Tuesday, January 13, 2015

eye2eye

travelling by public transport is much more interesting than the office bus. somehow people in the office bus inevitably end up sleeping. also, Mumbai AC buses have weird seating with plenty of rear facing seats, so there are always people to look at.

still, most people either stare vacantly or fixatedly at one or a few things, with a passive expression on. they're either blank or hiding behind a mask.

not this one lady though. her big brown eyes were constantly shifting, and she seemed to be actually focusing on her surroundings, even though I couldn't tell what it was all around us that she was constantly focusing on. her eyes would dart around, twitch, stare, follow things around that I couldn't see. there was barely a still moment with them.

but what was more startling were her expressions. she'd be constantly switching between a frown, a scowl, a little twitch of the mouth, a grimace, half a smile, and an expression that could be best described as momentary surprise. i still cannot conceive what would make someone run through the entire gamut of facial expressions in less than a minute, and keep at it for half an hour, while standing in the aisle of a bus.

it was as if she was dreaming with her eyes open.

we finally made eye contact. we stared at each other unflinchingly for a couple of seconds. she, with a scowl, and me, with my poker face. I wanted to show her what I just wrote about her eyes, but she twitched her lips, flicked her hair, and looked away momentarily, only to glance back. I shifted my gaze away.

her eyes no longer dart about. she now stares vacantly out of the bus window.

i guess she's awake again.

Friday, January 02, 2015

the long ride

there's comfort in the known, and 2014 was all about getting out of that zone.

pillion rides. there's something about them. something about having someone's complete trust for those few hundred km. something about balancing and packing their luggage. something about letting them sleep on the ride because they had a long day at work before the ride began, and we're now doing 800 km rides (my longest ride) with a pillion, because there's no point in breaking one personal record at a time. we ride on the indo-china border, battling mountain sickness because there's no point in living without risks.

and now, 2014 has closed. the joys are memories, and the regrets have been converted into philosophical milestones.

the moment we brought the year in stretches into eternity, and we wonder what forever feels like. but there was something about the last year. I burned some bridges. i let go. I changed some of what I am, towards what thought I should be.

but more than what I remember, i am reminded of how fleeting life is, and how important it is, to keep what you need permanent, and be prepared to let go of the rest. it feels both awesome and scary to see what that will do to my life and what I imagined it would have been.

2015 brings more than just dreams for me. it brings promises. it brings things I never imagined, things I feel more ready for than ever before.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

clarity

the morning sunlight filtered through his sleepy eyelids had a rare clear quality to it. a bright yellow-red, which, inexplicably enough, reminded him of a brand new phone screen, or a just-cleaned pair of sunglasses.

the mental association surprised him, but not for long. he made a mental note, as he dozed off again, to wake up when the yellow-red had turned white.

Friday, November 21, 2014

makkhi

I finally remembered my blog, thanks to a brief random flashback of last night's dream. the flashback is too brief for a post in itself. but i was wondering where (and if) I should post it, and that's what led me back here.

and now, I'm wondering: what took me so long to get here? I can think of two things:

- i've been overly distracted by Facebook and whatsapp. applying the law of diminishing marginal utility (economics, yeah!) has turned from them from the fun they used to be, into quite a time sink.

- my life has turned into a bit of a struggle. my sleep patterns are messed up, and that's been affecting my ability to catch the office bus. which means I don't have as much time to read, let alone blog. i'm sleepwalking through my free time, and i can't quite blog when i'm sleepwalking. why are my sleep patterns messed up? the answer is quite strange: mosquitoes.

a few weeks ago, out of the blue, the mosquitoes at home changed. earlier, mosquitoes would rarely ever bite me, and in general, the mosquito repellant would work pretty well too. not anymore. I find myself being woken up in the middle of the night by these pesky insects, or unbearable itches thanks to them. sometimes, multiple times each night. and then it's even harder to sleep with them buzzing around. i rarely hate animals, but hate is not too strong a word for what I feel towards them now. yes, I positively hate mosquitoes. i'm pissed with them. I would like to exterminate them even if it involves imbalancing the eco system. squish each of them with my bare hands, as revenge for them messing up almost everything. arrgh!

anyway, rant over.

bonus: the dream

I purchased a car, was learning to drive it in the colony, which was somehow jam packed. i offered a lift to some random guy. just then my phone beeped, and i checked it. when i looked up, the steering wheel was gone. apparently it was detachable, and the guy detached it and attached it on his side of the car and was gonna drive it himself. also, for some reason I had been driving from the left side, and i realized it only when he took the wheel.

ps: title inspired by the movie, which I haven't seen, but which my friend akshay narrated to me one evening when he was driving us back from work.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

#lehdiaries: the trip

so, as i mentioned earlier, we did a fair bit of planning. i'm not saying it was all in vain, but we certainly didn't follow more than the basics. this is what our itinerary was, at the start of the trip:

  1. train to jammu
  2. reach jammu, unload bikes, ride to patni top
  3. patni top to srinagar
  4. srinagar to kargil (with a stopover at the drass war memorial)
  5. kargil to leh
  6. rest, bike servicing, permits in leh
  7. shopping in leh, shanti stupa in the evening
  8. local sightseeing (hemis, shey, thiksey)
  9. leh to nubra valley
  10. nubra to pangong (spangmik)
  11. pangong to hanle to tso moriri
  12. tso moriri to pang
  13. pang to manali
  14. rest in manali
  15. manali to chandigarh
  16. train to bbay
  17. arrival in bbay
This is what we actually ended up doing for the first half:
  1. train to jammu
  2. reach jammu, unload bikes, ride to patni top (116 km)
  3. patni top to srinagar (180 km)
  4. srinagar to kargil (drass war memorial was shut by the time we got there) (205 km)
  5. kargil to leh (222 km)
  6. rest, bike servicing, permits, shopping, shanti stupa
  7. local sightseeing (hemis, shey, thiksey), shopping. this is when we realized we had shopped more than we could carry, and there's no way we could ride to khardung-la like this.
  8. leh to khardung-la and back, packing, replanning (83 km)
now, this is where we changed the course of our trip a bit. slightly miffed at missing nubra valley, we decided to do something crazier to compensate: cancel our (confirmed) train tickets and ride back to bbay. the plan was changed to:
  1. leh to pangong (spangmik)
  2. pangong to hanle to tso moriri
  3. tso moriri to pang
  4. pang to manali
  5. rest/buffer day in manali
  6. manali to chandigarh
  7. chandigarh to rajasthan (our pillions would spend the day in chandigarh)
  8. rajasthan to gujarat (our pillions would take the train to bbay)
  9. gujarat to bbay
however, fate had other plans:
  1. courier extra luggage (two bags!) to delhi, ride from leh to pangong (lukung) (153 km)
  2. flat tire at lukung: spent the entire morning fixing it ourselves. lukung to merak, the streams were in full flow so we couldn't go any further and stopped at 5pm. (forgot to turn gps on this day, but about 35 km)
  3. merak to hanle to nyoma (239 km)
  4. nyoma to tso moriri to pang (210 km)
  5. pang to keylong, 2 hour delay due to landslide, keylong to khoksar (228 km)
  6. khoksar to rohtang to manali to kullu to mandi (223 km)
  7. mandi to chandigarh, bike servicing (158 km)
  8. chandigarh to rajasthan (our pillions took the train to bbay) (517 km)
  9. rajasthan to gujarat (we wanted to do a night ride to bbay, but i had a fever) (538 km)
  10. gujarat to bbay (562 km)
interestingly, my gps logs and my estimates for the two days i didn't turn tracking on, add up to around 190 km short of what my odometer reported (3754 vs 3945 km)!