Friday, 11 October 2013

When the stars stared at us

Ever since I watched ‘ lion king’ I have always wanted to lie down beneath the open sky and stare up at the stars above… it was a beautiful sight when the little simba does that in the movie. Well my childish dream came true in Pushkar desert in Rajasthan. That was a part of our desert safari and we were told to sleep in the open sky while the stars may watch us sleep.  That was the 8th hilarious day in our 14 days all India trip. We were 34 in total… all very  young and adventurous… on our mission was  to discover the ‘Incredible India’. The surprise of the night was not only that… before sleeping, the natives  who were our  hosts, served us with a sumptuous maharajah meal ,consisting of plain rice, delicious dal and a‘chappatibonda’, but the interesting part was the finishing dessert ‘malpua’, a mouth watering dish that one should never miss.

The second maharajah meal was at Karim’s Restaurant ,New Delhi .People say that late Emperor Akbar’s cook is running the restaurant . The Mughalai experience was so delicious and memorable. Especially when a group of south Indian girls impatiently wait for the meal after travelling for one and half days by  train and saving up the stomach since morning for this auspicious ‘meal of the day’.We sat there impatiently waiting for our order while we chit chatted in the only language we were all thorough with, which is Malayalam while the people around us stared probably wondering  whether we are eating a meal for the first time in years.


At Karim’s, Delhi

Travelling is not always as merry as they say. Delhi Connaught Place is  a spot  I shall never forget . This is the place where my friend almost got lost in the metro station. I remember how much our adrenaline shot up at that moment. With little  knowledge of the place we were in and with our ridiculous knowledge in Hindi, for a moment we thought we are all done here. But luckily the fate was on our side and she joined us soon to our relief.

I didn’t  know what a darga was until I visited one .The one and only famous Ajmer Darga. What even more fascinated me is the road and crowd that led to the place. The streets were overflowing with people, a thousand activities taking place at a time apart from all these there were many  people  with special needs begging in the midst which was a very 'peculiar’ sight to see. There were crippled people rolling on their backs as they had neither hands nor legs. Such unpleasant sights are unusual to find in normal life even though throughout India it is not something uncommon. Inside the darga  it was very interesting to see how so many people of different creeds and faith came there.It amazed me when the devotees whether they be Hindu, Muslim,sikh or jain , were so preoccupied with worshiping or doing their rituals and ceremonies that they never care for any other activity happening around them. The place seemed to be like a Mecca in India.

The first time I tasted Kulfi was in Jaipur. I have heard about this delicious ice cream from some of my dear friends at school who happened to be coming from these parts of the country. Jaipur is a large city that have a rich history of past glories and wars. NowI know why the Indian Rajas are so famous throughout the world. The palaces are astonishingly huge and stunning and hats off to the masterminds who were behind those magnificent  palaces and forts.

View from Amer Fort to MaotaLake,Jaipur

Marble carved ceiling in Birla Temple, Jaipur

Jaipur shopping was a big experience. It was interesting how the shopkeepers cunningly convince us to buy from their shops and the way they advertise their goods… for a moment you think it is too good to be a lie. We walked through the streets at night in the busy bazaar area , and sometimes we had to stop for our friends who had trouble with their stomach which is usual at times during travel. Some of us unfortunately had to spend a good amount of their time in washrooms alone during the trip… and jokingly some of us say to them that it was All India Toilet Trip giving special consideration to the train toilets alone!!

Trains… even after few days coming back from the trip I could recall the train noises and feel myself as though I am sitting in the train while I am not…There were coolie waallas who walk to and fro with the container in their hand for tea,coffee and soup. I never thought train travelling would be a pleasure and nightmare at the same time. We didn’t have reserved seats at all when we booked our tickets. That means we had to sweat a lot with our heavy luggage and worst, two people were allotted per berth, and we were split among many compartments along with strangers.  But the plus side was that we travelled across rivers and paddy fields and the remote areas of central India which we could enjoy from the window and had the pleasure of meeting fellow travellers… who gossiped about anything in their life right from their daughter’s in-law house problems to their colleagues'  heart disease.

The chudi Bazaar surrounding Char minar is another wonder itself standing next to the big Indian wonder itself. Where ever I looked, the place was  all glittering and shining with bangles. There is so much noise and people like any other city. The variety of bangles they display at each shopper marvellous and we liked their prices too which were very cheap.

View from Golconda Fort to the Hyderabad city at the backdrop

Going to Ramoji film city was another tick to my bucket list.There was a replica of Eiffel tower and TajMahal,we strolled along the Japanese gardens, Mughal palaces,rode through European street sand what more, we were inside an aeroplane except that it was made of thermocol!! All at the same place in the same day!!

Eiffel Tower in Ramoji, Hyderabad

By the end of my travel I was struck by the stark contrast between the southern and northern india.The country is vividly rich in culture and tradition and one cannot help but admit the beauty of the nation.I did have a big time talking in hindi the whole time. For the entire trip right from the start I didn’t have any option except to talk in hindi. ‘Bhaisaab… thodakamkaro ..’ turned to be my favourite line after my shopping experience. I wonder how many shopkeepers and vendors had a good time laughing about the language that I managed to speak to them. At times I could see them smile through the curve of their mouth which means I just have blurted out a big blunder.Still when I sit back and relax in my room I would drift myself back in to the one and only all India trip we ever had.

By the niece

1 comment:

  1. a mini waltz through what i believe was a fun experience...keeps one yearning to hear more :) :)