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A Traveler's Saga

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...

Monday, November 28, 2016

Habits


I let you go like some old habits of mine-
Checking your Facebook profile every minute I touch my phone,
Reading our old messages for signs that would tell you don't love me anymore,
Putting a burning cigarette in my mouth every time I thought of you,
Exhaling the smoke every time I realized you aren't with me.

But such are the habits that do not die-
You come back to me one more time,
You collide with me on a busy street on some Saturday morning, looking at someone else's photos from that phone in your hand;
I let you go like the wine of Venice I swear I would never drink again,
I let you go like the promise of never writing a poem again
Yet I hold a new bottle of wine dearly in Vienna,
A few blank pages and a new pen sit by my side in the cold nights when I would sit in a train and try hard not to think of you.

But such are the ways with thoughts-
When I close the doors, they find a new window to come in,
Rotten like the smell of the dried fish you used to cook,
Fresh like the love bites on your neck that I don't recognize,
Disturbing like the memories I have dug graves for some five years ago,
Like the way I don't forget my own mother tongue even if I hadn't spoken in that language for years.

But such are the ways with the way we talk-
That your dark grey eyes wouldn't look at me anymore,
That you'd speak but only to say something in a language belonging to people who once ruled us using words that don't resonate with your feelings, 
That you would look back but only to check if you forgot something,
That you would see my tears but think it is the lack of sleep in my eyes,
That you would see my smile but not smile back at me anymore,
That you would not understand why I do things I do the way you used to read my mind only a few years ago,
That you would see my burning cigarette but think it is just a new habit I picked.

But such are the ways of my habits-
That every hour is a closure, every hour I quit
Only for a new beginning but the same old shit. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Perks of Being a Crybaby – Paris to Port Bou


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

A Traveler's Saga

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

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil: Movie Review


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.
Official Poster Copyright to Publisher/Distributor/Graphic Artist of 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.