Homeward Bound

Ain’t I lucky ? Am going home tomorrow… for a complete week. Its been more than a year since I visited my hometown.. Lucknow. And now, as I contemplate the visit, I realise how much I have missed it.

Guess everyone feels the same way about their hometowns… the streets more familiar than the one you live at today, the food tasting somewhat a bit better than what you usually have, and yeah, the slumber that little bit extra deep late into the morning.

Its a surreal feeling to sleep in the room that used to be mine. The vestiges of my childhood still adorn the walls… framed posters of some European footballers, my badminton racquet, the study table where I laboured for ages over the Unitary method. Its almost like stepping back in time… as the cliche’ goes.

Its been six years since I left my home.. first for studies and now the job, but every trip back home drenches you with memories. The last time I left my home.. I had still been the typical student. A backpack on my back and little cash in my pocket…and yes, all the bloody time in the world. Now, it will be a bit different. Cannot wait to take my old friends out on a treat.. for the first time on MY money… or make an offering at that dear old temple beside the river Gomti…

Guess nostalgia is a pleasure best enjoyed with someone who shares those memories… else it becomes a ramble…

Comments from the past:
mls
23 Mar 2005, 11:52am

Home is where many restless hearts find peace! Funnily its the beginning and also the end of a journey.

— A dialogue in some movie …just remembered it.

Nice post and nicer blog ๐Ÿ™‚

Ashish
23 Mar 2005, 1:43pm

Hmm; so does it mean that quest for peace ends where it actually began?
Anyway, thanks for the compliment ! Really means a lot…

syko_ceramic
23 Mar 2005, 10:35pm

interesting!

a symbi guy too, out here on the blogs.
lemme say wat evry1 else is sayin…wonder how i missed this one :p

duly bookmarked.

peace.
syko.

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Au Revoir Hyderabad

I am leaving Hyderabad.

Before we get married, both my fianc้ฅ and me are taking transfers to Pune? the only place where our respective companies intersect. To be honest, it hurts. For the last eleven months I had been, well almost, a Hyderabadi.

Hyderabad? is like an old shoe? it is comfortable, familiar, fits you just right and you really do not want to ever get rid of it?.

What a place, what a darn good city?. The food, the people, the huge Chiranjeevi posters, the Irani Chai, the Osmani Biscuits, The chicken biryani, the haleem at Ramadan, The Golkonda sound and light show, the recitals at Taramati Baradari, the dosa seller on a bicycle at the tank bund, the Birla temple?.. the Hussain Sagar and an evening just sitting at Eat-Street.. overlooking the water?.

The hours of browsing at Walden?s, the Book Market at Abids on Sunny Sunday Afternoons?. The Lion King on Imax?. The Guitar Shops on SD Road? the rocky terrain at Kondapur, the Marble figurines at the Birla Temple? that crowd of people, talking into cell phones?. Marveling at a clock made centuries ago at the Salarjung.

The Jooti shops at Charminar? displaying rows and rows of colorful shoes? the air permeated with the small of shoe-wax?

The pink chunks of watermelon, sitting on translucent white slabs of ice? the Golden borders of Silk Sarees? housed in the showrooms the size of aircraft hangars,?..chrome yellow autos with green seats and blue ribbons?.

The evening when me and her were caught unawares by a shower of rain beside the Hussain Sagar? or the day when we had that fabulous party at Alankrita Resort.

The night when a very drunk me sang ?When you say nothing at all? at the TDS Karaoke? my last landlord who offered me a plate of kebabs on Eid?

My first job and hell?. My first salary?. …

The day I discovered the Price of a diamond ring? and still convinced myself to buy it !

The day my father and me discovered that dingy little kebab shop at Charminar? and proceeded to make the most of it.

Memories, memories and yet, some more…

My connecting with Hyderabad is not yet over? the division I work for in my company is headquartered in this city? however, come next week, I will no longer have a correspondence address here.

?Random Ramblings? will continue, just that the rambler is moving on?.

Comments from the past:

drp
20 Apr 2005, 7:30pm

all ze very best in this leg of your life’s journey..:) hope you have just as much of everything nice as you’ve had so far…:)

have fun mayte..keep rambling..:D

once a hydi, always a hydi..:D

Payne

A River Runs through it…

It?s a beautiful day today at Hyderabad? the clouds, the breeze.. sort of hinting at an impending monsoon. The weather makes me so reminiscent of Kumaun.

I did my engineering from a college situated in a Himalayan Valley in Uttaranchal.

Heard of names like Nainital, Almora, Ranikhet? ? well Dwarahat lies in District Almora?. and to describe its location? the hill station of Ranikhet adorns the top of the mountains.. Dwarahat lies in the valley beneath.

I arrived at the engineering college ( A Government College? then a part of Uttar Pradesh), a bit sad at taking admission in one of the lesser known institutes of the state, quite scared of being ragged to death by my seniors and somewhat sentimental at the thought of being away from home for the first time in my life.

The first glimpse of the place was heartening enough?. A sprawling campus, so green that it seemed unreal. Pine trees, a winding road, terraced fields, a small temple, the ubiquitous Kumauni women, the Silver glinting as they worked the fields? and to top it all, a river ran through it. Well not exactly a river, but a small stream.

The next few months were filled with?me being ragged, us freshers sitting together in rooms waiting for the seniors to some on their midnight calls, mass exodus for our homes and eventually the Freshers Night. Five months into the college, finally the ragging came to an end.

The most enduring memory about my college for me was that no two sunsets were ever alike? something was always different? the colors, the sky ? something changed every time.

Anyway, I think I am rambling again?

This post is really meant to be , about the Rains in the hills? and trust me.. it rained a lot over there. There was no specific season for a rain drenched afternoon in Dwarahat? a perfectly sunny day could have turned into a wet and bitterly cold afternoon before you knew it.

It would rain in torrents, but the water would always drain away down the valley, making our small stream look almost, like a river for some time.

The surrounding mountains touched higher ground than the clouds themselves?. Sometimes you could see the cloud bank forming against a hill side.

We used to walk in the rains .. literally. Not caring about how cold it was, and that we really did not have another pair of jeans for the classes tomorrow. We walked along the college roads? and being a small guy, I had more than my share of being dunked in ditches full of rain water.

Almost every walk concluded at Negi Ji?s dhaba at the college gate? Ginger Tea, Hot Chicken on fluffy rice, or the local speciality ?Bhutua? ( Chicken mince spiced like there is no tomorrow !!)? and there we sat? for hours on end. Sometimes the silences interspersed with a Jalebi or two.. Sometimes embroiled in a never ending game of carom?

The days it rained, the nights were so cold that a window left open was perceived as the most heinous crime that could have been committed by a room mate. Room heaters, the most essential article in our possession, doubled as the sole source of heat, and also, the only way we had hot milk, or steaming Maggi at night. Nestled in blankets, attempts to study had always been futile, our eyes drooping before we knew.

As I sit today, I my own fabric covered cubicle, I wonder if its raining today in Dwarahat.

Yes, today morning?. The Hyderabadi weather took me back to that valley in the Kumaun hills.

Comments from the past:

Jaan
15 Apr 2005, 4:00am

How wonderful to discover your blog ~ I found myself going back and reading each and everyone of your earlier posts! WOW. Thanks for making my day ๐Ÿ˜€ Btw, my cousin married a Tamil Iyengar Brahmin guy and they are doing fine. Hope you like sambar ๐Ÿ™‚

Ashish
15 Apr 2005, 8:48am

Hey Thanks… and as far as Sambar is concerned, I believe its an acquired taste… though i have not really been able to appreciate it even after being in Southern India for almost a year now !!!

Radhika
16 Apr 2005, 9:55pm

I love the way you write…really.I am right there with you, going thru ur experiences, when i read your piece. And am not saying this because i love you. Is it possible to be jealous & proud at the same time…? ๐Ÿ™‚

Ashish
17 Apr 2005, 4:32pm

THAT fellow bloggers, was Radhika making her debut on my blog… anyway, she is here to stay… in more ways than one.

Jaan
18 Apr 2005, 10:17pm

How cuuuuuuute! You both are just awwwwwwwwww! Welcome to FHBlogs.

The Beach

Slats of sunlight, swaying as the palm fronds they filtered through, creating a dream-like quality in a very real world. Juhu was crowded even at seven in the morning?. with the all the regular suspects occupying their regular places??.

The mandatory tourist family frolicking in the toxic sea waters, while the regular Mumbaikars gazed sagely from their perches well away from the waves, the beggars harassing the Firang couple with expensive cameras? the enterprising chai-wallas with their makeshift kiosks, the health-freaks furiously pacing the length of the beach, having just alighted from their chauffeur driven cars, impatient to finish of their mandatory stretch and zoom off again in the Mumbai traffic?.

We took off our shoes and walked in the sand? and joined the legions of a million others who believe they invented companionship. The waves lapped at our feet, and for some moments we refuse to imagine that they carried anything other than sea-water!!

It felt good though, the breeze from the Arabian Sea offsets the damp humidity Mumbai builds around you. The wet sand feels cool as you trudge your way through?. And a cup of milky sweet tea once you get tired of walking, heavenly.

Early in the morning, Mumbai, with all its maze of local trains and swarms of people? seems to be so far removed from that glistening beach. We left a bit early, before the Juhu Beach market could rouse itself from its slumber and the cries of the Pav-bhaji vendors shattered the morning peace?.. Carrying with us, the memory of a solitary moment stolen from a crowded metropolis…

For Her

Its her birthday tomorrow. My best friend, and also the one I am about to marry this June. I have known her for three years now. Its been an interesting phase in my life. My first year of MBA, the monsoons had been in full swing, drenching the landscape with wet greenery. We had a busy schedule at college? but whenever things got too much for me to handle, or when I simply wanted to be alone? I used to go out on long, long walks.

On one such walk, as aimless as it had been purposeful; I found her. Not that we had not met before, we had? but we never really progressed beyond the ?Folks in the same class? kind of nodding of heads.

That rain swept evening; we decided to walk together, for just a while mind you. I was supposed to be a taciturn guy, I suppose in some ways I still am, but that evening I found myself telling her all.

It was not ?Love at first sight? .. no, not at all. More so, because I had been involved with someone else then?. And she was too concerned about her career to even think of an idiot like me.

But we did find a lot of common interest. Fans of P.G. Wodehouse, both of us and Oh! So totally. Come to think of it, a Comic writer probably played a major part in bringing me and her closer. Reading is a great hobby they say?

So it went on?. Two years of college, lectures, assignments etc etc? then one fine day, I found myself a part of my college team participating in a management festival, she too was there. I been a last minute entry for Western Solo? she spent the entire afternoon selecting a song for me and hearing me practice. I sang, ?I Can Go the Distance? by Michael Bolton. Won the first prize, and as she tells me.. maybe moved her a bit as well. Thanks ! Mr Bolton.

Then came the most anticipated and dreaded phase of an MBA grad?. Placements !! I did not make it to the first company I was interviewed for? trust me guys I was shattered? I had always believed that no company can ever reject me? well the first one did. She had been around?. Worried about her own placements yet found time to reassure me.

Then I got placed.. in one of the finer companies? She? Well she never even applied to 99 % of the companies. She wanted only.. Advertising/Brand/Product Management? I was skeptical, openly so. Anyway, since I was placed, I was free to go home.

It was then I realized, that I was missing her, and then it struck me, through a haze of drunken stupor on 31st December 2003, I was madly in love with her? She complains about my drinking, but I guess I did one sensible thing when drunk!!

So I think for a few days, and realize that I was sincere enough. So I meet her, take her for a walk (again) and tell her that I miss her in a way I never realized I could? The world ?Love? was never mentioned anywhere.

She lapsed into one of her deep silences and two days later, her smiling voice on the phone confirmed what I already believed in.

Then she got placed? and the lady proved me wrong. She is now a Product Manager, and Boy ! Am I proud of her !

Last year, her birthday found me broke as the Berlin Wall, hope I do better this year. Am off to Bombay tonight to be with her tomorrow, trust me…. Sometimes? life is beautiful

Comments from the past:

Kishore
8 Apr 2005, 4:04pm

Hi Ashish,

Call us now? 55665175.

chotacyrus
8 Apr 2005, 6:12pm

Awesome post dude..probably one the best I have ever read.

maverick
9 Apr 2005, 2:51am

Great Post !

hs
10 Apr 2005, 8:59pm

awwww …
awesome!!
so so awesome!!!

Ashish
11 Apr 2005, 1:11pm

Hey guys, thanks a lot !

Me
12 Apr 2005, 12:02am

awww
That post does make life seem beautiful.
and Good luck!!
A girlfriend whos also your best friend ,,,what more could u ask for…

Coretta
5 Apr 2006, 1:16am

Most beautiful thing i have read in a long time.People around me are asking why are there tears in my eyes.your writings Ashish exudes so much humanity and sensitivity–it is beautiful

The Trip

We studied in an old old school in Lucknow, so old that the scratches on the wooden desktops were probably made by our grandfathers in knickerbockers. We had been a group of around 90 boys? divided neatly into three sections ( A, B & C ) and five houses ( No I will not name them)? when were ushered amidst tears and farewells to our first day at school.

Over the years to come, several left, many more joined us? but there was our group of around 30 odd boys.. who never really left Colvin ( That?s the name of the school). And, we 30 really took pride in being the ?Originals?.. so much so that anyone who had ever seen the insides of any other school? was deemed a little less ?Colvinian?.. Guess we must have been one the stupidest bunch of snobs around.

Anyway, so most of us classmates, not all of us friends obviously managed to finish off our twelve years of schooling and pushed off to wherever our destinies took us.

Its been 8 years since I passed out. I had gone home for Holi this month, after years I was there in the same colony where I grew up. Little did I know, that I was not the only one.

Twenty three, yes, that was the number of my class mates who met up at Lucknow this Holi. It was unbelievable, improbable, unplanned and simply wonderful.

For a day we were all back in school, arguing over long lost cricket matches and long forgotten girlfriends. A guy who I shared my lunchbox with now runs a huge textile business, a couple of them were completing their MDs, most like me, were already entrenched in the 24×7 schedule. A guy who is now a Captain in the army, turned out to be posted in Hyderabad for more than a year?. We had never been really thick in school, but have met almost every evening since we have returned from Lucknow.

It is almost magical, the way some feelings remain the same. It?s a bit of a shock when you realize that the guy you threw spitballs at is now a grown up man? but then?. So am I ?.

Comments from the past:
chotacyrus
5 Apr 2005, 10:00pm

Just as I was thinking’Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be’,I stumble upon your post and trust me,it really made me nostalgic.:D good post m8.