Sunday, June 17, 2012


I often wonder what my life would be without my kids. So boring and monotonous. Just recently my son went on a road trip to the north with his friends. I had prepared myself for 2 weeks of silence from his side, quite sure that he would make his customary 'reached safely' phone call and that would have to last me till he returned. Boy, was I wrong! He took me along with him, metaphorically speaking! The first sms arrived on day 2 of the trip.....

“Repaired a broken bag, discovered lanes n shops, made friends, ate at dingy joints, wandered thru the city with a guy found at the mandir, saw a wedding, bargained successfully n in English, wore a gamcha FINALLY, missed stuff, saw new things instead, got mistaken for a foreigner everywhere!! Wasn't initially allowed to enter a temple, now on the way to a village to a dhaba, blowing wind in the dark, possibility of hukka in the moonlight... tired?? NAH !!”

A few hours later, the next text arrives, “Noo hukka! Peeing under the stars n pitch black.” I slept that night with a smile on my face. The next morning I read, “Currently on the oldest road in India... THE GRAND TRUNK ROAD!!”  There was silence for 2 days when suddenly comes this info.....

''The Ambedkar park here in Lucknow is mindblowingly awesome... So big!! N so beautiful. U can almost forgive her for wasting so much money on it! The ‘elephant capital’ of the world!! The details on Mayawati's statue... A purse with a chain and zip, the bag strap firmly squeezed within her palm along with her hanky, a ring, a watch, a bracelet. The chappals and feet wid each n every toenail perfectly manicured... perfect wrinkles, windblown creases on her clothes... MONEY! MONEY! MONEY!!!!”

Late night comes this missive…
“Day four was almost a bore. But not for long. Aimless wanderings lead to food and... what food it was! Kachodis wid chole and what not, kebabs n parathas, sprouts bhel.. Yumm... then the greatest discovery of the day. The Ambedkar Park...... Magnificent! Over the top! Fun! Battery rickshaw, cycle rickshaw, green n yellow rickshaw and now, a bus to Delhi. Bumpy sessions. Dhaba food sessions. Music sesions. Maybe some sleep..” 

Radio silence for 3 days except for a brief sms stating- “ Wearing the kurta I bought in Benaras. So comfy.... I have a surprise for u!”

Finally after 2 days comes a big one.....
“Sorry for the break. Battery conserving spree... A bus ride from Delhi to Rishikesh... dhaba food, great music, AC bliss, Ghats, forest fires, a walk down the mountain to the campsite... at 10 p.m., Rafting for 30 kms, super cold water, swimming in d river, strong flow, big rapids, fallin into mini rapids..yumm breakfast... crappy lunch n zabardast dinner, late nights… talkin n laughin… cold drinks chilled in d ganga... in d light of lamps… tents, lizards, beach, sand, photographs…  and then the bungee !! The punyness u feel when d cord swings u all around… the madness, screamin.. aaaaahhhhh! So now, here again, sittin in d sand in front of the tents, overlooking the Ganga. This is life!!!”  

After this there was a deluge of msgs as the adrenaline rush peaked...
“Black moonless skies.. n here goes a shooting star.. Another!! And still more?? Sleepin outside the tents... Witnessin the sunrise... and Rush, rush, rush!! A bath under the waterfall, cold, tasty water... Rappeling, long sandy beaches wid dunes... jumpin off a 30 ft cliff into d cold, green Ganga waters... Rafting.. Mindblowing..  Almost vertical.. currents carrying you far away from d boat.... A night in a free ashram in Haridwar”

“U know I am not religious and stuff.... But since I was at Tungnath, the highest shrine of Shiva at 11000 ft...I prayed for u and dad... N now have a tikka which no amount of washin can remove...”

“The things that happen at 13000ft above sea level..... U are on the peak of a mountain, surrounded only by air and nothin else on all sides... At the place where Raavan meditated for 100 yrs... Snow clad Himalayan peaks visible in the distance thru the fog looming over us... Vultures flying over ur head in the freezing wind. Suddenly Vodafone ka network catches and u start gettin BBMs and msgs of the past day... N d sun burns d hair on ur hands... So in short, Vodafone is very surprising....”

This was the last sms before he returned, 3 days later, to Mumbai. Wow, what a trip! The next time I want to travel, I am definitely sending him. I am sure I will enjoy myself more, seeing the world thru his eyes! Armchair travel at its best..

As for the surprise.... It was a bunch of post cards he had posted to all at home. Not surprisingly, all have been lost in transit, thanks to the Indian postal system!

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