Thursday, July 21, 2011

the perfect weekend...again?

I'm sure there's another post titled "the perfect weekend". so this will be another.

anyway, here's what went into my perfect weekend:

- a birthday
- a midnight ride
- a trip to my friendly neighbourhood mechanic (well, what can you do?)
- a second breakfast (cheese garlic bread, woo hoo)
- street shopping
- mangoes and milk, shaken together
- a new  bag!
- my favourite friend
- twitter at home
- a chicken sannndwich for lunch
- a long ride without rain
- a trekker-adventurer friend
- a short ride without rain
- one of my first "new"  friends
- her dog
- giving aformentioned dog (with friend) a ride to marine drive
- chaat at chowpatty
- a doggie walk in a drizzle
- a short  ride with rain. and the dog and friend.
- a longish walk in the rain
- a long chat...in person, after ages!
- a long ride with rain
- a 2 hour nap
- a train to karjat
- lots of deep fried, batter coated goodles. with chai.
- a 6 seater with 9 people. birthday boy included.
- a hike in the rain
- a head and back massage in a waterfall
- rum, rain and ham-and-cheese sandwiches
- a brisk walk through a downpour to get to the nearest cuppa chai
- a 6-seater race for a train (that we lost)
- a hour's wait for a train
- a 2 hour's wait for the train to reach our destination
- one of my best "old" friends
- falling asleep at midnight out of sheer exhaustion

yup, this was just one weekend.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

blur

i had another lucid dream today morning, a few minutes ago.

this one was not as sharp or memorable as the previous one.

to begin with, there was no story.

it's interesting. the dreams i remember, are always the ones with a story. the rest of them just fall apart into bits and pieces, that fall apart into photo-frames stuck in my head.

anyway, last night's dream included tisha, tushar and samantha (and the funny thing is, i can't remember what samantha was doing in my dream!). and involved random things centered around goa.

the most vivid scene in my dream was the last one, when i gave a gun-toting terrorist a lift, in exchange for him guiding me how to get through numerous checkposts on the way (quite successfully, i must add).

he was a really nice, polite guy. and he only hitched a ride until we were past the cops, and then actually got off and started walking while i rode off. he also lost his gun somewhere in the crowds while i was riding (i had to ride through a densely peopled market of sorts).

after he got off and started walking, i rode by myself through a narrow, winding, country road.

and fell really sleepy.

in my dream, i remember, everything would be a blur once i'd take a turn, and i could only keep my vision straight when i was riding in a straight line. and i was all over that road, not even noticing the number of near misses i had cos i couldn't see through my mental haze most of the time.

and yet i survived, unscathed. until the end of that road, which connected to another road - i could take the other road home, or turn back and take this winding one home.

and that's when i fell off the bike.

my last thought before i woke up was "what's a better road to ride on when you're very dizzy - a straight one or a winding one?"

the dream seems to be so very influenced by recent incidents in my life, that i'm kinda freaked out.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

scream

i was riding my bike on a broad and straight gravel path, by a long row of brightly coloured rowhouses on one side and a slightly high stone wall on the other.

hills on either side of me. gray, stony hills, without much vegetation. but the track i was on was tree-lined and green. it was a sultry afternoon, but the heat wasn't overwhelming. the weather was invigorating.

as i rode, i passed by a lot of bikini-clad caucasian women, not in groups, but colourfully dotting along the way, all ambling back in the direction i was heading from. and the odd topless one too.

i sped up a bit, despite it being a rough, gravelly path, filled with packed stones.

finally, i reached the end of the path, save for one rowhouse. this is where i was riding to. they had a swimming pool. and my bombay neighbours, were caretakers of the place.

everyone was getting out of the pool. a topless teenage girl just got out of the pool with her dad, who was toweling her down. she smiled at me as i parked my bike.

my neighbour nudged me and said "she's the only one left for you to eye now". i looked at her, but apparently she wasn't talking to me - she was talking to her husband.

i was feeling too embarrassed to take off my shirt because of the number of hot-looking women around, so i decided to get into the pool with my t-shirt and (obviously) shorts on.

as i was getting in, everyone else was getting out, drying off and leaving.

i walked to the edge of the pool. it had steps leading down to the water (more like a public bath looking thing than a pool, i guess). noticed the water was pretty dirty. lots of leaves and a bit of junk floating around near the edges.

i looked around to see which was the cleanest part of the pool to get into.

as i was walking around the pool on the steps, everyone left. except one woman, wearing a black, completely soaked, clingy dress that ran all the way down to her ankles. she had long straight hair, and really weird eyes (they had white corneas, making her kinda look like a female marilyn manson). i somehow didn't think much about her.

i kept my bike keys near the edge of the pool so i could keep an eye on them. the keychain was my old bright red manU one.

as i dipped my feet into the water, i could hear the radio playing inside the house, announcing that nuclear tests were happening today.

the male caretaker said hey, this is cool, let's go there, take the kids and all. it'll be fun.

his wife (she has quite a booming voice, in real life and also in the dream) replied/shouted "what's with you and taking the kids for these nuclear tests, you're all so boring. i don't wanna go."

meanwhile, i decided to wade into neck-deep water as that was cleaner.

while i was reaching the middle of the pool, i realized why the water was so dirty.

there were two dead rams floating under the surface, near the middle of the pool.

i was super grossed-out, and found my way to this one raised pillar in the middle of the pool so that i could get out of the water for a bit.

sat there, looking at these two dead goats, wondering how i'd get out, considering how grossed out i was, and that the water was neck-deep.

i turned around to see how near the other end of the pool was. turned out it was nearer. but there was something else floating about there. face-down. a long haired woman wearing black.

i shivered.

as i turned to face her, she stood up with a start from the water, hair flying backwards, roaring and screaming, and i realized she was atleast 16 feet tall. she lunged towards me.

i woke up with a scream. literally jumped up, and looked around the room.

ps: i was surprised i didn't wake up my bro. maybe my scream was part of my dream, and i woke up silently. funny thing is, my dream continued for a fraction of a second after i woke. that was when, i looked across the pool and saw my bike keys at the far end, and realized there was no getting away.

Monday, July 04, 2011

the weekend in a village: purushwadi

disclosure: this trip was organized by grassoutes, and they happily offered to sponsor my weekend if i was ready to blog it. the opinions and experiences are solely mine though. also, special thanks to verena for letting me use some of her lovely photos :)

i've always loved the village lifestyle. my first brush with it was at tushar's village in goa, which was still semi-linked to civilization...and besides, that was still goa, with all its trappings of madness ;)

the village i went to two weeks ago, on the other hand, was a different world altogether.

first of all, i arrived without any transportation of my own (2 trains and then one of a villager's jeep). was hoping for rain, but unfortunately there wasn't as much of it as i hoped.

but that weekend, what i hoped and what i found were two completely different things. and i mean it in a good way.

from the welcome (i think it's called a "tikka"), and the caps, with the villagers drumming at the entrance of the school compound, i just knew it.

the goal of the weekend trip was to live as much like the villagers did, while keeping it fun and engaging... and i must say, we did achieve it for the most part.

from the sweet black tea (black, because the villagers don't milk their cows, and sweet, because that's all they have for energy before they head to the fields in the morning), to the home cooked lunch (we were "adopted" by Sulochana Gangaram Kondar and family, and all our meals were at their house) - this was about as close an experience as we could get.



after our lunch, we went to our home for the weekend for a short round of introduction while a few of us rested our backs on the mattresses. our "home" was the beautifully decorated 5th standard classroom, covered from floor to ceiling with posters and tidbits of knowledge hung from lines across the room!



the view from our room: picture perfect!



late in the afternoon, we then set off for a meandering walk-turned-fruit-gathering-turned-trek that took us through the fields, a bit of jungle, and then a short climb to a plateau.







ps: bite marks are only cos i wanted to make sure the fruits were as delicious as they looked!







and then came the plateau. i haven't been to a place as windy since...never! the view of the plains from all sides (in fact, they weren't plains, but plateaus in their own right - we were far, far, far above sea level!). it was just breathtakingly beautiful.









on our way down, we got to see a rare sight: one of our guides caught a crab while it was in the process if hatching hundreds of babies! a lovely sight indeed.





back at the village after a quick (and far easier) climb down, we settled in with a cup or three of chai and biscuits, and waited for the sunset and the fireflies.

the fireflies (which sadly, neither my phone nor the best of cameras people had brought along could capture), were breathtaking. i had seen such a brilliant display only once before, in matheran, but this time, since we were surrounded by such lush greenery and no artificial lighting, it was even more breathtaking.

after dinner, five of us went for a long walk (about an hour long, in fact! time just flew and the atmosphere was energizing!), where we saw even more fireflies. we walked without any lights whatsoever, our only guide being the fireflies, and the light of the (clouded) moon reflecting off the wet road. it just got us high on life and nature.

after a good night's sleep, we had a simple breakfast, and then set about interacting with the villagers.



the village jeep, packed with over 20 people, about to head off to the nearest village (rajouri), 20+ km away, which has the nearest market/secondary school/medical clinic/state transport etc.



a rock altar in the middle of the village - we thought it was carved, but it turned out it was a naturally formed rock that was found in the stream!









among the things i tried my hand at were: chopping wood, grinding flour, and *GET THIS* ploughing a field! yesh, it's actually much easier than it seems. i haven't perfected my sounds, but i can control the bullocks, even!!!





finally, we all settled in for a scrumptious lunch (3 families cooked, so there were almost as many dishes as there were people!) a rustic, but delectable treat. best part being, everything we had consumed this weekend (barring the tea, i guess) was 100% organic food, all grown by the villagers!



and finally, the time came to bid farewell. but not for long, because i will soon be back! next time, it'll be with a tent and my bike, and it'll be a whole new way of experiencing this paradise!





in conclusion, this was a trip of a lifetime. i have fallen in love with the experience, and am hoping to go on a lot more such weekends, with the help of grassroutes.

ps: grassroutes organises such trips all year around. just contact them and they'll be happy to help!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

insivible

my gtalk status has been the same for the last year and a half. it says "insivible"

why this status?

it's a double joke. first of all, people have actually ping'd me saying that there's probably something wrong with gtalk, and that i'm actually visible.

and then i point out to them that my status doesn't say "invisible", but "insivible" :D

breakdown

as part of being self-aware, i've generally been conscious of the decisions i make, and their influence on my living sustainably. but i ...