Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Gypsy Route - Part 1

travelling and i are unseparable entities. i recall more of transitions than rooted living, to be nonchalantly bland about it. yet i cant deny the thrill to sit in a vehicle, with a bag packed and setting out for yet another unknown.

i recall my maiden visit as an adult with monk to upper assam in may 2006. the last time i went to upper assam was in 1984 . i was a kid back then too young to recall, except for lots of water around.

we set out at half past nine, with the sun quite fiercely heating our car, full of many bags and cases, from guwahati with a close kin. quite defeated lay our lofty ambitions of leaving right post sunrise but how do you battle eye pricking soporify, especially after a very late night tete-e-tete. our driving route was via jagi road, kaziranga & nogaon to and then further the moran teas estate. may is unforgiving in assam. humid and can be claustrophobic. qahn mehm our spirits were as high as perhaps was sukaphaa's , the first ahum king who annexed the Brahamaputra Valley.

we stopped at Jagiroad for tea. tea in assam is like no where else. obviously. what with singara and sondes it was pute delight. even monk's ever afflicted digestive tracks could not dare to rebel. the insides gurgled with such gastronomic salutations. we knew what awaited us. more and more sumptuous delights!! the sun also decided to add his bit to the enthusiasm. he beat stronger!

the monk and the kin took turns to drive. 27 Club gave company. with every mile covered, different sceneries unfolded. dense forrests would give away to open wide paddy fields. the terrain would be at times winding mountainous bits and at other times, plain tarred straight roads. never as wide as other highways in the country. but surprisingly for a rainy area, not tyre tearing either. and still the black palio kept averaging a cool 70kph. we soon entered kaziranga.

kaziranga, a national wildlife sanctuary. the home to the rare one horn rhinos in the whole world and many species of flora and fauna. one of the mnay prides of assam. we continued through the thick of it all , scanning the hoirizon for a fluke rhino sighting. we spotted wild buffaloes and hyenas but rhinos decided to allude. a little dampener but the solace lay with the fact that we were not there for a jungle safari. we were just passing through. so may be thats why the proud sluggish creatures had no reason to show themselves. we continued with rekindled spirit towards jorhat. monk's maternal home.

we stopped on our way in another highway side restaurant. basic in its amenities. it served the purpose of stretching, hydrating, bladder relieving and reiterating the might of the fierce may sun!!! we hit the road again after we took some innocuous pictures.

talking, swearing, laughing, drifting and hydrating , our journey thus continued through reserved areas like karbi, a special tribal area. we passed by semi dense forrests where poeple had set up resorts. the palm and thatch variety that are so famous in kerela and as unsung in assam. it thrilled me that such a lovely place was offering good resorts to stay for a while.

we soon entered nagaon. famous for its simple assamese food we so longed for some lunch. however paucity of time stopped us from doing do! monk's aged was waiting for us for lunch and we were not really making it on time. so just passing through this strategic place, we continued our onward journey.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Dancing foliage

with autumnal foliage flirting with sunlight, scattering some caressing some, i stop for a moment thinking about the little things that go unceleberated but that celeberate me so much.

like the lazy sun avalanching through the window against which i rest my head and conduct my holy and not so holy interlude with karamzov, iyer, roark, rand and the quintessential cuppa. sometimes wolfgang mozart amuses me as much as he thrills me to the extent that i curl my toes. or when vivaldi disdainfully chews his lips for my failing in gleaning his genious and just hearing his renditions, not soaking! anastasio gets his Ghost and himself to commit sins along with the Danish Marble Cut cakes from one of those many stores.

the sagging cushion on which i rest i flip it over and sit back again. the occasional strands of hair that lie on the floor and stab the eyes, are quickly disposed. turn my head to the dancing foliage again.

i sigh in peace and in the quest to share all this with all life forms and all ids. i know i cant.


for years i have listened and heard when many thought i talked more than i listened. i have amazed myself more than anyone else by recalling very minute details and nuances of people and events and sometimes may have come across as an unfortunate tale spinner.

so why do I remember these many nothings and when major those things have sublimed cleverly from the mind? i think the mind just photographed and trapped those moments. for the Outsiders if i could replay my images what value shall it hold? at that instant the voice of the speaker gruffens , the surrounding becomes a vacuum and the person is viewed with a wide telescopic and microscopic lense simulateously. the whole event is as surreal as the dream just before you wake up sometimes with no jolts, no surprise, with a heart portending apcalypse. clinically calm like an assassin. for me the visions revealed the Uriah Heeps, the Pips and the poor Elves. some moments, very fleetingly denude the facade many wear. i too don some on different occasions and I wonder how many times and in what instant has someone seen a lot through a crack of something fantastically nothing.

oh, the pain to discover conciet, deciet, greed, lust, niggardly gnomes, gutter rats, alley cats and the unchallenged wicked! the itch to pull off the charade. the battle in the mind with still a sliver of self doubt about the discovered that eschews the declaration first to the self and then to the Outsiders.

if only i had a screen where someone could predict the dimension where my mask would fail.

i am so wicked, but did you know our little secret?...... you must know that you are too.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Paradise on earth: Portland

the monk had an earthly deed and so i went with him. his companion. the neon lights of the hotel was inviting after the nine hour journey by road so we went to our soporify . this patch of earth was baptised Machigonne by the rightful Indians. much later it was rechristened Portland. we had to stay here for two days, much of which went by in the course of my monk doing his many mundane deeds.

i woke up the day of departure early and wished i had caught the sunrise on a beach . but the wants are seldom the occurences. so the monk and i left when the sun had fairly roused. i wanted to see the land and its people and my monk fulfilled my want.

we came upon a land so awe-inspiring that it was with diffidence a human being could concieve such a presence on earth, without a visual experience.

the small Victorian houses stood on their stead beckoning to be embraced as ones eternal dwelling place. the narrow winding which can hardly be called roads meandered through the sleepy wonderment of existence. the azure sky and the white candy clouds rendered the whole divine picture a bright hue. what with the loud calls of the sea-gulls, this coastal place had the air of a quaint bygone English countryside look. quietly moving along the streets , gratefully assited by the impeccable behaviour of our rented Subaru Outback, the monk and i kept driving towards our paradise, quite unknowingly.

the street would end as a decisive T junction. we parked our vehicle and no sooner would we cross the street, that we would stand at the brim of paradise. the edge of a Persian carpet like green meadow that would abruptly end to take the shape of the Atlantic Ocean. blue, eternal and sparkling under the autumn sun. so we took one of the narrow dirt trails along the meadow and walked slowly down where the meadow would end and a man made tarr jetty-like juttings, would start. this tarred patch had old rail jigs for trains some eras back. my mind conjured up the majesty of a train journey along the atlantic. we walked across the tarred patch and came at the edge of the Atlantic. yes just like we would come upon a small brook. as inconsequentially and as lovingly as possible. when we turned to look back at our point of descend, it was as beautiful a view as it was before we descended. The meadow was lined with white victorian houses.

i thought that man and nature can still live side by side, each respecting the other, unlike as in my country where we destroy our land, fell our trees and think of pubs and discotheques as the present day nirvana. i thought of our many wants and needs and sighed at our near sightedness and revelled at the peace and the quiet of the place. for all the usual banterings against the americans for their general fast paced, not a very family oriented outlook in life and the very mercenary transactions they grow up watching, for once my mind was filled with great respect at their reverence for their natural and historical heritage!!!

i said as much to my monk. he smiled and nodded his beautiful head.