Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Yaaawn!! I'm back to my dusty, chilly, traffic clogged bangalore. Feels like i'm back to heaven--back to where I belong.

We were 12 friends on the road, roaming inside the belly of maha rashtra for four days. This wasn't a trip or a fun tour in the strictest sense---as i mentioned earlier, we were attending an award function in Pune where my master was felicitated. And then there was another function in Mumbai, three days later which we had to attend. In the interim, we roamed quite a lot and broke our backs. The exhaustion is still present in my muscles, and will probably remain for some more days.

The good thing about this vacation was that we discovered a new sense of bonding amongst us. One of our friends brought out his capacity for management by overseeing the entire trip, arranging taxis and hotel rooms at 5 in the morning, booking air-train tickets in advance, co-ordinating with various people over the phone and making sure that we had a whale of a time with the least inconvinience. We discovered the maturity and depth of experience of another friend who would normally remain silent. And in a tough situation, we found out the fighters hidden inside two of our friends.

Ajantha--Ellora caves are nothing less than man-made wonders. These were constructed over a period of 5 generations, amidst dense forests and inhospitable terrain. The excellence,vision and dedication of those artists and rulers who made this possible are truely awe-inspiring. Equally admirable is the cleanliness and order maintained by the archealogical survey of india, which manages these places. And as with any tourist places, one has to put up with the constant pestering of hawkers and vendors, who don't give a damn to art-architecture-heritage, and are only bothered about selling their wares and make a living.

The ugly part of this tour stared us in the face when we had to board a train from aurangabad to Mumbai on saturday night. When the train stopped at the station, the entire compartment was crowded with villagers, who were going to Nasik to attend a political rally on sunday. All our reserved seats were occupied by pan-chewing, smoking, foul mouthed thugs who probably never bought a train ticket all their lives, and probably will never do so. Twelve of us with heavy luggage inside a train compartment--and no place to even stand properly, that too after a back breaking day at ajantha caves!

All the other passengers who had reserved their seats were standing while these goons were resting on the seats, joking, playing cards, swearing, shouting slogans every 10 minutes. Probably we'd have also stood like them but some of us just barged in and started speaking their language. It was a struggle for nearly 15 minutes during which two of our friends were screaming at the top of their lungs at these villagers, one guy just got into a fist fight, some of us pulled him and others back, trying to pacify them and the angry thugs, and the rest just shivered and prayed. At the end of all the drama, we managed to snatch back 6 of our 12 seats, dumped in all our luggage and sat huddled in the cold night on these seats until the train reached nasik and the villagers drained out. Whew...quite unforgettable!

We had the fortune of visiting the ancient house of one of the most renowned saints of 16th century---Sant Eknath. His descendants still live in his house and we chatted with them as they spoke about their famous ancestor. When all of us sat in meditation in the room which Eknath had built himself centuries ago, we felt as if we were transported back by 400 years. The faint sounds of the evening, the barking dogs, the crying children all belonged to that era, not to the fastpaced 21st century. Probably we might've been actually taken back to the past--in some silent moments, we were one with the great master who'd brought light to medieval india and continues to do so even today.

The best moment of this trip came when we sat on the banks of river Godavari, dangling our legs in the cool waters, watching the golden orange sun sink into the vast expanse at a distance. The tremendous silence of that atmosphere will probably remain etched in my being till the end.


  1. Good to see u back and at home again ..........

  2. I sincerely wish I had been with you, even if you returned exhausted. Rest well!

  3. Ash...No place like home and no heaven like my room! Probably this is an addiction which needs to be overcome.
    How do you find time to visit all your blog friends, read the drivel they write(including mine, of course) and post comments? Amazing!
    The literature link on your blog is wonderful. Will bookmark it.

    Nick....Thanks. I wish i had all of my blog friends with me. It was a memorable trip inspite of the little inconveniences.
    How're things with ya? Hope alex's keeping well. You resemble an elderly friend of mine.

  4. I am tired and ill. Alex is ill. When the weather warms up I hope both of us will be out-of-doors and exploring the world. Tell me about your elderly friend who I resemble.

  5. hi!!
    u guys had one heck of a trip.

    i had a similar experience to the one u had in the train....but tht was some yrs ago frm bombay to kalyan and instead of villagers they were office goers

  6. Nick...Get well soon and tell the same to alex.
    The elderly friend is a soft-spoken gentleman--- a typical middle class indian-- works in a bank as a deputy manager, married with two kids, and is at peace with himself and the world. He's about 55 and his daughter will be getting married this year-- an important event for any indian father. What amazes me is his patience and love for his wife-- she's a good lady but such an overbearing chatterbox and dominating lady that only a saint can put up with her. They make a good pair and we all are part of a large spiritual family.

    Koushik...yeah, it was a good trip save the last incident. But it did teach us that everyone isn't mellow and soft and you can't be good and well-behaved with everyone here---with thugs, you need to be thuggish.

  7. Hello:)
    Welcome back home, I'm glad this trip was safe. Just to let you know, my daughter is in the hospital, getting the help she needs. I'm not blogging any more, but I'll check on my cyber friends once in awhile:) Since my daughter is gone, we reconnected the internet. Take care, Elisa:)

  8. Elisa...I wish a speedy recovery and good health for your daughter. Thanks so much for your wishes. Hope you find good things on your way in life and have a good time.
    See ya.

  9. Wow you almost took me there.Jeeez, you guys got into a fight???Must have been fun.Welcome back home though.I am sure you must be happy to be back

  10. Edu....It looks funny in hindsight but inside a train in an another place, with villagers who don't give a damn to law, exhausted after a hectic day and with heavy luggage in hand---And no place to even stand straight---It ain't fun.
    You feel so much enraged that it's scary. Lucky nothing serious happened.
    And yeah, i wouldn't trade my room to even heaven. It's more than heaven to me. Feels good to be back after breaking one's back.

  11. hey vishwa .......
    happy valentine's budz ....
    enjoy the day

    it is time for a new post ....