Silent Expressions

Often many of us prefer taking a long drive. In such times it is obvious that one has to travel via National Highways or other expressways that would make us reach our destination faster. What does one usually do in such drives? Plug in  their earphones, sit back and relax. Some people go to sleep making themselves cozy in the small space that they get. Many prefer to chat with friends and spend the time.Personally for me this is my second highway drive from Delhi to Agra and for the first time probably I refrained from plugging in my earphones and actually noticed the surroundings.

I started my journey from the populated city of Delhi with tall buildings, massive government offices, roadside shops and off course the blazing sun. But after an hour so it was amazing to see the entire scenery change in front of you. After you leave Delhi proper you enter the Yamuna Expressway. It was told by my driver that the entire stretch of over 200 km long expressway was built by Jaypee in UP and in return the lands beside the expressway were given to UP . Nice barter system in contemporary times!


The massive buildings disappeared into yellow fields with occasional stretches of tall green trees. A beautiful sports stadium complete with a  golf course also stood by the expressway and so did a professional management institute.After a certain while the expressway started bifurcating into many lanes. This was for the toll booths that were made after a certain stretch. It is a rule that one has to pay for using the expressway in a particular area. In the sense, one has to pay for using the expressway in Delhi, Mathura, Agra and so on.


Throughout the whole journey what intrigued me the most was that after regular intervals there were small rest houses for the travelers complete with all good delicacies that one could lay their hands on. As I  entered in one of them I heard lots of noises. It was a splendid view inside the inn .There were people of all ages . One table had around six to seven friends sitting and sipping iced tea. They were probably making a small weekend trip . Where to, was unknown to me. Another table had a middle aged couple savoring idli and dosa. From what they were talking (They were loud and I was not eavesdropping) I made out that they were going to visit their daughter in Agra.A young couple who I think had just got married were making their way to see the Taj ( I hoped the girl would not ask him to make one for her though!). Another family was trying to calm their son down who was adamant about a certain food that he did not want to eat. A little girl sitting beside him (his sister maybe ) was silently watching the scene and finishing not only her own food but also her brothers.

 I was completely engrossed in the scene when my own food came. As we were in a hurry we quickly finished off our food and were about to leave. While waiting for our car I just happened to glance at the store attached to the inn. A young boy of about twenty was completely confused with the customers jumping all over him with their orders. He was baffled amidst so many customers yelling at the same time – Mujhe woh blue wallah chips do, Bhaiya mujhe orange juice chahiye, Mujhe chewing gum de do, bhaiya mera balance dijiye and the likes. Though I wanted to wait for some more time to see how he tackles the situation I was running late and so had to leave the guy and take to the roads again.


By the time we started our journey  the sun had almost gone down. The light had become dimmer and the series of inns and restaurants had disappeared to give way to the barren land with an occasional hut here and there.What was additional to this scenery was cows. There were cows everywhere. Looking past a sign board I understood we were crossing Mathura and there had to be cows .After all it is a sacred place as it was a birthplace of Lord Krishna. 

There were still miles to go in the journey and I started contemplating about the people who were in their cars on the expressway going to their own destinations. I saw a car with a man driving and a little child sitting beside him. Probably a father was taking his daughter home maybe from a hostel; another car had an elderly couple maybe going to their son or daughters place. Many trucks passed us. Some were carrying fragile items and some were carrying fruits and vegetables to be delivered to a vendor. A state transport corporation bus went passed us carrying around forty passengers. Some were probably going to their villages, some going for a vacation, some going to spend some time in a quite place away from the busy hustle and bustle of the city life- I would never actually know.

As I neared the end of my journey I thought that one can actually see and feel things around them if  they only looked at it. Every sight has a unique story to it. One just needs to discover that story and feel it.But what is sad in contemporary times is that people are so busy with their own lives that they do not have time to stop and think about what is going on around them. I have always been advised to stop the music in my car and watch the surroundings. That day I discovered exactly why I should do it. It gives a person a different feeling, a different pleasure that cannot be completely defined by words.

So, next time if you travel through a highway or an expressway take some time out and observe everything that you see, you can actually derive a story out of it. Every sight has a silent expression which would compel you to think about it in depth. 

Chouki dhani- a Hotspot Of Tradition

One can never know that in the heart of a modern city , there can exist a completely traditional (artificial ) village, until one visits Chouki Dhani. This is one such place which defines Rajasthan in  the way people have been perceiving it’s heritage for time immemorial. Chouki  Dhani is easily accessible via bus, car or rickshaws. The uniqueness of this place is that it is operational only after sunset to late night. It is a place where one can enjoy, take part in the activities, shop till their heart’s content and lastly enjoy the traditional Rajasthani thali .

Right from the gates of the place one would start getting the feel of the traditions of this place. People dressed in traditional Rajasthani attires play the dhol and nagada to attract the people’s attention and to welcome them in the place.Upon entering the place, it is a different feel in itself.

ENTRANCE TO CHOUKI DHANI

Everywhere that you look you see colours and smiling faces. Girls wearing colourful ghagra performing the traditional ghoomar dance complete with fire, matkas and balancing acts . Puppeteers narrating tales of Kings and Queens of the past with a variety of sound and visual effects. Magicians showing unbelievable magic, young boys and girls balancing themselves on the rope, bioscope wallahs showing movies on the reels, fortune tellers telling the future of the people with the help of a parrot – everything can engage and mesmerize  you for hours .

GHOOMAR DANCERS

PUPPETEERS

BIOSCOPE WALLAHS

When in Rajasthan it is impossible that there would be no games. Hence, there were game stalls as well. Gun firing, hoops, bowling, hitting the target all interesting games are available at a minimum cost of five to six rupees.Camel, horse cart and elephant rides are also available. It gave the children immense joy to ride on elephants and camels, who, it seemed were very obedient and tamed animals as they let the children touch them and play with them.

No tour is complete without shopping and yes Chouki Dhani offers you that too! Anything that you name is available. From beautiful umbrellas to ghaghras , From bangles to furniture’s, from show pieces to traditional Rajasthani artwork. It is an array of colors and tradition all under one roof.

Lastly what one has to make a mention of is the food. There are two distinct seating arrangements of having your food. One is sitting down on the floor like people usually do and the other is sitting on chairs like a proper restaurant.But in both places one can enjoy the traditional thali complete with all Rajasthani delicacies- Bajre ki roti, Dal Baati churma, curry, paneer, palak, acahar, papad, lassi, chutney, khichdi, kulfi etc. You can actually enjoy this meal  in an ambiance of folk music and immense hospitality of the people. Chouki Dhani promises you an evening that you can never forget -an evening highlighting the traditions of the place and it lives up to its expectations.

TRADITIONAL MUSICIANS AND SINGERS 

A Flight To Remember

I am not a frequent traveller, but whenever I travel it is mostly by flights as there is scarcity of time.Hence last week when I boarded the flight to Delhi from Kolkata it was also keeping in mind the scarcity of time.However, little did I know that I was not meant to reach Delhi this time on the first go. Co-incidentally the day I boarded the flight was the same day when the 15th Prime Minister of India was to be sworn in. With heavy air traffic generated all over Delhi, the flight had to divert to my dream destination Jaipur.Thus we were around three hours behind time but nevertheless we managed to reach Delhi for our connecting transport which was to take us to Agra. If you think this was  unexpected, wait till you read about my return journey.

I was to board the Kolkata bound flight from Jaipur at around 7pm in the evening. But by 6 pm it was announced that the flight has been delayed to almost 9pm at night. Being the impatient person I am, I started doing lots of things. I took out a book, read few pages and lost interest in it. After putting it down I went to the windows to see if there was any trace of the plane which was to take me home. I was not very lucky with this stance either. I took out a hat which I had recently bought and planned to sleep on the chair like Indiana Jones. But this too was a flop. I started walking around the waiting area. Probably this was the best thing that I had done. I saw people , expressions and colours all around me and they reflected more than books or plane spotting.

There were people of all ages. Right from babies to those who were above eighty years old, all travelling to Kolkata. There was a distinct identity that I could form by just looking at their attires. A businessman all dressed with proper suit and tie; students dressed in casuals -returning from a vacation or going for a vacation; housewives dressed in pretty floral salwars travelling with their children. A variety of languages and dialects were being spoken by all . Right from Bangla, Hindi, English to Rajasthani , Gujarati , Marwari etc. It was like the waiting room had become a mini India in itself. I was getting carried away by this sight myself when there was an announcement that the flight had been further delayed to 10:15pm.

This  time  the people could take no more and my mini India awoke forgetting all the diversity in its cultures and dialects to a united strength which asked for answers from the airport authorities. The situation was that due to bad weather conditions in Delhi, air traffic had been generated due to which planes were stuck in Delhi.Though they served us snacks , they could not pacify the irritation of the passengers.Every two minutes or so people were getting up to the customer care asking lots of questions- Where was the flight? Why such delay? Has the flight left Delhi? How long would it take? Will they cancel the flight ? People constantly kept in touch with their families letting them know of the current situation.

Everyone started talking to everyone due to  this chaos.  I made friends with some students who had just given their class twelve exams and were in Jaipur for a vacation. Another girl – an MBA student- was returning home after two years. There was a newly married couple who had already missed their connecting flight. A businessman from Chunchura was more concerned about his transport as his home was around a 100 km from the Kolkata airport. A research guy and a fashion photographer were constantly in touch with their group uncertain, whether they would be able to reach Kolkata in time for their  project.

At around 10 pm we got a confirmed news that the flight had left Delhi and was on its way to Jaipur. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. However the fight was not over. Now the passengers started fighting for free food that should be given to them on board because of the caused delay. Moreover they fought for good food and not dry sandwiches. Personally I found this comical . All I wanted to do was to set foot on the ground of my dear Kolkata and not waste time fighting for good food. Hunger had evaded me a long time ago.

Finally around 11 30 pm we boarded the heavenly flight to Kolkata. I slept in the flight off course so I was oblivious to what was happening. But I was sure of one fact that there were less murmurs as everyone was exhausted and wanted to go back home and sleep.As the flight landed around 1 30 pm in Kolkata airport and everyone ran towards the baggage counter to collect their bags there was a roar of “finally” echoing throughout the airport.

This is one such incident which probably all the hundred passengers would never forget in their lives. Though we know nothing about each other but it did portray the unity that we still have among the people which comes out especially in times of crisis.After collecting their luggage’s each one went their own way knowing that we might never meet each other ever again in life but will always be connected through this incident.

I learnt two very important things in life through this incident. First, no matter how much planning we do sometimes it just goes out of our hands. In such times one needs to be calm and bear the situation with patience. Second, no matter who you are and where you are from , in times of crisis all are one . It is the popular demand with many unclear faces which stands out and to which even authorities have to bend. On a more lighter note unexpected events are bound to happen during travelling. Thus it is advisable to plan the trip with some extra time in hand so that one can cope up with such situations.

Signing off until next time . . . 

My life My Way

I have always wanted to travel and experience new cultures, arts, cuisines, communicate with people and most importantly explore the unexplored paths. Thus for all my friends who love travelling just the way I do, this blog is dedicated to them. Let this be a communicative platform where we can share our experiences and learn about new places.

People think going out on a tour or a vacation is an adventure or an experience. But we often forget the small incidents happening with us throughout the day . Truly, if one changes his/ her perspective of viewing the world , then adventure would be everything that happens to them from morning till night. One need not go out of station all the time to discover new places. One can do that by staying right in their home town . It has often been seen that the love of another place makes a person know less about their city and more about the one they are fascinated with. Let us know equally about both and in details. Thus my aim from here would be to take up different places and discover the possible adventures that one can have in those places.

Lastly, a point which I strongly believe in is the fact the God’s greatest vehicle is attached to the human body- the legs. It is through walking that one can truly discover new places and explore roads that they can never forget. . .

I leave on this note hoping to bring something new very soon.  . . . . .