Year: 2015

Riding to the Rajasthan Borders

Jaisalmer to Tanot : Longewala : Pabu ki dhani – After reaching back to Jaisalmer from Khuri i decided to travel to Longewala- a border village and visit Tanot temple. It was 120 kilometres from the city and buses would only go to Ramgarh-half way. So i rented a Suzuki bike and rode for 3 days around border villages. The road to Tanot temple was like riding a snake, and that snake is slithering across the horizon of Sand and Sky that too at night. It was late when i reached .Around 9. I went to the only hotel-dharamsala and found no body there. It was open. And it was empty. Unbolted doors were beating heavily. The wind was making an impression. And over all no body seemed to have any interest either in the temple or in the popular last army post. I seemed to be the only one- once excited visitor to have come to this ghost-not-even-a-town. I sat outside that hotel on earth near my bike, waiting for someone to happen. I …

In Omni to Hanley

When young, drive Omni. To zojila, to Leh, to Hanle, to tso moreri, to i don’t know what pass that came after hundred’s of horses ran to take left, we took towards sky- a concrete river bed on top of a conical mountain which went all afternoon. Many called it a road. Through a broken bridge, through the ditches connecting another ditch on the Yoga day. While laughing at others. While laughing atourselves. While stopping before every loop to the mountain up. The dancing carrier. The nostalgia of the petrol fumes over six days. As every bicycle left us behind. Our omni made it across the Rohtang. But always carry two people to push it through. We needed many only once. On the road with Omni | July 15.

Jaimaal

In her wedding dress that one day she stopped counting years, my favourite grandmother – I met J uncle on a rainy very cold january morning this year, near an empty swimming pool. His room – 705, is just beneath my room – 805, where i am writing this. J uncle had his own quiet world till he met my sister. My sister, she is a kathak dancer(banaras gharana). J uncle would not know about it for a month till one day they meet in the elevator, she moved and her ghungroo rolled from her bag. J uncle and his lovely wife had come from Banaras. In a quest to live with their son, they sold their house. They used to sing all morning there, he told me. He disliked it here. Everything. But he never spoke about it. He was just visibly sad. In his walk, thats how mostly i saw of him. A singer coming from a gharana who doesn’t sing anymore. In the meantime J uncle grew fond of my sister and …

Song of the playground

Photograph of the lost memory in flaring heat of Jaisalmer It is hot in Barmer. My right cheek has swelled. Ulcers recognized heat. I am staying with amma here, a Bhopa. Last night we decided to attend Pabu ki phad. Happens rarely now. A local god. Reincarnation of Laksman. Bhopas sing and dance for Pabu. For two nights Bhopas from all across the region had come to sing and dance reciting Pabu’s story. Anada Ram was the most prolific Ravanhatta musician. He died 33 years ago. His wife, Amma never sang after that. I am here to document her son. He never learnt Ravanhatta. He wanted to be a dancer. I have known him for eight months now. There were many other dancers from the community yesterday. Veer was going to show me one of his acts dancing on the mirror glass with fire in his mouth. He does not dance in the community. He is ashamed. I was awed last night. So were six hundred people. He got cut but still kept dancing. His …

MUND NADI

This bad sketch was made a week ago together on very long bus rides after entering back to Indian Bihar in Raxaul from Nepall Bihar Birganj to Sugauli. A 10 hour lazy train from sugauli to gorakhpur at night. Some parts in a bus from Gorakhpur to Faizabad, from there to Kesarbagh in Lucknow and then 16 hour bus ride where shukla jee was the driver and himself he was the conductor. He made sure all the passengers eat the best samosa with kacche aam ki chatni, Kachaori poori Sabzi, chai, Petha, oranges on various stops, though he didn’t care much where we eat our food. On a Sunday he recited Hanuman Katha and Chalisa twenty times half an hour long- less in afternoon most in the night so as no body sleeps and if they do Ram and Hanuman should always be around them. On a two week journey to Nepal starting from not so interesting Pokhra to Muglin and the beautiful Manakaamna temple and later all seven days given to Gadhimai mela where …

Walking in Varanasi

– All say i have gone on my mother, slanting slope with a dead end like nose, high cheekbones, eyes watching from a socket, paler complexion. Today when i lied beside her listening, i saw a few lines sketched around her lips, tight forehead, intense she looked, and looked old. I leave for Kashmir the day after for a month and wanted to post this write-up which i wrote six months ago on the ghats of Benaras. I am drunk tonight. … Holi city, indeed Crowded by boredom Of new and the old Japanese is written on the walls, Telugu, Gujrati, Hindi, Marwari and deity of the falling doll, Walls are tall as lanes are narrow concluding steps Going towards the flow Ganga looks like one today The sun is shining on the polluted dark A bark flows with the river, with a free body, swelled liked a shapeless balloon Him, crows are murdering more. But the noon is calmer here, they say, river trudges up from there background chantings and prayers from sound systems …