Few glimpses from my Phuket trip…
Few glimpses from my Phuket trip…
We have a family holiday coming up. I love going on a holiday, whether it’s for a weekend, or a week or a fortnight. For me the trip begins on the day I wake up and think, it’s time for one. The whole process of deciding where to go, when to go, how to go, and what to pack is part and parcel of the whole experience. I had a conversation with a friend who is also going away for the Christmas week, and all she had to say all the time we were together, was about how much of a headache it was to plan the trip. While I gave her all the sympathetic response she expected, the voice in my head said, “ Poor thing, you are missing so much of the fun.”
Fortunately all four of us, my spouse, children and I enjoy travelling. If it’s a long exploratory get away, spanning about a fortnight, then the thinking and planning begins almost four months in advance. The choosing of the destination done, then starts the planning of the itinerary. This is mostly a weekend task as all of us are busy through the week. The amount of arm chair travelling that we have done over the planning period can fill pages. Right from fantasising over staying in exotic palaces to hitch-hiking in trucks, we have it all. The best part is to see the children enjoy this virtual journey as much as the actual trip. Reading about the places one is going to visit,and making a list of must-have local cuisine is also one mandatory ritual. One can feel the mood building up at home as the date of departure comes closer. Bringing down the suitcases and sorting out clothes gives it all a perfect outline. And then we proceed to fill in the picture with the colour of the memories created during the trip.
When I look back on any of the numerous trips we have taken together, I see this entire journey in my mind, and not only the ten or fifteen days I was at some destination. We read so much about how its not only the destination, but also the journey which is important. If each of us could manage to experience this theory even in a small fraction, figuratively and literally, then we would be blessed.
Beginning of a much awaited,and much needed holiday. Albeit a short one,but a welcome one. Destination: Rishikesh. About 250kms from Delhi.
Pahalwan dhaba. Food served fit for a pehalwan. Crisp,stuffed parathas,topped with fresh makkhan (butter)…and served with fresh dahi (yoghurt). Complete only with freshly made crispy jalebis and milky masala tea.
We passed many big and small towns on the way. All decorated to entice shoppers just one day prior to Diwali.
Bull’s Retreat. Our home for the three days we spent in Rishikesh. Homely and welcoming, Named after Narendra ‘Bull’ Kumar, soldier-explorer-mountaineer-adventurer, Bull Kumar goes by so many descriptions, it’s hard to pin him down! The “Bull” moniker comes from his cadet days with reference to his fierce resolve, and muscular build. And it has stayed with him ever since.
Seen here also is the resident dog, Aasa, a gentle, friendly and amicable creature. Easy to be with and happy to give company.
Bonfire bonhomie. Cool pleasant evening. Good wine. Better company. Crackling fire.
The Ganges or the Ganga. Mother Ganga to Indians. Cleanser of souls. Prayers are offered to her every evening. The Ganga Aarti is famous and attracts most visitors. Even if one isn’t particularly religious, the calm atmosphere is contagious. Sitting on the steps next to the Ganga, one finds oneself introspecting involuntarily.
These are little leaf baskets filled with flowers, also holding incense sticks and nestling a tiny tub of camphor. As dusk approaches, one is supposed to light the camphor squares and then gently release the baskets of flowers into the river, thereby offering our prayers to the Ganges.
The rounded rocks, stones and pebbles on the riverbed, and alongside the river just beckon you to come and sit on them. To dangle your feet in the oh! so deliciously cool water. One wonders what stories these stones would tell if they could speak.
Rishikesh, sometimes nicknamed “Yoga Capital of the World”,has numerous yoga centres that attract tourists. It is believed that meditation in Rishikesh brings one closer to attainment of moksha, as does a dip in the holy river that flows through it.Sure enough, on one of our walks , we came across this group practicing yoga on the riverside.
I took a trip to Ireland few days back. Two weeks of complete leisure. This was the first time I had taken a trip without any agenda or an itinerary to refer to. My childhood friends live there and my sole purpose was to spend some time with them. So those days there, were only about waking up when my body asked me to, sitting in the cozy sun-room and sipping hot tea, chatting away whenever we felt like or sitting in the quietness of each other’s company. We spent talking away late into the night. Some days when we felt like, we took off for drives along the beautiful country roads. On one such drive we stopped at a spot, where someone had thoughtfully put a bench. The moment I spotted the bench, one of my favorite poem just rushed through my mind.
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare
-William Henry Davies
It was as if someone had taken in the beautiful, breath-taking view of the coast, and thought that if one did decide to take the time to stand and stare, this was one perfect spot for it. The bench beckoned to me like a spell and I did just what it asked me to do. I sat and stared.
Spent a few days in Rajasthan last week, travelling to Udaipur, Kumbhalgarh and Chittorgarh. Home to the Sisodia Rajputs, the forts and palaces give one a glimpse of what life must have been centuries ago. Doors and windows have always caught my attention and I couldn’t stop myself from photographing some of them.