Sunday, November 28, 2010


Amet (5 days over): After 5 days of neck-high ‘spirituality’, where I realized that the main ingredient of Jainism is ‘inevitability’ similar to the concept of ‘hitsuzen’ in xxxHolic(!), we left for our hometown,

Shri Dungargarh (7-days stay): It was hot here. My definition of hot is that temperature where spontaneous sweating occurs!

CAH (Charbhuja Road, Railway Station for Amet) to Shri Dungargarh

A simple question: When does a car cruising at 120 Km/hr starts moving at a snail’s pace of 20 Km/hr? A complicated answer: When you switch from a national highway at Bidasar to a state highway connecting Bidasar to SDGH. Now, when I say state highway, I might have given you a image of a road with ‘frequent’ potholes but no, the reality was that there was no road there, just loose gravel! The driver was really pissed at my father’s choice of the route but my father’s (valid) excuse was that it was OK just 6 months ago! Open-mouthed smile It is also worth-mentioning that Nokia / Ovi Maps do a good job at (re-)calculating highway routes (while offline) in India. Had a nice time playing around with its navigational features. Well, after taking at least an hour more than necessary, we finally reached our hometown. I met a lot of relatives here after a span of at least 3 years. The stay here was ‘interrupted’ by two one-day trips to

Lunkaransar & Sardarshahar (1-day each): These were also  trips ‘to get blessed’ but on the latter one, someone stole my sandals so it was more of a ‘cursed’ trip! Smile

SDGH to Lunkaransar(L) & Sardarshahar(R)

When we got down from the bus at SDGH, I was wearing my father’s sandals and he was walking barefoot. Our house was 5 minutes walk from the spot we de-boarded the bus. Two minutes later, someone (from behind us) shot a wisecrack at him (paraphrased): “So you are also training to be a Sadhu?” The general reference is to sadhu’s barefoot walking and the specific reference (highlighted by the use of ‘also’) is to the fact that my mother’s only nephew is also going to become one next year! My father shot back almost instantly (in Marwari, as was the original question), “के Ke कराँ karaan, कोई koi भावना bhaawana भायाँ bhaayaan बिना bina ही hi बैरा baira ली li!” This is hilarious in a Sketchbook-ish way, let me explain why. The humour comes from the facts that a explicit reference to the sandals was never made and his reply (which basically means, ‘someone stole them!’) is brimming with sadhu references! ‘भावना भाना’ is a verb meaning to inform the sadhus what one is going to offer them and ‘बैरा लेना’ refers to the physical act of accepting by the sadhus. So literally, the reply translates to, “…, someone accepted without us offering!” Open-mouthed smile (I never quite ‘believed’ my mother telling me once in a while that my father is a good writer but after this short exchange, that has changed to: I quite ‘believe’ her now!) Anyway, after two more days, we left for

Bikaner (in transit): Had never seen ‘so many’ foreigners / tourists in this part of India(?).

SDGH to Bikaner

New Delhi (in transit:) Once more but not the last yet! This time also (like last year), I was summoned by the Customs Office but the one interviewing me was confused when I said I was going to

Kathmandu (2-days stay): This was more of a transit than a stay because we were not done with visiting India yet! So after two days, we left for

BKN to DEL to Kathmandu

Biratnagar (in transit): ‘Fearing’ the land customs officers, I did not take my laptop with me on this trip to

KTM to Biratnagar

Forbesganj (4-days stay): Amazingly, no one bothered us on both sides of the border and the trip!

BIR to Forbesganj

This was also a ‘spiritual’ trip and by the end of it, I was starting to get bored. But there were a few distractions that helped me to carry on like meeting a few relatives that I’d never met before (or had met ages ago) but had only heard of. Also, there was a debate (topic is irrelevant) organized by the ‘जैन Jain महिला Mahila मण्डल Mandal (Jain Women Council?)’ where there were quite a few ‘good’ participants. But listening to them throwing in ‘common’ English words in a ‘formal’ Hindi event, irritated and embarrassed me so much (was referring to their oratory skills earlier, not their vocabulary!) that I came to a ‘profound’ conclusion: “Uttering English words every now and then in a formal Hindi event, doesn’t show you know English; it shows you do not know Hindi!” Apparently, my mother disagrees… We started our journey back with a resounding flat tyre (once-in-a-lifetime event!) to

Biratnagar (1-night stay!): We were back in Biratnagar at my (eldest) uncle’s house and we were joined by ‘them’. They will be introduced in the next (and last) part of this series! For now, check out all the photos (or a carefully sampled set) of my India Tour 2010.

To be continued…

Saturday, November 27, 2010

TO and FRO… (I)

Stony Brook (3rd Oct): This is going to be more or less a geography lesson but I’ll throw in some interesting stuff as we move along!

Abu Dhabi (in transit): The airport’s terminal 3 has 60-something PC terminals with free internet access! Smile

SB to Abu Dhabi

New Delhi (in transit): There’s a free shuttle service from international (T3) to domestic terminals and vice versa! Smile

AUH to New Delhi

Nagpur (4-days stay): Stayed with my Didi; ate lots of sweets every single day; bought some clothes; slept more than necessary; enjoyed the time but did not take any photos! Sad smile

DEL to Nagpur

Back to New Delhi: Rendezvous with my parents (who arrived from Kathmandu) at the domestic terminal to go to

Bhilwara (in transit): I did not know that we were now in Rajasthan! Surprised smile

NAG to DEL to Bhilwara

Amet (5-days stay): Surprisingly, it was not that hot even when the temperatures were supposed to be between 30-35°C! Smile

BHL to Amet

As an appetizer to what happened here and what will happen next, check these out.

To be continued…

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Happy Diwali / Deepawali

It has been 8 years since I’ve been at home for Diwali – the festival of Sweets & Fireworks (for me at least, others usually say festival of lights & sounds!).


Now, people may ask: “So how was this year’s Diwali like?” and I’ve one word for them: ‘Lackluster’! This word should rightly convey the message that I did not get to light any fireworks! They are quite rightly ‘banned’ in Nepal but this year (compared to 8 years ago) was ridiculous. I could only rarely hear fireworks exploding around me after sunset. Even at night, when all the rites / rituals / prayers (associated with the goddess of wealth – Lakshmi) were done with (around 8PM), I could hear only the sounds of a few ‘harmless’ crackers going off here and there and could see the lights of a few ‘flower pots’ blooming once in a while from my house’s roof. I did not see any aerial displays of fireworks during my stay on the roof for about half an hour. I really wanted to test out the ‘Fireworks’ mode of the cameraSad smile! Lastly, when I tried to sleep (after 10PM), I could actually sleep without the ‘sounds’ of Diwali’10 ‘piercing’ my ears!


Due to such a shortage of real fireworks, I had to make myself content with burning Camphor on a betel leaf in the ‘Aarti Plate’ shown in the picture above and the virtual fireworks of

Sketchbook ~Full Color’s~ Ep-03