Saturday, 14 December 2013

Bus number 11.

"At the end of one HYSTERICAL journey #engineering here I
am at the start of another.
#roadtrip to Mt. Abu!"- I Tweeted.

I had always wanted to go out on a road trip. Well I had a lot of reasons.

Let me just try to make a bullet list as to how I decided to go out on one: (Engineering has taught me something! :P)  
  • Firstly,  My Dad was a biker and he had been on many road trips the longest being, a trip from Coimbatore(Tamil Nadu) to Goa. On their bikes! So I had to go.
That's a cool bike he had!
We did not have the audacity required resources to go on bikes so we pooled up to go in a 'compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle' (euphemism for  Chevrolet Tavera) for our trip to Mt. Abu. 
  • My friends and I had been planning out a trip since our college second year. And planning was all we did!
    I could make another bullet list as to why we didn't/ couldn't work out our plans but we'll leave it at that.
  • Engineering.
    Yes. Having slogged for four years we all thought we deserved a trip. If you have been an engineering student you'd understand.
So, as we bade goodbyes to our years as engineering students, we were all looking forward to having a good time.

Road trips are fun and most of the time adventurous. Ours was no different(at least for me). We stayed at a hotel that was on the side of a hill, went out for site seeing, had non-vegetarian food for almost every meal, took detours exploring the place, the sunset point, a musical night, boating - the usual in any road trip to a hill station.

But the Highlight of our trip to Mt. Abu was my introduction to Bus number 11.

It was when we checked in our hotels, that I noticed that most of the attenders in the hotel were boys(12- 16 years old). 
When one of them came to our rooms, One of my friends inquired about him. 
He replied,"Yes bhaiya. I work here. During my vacations. I study in Bikaner and my Uncle brings us here so that we could help him at the hotel."
We didn't press on the topic much. He just kept the water bottles and left. 
 We left the hotel and went about exploring the tourist places in Mt. Abu. I couldn't help but notice a big statue of Jesus, quite like the "Christ the redeemer" statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

So as we came back from sunset point to our hotel that day, I inquired that same boy as to how that statue got up there. 
He wasn't sure as to how the statue got up there, but he sure did say that the view from there was breath taking. I asked him the obvious question I could have asked,"Well, how do you go there?"

He replied, "Bus number 11, of course! We can go up there first thing tomorrow morning."
"What is your name ?"- I asked.
"Ranjit, bhaiya!"- was his reply as he went back to the door.

So as we hit our pillows that night, I couldn't help but wonder about our small little detour my friend Jitesh (Jitu) and I had planned with Ranjit for the next day.

As the next day dawned on us, Jitu and I woke up at 6 in the morning, got ourselves ready, met Ranjit right outside our hotel and started towards what I thought would be a bus-stop where we could board our "Bus number 11". 

After walking some 200 metres, Ranjit just got off the road and started hiking through the bushes and rocks by the road.
"Hey where are you going?"-I asked.
"You wanted to go to the Jesus spot, right? This is the route!"- Ranjit replied.
"Just follow him. It will be fun! Just watch your step."-Jitu said to me as we followed Ranjit. 

Where is he taking us?
After what seemed like an hour of hiking and jumping over rocks, we were there.
No not the bus-stop. But our Jesus stop!
And man! Was it breath taking? Yes it was!
This one I took from the internet! :P But the View!
 "But you said Bus number 11 could have brought us here. Why did you bring us through this route?"- I asked Ranjit.
"Bus number 11 did bring us here, bhaiya!"-he said, stooping down to pat both his knees!
Man! I was speechless. Awestruck at how this little kid counted both his LEGS as a privilege, a luxury that he enjoyed. In an age where owning a BMW or a Merc is considered a luxury, I felt stupid about myself for actually trying to take some bus to reach there, as I thanked God for my "Bus number 11".

Ranjit and I posing with our Bus number 11s

For me, road trips aren't about the bikes, the cars or the MPVs we journey in. It's about learning to enjoy the little luxuries we often fail to acknowledge and the memories of meeting many more Ranjits all through the way.
Coming to think of it , "Bus number 11" is the cheapest, safest and most reliable mode of transport available to us today!
The question remains,

Have you thanked God for Your Bus number 11?

My bus number 11! :D

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Thank you

Whenever November comes by, I am surrounded by a melancholic and cold atmosphere that has nothing to do with the winter season. But as far as my memory can reach out, winter used to be my favorite, of all the seasons throughout the year. 
Waking up to the smell of brewing coffee my mother would make but at the same time trying my best to get out of my cozy rajaai (Hindi for a quilt) to brush my teeth and take a hot bath and then dressing up to go to school. I still remember how I used to literally bake my socks over the stove(for which I used to get scolded by my Maa almost every time!) to make it warm enough to put my feet inside a pair of heavenly hosiery! :) And then after coming back from school, how I would enjoy playing outside in the warmth of the sun till 6 in the evening and then coming home to some hot snacks my Maa would make for me. Yes. Winter was The Best Time of the year for me!
What was more. It was Christmas season! Gifts, New clothes, Christmas cards, the Christmas tree, Cakes, Carols, need I say more? :) Man, I loved winters.

But God had other plans for that one particular morning.
Everything good about that winter morning, was about to turn into an agonizing noon, as Death announced its presence. 
My Dad had passed away in a cardiac arrest in Chennai. 

I know it sounds very shallow and skin-deep, but no matter how hard I try to express my feelings of that day, I start trembling. 

But looking back at that day, I can say one thing for sure.
In the midst of our insufferable, unbearable and heart-wrenching circumstance, GOD WAS IN CONTROL.
As the Psalmist, David from the Bible would say,
"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."

At this juncture I am indebted to thank everyone who was with us during our time of grief.
Parul Ma'am, my Biology teacher, who is invariably the first person to help whenever our family needed it. Without her help I don't know how we would've reached Chennai. Right from helping us out to get tickets, till we boarded our flight, she was there.
 She continues to be our moral support. Apart from whatever little biology I know, I've learnt a lot of 'life lessons' from her.
Sandhya Ma'am, my primary school mentor and a close colleague of Maa, who, without a second thought, accompanied us in her car to drop us at the airport in Ahmedabad, which is almost 5 hrs from our place. 
Geetanjali ma'am,Preeti ma'am, Nirmala ma'am, Nagapushpa Ma'am and all of my Maa's colleagues who helped us pack, in time, in order to start towards Ahmedabad. Geetanjali Ma'am even took the pains to accompany  us to the airport.

Mr. Sankar Sethumahadevan, the first male person who gave me his shoulder to cry on. I can't forget the consoling words he told me when we first heard the news of my dad's death. He said," I know its an important stage in your career and losing your father now would be a very big blow. But, Keep your faith. Now you have to look after your mother and sister." His words somehow gave me a sense of assurance that no matter what I go through, God won't give me something I can't handle.
Not only was he there to arrange a car for us to go to Ahmedabad, but he also sent Suja ma'am, his wife, and Anusha, his daughter (and my sister's close friend) to drop us.
Anusha and Heer, my sister's friends  from school, who skipped their lessons and came and accompanied Lydia to the airport.
I hadn't known Heer's mother till then. But still, she came all the way to the airport and was a big support to my sister.

To everyone I've mentioned, and others, whom I might have forgotten, who were there for us and prayed for us, I just want to,

I know just a thank you wouldn't express how grateful I am to have you all in my life. You have been a blessing and it is my sincerest prayer today that God continues to use you as a blessing to many.

I don't know if everyone reading this believes in angels. But as for me, One thing is certain,

I believe in angels, not because I read about them in the Bible, but because I have seen them for Real

Saturday, 19 October 2013

At last... My own new blog!

Finally! After so many attempts to try new things all my life, here I am at the brink of starting something new. Blogging. 
Well its probably out of jealousy(God forgive me!) that I have found this newly found interest. You see many of my friends have their own blogs and quite good ones at that! 
So much for intros, I'll post something that has influenced my life to an extent that it has changed my way of looking at myself. 
If you had known me from my school days, you would have known me to be one of those lonely, fun-hating introvert guys who stick to reading books as their sole hobby. Well, maybe I was/am like that. The difference now is that I have Someone far greater than my imagination, who has filled me with something that I am going to have till I am here.
Faith. Hope. Love.
It all started with a 'Why?' It always does. And then, like that feeling when you start giving in, like that step when you start over again, like that moment when you are just waking up, it comes to you like a brand new day! 
When Love enters your heart, it is the most wonderful feeling! 
By love, I meant one that has existed since time immemorial, one that bestows you with a peace that surpasses all understanding, one that has the power to transform.
I know, philosophy, right in my first blog post, is not what you would like to read but,   


Having said that, I will just close off with a small stanza from one of my favorite songs:

Well, today I found myself

After searching all these years

And the man that I saw

He wasn't at all who I thought he'd be

I was lost when You found me here

And I was broken beyond repair

Then You came along

And You sang Your son
g over me

It feels like I'm born again

It feels like I'm living

For the very first time

For the very first time in my life

Cheerio! :)