Sunday, 3 March 2013

-| Transition |-
of spaces and scales

My two friends and I went on a 10 day vacation to north Rajasthan – with an aim to cover at least 3 major spots and its surrounding areas. The trip was all planned and our entire luggage packed.  I had the most baggage – no pun intended – with me! Come on!!  I am a Gujju who loves food and who tends to have a far-sight about travel related food issues. There are many what-ifs to keep in mind– what if the airplane is not on schedule and the airport doesn't have ‘good, stomach filling’ food? What if the trains are running late and you get hungry? What if the breakfast is not on time and you want to ruminate on something? What if you stay up with friends all night and feel like gorging?

So, returning to my trip, with as much food packed as humanely possible, we start. Needless to say, catching up with A and Y was the most rejuvenating thing in months. Our love for each other was revealed by yells of suggestions, by arguments over the to-do lists of the trip and of course cracking silly jokes!

Our first destination was Jaipur. Little did we know or anticipate the crowds of the city. The day being a Saturday didn’t help much either. The throng was similar to what Dadar station is on the weekends – full of people trying to be somewhere, yet manageable since the daily goers are not a part of this. But well, we were not so pleased about it. We didn't leave one crowd to merge into other!?!?!
Jaipur and the sites it had to offer was beautiful – with only one negative – too many people.

Our next stop was Jodhpur and we had the chance cut across the heart of the city at 4.30 in the morning. It was cold and empty. A fact which none of us were sorry about. I think the best way to gauge and feel a place is to reveal in its mornings as well – to see how it transforms from night to day, from inactivity to activity. Thus started our second step of transition – space –wise.
The Mehrangarh fort’s grandeur was breathtaking. What also has to be noted was the fact that it was restored and maintained properly – no patchwork please!

We then headed to Jaiselmer and had an amazing opportunity to watch the sun-rise from the top of the fort ramparts. And this was utter ecstasy! The sleeping city at the foot and desert stretched till our eyes could see. The various changing hues in the sky were a balm to the heart. Like the colours in the sky – the city is full of colours.

The next to-do on the list was a day and night in the desert. And it was the most valued item on the list – atleast for me – I know I am going to cherish it for years to come. With every kilometer we covered in the jeep, we were leaving behind ‘civilization’.  It wasn’t exactly back to the Stone Age – but there was no one around. You could hear silence. It was comforting and eye-opening that no matter what you do, how many footprints you leave, you leave behind not much. Maybe an impression, few questions but nothing beyond that . Which in itself is something …..and nothing.

I also understood the meaning of starlit sky – and fell in love all over again!

We returned to Jaipur before heading back to our respective cities. And I was grateful for that transition as well.

I have always viewed cites within different states on some sort of equal footing. But every now and then, I stumble across a fact that changes my sense of context, connecting two parts of the worlds with an understanding of scale we normally lack. While some cities might dominate their own states, they are not all equal, but our geographical blinders sometimes prevent us from recognizing this.  So I am not concerned that my city seems somewhat ordinary today after my journey. Mediocrity is only mediocrity in comparison to those immediately around you!


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