Not dead! Just out of coverage! Hopefully so, even when you read this!


For those who thought that I am dead, well, hi! We need to catch up on so much! I have been on the Kanyakumari to Kashmir quest for a month and 8 days, now! Brace your filter coffee, sit snug because I am going to talk a lot today! Good!

I happen to meet this soul in the speck of a village in Karnataka, called Agumbe. The little stream was melting in the warmth of the sun. And before I go all poetic about how beautiful it was, let me save that for another day, another coffee.

Well, here’s what happened: My Agumbe host and I had our feet dipped in water. We are at the stream to meet a Kannad poet, called Raghuvendra. He heroically pops out of the buzz of hens and cattle, rising from his little mud house, which reminds of Malgudi days.  Raghvendra stood at the edge of a rock. Shirt buttoned and sleeves unrolled. The sun rose right behind him. Smiling towards us, he walks closer.

Pause the narrative: I need to tell you that I don’t speak Kannada. But thankfully language has not been a barrier. My Agumbe host, Shashank, does all the translation work. Quite wonderfully so (just in case, he ends up reading this). We sat on either sides of Shashank, so that he could break the barrier of language for us.

Raghuvendra gently cups my hand while Shashank, fills him up with my Kanyakumari to Kashmir quest. Raghuvendra smiles, wider.

He softly starts saying something, after the handshake. Here is what it roughly translates to:

Once upon a time kid, on a parched summer afternoon, a group of friends rushed to  the stream. All of them wanted to take a dip. But they couldn’t. The water was as crazy cold, as hot the day. Well, they simply sat next to the stream. Doing nothing.

One man, after much contemplation from the group, decided to take a plunge. So he did. He came rocketing out, immediately. Ungainly! The water too cold. But, now he wanted to jump again, so he did! This time, it was soothing. He spent hours in the floating respite. This time when he came out of the stream, all his folks starting touching him.  Touching the water. With much shock, he asked them, “why are you touching me?” With much relief they answered, “by touching you, we are touching the experience of being in the water.”

Raghuvendra resumes, that by touching my hand, he is touching all the souls of places and people that I have met in my journey so far. He is living all the experiences that I have lived so far! Just like the folks in the group, on a hot summer day, were touching the man who took a plunge in the water.

That on just a simple act of handshake, imagine what a magical soul he is! Raghuvendra’s thoughts know nothing about the prison of body or the physical challenges he has. Had there been a word for the moment when the rising sun, touches a leaf and makes it glow with life, I would call Raghuvendra that.

Three of us sat there by the stream, for hours. Talking about everything and nothing. As I proceed in this journey, where every day emerges at the brink of a new adventure, I could tell you that magic is real. I could tell you that India is magical.

I am so glad that you are reading this. If I am able to share even a figment of magic with you, I’d feel the happiest! Thank you so much for walking in this journey with me! It really means a lot! ❤