Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Displacement diaries: Flooding in Moradabad

1255. +150km. Moradabad (or somewhere around).
Road closed, against all hope, as flood waters haven't yet receded. I was in realization of this fact from the start of my journey. Thought its been dry weather in the past 2 or 3 days, water still disrupts traffic. After leaving the Moradabad bypass, where panoramic scenes of flood were evident, and the residents had resettled along the road and began selling whatever farm produce they could make away with, I met with greater traffic that consisted mainly of the locals, and the hopefuls. I moved parallel to about 5km-long queue of trucks on a broken, bumpy road, before being turned back by the Moradabad police lounging on plastic chairs at a makeshift barrier. They tell me to take a cut from Dalpatpur (4km back), head to Tanda, then Rampur, then to Nainital, which would be another 40-50km.
Home, for a change, this morning. Nowhere by tendencies that I'm flying off to today. Additionally I also managed to lose my precious bike key, which makes me completely immobile (only if not for my two feet, the rickshaws, and the subway). It is good to be immobile, for a change, after polishing off 2000km in the past week!!
Office as usual: code & youtube & the suction chair which keeps me stuck for 8 and a 1/2 hours. My cup of tea is almost done, morning nutrition of licking Horlicks from the jar is also done, I've permitted my anus its 3mins of sovereignty earlier in the morning.

Tell me about the outdoors and I'd appreciate your inclination, however, refuse any proposals. The past 10 days have left me saturated in the great outdoors, adventure, motorbiking, rural India, the Himalayas, the monsoonal aspect of India, rage, financial extravagance, and the social grind. Each needs detailing now, which puts me in a precarious juggle with my time as well. Dreams bring forth new possibilities, reveries amplifying all possibilities, my social nexus stalking my escape routes into isolated bliss, and now you, too, occupy me.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Kaladhungi -Nainital road

The Kaladhungi-Nainital road was a discovery... in all these years I hadn't once traversed this no-trucks-permitted, verdant, cool, calm, winding route. I had not known the villages that existed here, and the bunch of tourist attractions which I never bothered about in all my exploration of Nainital. It was an embarrassment doing this stretch on my Enfield, its discordant thump that broke the illusions of some careless leopard crossing my path, or a Kakar grazing in the dense meadows nearby oblivious to my presence. Throughout, one is inside the buffer zone of Jim Corbett National Park, which is a sight to behold. There's little check by the forest officials, which makes a pitstop alongside the road for rest, or photography, or a smoke, or libations, or some cuddling, or some exhibitionism - any sort of non-intrusive activity - a comfortable affair.

How to Get There
This road can be approached from Delhi side by taking the Kaladhungi Road, where it bifurcates at a village called 'Chhoti Haldwani' (there would be huge road signs to guide you), right next to the Corbett Museum (take some time off to visit this museum, if possible).
For somebody coming from Nainital, just keep going up along the road to Manu Maharni, beyond the Rock Caves, beyond the Kumaon University guest house at Sleepy Hollow, without turning right towards Kilbury.

I myself took a disproportionate number of breaks midway - on hillcrests, winding snakey road views, rolling fog through the pines, open vistas, the Khurpatal lake, on seeing a congress of langurs, facing the converse face of China Peak, to name some. Riding on a Royal Enfield, my command on the turns felt cheeky, partly because any twist of the accelerator would make the Enfield break into its discordant thump - anything artificial will feel annoying on this pristine stretch - that felt like I was an alien here, to counter which I kept my bike under-revved. Then there were the occasional debris or shallow, flowing water on the road. Ending up with a muddy pair of jeans was still worth it.

Upon return, I caught sight of a couple of civets (bijju) crossing my way.

Now there more destinations on my Nainital map for a day hike, thanks to this 2-hour education.

U.P. highway nightmare

सडकें जनसमुदाय को स्वतन्त्र और आसान गमन की सुविधा प्रदान करती है| परन्तु यू.पी. में सड़कों का नेटवर्क उनके लिए सुविधा है जिनको बन्दूक का लायसेंस लिए बिना दूसरों को मारने की ख्वाहिश है|
सिर्फ 90km, और यू.पी. की सडकों पर मेरी फट चुकी है| इन दो घंटों में मुझे कई लोगों ने मार डालने की कोशिश की| मैं आगबबूला तो हूँ किन्तु एक तरह से मैं इसे यू.पी. के अपनापन जताने की निशानी देखता हूँ |

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Off to G'lekh

Wayward and proud.
Its barely been 12 hours here at home, and I'm already packing for a rain-soaked, slush-filled, truck-exhaust-piping-up-the-nostirls weekend. I should be hitting the highway in another 30 min, to G'lekh or Mukteshwar (wherever the road permits) right after my cup of brewed tea is over and the maid servant has stopped pestering me. 700km round trip; monsoons at its peak with 3 rivers and 2 towns midway in flood; the bridge shortly after Padampuri washed away; and (again) no keys! Yes, yes, 1200km of the highway and the hills and the gravel in the week wasn't enough, the soft throbbing of the heart says it wants more. It wants all of it, all the deviancy and the glory. Incorrigible.

Besides the reflection: the route is cheeky beyond Haldwani, where the Bhimtal road has been washed away in a couple of sections, and all the traffic now moves on my Gethia wala road. Beyond Khutani its a messy affair since the Lohaghat road is always positively dotted with a landslide or two. Beyond Padampuri it would be the real test of mettle, where no vehicular traffic is going at present. G'lekh is the holy grail of my 10-day love affair with the Enfield. This is meant for a frame of mind beyond the vices and the cribbing.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Long way back

This one is to be redemptory, and simple; in respect of that gracefully careless manner when I had only started chronicling my eclectic musings (which, now, seem like i was on a warpath to write a lengthy indictment against our century).
In a way, being in college in those days made it easier to be mad - one could be close to several horrible people, and at the same time feeling completely sane and detailing every aspect of that loony culture. Now out of those environs, though I still manage to find horrible people everywhere, but due to the circumstances I find even myself sort-of committing to this human condition: because I need to get work done; because I need to act profitable; because I have finances to play with; because I am supposed to stop being passive (oh the joys of being passive); because there are social protocols that I never cared about earlier; because these are people I will see every day of my life; because survival decided to kick in to compensate for my (failed) talent and learning.

From another perspective, I think being in an educational institution itself is conducive to more worthy observations - somewhere around the time that we are supposed to read and cram, we find ourselves thinking, and the discipline of a scholar's life combined with the puzzled naivety of a youth that still finds it worth to heckle over every unreasonable logic, in a safe environment, makes it perfect to love and hate things. Our notions, though narrower, aren't mixed into a gravy in those early days. And conversely, our social lives are total gravy - of people, prejudices, ideas, dragged context-less conversations, ponytails and bob-cuts, nervous fashion of hair gels, jackets, jeans, skirts, salwar-kurtas, sandals, papa's boots...the list goes on. I thrived back then. I still do, but not at snippet blogposts that did so well to hack a minor irritation into thousand little pieces, make a garland out of those, light a bonfire, and dance next to it till the daybreak.

A third reason could be a term loosely phrased as 'second order vanity': that I care about not wanting to convey that I care about stuff that happens around me and drives me mad. Being vain is a character flaw; however, being vain about not being vain is just psycho. It is the worst thing that can happen, and it usually drives people into their grave, because then people never change because they won't want the others to know that they want to change (and a change obviously puts you in the headlines). To hide my second-order here, I would've have started to exhibit social symptoms, synchronizing to the language of people who I rarely find even tolerable, giving shit about matters of life that will never be a part of my lifestyle, even an affable cheery attitude towards fat people.

There... now I have three reasons to loathe myself about.

This hour of thought has failed to drive me to sleep, even though its midway 3AM and 4AM; I will go ahead and feed myself half a dozen eggs and hope that works magic against my fucked sleep cycle. There's an office to attend in a mere few hours, and I have to get that cow of my maid to do my laundry before she cleverly flees without having done so. Another dozen things lined for the next 3 days...

Friday, August 05, 2011

reviwing FdW bathing bar

Bathing is much like a picnic. You do it at your leisure. At least I do. On one of such days of leisure when shirking the office didn’t induce much of a guilt, I felt like I should bathe, just for the kick of the ‘ol times, and also in excitement about this new brand of soap I had got after my old discount 3-pack Camay ones had expired. I also wanted to smell today, smell like “sea minerals and blue lotus” as the packaging promised. So I set ready for my foam-trip, and made way into the bathroom.

I grab the “bathing bar” – yes, apparently it isn’t a mere “soap” but a “bathing bar”, which gives some higher purpose to my least significant minutes of the day. At least it makes good foam, so it didn’t take much time to foam-wrap myself; which is when I took a pit-stop and broke into musings on the dimensions of this “bathing bar”.

Flecha and Hoogerland car accident Tour 2011

Notice the second guy, at the back, running off-road and into the barbed wire fence. The faint of heart wouldn't wanna read about it.
The black ink stutters through the tip of my pen's nib to layer itself on the page into what seems a cohesive formation of characters to the human eye. These characters bunch into words, which in itself represents a higher plane of cognition. The words further bunch into sentences, and sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into a single conscious thought, which is a symbol of supreme evolutionary being, as we know it.

But does such a supreme proof also reflect on the quality of what I vthink or express? Backtracking from a qualitative frame, I find that much of what I think about is as powerful as those single characters themselves - a whole no worthier than the atomic unit constitutes it. All that you just read has been as important as not having read at all...

This is vaguely familiar to the concept of idempotence,
1*1 = 1; 1%1 = 1

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Hunger strike

My hunger strike is into its 3rd day now.
Since that Ham-and-Omlette Sub with Parth on Monday evening, I've shut down my faculties of taste, bar the sensation of a lone cup of tea now and then, 2 apples, and 1 pear in total. Yesterday evening saw me at my vegetable best - out from office, straight to bed, and up again really late in the morning only to be leaving again for the office; no sneaky morsels or even ethically-permissible cups of tea consumed in all that while.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Weekend in movies

Where but on the couch would you have found me over much of the weekend. All purpose dissolved, all deadlines lassoed and forwarded to the coming weekend.
What it left me with is a prospect list for the best of 2010 indian cinema, and surety of a malevolent force that feeds us the likes of Dabangg, Guzaarish, Robot, despite the presence of super-better alternatives.