Where are my shoes???!?

It’s wedding season in our family. Can’t say I hate it. It’s not always the smoothest from start to finish, but somehow, by the end of the two or three (or thirty) days, we’re all a little high and happy.

Sadly, my cousin’s at school, so at 11 am, I find myself alone, with three year olds running all around me, and I have several hours to waste.

Books. Ye

The last few months, I have been on a beautiful, albeit absolutely terrifying soul searching expedition, and all I can think about it how blessed I am to be living life as I am now. I have my best friends to keep me company as we throw our stupid ideas into the world and have fun in the process. My extended family, who I love to death (sometimes I very much would like to wish they were dead), is so much FUN to be around, although not necessarily when the only thing they talk about it when and who’s getting married next. Apparently, I’m not that far down the line. Even though I haven’t been sharing as much on this blog, I have been very active elsewhere in the online writing world. That said, it has been extremely, extremely emotionally exhausting, and I’m hoping this weekend will be a good enough break for me.

On three different occasions I found myself searching an entire hall for my shoes and each time it was in a place that I HAD NOT LEFT IT IN. Pre-wedding bday is getting increasingly chaotic.

With lunch done now, things have subsided a little. I’m about to go to my cousin’s and get ready for the evening, which people say is when the real fun will begin. My family’s claims have a reputation of being dubious.

My mother let me eat pan. Out-of-body experience

This side of the city is and always will be the most romantic aspect of the city. Everything about the people, and the slightly dusty but sweet smell of the air rings so vibrantly to the idea of home I have in my head. Everything is novel, but in a way that, after countless experiences, I’ve gotten pleasantly accustomed to.

Eyy

As we passed by all the college buildings in Osmania, I had a rush of memories flood back way back from fifth grade. My friends and my seniors had come to EFLU for a student project, and I remember it being one of the coolest experiences of my pre-middle school life. A couple of years earlier, I had visited my cousin at the university, and I remember being utterly amazed by the scale of the arts college. It looked like a mix between an amusement park and something out of Harvard, astonishing in scale and intricacy.

Now, as we passed the same building at 11 in the night, and students still huddled together in close groups around the building, I couldn’t help but notice how old it was.

I am a fan of chaotic energy. I am a creature of spontaneous inspiration, I thrive in unexpected situations and I feel alive, uncertain of what’s to come and what I can do.

I am not a fan of chaos.

It is one of the few things that I am truly, deeply, afraid of. Chaos. Ruin. The constant awareness that the ground that holds us all up could begin to tremble at any moment, whether or not we are to blame. Some might consider it romantic. I’d very much like such people to go to hell. It is worse than death. It’s oblivion.

I think a lot of what I’ve been thinking about for the last three months has to do with this fear. There is so much on my mind that I want to say and do, but every time I try to do something, a brick hits me in the face, reminding me that anything could go wrong at any moment, and I will have to take responsibility, even if I’m not responsible.

As music played through my ears and we drove past the Arts College, a ray of hope flashed through me. I saw that somehow, against all odds, we as a species have so far done a good job of dealing with this chaos. We embrace ruin, learn to live with it, and create a life we deserve to enjoy. And, even if for a while, I felt a little hope surge in me.

Coming Home

I have to say, there is nothing more agonising than sitting in a car, driving through hills, when all I can think about is how badly I need to pee.

Likewise, there’s nothing more relieving than emptying your bladder after holding it in for almost three hours. I came out the bathroom feeling so powerful, I could rule a country with my discipline and strength.

The whole duration of the drive to the airport, I convinced myself not to pick up the phone and click pictures, and simply enjoy the view instead. However, I did take a few pix just to remember the day, so here they are.

I’ve been meaning to write a full, non-brief review of Darjeeling, but I was completely immersed in the act of experiencing the place that thinking anymore about it would be too overwhelming. Hopefully, once I go home, I’ll be able to fathom star-like thoughts into beautiful constellations and we’ll all be better because of it.

The Penultimate Day

Today was, by far, the most mentally satisfying day of our trip. Today was like “peaceful relaxation meets complete presence of mind”. We took a drive down the tea estate roads, climbed down a valley, and later we went and climbed up a really serene waterfall.

Talk about a retreat from city life.

Later, we visited a monastery and I spun that praying wheel, wishing for all that my mind could think of. We returned to our hotel later and I went and bought a purse from Miniso 🙂

I think the best part of the day was the evening shopping, when I bought three books! I mean, did you think I could leave this place without buying books?

I chatted up with almost all the shopkeepers we encountered, and I realised, for the first time, what it feels like for kindness to be reciprocated by complete strangers. Love and respect for everyone, I understood tonight, goes really long ways.

Darjeeling, Day 2 — Trees on Trees on Trees

Today was something different altogether. We got to see the place in a completely different light, literally and figuratively.

The first half of the day was misty and cloudy, which was good cause it eased our 5-hour cabin car trip.

Just to clarify, the actual trip was an hour long. The rest of the time, we waited.

The second half was filled with rain and the most happy sunshine I’ve seen in a while. The sunlight has magic of its own kind, and it made everything look so much more vivid and alive.

We went to visit a pagoda and a Buddhist temple in this sunshine and it was, hands down, the highlight of the day. Everything about the place made me feel safe. Like I was free to be exactly who I wanted to be, without being judged by anyone, even myself.

“This was not planned,”

I say, as I write these words, looking through my hotel room window in chilly Darjeeling.

The adventure began today morning, with my cousin and I flying all the way to Bagdogra by OURSELVES. I had expected it to be slightly more challenging, but the entire experience went smoothly. We even snuck a few pictures along the way.

Once we reached the hotel, we spent the rest of the day exploring the place (which by the way is almost 7000 ft above sea level) and window shopping at the bazaar.

I have to say, everyone over here has such a happy, peaceful vibe, that I’m being like them too. I smiled at all the waiters I saw, thanked people, helped them when their stuff fell on the floor, and even chatted up with the hotel manager about the heat in Hyderabad (she thought it was 50 degrees at home).

Goa—A Complete Review

Now that I’ve returned home, I feel like I can comfortably reminisce the last 5 days in Goa.

The Beaches

We visited 5 beaches in total:

  1. Anjuna
  2. Calangute
  3. Vagator
  4. Candolim
  5. Baga

And all of them were absolutely spectacular. Each one of them seemed to have a personality of its own, from party-themed to rocky to relaxing. My favourite was Candolim, cause the white sand was beautiful, although slightly hot.

Also, we could see these amazing Taj hotels from there, which was great, cause I love staring at fancy hotels.

I didn’t get a chance to go jet skiing or parasailing, but that’s for the next trip to Goa.

Dudhsagar Falls

Nothing, absolutely nothing beats bathing under a 1000-foot waterfall while huge fish swim all around you and you can’t feel the ground beneath your feet cause like, a coconut tree could get submerged by that depth. Nothing beats doing something you would have never expected to do in your entire lifetime.

Visiting Dudhsagar Falls was, arguably, the highlight of this trip, because this was an experience I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

The Forts

We visited two forts: Fort Aguada and Chapora Fort. Both were slightly empty and relatively boring, but what made them so worthwhile was the view. But forts were situated on top of hills right by the sea, so that made for some really good landscape photography. We did a LOT of rock climbing, by the way.

In a nutshell

Goa, even with all of its overwhelmingly different social landscape, managed to strike a chord in me, making me feel something I’ve always wanted to feel: Even the most faraway lands can feel like home.

At Last, Goa! — May 19th

The one big difference between today mornings and other summer mornings is that today, I actually felt tired when I woke up early, unlike all the other mornings when I just laid on my bed for two hours before getting up and brushing my teeth.

The Departure and Arrival

Wow, I mean, wow. Every time I visit the Hyderabad airport, I am left in absolute awe and wonder and gratitude for the people who make things like that possible. Something about the self-imagined surreality of an airport experience fills me up with giddy optimism about my future and all of our futures. Also, I love the vending machines. They bring me so much joy.

Coincidentally, I happened to meet my classmate at the airport, after which I said to myself, “If I come across another person I’m acquainted with for the entire duration of this vacation, I’m going to lose it.”

When we were almost at the Goa International Airport, we circled above the ground for a good twenty minutes before landing, because the Goa Airport is also used for the Air Force and Navy, and there were some delays ’cause of that. It was its own kind of fun to stare at the same 100 square miles of trees and hills for half an hour.

The journey from the airport to the hotel was another hour of travel, and my, oh my, was it spectacular. We had barely been here for an hour, and I was already mindblown by the scenery. It was a harmony between coastal and urban, and I fell in love with it.

Also, the way roads function here is something I find interesting. There’s no Ola or Uber here, just cars, taxis, and rented motorbikes. The latter are a big thing here, apparently.

Our hotel is the cutest thing ever. There’s only two floors, about 20 rooms, a restaurant and a pool. That’s it. But it’s all in the open, and it’s perfect for me. Beachy motel meets sophistication kinda vibe around here.

The Beaches – Oh God

This is best shown through pictures.

There’s something strangely romantic about standing on the shore when all is dark, and you feel the growing tide pull away the sand from beneath your feet.

The newness of the place almost left me catatonic at one point, which I know is a good sign that I’m enjoying what I see, my brain just can’t put its head around it yet.

I think uncertainty in the face of what you’ve never done before is something I felt a lot today. I did the weirdest, coolest stuff today, and today is just day one.

I can’t WAIT to see what will happen in the next few days.