Jasmines

What I often miss in the day, or which pass away as fleeting thoughts, come back at night to me, raking old memories and thoughts, and propagate a chain of dreams, so that when I wake up, I feel my subconscious laughing away at my conscious as to how ignorant it could be of such simple facts. And if that does not make sense, let me tell you what happened yesterday so that you could sympathize with me and understand my position.

It is not in my habit to wind up long sentences to explain what I feel. I just blurt out what I do feel, as much in real life as in my posts. But with wishes, it is different. When I wish for something that I know I will not get, I do not let tongue give voice to them. But here they are, my dreams, which act as a wish-fulfilment and force me to pen down these thoughts here. For I would have never given them a second thought unless I dreamt of what I dreamt yesterday. Before I begin, let me tell you what happened a week earlier.

So it was last Monday which was my last day at office. All but my closest friend S were present at this occasion. It would have been a long celebration, but was cut short because I had not much to say about the matter. I could have given them long speeches about what is right and what is wrong, and how we should follow our dreams, and at least try to understand them so that we might learn of what we want, but I did not say anything. One of the reasons was also that I was missing S at the occasion, and since we had only parted a couple of days before in a hurry where our farewell was kind of clumsy and incomplete.

No wonder my dream took this string of thought and wound it up completely, so that yesterday in my dream, I was present at my farewell and S was present too. It would have been okay if this was the only alteration, for that would have made sense to me regarding my wishes. However, it is the second alteration in the occasion that makes me think about it. Let me now introduce you to my colleague A, who shares his name with my best friend from school. My best friend (also called A), as you might be aware, passed away in 2010. In my dream, he substitutes the person with the same name, such that now he was my colleague. But now my mind had a goal to achieve, namely, to furnish me a proof that this was in fact possible. To do this, it fabricated a very rich story, which I would like to share with you. It may sound absurd, for it was a dream after all, but the details in it were so true that it cannot be kept muffled in my heart for long.

I see that soon after his death, a couple of months later in fact, it had so happened that news had arrived that my friend was in fact found somewhere below in the country where the river leads. I go down and in the middle of a field which is full of jasmines, I see my old friend again. I joke with him and tell him how funny it is going to be when everyone else gets to know about this fact too. Then my dream simultaneously transports back to the office, and I pat his back and ask him to accompany me to the café. But however suddenly, I realize that he does not work at my office and now his face is distinctly superimposed with the actual face. I wake up, and I try to remember where my friend is currently working, and what happened to him, when after a moment I realize that I was in fact dreaming and that he has been gone since forever. Thus my sleep breaks and I wake up.

It is funny how when I write this I feel I had so much more to write but I cannot pen down anything more. In fact I do remember a scene where we are having lunch, but it is a dim cave with yellow lights and lots of people, and we sit on the floor later with our food, but I do not remember where that figment goes and how it ends up. And hence this post must be left incomplete as such, because I find it strange that such a queer post be given a fitting conclusion. All in all, I must say that now onwards, whenever I hear of jasmines or see them or smell them, I know I will invariably be drawn back to the field in my dreams, and be forced to think of the prospects and the imaginary life that I could have led were this dream to stand true in front of me.

Call of the Mountains – [1]

[1]

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for he is not the same man and it is not the same river. Of late, I have come to believe in the verity of this statement. Experiences make us what we are, as what we are not. So it is that I have decided to talk about my newest experience in this post. My travel to the mountains. And beyond. This post is a conglomeration of things that have happened over two weekends, and therefore might seem a bit disorganized here and there, but I will try to end up by joining all the strings together so that you can fall in love with my journey as much as I did.

Let me first tell you about my trip. I undertook two trips on consecutive weekends, the last weekend of September and the first weekend of October. The two trips were as different as they could be from one another, and the kind of experiences that I have gained during this period is one that I am going to carry in my memories for a lifetime. The first weekend was not any different from a normal family trip. We went out to a hill station nearby called Mussoorie, drove across mountains, went to monasteries and waterfalls and stayed at a hotel relaxing for most of the time. It was a classical family trip, the main motive of which was not really to visit a place but to sneak out of our home and snug ourselves at a cozy place. This hill station, situated in the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayan ranges, is also known as the Queen of the Hills. Being at an average altitude of 1880 meters (6170 ft), Mussoorie, with its green hills and varied flora and fauna, is a fascinating hill resort. Commanding snow ranges to the north-east, and glittering views of the Doon Valley and Shiwalik ranges in the south, the town was once said to present a ‘fairyland’ atmosphere to tourists. The highest point is Lal Tibba with a height of over 3000 meters (9800 ft). Well yes, some of the information here is from the internet, but that is just so you know a bit more than the fact that I really enjoyed my trip out there though we hardly did anything out of the blue.

There are a lot of places in Mussoorie and the area around that are worth visiting. For one, it houses the oldest church in the Himalayas, St Mary’s. A majority of the population at the outskirts of the city are Tibetan, and one can find a blend of Tibetan culture in the growing tourism industry out there, with Tibetan temples cited as top tourist spots. Special schools exist solely for teaching Tibetan children. 13 kilometers from Mussoorie is also the famous Kempty falls which is nearly 1364 meters above sea level. Our road-trip to Kempty Falls was quiet and serene. Seldom we found a car that came from the opposite direction, and the hills and trees around gave a sense of closure, such that it seemed we were hidden from the world.

On our way back, we stopped at the Robber’s Cave. Robber’s Cave (locally known as Guchhupani) is a river cave formation located approximately 8 km from the centre of Dehradun City. The cave is about 600 metres long, divided into two main parts. The cave has a highest fall of about 10 meters. In the central part there is a fort wall structure which is now broken. It consists of an extremely narrow gorge formed in a conglomerate limestone area on Doon Valley’s Dehra plateau. It is a natural cave formation where rivers flows inside the cave. We waddled ourselves through the water, reaching to the innermost point of the cave. People were taking showers in the waterfalls. Outside the cave, there was a river café, where the tables and all were placed on the stones in the river. It was an exciting visit, one that will stay in my memories for long.

Though the main bulk of the trip extended for only little more than two days, it was a really fun trip. We got back home safely, but this was only the beginning for me. I started preparing eagerly for next weekend, which would, as I later realized, be the best trip of my life.

[2]

Fast forward one week. If the excitement I reached last week was at level 1, I would notch it up to level 20 for this week. This trip has by far been one of the best trips in my life. We went on a road-trip to the yet unurbanized areas of Himachal Pradesh. We travelled overnight from Delhi to Shimla on a Wednesday, and reached Shimla early morning next day. We then hired a car and drove from Shimla, the capital of the state, to Narkanda. We didn’t halt there, because we had better and bigger plans and needed to execute them. Moving ahead through hilly roads, with mountains on both sides, and the cold air lapping through our hair, the six of us might have had different perspectives and different memories, different attachments with what happened around us, yet there was a common string between all of us – peacefulness. We moved ahead to Rampur, a small city on the highway. Once upon a time, it was one of the largest hill states during the British rule, now a small part of Himachal. We stood at the porch of a hotel, at a height of 4429 feet, the Sutlej running below, the sun now glimmering across and the green hills serving as bodyguards to the white mountains far behind. Getting back into the car, we sped for our next destination.

Sarahan. We had driven a 170 kilometers since we started in the morning. We needed to rest. The sun was now high up in the sky, glaring down with its heat. But at a height of 2313 meters (7589 feet), the heat was hardly the problem. It was cool, a breeze blowing at a moderate speed. The cold climate is suitable for apple crops, and we found loads of apple gardens all through our way. Now at the top of Sarahan, we had come to see the very famous Bhimakali temple, dedicated to the mother goddess Bhimakali. Down below at a distance of seven kilometers, the Sutlej made its way silently to the south. According to a legend, the manifestation of the goddess is reported to the Daksha-Yajna incident when the ear of the Sati fell at this place and became a place of worship as a Pitha – Sthan. Presently in the form of a virgin the icon of this eternal goddess is consecrated at the top storey of the new building. Below that storey the goddess as Parvati, the daughter of Himalaya is enshrined as a divine consort of Lord Shiva. The temple complex is huge and an eerie silence encumbered it. It was almost as if we had been transported to another century sometime far behind, where the world was still lush green and where the birds still ruled the skies. Now we felt insatiably hungry, having had only morsels of biscuits in the morning. We stopped by, and ate until our bellies could store no more. And then we moved ahead.

Tuning out the voices of people around, I turned up the volume of my walk-man. Songs. The terrific thing about songs is that it can take you down memory lane in the strangest ways possible. The song that was playing now was ‘Khamaj’, taking me six years back when a friend of mine had first suggested that song to me. And then it all came back in a rush, all the memories, all the people, everyone, friends, classmates, phones, texting, coaching classes, love, stupidity, embarrassment, the night I had asked her out, the drama, the silence, fast forward, the night she asked me out, rewind, the stuff that happened in between, everything in a gush and then all blacked out. The song changed. Now my thoughts transported back to college. I realized that I have made so many friends, and have unmade so many of them, that I really do not know what I have been doing all this while. Do I really care about the people that I have right now? Will they also fade away, like the pages of a novel, never read again once the novel is done with? I had once thought about writing a novel, and had also sketched out a plan, but then what happened? I don’t remember, but I couldn’t ever get down to really writing it. Such is my life. Plans and plans and yet nothing comes out on execution. Wasteful it is, and I needed to fix it, as soon as possible. I made a mental note to start with the novel once I got back home. But that was far, and now ahead lay many miles to cover. In my mind, ‘Five Hundred Miles’ hummed on its own, and I didn’t try to block it out. Someone was saying something, but it was so much soothing to not listen to anyone, to not pretend I was listening, to just close your eyes and take a walk down memory lane, that I did not even try to open my eyes.

It was afternoon when we left. We were moving higher now, into the Kinnaur district. We were to next halt at Rekong Peo, the headquarter of the Kinnaur district. But we had time still, and it was far up, another 90 kilometers. I decided to take a nap, for my eyelids were heavy and in dire need for sleep. I did not realize when I fell asleep, but when I woke up, we had covered a good distance. Our driver was an experienced one, and he had made good time, even for the road which was on such rough a terrain. But it was still smooth, compared to what was to come later in our journey. But let me not move ahead of time, and we will cross the river when we come to it, but for now, I realized we had already crossed Peo, and were on our way to Kalpa. Kalpa is a small town in the Sutlej river valley, above Recong Peo, among apple orchards, pine-nut forests and the stately cedars. It is located at the base of the Kinnaur Kailash snow-capped ranges. The Shivling peaks rise up to 20,000 feet (6,000 m). I later came face to face with the peak as our guest house had a perfect location, situated right across the Kinnaur, with a direct view of the mountain. We saw its hue change from white to red and then to black with silvered ice tipping its peak, as we dozed off to sleep, and witnessed it growing back from silver to red in the morning as we woke before the morning sun could rise in the east behind us. Once we crashed on our beds that night, it was as if the air around had been sprinkled with a scent that could induce anyone to sleep. It was a comfortable night, and we huddled in small beds, sleeping under quilts. Hardly did we know that this would be one of the last such nights that would be this comfortable. But for now, our minds were clear, we had had a sumptuous feast for dinner, starters followed by a main course, and music blaring in our rooms, and for a while we tried to keep ourselves awake, but to no avail. Sleep came in like a monster at night. And that was how our first day had come to an end.

Read the next part in Part 2.

Lost

This is a story of all I’ve lost,
All those who believed in me once,
All those who I thought
Would stay here forever.
All those who were my people.
My people.

But there’s a river always,
And there’s the other bank,
And I’ve seen you go to the other side,
And there are beliefs there too.
Yet I’ll come there sometime,
If I’m strong enough,
To fight against the currents,
And to fight against the odds.

But what’s in store for tomorrow,
Nobody knows,
And the clocks go tick-tock tick-tock,
And I keep losing my faith,
And my people,
And they lose their faith,
And me,
An endless cycle.

But all’s not lost, there is a ray of hope,
Shining from behind the clouds,
Which cloud my mind presently,
Making me unable to see what’s across it,
Whether it’s a silver lining,
Or are there endless clouds,
Hiding the sun, my source of energy,
I don’t know,
And nobody can tell me, unless they go.

This is a story of all those who I have lost,
To love.
Because sometimes,
Love is a poison,
One which comes back to get you,
To destroy you, and to harm you forever.
Memories hit me,
Like cold gales lashing across my face,
Of things that had best remain unsaid,
That had best remained undone,
But were done, in the moment,
Not foreseeing the future,
And here I lie, in despair,
Thinking about it without a course.

And there are others that I’ve lost,
To time.
For time is like sand, forever slipping between fingers,
No matter how hard you close your fist,
People, memories, happiness, friends,
Dwindle out.
Like the candle, having served it purpose,
Reduces to wax, and a part of it,
Forever stuck to the floor,
Like memories,
The memories of my people.

I’ve lost people, and I’ve lost time,
But that’s not all,
I’ve lost memories, so many of them,
In a chest full of gold and other treasures,
But someone robbed me of it,
In a dream one night,
And I have never found them again.
I’ve lost dreams,
He came one night, and told me so,
That dreams were only for those,
Who had their memories safe and sound,
But I had lost them.
I’ve lost wishes, which I had saved,
To demand of a genie should I find one,
But he came in the midst of a night,
And told me he wouldn’t grant me any,
‘Cause wishes were given to only those,
Who had big dreams, and I had lost them.

But lost things may yet be found,
Like toys of a child hidden in the cupboard,
And some day when I rush across,
The pages of time,
I might catch one at the end of a page,
Waiting, sitting there, just like me,
Trying to look out for those she’s lost.

Missing You

I just downloaded the list of hundred novels every person should read before he dies. This list that I got was published by The Telegraph, so I am going to believe there is some truth to the post. It was surprising to see that I haven’t read so many of them. This definitely means I have a mission to complete before I die. Hopefully I will live long enough to finish these books.

I want to dedicate this post to a really good friend of mine. I have been missing her a lot for some time, and as I was looking through pictures that we had clicked, some completely random, some nice ones, some so stupid I laugh even now, I realized that I was really happy when she was around. Now that she isn’t, all I can do is think about the wonderful moments that we had together. We stay in different countries now, and Whatsapp and Google Voice are the only two things that are even remotely close to what we could call talking. But I’m sure that we will meet again some day, and then hopefully we will create more moments like the ones before.

Then your smile was enough,
To make me happy on the saddest of mornings,
And now when you’re not around,
I imagine you all smiles and happy,
Your hair untied, unkempt, breeze within,
Your face gleaming with joy when you talk of swings,
Remember the first time you fell asleep on my lap?
Then your presence was enough,
To make me smile on the ugliest of days,
And now, when you aren’t around,
Even a single text from you is enough,
To make me happy on the saddest of mornings.

Black Rose 3

It’s mind-boggling to see,
How people change with time,
How life is such a strange humdrum affair,
How the clocks never stop,
How love dies slowly.
The rose turned black and withered off,
But the plant didn’t lose hope,
It grew another rose and then another,
Each withering after a while.
Hardly did it know it was not her fault,
She wasn’t a bad mother at all,
But the gardener had hardly paid attention to it,
And had watered the prettier shrubs,
Leaving the rose plant to its misery.
But the plant never tired,
Hoped that one day,
The gardener would see the black rose,
Be embarrassed and start nurturing it again,
Enliven the plant, give it a rebirth,
So that the roses would be red forever.
For the new ones may be close to mind,
But the old ones will forever be close to heart.

Food for Thought

It’s queer how small instances,
Which had gone unnoticed once,
Suddenly reach the bottoms of your heart,
Raking up emotions, pent-up for a long time,
Wanting to burst out, like tears from a baby,
Who’s not eaten, or probably not slept.
Dreams sometimes show you the path,
Tell you the solutions, give you answers,
That you’ve been trying to find for long,
It’s like a treasure hunt,
That you keep playing with your conscious mind,
All the time unaware,
That the player himself is wrong,
And that you should sometimes play,
And try to converse with the subconscious too.
A sand castle, in the heat,
Getting washed down by the warm waters,
The same waters, don’t they turn chilly at night,
Freezing the air above it?
See through it, see how transparent it is,
And how even then its depth remains unmeasured.
For those who drown, know not those who float.
Food for thought,
Would it be better to drown such instances,
Deep into the sea of your thoughts,
Or should you keep them afloat,
Like carcasses in the river,
To be haunted by them against the light of the moon?

How It Changed Entirely

This is a sequel to Nothing Has Changed.

It is true that you change,
When people around you do,
Or else I wouldn’t be writing this today.
It is true that you change,
When I am absent,
Or else I wouldn’t be writing this today.
For coming back and starting,
From the point you left off,
Is never the same as not leaving at all.

You understood my eyes,
What they meant without speaking,
Now you can’t hear me,
Tell me, who changed?
You smiled at silly jokes,
Now you mock me with others,
Say I am stupid,
Why, who changed?

Goodbyes were meant to be happy,
Yet this time it isn’t,
I am sad and I’m upset,
But you wouldn’t know,
You are busy there, out with new ones,
And like old newspapers I’m trashed in a can,
Know that I’m sad to see,
How it changed entirely.