Saturday, January 21, 2006

On the road to Mandalay...

What does that mean? Where on earth is Mandalay? There's a story wherein two small girls on a train sing repeatedly,'On the road to Mandalay....Mandalay, Mandalay', and the fellow passenger is irritated as hell even more so because their aunt whose with them doesn't seem to bother. Later on she tells them a story with a good moral to keep them busy but the girls aren't impressed. The man ventures to entertain them with a story, and he tells the story of a very good girl--well mannered, polite, obedient, etc, who gets eaten by a wolf because of her extreme good qualities.....Well this wasn't what i wanted to write here.

I'll be visiting Pune by this month end on a very short trip. I wanted to blabber about that and ended up rambling about mandalay. Pune is the karmabhoomi of good ol' Osho, whom,i almost allowed to mislead me( Through his books, of course), so Pune is a bit special for me. I'd visited this small town twice, some 8 years ago and on one occassion, came very close to death. Somehow Pune arouses bitter and humiliating memories in me. It's also a very silent and peaceful city--like our very own Mysore--a kind of cultural centre. Maybe i'll be getting acquainted with this facet of this city in this trip.

There was a time, not so long ago, when i was wondering about my confinement to bangalore for more than 6 years. In all these years, i hadn't ventured out of the city and it never occurred to me that i should have. Somehow i'd stayed put in this city, engrossed in my pursuit of elusive dreams, worried sick about the success-failure equation, getting bored with life, trying to forget the slipping of time in aimless reading....

Confinement needn't be just physical--it could also be getting stuck in a state of mind, or in a state of living. So journey also means moving from one state of living to another. I've made this journey -- from normal to bad to worse and again back to normal and positive. And the journey in consciousness about which nothing much can be said---except that it's best left for one to experience directly.
Coming back to pune---it's going to be a trip with my closest friends. A big function is being orgainised in the city to honour my master. Once that gets over, we'll be heading to Paitan--the birth place of Sant Eknath, then to Ajantha-- Ellora caves, a few more places and then to Mumbai. Half a day in Mumbai and back to Bangalore again.

Somehow this time of the year has been all about travels. Recently i happened to read a very beautiful piece of travelouge--which also won the first prize in the outlook-picador non-fiction contest. It was a real surprise when i came across the writer of this piece in blogosphere. This is where he lives. And if you want to treat yourself to half an hour of uninterrupted quality reading, this is the award winning write-up.

That which moves remains fresh. Maybe this is true both for the outer as well as the inner journey.


  1. So you'll be gone a while, eh. Well, have fun, and take care. And send me a postcard from Mandalay :P

  2. Vishwa - I think Mandalay is a town in Burma
    But it was made famous in British Empire times by Rudyard Kipling's poem "Mandalay"
    Thats the librarian in me coming out! Have a good trip (I am just back from a relaxing holiday trip - with spiritual overtones!

  3. Mandalay is the second largest city in Burma. But not many people know about Burma. Anyways, I thought I've heard or seen that story as well.

  4. Wit....Mmmmmmm, if i find any postboxes in Mandalay, i'll definetly put in a card. Or if i find time, i'll jump into the blogworld from Mandalay and rattle off there.
    So you are calvin in your latest avatar!! And how's everything on the blogchaat front? Hope the climb is steady. Will drop in some time later. Take care.

    Val....Thanks for the info. I'll definetly read kiplings poem. Somehow the word 'Mandalay' is very mysterious and soothing. It's the same with some names--they have a magical quality in them.
    Hope everthing's fine and fantastic with you. Thanks for dropping by.

    Sankie...Long time since we met(in the blogworld, of course). Yeah, you're right...not many people know about burma--everyone's obsessed with India or china. I think you can write about your country, about your familiarity with its culture and ethos. It would make for a fascinating read.