Winning Paradise Back

In a recent article published in The Hindu, it is said that more locals in Kashmir take to militancy in last few months. A police official stated “Even MLAs find it hard to visit their constituencies in Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama district of Kashmir”. Seven percent voter turn out in by-polls of Srinagar constituency or small girls kicking and throwing stones on military vehicles shows the extreme outrage of local public. In last six decades we are not able to win the heart of Kashmiri people and situation has become worst after the killing of Hizb-ul- Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

We can always debate about righteousness of government policies, military actions, resident’s outrage and separatist demands but one fact will remain true that core value of democracy should not be suppressed. All citizens have equal right to raise their voices. A violent agitation takes place only when voices are not heard and when violent incidents will not be resolving the conflict, state will move towards civil war. Let it be discussion of Article 370 and usage of pellet guns, Government always seemed more interested in land and not the people. Intentions for resolving the issue may be there but display of affection and empathy is lacking marginally.

In one of the hearings recently, Supreme court said “Both sides need to take two steps back and address core issues. You cannot clap without both hands. stakeholders in Kashmir to “take two steps back” as a resolution could be initiated only if there are no stones hurled and pellets fired on the streets of Kashmir”. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, encouraged local people to participate in elections and believe in Indian democratic system. Both sides should know that solution exists in debate only and key to discussion is winning the confidence back with a clear intention of resolving the conflict. Talk of separate state or pro Pakistan demands are not on table obviously but there is much more to discuss and resolve in order to win back the confidence of the valley, disputes to be resolved considering the welfare of our people, not just for winning the land back or maintaining border lines.

In between all the debate of nationalism we should not forget that India starts from Kashmir and ends at Kanyakumari, and all of them are an integral part of the nation. Land and resources are important for growth of a country but most crucial resource of country is its citizen and we are losing them slowly whenever a comment is passed on South Indian or North Eastern community, Whenever a Bihari is beaten in Maharashtra or a Kashmiri is gunned for whatever reason. Nationalism is not only a debate to win or forcing our ideology on others, it is more about accepting all, with their own ideologies and uniting all of them into a nation as one integral entity.

 

Power of Culture

Culture sign isolated on white

When I was a child I watched Flintstones, amazed almost all the time. It made us laugh obviously. Imagine yourself driving to the office in a car made of stone, working on a computer made of stone, covering your body with animal skin etc. Inventions are not the only reason which bloomed humans from cave to smart cities. If science is food for mind then art enriches the soul. When Vikings attacked Europeans they got so influenced by European cultural advancement, they never left. They knew gold but they never saw relics before. They knew wood and stone but never saw domes and minarets before. They won the lands and gold but they lost their culture. History knows where both of them stands today: Norse & Christians. That’s the power of Art & Culture. These are the tools to make a civilization rich and grand. Classical living does not only mean physical artifacts & collections. It’s an ideology, an obligation for nourishment of soul and culture, which only few can practice.

Rains in Goa

The purpose of the travelogue is to share personal experience and information for travelers. I tried my best to represent what I saw and felt through words and pictures with no purpose of marketing any individual or place. One thing I couldn’t mention in my post was that people in Goa are awesome, most accommodating and always polite.
Happy Reading.

Goa is a special place where you wish to be in all the seasons at all stages of your life. I have been there twice with friends during winters and I felt in love with the aura surrounding the place. I heard and read a lot about beauty of the place in monsoon but there were two kinds of reviews almost everywhere; one who hated it another who loved it. When we stepped down at Thivim railway station it was raining heavily. One thing I knew about visiting Goa during  monsoon is don’t wait for rain to stop. Be ready to move and come prepare as it will rain all the time. We took out our rain coats, covered our bags and moved out to prepaid booth. During my previous trips I mostly stayed at hostels or any other cheap places while this time we opted for resorts. A prominent reason was that prices in Goa are at ground level during this season. If you ever went to Goa during peak season you must be having an image of beaches filled with shacks, people sunbathing  and playing in water. You will not find any of those activities in rains. It will be secluded, isolated and beautiful.

IMG_20160725_190059702IMG_20160725_145118293Candolim

At Candolim, few people were roaming. Some drenching feet in turbulent waves and others sitting on sands, staring at anchored ships(there were few). After soaking our legs in salty water for few minutes, We moved out towards Anjuna. Curlie’s has always been a wonderful spot to sit, bite, drink and stare at horizon. It was little crowded but we got front seats easily and we never wanted to get up from there. Wonderful music, delicious food, drizzling showers and captivating landscape glued us to the place. Pomfret made in goan spices was icing on the cake..

IMG_20160725_160814561_HDRCurlie’s Anjuna

Today was only about getting the feel of Goa and it was not disappointing definitely. An evening walk near the resort on Calangute beach was the perfect end of the day. Few shacks were open with lesser customers but same excitement. The tranquility of seashore with clouds all over the sky was soothing.

IMG_20160725_191840550Calangute

When we started next morning it was raining cats and dogs from the sky. We started our Dio put on rain coats again and moved towards north again. I never went to Vagator before but geology of the surroundings suggested that rocky shores around Vagator must look most beautiful during rains. As tides were high most of the time. Wild waves were hitting the rocks hard and scattering all over the stones where we were sitting.

IMG_20160726_122416846Rocky Shore at Vagator

Also there were cliffs with a bird eye view of long spread Vagator Beach. Rains dripping down to the sea and sands, made it look like a different world. You will see greenery everywhere during this season. Resorts in the area were good and open. A good place to stay during rains. We were not able to take photographs at many places due to Rain but the feel was ingenuous.

Morjim, Mandrem, Ashwem and Arambol are the beaches we liked most during our on season trip but as of now it was not up to the mark. Water was not clean, Beach was slant so we couldn’t even soak our feet. Not a single shack was open(except at Arambol) but one can go for a drive to see the flora all around.

IMG_20160726_145629124Arambol

We went there all the way and came back getting down at all the beaches for few minutes. Night was a memorable one at Kapriz, a wonderful dinning place near the river with soulful live music setting splendid mood to the air.(Got it from WUG app)

IMG_20160726_220233343.jpgKapriz

Fort Aguada and Sinquerim Beach is divine during the season. Aguada was quite crowded so we went to a walking trail behind the light house.

IMG_20160727_123809316Walking Trail near Fort Aguada

Find out a stone where you can sit, feel the breeze and keep looking at the naive and beautiful nature. You will not know how much time is passed and that is what happened with us. Good thing about Goa is you don’t need to wake up with a plan in your mind. It is spontaneous most of the times. There are so many places to go that each time you will find something new and something will still be left for the next time.

IMG_20160727_133026329Cafe Jazz, Candolim

At Sinquerim we sat for hours again and  then too never felt like returning back. It was hypnotic. Center round structure is a good platform to catch the beauty of the place. Water was splashing over the walls periodically after hitting hard on the walls.

IMG_20160727_155921194IMG_20160727_154702821Old Circular Structure at SiquerimIMG_20160727_150217512_HDRSinquerim Beach

IMG_20160727_154431249_HDRCliff near the Beach

In Panajim our stay was at Afonso Guest House near Church of our lady of the immaculate conception, which itself is a heritage building. Way to Basilica of Bom Jesus was pleasing and  Churches were also very impressive but after spending a very little time we realized it was not our cup  of tea. We returned and kept driving on scenic hilly roads to CM House, High Court and finally ended at a small gem across the river, Reis Magos Fort.

IMG_20160728_173121027_HDRTop of FortIMG_20160728_173559669_HDRArabian Sea from Top

IMG_20160728_174935567View of Panajim from Reis Maagos Fort

Brilliantly renovated place with a wonderful view of Panaji city at one end and Arabian sea at other. You will also get a lot of information about Operation Vijay and history of Goa with preserved news clips and pictures of old time. While returning to Panaji we got a chance to visit a very secluded coco beach which was fishing center at present. It could be a wonderful hide out during peak season.

IMG_20160728_182428364Secluded Coco Beach

Our day trip concluded with a hot Tea, Samosa and Batata Vada at Cafe Bappa in Betim. In evening, We had a walk around Fontainhas, quaint neighborhood. Bright colored Portuguese buildings, lean alleyways, small bridges, glowing churches and floating casinos gives a feel of European architecture. We kept roaming for a while followed by a decent dining at Vivo Panjim, charming small dining corner known for authentic goan dishes.

Rain makes Goa a completely different place, You need to be clear what you have in your mind. You will not get crowded beaches, water sports, shining sun, party nights and modest waving sea but serene seashores, tiny droplets pouring from sky all the time with frequent torrential rain, greenery almost everywhere, wet tempting sea breeze, isolated wild beaches and amazingly beautiful cliffs and ancient wet structures will bring out the explorer hidden inside you.

IMG_20160730_114743066Serene Baga Beach

On our last day we went back to Bardez for shopping and visited Baga to spend some time. I was amazed to see the beauty of the Beach.I never knew that Baga could be so hushed that I will admire it.I never liked it before during day time. It was raining but I couldn’t resist taking above photograph.

I never knew beaches can be this beautiful, tranquil and peaceful. Imagine yourself standing on wet sands while dying waves touching your feet and cold raindrops falling on your skin, gauze spread all around you and salty winds soothing your hair. It reminds you of your existence in this beautiful world. Away from worldly desires and challenges, you become a child, an explorer, a traveler and an admirer. When I was standing there, watching the blur horizon above the sea, listening to the dripping raindrops, breathing the moist air, I was not thinking of anything. We were in a different world for few days and it was mesmerizing.

After buying some souvenirs we started for Vasco Da Gama railway station. When I was moving towards Vasco, looking at abandoned rusted ships on water, near the road, I was missing Goa already.

IMG_20160730_153057882_HDRNear Sankwal Station, From Goa Express 

We boarded our train but excitment was not ended yet. Goa express passes through some breathtaking landscapes which were unfolded multiple times by mist and flora of the hills during this season. Train was moving on serpentine track in between the clouds from tunnel to tunnel. Doodhsagar falls was at its best on the right side of the track and deep green valleys of Nilgiri Hills were on the left side of the track. Finally after spellbinding journey of 2 hours we came down at Londa Junction, had steamy bhaji vada with tea and boarded again for a long journey ahead.

 

It Won’t Be Last

I was sitting in my cabin near window, getting myself ready for a long journey ahead. The cabin was vacant except one middle aged man who was arranging his bed and sheets on the upper berth. I was looking outside on the platform to the vendors, coolies, ticket collectors, passengers in hustle. A young well dressed lad entered my cabin. Frightened and sweating, He sat beside me and talked, explaining how he came from Chandigarh to Delhi and lost his bag on the way. He was left with his phone only.  His home was Pune and he couldn’t even buy tickets to reach there. He asked for money, showing his Facebook profile, giving me his number. He said as soon as he will reach his home, he will transfer the money back to my account. I was in a confusing situation now as his stories and credentials seemed right. I believed it would be a good thing to be useful for a helpless person. To end the dilemma, I drew my wallet out, looking at the middle aged man on the upper berth. He was smiling which made me more uncomfortable. I gave him 1000 bucks. He said it will not be enough for tickets, if I can add more it will serve his purpose. He told me about the next train which will take him to Nagpur and then he will continue his journey from there. I added 500 more. He thanked me twice. I had that wonderful aura which we have after each good deed.

I had a long journey and I kept traveling for next day and night. In between he messaged me twice that how thankful he is for my help and kept informing me about his journey. I was about to reach my destination when I checked his Facebook profile. I saw comments about him being drug addict. After forwarding one or two messages to his friends/relatives I confirmed that he was an addict. His family not granting him so he kept lending money and conning people. I tried to talk to him but his number was switched off. I felt gypped and decided to not repeat such act of kindness. Let them face their destiny, I am not responsible for anyone’s situation. When train reached destination, middle aged man said while stepping down “You did right. To help a forlorn person is better than getting cheated.”. Those words kept repeating inside my head, as I reached at prepaid taxi booth a small girl came, begging for food. Her clothes were torn and hair jumbled.I was fooled, It was the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last but it will not affect human values in me. These values are the virtue which reminds us of being alive and if it will die what will stay. I took her to the vendor and bought food and again I had that wonderful aura which we have after each good deed.

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Opening Line

True Identity

When it comes to defining me I have always been confused. May be because of not knowing me well enough or may be it is onerous to define anyone. The big question is what do we mean by defining a person. Should someone be exemplified by number of degrees? crores earned?fame and glamor? or may be number of good deeds? It  is troublesome to define any individual including one self. I believe all of us have many personalities with in us and each pops out in different surroundings with different person. We define a person the way we see him but that may not be his entire self but a very small segment of his individuality. When I be with my friends we use to talk at nights when lights are off. We use to look at the shades created on the ceiling by street lights and share our deepest thoughts and incidents which never comes out otherwise. I have seen them fighting for an irrelevant issue and I have also seen them crying alone during prayers. I can define them because I know them to the nth degree as an individual, not just a chunk of their existence. Often we delineate others for their imperfect characters with small interactions but that may not be their actual personality. A cruel and barbarous dacoit can be the best father a son can have. A domineering and irrational boss can be a modest and helping member of his society.  A poor and spurned fruit vendor can be a very good manager of his house.

Once when I started working with an organisation I had to meet with one of the senior maintenance electrician of the factory. Normally they have their free will to work as they know many things can not be done without them and they are immune to any outcome of their ignorance. I went to him and my first impression was intimidating. He was scary with the grunting expressions; He was watching me as a tiny intruder who has disturbed his solace. I tried to avoid his scary stare and slowly moved towards the log book without making any noise. I saw logbook on the corner of the table and tried to slip it towards me. Suddenly his broad arm crashed over the log book like a cougar holding his hunt. There were two choices I had; One to bring my ego out and start resisting him and another to suppress it, respect his experience and try to make him realize that he is the owner. I am not. I left the logbook and smiled maliciously, looked at him hiding discomfort and trying to spread positive vibes.

“Where?”

His voice was lazy, heavy and authoritative.

“My shift engineer has asked for it. Please. I will make sure to return it back”

He smiled back, lifted his arm and started talking smoothly. Thereafter whenever I went to electrical workshop he used to smile at me. It has always been a pleasing experience seeing him, sometimes we even ended up singing together. The only thing which happened there with a teeny smile was I came to know about another prospective of him as a person. I realized then that one small smile can make big differences and avoid never-ending clashes between two individuals, groups or nations. 

Broadly every indivdual has two basic personalities. One is hard outer shell which consist of aggressive characteristics like anger, ego, cruelty etc. Another is soft human part hidden & protected inside that tough outer shell. The real character comes out when someone touches that mellow human inside him. May be it is not easy to break that strong chassis and get inside someone but once it is done you will see the true spirit of him who is innocent as a child and impartial as a  good king. It is good to be stiff, aggressive and self-centred sometimes. It is must to have that fortified layer to protect the soft human spirit but let that layer be thin for others. Let them see the true existence of yours and let them know how good a human you are.

After talking much about human nature let us try to have an insight. Let me try to find out what defines me best. When I go out I see many faces in the posters, magazines & hoardings. I listen around me that they are idol for the whole society but I never felt like being one of them. I don’t want to be in posters or huge monumental castles. I want to live among people. I want to enjoy with the crowd. I want to be an audience not a luminary. I don’t want to be remembered by the whole world as a successful great personage who has earned a lot of fame or money. A handful group of people remembering me as a good human from deep their heart will serve the purpose of my life. I don’t want to be greeted with hundreds of them day and night. I just want to be with that one person who makes me feel special and I want to make her feel special. I don’t want to live alone in a skyscraper admiring the paintings and showpieces I have bought which many other wanted to buy. I want to live in a small house where we share our thoughts with evening tea and admire the beauty of life. I don’t want to attend those shining gala parties full of forged greetings and concerns in those spellbinding hotels. I want to have a dinner with my small family where we share our food and don’t need to bother whether my spoon is clinking with my plate or not. 

I don’t want to be a good actor, entrepreneur or politician I just want to be a good son, good husband, good father, good friend and most of all a good human. I don’t need to prove it to anyone but me that I am a noble person and I never hurt anyone. I know I am a fighter and I am fighting my whole life accomplishing my family commitments. I know I am a leader and I am leading my family towards a better future, making my children a better human. For me success is about patronising human values. When I can inspire thousands with my way of living. When I can make them feel proud; Not with the precious collections I own which will get evaporated one day with the blink of an eye but the true virtue of being a human which can never be gone, never be stolen and never be killed. I want to define myself as a human who keep walking in spite of hundreds of hurdle produced by life. Who keep holding others in spite of all the efforts made by fortune to separate them. Who is ready to love in spite of getting hurt repeatedly. Who is ready to help in spite of getting tricked again and again. After all humanity is what makes me human and it is what defines me best.

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