Sunday, December 2, 2018

'Ram Ram' India!

Bajju, Rajasthan. 9 pm

In Bajju, every morning I wake up for chai and smile at strangers, who break their 'Being strangers' tag with that beautiful smile. In a similar way, there is a 'Good-morning' which breaks the unwanted ice, in the rural area across India .

People living in Indian cities don't know this concept of wishing strangers, early morning. Coming from an urban Indian background, I also thought that this is a very western concept. I realised its importance when I spent days travelling with my foreigner friends. It would just be a smile, an acknowledgement to a complete stranger. But my recent shift to rural India made me realise that it is much more common here to smile here than anywhere else.
When we look at the bigger picture, we always think that the villages have things to learn from the cities, but now when I look at the micro-level, I realise that the villages are any day more 'advanced' than the so-called 'modern' cities.
I don't talk to people about this topic here in this remote village in Rajasthan, so I thought I should share this on my blog and put it in the open. Why are we not proud of our culture which is about 5,000 years? This is getting lost in the Indian cities!

I guess the increased crime-rate in the cities has stopped making people smile at strangers, but has the crime actually increased? I doubt!
I know I can't smile at a stranger woman for safety reasons, but I can and I should at least at a 'stranger' man, making him more comfortable. At the worst, he will just think that I am mad, but who cares. Smiling doesn't cost anything. Literally nothing!

So, when I wake up in the morning tomorrow with pure breeze around and go for chai, I would fold my hands and in the Namaste gesture, I would shout out, 'Ram ram'! I am dead sure that I will get a loud and clear reply. I would be lost in my thoughts about how much the cities have to learn from their rural counterparts. And suddenly, a happy voice would break my thought process,
"Ram ram Sa!"

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A desert story

9:30 pm, Bajju, Rajasthan.

I was feeling trapped in the Delhi clouds. The clouds were of pollution, of confusion and of pressure I was not liking. I had started doing theatre, but somehow I wanted to do something deeper. I had always admired nature, but never experienced it as close as I wanted to.

I had always been somewhat a free soul, a free bird, but I guess I was not getting space to fly.
It was very sudden, very random, and I packed my bags to Rishikesh. I somehow liked it. I had started enjoying the concept of self-exploration. I
was enjoying the process. I came back home to Gurgaon and on the internet I met an old friend online, who was working in the Thar desert. I asked her about the job. She asked me for a weekend's visit. Keeping my fingers crossed, I left to see the work-place.
The desert was not a new place for me, but had never been there for a job. I had been called there for a film-maker's post. Adding to this, I would also do a teacher's, a theatre person's and a development person's work.

It sounded interesting to me as it had every element of work I wanted to do. Very soon, I escaped from the urban life. I reached this village called 'Bajju' in Rajasthan. This was pretty close to the Indo-Pak border.
The first thing which I loved about this place was the pure air, despite the sand around. At night, there were no lights around and I looked up just by chance. I saw the beautiful night sky, I had seen in the planetarium once in the sky. I was amazed at the raw beauty. That night, my feet were in the cold sand, with the amazing sight of the stars. At that point in my life, I knew that this is the place I was looking for!

Today I am loving the place with my new quarter (a hut, I share with a co-employee, Moti), a lovely chai every morning at 6 am. I am loving the surprising journeys to new villages, to teach the women SHG's (Self Help Groups).

In every sense of the word, peace.

Thursday, October 18, 2018


In search of 'me',
I travel the universe,
I realise that 'me' is,
when I actually see the 'others'

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


When you travel a lot,
you don't understand where did the sun set,
and where did it rise!


He knew he could never win the game, but still he played it.
And then in the final match,
he did not play, someone else, someone divine played for him, whom he could feel.
'They' finally, won the match!
They did. :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


Life, I guess, is a big circle. If we look at it carefully, it has many circles- One spiritual, one emotional, one economical, one social. So, basically, life is a culmination of concentric circles, with our mind at the centre. Sometimes we need a tangent. A tangent, by definition is a line which just touches the circle from out side at a point. When I look at it, we are usually so busy with life that we need a tangent to get out and see where we are.

I was chatting on facebook and suddenly I found this old friend. I asked him his whereabouts and he said in a sudden reply, that he was at Rishikesh. I was in a circle or loop called 'LIFE'. I wanted to take a tangent. I wanted to see the things which I always had desired to be with. As an instinctive reaction, I asked him, "Can I join him?"
I am sure Negi (my friend) would have been surprised a bit, because that was quite an unwelcome response I gave him. We had not met in a couple of years and this was a good space-time to catch up. Rishikesh is green with mountains and has this spiritual being, because of the river Ganga. He told me to back-pack to his bunk-bed hostel, and he gave me the address. I just got up running to pack my clothes for an indefinite, unpredictable trip to the beautiful place. I had been to this place 4 times before, but it is one of those places, where the more you stay there, the more you like it.
Rishikesh is known for a nice blend of temples or religion on one side and rafting or adventure on the other. I did not know what was my plan. I just booked my night's bus ticket on the internet and I left for the eleven o'clock, which would supposedly drop me to the town at 6 a.m.
I somehow slept off in the bus! I was loving the unpredictability of the trip. A night's bus journey was what would take me from the 'Dirty' Delhi air to the 'divine and green Rishikesh breeze. The bus dropped me at Lakshman Jhoola and I had no clue whether I should take an auto or not. So I went with the latter.
With my back-pack, I walked. I kept asking the older chaiwalas, the address. They guided me. I realised that I don't need to rush through the process and chill. So, I sat at one of the stalls and had chai. WIth a perfect mix of milk, tea leaves and sugar, it was amazing.
I resumed my walk and very soon I was at the destination: 'LIVE FREE HOSTEL'. I met Negi and realised that everyone was asleep on their bunk beds. As I saw so many bodies sleeping in peace, I felt at ease. No one was getting late. No one was missing the train, it was a nice, cosy vacation for different people from different nationalities. I took off my bag, washed my feet and got into the blanket and slept off!

After we grabbed our breakfast, we left for a waterfall which was unknown to both of us. It was a long trek which we enjoyed. But what I liked in this trek was that we could never see the waterfall. This was making me curious. Though we could hear the water from a distance, but at the end, through the jungle, we reached the destination. It was a lovely waterfall, forcing us to drop our bags and ump off in it.
My friend and me spent good enough time with each other. We spoke so much about our lives, our struggles, our happiness. Our older memories came back at this beautiful place. And the best part was that there was nothing stopping us from chatting.
Once in a while we would get out and chat with new faces. They were interesting too. We made new acquaintances and roamed around the town.

The tangent showed me how trapped I am in life. I needed to take more tangents in life and travel, unconditionally. There are so many places and people I have to see and learn. I like getting away from 'Homo Sapiens' and just be alone.

This is definitely one tangent which showed me things. I loved the 'Ganga' aarti and made it a point that I did not miss it.
Thanks to my bunk bed, in this tangent, I read, wrote and majorly slept a lot!

A refreshed Namaste!

'Ram Ram' India!

Bajju, Rajasthan. 9 pm In Bajju, every morning I wake up for chai and smile at strangers, who break their 'Being strangers' tag ...