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.