Tuesday, September 25, 2012

the smell of bitter almonds...

"the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love" said the great Marquez.. 
and as I read that line, I think I just fell in love with the book(love in the times of cholera)

As the trees shed their leaves here amidst the onset of winters, the dryness in the air reminds me of those unfulfilled stories.. in a very bitter-sweet way of course...
Somehow I believe only the desire and longing makes for this magic, those great stories.. 
the lonesome walks with the iPod and suddenly getting the apt songs on the shuffle.. the helpless smile.. and being alone in a foreign country adds to the effect .. (Oh yeah, I am as cheesy as it gets! :) )

And somehow if I think, I see a pattern in all my blog posts.. (Besides the lack of creativity and overtly cheesiness as one might say)..
The present intertwined with the past.. the chancing upon the dormant memories.. amidst rain, snow or the fall and sometimes the scorching sun..
and then someone once said, why do we want to see the pattern, just be..

be it those late night calls from the pitch drunk friends telling me how they miss me, recollecting the college days.. or co incidently running into an old "close friend" as we might say now.. ha ha.. how could life be as interesting without those magical moments..

Not that I love to live in the past, in eternal nostalgia... but reminiscing those magical moments once in a while has its own charm.. that's my escape from the present.. 
and while one might say it isn's right..
but then, my world is perfect in its imperfect way... :-)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Rains, Tea and some old forgotten songs..

Its 1O' clock in the night. the fact that tomorrow is Friday is enough to keep me happy tonite. Getting hotter everyday here. I mean it is not "Hot-Hot" as it is in India, but you still wait for the rains. just like one does in India. to bring down the heat.. the same cycle. u want rains and then sometimes u hate it.. the sudden burst on the way to office, stuck in that traffic.. irritated..

But more often than not, i love the rains. they bring in the scent of romance with them. just like the long drives and disheveled hair. just like the scented candles and tipsy eyes.
And so does this song somehow that is playing in an infinite loop. Calgary, by Bon iver.
Sometimes u tend to revel in the idea of romance. Anyways. 

14 months in Canada, perhaps 5-6 more months to go. Some more months of cooking and cleaning. and exploring new songs and often getting back to the old forgotten ones.. lets get back to Dido, Sands in my shoes. But strangely, I don't have any sands in my shoes. I am as empty as one could be..well. lets change the song. 
Thank You by Dido! :)

The weather channel has broken the suspense. It tells me it would rain the entire week. I might need to stock some more Tea for such moments and get hold of some movies. 
and perhaps write another blog. 
just write. like i just did! :-)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Life, Happiness, Death, etc.

Disclaimer - Random, incoherent thoughts.. scribbled down.. might not make any sense. or they might. u never know. :-) 

 So, I saw something very closely that I was most scared of - Death. And it happened right in front of my eyes. I saw my Naani's heartbeats going down steadily and doctors doing the CPR to somehow resurrect them.. sadly, all in vain..it was a painful moment. for the entire family.
I know it is insensitive to write about such personal incidents, and I am not going to write about it. But I mentioned it since such incidents always make you introspective.
And It did make me question a few things.. 

I had planned my itinerary to every minutest detail, made very strong hopes about new developments.. and practically it all went down for a toss. everything nose-dived. But then, it all happened so fast that it is just now that I could sink it all in..

There is this incident that I still remember from my flight back to Calgary.. I mean I was tired and sad to be leaving with all plans and hopes going haywire.. and then I meet this chap from Calgary.. Edward.. 
This chap had been to India for Skiing in Gulmarg.. and quite to my embarrassment, he was assuring me of safety in that area. Pity! So, there was this Canadian fella 55 yrs old and I was like this chap traveled all the way to India to ski for a couple of weeks and then going back. Isnt that exactly what I want when I am 55? To travel to another country and be fit enough to ski!!

The person on the other side is this Indian chap-Debasish, overly sentimental, who somehow made his way from Calcutta to Canada to be a Cook in some small Restraunt in Edmonton.. listening to "O Sathi re" in full volume on his cell-fone.. and arguing with the air-hostesses for an extra glass of Vodka.. I was quite frankly- and more so since coming from Delhi- was more interesting in talking with this chap from Gulmarg.. 

and then Debasish brings out a small note from his 2 daughters.. about how they miss their father..the personal incidents.. (and that letter was one of the most beautiful things I read ever)
and that letter made me change sides. I chose Deb.. and then he talks about how he misses his family.. and so on.. (U know the typical Indian senti talk! :) )  
(Oh well that chap from Canada did argue a bit about how can one love the same person for more than 10-15 yrs. and I am not stereotyping here or making it up but then, he saw that letter and gave up his arguments.. )

and I thought to myself again, "isn't this what I want to be when I am 55!"  To have a wife who wont eat properly until she knows I reached safely.. Children who hide letters in my wallet and then tell me about it when I am just about to board the flight!! 

and well. to add a little more sugar to this overly-sweet. hyper-romantic post, let me end this with something my Canadian colleague's 7 yr old son told her and she posted it on FB -
"Happiness is not something fun that you do, or places you go... it's an inside feeling."

Sunday, December 11, 2011


"Oye Sunny tune meri shadi ki cassette dekhi?" exclaims one of my relatives every once in a while, knowing completely well that I have managed to sit through that entire thing at least 4-5 times earlier. 

And you know what, I have been going through the same charade for last 20 odd years.. Right from my Massis to my Mamis to cousins to even my mom, everyone wants you to watch the same cassette/CD over and over again. And we so gladly do it, don't we?
And we all know that there would be "Baharon Phool Barsaao, mera mehboob aaya hai" at the entry of the girl..(believe me that moment, the girl is the princess, no matter who it is :-) ) and then there would be the rest of the repetitive play-list.. ending aptly with "Babul ki Duaen leti ja.. ja tujhko sukhi sansar mile" and we can't help noticing the bride crying watching the same scene every time she watches it on CD..

And well, the others who are made to watch the Video are more concerned abt the fact that they look good in the video.. praying that their plates are not heaped up with food while they were captured.

I am sure there isn't a bigger moment in anyone's life, or shall I say, an Indian's life than their wedding. I am sure every girl would have painted a picture of what kind of lehanga she would wear.. where she would get her make up done.. or even the matching dress for the groom.. And I am sure she would smile every time she thinks about it. 

And well, the wedding is a huge affair specially marked with some Mamaji or Buaji getting angry for not having got their share of attention.. or someone getting drunk and making a silly spectacle.. Oh, it is all fine. We all need a little drama, don't we?.. We are all fine with it! :-)

And there are some sad scenes of a girl fainting while carrying the 40-kg heavy dress with loads of jewelry and sitting through those traditional chores that go on for hours together.. and well the video has its share of item numbers too, dances by cute little cousins or sisters, some prepared while others impromptu and the oh-so-famous baaraati dances where some drunk uncle suddenly realized his dancing talents and pounces on the arena with his famous Nagin dance moves accompanied by yet another equally or more enthusiastic dancer who pretends to be a snake charmer...

So, overall, no matter how many classic movies you might watch, no matter how emotional you might get, call your first date as heavenly, call your first kiss as a milestone, but nothing can beat your wedding date. Especially if you're a Punjabi.. :-)

Well, the times have changed. We got the songs replaced in the video CDs, the videos are much better quality, artistically shot, we have dances with better choreography, lesser angry mamajis or chachajis.. and lesser food on the plates thanks to the calorie conscious new-age aunty-jis.. 
But I'm sure the girls still  get goosebumps thinking about their wedding, the guys still care to make their Bride feel special and secretly hope they can match up with the woman who looks heavenly on that day.. and the vidaais still end up with an ocean of tears.. 

Ah, well, it might go on and on. But I'd rather end it here.. and end it with one of the most romantic songs of the yesteryear's Marriage Video's era.. "Suhaagrat hai ghunghat utha raha hun main, Simat rahi hai tu sharma ke apni bahon main.. "  (thats what the guys care abt eh?) ;-)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

That Moment...

and she was one in a million. Unperturbed. Uncorrupted. and so pure.
Calm n Composed. With those deep eyes.with a look that told that she knew it all.
Yeah, She was aware. She knew what he wanted. She knew what he thought.
She was focused. she was there. right there. with him. for ever.
She had no hidden motive. She had no games to play.
She smiled. and her eyes sparkled. Oh, she knew it all!

and he was left breathless. It was a moment. Just a moment.
and the moment just stayed with him. forever.
and he was a different person. since then.
He was in love. Oh yeah, He was in Love...

.. to be continued..

Friday, November 25, 2011

The world according to Mr. Manaktala!

So here is the deal. I decide the topic and I have no clue what I am gonna write about. Hope I scribble something meaningful today. or else, as usual, the post would end up being in the drafts. Anyways. Who am I writing for? Myself! Do I really care? Nope. So lets post this gibberish today anyways, whatever I end up with!! :-)

Ok, anyways. for the record. I love Calgary. and I have realized that I love Calgary despite having to cook everyday and wash those utensils with tough stains(Ok, I admit here that I've been exploiting my roomie by acting tired and sad and making him fix most of the meals) but anyways, I love Calgary.
Picture this. And well, it is not to make anyone jealous. Every morning there is an anticipation of snow. Every morning. And It almost makes up for not waking up next to some girl who I would love. Well..lets not get there!
and watching it snow is beautiful. I do not remember how it would have felt watching my first rain or the first stroke of lightening.. but I distinctly remember the first snowfall. and it felt heavenly.

And there is a river that flows next to my apartment. and there is a beautiful garden adjacent to it.. I have seen the trees from being lush green to getting crimson red to yellow and now leafless.. U know what call me a hypocrite, but honestly in India, I could hardly appreciate nature.. Do we see trees anywhere around us? I mean I love India.. more than anything but seriously man, those makeshift gardens or colonies with a few random trees thrown in here or there.. Nope, My dear! that isn't nature! :-)

And I wish, the calm in the atmosphere here just remains with me for a long time. The air is so relaxed here. Someone in India just put us on a Hi-speed mode and we forgot to realize the pleasure in that Calmness, that laid back attitude.. the relaxation, having nothing to do.. "Dil dhoondta hai phir wahi fursat ke rat din.." (that's the song am listening to right now) :)

and lets end the crappy blog right here.. i want to write about something else now..

I want to walk in the nights here in Calgary at -45°C.. I want to travel to obscure villages just to have a tea at a random kiosk.. exploring the most beautiful spot in any town I am in.. driving to unknown places while listening to the most amazin songs, smiling and dreaming at the same time.. learn new art forms.. languages, movies, instruments, new sports.. and perhaps, get back to those dance classes someday.. watch the weather change the colors of leaves in yet another town.. fall in love with someone I can witness all this.. in some other city.. so much man, so much.. 

And yess.. along with all this, I still wish the person I get eventually in my life helps me in cooking and washing those utensils.. U gotta be practical, eh! :P

Saturday, July 2, 2011

confessions of an adoloscent photographer..

Let me start with an oft repeated cliche' that says "Beauty lies in the eyes of a beholder". Well, never ever has that made more sense to me than now after I got my hands on this camera. Like every photography enthusiast, I bought it since I like traveling and now I feel I travel, perhaps, because I have a camera. In any case, I am loving it. Every bit of it. Right from getting the settings right to the framing/composition part.

And perhaps it is just a part of it, a miniscule part that too. Whats more exciting is that sometimes a good picture can add so much more life and vigor in an otherwise a mundane or an ordinary subject.
Every picture is your own creation. You get a complete freedom to choose your subject or the settings. And every picture says a story. Or, shall I say, every picture taken with utmost love and care says a story.

A camera needs a lot of personal attention. You might, perhaps, miss out on enjoying the place while you are busy clicking the pictures, but, in a way, aren't we seeing the the same place, through the eyes of the camera and with much more care and intricacy. Sometimes, finer details and nuances about a place or a person that we tend to overlook come to life with a camera. I wonder how many times I would have loved the smell of the earth when it rained but with a camera you tend to add another dimension to that heavenly feeling when those tiny water droplets on the blades of grass astound you. A camera makes you observe and observe in the real sense.

It is completely meditational. You forget everything else and just immerse yourselves in that subject, be it a river, or a person or something as ordinary as a pebble. I used to hear these photographers talk about aesthetic sense and how much beauty is hidden in this world and all you need is a keen eye. Now, it all makes sense. Every bit of it.

And frankly I do realize that I have a long way to go. Like every art, photography takes its own sweet time to develop within you. And I like it that ways. I like walking the harder path to salvation. And to me my salvation in photography lies not in winning some contests or putting up pictures on social networking sites which is liked by many.

To me, a victory is as simple as making an ordinary things look good. To make a person fall in love his picture. To get the real beauty of the place on my pictures. To feel that I have done justice to the subject.

And perhaps, most importantly, my salvation in photography lies in deciphering the real beauty in everything I see. ..

Sunday, May 22, 2011

losing my religion -2

It is actually futile to define what u want out of life. or what is it all about. I have walked almost on every street this city has(yes, I have walked a lot) and all I wanted at that moment was to just keep walking. out of the set of constraints I was born in. where I have defined what life needs to be like. drew boundaries to what it needs to be like. out here, I just came out of those boundaries. and I didnt want to define them again.

and somehow I dont care what the city looks like. what monuments or sight seeing it has to offer. All I want out of my city is that it challenges me. A Challenge to start my life all over again. with making new friends to getting to know the routes. Learning the new language to getting used to the weather. My travel is more inwards.

and Calgary has been all that and much more to me. I wake up every day with a new resolve. that today I would work better. that today I would finally find an accomodation and make some friend who could be my roomie. haven't been successful but the city gives me hope. It keeps me going.

Life is good as long as I have this inner drive to make new beginnings. coz the dreams shatter. coz the world we make around ourselves comes down at the slightest blow of wind sometimes.

Well.. sometimes, it feels while you keep drifting, that there should be an anchorage. the 'theherav". but then, you can't ask for things in your life. let them happen to you. ..

till then keep moving. stay inquisitive and hungry for experiences. stay curious!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Losing my religion!

I am sure nothing can replace traveling to unknown places. U can never capture the essence in pics. You can never talk about it and convey the exact emotions. and why would u want to? this experience is something which becomes an intrinsic part of you. While u might want to share the feeling with your loved ones, you also want to treasure a lot of it for yourselves alone. Unless someone dear comes, stays with you and goes through the same experience, which would be heavenly. But then, doing it all alone has a different flavor to it.

So, a week here in Calgary, a place as alien as it could have been and now a week later, it feels so much like home. I remember the apprehensions I had the first day I landed at the airport when the immigration officer said,"So Sir, your Work Permit expires on 24th Oct 2012, but I'm sure once u see the winters here, you're gonna go back much before that date!" Well, let me put the facts straight right away. it get really cold here. and by that I mean it could touch -40 degrees. Yes, you read that right. and coming from India where it was +45 degree, I'm in for some real adventure! Bring it on, Mr. God! :-)

more later.. processin. . . :-)

Friday, March 18, 2011

the Karma confessions!

Ahh. So another day of doubting my genuine nature. Am I doing it right? Am I living the right way? and what is the right way? who is to judge? who is to decide? What is the absolute truth? Ah. whatever.

I think my Karma is screwed up somewhere. Somehow things don't set right. Something goes
wrong somewhere. There is a hindu faith in destiny and good deeds that you wud get what u deserve and whats written in the stars. And there is my faith is fighting for what you want. Not letting the things that you aspire for from all your heart go away. and am not giving up my fight for sure.

So, what am I talkin abt? What essentially I am talkin abt is that how long would I keep fighting for something that I deserve. Is it that my bad Karma keeps me away from it? Then I believe, I should channelize the energies to the right direction. Better get my Karma in place before I go for the fight. or rather fight to get Karma in order, before anything.

and this confuses me more than anything, and when nothing works, lets get back to what does everytime. lets get back to inner conscience. Lets get back to the one up there. Mr. God am coming home to you tomm. no other go! :-)