Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Travel : Memory of The 'Eye of the Tiger'

i am attempting to make a permanent memory but wait a minute can memories be made or one just has to be there where memories are made?
Am i making sense...

For a change i want to talk less but can i talk less that is THE question.

i don't know how others feel but i will be totally faking it if i say i took this trip and , " Boy!! what a swell trip it was...the resort...the wildlife...the safari...food...nature. Wallah!! it was so refreshing. i did a bang on the buck trip...feel so refreshed...rather rejuvenated...raring to go...planning my next one...overseas now !!..."

On the contrary i always come back with a feeling of loss and not wanting to travel for the heck of it.

It will be wrong to say that the trip did not make me happy or did not give me a change of scenario or pace but none of those aforesaid tall claims really apply to me.
i leave the hotel sulking within myself, irritable, feeling a sense of having missed on the more juicier and essential important parts. Like i have just barely touched the surface and seen so less and known even lesser, learnt about the place the least.

i wish i could do that. The way i see many of the foreign tourists do. Hats off to them and it's really inspiring to see them moving around the filthy sometimes and crowded other times by lanes and remote corners with ease knowing so much that we fellow residents of our own country don't know. They chose a place and linger around. Hover around for days consulting maps, asking and moving around, observing routines and hence not only do they savor the richness of our culture but return to their land and their hectic life style rather bounce back all energized and rich with a sufficient dose of their experiences. Dissipating stories in the form of a new language learnt if not an entire new language but important words...few sentences, some favorite recipes, anecdotes, pictures, souvenirs, small gifts for near and dear ones, collected with a keen and appreciative eye for art and the hard day's labor involved. The entire potpourri thus forming a concoction of some sweet and sour memory soup for the lonesome soul when the time comes when one sits and wants to dwell in that solitude.
Quite an exhilarating education.

Can't vouch for my candour but here but i am attempting on a micro level to cling on to something. The fact of the matter being i don't take vacations. We make trips to tick it off on our seen- this -place list. Much that i detest the packaged tours that make you stand in front of say a place like Louvre in Paris and give you a limited 45 - 1 hr to do it i land up making my own tours just the same.
So it is then i needn't go on ranting why i feel that sense of just touching the surface and not knowing any more of the interesting bits to cherish and remember but just the pictures of those world famous monuments.
i try my level best to and that's why i keep talking to people i meet. Because i want to create my own soup for the soul memories.

God alone knows how or why some get impressed and want me to write a travel blog when i am one frustrated and always dissatisfied with my journey's end traveler.
Some ask and in my enthusiasm i talk and express animatedly but honestly what i KNOW.
i guess more than my travel knowledge people get impressed at my knowledge of certain bare minimal facts. And those can easily and without traveling be acquired by reading and surfing the internet. Anyone who reads however has more facts on her fingertips than real experiences. No travel science this...

i know while looking at my exuberant emotive face people get ideas. A photographer par excellence once told me that i have a very expressive face so i must use my resources and try to be an actor.

So maybe my explanations leads them to believe that i am one amazing traveler who needs to be consulted to for great travel itineraries before planning a tour.
All i can remember of myself as one disgruntled traveler who is almost feeling hopeless due to sheer exhaustion and chaos of images a mish mash of which was seen where, the panic of rushing to see this and that in a manner that nothing on the list is missed and not really lingering enough to relax and enjoy and there was no refreshing, rejuvenating new learning at all. Not a bit of it.
Sigh !!

Wish i could take a backpack and really lose myself in one such world where no body knew i existed as a flesh to be leered at and lusted upon. Where none bothers me with a silly, '' Halo Mam!! from Amayricaa...coming!!...".
i wish there was a place where i could roam around freely without being pestered, to learn more to know more and to grow more. Learn by moving around observing quietly sometimes and asking other times. Stay long enough to participate and know a bit of the local language too.
For that is the only way i can ever feel young and so very alive and raring to go on another trip ASAP.

i wish i could just get up and go and no one wants to get fresh with me seeing that i am a WOMAN and that too on my OWN.
Where i am safe and without worry.
That if i leave my stuff on the ground and move ahead a distance just clicking pictures of rocks, trees, thistles, those wildflowers i never saw before or even chase a butterfly or perhaps a bird my lovely favorite travel bag with easy pockets to hold my knick knacks would not be pilfered away. The thick bag having my extras...lenses...money...hotel keys, most importantly my Phone and my Tickets and everything that i would need to take me back when i am done with, will all be where it was and there would not be shadows in the bushes waiting first to pounce on me after having taken my bag away.

This place i went to last time like i said before i made the best of time and rushed to to see this and see that. Every night was a slumber of exhaustion because my list had it all. Forts, Cenotaphs, Lakes, Royal Enfield Temple, Demoiselle Cranes, Desert Safari, Bishnoi Village, Parks both desert and non desert.
The entire day would feel so tiresome but how could i miss those restaurants in the evenings that too had to be done.
Barring excepting one day the dinner on all days also felt like some sort of my uff- to- do list.
i wish i could stay there for more. i wished i hovered long enough to experience it for myself at a easy relaxed but enjoyable pace. Get some great education too what books and tour guides fail to provide.
Feel the surface, and go through what lies beneath the layers that some personal rendezvous shower us with.

Also definitely i wanted to know how it feels like being within a veil 24/ 7. Probably yes lifting it and keeping it aside only during the time when one bathed or slept but otherwise seeing the world through a veil. Georgette sometimes, Voile other times.  Dull/faded or  colored /vibrant and new, plain or ornate whatever but one that would drop right above the chest and hang. Rather dangle like a sloppy and flimsy colorful hood.

Instead i spent the entire first part of my last day of a three and a half day's itinerary in this place which forms a part of the fort there.
Can't much say that it gave me any solace but rather after spending the maximum amount of time there the itch turned into a sore.
i had to catch my train which eventually after ticking off a to do on my list i did that same evening but the sore kept getting bigger and felt burning and hurting.

i wished i could have stayed even one day enough to befriend one among those. Lifted one of the among those veils and asked if she has ever felt the free breeze on her face. Or would she help me do a cameo. Let me pretend to do the act for a few days along with her just to get the experience.
How it feels like to see everything...right from the faces of your own husband, kids, in-laws,  to doing all the domestic chores...even watching TV..how does it feel like doing it all from behind a screen.
i wanted to know if she felt like leaving her hair open and roaming freely with all her jewelry about her decorating her but letting nature throw some light on those beautiful jewelry that she wore.
That she is sacred and meant only for her husband and no one else is understood but how does she feel being all covered up all the time.
In her partition of her hair...in her ear and nose...around the neck.
Does she feel like roaming around with all that sans the veil. i wanted to ask her. Or has she become used to this feeling of all tied up. For without it she might feel naked..perhaps even nude. Yeah i wanted to ask her that too.
Maybe it is winter and it feels okay. i wanted to know how well does her kind manage it in summers. When the temperatures may range anywhere between 42-45 deg C in the shade.

What could i ask her for the limited time i had.
i was only informed about her child's name. Actually both her children. One who was singing along rather just too brilliantly for her age in chorus clapping in rhythm to the folk song, the daughter ' Aarti ' and the thick kohl eyed infant baby boy the one who was in her lap ' Anil'.
Aarti will be dressing up the same way said the father when she would be going to her 'Saasdrey'. ( In Laws home after she is married).

The woman behind that pale faded yellow and red Bandhani ghoonghat my God she was so beautiful.
And here i am creating memory of her silver Bor Tika, her kohl lined hazel eyes and a beautiful mole that was there just above the right side of her lips. The eyes that sparkled with something i could not figure out then. For i did not see her smile at me. i just saw the eyes and remember the feelings that emanated from those kohl lined hazel eyes. And because we city breds are used to such fake plasantries i did feel my enthusiasm slacken for a bit for the look reminded me of something. But i did not let the feeling distract me from making my friendship with lil Anil and the elder Aarti. Much later on my drive back to my heritage hotel it brainstormed. i knew what that look was.i have seen it in pictures.The look was that of a tiger or a tigress i should say. In reality i have never seen a tiger/ tigress close enough to know those eyes. Yes but i have seen pictures of it and a slight shiver made me goose pimply all over.Then recollected also that circle piece of silver that she had round her neck.When with her husband's permission i lifted her veil and peered in slanting my face. It was then my own hat had slid from it's proper place and hung sloppily pulling my hair and making a mess of it all. The shot...had fate intervened and delayed the shot. i guess when i had specifically asked for that particular shot when i lifted her veil and looked at her beautiful fair but olive color skin with hazel green eyes.
So many shots were taken but not one has THE lifting of the ghoonghat...
How is that possible???

All i have is a series of shots in which her veil/ ghoonghat which was loosely hanging before pulled back in a disciplinarian manner on all the more and she has re-adjusted her shawl around her. Covered herself further as i see myself getting happily chirpily busy first with her son and then her daughter.

i am noticing...analyzing and mulling over the predicament of the situation only now because then i got distracted. Someone toothless...someone pure and innocent was smiling at me. Clapping, singing slowly teaching me lines...jad jad dehoon main baneri laal peeli ankhiyan....  ( In Rajasthan Rajput guys are called as ' Banna ' . This song depicts the feeling of a Rajput Girl who is angry with her groom and on the snapping edge of her tethers because her husband is trying to make her scared looking angrily at her to which she says that whenever i see your anger filled eyes I am not scared of them . . . :)

Well in the train i stayed up late while all slept. Read my book for quite sometime but mainly  thinking about 'Her' and all those just dressed like her in the Havelis and those private 'blue' houses that i saw. The picture of her eyes and that of the tiger kept flashing in the mind's eye.
i then decided to revisit the place once again maybe sooner than it becomes a never.
i have to be back for more questions.
i said  that to myself before i drifted into not a quite restful sleep that the chugging along the tracks train usually gives me ...

Well today i have just unpacked my travel bag...and this is the first that tumbled out...Zoochosis
And just in case you are wondering what it means then let me confess i stumbled upon it while doing a traveling of another kind at :

                                                              Also pls do not miss this which little Aarti tried to sing and teach me... and i knew it if not all but the first two lines of it...listen to it and imagine lilttle Aarti singing it....

                                   1.  Bor-" Rajasthani women adorn themselves starting from their forehead upto the toe. Rajasthan has a long tradition of ornaments for the forehead. The bor is usually placed right in the middle of the forehead, or as is the sir-maang that is worn only in the parting of the hair, or be in the shape of a headband like the mathapatti. The bor or rakhdi, which is also known as a ghundi or borla adorns the centre of the forehead, at the hairline. It is made of either gold or silver and its shape is generally spherical, however it can sometimes have a flat top. The designs are usually created on the surface through the procedure of granulation. On its sides and back these are provisions for attaching other ornaments also. The bor, is sometimes, made in a combination of lac and gold metal. A small tube is attached to the front of the sphere. Sometimes colourful beads are usually threaded on the curved face of the ornament. A fine chain called the tidibalka adorns below the bor forming a semi-circular frame for it. The bor is an essential symbol of marriage and is worn only after the wedding rituals are completed. It is presented to the bride by her husband's family and is worn everyday for as long as she remains a married woman." 
                             2.  "Bandhani is a type of tie-dye practiced mainly in the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat, India. The term bandhani is derived from the Sanskrit word banda ("to tie"). Bandhani is also known as Bandhej or Tie Dye or Bandhni or Bandana, etc. as per the regional pronunciation."

                                3. Ghoonghat-"In Northern India, a ghoonghat (ghunghat or jhund) is a veil or headscarf worn by women to cover their head, and often their face. Generally a pallu (the loose end of a sari) is pulled over the head to act as a ghunghat. A dupatta (long scarf) is also sometimes used as a ghungat/ ghoonghat. In ghungat, a woman will veil her face from all men to whom she's related by marriage and who are senior to her husband. This would include, for example, her husband's father, elder brother and uncles. The effect of ghungat is to limit a young woman's interaction with older men."

Image courtesy: Photo pics first and the second one are personal and rest have been borrowed from the internet for this blog and explanation of terms only. Hope owners of the pics will not mind...when i have time i shall come back and post the site from where i took it.


  1. This was like an assortment of chocolates in a little packet.The place of colours and mystery.your writeup left me melancholic and at the same time i kept imagining myself dancing at the rythem of "jab dekhu ri banna........".Thanks for letting us know about some of it.

    1. Thank you sis for stopping by...i was dying to share all...especially jad jad dekhoon baneri laal peeli with you. Now get ur two tapping feet going...choreograph it and later teach me...that is when we meet. Let's dance to this number. Later u know what we have to do with that vdo. Hugzzz and :) :) :)
      Also don't forget the word Zoochosis...

  2. Its briliant blog having awesome pictures.

  3. @ Chandra Raman thank u honey for taking time out from ur hectic office work. Quite a pleasant surprise to see u here. That u like my pics...u know what u have to do next...