It was always pure bliss to travel long distances on a choo choo train but this time, it surpassed all earthly state of happiness as we were on a 2 day journey to to Delhi in the second fastest train of the country ,the Rajdhani express. We were a bunch 6 gossipy 13 year olds united by just school uniforms then. The third class A/C compartment was well kept and the food service was mentionabily good. The odour of each fellow passenger of that coupe still linger in the mind as if from a Bollywood movie. The taste of buttermilk and murukku (a crispy fried snack) which a bindhi wala tamil aunty bought us , the sleekiness of a french beaded photographer bhaiya whom we sneak peaked at times , the war stories of uniformed jawan on his way back to the regiment so on went the stories . After a three day air conditioned journey, we got down into the skin peeling ,scorching heat of the Delhi sun. We took our bus to Bhatti Mines Road in Asola and proceeded to Bhavan’s Sawan Public school where the camp was held. The smell of cooked rice and spicy masala from the mess intoxicated our appetites which was usually preceded by fried flour balls soaked in yogurt which the servers referred to as ‘meeta’. The camp brought in eminent personalities like Shiv Khera and Baba RamDev whose speeches left us literally baffled ,not for their grace but for our inability to comprehend Hindi . The Delhi sun made it sure to roast the kids to the exact shade of brown that Indians are known for. The next day was dedicated for sight seeing . We visited Humayun’s tomb ; the intricate carvings in wood fluanted the legacy of Mughal architecture and the view around was pretty good. We took a quick visit at the Juma Masjid , a sandy Islamic prayer hall that had a lot of carvings on the dome. The only relief that soothed our fried skins were roadside cone ice creams which we savored like Tom Hanks munching on coconuts in Cast Away .Some of the kids got sick after the trip for which doctors surprisingly prescribed Limca .The second day of sight seeing started with Rashtrapathi bhavan , the white house of India. The restricted entry limited us in marveling the British architecture from the outside ;We squished our ways through the well manicured and crowded gardens . We then went to Red fort on top of which the Indian flag fluttered in huge waves .The monument despite of its historical importance was not well maintained and on the way back, we visited the Rajghat where the father of the nation ,Gandhiji rested in absolute peace. Soon the overall rate of toilet usage accelerated as more number of children got sick and the transformation of a fun house into a haunted castle of human poop was unbearable.It is a hard joke ,still the most prominent thing that a south Indian would remember about his first Delhi trip would be loose motion.
We had regular meditation sessions in the morning which was hard to miss. One morning, as i lied on my back on the soft velvety lawn for shavasana (The position of lying on your back in yoga), i dozed off for a few moments and opened my eyes into one of the most cemented memories of my mind till date. There were hundreds of tiny little parrots fluttering over my head as though somebody had bursted in green water balloons over a light blue canvas. The huge school gardens had peacocks ,monkeys and squirrels which ran along like every other human there. We went to Janpath market for shopping , a crowded street loaded with traditional western clothes, handicrafts, leatherworks, cheap jewelry and toys. Squeezing in through the chaos of vendors screaming out ”bees rupe bees rupe!” (twenty rupees), each of the smallest vibe of the street echoed into trembling beautiful sensations ; the aroma of sweets being fried and garnished with cloves and spices, hissings of masala chai being tossed into tiny madkas (mud cups) ,the jingling of colourful bangles , the whiteness of jasmine garlands ,the charry smoke of the traffic and so it went on. For once, i took a vow never to miss the addictive feel of being lost at an unknown place. We packed our bags and and departed in a crowded train .The poop scenario continued with a lesser intensity as kids were still running to the toilet in the midst of the testosterone loaded compartments . Despite of all the odds, the 13 year old girl still cherishes the memory of her Dilly wala days..
It was a holiday and we were pretty bored with the cycle of routine lectures and mess food. Thus ,a decision flowered in our heads to take a break and go on a trip to explore the vicinity of Pondicherry. We got in a local dusty bus which was an ultimate juxtaposition of light and sound waves. The illumination lights that wound the bus like a saree and the loud songs that bullied our ear drums like goons, made regular conversation a literally impossible task. The bus reached Chidambaram in about 3 hours and we took a local bus to Pichavaram , the second largest mangrove forest of the country after Sunderbans in West Bengal. Food options were limited at the place yet our gurgling tummies heartily accepted the curd and ‘sambar sadams’ (A tamil rice gravy meal) . We took our Row boats at Rs 500 for each boat. The scorching heat and all our fatigue blended into the slightly chilling air of the backwaters. Never in our lives, had we seen a water body as green and fresh as that. Baby turtles and flying fishes greeted our boats and for a moment we all forgot ourselves at this mini zenith of nature. The boatmen took some of us to the preserved shooting spots on paying extra 500 bucks whereas the rest of the gang preferred to chill at the beach. The beach was one of the cleanest we had been to in Tamil Nadu : a serene place that had not been wreathed with plastic or waste. By the time we unleashed the children in us ,squishing wet sand on each other and running around like zoo animals , it was time to go back. We took a boat back while the flying fishes winked us a hearty goodbye.
Shakespeare lovingly addressed sleep as ‘nature’s soft nurse’. Enjoying a period of deep sleep is a blessing for many. It is a general preconceived notion that humans ought to have an eight hour sleep at night. These advocates sauce up their argument with the history of days through which the whole humanity toiled hard and slept as the sun went down.
There are numerous instances in literature that reflects the deviation in sleeping habits which were considered normal back then .For instance, the King’s daughter Canacee in Chaucer’s Canterbury tales is said to have a ‘fryste sleep’ or a first sleep which is proceeded by a second one.The circadian biological clock is a villainous system that is bossed by a teeny group of brain cells which knocks out our peaceful dreams and screams out WAKE UP U LAZIEST PIECE OF SHITTT!! (only after our mamma of course) . If that doesn’t work, the system gradually hypes up the body temperature and oozes out hormones like cortisol. But despite all these scientifically proven blah blahs , about 43 out of 100 of the whole human race prefers to stay up late of which about 13 prefers to stay up whole night and sleep during the day while some are comfortable with intervals of naps. Is this unhealthy?. Are these people going to be executed at the imaginary court of sleep ?The answer is a screeching NO. Humans are proven organic machines which works with an interpolation of instinct and logic. Roger Ekirich, a sleep historian from Virginia had researched sleeping patterns of many generations and inferred that sleeping as the sun went down, waking up at night and going back to sleep in the morning was the most common sleeping pattern. A number of humans are genetically hardwired to stay up late and go into a reboot mode in the morning. This particular sleep pattern of an individual can be predicted by the parent at womb stage. The intellectual and creative periods of a person deviates like waves. For some it reaches its heights between 9:AM to 11:AM whereas for some it is at 12:00 AM to 2:00 AM. Despite of the universally propagated equality , most of the current educational and employment systems are designed for these larks whereas the owls are left out in dozing off and yawning through out the classes. A possible solution is to create an entire parallel system with all the necessities for these late nighters. Night schools, colleges , employment systems, cultural and religious institutions with equal magnitude and the other are provided.
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Writing from a shaky train is indeed hectic. Yet it is said that a dream should be retrieved in 10 seconds before it crawls up to smokey memories. This was my first trip with friends. One of the numerous ones yet to come. Apart from travel philosophy, jotting down places and routes in a legible language seemed common sensical. Thereby I begin. The train took off at half past eight on a chilly night. Beyond giggles of the wierdest butterflies tickling on my gastric tract, there was a hope of bashfully dying from an anaconda in the land of snakes, Agumbe. The train hauled at Manglore by 4:30 AM. On a minivan , we took out to the RK Narayan’s fictious depiction of Malgudi, near Shimoga in Karnataka. Most of the water bodies were oozing out and bridges were shaken and cracked up, limiting the number of accessable routes to a bare minimum. We stopped at Karnataka sunset point which tragically collapsed two hours after we left. The air turned moist and windy as the bus rushed through the pocket road between the lush greens. The last time I felt the gush of misty rain on my cheek was at Wagamon, a few years back. Agumbe had a pretty natural vibe with a number of natural springs and slimy reptiles luring around them. Took a sneak peak the locations depicted in the movie ‘swami and friends’. Walking through the waters of knee depth, somehow superimposed the denser forests of idukki into the scene. We freshened up and proceeded to Sirimani falls. The plunging force and the raging water current discouraged people from taking dips .Yet the vigour of the splash was enough for the onlookers to avail a teeth chattering free shower from nature. We went to Shringeri town , freshened up and visited a temple complex that looked much like Mahabalipuram. The echoing ohms and Stony warmth was quenching enough to relieve all home sickness. A brief exploration for laddoo cravings at night proceeded to chit chats , laughs and sleep. Talking about the food, the sambar in this region is sweet with jaggery and chutneys have a minty tint to them. The next morning we climbed up a small hill called Kundandri by the locals. The fog that blanketed the hill almost blinded our sights. A special memory that lingers with this trip is the misty rain which followed us like a grateful doggy. We proceded on to a Durga temple , trekked on a Gingee model hill. Time lag and a train to catch made us take us the kuthiremugh forest route. We caught the Anthyodaya express and here I am , broke yet happy😊.
Fuck off!!!..screamed the tripped up nerves that wound the brain like umbilical cords. All the seven wild horses of the mind strutted and galloped through out the flashy night. They constantly changed forms and slyly slithered in and out through the brain and skin and heart and blood, precisely ,like hissing pythons with icy scales. At an unpredictable point of the moment, the body travelled across a million time frames. Mesmerised was the mind, with swift passing of each door frame. Each door dawned in a hundred realisations . The mind after an adventure quenched it’s thirst with the flashy lights which flowed in like springs from the great valley after which it was caught between the hurricanes of sexuality and spirituality. With a deep sigh , the mind saw the union of the two mamothic swirls in the wind . The terrible impregnation bore the fruit of religion..Fuck off ! Screamed the tripped up nerves. Like brave warriors ,it fought all meagre insecurities that forged in the darkest shadows over its pristine mind..