A Travellerspoint blog

The Birthday (That Never Was)

“I don’t need a weepy goodbye”, he said, looking fixedly at me.

He took the last drag of the cigarette, threw it with a flick of his fingers and continued, “Goodbyes should be on a happy note…”; took a deep breath and added “ALWAYS”.

Even before I could say a word he got excited as he rubbed both his palms together and said, “Let’s make a plan!”

“What plan”?, I asked him. I let my thoughts pass by, swallowing all that I had to say about goodbyes, weepy or otherwise.

He stood up, took out his phone from the right hand side of his denims and got restless as he began unlocking the screen. He looked quite lost and mumbled something as he opened the calendar on his phone.

I said nothing. I almost snatched his phone and fed in my birth date, setting as a reminder with the most annoying alarm tone.

He scratched his head and said, “I don’t remember birthdays”, and we both smiled.

We sat in silence for a while on the rickety bamboo bench gazing on to the pine trees. Soon it would be dusk. It’d get cold and a thick layer of fog would surround us.

“But I will remember yours”, he said and removed the reminder in no time.

I looked at him, questioningly now as I raised both my eyebrows.

“It’s on 7th Feb da” he said.

He rather looked cute…. No he looked cuter.

It was our last evening together. One on one. We still had thirty six hours at our disposal but that would be spent travelling.

I felt a heavy lump inside my throat.

Things had just got better. We were in sync.

He stood up, took out the camera from his black sling bag and walked towards the main stage. My favourite artist Prateek Kuhad had just taken control on the center stage and the crowd began to gather and swell. My eyes followed his footsteps as long as I could and after a while he got lost amidst the swarm of people.

I sat alone, still gazing on to the pine trees. I don’t know how many minutes I sat there all by myself. As I turned my head to my right to take a good glimpse of Prateek Kuhad, I saw him at a distance, taking pictures of me.

He came walking towards me, put the camera inside the bag and handed it to me.

“Sit!, I told him.

“Wait a minute”, he said, as he pulled out something from his back. Well… it was a bamboo hollow filled with Apong.

“Cheers!”, he said, as he took a sip and handed the Apong to me.

“Let’s make a plan”, he said yet one more time.

So we got back to where we had started.

I smiled at him and asked the same question as I sipped the Apong, “What plan?”

“Let me check the air fares from your place to mine”. He wasted no time and started looking up the air fares.

“Man it’s cheap if we book it right away!” he exclaimed as I kept sipping the Apong.

“So… 7th is a Sunday and your Saturdays are off days too. Take the early morning flight on Saturday and I will receive you at the airport and we will drive down straight to Auroville. Your birthday will be in Auroville with me. I want to make it special!”

He took my phone and set reminders this time!

It sounded special and it felt nice.

“Four months huh?”, I questioned him teasingly.

“It’s only four months da! If we could have waited for five years, four months should not be a big thing”.

“Yes!” I exclaimed and gave him the tightest hug.

For the rest of the evening we happily let ourselves get drowned in music, Apong and the fog, holding hands all the while.

The next thirty six hours passed too soon travelling and finally the moment came I dreaded the most. The time to bid adieu. It wasn’t a weepy goodbye at all. For we knew we’d be seeing each other soon… it was just a matter of four months.

The next four months were no easy. I felt I was getting clingy and he seemed to go inside his shell. We spoke on and off. But he said he was in his own zone and preferred keeping quiet.

It took a while to gather myself and get used to my life the way it was and the way it is.

And finally the day arrived.
My phone beeped with the reminder on time! I looked at the screen and smiled at myself. We made plans and the plans remained plans! I don’t know whether I was happy or not. But I smiled and recalled that last evening.

I prefer quiet and noiseless birthdays.
I never expected him to call or wish me. In the six years (yes it is now six years) I have known him he never has wished me once!

And then he called. Whoa! He called! Yes he did!

“Happy birthday girl!”, he said. I know he was smiling. I could make out from his voice.
“Thank you!” I replied.
“See, I told you I’d remember your birthday. And in the last six years that I have known you this is the first time I am wishing you!”
We both laughed at the same time and I said, “Yes! And I will remember this for the rest of my life!”
We spoke for a long time.

Much later a night I sent him a message.
Me:“Thank you”
Monk:“For what?”
Me:“For remembering my birthday”
Monk:“I told you I would”
Me:“We were supposed to be together on this day Monk”
Monk“Yes, I know”
Me:“Maybe some other time”
Monk:“Maybe we are used to not seeing each other for five years!”
Me:“I miss you”
Monk:“I miss you sometimes”
Me:“I miss you mostly”
Monk:“I hate the distance”

Posted by incommunicado 19:55 Archived in India Tagged me landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises mountains people trees night trekking backpacking Comments (0)


It took me four months to finally meet the person from the virtual world to the real and it was worth the wait. Meet Dhruv Dholakia, the man on a soulful journey, On A Bullet Yatra ; to be more precise and apt.
I started following his blog in Facebook when he had just begun this journey. The first story I read was about his experiences in Goa and that really intrigued me. Because I had just done a travelogue about Goa around the same time as well.
And today afternoon as we were eating a hearty meal of authentic Assamese food at Paradise we spoke for a long time. He looked on to his king sized plate filled with ten bowls of different kinds of food which would tease his taste buds and I briefed him to start with Khar which is alkaline and end with Tenga which is acidic. Before he could ask me “Why”?, I said, “We Assamese eat the Khar and end with Tenga to keep the Ph balance in our body intact!”.
The first thing which he has answered about a hundred of times is, “What triggered and inspired him to take up on this mammoth solo ride? Was it a much thought and detailed plan or was it just a flash of wisdom that struck him?”
He leaned back, flashed me a broad smile with a raised eyebrow and said, “I had been working as an investment banker for the last ten years. And I felt I was getting nowhere. I was becoming a very boring person. I was doing the same things day in and day out. And when I went out on weekends, I realized there were no interesting conversations. I was growing at a receded pace. So I decided to explore.”
So on the fine morning after Ganpati Visarjan, i.e 29th September, 2015 to be exact, he put the ignition of his 500 CC Royal Enfield on and there has been no looking back.
He has traversed from the Western Ghats to the Southern tip of India and now is in North East to explore the furthest Eastern point where the sun rises for the country. And he said, “This is perhaps the best leg of my journey.”
Assam is his twelfth state that he has stepped on. He has seventeen more states to traverse.
“I want to explore the twenty nine states in fourteen months’, he said, as he savored on his meal.
And he feels life is so peaceful here with zero pollution and no traffic as compared to Mumbai. I did not know whether to laugh out loud or have second thoughts. So I took it as a big compliment and thanked him wholeheartedly.
I told him as we finished our meal, he is doing an incredible job and it is so inspiring.
“What are your plans?”, I asked
“Plans?, he questioned me back.
“Yes, plans”, I said.
“Nothing as of now. When I started my journey I did not know what was in store for me. My mother was worried. I just asked her to pray for me, being the spiritual and religious woman that she is”.
He further continued, “The entire journey till now has been an assortment of experiences. With landscapes, weather, food, culture and language changing every hundred kilometers.Travelling across India is like time travel. Every place takes me to different era with its own highs & lows. Spanning from the very beginning of the mankind”.
I smiled and nodded my head in affirmation. He is so true. Being a traveler myself I know the joys of trotting and learning about life.
To travel is to live and learn. He spoke about Gautama Buddha, Swami Vivekananda, Mark Zuckerburg and Steve Jobs; to mention a few who travelled to find their true calling.
All I could do was nod my head in total agreement.
We shook hands firmly knowing well we will be meeting again as long as he is in North East. And I walked to back to my work as he rode on his Bullet and agreeing for sure….He Who Does Not Enjoy The Journey Can Never Reach His Destination.

The Blog link: https://www.facebook.com/Onabulletyatra/?fref=ts

Posted by incommunicado 18:42 Archived in India Tagged me landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises mountains beaches churches people parties boats trekking backpacking hitchhiking Comments (0)

For The Love of Cheese!

For the love of cheese... its one comfort food I can have and not count the cals.
This reminds me of my first boyfriend :)
That was so long ago. I was 16 and he was 27! Our relationship which lasted for three years was more like a father-daughter... I was jumpy and babyish and he was the calm thoughtful and sensible one. At times I'd fret and fume when I compared my relationship with the ones my friends had... they would go out on bikes to Shillong... attend wild parties.... but Mr. Leo was a no bike no party person. He was more into cars. He did take me out on long drives but that was far and in-between. My friends on the other hand always told me I was luckier because I always got the chance to go on drives in different cars!!!

He was affectionate and he shortened my name to Naan... and from Naan to Butter Naan... and finally I was Butter!!! I used to hate it and make grumpy faces....
"I love cheese", I told him once.
"I can't call you cheesy Naan... it gives altogether a different meaning", he replied without smiling.
We broke up when he started double timing me.
I was in tears.
The day his marriage got fixed he reached out to me. This was five years after we broke up.
"I am settling down", he said.
"So?", I asked him. I had moved on in life and meeting him again opened my wounds.
"Do not ever try to talk to me. Ignore me forever", he said.
I wanted to slap him. But because I truly loved him and because he was older than me I changed my mind.
"What do you think? I have a lot self respect and I would not like to play with it. You have shattered me", I said.
"What do you mean by shattered? Did I make you pregnant? For that matter we never got physical, to begin with in the first place", he said.
"Go", is all I told him.
"What?", he asked.
"Get lost", I said and I could feel tears filling up my eyes.

Its a different story that I got married to a family where he is a family friend.

Once he tried breaking the ice.... told me, "At least you can smile if nothing else", he almost pleaded.
I smiled and said "But I am not cheesy. And you asked me to ignore you about ten years ago. This much I can do for you right?"

Posted by incommunicado 21:22 Archived in India Tagged me people Comments (0)

RANTS – Because I have to get it out of my system

Chapter – IV

A lot of things happened in a short time. I got a job which was not for me in the first place. There was a query if I knew anybody who would be willing to work as a counselor for an institute. I thought and re-thought and decided to apply for the job myself. There was a call from the Bosses’ Boss one day; we spoke for a very long time and the next day I was informed I got the job! So that “long telephone chat” was apparently my interview!
So there I was; back in the “work mode” after seven years. It felt good. At the same time I was edgy, nervous and doubted if I would be able to deliver.
The day I actually walked into the office and met my Boss, I just told him one thing, “I need four days off. Technically it’s only two days as because 25th is Eid and 27th is a Sunday. If this is acceptable then I am joining. I do not like lying. I could have easily made up a story for my missed days but let’s be clear and open from day one.”
“Where are you going? Why do you need the leaves?” my Boss asked me, as he sipped his cup of tea.
“Ziro. I am going for the music fest. Everything has been planned and I don’t want to back out at the last moment and ditch my friends”, I replied very assertively.
He thought for a while, walked out of his room to the pantry, which is also the “smoking zone”. He lit a cigarette and looked at me. I was standing near the door.
He extended the packet of cigarettes to me and said, “Do you smoke? You want to have one now”?
“No, I don’t want one right now”, I said and also added a “Thanks”.
I was waiting for an answer. He took such a long time for that.
“Okay!” he said. “You can go. I appreciate your frankness. But do not switch off your phone and internet.”
So that was it. I was happy. No! I was super thrilled.

But my happiness was short lived. One week on to the job and I had a major accident.
It was the regular early morning mad rush. I was making breakfast and I don’t know why and how it happened. I spilled some very hot water on myself, which I wanted to throw it in the basin. Think I lost my balance and the water from the saucepan churned like a wave and fell on me.
The pain was bad. More than the pain I could see the skin coming out and the sight was ghastly. I immediately took off my chain from my neck and my tee too. I had burnt myself badly. Things were horrible from neck down. All I could wear for the next few days was very light cotton stoles o cover me minimum.
My doctor when examined me said, I was taking this matter too lightly. My burns were what he termed as “second degree burns”. It wasn’t burns actually. It was scalding.
And after working from home for a week, I had to go to office one day. It was important and Bosses’ Boss also requested me to come to office for about an hour or so. I was picked up from home and dropped back too. But for the first time in my life I stepped out of my home without wearing a bra! It felt awkward. I was wearing a very loose top and covered myself with a sole. Yet I felt everyone knew I was braless and that made me dreadfully uncomfortable!
I told him the day this mishap happened, “Guess what, I spilled some hot water on myself and things are bad neck down. Its painful. And it looks quite horrifying”.
He was shocked.
“Please look after yourself nicely. I wish I was there to comfort you”, he told me.
Much later he old me, “ I don’t need the skin, I need your soul Nans”.
A few days later he asked me, “Nans, can you make it?”
“Why not?”, I replied.
We still had three weeks in hand and by then my wounds would heal completely.
Its altogether a different story that the ugly scars are still there.

Posted by incommunicado 20:46 Archived in India Tagged landscapes sunsets_and_sunrises people trains backpacking hitchhiking Comments (0)

RANTS – Because I have to get it out of my system


I do not see any traces of myself in all that you do. It’s completely alright. I do understand what limitations are. Unlike my own self – when I went out of my way to tell the world what it is like to be a part of you; no matter how short-lived it was. As long as it lasted it was the most beautiful phase of my life.
I found me. I was nervous at first. I hardly remembered a time in the recent past when I was “me”. It took a while to let that feeling sink in. And I slowly and steadily I began to enjoy my existence. I had forgotten what it was to be like me.
And did I ever thank you for that? No? Seriously? I didn’t?
It took us such a long time to make this moment happen. And I think the whole Universe transpired to allow us this fleeting togetherness … it was very much needed.
I stumbled upon something very interesting yesterday and it goes like this – “there will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life or you are the one that will change theirs.” – Author Unknown.
We both have been through hell and high waters in our own separate lives. You have known it all and so do I. There have been times when we were not even in talking terms. I laugh now. That was such a childish thing to do. Now when I look back, yes, it did hurt me when we were not communicating at all. I missed you badly. It took a while but gradually I got over it. It wasn’t easy. But I managed to accept the fact we’d never talk again, leave seeing each other, that seemed next to impossible.
I clearly remember the message you sent me after a hiatus… was it after a year and half?
“Happy Diwali Nans”
That was the first message I read the next morning after Diwali. I checked the message and the sender's name twice to be sure it was you.
I felt vulnerable as I replied you back “A very Happy Diwali to you too”; and after all these years I still feel that way when it comes to you.
So we were back talking. Our conversations were short. Basic. Sometimes there were long intervals of silences.
But as of now I fear this silence. It’s my insecurity? Yes it is!
I took me a long time to put back together a very damaged me… from a very agonizing relationship. It still scares me every time I think about it. Think those damages were yet to heal when we met after five long years of wait.
And as those five days after five years of wait, were nearing an end I secretly whispered a prayer to God, “Dear God, please don’t make the Monk stone cold once we part ways and return to our own respective lives”.

Posted by incommunicado 20:45 Archived in India Tagged me sunsets_and_sunrises mountains people night trains trekking Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 55) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. »