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On arrivals.

Posted by on Jun 20, 2009 in Personal | 3 comments

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There and back again – 1

Posted by on May 31, 2007 in Personal | 2 comments

(This post is about the 1st part of this journey. You can read all parts here: 1, 2,3, 4.)
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On crashing a motorbike

Posted by on Feb 23, 2007 in Personal | 2 comments

…. and where there’s a highway, what’s a little bloodshed here and there, eh?

Twas a dark and stormy night. Okay, not really stormy. One half of the National Highway 4 was barricaded for repairs. No warning boards. An area of darkness. You hear yourself crash much before you manage to see anything blocking the road.

At 75 kilometres an hour, the only sound you hear is of the metal slamming into asphalt. Of mud and gravel ripping through your clothing, of sand tearing into your skin and fusing into a mishmash of blood and flesh and earth and mud and pebbles, as you’re dragged along by the collapsing steed. That’s a lot of sounds, eh?

Poop. It doesn’t feel all that dreadful as you’re conditioned to believe – my knee and heel and everything in between all have a sharp tang emanating from them – but it’s more like irritation than agony. My perception is much heightened; I can sense more acutely the minutest sensation in my lacerated arms and legs – it’s a combination of a gazillion crawls, each different from the other. The ankle feels wet from blood trickling down it – it’s a bit of a change from the dry dirt that’s been stirred and mashed into my flesh these last few seconds; it also reminds me rather abruptly that my throat is parched.

I turn the key, and sit down on the road. I decide the nonchalant dude act is in order – nonchalant dude picks up bike, drives home, washes wounds, and doesn’t think about it afterwards. Aaaah, it’s a *little* tough bending my knee. Or for that matter lifting the bike. Or walking. Pfoo – I drag self from underneath bike, wobble towards the streetlight, recline on the divider, and stretch legs.

For the first time, I see my arms and legs. Aaaaaargh! How the hell am I going to clean all that up? There’s mud a mile deep into my flesh, all along the enormous openings in my skin, there’s red everywhere, lightened occasionally wherever the earth has pitched in, and garnished where the pebbles have volunteered. Aaaah – someone’s going to have to rub the wound a million times to get all that mud out of it.

I decide I’ll not think about it. On an impulse shut my eyes to try and do nothing but feel, sense as fully, as completely as I can the itch, the burn, the bristle in my arms and feet. Aaaah.

Gentle reader, you’re perhaps wondering if I haven’t heard of hospitals or doctors that I had decided to sit down in the midst of highways and bleed on to glory. I must point to the fact that it was a half past eleven, and so the only alternative to being nonchalant dude was to wait for reinforcements.

In due time, a solitary auto showed up. Chap picked up the helmet that had flown off my head on impact, the cell which had decided to do a triple jump from my pocket, and of course, parked the bike, which had dragged me along after having completed the formality of getting its face smashed in.

“Nah, don’t hold me, I’ll walk inside”, saith I once we reach the hosp. Aaah dammit, I haven’t the strength to speak – my vocal chords are stretched, and yet hardly a whisper emanates. Three staggering steps, as the auto guy apprehensively looked on, before he rushed to hold me. “Get a goddamn wheelchair”, I could’ve been screaming, but every word could only struggle out of my lips.

Aaaah man, I plopped into the wheelchair, it hit me as to how completely physically deflated I was. A while ago, it was almost as if no amount of bloodletting would do anything to me, and now, ah, I was so devoid of energy, or for that matter the will or the life to be able to do anything – the only resolve I seemed capable of making was to determine to do nothing, and let people take care.

Got hauled into a ward, it took a while to get all the mud cleaned – it was a strange sensation finally seeing the expanse of blood and flesh all by themselves; free of all the earth that I thought would never get away from it.

Pah – still cant speak- water please! No avail, I’m talking in hoarse whispers. Could I at least write my name? My right wrist isn’t going to jump at the idea, thank you very much. The doc let it pass.

‘Trauma’, wrote the doc, in large friendly letters. Gaah, trauma it seems – I contemplated a protest at being described thus, before surrendering to the superior, yet sweet forces of sheer fatigue that quietly embraced me.

**

Tis Immutable law time again!

One: The day you desist from wearing your jacket and shoes is the day you crash.

Two: Your insurance policy always expires two days before you crash.

Three: Time wounds all heels.

**

One does, however, look at the brighter side, which in this case was that one was compelled one to pick four wheels instead of two, which, you will admit, has its merits.

**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Light at the end of the tunnel?

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On finding peace on a highway

Posted by on Nov 26, 2006 in Personal | 5 comments

As the bike bobbed up and down in an attempt to traverse what was a rather bad excuse for a road, it ground its way over dust and stones, while its usual purr steadily degenerated into a whine. The best of journeys, I tried hard to convince myself, could have inauspicious beginnings. I was trying to make my way to the Nasik highway, for I had never ventured due north of Pune before.

The highway, once reached, pacified the body, jangled and rattled as it was by the connecting road. The seismic shuddering of the bones that appeared all set to continue forever was soon eased, courtesy National Highway number 50. While the said highway was well short of the dreamy playground-like expansiveness of the legendary NH4, the space it afforded more than sufficed for pleasurable driving.

Most cities taper off as you approach their periphery – colourful high rise homes give way to the dull grey of industrial estates, which make way for the dusty single homes and shops of townships, which in turn diminish to shacks and farmhouses, which eventually fall away to open up vast free, unpeopled stretches. Like every city, Pune too withered away before my eyes. As the last of its colourless chimneys exhaled dark wisps, the lonely, unpeopled hillocks that stood behind them intently watched the puffs of smoke meander upwards.

Even as

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the city was dissolving into the emptiness of the countryside,
there were hills to be gone across. The highway took a forthright approach – it refused to round the hills and tortuously wind its way around them. The NH 50 simply mounted every one of the slopes much like a kid would amble atop a slide in a park. On these hillocks, the upward moving roads evaporated into curly clouds – you couldn’t see the road plunge downwards on the other side of the slope.

Not all hills, however, take kindly to be treated in such an impudent manner –the Khed ghat was one such. It refused to let the highway through without a circumambulatory payment of respects. The highway, unmindful, wound its way through the ghat, greeting the taller of the trees in the valley that craned their necks so as to peep onto the road.

As the highway snaked its way to the top of the ghat, and I prepared to switch my engine off during the descent, surprise – there was no descent to be found! The highway continued straight on – only, wedged at a higher altitude, as the slopes evened out into flatter tracts, and only the bald emptiness of vacant sweeps of land remained as they strolled away towards the faraway skies.

Once upstairs, the blankness of the terrain was intermittent. Just when you thought you were going to get a good long spell of nothingness, along came a town, swathed in the afternoon redness of mud and dust. The metallic shimmer of the highway’s black faded to an uneven mishmash of ginger and cowdung-green, as the omnipresent sand drowned out the dusky tarmac of the road.

Quarter to three. Time, perhaps, to turn back? Slowed near what appeared to be a hamlet. Right sole went gently down upon the brake as I eased to a halt underneath a banyan tree. Gloves and jacket came off, a swig of water went in, and I tried finding a place to sit or perhaps lie down while I let the engine cool.

At first sight – no place promising enough to sit down. Go down the road, find another spot? Then it was that it caught my eye – this decently big milestone across the road. Wondered if the candybar shaped yellow and white tombstone would be comfortable enough. Tried – wasn’t too bad, so decided to park self upon the stone.

Hamlet residents one and two walked by, clearly not accustomed to seeing young men perched upon their friendly neighbourhood milestone, and issued me a what-the-hell-is-the-matter-with-you stare. I refused to pay attention to them, they walked on.

Settled thus, I had the time to do all the nothing I wanted to do, as Bill W. would have put it, and so proceeded to do the same. Looked around, past the fields on either side, beside the knoll that looked an enormous haystack, noticed the footpath etched onto the side of the said hill and spotted a cyclist amble upwards on it, saw a group of young men walk away with baskets atop their heads, perused the silhouettes of the looming hills a long, long way off that the road seemed to dissolve into, realized that I’d watched only the land, only what was terra firma, even though the vaster, larger horizon was all around me. I hadn’t noticed the enormous balls of fluffiness in the sky even though they dwarfed everything upon land that I’d watched. Made amends, watched the skies, and all the emptiness inherent therein.

The highway beside my perch, of course, continued to flow unabated. Rattle, buzz, purr, roar, grrr, tinkle, beep, pom all reached the ears. The little flowers flanking the road on either side of my perch nodded in response to the airflow engendered by the passage of traffic. The flora shook their heads vigourously to trucks and buses, and acknowledged cars and jeeps with a more understated hello.

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Et cetera

Posted by on May 10, 2006 in Personal | 0 comments

The baap of the devil.

Significant material possessions.

 

Cattle class
Cattle class redux.
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