Traveller

Book, Music and Journey

It is always an interesting experience to travel in a train. The thought of it is fascinating. You are trapped in the iron box with a large glass window separating the natural from the artificial.
There is light music in ears – I wonder why I don’t like to hear rock or an upbeat number while travelling. It is always slow & soothing. May be it is the overall lazy setting. Eyes oscillate between the passing scenery and a book in the lap.
There is a blanket over the legs as you see half clad villagers sweating it out in their fields (or may be calling it ‘their’ field is wrong). And the smells…Ah…the smells, specially after the lunch or dinners. At that time you wish you were in a non-AC compartment where you can just turn your face towards the window. But it is also a plac where you see the similarities of the nation. A family always has food along – unless you are travelling in a Rajdhani. Punjabis prefer dry aaloo sabji along with plain paranthas and pickle. My mother used to pack the same thing and I have had this menu in trains, buses and airports. And interestingly seen many people have the exact same thing in all these places. So I am used to the before and after smells – don’t know how many people suffered at my hands.
At night, it is pitch dark outside but still you keep looking. Such darkness, a rare sight in cities, seems fascinating. Sometimes there is a solitary light standing out somewhere far and its tough not to think about it. Is it a solitary light in perhaps a whole village or a solitary home in the wanderness. May be its none of it. Who knows?
In a train, places like these become ephemeral and so do the thoughts. We call ourselves travellers. But may be the real traveller is one who finds the story behind that solitary light, places are not ephmeral and the associated thoughts are documented.

India Gate

In a cage

Last time(it was also the first time) I visited India gate, it was a bright sunny day. It had rained heavily in the morning and the air was clear so that you could see far away at the magnificent north and south blocks down the beautiful Rajpath.
The Amar Jyoti and the inverted gun with the helmet on top was like a magnet to which the handful of eyes and cameras seemed attracted to. I left Delhi with a beautiful picture of India Gate in mind.
But then I was told that its beauty multiplies at night with all the brightly lit nights and all. So recently a trip was taken to see the memorial glitter at night. First glance from a distance was disappointing. The gate was caged in iron rods – renovation for Common wealth games. Also it was disappointing to see the memorial for 90,000 soldiers as a more of a picnic spot, with typical  irritants perfectly in place – the usual wrappers of chips, plastic bottles etc. The most irritating of the lot was the screaming ice cream walas, the channe walas and the baloonwalas. The noise from these vendors could have paled the sounds of gun shots in any war. The Amar Jyoti was just something irrelevant, unnoticed in the background, the gun and the helmet invisible.
And then somehow you zone out of all the noise, sit and calmly absorb the magnificence of the structure only to find a police constable shooing you away as its 9.30 PM already. Security  issues obviously. Don’t know why these arise in the night only. How is the place any safer with hundreds of people there throughout the day and not at night? Apart from shooing people away, can the police start fining people literring around – may be in a small area just around the India Gate? Can hawkers be banned in the immediate vicinity? These were some of the many random questions the mind was asking as a disappointed me walked away.
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