty pleased with a crispy, juicy masala omelette that can only be found on roadside carts, to be honest.

Life is simple here. People work, and people go. There are no extra frills of unending thoughts and webs of worry that mar their faces. They smile, they walk on. Even the corncob boys sit around, reclined, waiting for annoying tourists to disturb their reverie.

As much as I love coming to the mountains, I still haven’t gotten used to the serpentine roads as I clench my stomach while we swerve from turn to turn.

165: And We’re Off Again

15 Jun

I’ve barely had the time to feel homesick or sink into a pool of self-pity. We’re off again, this time to my in-laws, and I’m uncertain about how connected I really will be with my blog while I’m there.

We’re on the road, driving down this time. My mind is all over the place, my thoughts fragmented, my emotions haywire. But I’ve got A and music for company, and a countryside to pore over should I find the need to lose myself from time to time.

I hope you’re having a splendid summer, dear reader. :)

152: Homeward Bound

1 Jun

I’m off to Bangalore for a short while, dear friends. It’s a break I have been looking forward to, naturally, and now that it’s time to leave (yes, I’m writing this after my successful book hunt at the airport – I picked up Maharani Gayatri Devi’s memoirs), the wait has become even more unbearable. What once used to take us days to reach by train, now takes us not more than 3 hours – we’re fortunate; but now even these three hours feel like a lifetime. My check-in was smoother than I’d imagined at this hour – and everything went off with a happy, genuine smile from both sides – from the lady at the check-in counter to the lady at security check to my coffee waitress. It’s a great way to begin a day, that’s for sure.

I hope to be able to write regularly, but there might be more cheating involved during this period than I’d like to acknowledge. I’m referring to blog cheating and food cheating, of course. Sometimes it is hard to draw the line between these secondary forces that pull me to Bangalore – is it the food, the weather, the memories, the walk back in time?, because the one thing I focus a lot on, is food. I’ll write more about memories on a later post; but food really seems to take precedence. Going back to what I was saying is that I hope I can maintain this venture while I’m busy stuffing my face with the madness Bangalore has to offer.

See you on the other side, dear reader! Have a pleasant and colourful June! :)

45: Travelling Then, And Now

14 Feb

Travel back then meant being excited right from when the trip was planned all the way till we said our byes to each other once our return journey was done and dusted. Travelling back then also meant waiting with more impatience and fervour than with bated breath. I used to especially love the entire process of packing my bags once I’d figured out whatever it is that I wanted to take along with me. Earlier on, it also used to involve picking the best mixed tapes to keep me company. Later when tapes gave way to discmen, MP3 players and then onto just a playlist, it still did matter what got on to a holiday and travel list, and what didn’t. All in all, there was a lot to do and it was done with a zeal and energy which was contagious.

Today is a different story. Travel today means to ensure everything is in place, taken care of, organized, and settled before I can even begin with my packing. By the end of it all, I really want to get done with the day, get a good night’s sleep and proceed on to D-Day. I don’t really enjoy packing anymore, unpacking even more. Maybe I’m just inherently lazy. And I procrastinate like crazy – a lot of what can be done earlier is kept till the last minute, such as – getting our laundry done, clearing the fridge out, getting pre-cooked meals in place, and what have you. All this looks so idealistic and pretty in mind; but seldom is achieved.

I remember the first time I left my marital home – I’d gone out of my way to ensure A had enough and more to eat. Of course he regressed to his bachelor days leaving more of it to lie in the fridge, which back then was surprising, but today I’m thankful…because I don’t have to do as much anymore. It’s easier to draw the line, go on a holiday, and not think too much about the many things I should’ve, could’ve or ought to have done. But here I am, ready for some travel (my bags are still not packed), but more at ease than when I first got married. The housework’s more or less taken care of, and I’ve left the rest up to A to handle…equal responsibilities no? *evil grin*

During this time I hope to not be as MIA as last week, and I hope to be more disciplined. But the thing about travelling is just that – there’s no time to do the regular stuff. :P All I really can think about at this very moment is to get into bed and catch a wink or two before it’s time for the next lot of stuff that needs wrapping up before the lady of the house puts her heels up. :)

I’ll see you on the other side, dear reader. A very happy Valentine’s Day to you too. :)

35: Of Monumental Gratitude

4 Feb

This is my third visit to Agra; the city of the one and only Taj Mahal. The first time I came here was with A for a day’s visit, back when he was courting me. Unfortunately neither of us were aware that it was the closed on the very day we’d taken time out to visit it – Friday. After all, who shuts a wonder of the world down for a day every single week, I ridiculed. We drove down on a Friday, obviously oblivious, and returned back thoroughly disappointed; I’d come all the way from Bangalore back then. Our second visit was dominated by family time and commitments, which left us with no room to step out. 
This time when we planned our travel, I’d left the idea on its own…if it happened, I’d be thankful, and if it didn’t happen, I’d have to wait till my time to see it arrived, I told myself. With that, we set off for Agra again, to visit family. 

Today, at long last, this happened. 


The only thing I remember saying when I climed the steps up to the mausoleum was an exclamation! I’ve never ever seen a building this beautiful, this humbling. I will talk about my experiences in greater detail sometime. However, all I’d like to say for now, is how immensely grateful I am for witnessing this piece of history, beauty, remembrance, love if you will, and melancholy that made me stop and stare, today. 

34: Reliving Irreplaceable Memories

3 Feb


Some memories are best captured by experience, then pictures and words. It’s been the longest time since I took a train journey, so when an opportunity presented itself, I was happiest that we took it. 

While waiting for our train to arrive, my path crossed that of the platform’s bookstall, where I picked this kids comic up just for keeps. They didn’t have Tinkle, which I associate with train journeys, among other things that kept us kids busy in transit. Magnetic ludo, snakes and ladders, trump cards, comics, and when we grew up a little more, a walkman along with prized self made mixed tapes. And books. Always. 

Today I’m like a kid at a candy store or for me, a book/stationery store. My excitement knows no bounds. And with that, I take your leave, because hello window seat. :)

Back On A Time Machine

14 Sep

A and I made a trip to Govardhan, a first for me, back in March sometime, if I’m not mistaken. Yep, procrastination, among other blatant excuses, has kept me from writing this post which I so badly wanted to document the moment I set foot into this famed and extremely pious town for many, many devout Hindus. This sacred town which is actually most popular for its Govardhan hill, lies in Mathura district, Uttar Pradesh. This is where Lord Krishna; an incarnation of Lord Vishnu’s – one of the lords of Hinduism’s Holy Trinity – saved the entire village of Mathura from Lord Indra’s wrath by sheltering everybody during a storm under this same hill which he lifted with his little finger. 

Devotees throng this place year round, often performing parikramas (revolutions) around the hill in various forms – barefoot, in dandaasana, by prostrating, by walk or by road…but always with a sense of devotion I’ve never seen before. Ladies, men, children, young mothers, middle-aged family members, the elderly, sadhus, kids even…everyone embarks this journey with an unshakeable and unbreakable steadfastness. 

I’ve never been to a religious place of this historical and mythological stature before. Not only was my time there punctuated by sights like these, but it also almost took me back to a place where time had decided to stand still indefinitely. It’s a marvel of sorts to stumble upon the pages of history for real. For a thorough city-bred girl like me, Govardhan offered me a view of what life used to be like when I was small, or not around, perhaps. It certainly took me back to all the maze-like gullies and cobbled streets overflowing with oversized bullock carts, buffaloes, open drains, wooden doors without locks, bricklane pathways that I had long left behind when we moved away from UP back yonder. It was both overwhelming and wondrous – a walk back that I filled with photographs and snippets to keep fresh in my mind for the times to come. 

Here is my picture story of Govardhan.