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The Journey

We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; the trip takes us. -John Steinbeck

It was a cool January dawn when we started on a journey to Shravanbengola. My parents and I are heritage freaks and were super-excited to visit 'quaint nooks ’ of Karnataka. 

We boarded a Volvo along with 30 other people. After a couple of hours, I saw a barren granite hill. A tiny flight of stairs carved on it. People climbing upon it like ants. I thought to myself “What on earth ! Fools ! Why climb mountains !” Simultaneously, my mother thought, “This is the place. There must be some other road around to take us. Tourists don’t climb hills, devotees do.” My father was thinking to himself, “Will they be able to climb this ?”

The bus came to a gradual halt. The tour guide announced “This is Vindhyagiri hill. Gomateshwar statue is located on the top. You have to climb 620 steps, see the statue and come back in an hour.” I was surprised. I never ever thought a sweet “off-beat” idea would be this – climbing a hill to see a statue. As I came out of the bus, I looked around. It was the middle of nowhere. A tiny village selling agarbattis and flowers. The sound of people asking you to buy socks. The subtle smell of flowers. Breeze that touch you slightly. There was nothing one could do besides climbing the hill. We braced ourselves and took the first step.

The stairs were carved from the hill itself and had been polished smooth by millions of feet walking on them. They weren’t steep as well. The only problem – it was a queue. Like most south Indian religious places. After a 100 stairs or so, many people got tired. The crowd thinned out. But we continued. I looked around. It was beautiful ! The blueness of the skies met the brown little village on the horizon. It felt better. We cheered up and climbed further.

I had a bird’s eye view of the entire region. It felt like I was on the top of the world. We entered the enclosure. Most of the people inside were Jains – saying their prayers. The 42 feet statue appeared. I had my looking around and came out.

The downhill march begun. It felt less dizzying. I could feel my breath as I climbed down. And this time, I took to feeling the vision – it looked grand – the tiny houses, the lake, the trees and a cloudless sky overhead. I realized it was probably “once in a lifetime” experience I had wished for.

My father was happy to see three of us fit as a fiddle after the climb. But more than that, it was a sense of accomplishment that I saw in his eyes that day – none of us expected to climb a hill someday and come back without injuries. Happily we were proven wrong and continued our journey to the next destination on our itinerary. 


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Concealed by dark clouds
You keep shining.
Bright streaks of light
Dazzle me.
Enchant me.
And keep me waiting..
Waiting for you.

Amidst Soul-lessness

There is smoke somewhere. 
I cannot seem to figure out where. 
The lights are here, the music is here.
Has it been home here ?
Perhaps. Maybe when it did not rain.
Or maybe when it rained and it did not matter.
Maybe when I walked alone, smiling to myself. 
Or maybe when I realized I was okay.
Had it been always like this ?

Not really. 
Things clicked, took effort and blood. 
Did I do it ? Or the beasts did ? Maybe we both together,
Played this game. 
Amidst soulful solitude, it was love. 
Maybe appreciation.
Another journey, another dry spell. 
Will it ever be home again ? 

P.S. : Penned at Candies, Bandra on 11th January 2017 


I cannot remember my mother,
only sometime in the midst of my play
a tune seems to hover over my playthings,
the tune of some song that she used to
hum while rocking my cradle.

I cannot remember my mother
but when in the early autumn morning
the smell of the shiuli flowers floats in the air,
the scent of the morning service in the
temple comes to me as the scent of my mother.

I cannot remember my mother
only when from bedroom window
I send my eyes into the blue of the distant sky,
I feel that the stillness of my mother's gaze on my face
has spread all over the sky.

~Rabindranath Tagore
Note : This was one of  the earliest poems I read,loved and cherished.