27 January 2007

PURPOSE

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I took this picture on my way to Jodhpur. This is not a rare sight in India. People perched on top of the train, risking their lives are on their way to a religious festival in Ram Deora, near Jaisalmer,Rajasthan. They just want to get there .... no matter how, they don't give up, they have a purpose, That is the strength of India.

Please don't get scared and please don't shelve your plans of visiting India. There is lllot of room in our hearts.

This was my first post, when I started blogging, October 2005. I thought I could repost this. We are yet to recognise this force. Just imagine the giving them proper direction, they can make October 1917 and Easter Rising a child's rebellion.

Leaving for Kerala by early morning train for Theyyam festival.. I'll respond to all the comments and the mail when I get back on 3rd Feb, going to some villages in Karnataka as well.

Please take care, Specially my blog friends living in the colder regions. Nature is kind and it can turn cruel too, Please don't take chances. please stay warm
I love you all.

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

have a safe trip!

Anonymous said...

Its amazing the will of humen being when he is realy set to do something ...

have safe journey

Nasra

Anonymous said...

lot of room in our hearts:)true.....
u hve a wonderful blog rauf .......thankz for ur wonderful comments :)...........hve a safe trip n enjoy.

e2d said...

have a super trip Rauf. Looking forward to your pictures and insights.

Anonymous said...

wow!!!going to kerala!!i am stuck here in chennai!!!and never seeen theyyam live btw!!hehee

Anonymous said...

Indian railways..Always leaves me like a child struch in awe..Even today I keep looking at a train passing in front of me..With all it's shortcoming I still love it

drunk punk said...

have a good trip and be safe. your trains don't look much different to ours in the rush hour 'cept we aren't allowed on't roof so they cram us inside. I think we're in the Guinness Book of Records for how many people you can cram into one carriage n we were'nt even trying for it.

ruth said...

Saw two movies about trains recently: The Great Train Robbery with Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland and Leslie Ann Down. Sean Connery of course walks on top of the train like these brave men. The other is The Station Agent, from 2003, which is really a wonderful film. Such a human film. The main character watches trains for a hobby. He would really find this train interesting!

I think you are smart to think about the train this way, that if these people are this determined to get somewhere, they can go anywhere!

I hope your trip is fantastic, no injuries hopping on and off, friendly and hospitable people, good food, and lots of beautiful faces for us to see when you're back!

Anonymous said...

Since we are on the subject of "train movies" (Ruth), the most memorable one for me is "Doctor Zhivago". Remember their long journey from Moscow to the Urals? Talking about overcrowding...

Rauf, I'm joining everyone here in wishing you a safe journey and I'm looking forward to your new, exciting posts!

Anonymous said...

Have a safe trip!!! I love travelling in Indian trains. I remember taking the coromandel express for days from kolkata to chennai and just awesome. When the train halts at vijayawada, I just grab the buttermilk which is famous ther.

Anonymous said...

Well said Rauf!
Have a great trip! Enjoy and capture the moments!

Rauf said...

Thank you Mystic rose, me back. Some comments have turned anonymous when I switched over to google, don't know what went wrong

Rauf said...

Yes Nasra, 1.2 billion people, this force is often misused by self serving politicians and it turns destructive.

Rauf said...

Nirmala, sorry for your comment going anonymous, this happened when I switched over to google.

I have slept half my life, I have spent a great deal of my life traveling within India. I have very few unpleasant experiences which I forgot, but rest of them are very pleasant

Rauf said...

Owee E2DEES, no sleep for 4 nights.
I have become a ghost, now I can walk through walls and closed doors. I was upset seeing some gory rituals in Theyyam. though I did not take those pictures but can't erase them from my mind. I'll post the pictures in a day or two. I wanted to collect some more pictures of old houses of Kerala.
Please sleep well e2dees. not eating and sleeping less will make you a ghost too.

Rauf said...

Hi Vinay, There are quite a few Theyyams in Malabar area this month. I'll find out and tell you if you are interested.
Each one is different, Last year I went to Taliserry, this time to Kannur (Cannanore) A different experience. I'll post pictures tomorrow

Sorry about your comment going anonymous, what a disaster when I finally switched over to google.

Rauf said...

Sangita, I hate flights, just love trains, love window seats, I am looking out even in the nights. Listening to music. Love the railway track sound Don't like sealed windows in AC coaches. I know that the railways are far from perfect. Things will get lot better if we cooperate in keeping the coaches clean and not throwing things out of the windows of running trains. Hope you are doing well Sangita.

Rauf said...

Hi Neil,
I have slept standing many times.
I can sleep under a hanging gillotine. Things are comfortable if we book the tickets a week in advance. Had to cut short my trip to attend my friend's engagement, so I chose an unpopular tain and hopped into it without reservation. Hardly any one in the coach, had a comfortable journey back home.
The unpopular ones are those which take more day time. Its easy to get tickets for day time journey, like 2 days one night. But most preferred are 2 nights one day, difficult to get tickets on those. Night trains are always full.
Please give my love to Jax and Caz.

Rauf said...

Ruth, Never heard of the film Station Agent, I'll try and get it. I love movies where trains play a major role Like Narrow Margin, with Gene Hackman, Train passes through Canadian Landscape, Silver streak (gene Wilder), AMTRACK Chicago - LA, Under Siege, Stevan segal, NY to don't know where as the train never reaches its destination in the movie. Dr. Zhivago as Isabella says has some breath taking train scenes.

Enjoying any journey depends on attitude Ruth, i hate flights, though I am not afraid of flying. My attitude is bad. Hate to see fake smiles on the cabin crew and the passengers act as though they own the plane, keep demanding things in Indian flights.
They make life difficult for the crew. And I can't afford to fly, too expensive in India.

I love trains, never look for comforts. I am fine standing in an over crowded train for over 500 kilometers specially in North India. Things are pretty comfortable in the south, a bit more efficient. Its easier if you book the tickets a week in advance. You have to book months in advance if there are a line of holidays or during summer vaccation. i have never travelled on the roof of a train but have some wonderful experience traveling on the roof of a bus.

This trip was really good, met some wonderful people who made me feel comfortable, good food, lot of help. I'll post pictures in a day or two after catching up some sleep. Had to cut short my trip as my friend was getting engaged at the other coast. Had to travel from Kannur on the west coast to Caddalur on th east coast (Cuddalore and Nagapattinam on east coast were worst hit by the tsunami) it was good to see things are back to normal there.

Rauf said...

Isabella, Dr. Zhivago is my favourite movie, perhaps the only movie which was better than the book. Each frame is like a painting (Freddy Young) The early morning scene in a mysty forest, where Omar Sharrief gets off the train and goes for a walk is etched in my mind. The whole train sequence is beautifully shot with some haunting music (Maurice Jarre)
It was simply breath taking. Movies and trains are a part of our lives, not very proud of both, but both have their own charm.

sorry for your comment turning anonymous. This happened when i switched over to google. Hope you are doing fine Isabella.

Rauf said...

Priya, first time coromandel express when it was newly introduced, was an unforgettable experience, I was sitting at the door throughout the day. Train was going at a break neck speed. deafening track noise, I was listening to moody blues on the walkman. Now the speed is reduced.

Priya, don't know what happened, I think I lost your link. would you kindly post your blog address here ? All comments turned anonymous with no link when I switched over to google. Very strange.

Mystic Rose said...

yipppeee! yaysssss... you are back!

Rauf said...

Yodlee Yo ! Mystic rose yaaas I yaam baack, thinking of going again (some money left)

so good to see the rose there, I thought Ilost everything when this blog took time to switch me to google. It took so long and it hangedu. Oh GAAD I lost everything, but after a while it came to life and found all comments gone anonymous.

hopeee everything is fine Mystic rose nd hopee you are happee as ever.

Rauf said...

Thank you MagicEye, I'll be posting the Theyyam festival pictures after catching up some sleep. This festival is alive only in the nights, not much activity in day time as it takes a lot of time to dress up, the costume is heavy, huge and complicated. It was fun watching it, but staying awake the whole night was a bit hard on me.

Gangadhar said...

Hope you had a great trip,Rauf..and i'll definitely look forward to see your next post..for the pic festival..

take care

"Angeldust" said...

Hello dearest Rauf
you must be home already...
looking forward to read and see all about the trip

Love and hugs

ruth said...

Glad you're back safe. I remember gory sacrifices when we lived in Istanbul, not pleasant. Now I want to watch Dr. Zhivago again, thank you for the reminder. So, so beautiful. Haven't seen it since I was a teenager, when I didn't have eyes to appreciate it totally yet. Trains are much more satisfying than planes, you're right. Looking forward to the pics and stories.

isabella said...

Good to have you back , safe and sound (although not totally so, from what you've written). But get some rest and sleep and your perspective will change for the better, I promise ;-)
This is a testament to the fact that people all over the world are basically very similiar...Who would have thought that a man in Chennai, India and a woman in Naples, Florida would both list "Doctor Zhivago" as their favorite movie? I agree with you - every scene is an exquisite painting, the music is haunting and the end leaves you longing...True epic.

emily said...

Rauf, I hope your trip was wonderful! I know you are out there being thoughtful and observant and scattering your shine throughout the lives of the people you meet!

Something that you've mentioned has touched my life, I thought you should know. You mentioned something about the weather where I am affecting migratory birds where you are. So I have been thinking more about our global community, how it is really so small and interconnected. And it is entirely a lovely surprise to have found such important and sweet revelations on blogger-- all i ever set out to do was write a diary for myself, really, and it has brought me a broader global understanding. Amazing. Thank you!

Rauf said...

Long time Gangadhar, how you've been ?

Rauf said...

Hi Sweet Angeldust
Yes I'll post the pictures after catching up some sleep. I never sacrifice my sleep, but things happened, the train journey took longer than expected due to some derailment, late by 6 hours. had to take a night bus and the festival was in the night then had to cut short my trip to attend an engagement ceremony of my friend. No sleep. Work was waiting whenI got back home.
lots of love and Hugs Angeldust.

Rauf said...

Thanks Isabella, No sleep for 4 nights at a stretch, I am nearly OK because I enjoy what I do and the greatest and the only reward is yours and my readers response which makes me healthy inspite of my reckless living. I am growing older and lot less money coming in. I have felt lot healthier and younger over past one year largely due to the appreciation of my friends like you whom I have never met. Now Its my responsibility to stay healthy for my friends who have given me so much love and I am overwhelmed by their concern expressed in these columns.

I can go on to say that I have learnt more about this world in one year through various blogs than I ever learnt all these years.
What a joy ! and why souldn't I feel younger ? I am sitting here and knowing and experiencing all about Naples Florida through your breath taking pictures. I never knew that there is another Naples.

Rauf said...

Dear Ruth, I am told that the rituals were smeared with blood in the past, but they are no longer in practice. This is such a good subject for a book for you to write Ruth, I wish you have the time. I attribute this only to the evolution of human mind. There may be various other reasons for such rituals to go out of practice. Today's younger generation would never accept them. New laws against them come into force, what brings such new laws ? why no one thought of them before ?

My sister was reading Dr. Zhivago long before the movie came and I used to see her in tears. She had some Russian friends.I have one now Sweta is her name, lives in Penza, Now studying in Hyderabad, she loves India. She speaks very good English. One day sitting on my bed she told me how cold it is in her country. I felt the chill in the manner and words she expressed. they have the art of expression. Boris Pasternak wrote Dr. Zhivago, both David Lean and Freddy young did justice to the book.

Rauf said...

How sweet of you Emily ! You make me pack my things and rush to the Railway station. Yes I am going there again next week. Feel miserable that I can do nothing to help the birds.
they will be here till the end of April, This year they may leave early without their chicks.

I make sevaral visits just to sit there and watch them. They are suffering silently Emily,
they are not complaining, they are just confused. I go to two places in Tamil Nadu and two in the state of Karnataka. Thankfully there is plenty of fish for them in both the states. We had good rains last year. Amazing how every thing is inter connected.

Anonymous said...

hey rauf, this is an awesome! collection of photographs...and I say it from my heart....it's like seeing the real India.
....hmmm, I pray for your good health.

- mag

Ruth said...

I just finished an article of personal history by Ryszard Kapuściński in the New Yorker, and I see there is a copy of it online so you can read it if you wish: http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/070205fa_fact_kapuscinski

Kapuściński is a writer who died last week, a war writer who became famous after he left Poland and traveled the world. The story I’ve given you is of his first trip out of Poland on assignment . . .to India. He traveled from Delhi to Calcutta. Imagine he barely knew a word of English and had never left his small area in Poland. He writes of the contrasts between the cold and poverty in Poland in the 1950s just after Stalin’s death, and the heat and poverty in northern India. What you wrote about your friend Sweta reminds me of his story.

Ruth said...

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/070205fa_fact_kapuscinski

There, that is the complete URL, which was cut off in my last comment.

Ruth said...

Oops it cut if off again. I'll email it to you! :)

Ruth said...

Sorry to clutter your comments. The URL here is complete, it just didn't seem to be before I submitted the comment.

"Angeldust" said...

Sleep "fast" dearest Rauf!!!

Leila said...

i would definitely love to visit india one day!

ldbug said...

Hope the trip went well.

I've always wanted to visit India. My best friend's Dad (growing up) was from India. I loved hearing the stories of that country-so-far-away!

I still have the glass bracelets her grandmother gave me one year on a visit to us in Montana.

her indoors said...

hi Rauf hope you had a good trip and that you have caught up on your sleep x

Mystic Rose said...

hmmm...no more updates??

Rauf said...

Hi Mag ! sorry I took time to respond, I was catching up some sleep. Let me sleep I'll sleep for ever, I love to sleep.

thanks so much for your prayer, i badly need them. I hate doctors. Never been to one in past 30 years, that doesn't mean I am healthy, its just an attitude, I let my body to heal itself, not a sensible idea though. one day it will stop healing. Your prayers will help me then.

Oh! what a joy reading your blog Mag. Such a joy perhaps cures me and comforts me. Thank you so much.
I'll be a regular pain to you in future.

Rauf said...

Dear Ruth, The article is so beautifully written. as a matter of fact any one can survive in India, without knowing the local languages or English.

I am a bit confused about India's current foreign policy. I have been a strong defender in the past
when India refused to bend under pressure from western countries. Now India has allowed its arm to be twisted by the west. there were less people in India in 1956 when
Kapuscenski visited there was great deal of poverty but no confusion. India still remains chaotic but confused now. We catually do not know what we want and where we are heading. We don't seem to learn anything from the blunders the west has committed and regretting.

thank you so much for the link Ruth
It was written from his heart.

Rauf said...

Yes dear Angeldust, slept well and slept fast. I am fine now ready to go again.

Rauf said...

Laila, you would love it or hate it but you will never be indifferent to India. Its a question of attitude. September (lots of festivals) to February is the best time. If you are willing to adjust, if you are willing to wait, if you accept chaos as part of life, yes you are going to love it here. hope you make it soon Laila, Even the garbage is pretty vocal in india. Everything speaks, nothing is silent here.

Rauf said...

Welcome to Daylight again ldbug !
oh yes it went well, had to cut short my trip to attend my friend's
engagement ceremony 800 kilometers away.

Those pretty and colourful glass bangles are called Bangdi, or choodi here ldbug, very colourful very feminine. the glass bangles and its pleasing sound enhances the femininity, don't know the right word.

if a man cannot pick up his courage and fight is generally asked ' Are you wearing bangles ?'
So the MAN does not wear those glass bangles. it makes him feminine.
If a woman loses her husband, immediately after the death or hearing the news, its a ritual to break the glass bangles she is wearing.

hope you make it to india soon ldbug! Can't guarentee a smooth holiday but it will be fun, depending on the attitude and luck.

Rauf said...

Yes i did HER INDOORS. Thank you, I'll post some colourful pictures of Theyyam festival tomorrow. it goes on for the whole night. Not much sleep since then. Now i am fine after 2 days and 2 nights of sleep HER INDOORS

Rauf said...

Mystic rose, while chatting I asked Prathu why only girls say hmmmm... she said hmmmm.... don't know.

yupsee i post theyyam pictures tomorrow Mystic rose. i can promise, it is not a depressing post like i have been posting from last four months. please check Magnolia's blog, i'll have her link on both my pages soon, you'd love it.

http://whatevertopic.blogspot.com/

"Angeldust" said...

I came to find out "how much longer"...? dearest Rauf

Love and a Bigggggggg hug

Rauf said...

OWEEE ! dearest Angeldust, still sorting out the pictures, I'll post later today. It will be fun. very colourful and strange.
lots of love and a bigger hug Angeldust.

Ruth said...

Oh! I had forgotten about the Bangdi until I just read what you wrote to Idbug! When I was about 12 years old, a friend visited from India and brought me a set of these glass bracelets! I was quite proud of them (that was 1968, so it was quite hip to wear such a thing from India, you can imagine). But alas, they all broke, one by one. Don't give such a special gift to a 12-year-old!

Claudia said...

Earnestly waiting for your post, Rauf! Take care :)

Rauf said...

Ruth, Hyderabad is very famous for glass bangles. Bangdi pagdi(head wear)is pronounced BANGdrI PAGdrI
D and R are pronounced together. Half D and Half R. I love glass bangles on women. they don't go well with jeans and t shirts. Present day young working women don't prefer wearing them. they dress up with all the jazz on special occasions. Two gold bangles at the ends and the space between them is filled with glass bangles.

Rauf said...

Sleep deprived, been sleeping for a couple of days and nights Claudia. Sorting out the pictures.
I'll be posting Theyyam later today. Hope You Michel Ana and Clara are doing fine. Hope your third daughter Rose is still around.

"Angeldust" said...

Rauf dear - I was here last night,
I wrote a looooong and detailed comment.

I know I saw it post - as waited to see... today there is NOTHING!

I am broken hearted...
What has happened?

Love and hugs

PS I dont even have a copy 'cuz after checking I delete it!

Rauf said...

Its my loss Angel !
i don't find it in the mai either.
it has happened to me many times.
i thought switching over to google would take care of that.
lots of love and hugs