Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sehar of the Indian Sahar...

.I finally had my long-awaited and hard-earned vacation out of Mumbai after a gap of 2 whole years!!!5 days of traveling and I panned almost half of Rajasthan-The Indian Sahara Desert.From aerobus to mini-bus,used them all.From scorching desert sun to heavy Mumbai-ishtyle rains,saw them all.From fresh phulkas made directly over firewood to a grand luncheon,had it all. It was one of the most memorable trips due to a multitude of reasons.
Leaving Mumbai during the its best weather to go and bear the cruel heat was heart-breaking in itself.Despite the weather the scheduled flights were on time and we departed towards our destination on time.Thanks to the absence of any clouds over Jaipur we reached as scheduled and were greeted by the clearest possible powder-blue sky.We collected the baggage and hopped on to our taxis to be welcomed by an extremely chatty old driver-cum-guide.Once all settled in their seats we started the journey taking one temple at a time,starting with a village called Khaatoo.[I know it sounds funny ;) ]After taking blessings from there we made our way to another temple where we also halted for the most amazing lunch of the entire tour.It wasn't even a village,just a congregation of few people surviving on money pumped in by the visitors who come to seek blessings at the temple.The temple being home to the main goddess that we pray to, the elders took some time to finish rituals and I took time out to explore its beauty. The amount of beauty,creativity and skill that I witnessed was astounding.The main entrance of the temple was intricately sculptured with various animals,flowers and abstract designs and painted in a gamut of beautiful colours.The pillars,the floors and doors,the windows all had beautiful engravings of various religious symbols and still it wasn't overbearing so sober was the work.After the Pooja, I got my share of Moli-the pretty religious red thread and proceeded for a delicious lunch right at the footsteps of the temple.Its amazing how the simplest of things can give you the most amount of happiness.The dhabba consisted of three sets of rough and worn-out wooden tables and benches thrown together in a dingy corner near the temple,run by a few simple local marwaris.Because firewood was used to cook the food,all the cooking utensils and the entire kitchen were coated in an inch-thick black soot making visibility almost zero and forcing them to shift the kitchen out in the open.The fare consisted of the locally produced vegetables being hallmark of Rajasthan cooked in spicy gravy and fresh phulkas having a smoked flavour to them.Thanks to the Trust that runs the temple, the dhabba had managed to procure a water cooler which provided us with chilled water with the piping hot food...

to be continued..

Saturday, July 4, 2009


A bagful of mixed emotions is what the name evokes at the very start.
Yes I am talking about the immortal,deadly,blood-sucking yet handsome,enigmatic,mysterious,magical and the most desired of all the evil creatures in mythology-the Vampires.These black and red hooded beings with pointed ears, a sharp nose,slanting dark eyes and a wicked smile,not to forget the patent lethal canines sticking out of their jaws, staring at you, waiting to have a dig at your flesh, strike a chord with some of the most undesired and hidden emotions of the human mind.They make one come face to face with primitive emotions which drive each one of us,knowingly or unknowingly.
The blood-stained teeth and nails, the blood-shot eyes and the scarlet lips add to the attraction innate to human beings to the color red whilst evoking a sense of fear,pain,misery,anguish and even anger and hatred.The smile, full of deceit and lust, is extremely menacing, conveying full well the depth and meaning of the intentions of the person flashing it.The bitten neck with blood-oozing from the wound refreshes the malice lurking behind the smooth porcelain exterior.
The stark black overcoat with its red insides remind you that nothing is as nice or good as it seems on the exterior.The color red,universally standing for danger, stares at you straight in the face,demanding attention and forcing out emotions lurking deep inside.All in all-"Straight out of hell" they seem to say.
Vampires invariably have been related to the various phases of moon with special importance being attached to the presence of a full moon.History bears mention of normal human beings being transformed into parasitic vampires at the stroke of midnight on a full mooned night by the "kiss of death" from another vampire, delivered at the characteristic position on the throat.Here we see them taking from the night, its mystery enveloped in darkness and the voice of its silence.
These living legends who reside in their personal coffins,seem to appear out of their hiding only at night and only when they need to rebuild their strength by feeding on yet another unsuspecting victim.They,apparently,absorb all the knowledge,characteristics and complexities of the victim along with its blood,making them some sort of living sponge.
Hundreds of movies have been made depicting charismatic vampires rising out of their coffins and biting hapless young beauties in their bedrooms,all resting on one fact, that we all have a wicked side to us.Whether or not we accept and acknowledge its presence, there is a Mr Hyde behind every Dr.Jekyll and shows his face every now and then.
Its beyond good and evil...
its just thin air....sometimes there...sometimes rare.