A few days back while on cycling on the banks of Lake Pichhola, amidst the trash that some of us throw so carelessly were photographs. A close inspection revealed they wern’t mere photographs but indeed wedding albums – torn and thrown in the lake. Still lying there, not yet swept away by the water to the depth of the lake bed.
There were happy faces of elated parents, siblings and friends on the wedding rituals of their loved ones. The memories carefully stored in glossy albums in plastic cover- Photographs that were posed for, smiled for and fussed over, lying here now unclaimed, unloved and grieved over.
The relationships that may have once been investigated, checked over now all that covered with moss of broken dreams and unfulfilled desires.
How does one recover? How does one forget?
When things get thrown away, do we also necessarily empty out what once lived within?
How long before these photographs becomes part of the soil??
Or like the non-degradable plastic covered albums these memories continue to live with us forever??
Who to judge, who to questions and what to remorse??
And this reminded me so much of the famous lines of the Ghazal sung by Late Jagjit Singh:
तेरे ख़त आज मैं गंगा में बहा आया हूँ ,
आग बहते हुये पानी में लगा आया हूँ ………
This Navratri I decided to trek up to the Neemuch Mata Mandir which is considered as the Vaishno Devi of Udaipur, after more than 12-13 years. The Temple is situated atop a hill at a height of approximately 900 meters close to Fatehsagar, Udaipur. Besides the belief in the Devi, the temple offers a mesmerizing view of the lakes. At one point during the journey the devotees arrange bricks/stones in the belief that the goddess will fulfill their wish of having their own/desired home.
Considering it was the Festive season the way up to the temple was chock-a-block with devotees making their way up /down. Here was this group of married women who I think were around 50+ and I am sure in their heads they were not an year more than 25, some of them were arranging stones and praying to have Mata’s blessings to soon have an abode of their own.
One of them proudly and loudly proclaimed “ज़िन्दगी की सबसे अच्छा दिन वह था जब खुद के घर में शिफ्ट हुए, शादी हुई तब भी इतनी ख़ुशी नहीं हुई थी. २१-२१ साल में माँ-बाप ने शादी करा दी हमारी (I have a strong feeling she meant 16), कुछ मालूम ही नहीं पड़ा !!”
The moment she uttered these words and much to her surprise the entire section of the passage burst out laughing with her and this song from the television series ‘Balika Vadhu’ started playing in my head:
छोटी सी उम्र परनाई रे बाबोसा, कर्यू थारो कई मैं कसूर,
हो इतना दिन्ना तो म्हाने लाड लड़ाया, अब क्या करो महने हिवडे सो दूर …..
Just hope this lady’s husband since their marriage has managed to pacify her because there is hardly anything that he can now do that will make her ever get over the regret.
As I was attending a social function in the morning an acquaintance walked up to me and joked about the Cycling pictures that I regularly post on the social media since the time I took on to cycling. I bought my cycle on 5 months back, the last time I had purchased one was during my school days at Mayo College, Ajmer from M/s. Hiralal & Sons way back in 1989 with my name and Roll No. engraved on the Handle Bar.
Cycling was something that I thought was beyond me, well I thought the same about all sort of physical activity, but a regular feature in the newspaper about cycling motivated me to venture inside a cycle showroom to have a peek of what I was getting into. They looked fancy and friendly (I mean the cycles) and so with a second visit with my wife and kids in the evening to finalise the colour, I was a proud owner of a Red and Black UT Cycle. Now came the time to buy accessories, I wanted to load my machine with them but I was coolly told off that first start riding regularly then eventually have all the accessories. I guess my reputation of a completely non-physical/outdoor kind of person was no secret. Neither the Shop Owner nor my family and for that even I wasn’t confident that this enthusiasm would continue for long.
The very next day I took off on my new cycle and soon I realised what a pain in the ass it was, literally!! Because how on earth does a small seat fit a 100+ Kgs man comfortably?? Even the slightest bump in the road was painful, but I had a point to prove and the morning motivation to look forward to and so with an constant pain at unmentionable places I was went along gradually increasing my distance and decreasing the pain.
And I took off to exploring Udaipur visiting places I had never been before from the Hanuman Ghat to Ambrai Ghat; From Vaijnath Mandir, Sisarma to the Madar Lakes; From Eklingji to Chandpole Ghats!! From cycling in the bylanes of Udaipur to finding my way up to Bada Madar Lake in ankle deep water. From getting jittery riding up the pitch dark Chirwa Tunnel to coming downhill the Badi Lake, mornings had never been so adventurous.
The solitude and the ‘me’ time that I had was something that made me get out of my bed even before the Sun rose on Sunday mornings something that was never me. I looked forward to getting drenched in the rains; to the wind blowing on my face and falling in love with Udaipur all over again.
I don’t know if I have managed to shed any weight but one thing that certainly has happened is that I feel less guilty when I binge. After all the pounds accumulated over last 4 decades would take time to go !!
So yes I would continue to use the social media to bore most of you with my cycling trips pictures and hoping this love for my cycles continues till the time we both outgrow each other (Sincerely hope this love story is for keeps).