Kanyakumari to Kashmir

Here’s my journey, up-and-coming:

Day 0 (lasted for 2 days and 10 hours)

Delhi to Thiruvananthapuram  (train)

Every train has a loving mother!
A candy uncle.
The favorite staff guy.
A howling kid who fathoms the end of the world!
A random stranger you like.
A random stranger who likes you and takes all the train journey to effort a smile!
A random stranger you make some space for.
A family who shares their oranges with you.
A book you sleep with.
A toilet window you smoke with.
And a feeling of being at home!
(:

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Day 1:

It was 2 in the night, when I randomly told kittu that I wish to travel from Kanyakumari to Kashmir: solo and almost penniless!
She never laughs at such crazy ideas. Just smirks at the “what ifs”!
And here I am! At Kanyakumari, wading-jumping-strolling-rubbernecking, my way forward.
Cheers to the start of this journey!

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Day 2!
Catching the sunrise at Kanyakumari!
For those who know me, hope you enjoy the slow clap of morning paradox! Anyway, here’s how it felt!
The moment was bound by a strange kind of devotion. When you don’t think of life or death, problems or relief, Colgate or toothbrush and so on. But totally give in, to the sight of the fire that wakes up the world!
This is what I was thinking about, until an aunty almost trampled my camera and the janta enjoyed a cat-fight in the backdrop of eternal bliss!

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Day 3:

I am in kollam, kerala, now. And my host is really kind. I love her as much as I love food ❤

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This blog is a little disintegrated. There are a couple of reasons for that. Firstly, I am not carrying my laptop. And most of villages I am staying in, laptop or work stations aren’t easily accessible.

Secondly, these are my raw experiences. Mostly scribbled on a small notepad while on the go. Point is, I want you catch the live action and not a fancy looking perfect blog! Drama matters!

Concluding, I would like to thank you all for walking with me! Nobody really travels alone. By reading this, you too have become a part of this story! Thank you so much!

P.S: love you all!

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To Blogging!

Credit Indranil Kar
Shot by: Indranil Kar

It has been a tad more than 2 years that I have been wandering and wondering! Thanks to my “vagabond neurosis,” my sickness and my only redemption, I have found life in the soulful glimpses of: a local bus window seat, a freezing moment waiting for the sun to rise, the echo on the mountain top, the warmth of the first few sun rays, the calm of the last few…and an attachi full of memories.

2017 was as harsh as rewarding! Badass!

Nonetheless, that’s really not the point! Amidst all of this, I have been slightly away from my blog. Okay, a lot away! I have been blogging at several other portals but somehow not been able to find time to land up here much! Confession over!

I don’t intend to surrender my sword lightly! While I was away, I realised, how my blog, is like my home! Nobody here would tell me that I can’t throw words around, nobody rules my expressions, commas and style! I can honestly convey the feelings flowing right from my heart, reaching up to my finger tips and smashing keyboard, in the middle of the night! I don’t run for making this sound sane, neither does my reader expect that! My readers here, are also my fellow bloggers, and I can’t begin to tell you how much I love them! How they have been as strangers who now me better than anyone else.

I am free here and only in freedom, do we express ourselves the best! 

 

Paths and Poems

A poem was born,

When I saw this path:

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Years from now,
in the winter of our life,
when you come back,
we will walk here.
Hold hands, again.
Talk about the colour of our soul
or may be the texture of pain that kept us apart all these years.
We’ll talk about what happened to that little dream cafe of yours.
It wont be a “hey let’s get a beer” conversation!
We’ll talk about the shooting stars of our endless journey.
All this, without a word!
In the winter of our life.
When you come back.
© Daastan-e-Musafir
Place: Chitkul
October,2017

P.S: Romance sells!

I, write this!

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I write, as the last bidi finds it’s way into the ashtray. I write this at 04.30 in the morning.

Writing, because the backpack resting at the corner of my room, stares at me, with a little dust settled on the un-promised adventures.

Next to it lies a pair of trekking boots, yearning to go out there.

Aching of restfulness, lies a rugged camouflage jacket on the chair.

Next to the chair is a table full of maps.

Maps of hamlets and towns, sleeping at the moment.

Thus, sweet sleeps the travel journal, dreaming of the blank pages to be bloomed by the awaited adventures.

So, wakes up the wandering soul!

P.S : This is dedicated to all you travellers out there, aching of wanderlust! To all the mountain beasts caught in the concrete jungle. I love you all, I really do! And soon, we shall all embark on a new adventure! Until then, I know my pep talk doesn’t help much!

 

Auli, his childhood dream!

Quick downpour:

This story starts at an altitude of 10,000 ft.

498 km away from cabbage-head, Delhi

This is about the euphoria  of exploring a realm surrounded by the revered peaks of Nanda Devi, Chaukhamba, Panch Chuli, Mana and Kamet.

This story is about, the dreamland called Auli bugyal!

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Here’s what happened:

Windows rolled down. involuntary, I craned my neck out like a happy dog. We were about to reach Rishikesh. When about Uttarakhand, Rishikesh always announces the beginning of an adventure.

Auli was sleeping when we reached, late at night. Heavy breathed, we climbed 56 stairs to get to our room in the GMVN guesthouse. Such a labyrinth!

If you are there:

– Ignore the caretaker, wearing a strange monkey cap

Auli  rained its way through the morning, slowly and calmly. It wasn’t a rebellious one, it was one of those rains that sweeps all the sorrows away. Stepping an octave down this philosophical tone, it was raining cats and dogs, plain and simple!

It washed away all my time-lapse dreams, at once.

But as a photographer you are a, stubborn soul! You lurk in the ambush like Satan, waiting for Eve to step in the garden. It did and how…

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The Fated Shot!

I am an honest “John Snow” when it comes to monasteries, Bhuddhism, rather any “ism”! But I intimately cherish the calm they resonate. I usually never plan, but happen to cross paths with “God”, sometimes.

This time around when Chaddha ji and gang, were retreating from Nubra Valley to Leh, there was another chance meeting, fated, in two and a half hours.

Lopsang, our full swag driver,  who meditates almost all winter and works in summer, suggested that we stop at the Diskit monastery. Hey wait, isn’t that interesting, meditating your entire-way-through-winters? Cozy!

That’s when I happen to get this shot:

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Diskit Monastery

P.S: I still wont bother about the details of this “ism”. But I am sure Google can help!

The Sarchu Syndrome!

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If a place could be marked as “the edge of a realisation”, of how “achingly” beautiful Ladakh is, it would be Sarchu. This is where it started sinking in, the feeling called: This is Ladakh!

Technically, located in Himachal Pradesh, Sarchu is a gateway to Ladakh. It is at an altitude of 14,300 ft, making it a tab higher than Leh. And if you are guessing it right, this place is notorious for acute High Altitude Sickness. Hence, it is important that we acclimatize well.

Tip: It is advisable to halt at Jispa for a night and then head towards Sarchu, purely for acclimatisation.

Manali (6726 ft) —>> Jispa (10,500 ft) {distance: 138 km/drive: 4-5 hours}

Jispa—>> Sarchu (14,070 ft) {Distance: 113 km, drive: 3-4 hours}

Here’s what happened: 

In spite of knowing the pro tip, we couldn’t stop at Jispa. With a dizzy head and a possessed nape, I reached Sarchu. The winds were wild, wild enough to rip mountains apart (I know I am prone to, but this time, I am not exaggerating!)

Drinking gallons of water and garlic soup, helped. But the mild scatterbrained, Sarchu Syndrome, stayed!

Being from the mountains, I’d never experienced anything of this sort. I was in my cozy tent, trying to calm the fuck down, when the distant voice of Indranil da exclaimed, “You should get your camera outside”!

In no mood for movement, yet curious, I went outside.

That moment, everything else faded, but the fiery sky of Sarchu! I’ve bookmarked this split second, in the collage of my memories and flashbacks!

 

 

 

 

When the mountain, smiled!

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Quick Downpour:

Thousands of feet above the tree line. Less of oxygen and more of  enthusiasm. Difficult to gauge if it’s a travellers paradise or pilgrimage.They call it the land of high passes!

Where winds are wild,

and wilder is the desert.

The land of fluttering prayer flags, arid secrets, where sunsets and sunrises write on the mountains with a blue ink of clouds (care less, about my bizarre poetic expressions)!

It is beautiful. It is treacherous. Treacherous.

Ladakh, is what we are talking!

Here’s What Happened: 

As an instinct, it was going to be about “rampant photography”, on account of my first ever pilgrimage.

So,

whenever we stopped,

wherever we stopped,

however we stopped,

I would pounce with my camera and break into a thousand pictures.

A rubbernecker, who is an amazing, like

fucking-really-amazing cinematographer, was travelling with us. Eavesdrop on our conversation:

Him: Hey, would you take a picture of me?

Me : Sure.

Him: ***Grim face on***

Setting the camera aside, I look at him. Grim face on, still!

Me: Why that face? Wouldn’t you smile?

Him: Ask that to the mountains too. Even they should smile before a picture. Even they should be “ready” before the picture. The light, the clouds, the reflections, should make the mountain smile.

Why do you think, eccentrics, wait for hours, sitting in front of a mountain? The wait for the mountain to say, “NOW”!

Me: ***Smiled***