I've been wandering

October 25

I have been wandering slowly, devouring each beautiful city and I don't want it to end! A short video to remember the last couple of months.

September - October 2017

September 22

My thoughts are tinged with a slight, nagging melancholy each time I recall all the places I have seen. Every encounter lives only in my mind. Everything I see, everyone I meet and all the things I learn cluster together into an universe no one else will know.

One day these ghost worlds will smoothly turn to smoke, and all these stories, the knowledge, and the ghosts of everyone I'm meeting, I will take with me to oblivion.

I am spending September in beautiful Portugal, in beautiful company. I help cleaning/cooking/receiving guests at a charming hostel in Faro in exchange for a bed, meals, good company, beers, barbecue nights and conversation. It seems I could do this forever, and yet I am impatient and have created a strange paradox for myself. I am constantly looking into the future while I don't want the present to end. 

October 1

I arrived in Budapest in the middle of the night, dressed for Faro and almost turned into a popsicle. It's time to update my wardrobe. I work two days a week this month as a receptionist. It'll give me ample time to travel but somehow my heart is still by the sea in Portugal. 

The hostel here is smaller, with less bustle. A short walk from the Great Market Hall stocked to brim with affordable produce. I am gripped with a sense of complete happiness and equal melancholy at the realisation that the next year might turn out to be a loop of this month-long cycle of settling in a new place, getting to like it, and having to leave.

It makes me more cautious of Budapest than I was of Faro. Defence mechanisms for loving places? makes me laugh- I ask myself to relax and go with it :)

October 22

Since I last wrote? A couple of new friends, some short lived drama, a weekend in Vienna, one in Krakow, one in Prague, a wonderful zoo with crazed little monkeys and strange exotic birds, a date with Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, an impromptu trek around a dark castle, a plan for Berlin, learning to love Buda and Pest, and getting ready to say goodbye to both.

Sometimes while taking pictures of streets or reflections, I catch glimpses of myself on windows and mirrors- and I am startled. I cannot clearly explain to you the sense of disassociation I feel with my body then. The person in the mirror is frail, small and occupies about a square foot of ground. Whereas inside, while taking pictures, I am a goofy, limitless, exploding giant :D


Italy - August 2017...

...was strange, bordering on surreal. The country hadn't changed at all since I last visited, but I was different. On some days I'd face the most beautiful landscapes and wonder why I wasn't ecstatic. I'd be treating myself to exquisite food, grateful for great company and still wonder what was missing. Maybe when you've dreamed of something for years, the feeling of mild numbness when you're finally at your destination can be disconcerting. 

So I looked harder at Italy, and captured as much of it as I could. In the end, I guess it worked :)  



The chaos in Naples is strikingly similar to that of India. The Adriatic Sea is the strangest and the most beautiful blue. The pastel matchbox houses in Procida still have a bit of my heart. And between capri, amalfi, positano, I forgot my little crisis for a while. 



Changing Directions

July 14

I'm flying over ice capped Greenland. This month I moved out of Gurgaon, left my job of five years, visited my parents for a bit and now I am on what is going to be my longest travel yet. 

Next to me, a girl of about twelve and her father are struggling to bridge a generation gap. I have so many thoughts that I cannot fall asleep. And yet I have SO many thoughts that it's a crowd in my head and it's impossible to think! 

July 23

I turned twenty eight this week. Older than my mother was when she had me and yet too young to know anything concrete and real about the world. But I know already, that the coming year will be unlike any other I have seen! 

For now I am in USA and preparing to leave for newer places in a month's time. Here are some pictures from Akhil's home and our road trip through Philadephia, NewPort, New York, Virginia Beach and Washington DC.


The Slower Hours

Diaries in the past have mostly been about chaos and variety and new sights. Futile attempts to fit hours of chaotic travel, city lights, new friends, dances, concerts, meals, celebrations, oddities [does anyone remember the Robot Restaurant?] into tiny Memorybank videos that barely last a minute.

I thought it would be nice to dedicate one of these to what it was really like sometimes, to be alone in a new place. Often I went hours without speaking to anybody, spending a bunch of time reading, scrutinising sunsets, staring at the ocean, chasing birds and observing plants. I did not record most of it, but found enough clips to recreate some of the mood :)



A month at a time

In October, my company granted me a sabbatical and I bounced around western Europe for the month.

I expected to get a lot done (ofcourse) about the projects I had planned- instead I took hundreds of futile pictures, laid around on lonesome Portuguese beaches for days, had an existential crisis and ate-drank-walked-repeated till I felt the nausea coming on!

Nevertheless, I made some happy progress [mind you, I am painfully far from actually finishing the projects] and the trip was some kind of heaven..so I am left with zero regrets.

Come November, and I was back in Delhi, part-depressed, part-craving-some-real-work. A lot of beginnings- Modi decided to change the country [but left everyone in a cashless, queue-hogging, change-counting mess], Trump is going to be president of USA, I am learning to play the ukulele, Akhil scored a job, a bunch of my friends have weddings to plan, some of them have heartbreaks to heal, and the others are oscillating between being content and restive ! All in all a good month to look back at that existential crisis and have a second crisis about how to feel about it all.

Did I mention my new favourite city in the world? Porto! It's old and modern and crumbling and steel and slopes and river and beach and wine, francesinhas, art, plant-shops, books, and it is joy on the streets and good taste in general! GO there! Please! And take me when you go!

And today its December already, and I am thinking of the thing someone said about time passing faster as you grow older. I am as old as my Mum was when she had me and yet my life seems like just a collection of pictures. Or not. Its wonderful, really! Or is it? Okay third crisis coming on..



What makes you happy?

A few pictures that reflect my happiest moments from the last year. In each of these pictures, I was behind the lens, and far from home, feeling the sort of guilty pleasure that escaping from your responsibilities can bring. :D

That sort of pleasure and freedom has been long due this year. And so I JUST cannot wait to take off again!

27 in Nepal

Just got back from five days of awesome. They were jam-packed with boat rides, fireflies, swings overlooking lakes, surprise birthday cakes by the river, landslides and hours of waiting on the road, numerous puppy companions, gut-wrenching laughter, a lot of dancing, way too much beer and a bunch of new friends

Gallery for week 2 :)

Here are second week's images in no particular order. I'm out on a work trip again, so resuming this project as soon as I'm back!