I haven’t felt this alive for many months now. These days, I oscillate between boredom and excitement, restlessness and peace, crowd and loneliness, anger and joy, every hour. I haven’t had a dreamless night in the last 10 days and I am unlikely to have one before 28th Sept night when the train to Jammu lulls me to sleep. I have been trying to keep myself busy with various preparations and meeting friends.
All the clichés on friendship any person has ever coined can do meagre justice to just how much love and gratefulness I feel for my friends these last few weeks. Some have questioned every assumption of mine, some have shown confidence in me, some have held up a mirror in front of me, some have planned my trip in more detail than I have, some have simply looked at me with pride and some, with wide-eyed wonder. A key part of my preparations has been to meet them so much that maybe I get tired of them and miss them a little less when I sit by the Beas alone on a chilly evening. Yeah, right! Like that's ever going to happen.
I have been thinking of stories at every waking hour. Their structures, genres, languages, symbols, motivations, lengths, depths, characters, tempo, etc. I spend a lot of time just staring at people and thinking of possible stories. I have completely stopped reading as I have noticed in the past I get hugely influenced by whatever it is I may have read last. I have stopped writing because, well, I have a lot of that to do in the next 6 months and I might as well time my writer’s bloc perfectly – i.e. April 2013.
And then there are piles and piles of stuff to be bought. Kinetic chargers, foldable bottles, ipad keyboards, number locks, swiss knives, thermal-wear and the list can go on forever. Even in this, friends with much more experience have come forward and made it a walk in the park. I am pretty confident right now that in a remote village in Baramulla, if there is no electricity and no vegetarian food, I will still have a decent story written and a tummy well-fed.
Just so you know how awesome my friends are, there is a promotion plan in place for the book which has not even been written yet. There is a build-up route-map which will run in conjunction with my travel and I am pretty confident it will impress the hell out of any marketing guru. I have talked to my college profs, ex-bosses and guides, mainly to hear them approve of my decision and hence draw confidence from their words. I leave on the 27th with both – a lot of confidence and a lot of pressure and I guess I can only grow from this experience.
And then, just as i thought I was so ready I could have left immediately, Anurag Basu gave me a song on Friday that I will carry with me through the next 6 months. Very few travel songs can give you goose-bumps and move you to tears. After all, they are supposed to be just about travel, right? But Papon’s “Kyon” is a thing of sheer beauty. So visually stunning, so lyrically rich, so hauntingly melodious is the song that I just know that when I am staring at the Himalayas in Arunachal, this song is more likely to make me shiver than the sub-zero temperatures. I have proof. It managed to moisten my eyes before Bombay’s torrential rains could, last night!
And so I leave on Thursday the 26th of Sept, with a bagful of confidence, anticipation and hope in the search of beauty and passion and magic and love.
P.S. – I haven’t had a bigger screen crush than Ileana D’Cruz in Barfi since Aishawarya Rai in Kajra Re. Its the eyes. It always is!