A drive till neemrana 1


The first 4.5 months of this year went in coping with the kneecap dislocation and the subsequent MPFL reconstruction surgery I had to get done to fix the ligament that got ruptured. This included intensive physiotherapy for 2 months and even though I am not 100% ok yet, I am at least “kaam chalau” ok. Good enough to go out and be social again. I’ll write more about the MPFL reconstruction journey later. For now I shall talk about another journey – one from Gurgaon to Neemrana, while driving myself (yes, a big deal after surgery) and that too in a brand new car – the new Tata bolt! I got invited by Blogadda to join in on this drive that was happening on 10th May. Even though I was a bit apprehensive about my driving a long distance after surgery as well as climbing stairs – after talking to Harish from Blogadda, I was assured that there were many other drivers and it wasn’t mandatory to drive. It was as per comfort level. In fact there was a participant who didn’t know how to drive, but I digress :).  As for the stairs, well some were to be climbed to get to our destination for the day, but I could skip anything else that seemed physically taxing for my knee for now. So off I set on Sunday morning, reached Galaxy hotel at the pre-decided time and was assigned to team no 1.  We were to drive the petrol version (revotron) of the car first, followed by an exchange with the diesel version at a pit stop.

After an intro round and some appetisers, Mr Sethi  from Tata Motors shared some of the features of the Tata bolt. They also announced a contest – the best picture of the day would win flipkart vouchers. After lunch, we got ready to leave. All the cars had an ice box that was filled with cold water, juices, lassi, lemonade and some assorted snacks. Much needed on the hot searing sunny day that was the 10th of May! They were also equipped with Samsung tabs using the “connectnext” technology, through which we were constantly in touch with “Captain Bolt” – for all practical purposes a mysterious voice that kept tabs on us, our whereabouts and our requirements 🙂 .. In reality a person of the Tata Bolt team who wasn’t a part of the cavalcade & also provided us some media to play during our long drive. All cars were RED in colour except the pilot car. Boy I love that colour! My team mates were Prasad – an angel investor amongst other things and Alok – An SEO specialist. Alok didn’t know how to drive … and then there were two :). Accompanying us was Anuja from the blogadda team. Since we were team no 1, we were the first ones to be flagged off. I decided to drive first for as long as I could drive and then hand over the car to Prasad. We first went to leisure valley grounds, where a track had been set up to test the suspension of the car. Once we were through that, we set out for Neemrana Fort Palace. The “Revotron” version has 3 modes of driving in the city – Sport (power), Eco (Mileage), City (Mix of both). We mostly drove in the city mode. Even on the highway on sports mode, the difference could not be discerned because of constant traffic jams. It felt great going for a long drive after a gap of more than 4 months. I didn’t feel the level of discomfort I had expected due to my knee and drove till the pit stop. Once there, we exchanged our car for the Diesel version and Prasad got behind the wheel. The hi-tech music system and the voice of Captain bolt kept us entertained throughout the drive. Soon we reached Neemrana. The heat was unbearable and I slowly troddled up to Jalgiri Mahal which overlooked the superlicious swimming pool! We had some refreshments and then it was time for a tour. The group went ahead while I decided to skip this part. However, I did venture out on my own and caught a glimpse of the Hawa mahal.

The place was seeped in history, and sounds of birdcalls & their echoes. Parrots and peacocks roamed around unafraid of human contact. It was strange seeing huge trees growing over by the stairs and what not. Small little peepholes in the parapets of the fort had been converted to toilets with a view! Bougainvillea creepers adorned the palace and in some parts they covered whole walls like ivy. There were tiny little manmade ponds all over the property at various heights. And a swimming pool of course. Wonder what it would have been like in ancient times.

The inviting pool on a sweltering day!

The superlicious inviting pool in the sweltering heat! #neemrana #boltdrives @tatabolt @blogadda #cinemagram

A video posted by Twilight Fairy (@twilightfairy) on


Soon the tour ended and the entire gang came back. We all had high tea and watched a folk performance. I was still uploading my instagram images from the day and making Cinemagraphs (Animated GIFs made with short video clips) when the prizes were announced. I shouldn’t have worried cos the only image I had managed to upload by then, won me the best image of the day award! 🙂 The prize was flipkart vouchers worth 4K. But the bigger surprise of the day was yet to come when Tata Motors announced the results of a blogging contest that had already happened a month or so back. And one of the bloggers  – Ragini – won a brand new Tata Bolt! I am sure everyone wanted to be in her place at that moment :).

My winning image!


  Eye of the tiger! @tatabolt @blogadda #boltdrives   A photo posted by Twilight Fairy (@twilightfairy) on

Cinemagraph of the folk performance

Soon it was time to leave and although this was a touch and go trip, it was still worthwhile. I clicked some more images of the fort palace that were appreciated by Neemrana properties as well.

Twilight at the Neemrana fort, clicked by twilight at the Neemrana fort 😉


The magnificent sun set as viewed from #neemrana fort. #boltdrives @tatabolt @blogadda #ipadography #panorama


A photo posted by Twilight Fairy (@twilightfairy) on

On the way back we had the diesel car with us throughout and since I had not driven that variant I decided to drive for as long as was comfortable. The journey back was again full of laughter, jokes, friendly jibes and of course Captain bolt’s announcements. He also conducted a quiz about the features of the car and we all won Bookmyshow vouchers. If only, we had won cars instead ;). Around halfway, I again did an exchange with Prasad and sat in the backseat. The car is comfortable and has enough leg room. We reached Galaxy hotels at 9:30 pm and after the entire gang bade farewell (which almost drowned the sound of a shaadi band) we all headed home with new experiences and friends. It was a Sunday well spent at #Boltdrives with BOLT from Tata Motors and Blogadda especially since there were prizes involved 🙂


London Thumakda


A few months back I was contacted by Kingston university. They wanted to invite me to take a tour of their campus, check out the various courses offered and see what life is like out there. Now, I don’t have any direct connection to universities or the profession of teaching (except for being the daughter of one), but I have been contemplating since quite a few years about doing a course on photography (the art, not the technique) from London or Paris. That would give me a global perspective, get me exposure to many more luminaries in the field as well as allow me to globe-trot more often. On hearing the details of what all Kingston University has to offer to their students, I must say, it took me no time in saying yes to their generous offer!

As some of you on twitter might have guessed by my tweets, I have already reached London and Well, now is the time to strike off London from my bucket list! London and New york are two cities I have always been in love with, without having visiting them!

The plan at Kingston university is quite exciting. I’ll be interacting with faculty, students and departments indulging in Creative writing, Illustration & Animation, Art and Design, MBA, Strategy, Marketing & Innovation, Marketing Communications & Advertising etc. – basically quite a few areas of my interest. I’ll also be interacting with Faculty staff connected with India & some Kingston University Alums from India to hear about their experiences and see the kind of support they get in their respective endeavours. I am however, most excited about yet another interaction, which is a Tour of Forensics House on the campus, including a crime scene. Female Sherlock Holmes, anyone?

The KU interaction is not just all work and no play. There will be a boat ride on the river Thames as well as a fashion show put up by the graduate students.

The planned duration of the official trip is from 2nd June – 5th June. I am also planning to explore London on my own, in the patches of free time I get. I wish I was here longer, because knowing a city needs some living in it. I am also extending my trip beyond the touring of Kingston university and plan to visit places in/around London as well as Scotland, Ireland till 13th June. Those nearby, give a shoutout!

In the meanwhile, KU is planning some overseas interaction for the benefit of prospective students. The list of events in India is here.

The purpose of this post is (like previous similar activities) not just to talk about the university I am visiting, but also to present my perspective of a prospective student, hopeful of learning more about the Art scene in Europe. Needless to say there will be lots of intertwined bits to do with experiencing a new city, a new country, a new culture – one that I am particularly excited about because of our “common” heritage. The hashtag for the event is #KUexperience but I am NOT planning to use it for every single tweet I write while in London. For the record, this is NOT a contest or a paid event. Here’s hoping for clear skies, pristine locales & interesting experiences. I hope you would enjoy “virtual traveling” with me as much as I would on ground. And hopefully, this should get me back on the blogging track as well!


My Jodhpur travel-microlog 3


Recently I went on a trip to Jodhpur. During that time I was using twitter to update whatever came into my mind “on the spot” and also to document my trip for a later revisit. Many people asked me if there’s one place where all my updates, spread over a period of 6 days, can be seen together, so here it is!


Jan 3rd

final packing happening for Jodhpur. train seems to be on time. # 6:37 PM Jan 3rd from Seesmic

Seated in the train. en route to jodhpur. my dad just dropped me, @mojosanjay n his wifey at sarai rohilla station. quaint place. # 10:09 PM Jan 3rd from mobile web

And we’ve embarked on our journey on time! had forgotten Wat its like to peer out of the door of a moving train :p # 10:40 PM Jan 3rd from mobile web

Seems i was right all along! the great indian tweetup shall happen on the train! @shivamvij is in same coach as us! # 12:06 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

Looks like i just shocked @shivamvij outta his wits! by identifying him in the same coach n introducing myself :p # 12:25 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

The ppl in my timeline currently in a train- @mojosanjay @shivamvij @bdutt @s4sukhdeep n of course me # 12:31 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

@shivamvij i was anyway gonna ask u, even if Twitter hadnt existed. btw guy under ur berth – his eyes almost popped out when u squealed :p # 12:35 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

settling down with @ashokbanker’s gods of war. # AM Jan 4th from mobile web

Jan 4th

Our train’s running at least 2hrs late :|. rajasthan is covered with fog # 10:36 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

Forgot to carry extra AAA cells for my mp3 player else u all may have got live commentary on my music like in my bhopal trip :p # 11:39 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

Omg! the train’s so late they’ve started taking orders for lunch! kab padharenge tumro desh? on a good note the sun popped out just now! # 11:55 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

@mojosanjay sounds like brain biryani that u get in chandNi chowk. eww # 12:04 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

Just told @mojosanjay n wifey abt how once @culdivsac almost missed getting onto a train in search of a cola bar. chain pulled.much drama. # 12:12 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

For year 2009: 5 most popular tweeple are @gulpanag @shashitharoor @b50 @twilightfairy @anaggh Check ^AK # 12:43 PM Jan 4th from web Retweeted by you and 4 others

Finally reached.quite sunny n warm here. quaint place devi bhavan. made of sandstone n lotsa bougainvillea. feel sleepy now # 1:58 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

Liking sunny jodhpur. every city i goto i want to own real estate! # 3:07 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

Sitting with owners of the place where we r staying who turn out to b family friends of @mojosanjay’s wife! # 4:01 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

They tell us they own the property where most of dor was shot with @gulpanag it was just before its renovation. will check it out # 4:03 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

@paavani there’s no such thing as free lunch or stay :p btw i uploaded a flickr pic before leaving @mojosanjay # 4:04 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

At nai sarak. not v different from the one in delhi. ear muffs seem to be the rage here! all hawkers wear them too # 5:53 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

And @mojosanjay just got pushed by a calf as he was standing in its way! survival of the fittest. or should i say the horniest :p # 5:58 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

Having a camera is like a magnet for all street kids shouting hello n wanting their pic clicked. if u oblige they ask for money! # 6:18 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

Beautiful twilight shots i got. saw some shops selling funny looking vaseline in green colour! most ppl r interested in getting clicked # 6:52 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

M in august company! thanks 2 all ye followers! RT @90di: 5 most poplr tweeple yr 2009: @gulpanag @shashitharoor @b50 @twilightfairy @anaggh # 7:01 PM Jan 4th from dabr

Now that @iamsrk is here, no chance for us mortals to make it to any popular top lists # :p 7:05 PM Jan 4th from dabr

Can anyone suggest a good restaurant in jodhpur pref rajasthani cuisine. nothing too fancy # 7:53 PM Jan 4th from dabr

Jan 5th

i always wonder about olden times Wen i see heritage. Planning to cover the mehrangarh fort tomorrow. # 12:32 AM Jan 5th from mobile web

The sky is an incredible azure blue in jodhpur. lovely. almost like ladakh # 3:40 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

Spent the day at mehrangarh. now watching durrie making in progress. some local artisans singing their version of Nimbuda. # 3:52 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

@madversity yes i know. @vijaybainsla err no never seen green vaseline ever @pritishnandy delhi in jeans n shirt? 🙂 Wat were u thinking :p # 4:38 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

Looks like ‘top 5 in 2009’ khitaab by @90di has got me many new followers. welcome ppl, hope to keep u interested n make it worth ur time # 4:42 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

Out of the top 5 in 2009 by @90di – m following all & m also being followed by all except @shashitharoor. wonder when he wd if he does :p # 4:59 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

.@ravikapoor one assumes that if @shashitharoor wd follow non-celebs like us it might make him more aware of wat WE want in our govt? # 5:49 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

Caught some sunlight at the golden hour. saw the blue city from the fort. the sounds of the city travel far.almost a person it is like. # 5:54 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

Unfortunate truth- every fort i’ve visited has ppl peeing on the parapets! confronting them makes them turn a deaf ear. disgusting behaviour # 6:00 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

The sun has set. azaan calling out. the whole city’s reverberating with that.twinkling lights r slowly coming on in the blue city of jodhpur # 6:02 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

@flyyoufools wanted to shame them by clicking their pic. but realised its least of their concerns. nothing shames such freaks # 6:06 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

twilight time! took long exposure shots. used my purse as tripod. lovely shades in the sky # 6:33 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

The sandstone path. the swallows chirruping. the wind blowing. the maharanis would have passed all this before making sati marking on walls! # 6:44 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

@ravikapoor m sure all celebs like @shashitharoor get bombarded with info, bt dunno how much of it is relevant.hence “normal” ppl suggestion # 10:49 PM Jan 5th from Seesmic in reply to RaviKapoor

almost every shop in Jodhpur writes “recommended by lonely planet” for itself! along with some french mag names too. smart at marketing # 11:01 PM Jan 5th from Seesmic

Jan 6th

Smelt lot of ittar today at the was opium. smelt like incense sticks. one was called monsoon. did smell a bit like the rain on mud! # 12:26 AM Jan 6th from mobile web

Off to ossiyan for the day. agenda is to see the temples, camel ride, check out fort used for shooting of dor # 10:39 AM Jan 6th from mobile web

to All followers esp new ones – m currently travelling n have limited connectivity via phone. frequent replies not possible.pliss to adjust # 11:26 AM Jan 6th from mobile web

@enbose thanks. did u mean don’t get fogged out? jodhpur is sunny n bright 🙂 # 11:32 AM Jan 6th from mobile web

Sitting in a vehicle without a seat belt on makes me really uncomfortable. sadly the ones in backseats of most cabs r mere showpieces # 11:34 AM Jan 6th from mobile web

What is it about the winters n the warm sun that makes one so sleepy! # 11:57 AM Jan 6th from mobile web

First stop! the haveli ummedgarh where @gulpanag’s dor was shot. girish karnad stayed here in the film. the place is full of pigeons # 12:09 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Tikam chand from the haveli says hi to @gulpanag 🙂 # 12:10 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

A central courtyard around which the main house builds up. a tulsi plant in the designated corner.oh for the want of space in modern houses! # 12:29 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

@aparnaandhare yeah i don’t have a courtyard :p one always wants more n more greenery 🙂 # 1:04 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Out from the different world that was ummedgarh. the silence only broken by pigeons taking flight, sparrows, parrots n bulbuls tweeting. # 1:07 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Just saw some windmills in jodhpur. the driver tells us that they belong to @juniorbachchan n ash! they get carbon credits for it # 1:23 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Saw very few solar panels in rajasthan considering the sun they get. on that note, reached sun temples now # 1:25 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Just had bajra roti with ghee n gud/gul at a local dhaba. # 4:17 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Riding on camel back n tweeting :p the camel standing up was really rotfl thing # 4:46 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Off the camel back now. plan to watch the sunset from the sand dunes. # 5:13 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Done with the sunset. n took some silhouette shots. the sun goes down really fast in the last leg # 6:01 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

One more camel ride done n we r on our way back to jodhpur.the camel owners held my hair in their hands to check if it was real! much fun # 6:29 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

one camels name was maanak. the other was paapu. 6 & 8 yr old respectively. shitting n pissing all the time. :p apart from giving bumpy ride # 6:40 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

@om not really 🙂 @madversity hardly straw like :p @pathfyynder was there today # 8:53 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Looks like bollywood was there in autoexpo today. much like they r now on Twitter. just saw @iamsrk on news thanking us Twitter ppl! # 10:35 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Jan 7th

Delhi u better get the fog outta the way by the time i get back from sunny jodhpur. almost got sunburnt yesterday # 9:22 AM Jan 7th from mobile web

Though i’ve driven in zero visibility fog many times n had lot of fun it can be done without. # 9:26 AM Jan 7th from mobile web

pigs n beautiful peacocks scavenging the same garbage dump together. yeh mera india. # 9:34 AM Jan 7th from mobile web

In jodhpur ppl seem to love driving on the wrong side. yes more than in delhi. auto drivers seem to be on a permanent opium diet. they sway. # 9:36 AM Jan 7th from mobile web

At bal samand lake palace. beautiful place. bt surprisingly not a single soul cd b spotted to direct us around.wandered around huge estate # 2:02 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

Saw a colony of bats on a banyan tree. for the 1st time in my life i found them ‘cute’.they wrapped their huge wings like blankets arnd self # 2:06 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

seen mehrangarh,nai sarak,osian village,mandore garden,balsamand palace in jodhpur.Wat else is worth? ummed bhavan has 3500 cover charge # 4:09 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

@pritishnandy quite nice weather here. no fog. comfy warm sun. nights r chilly. a nice azure blue sky to boot. # 5:31 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

@pritishnandy @hiway i know ppl who r scared of anything that moves 🙂 # 5:34 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

so we weren’t even allowed near ummed bhavan cos museum closes at 5.main hotel has cover charges of 3500 per person just to enter! no thanks # 5:39 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

@pritishnandy it is quite nice indeed 🙂 i like quiet places n the place where we r is one such place. balsamand lake palace is another # 5:49 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

@austereseeker none at all. din let us get past the gate! not even to exterior. # 5:51 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

@lakshmi_h was planning to add hashtag but it takes up precious real estate in tweets. m likely to put all related tweets manually in a post # 5:54 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

Now sitting by the pool. the sun’s gone down. sounds of an egret like bird r filling the area. @ashokbanker’s gods of war for company # 6:09 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

@anaggh my pic uploading is quite bad :|.. will try to make one album or a travelogue or something.. may write for a paper too # 6:52 PM Jan 7th from Seesmic in reply to anaggh

me there too RT @mojosanjay: sitting by the blue pool at the hotel, in lush green, here’s a pic of what i see # 7:00 PM Jan 7th from Seesmic

@Twindhu no its the pool at devi bhawan, where we r staying @mojosanjay # 7:52 PM Jan 7th from Seesmic in reply to Twindhu

@pritishnandy “myinnisfree” is a place? or u have ur own place in every city? 🙂 # 8:07 PM Jan 7th from Seesmic in reply to PritishNandy

Plan to goto bishnoi village tomorrow. hope to spot a blackbuck , a chinkara or two. will shoot but not like salman khan # 11:07 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

Jan 8th

On our way to bishnoi village. in an open jeep! covered up in shawls. comfy. but can’t imagine a stunt like this in delhi at all # 8:37 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

Salman blackbuck shooting seems to be the high point in the history of this village. all references start with that. sad in a way # 8:40 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

Baba ramdev seems to be quite popular here in jodhpur. his face seems to have launched a million health centres. # 8:43 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

Saw a potter at work. not the harry kinds. i tried my hand at the wheel too! got the cliched potter wheel shots too # 10:09 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

@cgawker thank u sire. to Wat do i owe this pleasure? # 10:13 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

Saw the opium making ‘ceremony’. tasted a few drops. extremely bitter. calm n serene mud houses. fat & unafraid sparrows pecking on millet. # 11:12 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

@flyyoufools yeah? i said ‘fly you fools’ to those fat sparrows. they din even bother. kept munching the millet :p # 11:22 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

now at a weavers place. showing us how he weaves durries. m being the good samaritan by translating for some foreigners n the weaver 🙂 # 11:30 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

The wildlife part of our trip was an anticlimax. got to see only deer n neelgai. no chinkara no blackbuck. the buck’s stopped here. # 12:28 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Done some shopping. enjoying the sun before dreaded dhundh in delhi. photography in old city now. have had my fill of kids asking for money # 4:37 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

The shopkeepers here r v smart. keeping in mind the clientele they put up toilet paper rolls at the entrance of the nimbu mirchi. # 6:06 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Ok jodhpur i m NOT a foreigner dammit.its getting to the point of harassing the way everyone comes n says hello wats ur name n asks for foto # 8:09 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Our safar back to delhi has just started becoming suffer. seems train is 2hrs late from jodhpur.dunno how much it would be further # 8:14 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Ok jodhpur i m NOT a foreigner dammit.its getting to the point of harassing the way everyone comes n says hello wats ur name n asks for foto # 8:09 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

@zigzackly actually they see the camera n want their foto only, not mine. but its quite harassing – the zoo display animal feeling # 8:17 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

@cgawker ah so its all good then :p. M back to city life by tomorrow # 8:21 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Thank u all for the follow fridays. finally i realise its a friday. regular programming to continue from next week # 10:02 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Sitting in the jhoola opposite the pond with the koi fish. at this time i should’ve been in my train instead. its so damn late. groan # 10:19 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Finally seated in the train. still a lot of time to departure. this trip would have been best as a road trip in a car # 12:35 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

Goodbye blue skies of jodhpur. goodbye starry nights. hello white wall of fog aka delhi # 12:47 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

The indian railway coach we r in, is one of the worst i’ve seen in a long time. filthy & modified in a way that the end seats r compromised # 1:04 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

All those asking, its AC2 not even 3rd AC. now requested TT & exchanged the berths with better ones # 1:49 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

Jan 9th

areas near alwar seem sunny in parts. hope delhi is too. # 11:03 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

The jodhpur travel microlog has come to an end. thanks to those who kept writing in betwn. removed the illusions of it being a monologue # 11:06 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

@nithinkd that’s good news. sara credit khud hee? :p i got the warm sunshine from jodhpur too 🙂 # 11:08 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

Khatara AC2 coach that we r in doesn’t even have plug points for charging! no blue night light either. total fail! # 11:18 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

Reached ncr now. hope to reach our station soon. # 1:18 PM Jan 9th from mobile web

back to home sweet home after the jodhpur trip and finally online.. what did I miss in the past week ppl? # 7:32 PM Jan 9th from Seesmic


Free as a bird


This independence day is not going to be like most independence days I have had. I am not going to be lined up in school prayer, later indulging in mass throwing of the distributed, hardened ladoos on the blackboard, which are so hard that they stick to it, instead of crumbling. This year, I am not going to be dressed in Khaadi, roaming around the empty Lutyen’s Delhi, looking for good photo ops. This year, (though I miss that place), I am not celebrating Independence day at the Indian embassy of a foreign land, where I try to make some sense of the soft, lustrous, red petals of rose floating around the tricolour. This year, I shall just relax. May be entertain a guest or two. May be clink a glass or two. May be catch up on a movie. May be shop for myself. May be, just be. Free as a bird.

Hope we all have freedom. From our own thoughts which bind us down in so many ways.

Free as a bird,
it’s the next best thing to be.
Free as a bird.
– Beatles (Free as a bird)


By the moon and the stars and the sky


The prominently evident flavour last weekend can be described in one word – spontaneous. After seeing a rather pathetic movie which finished at 1:15am and ended up giving me a headache instead of laughs, it was time to freshen up a little. I digress, but here’s a one word review of Malamaal weekly – “bakwaas”. This important event of “brevity in its real element” having been put aside, I shall now proceed to describe the wonderful spontaneity that ensued.
1. I wanted to see the sunrise in the hills since long now.
2. I have been to and lived in, various Jhumri tallaya corners of our country but never Rajasthan/Jaipur.
3. If I am awake that late, there’s no way I can get up by the time sunrise happens. Except if I never sleep to begin with.

Put 1, 2 and 3 together and you know what followed. After a quick “camera-jacket-sneakers-cassettes-water bottle” pickup, we were on the Jaipur highway by 2am. Well, practically I am on it every single day at least twice, but this time the destination was not yonders.

So off it was, with some breathtaking Kandisa in the middle of the night. Eerie moonlightI have said it earlier and I say it again. ‘Kaun chaday roz yeh sooraj, pawan kaun phoonke’ echoes just the sentiment I had at that time. The mesmerising moon followed us everywhere. It was almost full and there were no clouds. Everything was bathed in the full moon light. After the first toll check, small little hills began dotting the landscape. In the milky whiteness of the moonlight, all of them seemed even more pristine and untouched. Venus, shining brightSome attempts at taking the moon’s pictures got thwarted because of the sheer luminosity of it. I had been much more successful earlier the previous weekend while attending an Indian classical music concert in Nehru park, when the moon had bashfully peeped out from under the clouds. Kandisa soon gave way to Roxette. The darkness soon gave way to an eerie blue sky. At 4:30 am we stopped and had some adrak chai from a dhaba. All this, while Venus was shining brightly in the night sky. It’s a strange feeling, this exploring in the darkness business, while the world sleeps. It unites one with nature, just a little bit more, than what one would be in the daytime. It all seems to be one’s private haven, one’s private adventure, one’s private magic show. In the morning it would be there, but it would be for everyone. That is magical yes, but special – no.

Soon the milky whiteness of the night began giving way to orange hues in the eastern corners of the sky. The western corners were however unconcerned with whatever was happening on the opposite end and retained the same look. Lots of kilometers and trees went past. Finally we stopped again, just as the sky was beginning to glow a ripe golden. I tried a panoramic shot which I later stitched together. The most fabulous golden sunrise wasThe panoramic sunrise just *about* to take place along with a big moon against a blue sky, just about to vanish away like the cheshire cat’s smile. The ripple of clouds spread above the sun like a natural quilt, only enhanced the colours more. While I took a series of shots to create a panned panoramic shot, I could see the sunrise taking place in a different frame (than my camera’s) and the sun actually coming out from behind the hills as if golden butter floating its way to the top in a pan. The opposite end of the sky was of course still drowsy and birds lazily flew along, carrying wisps of brightness with them. The fabulous sunriseWith the glorious sunrise witnessed, we inched our way towards Jaipur.

On the outskirts of Jaipur is Amer fort, built atop a hill. Since we didn’t have much time to spare, we knew this would be the only “Jaipur” we would be able to see. So off we went spiralling up the hill with “Kuschel Rock” giving us company Shall we dance?over music. Never before had I realised that hills are so close to Delhi! This fact itself quite pleased me. The place was absolutely scenic and full of greenery as well as lots and lots and lots of peacocks. There were entire peacock families moving about calling out to each other. It reminded me of my childhood when my sister and I also used to go “Keyooon” along with the peacocks in ChandiMandir and they would reply back with equal enthusiasm. We spotted a lot of peacocks Stretching by the moon!dancing too. Soon we came to a clearing from where the splendid view of the valley below was visible. Wisps of cloud hung in the air over the town and over the palace in the middle of a lake. Typical Rajasthani stuff. We reached the gates of the Amer fort soon but there was nobody to greet us except the longtailed long..err.. langoors. They made quite a picture, perched on a tree against the fast vanishing moon. The fort would have opened at 9 am and we were already there before 7am. But with enough of happiness and smugness collected for one day, we set back towards Delhi.

I drove on the way back, with speeds between 120-140kmph. Glisten carefullyMore smugness followed. I promptly earned myself some ma-behen gaalis like “Michael Schumacher kee maa” and “Narain Karthikeyan kee behen”. But in the end, nobody can ignore true excellence and I got a compliment on my excellent driving skills when we landed in Gurgaon by 11:30 am and promptly went to 32nd milestone for a brunch. Surprisingly I wasn’t drowsy even after a night out and eventually slept after 36 hours. All in all, a great funfilled weekend which I shall always cherish for all times to come. But this wouldn’t have been the same without my friend who actually was spontaneous enough to get up and go all the way to Jaipur in the middle of the night, who was patient enough to stop and watch each time I felt the urge to click pictures, who let me drive his car, and who also listened to entirely my choice of music. For all this praise that I am showering on you, I am sure next time you would let me visit Chowki dhani and let me buy some nice mojris too :p.