Posted in poem, Poetry, Uncategorized, writer, writing

Colours of life – Part II

When the browns of your eyes
Meet the chocolates of mine
The reds of my heart
Turn an unusual shade

So come here, come to me
And see your colours on my demeanor

Your greens have enveloped me
And so have the fawns
You have stolen my jet blacks
And paired them with your crimsons

So come here, stay with me
And let these colours linger on me

You are enveloped in my blues
And snatched away my scarlets
The way you took my heart
And are slowly seranading my soul

So come here, live with me
And throw these colours into my world
My life

Your colours have mesmerized me
But why my colours have engulfed you
Have you fallen for me?
The way I secretly fell for you…

So come here, marry me
And let our colours mingle
Fashioning a palette unseen
Unspoken
But real……

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Posted in forts in jaipur, india, indian, jaigarh fort, jaipur, jaipur city, jaipur diaries, north indian, travel, travel diaries, travel writing, traveller, travelogue, Uncategorized, writer, writing

Travel Musings – Jaigarh Fort

One fine day, I decided to leave it all. Leave the derision that wakes you up in the night.
Leave the bullshit that does not allow you a good night’s sleep
Leave the people who never rise above their insecurities.
Leave the circumstances that compel you to doubt yourself
Leave the surroundings that makes you gloomy
Leave everything and everyone
Which and who, no more serve you
Or your life

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Posted in himalayas, mountain, mountains, nag tibba, the lesser himalayas, travel, travel diaries, travel writing, traveller, travelogue, Uncategorized, uttarakhand, writer, writing

Travel Musings – Nag Tibba

“But before I die, I want to fight for life. If I can walk on my own, I can go wherever I like.”

And these beautiful lines from #elevenminutes aptly describe my state of mind while trekking towards the Nag Tibba base camp on day 1. I wanted to give up and get back to our guest house in the Pantwari village because of the excruciating pain in my shoulder blades and back but something stopped me. That “something” compelled me to believe that I can reach the base camp, come whatever may.

 

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Posted in nag tibba, snow trek, travel, travel diaries, travel writing, traveller, travelogue, trek, trekking, Uncategorized, uttarakhand, writer, writing

Travel musings – Nag Tibba

Lately, I have realized that on steep ⛰️ treks, you need to be careful with the weight of your bag. The heavier it is, the more it will hinder your movements. And on steeper terrain, you need to be cautious while traversing as any wrong move could hurt you.
This bag was around 8-9kg and I carried it for 6km till the Nag Tibba base camp and the resultant – inflamed ankles and knees.

 

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Posted in Grandparents, poem, Poetry, Uncategorized, writer, writing

Grandpa, where are you?

Those breezy mornings when I run
I stiffle a sniff and move for the kill
But then an octagenarian stops me
And scolds me for being too fast.

With all reverence, I obey him
And then realization hits me
He has grandkids to play with
But my grandparents are far away
So ohh grandpa, where are you?

You willingly ate the horrendous chappatis I cooked
You were the Santa of my childhood
You read the kiddish poems I wrote
With deep relish and glee.

Those chappatis have become perfect now
And the poems have a slight elegance
But our worlds are far far away
So oh grandpa where are you?

En route to the bus stop
I meet a septagenarian couple
Who smile and talk like you grandpa
I converse with them out of nostalgia
Their eyes well up when I leave
And mine are lost in a tearful sea
But still grandpa, where are you?

My nights are spent lamenting your loss
And days in forgetting it
You pampered me with all thy love
And all your affection was showered
On this fragile little heart
So, oh grandpa where are you?

I keep your pictures tucked away
Locked in old cases
Scared I am from the oncoming emmotional rush
Which empty me and take my soul away.

So oh, grandpa where are you?
Maybe with my old grandma
Do tell her I miss her too….

 

Posted in camp, gluttonyguilts, himalayas, india, indian, indian cuisine, indian food, mountain, mountains, nag tibba, north indian, shiwaliks, showononeplus, snow, snow trek, snowflake, the lesser himalayas, travel, travel diaries, travel writing, traveller, travelogue, trek, trekking, Uncategorized, uttarakhand, writing

The crowning jewel of the Shiwaliks – Nag Tibba

What will be life if we do not follow our heart’s wishes for adventures?
My first Uttarakhand and a winter trek happened at the beginning of 2018. The temperatures in Delhi were already below 5 degrees and Uttarakhand signifies a red signal for cold prone people like me.
But regular adventures satisfy the soul and I am no different. When the opportunity came calling, I had to respond; otherwise I would have faced the regret of not going for a winter trek for a year or so.
Departure
I along with a bunch of three enthusiastic friends enrolled ourselves for the weekend trek of the professional trekking company Trek The Himalayas. We boarded the midnight train – Nanda Devi Express from Delhi and reached Dehradun by 6a.m.
Arrival – Day 1
Since we were not going to bathe for the next two days considering the requirements of this strenuous trek and a six hour journey through Mussoorie, we decided to slightly freshen ourselves at the railways station waiting room.
And man, what an experience it was!
Keeping your trekking and day bag alone and then going towards the rest rooms to refresh your mouth and wash your face sounds scary at first but trust me, it was not. I had a lady friend with me and we made sure to back each other up. But 6 a.m. in the morning is not the time that the thieves (they are actually waking up!) wander, looking out for precious something of travellers; so you are perfectly safe.
The tour guide from Trek The Himalayas picked us up at 6:45 a.m. and we were comfortably seated in a tempo traveller. We relished the silence of the Dehradun while its residents slept peacefully.
And then after two hours, came Mussoorie – the hill town I was most anxious to visit since childhood. The winding drive through the tree-laden roads with the sun light filtering through the swaying leaves is exhilarating to say the least. The colonial balustrades and the Britishesque street lamps did transform to a different universe, because I was in a different universe!
A few kilometres from Mussoorie, we halted for our breakfast break around 9:30 a.m. A local dhabha serving the most delicious butter loaded paranthas was opened graciously to the customers and boy, could we say no?

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At the restaurant, a small balcony beckoned us to savour the beauty that solemnly waited. The snow clad Shiwaliks with a few green patches stood there with the cold waves swirling around them like an enchantress.

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But this ephemeral moment was marred by a red butted mischievous macaque ready to pounce any moment. Time to rush back!
The journey from here to Pantwari village went in a quiet power nap which lasted another two hours.
The drive through the village was definitely eventful considering the frolicking crowd – an afternoon Pahadi wedding in full gusto. Half sleepy, half awake, we listened to the cheerful crowd singing the local Pahadi songs and tried to decipher what each word meant, although we were unsuccessful!
At Pantwari village, we were provided changing rooms at a local guesthouse and the next hour was spent in freshening up again, changing into our trekking gear and preparing our carry on luggage. A quick fulfilling lunch provided us the necessary energy required for the daunting journey ahead.
The Nag Tibba trail begins from the Pantwari village (1450m) and ends at the Nag Tibba top 9-10 km away. Since it is a steep trek with fewer gradual trails in between, it takes time to reach the top and so in between the village and the top, there is an area designated as the Nag Tibba Base Camp where temporary camping facilities are provided.
Compared to the breathtaking trails of Himachal (my view at that point of time), Nag Tibba trekking route is least serene. The initial journey is through a pebble and mud laden trail which is steep as well as slippery due to dry leaves. You need to carry a light bag and comfortable clothes because the continuous uphill trek saps you of energy and will power. As my bag was around 8kg and I was wearing three layers (because of below ten temperatures), I had to remover a few layers and tighten up the straps of my bag. Taking frequent rests became a routine here which was never the case in my previous treks.
The scenery is not as enjoyable as you would expect – dry parched terrain, scattered greenery and big lose boulders and pebbles on which you have to tread carefully lest you shall suffer a back breaking fall. But the surrounding view of The Lesser Himalayas compels you to forget the hurdles of the journey.

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We started the trek at 2pm and the swiftest person reached the base camp by 5:30pm covering 6km. I reached by 6:30pm due to multiple factors – a heavy bag, back ache and ankle inflammation which developed during the journey and loss of time as I went astray in the trails and had to wait for about 15-20 minutes for the people preceding me.

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When I lost my way in the trails

As the night drew in, the ambience got colder and it must have been around 1 degree in the night. Basic camping facilities were prepared for us with pit-hole washrooms. Trek The Himalayas took good care of everything – tea, dinner, temporary restrooms, warm sleeping bags but better facility for water should have been there because there were no nearby streams.

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The night sky was star studded and it was mesmerizing to watch so many twinkles after ages. You do not get to see the children of universe this clear in Delhi.

Trek to Nag Tibba top – Day 2
The back breaking journey had been so tiring for me that I decided to not go for the early morning trek to Nag Tibba top. I took my time in getting up but then eventually decided that I would not be able to forgive myself if I did not trek all the way up to the peak. The opportunity seemed too precious to miss!
The biting cold was so ominous that it was difficult to change into my second trekking gear which had to be cold specific considering the chilling mountain waves lingering around us. A quick breakfast of soul satisfying plate of steaming maggi brought me back to my fighter instincts.

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This particular trail to the Nag Tibba top is also steep but easier compared to the harrowing one we had completed on the previous day. The pebbles had gone though the boulders were still there with slippery edges of melting snow. And my all weather trekking shoes weren’t for snow because hey, no spikes!

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So what did I do when I saw a few flakes of snow for the first time in my life? I kept looking. I tried to keep a few in my hands but the warmth melted them away.

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The melted snow on the trail was a tad challenging considering many of us were first timers for a snow trek. Slipping now and then on the trail, I managed to reach the top where a large patch of snow awaited the avid trekkers. Many of our trekking mates experienced snow for the first time and so went on to play body skating games on them. I, however, having slipped and fallen a few times, stayed away and took on a few lovely snowflakes.

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The Nag Tibba top is adorned with a pole which carries prayer flags in multiple hues. And the view from the top is soul filling to say the least. At 3022 m, the highest peak of the The Shiwaliks or The Lesser Himalayas, you do feel a sense of achievement while enjoying the breath taking ranges. The whole Lesser Himalayan range along with a few peaks of the mighty Greater Himalayas is a sight to behold and lose yourself in.

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But as they say, the descent is always tougher than the ascent. And on a steep trek you have to be highly careful, especially on slippery melted snow patches. We had to tread cautiously on the loose pebbles, boulders and mud lest we would have suffered a bone breaking fall.
Back to the base camp, we had a delicious protein and carbohydrates filled lunch of kidney beans, rice, chappati and legumes. We had to take care of the time factor while trekking down as descending during the evening can be dangerous.
We finally reached Pantwari around 5pm and changed back to comfortable apparels after spraying our whole body with Moov.

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Dinner at the Sagar restaurant, Dehradun

The journey from Pantwari village to Dehradun was spent in taking a few scattered power naps and watching the lighted view of Mussoorie and Dehradun. The tempo traveller of Trek The Himalayas dropped us at the Dehradun railway station at around 9pm and we had dinner at a nearby restaurant – Sagar. The Nanda Devi Express geared itself again to ferry the travellers from Dehardun to the national capital and we also went along with her flow.

https://www.trekthehimalayas.com/

 

Posted in Letter, Prose, Satire, Uncategorized, writer, writing

Open letter to my future mother-in-law

Respected Mother-in-law

Funny, how people close to me keep teasing me that you are to be dreaded and revered at. And funny, how my previous manager said that you’ll be the one to straighten me up ( I have already improved myself a lot, so lesser tasks in your kitty now)

Let’s get somethings straight, you’ll never be my mother and I’ll never be your daughter. So that formality must go when I’m with you. I tease my mother a lot and I can not think of doing the same with you, out of respect. At 28, I still play pranks on my dear Mommy and having a good time after that. But I can’t do that with you. I have no intention of replacing your daughter ( if you have one) or becoming one (if you don’t have one).
You’ll always love your own progeny more than me and I accept that.

But yes, we can have our fun moments too. Since you and I are going to spend a lot of time together, we’ll make the most of it.

I’ll take some time in getting acquainted with you, I can not be pally with you in the first meeting itself. We have all had our trust broken and I learn from my mistakes. But once I’m comfortable with you, we are going to have a hell of a ride.

You might find me arrogant and an introvert the first time you meet me, this is my first impression to the majority of population. But I’m pretty sure you’ll have a good time knowing this volcano of a person.

I know how to ride a motorcycle and since my Mom doesn’t trust me with any vehicle, so I’ll take you on those adventurous bike rides. And I know how to cook a delicious meal (God bless my genes and creativity) and you’ll see a lot of experimentation in your kitchen.
I don’t have any grand plans of ruling your home with a bundle of keys on my waist (as depicted in Hindi soap operas) but your kitchen has to be mine. No compromises on that. One of my cousins gifted us a lovely set of knives (chef’s and butcher’s knife included) and I’m bringing that set as dowry. And yes, a wooden chopping board too because I have developed a habit of cutting edibles like a chef after watching those numerous cookery shows.
Please don’t worry, your kitchen will be fine, it is in safe hands.
I love to shower onstentatious gifts on the people close to me, so please do not be surprised if you receive a Kanjeevaram or a Banarasi silk on your birthday. My taste in Indian attire is pretty developed because of those innumerable shopping sprees with my Mom.
Coming to your pampered brat of a son, I have no intention of mollycoddling him the way you do. You can continue doing that, he can continue being a Momma’s boy, I really don’t mind. But when he is with me, he has to be a responsible man – independent and capable of taking his own decisions.
I know that I can never shower the sort of affection that you do on him. I somehow understand this because of my late grandmother’s fondness for her sons.

I have developed travelling as a hobby, and sometimes I go for solo travel. My mom is too scared to travel with me to unknown destinations (though we have gone together to Lucknow countless times) but I would love to take you on those travels. Please don’t worry, I won’t go for trekking with you. But wherever we go, I’ll take care of you and your dear son will feel pretty jealous of us.
My sheer adamancy will sometimes give you a hard time but trust me when I say that diplomacy wins more wars than ammunition.
My previous manager and many of my friends would also like to express their best wishes to you on my wedding day since you are taking me in your household. You are my mother-in-law, you’ll have own your swagger.
I wish to express more here, but I’ll keep those points for our conversations. Because after all, what is the fun if I reveal everything here?

Hoping to meet you soon,
Sincerely
Shreya Srivastava
(The surname won’t change, even if yours is different from mine. Yes but Shreya S. whatever your son’s surname is can be negotiated)