Category Archives: Culture

नशा ही नशा है

change society blog

शीला चित्रवंशि कि कलम से

कहीं यह शीर्षक “नशा ही नशा है “देख कर आप सब चौंक तो नहीं गए? क्योंकि मैं ये सब नशे में नहीं लिख रही हूँ। वरन सही मायने मैं आप सभी का ध्यान इस बदलते हुए समाज के अन्दर जो निरंतर नयी नयी कुरीतियाँ फैलती जा रही हैं, उनकी ओर आकर्षित करना चाह रही हूँ। आज समाज में दिन-ब-दिन जो बदलाव आते जा रहे हैं उससे आप सभी अनभिज्ञ नहीं। यानि की सामाजिक ढांचा ही बदल चुका है। जिसका सीधा-सादा प्रभाव एवं परिवारों पर कहीं कम तो कहीं ज्यादा नज़र आता है, जिसे अनदेखा नहीं किया जा सकता है।

सवाल यह नहीं है कि लोग अनभिज्ञ है या फिर भिज्ञ; सवाल तो यह है की हमारी भारतीय संस्कृति पाश्चात्य सभ्यता से कहाँ तक प्रभावित है और क्यों? समय-समय पर बदलाव तो हमारे समाज में सदियों से चले आ रहे हैं – यह कोई नयी बात भी नहीं है। फिर समाज हो या परिवार, सब उससे प्रभावित भी हुए हैं। पर इतना भी नहीं कि अपनी ही संस्कृति या उसकी सभ्यता तथा अपने ही नैतिक मूल्यों को समाप्ति की कगार पर लाकर खड़ा कर दिया हो। ध्यान दें तो परिवर्तन न केवल सृष्टि का नियम है वरन समय की माँग भी है। समझने वाली बात यह है की हमारे भारतीय समाज में फैली हुई वे कुरीतियाँ जिनका सीधा-सादा प्रभाव हमारी भारतीय सभ्यता एवं  संस्कृति पर पड़ा , क्या वह पश्चिमी सभ्यता का अन्धानुकरण नहीं?

यहाँ पर हमारा उद्देश्य किसी भी देश की संस्कृति या फिर उसकी सभ्यता पे टीका-टिपण्णी अथवा कटाक्ष या व्यंग्य करना नहीं । हर देश की अपनी अलग अलग संस्कृति एवं सभ्यता होती है जो वहां के वातावरण, पर्यावरण, उनके अपने आचार-विचार एवं वहां की सामाजिक स्थिति पर निर्भर करती है। अब उसके लिए ये आवश्यक नहीं कि हम विदेशी संस्कृति की अपनाकर ही आधुनिक या फिर उच्च व्यक्तित्व वाले कहलायेंगे। हम अपनी संस्कृति में रह कर भी एक प्रभावशाली व्यक्तित्व बन सकते हैं । देखा जाये तो हमारे अपने ही देश में विभिन्न प्रकार की संस्कृतियाँ देखने को मिलती हैं। उदहारण स्वरुप मराठी, गुजराती, राजस्थानी, पंजाबी आदि आदि। पर हर एक संस्कृति की अलग-अलग सभ्यता देखने को मिलती है। उनके खान-पान, रहन-सहन, पहनना-ओढना , नृत्य कला, संगीत एवं भाषाएँ तक अलग अलग हैं । गर्व की बात यह भी है कि विभिन्नता में भी अभिन्नता देखने को मिलती है। सबकी अपनी अलग अलग पहचान है। जहां तक मेरा अनुभव है किसी देश की संस्कृति अच्छी या बुरी नहीं होती। यह पूरी तरह हम पर और हमारे समाज पर निर्भर करता है कि हम क्या अपनायें और क्या ना अपनायें ।

वर्त्तमान सामाजिक बदलाव को देखकर तो ऐसा ही लगने लगा है जैसे न ही अपनी संस्कृति रह गयी है और न ही कोई सभ्यता शेष है। जहाँ तक सवाल उठता है पाश्चात्य सभ्यता का तो हम लोगो ने उनकी संस्कृति की अच्छाइयों को नज़रंदाज़ करके उनकी उस सभ्यता को अपनाया है हमारी भारतीय संस्कृति के प्रतिकूल है। जिस भारतीय समाज में हम रहते हैं , वहां का वातावरण, सभ्यता एवं मर्यादाएं तथा उनके नैतिक मूल्य कुछ और हैं। ऐसे में जब हम उनके पहनावे में अपने आपको ढालते हैं तो उनकी खुली सोच और उनके खुलेपन का अन्धानुकरण कर बैठते हैं, जो हमारे वातावरण में नग्नता सी दिखती है। आजकल हमारे समाज में मानो आधुनिकता की परिभाषा ही बदल गयी है, जो जितना कम से कम पहन कर अधिक से अधिक शारीरिक प्रदर्शन करे, उसे ही आधुनिक समझते हैं। उसे ही हमारे समाज में “modernity ” का नाम दिया जाता है।

इतना ही नहीं, समाज में फैले हुए विभिन्न प्रकार के नशे का प्रभाव भी कम नहीं है। आज खुलेआम  drugs का सेवन करते हुए अधिकतर स्कूल के लड़के लड़कियां इधर-उधर घूमते नज़र आते हैं । साथ ही युवा वर्ग भी पीछे नहीं हैं। जगह जगह पर pubs देर रात तक dance floor में केवल लड़के लड़कियां ही नहीं अपितु युवक-युवतियां  भी पश्चिमी धुनों पर डांस करते, थिरकते , smoke करते  नजर आते हैं । इधर बड़े शहरों में आजकल एक प्रचलन और चला है “Hukka Bar” का, पर उन हुक्कों में तम्बाकू के स्थान पर drugs हुआ करता है । ऐसे वातावरण में अश्लील व्यंग्यों की भी कोई कमी नहीं होती जिसका परिणाम भी स्पष्ट रूप से झलक रहा है । आये दिन छोटी बच्चियों से बलात्कार, छोटे छोटे स्कूल में पढ़ते नाबालिग बच्चों का ज़रा-ज़रा सी बात पर झगड़ा, गाली- गलौज, धमकाना, डराना, एक दूसरे की जान तक ले लेना – ऐसी बातों से समाचार-पत्र भरे पड़े मिलते हैं ।

आजकल समाज में जो कुछ भी चल रहा है क्या इसकी ज़िम्मेदारी हमारी युवा पीढ़ी के साथ साथ हमारे media पर नहीं जाती? आज सभी वर्गों में अधिकतर लोगों के पास दूरदर्शन एवं कंप्यूटर की सुविधा होती है। इस कारण बच्चे बाहर कम अन्दर दूरदर्शन एवं कंप्यूटर पर अधिकतर बैठे दिखाई देते हैं । ऐसे में जाने-अनजाने, सही-गलत का अनुभव न होने के कारण बच्चे जब दूरदर्शन एवं कंप्यूटर देखते हैं, तो उनके मानस-पटल पर जो छवि बैठ जाती  है वे वही करने की कोशिश करते हैं, और प्रायः कर बैठते हैं, जिसका प्रभाव स्पष्ट नज़र आता है।

ऐसी स्थिति में हमारी युवा पीढ़ी आज की आने वाली पीढ़ी से थोड़ा-बहुत भी संतुलन बना कर चले तो सामंजस्य मुश्किल नहीं । आज का वातावरण देख कर तो ऐसा लगने लगा है जैसे हमारी भारतीय संस्कृति विदेशी संस्कृति से इतना प्रभावित हो चुका है कि अपने ही नैतिक मूल्यों को खोकर पाश्चात्य सभ्यता की ओढ़नी से अपनी  ही सभ्यता और संस्कारों को ढकते चले जा रहे हैं । सोचना यह है कि युवा-पीढ़ी इस बदलाव के इन झोंकों के साथ बहकर इतनी दूर न चले जाए कि अपनी ही धरोहर को – जो भारतीयता के नाम से जानी जाती है – खो बैठे, और उनके अपने ही पास अपने बच्चों को देने के लिए कुछ शेष न रह जाये।

अभी कुछ वर्ष पूर्व तक हमारे समाज में एक शब्द “मर्यादा” का भी हुआ करता था, पर आजकल के वातावरण में इस शब्द की कोई मर्यादा नहीं रह गयी है । कभी-कभार कहीं कहीं आते जाते कानों में पड़ जाता है की मर्यादा में रहना सीखो । आज वर्तमान पीढ़ी को आप कुछ भी कहें तो आवाज़ एक ही आती है, वो भी चारो तरफ से “पता नहीं आप लोग किस ज़माने की बातें कर रहे हैं। दुनिया इतनी बदल चुकी है की लोग चाँद पर पहुँच गए पर आप लोग रहेंगे वाही लकीर के फ़कीर।” आजकल स्थिति एकदम फर्क हो चुकी है। इस पीढ़ी को यह समझना चाहिए कि चाँद पर पहुँचाना एक अलग बात है । हम आज अपने संस्कारों को खोये बिना ही वह सब कुछ कर सकते हैं जो हम चाहते हैं । ऐसा लगता है जैसे परिवार और समाज के पारस्परिक संबधों का ह्रास  होता जा रहा है, जिसके कारण सामजिक तनाव बढ़ता जा रहा है । समाज में फैली कुव्यवस्था का एक मुख्य कारण यह भी है ।

मेरा लिखने का आशय ये कदापि नहीं कि मैं आप लोगों को कोई उपदेश या नसीहत दे रही हूँ, वरन समाज में फैली हुई इन कुरीतियों पर ध्यान दिलाना चाहती हूँ जिन पर आपका दृष्टिकोण जाता ही नहीं, क्यूँकि आप स्वयं ही उससे प्रेरित हो चुके हैं । पीढ़ियों का अंतर तो स्वाभाविक है पर अगर हम और आप चाहें तो पीढ़ियों के बीच एक मद्य संतुलन बना कर भावी पीढ़ी के भविष्य को सुरक्षित रख सकते हैं ।

 

 

Advertisements

Indian Middle Class Life And Stories

india, indian middle class family driving on scooter in bangalore

By Pinaki Pratihar

Every day when I wake-up and get prepared for my office, I pack my lunch made by my maid and miss my mom. How she helped me get dressed for school or how she used to pack my favorite dishes during my college-life when I use-to go home every weekend!

Or at early night when I used to chat with my dad, queries regarding health, job, life, parties, future plans and more. Sometimes the whole conversation turned into a simple question by my mom, “When will you come here to meet us?”

And I remained silent like ever. Mom has a power; she can feel some unspoken words. She naturally did-not repeats the same question. She left the topic the moment she felt I am uncomfortable with that.

He is a father, who has invested all of his savings for education of his children and to earn their minimum daily needs and wants. A perfect representative of Indian Middle Class society, who preferred to invest on Education, rather increasing his bank balance, whose expenditure, is same as his income, at the age of pre-retirement. He had invested his time to his children as much as possible and now he deserves to get the same attention from his children as he knows he is also experiencing the old-age problems and he need some-one apart from his caring wife, who is also struggling from fevers and pains due to age and nerve conduction and is failing to keep in check with his physical condition. He deserves a hand who can help him reach the nearest reliable hospital and can bring the medicine on time.

She is a mom; she had a general ‘mango-people’ homemaker mindset of having the best of possible things. Her only happiness in life comes from seeing her children attain a position in life. She still wishes her son could be a schoolteacher in a nearest high school and can stay at home at-least.

And me! Once I dreamt to be near my parents and failed, when I felt that life can be easy but career is not secured in Kolkata. Negligible economic growth and industry-related statistics and HR-satisfaction survey and un-predictable responses never encouraged me to be in Kolkata. The dream has busted. I never realized when.

I am a person who enjoys the cheap ride in Kolkata, cheap food and the lazy moments with family and friends. I do not feel the same in Delhi though I have a core set of friends and experienced colleagues. I am well convinced that this is not a place to grow well for a non-IT profile.

Everyday I wake up early morning and reach home at night; in between I mix with so many identities. I am a daily passenger who pays the same for a ticket to reach office, a colleague, who can do his job, a friend, with whom some information can be shared, a researcher who try to study things in-depth, an executive who interact with clients regularly and try to put some value in the business process, a junior, who try to follow senior’s instructions, a judge, before putting the instructions and a dreamer who try to put something new in front of the management.

And a Govt.

In my childhood, I participated in debates against brain-drain, but later-on realized watching so many unsuccessful businessmen in West Bengal that every state is not open like Gujarat.

I am not happy, but satisfied just by calling and considering my days as ‘The Struggling Period’, where I am struggling to learn some more, to earn some more money, respect and more happiness around me. I am convinced that this time, forget about your emotions and family. Here I wish you find your life different from me.

Ishaq Se Achha Kya Hai

bilal blog

इश्क में बहने सेअच्छा क्या है
ख्वाबों में रहने से अच्छा क्या है ,
हाले-दिल सुनाने से नहीं होगा मेरा वो
गोया चुप ही रहने से अच्छा क्या है .

रातों में जगने से अच्छा क्या है
रास्तों से लड़ने से अच्छा क्या है ,
बर्बाद करेगा तू , हो जाऊंगा ख़ुशी से मैं
बर्बाद हो फिर से -पनप जाने से अच्छा क्या है .

सजने और संवर जाने से अच्छा क्या है
ग़म है तो क्या , मुस्कुराने से अच्छा क्या है .
सफ़ेद कपड़ों में लिपट जायेंगे इस ज़िन्दगी के बाद
दुनिया के रंगों में रंग जाने से अच्छा क्या है

तेरी चाहत के फंदे में उतर जाने से अच्छा क्या है
जो है किया मना सबने – वो कर जाने से अच्छा क्या है ,
सुना चुका हूँ तेरी साज़िश ज़हर तू ही मुझे देगी
तेरे हाथों का दिया ज़हर पी जाने से अच्छा क्या है .

आपका
बिलाल

A Visit To The Jallianwala Bagh

jallianwala-bagh

BY Ankit Chandra

Somewhere in June three of us, Asad (childhood friend) , Anshit (my bro) and I went on a trip to Amritsar. There were 3 places that we wanted to visit : Jallian Wala Bagh, Golden Temple and Wagah Border. I will concentrate on the Jallian Wala Bagh for this post…

For all us who don’t know what Jallian wala Bagh stands for, click here.

Amritsar is a very cute city. pretty much like the other small cities across the country, where shops are usually small, the roads only as big as 2 by lanes, the streets even smaller yet all so vivid and colourful! full of life… kids playing across the streets, cars and scooters fighting yet maneuvering within the available space… there seems to be a very highly developed code of driving that seems to have evolved from this specifc eco-system of traffic. It might look very chaotic, but look carefully, and u wd see all vehicles just missing each other! only that it is not by chance, but the skills of the driver.

We were walking through these roads and by lanes, looking at the shops and their interactions with the world outside… we were looking at these buildings that have stood there for 100 odd years staring at the world and its changing ways, testimony to the changes and corruption of its inhabitants.. there was definitely this feel about these buildings.. they looked like these time warped things that were half stuck in past and the other half existing very much in this world with us. I felt that if we went into these buildings we would all of a sudden be transferred to a time that was long gone! Such was the eerie attraction of these buildings that you could do nothing but gaze at them, and then gather your self and keep moving ahead…

entrance

But one such building’s entrance kinda held us. unusually colored, it somewhat melted into its surroundings, yet stood out as something that had a totally different story to tell. As we gazed around the building, we saw the board that read ” JALLIANWALA BAGH”.

Pretty much like hypnotised souls, we almost floated into it… The entry to this place has forever remained as it is, and is nothing more than a very narrow passage… When we walked through it, it struck me that this was the very passage that General Dyer used to enter into the premises, and much to my disbelief, he also tried to bring in a battle tank!

Jalliawalabaghpassage

I don’t know if the pictures running in my head were from the movie Gandhi, or I could actually recreate the scene from 1919, but I could pretty much actually feel the soldiers walking through this passage.. with rifles in their hands, marching in, bringing death closer to the people inside who were totally unaware… What also struck me at that point was that the soldiers were Indian ( although working for the British) and the people inside were the same flesh and blood too!

If you remember any movie that was based on some flash back concept, try using that ‘blackout and reemergence of a picture’ stuff of a flashback to this case. Thats what I saw when I waled into the Bagh ( the Garden) where the massacre had happened. It looked like a very peaceful garden, kids were playing here too! sprawling lawns, fountains, people walking around…. this place actually looked very calm… Only that this calm prevailed not from peace, but from silencing of hundreds of lives… people like me, like you… like the shop keeper outside or the co-passenger in train with whom we played cards on our route to Amritsar… If for a second we forget the 88 years of time gap, you would feel that those people were just… us…
A lot of us were killed there that day.

JalliawalabaghWell

The calm there indeed felt like the one on a battle field after the battle finishes and there is no one left alive… to cry or to howl… As we moved inside there were these places that stand as a snapshot of that day, that time. There was this well into which people jumped to save themselves from the raining bullets from their own brethren who were just ‘following orders’ of their masters. More than the people killed, it was them who were enslaved by the British. The well has been covered since then.

There was another thing that had stood as a witness to what had happened that day. A Wall. Now standing all alone, as if it was punished to first witness the whole massacre and then made to live for eternity to keep remembering that bloodshed and narrate it to all with the bullet marks strewn all over it.

JalliawalabaghWall

Just near to this Wall was a writing made of stones that read “Vande Mataram’… And it was then that all of this fell more or less into place. The only way we can respect those who died that day is by believing in these words that lay there with the souls of all those who still could be around there watching the world outside just like those buildings as I had described earlier.. staring at the world and its changing ways, testimony to the changes and corruption of its inhabitants…

Being SoBo! South Bombai’ite

south bombay

By Ankush Kumar

It was the monsoons of 2007 when two of my friends arrived in Mumbai for the first time. They checked into a hotel and took a taxi to come and meet me. The first question the driver asked them was ‘Sahab Bombay jaana hai’? It caught my friends a little off guard. Yes dear readers! If you do not live between Cuffe parade and Worli you ain’t a Soboiite. Someone who has lived in South Bombay takes immense pride in boasting its residential status.

If you are a SoBoiite you enjoy certain perks and benefits and are always considered a cut above the rest. Here are a few key ingredients that make you an original inhabitant of the island city.

1) If the citizen addresses the city as Bombay and not Mumbai, chances are you are talking to a SoBoiite. For them Mumbai starts at World Trade Center Cuffe Parade and ends at Worli Seaface. The rest for them is foreign invasion.

2) Majority of the shoppers in the city head to Phoenix arcade or their neighborhood malls for shopping, but unless you aint seen at the Taj or Trident shopping arcade or at the Colaba causeway (depending on budget) you aint a Soboiite.

3) You walk into a pub all decked up for the evening and are looked down upon in disdain for your over the top clothes and make up, lady you have just met the original SoBo gals. They believe more in minimalistic decking up and yet look very appealing.

4) You are discussing which Hindi movies is going to release the coming weekend and how hyped the Khan wars is right now, and someone slips in a comment that ‘the last movie he/she saw way Sholay and that also on Dvd’ understand he is true bloodied SoBoiite.

5) If you are ignored when told that you have studied in a CBSE school you know you have encountered a SoBoiite. For them Campion, Cathedral, JB Petit, St. Mary’s are acceptable schools rest are just big mistakes.

6) A suburban citizen is always excited to go to South Bombay, but tell a SoBoiite to go to the suburbs and they would need atleast a week’s notice and a promise not to get tagged in the Check-ins on Facebook.

7) Last but not the least a true South Bombai’ite will never call himself/herself a SoBoiite, the suburbs gave them this name. They don’t look down at people not from South Bombay, its just that they are not from South Bombay: -P

It Started With A Friend Request….

first love

By Rimpy Goyal

An emotionally unstable person that I am, all it took to boost my mood was a friend request in FB. Yes, a boon that FB is to us!!

A casual talk about searching for my boy friend lead to some references. Now how funny it could be that boyfriends could also be chosen by referrals. T’s spouse’s colleague. Yes, You read it right. And all started with Facebook request. Exchanging numbers, talking for hours, coffee outing and rest followed. And with it followed the fun of getting teased too. Something that I had not experienced before.

Mornings at work unusually became exciting. Not because of the work but because of the comments that I received from fellow friends. Someone has rightly said love makes the skin glow. And that glow probably showed in me.

And then came a dinner invite, an invite common to both of us. And with it came an opportunity to meet him. And such was the meeting that it never felt like the first one. I have always felt lonely amidst the crowd. I have always been in search of a friend to share things. Little did I know that I would fall for this guy whom I met through someone and that to on web.

Someone who sang songs for me at the second meeting, who cared about my friendship and my feelings. I was falling frankly and falling loud and fast. A Punjabi song from a non Punjabi guy really means some stuff for me. Yes, Jidha Chandigarh lagda na tere bina dil…Haye Mera Dil..Haye Mera Dil….And I went flat!!

I don’t know if this is called Love. What I know is I have got a good friend by whatever means it may be and I am enjoying this phase of my life. And I would really thank all my friends for teasing me time and again. It was due to it that this journey started!!

If you love someone truly and are meant to be together then even the Lord can’t separate. At the end of the day, for me the crux of the whole matter is that valuing friendship and relations is the only thing that makes life worth it.

The write-up above is a work of fiction.

Journey To The Alphonso Land

By Sudhir Verma, Avanturas

Vada pav with hot tea at a road side joint. Perfect start to the Pune trip!

Monty looked slimmer, younger, and happier. I was glad to see him. Over the last 2 years, since he moved from Bangalore, our lives had come a long way trudging through somehow. But that’s a long personal story we’d rather keep buried.

After a few days in Pune, Ratnagiri was next, which is an 8 hour, 350 kms journey from Pune. Monty suggested I take his car, or whatever remained of it.  The blue Maruti Esteem had withered almost 13 years of interstate travel. Now the AC hardly functioned, the driver side window was stuck, and the left headlamp wouldn’t glow. Yet, in the Avanturas spirit and raised eyebrows, I agreed to take a chance. The engine was still powerful. It easily touched 140 km/h and the brakes were equally responsive.

Road to Lanja

An early start from Pune to avoid the rush hour office traffic and I had hit the highway by 8 am, en route an Alphonso orchard 50 kms south of Ratnagiri. I had intended to take a break for lunch around 1, but the road and the superb drive through the ghats didn’t make me want to stop. It turned out to be a good call when the orchard owner, Mr. Ranade, warmly welcomed me with yummy home-made Konkani lunch and an unlimited Alphonso supply.

After a quick 30 minute snooze I took out my Nikon D5100 and stepped out to explore the vast orchard. Mr. Ranade had given me a free hand. I could eat as many mangoes as I could handle, from those that had just fallen from the trees, or plucked fresh if I were athletic enough to climb the trees. I was certainly not going to let go of this opportunity. The last time I climbed trees, explored farms, or plucked fruits must have been a decade ago.

Alphonsos

Let me not even begin to count how many mangoes I had. I was acting like a shameless child who had never seen mangoes before. What fun! Over the next two days, Mr Ranade hosted me graciously and took me around his village to see the ice factory and paddy fields, taught me to milk the cows and treated me to some delicious Konkani dishes. The eating area is on the open terrace overlooking the entire orchard, with a mild sea breeze through the day making it a perfect place for a relaxed meal.

Beach

What made this whole experience even more exciting was this beautiful secluded beach just half a km from the orchard. One has to walk down for about 5 minutes from the hill to access the beach and it seemed like an easy child friendly walk. Over the few hours that Mr Ranade and I spent at the beach, we didn’t see a single soul venture out. If only I had my gang out there!

On the return journey to Pune, while I was reflecting back on the two refreshing days I had spent at the Orchard, I had no idea that the most exciting part of this trip was yet to unfurl. Let’s scroll up a little. Remember the Esteem’s left headlamp wasn’t working? Since the latter part of the drive was going to be at night, at 5:30 pm I stopped at a garage near Lanja, some 50 kms from the orchard. It was already 6:30 pm by the time the mechanic finished the job. I had tea at the small local joint and hit the road again. Just after Lanja, the ghats get denser. It must be 8 pm and deep inside the ghats when suddenly both the headlamps went off. Damn, what the hell just happened? It took me 4-5 seconds to come to a screeching halt. I got out of the car in pitch darkness and found myself just a few inches from the edge of the road. Slightly delayed reflexes and who knows!

After 15 minutes of futile effort to get the lamps up again, I decided to seek help. But who would stop to help a stranger in the middle of darkness? I assumed at least the truck drivers might, but I was wrong. By 8:45, with no help, there were only two options I could think off. Either park the car on the side and sleep the night off OR follow a bus or a truck slowly till I reach the next town. The second was going to be very tricky and perhaps dangerous, but I wasn’t going to sleep the night off in the ghats for obvious reasons. So after almost 30 trucks and buses had zipped past me, finally a truck came to my rescue, heavily loaded and slow enough to follow. The idea was to drive within 2 meters range behind the truck and follow its front headlight to navigate the turns, but it turned out to be a bad call. The truck was so wide that I could barely see its front lights and only one of its back red lights was working, so it was even harder to judge its edges. Within 2-3 minutes I was back to a halt. With nothing else seeming like a wise option, I took out my phone to dial for help. And as you rightly guessed….no signal!

Epic! I was so totally stuck.

While the first attempt at following the truck was useless, I decided to give it another shot, but this time perhaps a car. Finding a slow car was going to be much tougher, but luckily I found one, slowly working the ghats’ turns. For the first time ever I was happy to see what I saw next, an L (Learner’s) mark at the back of the car. No wonder the car was so slow. While it was slightly easier following a car than a truck, it was still a risk. If you are ever driving on a dark road, try it maybe. Switch off the headlamps for a few seconds. Just for the kicks! You’ll know the feeling. For the next 30-35 minutes, I followed the car and reached Malkapur. It must be about 10 pm, but the town still had some life. Yet, what were the chances that I’ll find a garage open? Nil. They were all closed. Disappointed, I walked up to a tea shop to ask if there was any lodge I could spend the night at.  The tea shop guy was a young boy, Ashok, who was in a mood for a chat. And I needed someone to crib to. He started to brag about this world famous mechanic in their town who could repair anything. You bet! I told him I once had a dog that could wash clothes.

But he insisted and offered to take me to the mechanic’s house. Thinking that this could help me get back to Pune tonight, I accepted the offer. We waited for his father, who had gone to get some dinner, to get back so he didn’t have to shut the shop. While we were getting into the car, two more boys jumped out of nowhere and got into the rear seat. For the first time that night, I felt the “oh shit’ feeling. They were Ashok’s friends and joined in since for them it seemed like an adventure to take me to the mechanic’s house. But I wasn’t feeling that adventure, especially on a night that had already been too strange. I took my time starting the engine, giving myself time to think if I wanted to bail out of this. I decided to go ahead with it. If these boys meant harm, they were already in the car. I had to deal with it now. They guided me towards some dark by lanes and I was scheming on how I’ll jump out and grab the tool kit if the need arose. Eventually, they lead me to the mechanic’s house as they had promised. We had to wake up the mechanic but he very amicably helped me out. Turns out that previous mechanic at Lanja had used an inferior fuse which gave up.

The Saviours

Within 5 minutes the lights were on and I was back on road, but not before I had captured them all together with my Nikon. I dropped the boys back to the tea shop and offered them some money and a box of Alphonsos for having been so kind. They politely declined the offer saying it was their duty to help someone in need. With a promise to stop by for tea whenever I visited their world again, I put some Floyd on and accelerated towards Pune.

One of the most memorable trips in Avanturas’ journey.

PS: The Orchard is 190 KMs from Baga Beach, Goa. If you are travelling to Goa, it’ll be a good idea to add this experience to the itinerary. 

Best season: Jan-April.

For details, connect with Avanturas.