Oh Istanbul !!

When we booked tickets to Istanbul, I knew something magical was brewing for times to come up. The magic that promised of oriental charms and sights, of a cultural trip different from anything I have experienced yet, of delicacies, of sumptuous buffets and mezze, of dope coffee and cay. And of course of baklava.

I was in class 9th when one of my cousins visiting from the USA, bought baklava while at transit in Istanbul. My sweet tooth knew this will be one of the choicest sweets from outside India, I would be relishing in years to come.

For our first two days, we booked a hotel in the heart of Istanbul, in Fatih, Literally 5 minutes walk from Sultanahmet – the blue mosque. Slowly we fought 12 hrs flight and time zone difference, and undefeated loitered around the area. We found rasta bazaar, which was a miniature version of Grand Bazaar, we saw tourists thronging benches between Hagia Sophia and the blue mosque. There was a seller selling roasted chestnuts and corn, we opted for former and were not disappointed.

chestnuts

Albeit to our surprise, coming from the tropical island, we underestimated the weather and had to venture out to buy jacket/sweatshirts. We got 2-way ticket to Aksaray and were promptly guided to a nearby mall by locals. It was pleasant to be outside the tourist district, and have a feel of local life in Istanbul. We ended up buying some fresh fruits (cherries and almonds). After an hour or two, we hired a cab back to our hotel, too tired to walk back to the tram station (T1 line, as its popularly called there).

Next day we had time till lunch to explore Istanbul, before catching a flight to Capadoccia. I entrusted my confidence with “the Museum of Turkish and Islamic art “. We two were the first ones to get into the museum at 9 am and had the whole lobby and all the antiquities exclusive to us. We admired begone era of Turkey, its journey, meandering through its corridors of past. I was pleasantly surprised to see Prophet Mohammed relics in the museum. We ended with a vista greeting us with the view of Sultanahmet. Of course, photography ensued.

Thus we ended our first leg of Istanbul visit.

After flying out from istanbul on Turkish airlines, and catching this amazing pic of Bosphorous Striats dividing Asia and European part.

For next 6 days we would be visting rest of Turkey. On our 6th day, we caught a flight from Izmir to Istanbul. This time we were staying in the modern corner of Istanbul, 5 mins walk from Taksim Square in chic Ramada hotel. Most of the group was tired from the journey and slept off after lunch. But sleep eluded me, and I ventured out to find famed Galata Tower. I queried at the reception desk, and the receptionist said something called “Istiklal Street”. I could not found Istiklal Street somehow on google maps and ended up doing a 2 km walk across the Bosphorus to Galatasaray. When I took the climb up from the main street, the presence of touristy shops on both side signaled the approach of Galata Tower. And few steps down the cobbled pathway, there it stood – the Galata Tower adorned with a long serpentine queue of tourists vouching for a 360-degree view of Istanbul. I took some obligatory pics from the camera, and walked away from it, happy to have discovered it on my own, and now sleepy from waking up early to catch that Izmir-Istanbul flight. I took a cab back to the hotel, and saving myself extended meter costs thanks to google maps when the aged driver almost took a wrong turn to get some more Lira.

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The lazarus effect?

28 June 2016

1515 hrs

He woke up two hours earlier than usual nine o’clock, and after hanging around in a bed for a while, thought he should submit that travel insurance claim for broken and water logged camera. The claim form asked for original receipt, which meant getting that black box of Fujifilm out and dusting it off only to find unfilled warranty card, and no sight of bill. That would be bad, he haplessly hovered with on-off button of now defunct camera body.

It had served him well, when he bought it right before his trip to Ladakh , three years back. It caught glorious landscapes, impossible clouds and pink flushed cheeks of Buddhist monk kids. He started to get hang of its function, came back to Singapore to be charade by his friends – photography gurus- of having shot everything with  exceedingly high ISO. Only then he realized that mirror less camera have behemoth ISO of 25,600.

Next he got to Paris,France on an official trip , he was able to snuck in his faithful camera among corporate luggage and snuck out for Church of Notre Dame , Shakespeare and company , reflections of Eiffel tower in water puddles and one and half winged sculpture in Louvre. The zoom lens became his favourite, sending him to places inaccessible, top of Louvre, or zooming in to unaware streets buskers.

 

Next he got amazing pictures of his cousins marriage and tried it out in his hometown, most ancient city of world , to catch the glory of sun rising over ganga. Soon he would take it around absolute corners of world, getting roman colosseum, or capturing couple reading at Roma Termini, and the gigantic Bruneschelli architecture marvel of Florence cathedral, an Italian wedding in Cortona, Tuscany.

And then he got chance to mend his ISO mistakes, with yet another version of Ladakh, only this time it was Scottish Highlands. The verdant green , and its lochs and other worldly landscapes promised him ample photographic adventure. He started off to Isle of Skye from Glasgow, and after twelve hours of bus journey, followed by 30 minutes’ walk , and 20 minutes hitchhike from generous Scottish young couple from Inverness in old red model of Audi two door automobile. He reached Kingsburg, some 15kms from central village of Portree. And beautiful it was, with a loch at the end of horizon, sheep pens and a small stream and 4-5 cottages. Just what he had hoped from Skye. Long endless blue skies, marked by greens and azure blues of Lochs.

 

Next day he embarked on a 8 hours round trip of Skye, since doing it solo on foot or bike looked impossible in one day. He staggered and resisted the urge of climbing Old man of Storr , and just being fulfilled with a view from down next to mini bus. What else can one expect from tours like these ?

The kilt falls were just okayish , rather the bagpiper was more enthralling to his camera eyes and bagpiper’s bagpipe to his ears. They continued down and up, and finally to Quairaig , it was misty, and rain hung in heavens above waiting to come down, the chill of winds was agonizing yet beautiful, and the mountains above and below and his levels added to dreamy escape , and unadulterated panoramic view all the way to horizon.

Then came fairy glens, followed by Neist Point and then came Fairy Pools – one that have caused this whole write-up. He walked down the hill through fields with girl from Los Angels and dentist from Australia , explaining pros and cons of being in Singapore to the American. The fairy pools ensued, and he marvelled at transparent water which hung over rocks like ether, and bunch of Scottish kids plunging in chilly water. His tour guide had given him small water bottle, do taste the water, you will live for hundred years !!

 

He found a miniature waterfall enough to get his bottle filled, he bent down, about to place his right leg firmly. That was the moment he remembered , him bending down with water bottle, with Beth – American next to him , and dentist bit far behind, cold of the air.

Next moment he was in that freezing cold water. He slipped over precarious and slippery algae, his right foot and hiking boots never found the grip they wanted. Neck deep and paddling vigorously he realized what a disaster it had been, he managed to took off his promised waterproof jacket , Beth gave her a hand, but he calmly handed her jacket first, and then tried to rise up. But the rocks around were high , and there was no grip to be found, for a moment he remembered his rock climbing lessons, and tried to get a firm footing on a rock ledge, underwater, but its slippery even underwater !

A good Samaritan finally gave him his hand , and he emerged from the fairy pool, not a single drop of fairy water on his taste buds, and yet neck deep in the pool. Those fairies were naughty for sure, or just snatched his century opportunity ?

He stood there, shivering in windy eight degrees, with his three layers already lying on rocks, his camera gave away, with a strong crack on its lens. iPhone flickered for a while and then slept off, and he …he just stood there saddened at loss of picture and camera. Dentist came back and assured him he could still get travel insurance and promised him a ginger ale , “since you don’t drink beer anymore” when they were back at Portree.

 

Fast forward 28 days, and today morning, he was haplessly trying out on-off button. He thought of giving it a try with a battery pack, and lo and behold it switched on. He could not contain his happiness, it was “the promised waking up of Lazarus, as if jesus had healed it”….and with tunes of Oasis “you and me are gonna live forever”, he started his day , knowing his camera was back.

PS : for those who are unaware of the story of Lazarus, it comes from John 11:1-44,New Living Translation (NLT).

http://christianity.about.com/od/newtestamentpeople/a/JZ-Lazarus.htm

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Of piccolo latte and OCD traveller …

He thought to himself, may be for today the espresso should be enough. Consequently he skipped the daily pilgrimage to local Singaporean coffee shop, which served kopi C. He was about to cross over starbucks , when thought of piccolo latte stopped him. He turned around, still unsure of what the said latte is referred to as in this part of world.

A week back in England, Bath to be exact, he had hard time explaining Starbucks barista , what is a piccolo latte. He was served some stupid double shot mixed with milk, and then only the senior barista realized its called Piccino. http://www.starbucks.co.uk/menu/beverage-list/espresso-beverages/piccino

Nonetheless he tried to, apparently interning barista , that he wanted this piccolo latte, and she was like latte , how many shots ? Which glass ?

He did not want to take chances on first morning coffee , and rushed out blabbering forget it.

– It’s better to go to my regular café , at least they know what a piccolo latte is ?

He doubted Howard Schultz original idea of bringing in the Italian coffee experience to the world through starbucks. He never liked starbucks coffee atleast the regular ones were like drinking loads of warm milk, enough for bathing Shiva in Shavaratri, and then a meagre hint of coffee. It was more of marketing and branding probably , or may be he was just another coffee snob.

– Hey good morning, I never got chance to ask you how was your holiday ?

–  Well I ended up being in Scotland for most part of fifteen days. I think Scotland is much better than England.

– Not bad. So the alone part of trip or the one with family

-That one is hard, I liked both one.

While he was planning vacations, he was dreading the family trip, having been away from home for years, and recently getting used to backpacking and qualifying for OCD traveller, who does not wants to miss anything. But it turned out to be quite well, the family vacation.

So … now its some payment application code waiting for him, and his faithful double shot coffee.

 

 

Cote d’azur Part II

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Marseille

Initially when I arrived at Marseilles airport first thought was to dude lets explore this thing, after all this was only place I had heard about before barring Nice and Monte Carlo. Also the word was around that they have anointed Marseille as 2013 European capital of culture. Yet as it happened I moved to La Ciotat and it was just an tangential touchdown. Little did I know, yeah I know I tend to overuse this phrase, that I would get ample opportunity to explore this city.
It started with quest across the old city, La Paine ___ , only sad thing the instructions were in French. I somehow managed to use english and latin etymology. In France you would never fail to notice graffitti and coming from Singapore where you get caned for graffiti this was a true wah-lau moment for me !!
Too bad that I cant leave this post to be finished as photo essay, bloody technology upgrade to iOS 7, made me loose my pics. #Laments And all I have now is social media album and whatsapp. Nonetheless, #RegainsEnthusiasm , I decide to be unperturbed by these hiccups.

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It was also awesome feeling to see catch Ulysses and his some twin brothers, <I wanna go to Dublin… on Joyce’s day >. The quest took longer than expected and left me drained with that sweet pain in legs, and yet I proceeded to newly opened Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (MuCEM)  http://www.mucem.org/#.
Well it wasnt exactly a museum but more of architecture museum, made to likes of an old Mediterranean town. And voilà ! it felt like that. It offered majestic view of the vieux port and palace for Napoleon’s mistress across the small strait that ended in Mediterranean. And of-course the highest zenith in Marseille, Church the Notre-Dame de la Garde

 

MuCEM-shadows

Aix en Provence

They say that its city of fountains, well there were fountains at every square but…
The whole city had an aura of peace, and a long history dating back to 425 BC, no wonder its the capital of Provence. We happened to chance upon the saturday market, and it was great seeing folks coming in their station wagons and putting up temporary stalls. We reached bit late and most of the stalls were packing up. We proceeded to lively part of the Aix-en-provence, yes you guessed it right – old city !
I would have described the french crepe we had, but I think I can capitalize on it for another blog post. You see most of the time I am lacking ideas to jot down and travel gives you a lot to write about. So why not ?

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Baux en Provence
Hmmm….baux-en-Provence, pronounced ___ . The old gang turned up after initial “dude we were going to Cassis, we even got the boat reserved. ” But alas it was Aix-en-Provence and baux-en-provence. And I know no one is lamenting about Cassis now.
There was this castle on top of a hill, and it was a beginning to feel like a deja-vu after eze. But lo and behold, what do we see !! Trebuchet ! No fucking way, it’s a real trebuchet !! The feelign that age of empires fan would get seeing a real life Trebucher is undescriable. It was single nasty piece of weapon that sent shudder across opponent’s army.
-He has got swarm of Trebuchets, we are royally screwed.
And as if Trebucher wasnt enough we saw other weaponeries, (aaarghh my lost pics #Laments). The view from the top was uber and all we could see was farms which would produce, huile-de-olive ____
All hail the mightiest strategy multiplayer game of all times, Age of empires !!

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Some more villages…
On our way back to Marseille aeroport, we had lot of time to kill, so why not explore adjoining areas. We were able to catch Calas-Cabries and Les Pennes Mirabeau, but nothing great about them to jot down. Calas had a small, like really small castle on top with a courtyard and in Les Pennes we did not even bother to get down.

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 Marseille Aeroport

And then return flight from airport, and Starbucks did not offer free wi-fi, infact no wi-fi at all. Huh ! Managed on 20 mins of free airport wireless and half hearted attempt to change MAC ID for a renewed session, and 20 minutes are kinda enough for chatting on viber/whatsapp/gTalk.  How ubiquitous communication has become in this age (:

Cote d’azur – Part I


Although I am not aiming this blog to be a travel blog, yet there are already quite a few travel posts so heck with it. Let logic prevail.
Bonjour !
So lets start with …hmmm…either I stick to Asia or move across seas to azur water of Mediterranean. Chronologically Asia should come first but heck !!

  • Marseille aeroport

omitted…

  • La Ciotat

To be covered later …

  • Cannes 

Nay I did not cover Cannes (!!), for obvious commercial reasons.

– Show me French countryside, I had enough of urban landscapes in Asia.

But then manged to send a cinephile friend a postcard, talk of vicarious deeds…

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  • Antibes

Actually I did not expect, Antibes (pronounced Awn-teeb) to be that much of touristy affair, but surprisingly it was. Old Antibes, yeah there is always an old city in French riviera. And still I am still rationalizing that why I skipped Musee Picasso. #Laments
Frankly speaking,( umm writing) I was lying around on my fat ass, chatting around, sipping wine, relishing rava idle (!!)  for the hospitality was great, I ain’t complaining.

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  • Juan les Pins

Pronounced (Joo-Ahn … Not Juan). Even this will fall under great hospitality, but me and AOE fan managed around the old city in a car. But the beach was awesome, and stony, and windy, and panoramic and with possibility of scuba diving,  the last part ‘died a wet death’, time was not very keen on waiting for me.

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Ohh it had a library named after Albert Camus.

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  • Nice 

Well to sum it up, Nice was nice 😉
I was beginning to see the pattern for cote d’azur. There is impossible blue Mediterranean, a high vantage point, chateau de Nice in this case, and then the major tourist attraction, the old city !!
the coastline was pretty pretty (okay…no more stupid wordplays), and yeah how could I miss that french cuisine. And today even after 3 weeks of gorging, binging and gluttony, if I managed to loose weight, its worth mentioning isnt it ?
there was this Socca, italian dish which was huile d’olive version of desi besan ka chila, which by the way was sunday special dish during school days. And then these folks made me eat Lebanese, not that I am lamenting for there was awesome poulet___, viva la chicken !!

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Dear Bangkok, although it was just three night stand with you , yet I fell in love with you. Until I am back to you…

Day 0 : Sinagapore to Bangkok

The best fridays are the ones when you know you are flying of to a another country. Despite the usual immense workload, we all managed to get through the last weekday, and with FTW  in bold , the backpackers at Changi.  It was 2200 flight, I was looking for distraction, it was still too early to take “India Unbound” out. Changi never fails me, the new distraction was  – a symphony of tropical raindrops.

http://m.changiairport.com/terminal1/

Well after long 3 hrs Bangkok greeted us. We hovered above the city for like 20 minutes, and man it looked amazing from ‘such great heights‘.  It looked like a metropolitan anatomy laid bare. There were veins glowing with yellow and white lights, with intermittent patches of darkness. Tourist-anatomist in me was delighted to know that he would be trudging these arterial roads and street soon.

Day 1

One simply does not skip the breakfast buffet at any tourist trip. It was sumptuous, aligning with the old saying  ‘…eat like a king’.

Being a group of seven, we hired the big mercedes mini van, and launched our journey to outskirts of Bangkok. To – Damnoen Saduak floating market. Riding around the bit dirty canals in a boat,  with hot humid weather did not deter our excitement. The hustle and bustle, the traffic, the shop owners haggling for their goods, it was a modern art of canvas with rainbow of colors.

While other were in tourist/photographer mode, seeing the Bangkok cuisine unfolding in front of  my pallet , I inadvertently went into foodie mode. (and still managed sans bangkok-belly 😉

Anticlockwise, Fruit seller,Sticky rice with mango,sweet coconut,Psidium guajava, best Guava I ever had,Making of som-tam,Som tam (green papaya salad).

And since I lost appetite for words so let the pics do the writing. 🙂

Bangkok

At tiger temple

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View from Bridge over river Kwai

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Day 2 :

Royal Palace, Bangkok

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I continued the rendezvous with Bangkok’s street food. It was a utter delight to both eyes and taste buds.

Here chicken pad thai (thai noodles), various fruit juices , bbq banana and cha-yen (thai iced tea)
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And last but not the least, , leaving Thailand sans thai massage would have been crie. consequently a bone crushing ‘wat-pho’ massage.

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Foreign native digressions

He was hesitant to go inside, it had started to get too nostalgic in there. A calm yet shrieking silence prevailed around post marriage ceremony, only challenged by the faint but constant hub dub of an electric generator. There were few cars coming and going , their harsh headlights tearing through the darkness. From his childhood days, he hated the lacklustre, the unceremonious wrapping up of an event. Guest departing, tents getting wrapped up , long haul trolleys taking away the furnitures and lights. The place which was teeming with laughs and smiles, of heavy perfumes and ittar, would be as desolate and quite as morgue.  He remembered that a similar sight would conjure up after college festivals and events.

– Probably thats what happens when one dies – packing up ! But as they say cest la vie (such is life).

But there was not much digression on cest-la-vie, for the latest blinding light was of his friend’s car. Thus ended his brief moment of epiphany, and thanks to apple’s smartphone ( and a pinch of right hemisphere), he saved some of it in words.

 Little did he know that ditto same feeling would impunge his first week  after his vacation in India. Singapore felt too dull, like a saltless cuisine , after his India trip. The hum-drum, the halla, the liveliness was in stark contrast to this nation’s systematic inertia. He missed his homeland.
Today :
The ennui at office reminded him to similar bored feeling during his school days. It was like revisiting the same monotonous routine after eons, yet he was able to pinpoint the same old ennui of school days.   The sad part was that everyone seemed oblivious to the fact , no one was complaining. May be it was classic case of stuck in ‘Maya’ as they describe in Hindu scriptures. But this corporate ‘maya’ was strangling him. A throbbing monotonicity was building up in his brain challenging him to ‘turn on, tune in and drop out’.
Rewind to 19 days back 
2 Feb
He was flummoxed at the ensuing crowd, and the majestic evening scenery at the vast banks of Ganges.  Although only 1 hour before he was proclaiming my gonna-be-atheist attitude to an old friend, yet the whole scenery of the Kumbh Mela captivated and enthralled him. He had read somewhere that Kumbh’s attendance exceeds over 50 millions devotees. !!
– Fucking big number!!
So far this vacation had been a calm composite one. He had expected India to surprise him after 13 months abroad, but it didn’t.  Things move too slow in this part of the world.  Only thing out of place was his initial  urge to get down from taxi and start dusting New Delhi’s flyover railings. The dust has been overwhelming. It took him some time to grow accustomed to Indian capital, and by the time he got down near Akshardham Temple, his original self had been returning. It was good to see advertisement hoardings in Hindi. Some familiar and some new faces on print ads. Someone reading this might reduce the feeling to oh-yet-another-foreign-return-banter. But truth has been told. Delhi had disappointed him lately, and it was his first time that he was more than glad to leave Delhi, without hanging around for few days.
Moving across towns and cities of Uttar Pradesh, which might as well be least developed state of India, with reins in hands of goons and dons, there seemed to be no respite in sight. Owing to recent happenings (read Delhi gang rape ) the Indian within him had been tortured, and was now raring to come out to do something. He was quickly shuffling through stacks of ideas to an extent that he had started romancing with an idea of writing civil services exams, but leaving the perfect-Singapore life needed some more weights on the scale.
The sun was high, and there was a some breeze that one encounters during winter end in India. It was serene and the flannel shirt provided a much needed sheer. His mind was largely blank, and he was enumerating an acquaintance he made in high-court-city of east UP. How he is pursuing a goal to become a IAS officer? To which came an expected reply, “it’s useless, the unlimited power corrupts the officers”.
14 Feb
Fast forward to Varanasi. The traffic was going berserk and random. It would have flabbergasted NNT. A particular gust of dust cloud blinded him beneath his rimmed glasses. He was recuperating with the dust, when a truck horn jolted him and responded with a cuss. In spite of all the bodily unpleasantness, his heart was at peace. His soul was at ease. It had been …some 395 days… since he had last came here, and he had missed these blaring horns… the humdrum, the liveliness… the random bovines on roads, and the extreme motion which would have looked like a vigrous brownian motion from a great height. Singapore seemed like a distant utopia, he read someone blaring out on Singaporeans, hating their kiasu spirit et al, in last month’s GQ issue.
“I should now really get that power goggles for driving here”, he thought, finally clearing the dust off his eyes.  (Btw still need to get hands on that last copy of his mother’s novel  “heat & dust”). A different feeling had dawned when he met his college friends after ages, few after what…5 years…his mind was like…dude is this it? But then by that time effects of Shiva’s Prasad also had started empowering his thinking.
Near Dasaswamedh ghat there was infinite queue of juntaa and faith,thanks to Kumbh mela. All for, ten seconds of ‘darshan’ of deity. Although having been brought up in the religious capital, logically his emotions were not justified. But few years away from this religious capital of India, had instilled seeds of doubt, rather questions  in his mind. Now he had started dissecting religious beliefs with a logical reasoning, and quite often they had been defeated with logic. Yet the faith is one thing which has defeated many atheists and non-believers. (And then ofcourse there was ongoing MahaKumbh)
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Buying books at his favourite book store near Assi Ghat, he lamented yet another aspect being missed , the literary and artistic upper hand of the city. Being a bibliophile buying a book in ‘x’ dollars would fetch 4 books in equivalent INR , and much better ones than those available back in videsh…    (to be continued)

Scuba Diving !!

Buoyed by water, he can fly in any direction-up, down, sideways-by merely flipping his hand. Under water, man becomes an archangel.”

“From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to the earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface, and he is free.” –Jacques Cousteau

Alright I did not make my bucket list on paper, but if I would have made one then scuba diving would be there for sure. Little did I know that s.diving will become the focus of my tropical vacation. We, at least I, went without much expectations. After paying around 100 bucks for 30 minutes underwater, I thought it was lil bit too much. Once we donned dry suit for diving, and diving mask then I started feeling some rush of blood to the head. Also blame it my hypermetropia  with 5.5D ,
-I was like dude am gonna see nothing in there without my glasses.
And in answer came diving mask with power lens.
-Wo Wo !! Lets do this boys
We jumped onto the motor boat, with dry suits, scuba fins (which made me look like merman from He-man series). Once the diving guide showed us diving signals and ear equalization technique, we went in open sea for training. The weight of gas cylinders was overwhelming , but slowly and slowly the acclimatization period got expired.

But soon all this enthusiasm flew away, like a soul from mortal body. To tell the truth, it was shit scary in the beginning, breathing underwater with the mouth piece !!(thanks to wiki, now I know its name – diving regulator) with weight belt tied around your waist. Also the dive fin took some time to get acclimatized to.
And lo ! I was in sea amid corals and fishes, frantically breathing through diving regulator, biting hard into the mouthpiece, lest it goes out of my mouth.
I clearly understood what Gonzalo (The tempest )meant when he said ‘The wills above be done! but I would fain die a dry death.’
I was still overwhelmed with the bubble , with the sea-grass and coral reefs down below  when diver handed me bread slices to spread around in water, it was then that I was surrounded by fishes – this being the moment of epiphany. It was soothing and heartening at the same time , and then I realised dude this is it !! Everything went on perfect after that.

I think poetry of Farhan , from zindagi na milegi dobara summarises is pretty well. I should/would have written one for myself if I had the solace and pen and paper, right after dive. (Although I would say it wasn’t this intense )

पिघले नीलम सा बहता हुआ येह समा
नीली नीली सी खामोशियाँ
ना कहीं है ज़मीन, ना कहीं आसमान
सरसराती हुयी टहनियाँ, पट्टियां
केह रही है की बस एक तुम हो यहाँ
सिर्फ मैं हूँ मेरी सांसें हैं और मेरी धडकनें
ऐसी गहराइयाँ , ऐसी  तनहाइयाँ
और मैं सिर्फ मैं
अपने होने पे मुझको यकीन आ   गया

Now that I have read through scuba diving literature and learned about the various risks involved, I know the risks and joys of it.  Also who remembers Captain Nemo elucidating about Rouquayrol apparatus in ‘20,000 leagues under the sea’, my first English novel at the age of 10 years.
And now there is a new item in bucket list, finish all greatest scuba diving locations around the world.

Insha Allah ! Amen !

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