Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Delhi Railway Station

The flight landed at the New Delhi airport at 1 AM and I had no further bookings - was still debating: Uttarakhand or Ladakh!

The outside of the Airport is not exactly warm nor exactly chilly, June has just arrived - I grab a Red Bull from a sleepy looking guy at one among the several food counters; ‘cause I know I have to sustain a long sleepless night. I browse on my new touch screen phone - the LG GT505 and make some inquiries about the multiple Delhi railway stations (everything in Delhi is in multiples). I start chatting to an auto rickshaw driver who compelling spins a yarn – but he’s a sweet middle-aged person – speaks with me for a while - tells me why I must go to the farther off railway station and checks and confirms over his mobile that I will get the Dehradun Shatabdi at around 7 AM. As I am speaking a red AC bus arrives, the conductor calling out – I confirm with the auto driver, apologize to him that I cannot take the auto and jump into the bus - the charges are one fifth that of the rick.

These AC buses ply back and forth from the airport to the bus stand/New Delhi railway station. I reach the railway station in 20 minutes. I start asking around for the railway station and meet two more men of roughly my age or slightly younger – they are coincidentally from Bangalore and are headed to Agra. The semi-dark lanes have a few shops open. A couple of men ask me if I would like to hire a taxi, I sit and chat for a while and then let them know I will head for the railway station.

Once I am in, I loiter around for a while, find the over bridge and at its other end reach the ticket counter which is outside the station. Near the counter I chat with the ticket brokers who are desperate to get some cash from me – am waiting for tickets for the Dehradun Shatabdi to Haridwar about which I had checked on the net earlier.

There is this broker with one hand missing, he is the most active of the lot and subtly conveys to me that without their help I will fail to get a ticket booked to my place of choice. Other brokers come and go – this man persists and smiles every often as I keep repeating I am not interested and he says: "Try kar leejiye".

Hundreds of people are sleeping in the open passenger entry area before the platforms. A scene you normally don’t see unless you go at that unearthly hour - twitching, tired bodies now resting. At around 3 AM I feel a bit drowsy, I go buy a magazine and some eatables to keep awake. 

I hang on as they tell me that the ticket counter opens at 4 AM, and it does but the train’s details are not available until 5 AM. Filling up the form and after submitting it, the bespectacled person at the counter checks on his terminal and lets me know that only 2 seats are available and that too till Meerut – he advices I take the ticket, later I could speak to the ticket checker and adjust. I do as he suggests! 

Then I wait for the train until 7 AM. I board the train not sure what I will do after Meerut… Meerut is 72 kilometers from Delhi and Haridwar another 140 plus kilometers.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fantastic little sojourn to Uttarakhand!

It all started with the trigger, an unbearable pull, also known as 'WANDERLUST'.

There is some allure of the hills,
The raw challenge, the chills
And thrills.
To respond to it and conquer them is a must
And only just,
For then shall I satiate my wanderlust!

Compelling it is to travel,
Ignore if you will, redoubled it’d strike,
And burst forth, the unbearable pull,
The maddening ache of wandering,
Of getting lost, and discovering.
The pleasures of going the distance!  

Map for my trip to Uttaranchal - Go check map actuals on Google  Maps -

View Larger Map

Saturday, June 05, 2010

A small section from a larger piece I am writing...

The Deadly Embrace – A Buddhist Thanka or nightmare of a Wild Goddess

A dark deity, much bigger than me – the goddess with black radiance - embraces me with her arms, her lips red and her enormous tongue jutting out ready to eat me up. My naked body she holds in a deadly embrace and it is akin to a timeless, tight embrace - a volcano of energy I feel is being transmitted on to me. Dark matter or the goddess with glowing eyes, a bluish black tinge of colour on her glistening dark bare skin, primal energy Shakti - personification of the force. I am as if riveted to her, my head falling back, my yellow body in contrast to the black contours of her form - her bosom crushing my ribs with several kilo-tonnes of cosmic power – I am truly terrified.

Red and yellow flags all around in the background and several little elfs and demons, surround me baring all their jagged teeth as if ready to dig into the leftovers of me, if anything was left after the goddess devoured me herself. Her long grey nails dig deep into my back and squash all my pain at the same time I feel numb and a strange free-floating feeling as if attaining a state of perfect calm, I can see a blurry scene as blood oozes out of her mouth, the very state of the mother in her most terrible form. I close my eyes and let it be, the ringing of bells continue and the surrounding atmosphere turns red and crimson from the diffusing blood. I vividly view the scene as if I were not the victim or the exhalted – I am a third person. As I remain in this state – rapidly losing consciousness I am about to collapse – but the goddess holds on to me as if I were a corpse or a dear son!

Third person – then was it not me? I was able to see from one end and as if the image were rotating in front of me. Was I just seeing a nightmare? Or was this some special signal – it could not have been, I wake up and there I am lying at the feet of the image of the goddess – it is a temple, well decorated. As I go out to find I am in the Durga Mata Mandir which I had visited that evening – decked with red and black sculptures now barely decipherable under the crescent moon. I am bleeding profusely from my shoulders and my body is bare, naked, now I feel the chill of the night air as I try to cover myself with my hands. It was then that I woke up to realize that I was dreaming within a dream – I had been peacefully sleeping at the Hotel Ulka’s non-AC room, and the fan was making a loud noise as it rotating in endless cycles. This nightmare was about a Buddhist thanka painting that had seen at the Ramnagar Palace – a beautiful artwork of the Goddess Kali embracing Shiva or I don’t know someone else – a body in yellow. Great colour and detail in the artwork. 

Arty & Stuff - Age: 25 & Age: 30

Evolution - Age: 25 to Age: 30 [click to enlarge]