Jun 14, 2011

How The Story Goes...

The Phone Calls
The phone calls were going too far into the night. On weekends, they talked till they saw the sun rise and said good morning as good night to each other. The phone bills also headed north and days were spent sleepy in college and in office.

The Gifts
Birthdays came once every year. There were gifts. One or two. Cards, flowers, stuff. Cakes and chocolates. Letters and photographs, kept in old shoe boxes, under the bed, or inside the almirah. Comfortably hidden under more stuff. Choking the memories.

The Coffee
It tastes different depending on the company. Bitter and dark like secrets in hearts of sweethearts. Everyone has secrets. The kinds that can't be told or shared. Black, just like coffee. Bitter, just like truth.

The Kiss
Its awkward. No one knows what they are doing. The nose is a problem. And the teeth. Oh, both of them felt teeth when they kissed first. This is the thing they don't tell in novels or show in movies. Its strange, but they pretend to like it.

The Words
They both lie.

The Burn
Play with fire, expect the burn. It's only a matter of time. Now both lick their wounds, with fire in their eyes. The finger of blame points away. Always.

With a new idiot.
Just experimenting with this. Will take a few posts to get back in groove :)

Jun 3, 2011

Rafting Trip - Part Five :: The Last Day

Needless to say, the next day was hard for all of us. Rafting is fun, but a taxing task. Someone was having headache next day, someone’s arm was aching from rowing the oar, someone had other problems, which meant that none of us were in the mood for tackling THE WALL next day. So, we did the next best thing we could. We sat around on the shore, chilled, ate, splashed around in the water and had an awesome time in all. 

This was sunday and the day to go back. We left in afternoon. Said bye to everyone who managed the camp. Mr. Ram told us to come back next year to tackle THE WALL. When I shook his hand, I knew I’d be coming back next year. For sure.

We left the camp and reached Haridwar on the tata sumo. Long-ish, hot journey. From there I was to take a bus for Chandigarh and rest of the gang was going back to Delhi. There were no buses for either of the places at the Haridwar bus station. Hell of a place. Rest of the gang took off for a nearby place that people said there were buses for. I waited for a bus to Chandigarh. None came. So I found a plug point and charged my phone. A man's gotta make the best of the situations. Finally, after waiting an hour or two, found a bus that was going only till Ambala and took that. It was a long journey. Tired, reached home at 1. There was office in a few hours. That’s life for you.

In all, the best parts of the trip were the rapids, three blind mice. They really affected me on a very deep level, a spiritual level, if I use that term liberally. I felt chaotic, mind numbing fear, the likes of which I had never felt before. There is one thing to feel afraid when some animal casually walks in front of your bike when you’re doing 100kmph but its totally another thing, getting slapped by water, in a raft with just a rope to hold on to. It gives you a new perspective on life and the things you are so used to, the things you take for granted in life, like land under your feet. 

While in the bus on my way back from Haridwar, I opened twitter after two days. And the things people were getting excited, angry, happy, sad, fucked up about, they all seemed so insignificant. It was a strange experience. I've not been able to collect my thoughts enough to tweet something since then. I mean, you get slapped in the face by a fucking river, you can't surely tweet about that. You blog about it! :D

I dreamed about the sand and river for the next few days. There are still few grains of sand in my bag which I took there. I don't think I'll clean it.

Hope you enjoyed my experience there.

Thanks for reading.

(And there are no sharks in the river.)


Jun 1, 2011

Rafting Trip - Part Four :: Into The Rapids

Some Rafts Somewhere on the River

If there is one thing that has to be said about the rapids, it’s the noise. Its like riding in a rollercoaster where the track under you in changing constantly and also rising up to slap you in the face. There were many instances while going through the rapids that I moved my oar to push back water and there was just empty space under the oar, we were on a wave and then SLAM back on to the river, another big crest and trough of the river. Sheer madness and fury of nature are words that just about come close to describing the rapids, but don't do justice to what is actually there. Its one of those things, you have to experience yourself.

On the calm stretches of the river, there were other rafts too. And, I gathered there was some kind of competition between the rafting guides. So, he told us that we were going to do "River Yells". The primitive and ancient yells that would make us feel more like a Team and make the people in other rafts feel like utter shits. It went something like this, our guide would yell "Giddi Giddi Appa, Giddi Giddi Appa" and all six of us would raise our oars to the middle of the raft, up in the air, like a pyramid and yell "HU HA HU HA" then we all would go "OOOooooOOOOoooOOOoooOOO" and splash the oars into the river. Then our guide, Mr. Ram would fake a sneeze and splash water on whichever unlucky raft was close by. THAT SHIT WAS FUN! Few other rafts near us tried to copy us, but well, we were simply louder. We also yelled "GANGA MAIYA KI JAI" and two of us managed to squeeze in a "WAHE GURU JI DA KHALSA, WAHE GURU JI DI FATEH". Don't look me like this, it was the river, its mad when you're down there.

(Hat tip to Rahul aka @peanutbut on twitter for>> CHILMILI CHILMILI DHOOM DHADAAKA! HU HA HU HA!)

We managed to row through the rest of the rapids, much to the pleasure of our guide,  who said we were shitty at the first rapid of Three Blind Mice, but we redeemed ourselves in his eyes by rowing ok in rest of the rapids. Then, at a relatively calm stretch of the river, our guide got up. 

“You guys are good at rafting now,” he said, “I think you can handle rest of the rapids yourselves.”

With that, he jumped in the water. And didn’t come up. It was funny. We knew he was joking, cuz he couldn’t just abandon us in the middle of the river. He still didn’t come up. Our raft kept floating with the river’s currents. At some distance there was a big rock and our guide was perched on top of it, sunning himself like some kind of obscene mermaid. 

He got back in the boat with us and told us about the next few rapids. The names are a blur now, some of them were tee-off, golf course, club house, roller coaster, double trouble, etc etc. As you can see the people who named the rapids were not very imaginative. I’d have named them, Instant Death, Water Slap, Hold Your Breath and Pray, Fear Incarnate, The Drowner, etc etc. We managed through most of the rapids then, it was scary and it made me realize that I am not all that I think I am. That I also feel fear. And it was nice feeling the fear. I knew, I could fall in the river, smash my head on some rock, get trapped under the water with my foot in some rocks, get eaten by a shark while I’m in the river or something. 

You get my meaning by now, don’t you? It was freaking dangerous. There was a constant risk of death or injury staring me in the face and blowing smoke from a stinking cigar at me. And there was nothing I could do. I mean, you can fight a man or a shark, but how do you fight water rushing at you? 

Land was close, but it was far away. One of the last rapids was called something which I don’t remember because our guide told us that it was a small one and a minor rapid. There was nothing to worry about, but I knew better, so I dug in my sandles in the slots on the raft and picked up the oar to tackle the last one. 

Our raft hit the rapids. The water hit us and poof, the person sitting behind me (Our Esteemed and Magnanimous Tour Leader) was gone. Down under. Into the cold water of the Ganga, but the life jacket held and the person showed up, floating with the current some distance downriver. Got picked by another boat. So, it was all 10-12 seconds of rush of losing a person on the raft but it turned out to be ok. 

We saw land and our guide pointed the raft to that place, telling us that this is where we’ll beach. It was a relief to be out of the water and on to dry land. We picked the raft up and hoisted it on the waiting van which would take up back to our camp. We all got in the van, and the guide said that we all did well, and we are now ready for the rapid called THE WALL for next day. 

The dinner that night tasted better than any food I've ever eaten. I was glad to have my feet on the sand and the river slightly away from me. There was a bonfire, and a guitar, and some half sung songs. The next day was going to be our last in the camp.
Did we tackle the wall after the harrowing experience of the rapids? And what about the journey back?