Macchars don’t wear sweaters

Archive for July 2008

Posted on: July 30, 2008

to choose life,

you have to chase life,

life cares naught for your passive virtues,

to sway the cold dice in your favor,

you must act

The shorter the travel, the longer the travelogue – Old Chinese Saying

 

Ok. A happy post for a change.

 

My recent trip to Goa was a first in many respects – my first trip to the beautiful beach state itself, my first plane trip, and the first time in my 28 years of not very well traveled life that I would venture beyond Delhi. The whole program took seed when my brother asked me to join him and my bhabi for a get-away trip to Goa for a couple of days, and  travel back with them to Mumbai, a visit which had long been on the cards anyway, before I made my way back to Chandigarh. Not that I pounced upon the opportunity when it presented itself, as my usual inertia quickly asserted itself, and the very thought of flying around and train riding for three hectic days seemed like a burden. An uneventful weekend, in the familiar cocoon of my home, laptop in lap, mope in mind; where the maximum adventuring means a trip to a local theatre or the favorite local Chinese restaurant; seemed like a better idea.

 

But being relentlessly persistent as he is, and the sly marketer that he is, my brother soon seduced me with images of semi clad westerners sprawled all over the landscape, and leaving the bar late in the evening with a beautiful stranger in my arm because “it is too noisy in here”. In any case, Chandigarh had developed into a pressure cooker for me, and I guessed a change of scenery, any change, and the weightlessness of being a traveler would do me good. Besides I had tremendous faith in the spiritual healing and soul cleansing potential of consummating with random beautiful strangers on the beach under the starry night sky (I can already hear echoes of “PIG!!!” from some of my friends).

 

So I packed my bags on Friday night, logged off early from work, caught a train to Delhi, from where I was to catch a flight to Delhi, and was soon feeling like a well traveled man of the world, with my bag slung over my shoulder. On Saturday morning I arrived at my final-frontier-till-then – Delhi, and caught an auto for the “domestic airport”. I had already been well instructed by my brother how to conduct myself at the airport, so that I didn’t have to make too much of a fool of myself by giving away the fact that it was my first ever air trip. I was soon dropped at the airport, and I cautiously approached the entrance, with not-so-beautiful-but-heavily-made-up stewardesses manning it, trying to look as much at ease as possible. Soon I was in the waiting lounge, sitting with my well scrubbed fellow waiters, and it would be a full two hours before my flight departed. During my wait I got a chance to check out the airport toilets, having mused about them for years, and found they were only marginally better than the ones I had encountered previously.

 

Soon the hour arrived when I was supposed to “check in” for the flight, the tricky part I had been worried about. I got into the queue, and unable to contain my anxiety about doing something wrong, I decided to let the young man in front of me in on my shameful secret. “What am I supposed to do exactly” I asked hesitantly “I don’t know because this is my first flight”. “What???” he said, and I immediately regretted not sticking to my brothers instructions. “This is the first time in my life I’m getting on a plane” I slowly repeated. This time however, he did not insult me more, and told me what exactly was to be done, which was exactly the same as my brother had instructed. However, I was reassured and more at ease.

 

Soon I was on the plane, which turned out to be quite small and cramped. And surprise, the two pretty westerners I had noticed in the lounge seated themselves beside me. Soon they were chatting away with a startling frenzy, and I could make out they were French. The plane cruised to its position in the middle of the runaway, and in the meantime I had worked out how to manage the seat belt. The motors of the plane revved up to a thunderous roar, and it shot off the runaway and soon the wheels were off the ground. The feeling was novel and interesting, but not as amazing as I had hoped. As we got further and further off the ground, and the cars and houses became smaller and smaller till they became little blocks and toys, the feeling was more of seeing it all through a TV screen, rather than being involved in it and soaring through the sky. Much of the next two hours were spent admiring the view of clouds bathed in sun from above, and thinking of an excuse to initiate a conversation with my beautiful French co-passengers. But the little French I knew deserted me utterly, and the part of me I had hoped to leave behind in Chandigarh prevailed, and all that passed between us was a polite smile as water bottles were passed around.

I used to float on a raft,

Bathed in the bright sun, washed by the cool winds,

I believed it to be Land, and so they also told me,

But someone told me, it was just a piece of wood,

Afloat on unsteady currents,

Then did I also not feel my balance asunder, my knees tremble,

As the raft would bob on the waves?

So I dived, to look for Land,

Cutting through the waters, confident,

Deeper I went, and deeper,

But where was land?

And I went deeper, darker and murkier the waters became,

Still no land in sight, only a bottomless nothingness,

Which stretched further than eye could see,

Was there any land at all?

And how I longed again for my Raft again where I had once stood,

But how would I ever find my feet again,

Knowing how my piece of wood floated,

On a vast nothingness without bottom.

 

Posted on: July 13, 2008

I must say it right,

what do i say?

i must do it right,

what do i do?

one syllable askew, one action out of line

and it shall be lost,

so anxious am i to step right,

that i step wrong, invariably