Photo taken at Plitvice National Park, Croatia by Vibhor Dhote Oh! What are these days I have found myself in! The bagpacks I carry n...
Saturday, December 31, 2016
Five years back on this day I wrote my first ever blogpost. So, despite the fact that I haven’t written much after I returned to India from my Euro Trip, I decided to celebrate the 5th anniversary of my blog with another blogpost. And although it’s been a month that I am back here, memories of Europe remain vividly etched on the canvas of my mind and I fail to not reminisce them every single day, every single night.
Some of the questions I faced when I returned (and I still face sometimes) were about how much I spent on the trip, more so because I was the one who had managed to spoil three cellphones and one laptop during the trip. But besides these major damages there were minute disappearances that kept on happening with my trivial belongings. Surprisingly, I felt happier when I lost my clothing items since it implied that I had to carry less in my baggage during the rest of the trip.
Here’s a list of items I lost during the Euro Trip and the places where I lost them because sometimes such are the marks we, humans leave.
1. Jewelry Box in Aarhus, Denmark – The first loss, of course, needs to happen in the first country I landed in. And somewhere amidst all the packing and unpacking I did to make my rucksack sufficient to sustain me for the next two months of hopping from one country to another, I lost that little box containing the best pairs of earrings I owned and had initially packed to wear at various places.
2. Miscellaneous in Mykonos, Greece – The next loss happened by the time I had realized that I packed too many clothes and shoes, and if I needed to take my travel seriously I needed to let go of the desire to wear “that perfect attire” for “that perfect occasion” all the time. It was before heading to the beach that I washed a few clothes and hung them outside the camp where we were staying for the night. In the evening when I returned from the beach party, I found my essentials still hanging on the thin wire but two t-shirts, one pair of shorts, another pair of trousers were all gone. I was disappointed that the last pair of item was new and I wore it only once, but for the rest of the items – I was glad.
3. Towel in Venice, Italy – Remember how the thief of Mykonos had left my essentials and stolen only the clothes? In the camp in Venice, just the opposite happened – I had washed and hung only my towel and around 7 pairs of essentials and returned in the evening to find nothing. Albeit funny and unexpected, the incident was, my next worry was that I had to urgently pay a visit to the Supermarket. :-P
4. Jacket in Vienna, Austria – The fourth loss was heart-breaking. I loved the jacket I recently had bought. I vividly remember throwing my jacket on the bed before tucking my blanket and going to sleep. The next morning I searched everywhere in the hostel but I couldn’t find my beloved brown jacket.
5. Warmer in Zagreb, Croatia – I had, in Aarhus, packed my rucksack for only two months’ travel and the travel didn’t include places covered with snow. (I was supposed to get back to my luggage after two months and get warmer clothes to stand the snow). But it was when I was in Marseilles, France that I decided to visit Switzerland for which I needed warmer clothes, having lost one jacket already. So I bought a body-warmer from that place, wore it in Switzerland and then when I went to the place where I didn’t need it - Zagreb, my first stop in Croatia, I forgot to pack it in while checking out. When I was walking to catch the bus from Zagreb that was booked previously, I recalled the black body-warmer lying unowned on my bed in the hostel but there was no time or reason to go for it.
6. Scarf in Maribor, Slovenia – It was a cold rainy night. I had my raincoat on along with a cap to cover my head and a scarf for the neck. I was walking from the train station to the students’ hostel where I was staying. Minutes later, I realized that the scarf was no longer wrapped around my neck. I imagined it lying somewhere on the pavement, getting drenched in the rain deeming it unviable to be picked up and worn again. I ditched the thought and walked forward without looking back.
7. Shorts in Barcelona, Spain - I eventually had concluded that I had stopped losing stuffs. My bag wasn’t very heavy anymore. I had thrown three pairs of shoes in Berlin, Germany to reduce the weight. My laptop had broken already. The selfie-stick, which didn’t serve any purpose had broken already. There were hardly more stuffs to carry so there wasn’t any. But when we were about to hit the sea in Alicante and I was supposed to find my pair of shorts in my bag which I had worn the previous night in Barcelona, I realized it was no longer where it was supposed to be. It was probably the last thing I forgot to pack.
Because post this, every stuff that I did not bring home were things that were supposed to go.
Monday, November 28, 2016
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
I always thought it was to my disadvantage that I can never hold back my tears when I need to. I have cried in places I swear I wouldn’t. I am the person in a movie hall who cries whenever the protagonist is in a bad situation. I am the person who is going to cry when you tell her something bad about your own life. And if I don’t, in front of you, I am going to run to the washroom a little while later to let the tears flow, after patting my back for holding them for a while. Reminiscing the conversation and crying later just before sleeping is my thing to. I have lost the count of the times I have cried in the presence of someone I wouldn’t want to show my sensitive side to. But that’s me – 25 and still a crybaby in situations of frustration, anger and sadness, with no consideration to whoever is around me.
I remember the time I cried in Venice in front of two guys I just met that day and two other guys I had known only from a couple of days. But that’s a story for another day; today it’s about how being a crybaby didn’t ruin my day.
I had to travel from Koeln HBF (Germany) to Madrid (Spain) via Paris (France) for which I had to change some four trains, the reservations for all of which I got done in Koeln itself. My hostel in Madrid was reserved too and paid for. I must remind you here that reservations in French trains are extremely costly, in comparison to everywhere else in Europe. While the reservation from Koeln to Paris costs around 25 euros, the reservation from Paris to Port Bou was for 22 euros; and this was despite me holding a Eurail pass of some 1000 euros.
I reached Paris Nord quite fine from which I had to take a metro to Paris Austerlitz. It was a wait of one hour in Austerlitz before the train would leave, and I, quite insouciantly, decided to enter the waiting train at the nick of the time. Pampering myself with some delicious hot chocolate, I finally decided to join the queue when there was only 20 minutes for the train to leave the station.
It was then that one of the Train Managers showed me that the reservation I had was for a wrong date and hence, I wouldn’t be allowed to enter the train unless I get the tickets changed. I had done the reservations in Koeln and I couldn’t even use my usual way of scolding the person at fault and get it corrected. So I ran to the information office at Paris Austerlitz station who answered that their office is closed and they can’t do anything about it.
I came back to the manager narrating the issue and also emphasizing on the fact that I really had to catch this train since all the subsequent reservations have been made. His solution for me was to buy another reservation now. Another 22 euros! I pleaded him, told him it is a lot of money for me, gave him various reasons so that he would allow me to board the train but he just shook his head uttering a firm no.
At that profound moment of rejection, I could have easily paid 22 euros for the ticket and then got the wrong ticket reimbursed later at Koeln without any hassle. But without any further thought, my dear tears decided to break down, like they always do.
After a couple of tears trickled down my cheeks, I took a deep breath, wiped them off and asked the train manager to sell me a new ticket.
Needless to say, I didn’t actually have to pay for a new ticket as he, the manager who saw me breaking down, just gave me a new seat and asked me to get on the train that was now leaving in some 7 minutes or so. Yes, I am on that train now. J
Saturday, November 5, 2016
|Photo taken at Plitvice National Park, Croatia by Vibhor Dhote|
Oh! What are these days I have found myself in!
The bagpacks I carry no longer feel that heavy;
What have they lost if not for a few coins, a few notes,
some letters written long ago, a few locks, a few clothes?
Or is it the loss of some fears, some shackles, some thoughts tied to their waist belts several years ago?
Where is the fatigue? Where are the tears that drenched my pillow?
Where is the inability to wake up early in the morning and the incessant desire to sleep forever?
Today, every time I close my eyes, I need to type, I need to write.
Where is the indolence, the procrastination, the lack of, as I would say whenever they ask, the "limited time"?
What is this insouciance called?
Where have eloped the eternal need for love, money and the things I've already sold?
Why Plath has shut her eyes today whom I so deeply adored?
Bukowski's Bluebird is set free now while Sahir's pleas I dearly hold,
Because when he asks his muse not to leave before the fall of the dusk
My muse cures my day, lures my night and finds some more of my trust..
Oh, what do I call this courage that I rely less on the metaphors today?
More than heard, more than understood, more than being just okay.
What do I call this love for the stars unseen, the aroma in the air
the sound of the leaves fluttering as they breathe the wind?
A stranger's smile, a traveler's note on my bed,
A black burnt pebble from the mountains,
A lock I stole the key of which I returned,
I have picked up with fervour, an orphan cone of a pine.
But how do I keep away the only fear I see now?
That someday, when I am back on earth, back on the ground
Away from these half-built walls, these lit up streets, these lost clouds,
Maybe I won't ever be the same, the way I am here now.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
I needed to write something, as I always do, and I believe the best way of writing is when you’re on a train. Right now I am enroute Krakow from Wroclaw, Poland and listening to the song Bulleya from Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, which reminded me to share what I felt after watching the movie.
I think the movie is dispensable, despite the entire buzz around it. Glimpse of The Breakup Song did develop an inclination to watch the movie for me, but when I listened to the entire song it was quite a disappointment, thanks to the awkward opening of the song and Badshaah’s rap the lyrics of which reminds one of nothing but the movie Jab We Met. What’s with “use phone mila aur gaali de, photo jala ke kar de raakh”? Couldn’t find new or better ways, eh? I do like the songs Channa Mereya and Bulleya though, thanks to the lyricist. Most of the songs I love are for the lyrics than the music but of course, without a soothing music even a great song won’t be bearable. (Kitne dafe, subah ko meri, tere aangan mein baithe, maine shaam kiya, Say Waah to Amitabh Bhattacharya!)
Only last night I watched the movie and the first part, I felt, was such a cliché. A guy and a girl meet, they travel and have a lot of fun- don’t we have enough of that right from DDLJ? Are there no innovative ways of falling in love or am I asking for too much? It definitely reminded me of the recent Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone movie Tamasha. Thankfully, the love in ADHM is ek tarfa- something fresh and not much talked about in Bollywood.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan comes to my rescue after half of the drama is over. Well, watching Fawad Khan was soothing too but he didn’t really have much to do as an actor in the movie. Aishwarya, however, is a treat to the eyes, and a song to the ears. I have never admired her more in any other movie. Hats off to the dialogue writer, Niranjan Iyengar, for writing such beautiful lines for her to speak in the movie! Same relief I found after listening to the words coming out of Shahrukh’s lips. Had it not been for these two actors, who are neither my favourite nor have they ever been, I wouldn’t be able to tolerate the movie much.
I remember when we realized, in Budapest, that SRK and Anushka would be there in five minutes for a song-shoot for the upcoming movie ‘The Ring’ I was more excited to see Anushka than SRK. After watching ADHM, the exact opposite feelings have just overcome my little heart.
|Pic Courtesy: Robin Singla|
Aishwarya plays a strong character of a Shayara, the word I learnt only after watching ADHM, in an admirable way. Ranbir plays his role exactly the way his character demands him to. Anushka and Ranbir have been good actors, no doubt, and hence, their acting skills seem impeccable as they both do justice to their roles- more for Ranbir than for Anushka. However, the first half of the movie disappointed me so much that I couldn’t really feel empathetic about the characters which I usually do in other movies. Oh, I have cried my eyes out watching numerous movies and if I didn’t feel a thing for these characters, I am not sure how others are taking this. However, one characteristic of the central character Ranbir which I liked, and which I think is something new on the platter, is that he wouldn’t want to sit alone or be alone (although I don’t know how he turned up in the club alone if that’s so) but this is one behaviour we often find in people we meet, making his character realistic.
The airport scene had to happen, like most Bollywood movies that try to leave an impact, this time in a fresh way – Thankfully, although I had guessed it would be that way. Anushka didn’t succumb to Ranbir’s pleas – another thanks to the Karan Johar. Anushka’s Sukoonghar could have created better dialogues with the concept of Tedha love but, surprisingly, I see my Facebook News Feed flooded with this dialogue, so maybe people are embracing it.
I don’t have much against the movie because the concept on which it was built was supposed to be good, right from the beginning. But it just couldn’t make me not think of how the scenes are predictable, the screenplay a bit repetitive. For instance, Ranbir begins the movie with an Interview and I simple cannot not think of Two States. In retrospect maybe one can survive after watching the movie once, but that’s it.
Watch this movie if you cannot become tired of hearing so much about love. Watch this movie if you have nothing better to do and you could certainly do by looking at some pretty faces. Don’t watch this movie if you want to watch something emotionally impactful or something feel-good Bollywoody happy-feelings wali movie. But do watch this movie if you do not feel the way I do.