Friday, June 11, 2010

A tryst with Nature's beauty.

June 5th 2010

Oman was witness to Cyclone Peth...People did panic because it was reminiscent of the Gonu cyclone of 2007 which devastated Oman . All super markets had empty shelves. Fortunately I had stocked enough food for the week on Wednesday evening as is my usual weekly routine.

I didn’t move my ass from my home for over 48 hours. I spent time trying out new dishes from chicken korma to fish fry to dum alu and feasted with friends who had come over to spend time with me.

As a country Oman is not designed to tackle heavy rains. Its drainage system and provision for rain water exit is so poor that even a short downpour can flood the city in a matter of minutes.. Muscat is a city developed or born between mountains on its three sides and the sea on the other side with lot of wadis. Wadi is a dried up river bed found in the mountain valleys . Wadis come into their own after heavy rains, when the rivers start running again during rain. The Gulf of Oman is in the north of Muscat city and the western Al Hajar Mountains run through the northern coastline of the city. It will look like Muscat city rests between mountains and sea .This stretch of land offers a panoramic view only if one is adventurous enough to climb any of the mountains. This is not usually done unless it’s by trekkers or nature explorers.

I have climbed these mountains thrice to view the beauty of the city I live in. Basically the archeologists say, Muscat is a city that was formed when the sea receded. These mountains are not like the mountains you see in India . These are different, more porous like the rocks of the sea. One can see the same kind of dry barren mountains if one travels beyond Rishikesh or further above towards Mansarovar. I haven’t done that journey yet but have seen them through the photographs captured by my father when he climbed Mount Kailash last year. Many mountains have layers that are formed out of sea currents. The mountains also looks like formed from volcanic lava. It also resembles the mountains that are formed when two continental plates collide. When rain hits (which is rare and once in a blue moon) Muscat gets flooded.

I was witness to Cyclone Peth for the last three days and I had the opportunity to glimpse a wonderful feast of nature. Rains in Muscat look strange. I have seen rains here many times, not rain as such but more like a sudden shower that happens less than a minute or two. This time it was rare as rains were continuous. The climate in Oman was beautifully pleasant. It was not like the 2007 Gonu cyclone that created havoc in Oman. At the same time it was not a mere brief drizzle that does occur once in a blue moon. We had mild rain for 48 hours and was wonderful to watch it. It brought back to me nostalgic feelings of the rainy season of Madras .

On the third day today the clouds are still grey and overcast and to me they seem like a woman who is having mood swings. The sun seems like the cloud's lover as if unsure if he should come out while his lover still showing an attitude like a woman in her “PMS”. The romantic hues to this rain immediately made me long for my woman besides me, just to enjoy this climate together, touching each other and making each other warm under the blanket. A hot tea with biscuits or a plate of “chilli bhajji’ as our snack would have made the moment complete for me. And we would watch the rain gently fall down through the window. I should have made ‘chilli bajji’ Nothing like a plate of piping hot “chilli bajji” and a cup of tea in the rains but of course if it was along with a woman the whole experience would have been sublime.

These rain filled moments that I have enjoyed have been a rare feast of nature. The mountain of Oman had all reason to be happy. He had a special visitor this season-his lover, his erratic and transient lover. The lover who he rarely gets to meet-the clouds. Normally clouds hover over most mountains across the earth-either snow or water bearing clouds. The mountains of Oman do not have such dark clouds hovering over them. It is rare when one sees dark clouds over the mountain tops, like a graceful lover descending down to communicate with her strong lover. Like a lover who makes a brief visit to make passionate love for a short span of time. No permanent union, just a beautiful moment to be cherished for that time and for the years to come, or maybe never ever again in the future, by both of them.

He welcoming and waiting, she moody and playing "hard toget’ playing a ‘wooing game; with her lover. Finally their feelings overwhelm them and like lost lovers meeting after many moons, they unite in a passionate and fulfilling union. He meets her once in a blue moon but that doesn’t matter. When they meet, their union is such that it is memorable and passionate and spent in mindfulness of each other. The clouds then go back to where they came from gently wafting away, unwilling to part from their lover. They live the rest of their lives in the memories of those moments. Those moments when they met, communicated and created beauty in Earth through rains. No one can underestimate the strength of a mountain or the gentle yet firm resilience of the cloud.

The dark clouds had cleared the sky by the end of the day. They have now gone back to where they belong and the mountains in Oman are looking happy, content and very beautiful. He will continue to live and wait patiently for that rare moment again when his lover deigns to visit him or he is never to meet her again. Yet he remains satisfied with what he has. So am I, satisfied after experiencing the rare and beautiful rain and pleasant weather in Muscat

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Delhi is not far away.

30th April 10

When I reached Delhi in the wee hours of the morning she was still sleeping. She hadn’t woken up from the sleep and the weather was cooler than I had expected. Thanks to the previous day's storm, weather was better that morning. The last time I had been in Delhi was in the summer of 2006. Since my growing up  in Villupuram ,a developed village 180 km south of Madras, Delhi always held a fascination for me. It is the capital and power house of India with full of show off that amuse me. My first job gave ample opportunity to travel to Delhi and every time I visited her, she made the visit memorable. Delhi became close to my heart, especially after reading the book ‘Delhi is not far away’ by Ruskin Bond. Delhi also played a significant role in the search of the unknown me as the girl I met from Delhi helped me in glimpsing the unknown me for the first time. Her relationship helped me to see myself from a different perspective and since then the quest to find the unknown me was afire. After giving life to my electronic pet (mobile) with a local contact number ‘walk while you talk’ fame, Idea, I took a stroll on the familiar roads around New Delhi railway station. India is fast changing and so is Delhi.  Every time I see her, she has something new. This time Delhi had the Metro rail system very similar to the one in Singapore. After enjoying an hour travel in Delhi Metro, I met my friend whom I was wanting to meet for years for one more ( last??) time. Meeting her and her family was a great moment of realization of how much I had mellowed and changed over the years. The journey started on a good note as meeting her gave another glimpse of unknown me in an entirely different manner and this was most essential for my growing up and finding the unknown me. She succeeded in that once again. While parting from her, my wandering feelings for her found anchor. I was not sure if there will be another occasion to meeting her.  This time I didn’t part her with a a parting words , ‘we will meet again’  that  used to be her sentiment. I left her residence as a man with no clue what lay ahead of me. Travel always holds surprises and some wise man said life is a journey. A travel.

Monday, May 31, 2010


( April 29-2010)
As it is said, every search commences with an obstacle. The same was with me. My journey began with missing the flight to Delhi, India. It definitely is a herculean task to leave pending work behind at work and taking a break seemed next to impossible for me. To add to this stress, during the late night emailing to clients, the laptop showed hints of crashing when the flight was scheduled at 10.45 am the next day. I had a fear of losing all the emails and relevant data, so I started the back-up activity at 23.00 hrs which continued till 9.20 hrs of next morning giving me a short cushion till check-in in time. As I reached the airport the check-in counter was closed forcing me to miss the flight. It was the last flight to New Delhi from Muscat during the day and the next flight was at mid night, the same day by Indian airlines which had no seats available. Option of flying next day was ruled out as the connecting train and other schedules would jeopardize the whole trip with a monetary loss as well. So I decided to secure a waiting list ticket to New Delhi in Indian Airlines and with an extra payment, managed to confirm it. Dad’s mantra of paisa pheko tamasha dheko “throw money; have fun” worked out during this time of dire need. Next, a verbal war started with Oman air to cancel the unused ticket and in the process I learnt a new rule that the return segment of the ticket cannot be used if a passenger didn’t use the outbound ( To) ticket. A new one way return ticket had to be secured before cancelling the return tickets. This unexpected change required me to post pone my check-in time with the hotel at New Delhi and re arrange the airport pick up from noon to early morning of next day. The consequence of missing the flight was to lose my precious sleep for third night in a row. The loss of money didn’t matter as much the loss of my precious sleep. What mattered the most was, I didn’t want to miss a meeting planned the next day which I had been waiting and longing for years. The meeting was my first point of glimpsing unknown me this summer. Experience of missing train is not new to me but missing a flight was. Looking back now, it was a fun experience.

Friday, May 21, 2010

In search of ‘Unknown’ self

I am not overtly religious about any particular religion that has evolved. I dont accept totally the faith and truths that religion reveals or is supposed to reveal. I am aware of the mysteries of the universe that is beyond my comprehension but that doesn’t make me worship or become a follower of that mystery. I defy forms of worship of mythological characters and icons or those men who are considered to have got the revelation or be it a formless, nameless or anything else under that category. I do not believe that it is important to worship in the name of religion and worship. However i know that there are the mysteries of the Universe that i do not understand at all although i do have awareness. I am neither an atheist nor a theist. I prefer to coexist with the greater mystery without gratifying it. I am part of the mystery and so is every one. At times, I am a mystery to myself. I call it my unknown self, one of the mysteries of the greater mystery that I simply don’t comprehend. . I realized I need to understand myself before trying to understand the greater mystery. That thought urges me to pursue the search of something about me. A search - a soul searching journey. I know I have to start the search in me but am lost as to where to start and how and been struggling with it since many years. This urge has made me undertake few journeys which I call as self soul searching journeys without getting associated with any of the known religious beliefs. Detachment from the regular way of life during these journeys to places where people go on pilgrimage helps in cleansing me of regular materialist thoughts beyond the known me to get a glimpse of the unknown me. Those glimpses make me feel I am getting closer to the revelation which many mystics attained with ease. I believe every mystic commenced his or her search
from self-knowledge before comprehending the spiritual truths that are beyond the understanding of common men.

One such journey that has helped me glimpse my unknown self has just ended-a trek to Vaishnov Devi mountain  in Jammu & Kashmir, the sensitive state of India. I was there last when I was a babe in arms of 2 year old and now I finally managed to make a journey after 30 years to trek the moutain  I was named after as  a part of a journey ,in search of unknown self.