Saturday, January 28, 2012

Confessions of a compulsive reader

There’s something about new crisp pages ( or old musty ones ) that ALWAYS makes me go weak in the knees .
Be it in the mess , in bus , in the loo or between classes ! I’ve finally decided to write about the roamnce of my life  :D

Actually ,the longest love affair of my life  , With dear old books .
 ( According to reliable sources ) , I had made so many people read out  “panchantantra” to me .. that when my ‘mausi ji’ actually tried to make up some lines ( instead of reading the book word by word ) , I actually pounced on her and gave her a piece of my mind ( and then some ) .

It started with ‘champak’ ( Sadly ,Shin Chan has taken over nowadays ).
It went on to ‘amar chitra katha’  , ‘phantom’ comics ( Oh …still the sexiest man I’ve ever known ) and of’course Chacha Chaudhari ( Jab Saboo ko gussa aata hai … ) :D

I still remember the day in class 6th when Mrs.Bhardwaj threw a book at me ( oh , the joys of coaxing her to lend me a rare book out of the library … God bless the lady ! )
Turned out , it was some weird book called “Secret Seven” . And that’s how Mrs.Blyton entered my life .

From “Famous Five” to “Malory Towers” and the “Five find outers” . I went on cycle trips ,roamed around on moors in caravans .And ( not to forget ) fell in love with ginger breads and scones :D 

Then there was Satyjit Ray ( for those of you who might not be aware … the man could’ve been our Indian Doyle )
. Going on adventure trips with Feluda or Mr.Holmes was a delight in itself …

And who can forget  Mr.Ruskin Bond ? Oh , the way he can make you fall in love with Dehra and his Musoorie one can !

Or R.K. Narayanan … my first glimpse of South India in Malgudi .
And no matter how many philosophies and “heavy” books one reads … Sidney Sheldon was , is and shall always be the best “story-teller” you can come across .
Khalid Husseini , the one book ‘kite-running’ genius ! 

J.K.Rowling , for gifting me my childhood . The sheer presence of Harry Potter has been such a strong force in making me who I am today .
The strong willed , independent protagnists of Shivani .

Or the equally independent ( and yet coy and docile )women of Subhadra Chauhan .
There were biographies which struck a note . Mother Teresa , Navin Chawala … Indira Gandi by Katherine Frank . Mata Hari’s by Yannick Murphy . Madhubala’s by Kahtija Akbar .
 And of’course , Umrao Jaan Ada :D
“The phantom of the opera” .Picked it up randomly , turned out to be the most romantic book I’ve ever come across .

Jhumpa Lahiri and Kiran Desai’s MAGIC of those frozen streets abroad . And the lonely protagnist , weaving in and out of her dreams …
Thomas Harris’ trip to the depths of human mind and it’s darkness ..
Those nasty ( yet devilishly engrossing ) words of Shobha De ..
The historical and spiritual journeys with Mr.Dalrymple ..
And of’course , going bak to my epics with Ashok banker .. 

There are SO MANY of them . A tiny book that made you lie awake all night .
A book you cuddled with , on a lazy winter morning …
A book you couldn’t tolerate , and had to be kept aside ..

They’ll always wait for you ,standing still .They’ll envelope you ,take you afar into whatever land you might want to visit .
They’ll teach you , guide you ,strengthen you. And never ask anythign back .
The best soulmate one can have :)
( I still wish I could write about the hundreds I am sure I have missed out on .. maybe some other time . After all , what’s the hurry ? )

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A traveller's snaphots .

Dedicated to my “ghumakkad family” … for genetically endowing me with the “Traveller keeda” :D
(Although I still get hyper , moan ,fuss over and go on my mood swings before planning the trips .I can't live without them )

Travelling is a joy beyond  comparison . But once you look back upon it .. what exactly is left behind ?
The tickets ,which crumble with time …
The photos ,which are kept tightly wrapped in family albums ( or ,to switch back to 21st  century … in some long lost folder on your hard drive )..
The souvenirs , gathering dust on some mantel piece in the house …

No ,right ?
What’s left behind are a series of tiny insignificant thoughts ,memories and incidents which just stick to some nook and corner of your cerebrum and make you smile :)

Mysore (this weekend )
Met this “chat wala” kiddo . Turns out ,he was from hamara U.P.
Oh ,the joys of chatting ( gossiping ,more likely ) in full blown desi hindi . And the poor guy was utterly baffled as to why was I roaming around with a friend who didn’t know HINDI !
Made me realize how “madrasi” I have become :D 

Paris ( May 2011 )
A metro train from Paris to it’s outskirts . We get down at the wrong station and realize that we are in the middle of nowhere !
And then this lady appears , her english was broken . And we were hopeless at french .
But somehow , she and her husband ( God bless his van ) help us out in planning the route back to our station .
Goodness ,it seems … knows no language :)

Kashmir ( May 2010 )
In the middle of Dal Lake ,it was eerie .
The famed lake ,with it’s supernatural beauty .It looked almost magical … with it’s placid waters and ripples .
As if undisturbed by whatever destruction man had wrought around it !
And there was this girl on a shikara , how old ? I cannot tell .
Rowing her shikara across the lake ,carrying flowers and the sunlight reflecting on her high cheekbones .
She just rowed past . And time stood still ….

Laddakh ( May 2009 )
The bazaar was closing . Tiny ,quaint shops ,dimly lit .
If it hadn’t been for the street lamps ,I might have been travelling in 18th century . As the lights dulled , I saw this old woman .
Huddled in the corner of the street … that shiny walk wool shawl over her . She looked like a fragment of history .
Born of those mighty himalayas

Pondicherry ( January 2010 )
It was a small ,almost invisble church . I , Achyut and Huzi just walked in casually .
It was deseted inside . The church choir was practising in the corner . For some minutes , there was just us ,and the music and Him :)

The belly dancer in Dubai ,who danced for herself …
The stripper in Pataya .Who danced with her eyes …
The ticket collector in Bruseels , who greeted us with the biggest smile ever …
The child who ran behind us in Kerala back waters . All he wanted was a pen …and gladly caught it in the air …
The tiny girl who screamed with glee , as she raced her camel across Rajasthan dunes …
The sadhu in Badrinath ,moving and rejoicing with the passion of Bliss …
The soldier on Siachen glacier , with those grinning eyes ..

Memories … snapshots .. fragements … 

PS - Btw , do join me on twitter . I am new there and I'd LOVE some help :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012