The Run

It is some kind of a listlessness. Much like an ennui, but not completely that. There are fewer people, fewer conversations. The extraordinary reward in persisting with everyday’s ordinariness is more of the same ordinariness. A luxury such as deep thinking is possible when the riches of time are around aplenty. Poverty of time is the worst of all the possible ways of being poor.

Some days, you see yourself passing by, when you can spare the time to look. Most days, when you can make the time, you can’t find yourself even when you look. There is a haze, even in the bright sunlight, when you look outside. It obscures everything — the beautiful and the ugly — out in the distance. I would not know if the listlessness is worrying.

The familiarity of limitations is a freedom that overpowers. It grants a respite from the drudgery of betterment and results in the death of hope for a square peg to fit into a round world. If there is nothing more you want from life, would you still live? If there is nothing more you can try, would you still try?

A Journey Without An End

As far as trips go, the last one was really tough. The summer heat made the plains much more unbearable a rite of passage to the high mountains. A fairly significant breakdown of our vehicle within the first 24-hours threw us off schedule. It made us wary that another similar episode later would see us being stranded in a remote place. There is always an element of trepidation at the beginning of any journey, especially on road trips. I am never sure if I have everything covered.

Life on the road is often over-glamourized. It is easy to form an opinion based on the end result — lots of pretty photos, accounts of places far away and stories of people who we don’t run into our usual urban lives. But a large part of it is also tiring and mundane. Days start with tying down luggage and most days end with untying those same knots.

It is almost a strange mirror of what our lives are like. we knot ourselves into secure positions and the journey throws everything out of kilter. Early on, the knots fail to keep everything down. Things move about, sometimes they break too. Eventually, we learn to allow them to move around just enough to not be too rigid, but also not so loose that everything comes undone.

A journey in which we leave everything to be figured out as we go along also tests our faith in life and our core beliefs about it. It is rarely the case that everything goes completely according to plan in these trips. We are forced to choose — to either accept what the road throws at us and find happiness in it or fight the multitude of things that don’t go according to plan and find unhappiness in everything.

The early days were a carry over of the days before the trip for me. I could not switch off from work and the early breakdown did not make things any better. The destination we had in mind was far far away and we were stuck in a semi-urban sprawl on the plains, with expenses and the heat piling up. But, somewhere along the way, the realization also caught up that all those hundreds of miles we sped through are to be as much appreciated as the handful of miles we struggled through to get the broken vehicle to a place where it could get fixed.

Somewhere along the way, when the uncertainty of the next mile became blindingly obvious, it left us with no choice but to appreciate the current one as a whole.  It was not the colour, the texture or the smell that we expected, but it was what was there at that point. Work took a backseat, the journey resumed and a valley of immense beauty opened up after a night where we were thoroughly unsettled while passing through a town nearly empty of all of its people and its light.

At camp, near the stream, the stars kept away while a fox could not do the same. It was as persistent as the rains that refused to go away. Women from the village nearby came to ask a thousand questions. We could not adequately explain how to apply the body lotion we gave them. The kids, extremely shy, would sit close to the tents for long asking for chocolates. The girls would sneak up on us, only to run away in jiffy if we would look back at them. The boys started talking more. We eventually made friends. Two of them sat outside, under our umbrella, and sang for us, while they waited for a bus that would take them back home from school.

I walked a lot on day two, accompanied mostly by the low hanging clouds and the odd resident of the village. But most of it was walked alone. The mountains make excellent company even in miserable weather. Well, at least during the day time. The altitude made everything tough work. Even fifty meters on a gentle incline was something to be earned. I had, on me, a raincoat, basic clothes, sandals, a phone to take pictures and a water bottle. Out there, it felt good to have so little, unlike here where it feels not-so-good even after having so much.

The rain never really did stop. At some point, early morning, the pitter-patter stopped. We nearly rejoiced at the prospect of having clear weather. A peek outside revealed a story that was vastly different, the silence was the sound of white noise and the rain had turned into wet snow. At first light we broke camp, drove gingerly over streams of water and thick slush back into a safe zone.

We made our way back to old acquaintances and some of the dreaded familiarity of an urban life, but in a mountain town. Not once, but twice, we attempted leaving two of those, but were held back.

The mountains have always held us in a tight embrace, but this time it was one that was particularly hard to break free of.

We spoke little at the start of a journey that would end the day on the plains.

For some reason, this time, the embrace was particularly hard to break free of.

We snatched glances, spoke half words.

If this felt home, then why did we have to leave it, again?

The cities welcomed us back with every comfort it could think of.

Home was a familiar lifeboat floating in an ocean of strange things.

The disconnect we felt with it was no longer a thing that was bothersome; it was just a certainty that left no doubt that, in its ending, the journey had only really begun.

Una Mattina

And when I close my eyes to the music, I can see the dust flowing off the wheels on a Jeep that is crossing a dusty plateau many thousand feet up in the mighty Himalayas. Once I used to dream of those places and life has been kind enough to me to make those dreams a reality; a reality that I know is there, accessible to anyone who dares to dream to take a step at a time to make it real.

Life has been hard in the past few months, as it often tends to, to remind us to never take it for granted. That, even in the best of things you can ever have, the worst can be experienced for no fault of anyone. Every moment you can breathe, every moment you are alive is worth living, once you realize that within it, it holds the potential to be both extremely bad and extremely good.

And it tests us and rewards us, if we are truly willing to let go. People and places, eventually, are all the same. There are always prejudices, there is always unkindness; what differs is the nature of the prejudice or the unkindness and how we identify with it. All music, eventually, is made of the same basic notes, and yet we can like or dislike it on various grounds.

To hear that note clearly, clearer than the note I hear clear with my ear, in what it says about the longing, the disappointment and the eventual rapprochement. The hurt, and the joy in letting go of that hurt. To acknowledge is the first step towards releasing that lifelong bondage. It hurts as much as it frees. And yet it frees.




This was a post that I had been waiting for long to write, I had even the right photo to go along with it — one from about fifteen-years-ago, of a mattress, an ashtray with a cigarette slowly burning in it, in the place I called home for those long years. A little while ago, I accidentally lost all the data in the hard drive that had the photo, along with many other memories from the past 16-years. And the move from the old house itself happened in the middle many other, more important, changes. I have not had much of a chance to reflect at length on all the years spent there.

Much has changed in the past six-months. Perhaps, the most important of all those changes is in what I consider normal. ‘Normal’ is the unseen foundation from where everyone operates. It is quite possible to have a perfectly reasonable sense of normal for others, while having a completely warped one for ourselves. I am not the only person who has the uncanny ability to provide a perfectly sane perspective to another’s life and yet find it impossible to apply even a small percentage of that same sane, rational logic to my own life. We don’t often see ourselves as clearly we can see others, or we see an image of ourselves that is entirely false.

I could, probably, have tried harder to recover the data in the hard drive, but, in the end, I did not. Somewhere along the way, I learned that a life lived in fear is not a life worth living and stopped doing that. But I never gave up walking forward without constantly looking back over my shoulder. I could, probably, have tried harder to repair and retain all the relationships from my past, but, in the end, I did not. I used to do that a lot earlier, but, in the past 6-months, it has became quite clear that I used to do that mostly out of a sense of guilt. And doing anything that you otherwise don’t want to do, is not normal or good.

As the knots untangle in my head, there is the relief of not having to carry so much of the baggage I have forced myself to carry over the years. Nobody asked me to do that, but the burden they created was very real. They also reveal the underlying core issues that I have hidden under many layers over the years. Much of it is not very pleasant, but it is a little bit less of a struggle every day and it also makes it easier to deal with things not going my way. Things work sometimes, sometimes they don’t. And it is not always my fault that they don’t work.

This normal is very unexciting. It is not life on the edge. It is not a life of keeping tabs. It is not a life of being constantly on the watch out for who will attack me next. But it is a beautiful life to live, where each moment feels right and full. There are no games. There is nothing to guess. And I would not have believed it was possible if I was not living it.


It is life’s nature to demand changes from us regularly. Sometimes we give into those demands and make those changes, most times we ignore those demands and soldier on. I am no exception to that norm and have lived most of my life not making the changes life asked of me, leaving life with no option but to often let a bitter aftertaste remain of most things in it. Even so, nearly five-years-ago, I was sent kicking and screaming down a path where I had to start making those changes to be a better person and live a life that was a considerably better one than the tangled mess it was.

As 2014 slowly winds down, a significant chunk of what used to be my life five-years-ago is no longer there and a lot of whatever is left of it is also being purged in the interests of living a better, simpler and healthier life. It is far too easy to look back and blame everyone else for what has been and what has not been; but, the fact remains that the life I have is the result of the choices I made. It is only logical that if I wanted to have a better life, I had to make better choices. It is also equally important to stop dwelling on all the bad things you have done.

You can’t do much about the past, but you can do a lot about the present and the future.

There are very good reasons for someone to make bad choices in life and I have more than made my fair share of those. Those bad choices have a limited shelf life and at some stage realization will hit you square in the face that the time has come to make different choices. That realization happened for me five-years-ago, but it has taken me all these years to understand the extent to which I had to change how I live and act, to be true to what I wanted. It is just way too easy to pay lip service to the constant urge to want better and yet stick to doing nothing different from what I have always done.

The hardest part, perhaps, of these changes for me has been personal relationships. A journey like this leaves little space for things or people that drag me down. What was broken had to be fixed, or let go of . It is quite easy to say that, but incredibly hard to do for someone like me who has always been attracted to exactly those things and types of personalities because they are the best places to hide my own shortcomings. The list of casualties from this purge is not long in numbers, but, in impact, it goes far and wide as friendships and close relationships, sometimes spanning a decade or more, have been let go of.

On the other hand, there are also the relationships that have only grown stronger, healthier and better. Some of them, like with my parents, have pleasantly surprised me in how it has evolved. I feel eternally grateful for such blessings. I love not feeling emotionally on the edge all the time and it is amazing how everything looks a lot better when I don’t feel bitter about everything around me all the time. It is nice to know that everything is not a conspiracy to make me feel worse, or that I am responsible for everything that has gone wrong in my immediate universe, and sometimes a little bit outside it too.

Over time, this simpler state of affairs has also ensured that I cannot sustain anymore anything that is even moderately complicated or unhealthy. It maybe most selfish to keep my own well being and happiness as the thing that is most important to me, but the realization that only I am responsible for my happiness makes it quite okay for me to live with that selfishness.

Living such a simpler life also yields simpler and healthier relationships. I have fewer friends and there are now increasingly fewer instances where someone has to stick their neck out in an unhealthy way to validate some part of me that needs shoring up. It is a world where I enjoy the fewer words a lot more, but also one where I can share a silence without any awkwardness. I don’t feel the need to shoulder a burden that is not mine, just so that I could feel that I belong, in the most convoluted way, to someone or something.

But the best part of it all is not feeling like a piece of shit all the time. Which is what most of my life, at its worst, had come down to. It is nice to make the odd mistake and not kill myself for it, be my little imperfect goofy self and still be loved for it.

If you ask me if it is worth it to gain so much losing a lot, I will gladly tell you, oh yes, it is totally worth it.

Manga, Maggoo And Grumpy

A little less of you return each time, till, eventually, only a shell returns.

At least that was what I started this post with a few days ago. It was meant to be another of the ornate and obfuscated bits of writing that I am normally quite fond of writing. It would have covered a wonderful trip to the high Himalayas, the unexpected discovery of an effortless love and other significant changes.

Yet, I could not bring myself to write a single line after that. Not that I did not try. I did, on multiple occasions, but not even a single word could be added to that line. It is not that I have not had trouble writing before. In fact, it is way too frequent an occurrence; and the blame often can be placed squarely at the feet of sheer laziness.

But, let us get back to what I wanted to write about. First, the trip. It came together rather unexpectedly, which pertains to the ‘who’ of it than the ‘where’, as Spiti has been on the cards for a long time after the difficult passage in 2011 and the multitude of failed attempts since. Spiti was the reason why my white Gypsy (called rather predictably as ‘Whitey’) was acquired and a blown engine and many mountain trips later, she finally had her date with destiny.



The trip was not without its own share of drama. As always, I had taken much longer to acclimatize and by the time we got to Kaza, the altitude did get to me, resulting in a longer layover in the town, which was the nicest way to be afflicted by an ailment. We got going again, crossing non-existent roads after Losar, up Kunzum La and a difficult drive down on its other side to finally head towards Chandratal,

The lake is an experience that cannot be adequately described in words and as my partner is fond of reminding me, it is a lake that does not want to be found, unless you are willing to go the extra mile or two for it. And even then, till you go up another hillock that betrays no existence of a lake, you won’t have any idea that something as special and spectacular as that exists there.

The shepherds there took a liking to us, which was something we were very grateful for. And we found Manga (the one in the photo), Maggi (lovingly mangled to Maggoo) and Grumpy (since she was the grumpiest of the lot). We spent two timeless days by the lake, watching the clouds roll across the beautiful blue skies, sleeping on the shores, with the trio for company. Manga, especially, took a liking to us and we wanted to bring her back with us. But as a soul that flies free in that magical land 15,000 plus feet up there, she won’t survive the heat of the plains, nor the prison that it must represent to her.



After watching yet another spectacular sunset and the lake’s brilliant change in moods, we went to sleep, with the sad realization that the morning will be a time of farewells, to the trio and our gracious hosts — the shepherds — who looked after us like we were family and even sang for us one of the nights in their little shelter that was poor on creature comforts, but rich in warmth, affection and how freely they shared everything they had. When the time came for us to leave, the trio was nowhere to be found, a relief of sorts. It would have been really hard to leave Manga behind. Some goodbyes are best left unsaid.

We eventually made our way through to the by-now infinitely tamed Manali – Leh highway. Since it was past the peak tourist season, we had the roads mostly to ourselves, which was a good thing. Both of us have known the road from a time when it was not much of a road, which is a far cry from the slightly-difficult drive it is now for anyone. In a matter of a couple of years, it will be an all-weather road, four lanes wide in most places and easily doable in a single drive for most drivers.

Leh was mostly devoid of Indian tourists. It was so empty on our way in that we were afraid that something was not quite right. Eventually, we found a nice place to stay, spent a fair bit of time in the market and moved to Lamayuru. The drive from Lamayuru back to Delhi was rather uneventful other than for a monster traffic jam that we found at the Delhi border. It was almost as if the city was doing its best to ensure that it did not want to take us back.

In a lot of ways, we did not really want to return. And, even now, two weeks after our return I do have a tough time adjusting to life back here. As a fully city-bred person the city feels familiar, but the heart feels no connection to it. Every day breaks with the urge to see the pristine blue skies in the mountains and their warm embrace. There is a sense of inevitability to the end of the life here. It is not that I hate the life here. It is a city that gave me hope and a second (and many more subsequent) shots at life later. It is the city that, eventually, gave me the love that I have always yearned for in life.

Yet, it is also a city I have a hard time living in. In fact, I doubt I can live in cities anymore. Without even realizing it, I have been consuming less and using fewer things in life. I keep giving away clothes and things that I own after realizing that it has been years since I have worn most of them, it has to be of better use to someone else. Being not as well off as I used to be earlier also means I have little means of being a spendthrift anymore. And I don’t miss being able to buy yet another pair of shoes that I will forget I own. And it is not that I don’t buy expensive gear anymore, I do; but most of those serve a function than my own vanity.

For long I have known that I needed lesser; and without realizing it, somewhere along the way, I have started wanting lesser too. Within me, I feel that I have everything I need, while for most of the urban world, I have little or nothing. And that is a disconnect that is hard to overcome. There are only a few ways of living the city gladly supports and feeling that you have enough or not feeling constantly irked are not those ways. And I guess that explains the inevitability.

Fake It Till You Break

It is quite sad that we all now live lives that place an inordinate amount of importance on making us dislike ourselves for what don’t have than to like ourselves for what we have. All around me, I see people who are faking it till they make it, or at least fake it like they have made it; while, behind the splendid veils of success there are broken, miserable people littered all over the place.

It would be pathetic to pretend that I don’t belong to the same tribe, because I do. It is hard to let go of trying to play the same game that everyone else around me plays. Like everyone else, I too pretend that everything is fine, while most often it is not. I pretend that I am on top of the game, while I have already lost almost each and every one of those that I have tried my hand at.

It is terrifying to see the society we are helping put together. In our public facades, we are all thriving and moving up in life. Bigger, better cars. Bigger, better apartments. We were normal people with normal flaws at the onset of the social networking age, now we all strive to look like supermodels in the pictures we put up. My current display picture is the coolest of maybe five I took in two days. You won’t see the four others that made me look uncool.

That is what we have reduced ourselves to.

Our self worth no longer has to do with how much we love or care for each other; or how grateful we feel to be loved as much as we are. We still need more of that too. We don’t feel like worthy parents if we can’t buy the most expensive tablet for our children, without which they feel worthless among their peers. The last family get together I attended had children, each with a tablet in their hands.

This is a world where we feel guilty about taking time off. Doing nothing and helping ourselves recover is almost a crime now. And when we do take a break, we feel pressured to click photos or post updates to share with everyone else to show what a good time we are having. How did we wind up hating the company of our own selves? How uncomfortable do we feel with our own company?

Behind the perfect facades, families and marriages are breaking up. We are mistreating an older generation that deserves all the consideration in helping them cope with a world that is vastly different from what they spent most of their lives in. Save the odd mother’s or father’s day, how often do they figure in our public persona? I guess that would be a rare thing.

Almost everyone I know live lives that are vastly better than how the majority of the world lives. Yet, the feeling is that nothing we have is enough. A perfectly fine car needs to be upgraded because it is no longer the cool model to have. A house needs to be upgraded to a bigger one because it no longer has space to store yet another collection of things that we probably will never use in our lives.

When was the last time we ever felt that what we have is enough? In fact, I don’t know many people who even know where that ‘enough’ is. Everyone seems to be sure of only one thing — that they just don’t have enough. Do you remember the last time when you met someone who was content with what they had, that they had enough? I don’t. And I will be surprised if you do.

If you do know someone like that, find out what makes them tick. If you don’t know someone like that, it is time you found that someone, either within yourself or in someone around you and find out what makes them tick, before it is too late.


A hurried move to cover her bare neck was a gesture that was unexpected. It was an amusing reaction as I was neither looking at her neck; nor was it the case that I could see anything on her from the distance and the height that was I at. I was merely observing her emptying a bag of waste into a slope that eventually merged with the stream far down below. In an environment as pristine as that it seemed a terrible thing to do. But it also raised the question, where could they dispose the waste our modern plastic-filled lives produce and who was I, an occasional visitor in that little Himalayan village, to judge them?

The mountains are a both a calling and a healing in competing measures. Once you heed their calling, and should it resonate well within you, a music then starts that your life never stops dancing to; yet, it is a music that nobody can hear, nor can you explain it to another. Faced with another who can hear the same inaudible music, you just nod in agreement, struggle in vain with words to express what you hear, give up and let your feet and heart tap and beat to the mad melody punctuated by the actual sounds of passing thunder and the chirping of the numerous birds.

Here, old wounds gently open up. If you allow yourself to, you start to feel again in the generosity of an embrace that stretches far beyond what the eye can see or comprehend. Life is ancient here. The trees carry scars far deeper and older than what you or I may hold dear in our short lives. Yet, they stand and they unquestioningly keep giving. You will love, lose, turn old, break a bone, die of some deadly disease, but they are always there. It is the ultimate truth and the eternal return, should you choose to seek that within you.

The healing has no words and it is a futile endeavour to attempt an explanation. How do you describe a moisture-laden mist that slips through your fingers? If you do not resist it, it will seep into every bone and particle within you, rake up both the hurtful and the happy within you. In their shadow, you learn to accept the generosity of the rain that strengthens the roots and also accept its destructiveness that uproots everything in sight. And yet, the mountains they stand, in spite of what happens to them.

Empress Orchid, by Anchee Min

The book is quite an easy read; so easy that you can almost skip-and-read vast chunks of it and yet not miss much. The pacing is quite inconsistent too as there is no consistency in how time is taken into account in the book. Short events may take a long time at times and long events are dispensed off in a sentence or two. That said, it is not a problem that is significant enough to make the book any less enjoyable a read, which it is.

The period covered in the book is the troubled 1800s when the old Chinese empire is on the wane, and under pressure from Europe. It is not a good book to read if you are looking for a historical perspective on what happened in that time period, as that aspect of the story only serves as a background with only just enough detail to provide context to Orchid, the main character’s, story.

Both the subject and the book had great potential to have been turned into something substantial, but Anchee Min does not succeed in doing that. You do get a pretty decent account of what eventually turns Orchid into who she becomes eventually, but it all feels very hurried.


Sometimes, you get to experience something extraordinary that you have coveted all your life. Yet, in experiencing it, you so feel gladdened, so complete, that its mere existence is enough to make your life worthwhile, while possession becomes a matter of far less consequence. In a season of being relatively poor (not the same as poverty, which is far more serious a situation), that experience has left me richer than anyone else I know.

I can safely say that at this time in life, my sole valuable possessions are my beliefs. But, even beliefs are not things that can survive without the nourishment of validation in the best case scenario. and signs, in a lesser preferred scenario. In experiencing what I have been able to, I feel I don’t need any more validation in life that good exists and that good can happen, only if you give it a chance to happen.

And when it happens, on that rare occasion, it can be so perfect that it feels unreal. I have always thought that such an experience would always result in me wanting to grab on to it, make it mine and never let it go. Surprisingly, I find myself in a situation where I’m happiest to know that it exists and as long as it exists on its own free will, that is what matters and not whether it is mine or not.


An Interval

Recent times have been interesting, not because it has been reclusive in a manner of speaking —  I have always been that — but because it is such a departure from the familiar in practically everything else. A lack of control from an unwillingness to attempt it, over a variety of things, is scary; especially for someone who has spent a large part of his life attempting exactly that. This requires nothing short of blind faith in myself and in life that even in the worst storms, where a thing can’t be seen, I can stay true to my path.

Sometimes, the best escape from something is to run deep into that within yourself. It is crazy and extremely risky as the first thing that goes out of the window is objectivity. Secondly, there is always the risk that you won’t ever come out of it. Intentions are crucial here. If wallowing in something is all what you are looking for, you can easily wallow a lifetime on this path, which will be an unfortunate thing. If the intention is to know and face your own self in its crude, unvarnished and often unlikable self, there is no better path to be on. But it is a battle like nothing else you would have been through.

Chasing yourself down is tricky business. And, by yourself, I don’t mean what you feel. We all know what we feel at any given point in time — elation, sadness, bitterness, exhilaration — but we rarely know what lies behind those feelings and also how those feelings shape our worldview. Our thoughts regarding a feeling is more often partial than complete. In anger, we will process an event or an incident only to the exact extent where it bolsters the feeling that we are feeling at that moment. That way, we paint people we know as angels, demons and everything in between, depending on how it suits our purpose than often how they really are.

Once the necessary fortitude and the discipline is put into place, events and incidents often transform into a different picture. That which looked intentional and all about you often turns out to be unintentional and had nothing to do with you (yet, it was no less hurtful); that which looked to be a stroke of luck often turns out to have someone going out of their way to do something good for you or your own hard work; that which looked like a promise to yourself to never love or feel again often turns out to be a declaration of hurt and a convoluted manner of grieving.

For someone like me, doing that requires a certain degree of isolation. It is impossible to chase yourself down when you have spent a lifetime being a spectacular success at hiding behind others. It is also a crazy wild ride as I don’t honestly know what will eventually come out of it. But the first step towards finding out is to allow all of yourself to exist — the good, the great, the bad and the ugly — and it is strange that even in this world of over-sharing, how little we share of us, and our worst fears, with ourselves. We will delude ourselves, deny its existence and hope it all goes away.

What we need to understand is that those fears don’t ever go away if we don’t face up to them. Nor can we choose what our worst fears are. But we can certainly choose how and where we want to face them. That is the only choice life offers, but it is also probably the most important choice that we don’t often realize we have the power to make. For me, I believe, a life worth living lies on the other side of facing those fears. It may change everything I value and know for it can potentially re-frame my understanding of the world I live in and what role I have to play in it.

Till that is done, this is an interval, from almost everything else.

A Collector Of Moments

A grubby looking man, with a good number of his front teeth missing, tells his story in a raspy whisper, of a life led feeding others. His own, though, were few as he never stopped long enough; sometimes enjoying the shifting sands, other times chasing the waves and for a few months every year living in this splendid valley of green giving company to the gushing river down below, where we met him.

For a land teeming with of eateries of all kind, it was strange not to find, save one, that offered good food. Yet, his was the tastiest food we ever had, in a place where few would look and even fewer would eat. He told tales of stones he collected, the way he sold them; how he learned English and many other things, which the raspy whisper made it not at all easy to follow.

On a table shared with two ladies, one of them later spoke of hopping islands and countries, how they sought out solace in the unfamiliar and their lives on the road. With a couple next door, retired, greetings were exchanged every morning and queries were made about a party nobody looked keen on really attending. A connection is sometimes attempted over the most mundane of things.

The streets had a music of their own; rising up often, promising weary legs only the hope of an easier return in return. Between the gurgle of the omnipresent water channel, the roaring engine of a vehicle braving the uphill climb and the cacophony of the territorial disputes of the canines, common songs came up, private jokes were born and a journey of no interactions became a carnival of one.

That stretch which looked impossible to cover, was covered thrice, made possible the struggle to keep from falling off a trail nobody seemed to have taken in a while. The distance was nothing to write home about, but the accomplishment of having braved, trusted and having failed in a way, but to have won many times made it worthwhile.

The couple said they tried the same from the other side, but to the same end. A waterfall that was aimed for and missed, was reached another day on a cycle that slipped its chain at the first encounter with the day’s big uphill ride. Villages were crossed, a familiar face was narrowly missed as we crossed our paths unknowingly and left in a familiar cloud of dust.

A rain that was promised never came, the end of a long trek into the wild came, premature, by the threats of the same clouds that broke the promise of the rain. The path was steep and hard and it held a promise of a magical meadow in it. In the end, a compromise was reached, a part of the evening was spent watching anglers try their luck with a fly. The meadow was never reached.

Every journey is a collection of moments, of all this, gifted by the surroundings and by those who surround us. We may never have company, but we never travel alone; all we have to do is reach out and look, sometimes in the eyes of strangers and at times in the eyes of those who are not that unfamiliar.

Because all we have in the end, are just those moments.