Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Look within; sounds like such a cliché isn’t it. I have been doing some introspection lately and I started wondering about…about many things, about life in general. Pardon me for the long post…I will try to break it down to 2 part’s; I don’t want to bore you all with one big post.
On this note, I want to share with you all a journey, a very private journey I had undertaken a few weeks ago. I wouldn’t call it a spiritual journey but remarkable nevertheless, where I realized something I had been missing all my life. That something is what you will find out soon…
Until I was in late teens, every year my parents used to take us to one of the most holy places (according to Hindu’s), Tirumala (Andhra Pradesh). This is where Lord Balaji dwells, His temple is, and His generousness flows like water from a fountain.
I remember we used to take the train from Hyderabad to Tirupati (over night journey always in Narayanadri express). We used to travel in second class, sleeper coach compartments…I can still hear the voices of my parents and my sis’s laughter, like it happened a few minutes ago. Mom diligently packs puri’s and kheema (meat) and yogurt rice with pickles every year. Perhaps it’s the Indian-ness in me or it could be the faith that my mom knows best, it never occurred to me to ask her why we carry the same menu every year we go in those days.
After dinner my mom used to insist that we stay awake at least for 30 minutes, apparently it helps in digestion. But after the yummy dinner (puri’s some how never tasted that good when we ate at home) and the gentle rocking of the train, I hardly had any patience but to hit the bed…err, berth. As a rule I had to go to the washroom before I can sleep and trust me, you don’t wanna be full-tummy when going into to a second-class sleeper coach washroom.
Apart from the stink, I used to freak out that I am going to fall down through that tiny opening/outlet from the train. I think only a young kid would be able to understand how creepy that running train and a second-class-washroom combination can be. Even though I used to take a long time in the washroom (more out of fear) my sister never shouted at me to come out quick. And when I was out (knowing very well that I had been in there for at least 10 mins) and ask her if I kept her waiting for long, she used to shake her head and say, no. For this I am eternally grateful.
By the time my major hurdle (washroom) has passed, my mom invariably would have made bed on the berth. I think only mom’s touch can make even a train compartment home. After goodnights and sleep tights, I used to slip into comfortable rocking and deep slumber…well most time at least. I remember at least two instances where the fans were not working and the light just wouldn’t switch off.
The next morning, I always woke up to the, “ah…chai, coffee, horlicks”…”Ah…vedi vedi (hot hot) idli, vada, masala dosa…”….”Ah mango jelly mango jelly, aam papad mango jelly”….” Aaha ponnu mudi ruhmbo alaha iriki, malli puvvu yedu maa (little girls hair is pretty, buy some jasmines dear)”…”Ah chai lelo saaar/madamji”.
This was the only time I was allowed to have coffee, even when I was really young. And I think that’s when I really fell in love with coffee. Anyway…after a quick wash-up, we are all ready to embark on one of my favorite places on Earth, Tirupati. The journey had already begun…in Hyderabad. It’s now time for Tirupati…where Lord Venkateshwara (Balaji) dwells.
P.S: I doubt if anything changed even after so many years in the trains. It’s been at least 8 years since we had all been to Tirupati together in a train. If anything changed at all, it must be me.
To be continued…
(pictures taken from www.hampi.in)