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What we do when we do work.

Working for your own company is different from working on your boss’ idea. One, the cribbing is none. But the anxiety levels shoot through the roof when friends who had confirmed participation cancel it few days later. So days begin on a good note, end on a bad one and at midnight it might take a turn for the better. Unpredictable it is. Just like your boss’ mood. But we make the most of the days. Doing our own thing between drawing itineraries and calling people.

Doing our own thing ranges from cooking something we have been fancying for some time. Or trying our hand at a board game. Is Jenga a board game? There’s no board. Well, it’s just a game. Try your hand at it after you are a few drinks down. At this point I would like to re-iterate, Bat Travels doesn’t encourage drinking. In fact, drinking is injurious to health. One should not do it. Even if you are bogged down by the vagaries of life and it seems like there’s no respite. A drink should not be touched. Just believe in yourself and the higher powers to untangle your life. Even if you are an atheist. And sing some karaoke instead. What if you don’t know the song? Don’t you think it is unnecessary when people remember the words of so many songs? These are the same people who won’t remember important things. Important things like they owe you money. And then they won’t take subtle hints either. But start humming a song and they will fill in the words. Without being asked for and with the correct pronunciations. Such a waste of being a human being. Hey, someone increase the volume of the radio. I can’t hear the words.

Click on images to see the video.

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How to enjoy live Santoor music.

Artist on the boat playing santoor. Ganges and the rising sun can be seen in the background.

Try being on a boat, on the Ganges early in the morning when the sun is rising. Sitting at a distance of 3-4 feet from the musician, you will appreciate how delicate the instrument is. It has more than 100 strings running crisscross over the wooden body. And the music it makes is soulful and serene. If you keep looking at the Ganges with the santoor music in the background, something will shift gears in your heart. Try holding the tears then.

Also try holding yourself from the tempting chaats and kachoris and jalebis. We had two breakfasts in a day, because we didn’t want to miss kachori-chana for poori-jalebi. So we had both. And the rounds of banarasi-paan! I have lost count there. The mithais were on our radar and we had our fill there too. Laal-pedas were packed and taken home.

Walking through the narrow lanes, you will find a story at every corner. A marble plaque read 1767, the year the house was built in. The palaces on the ghats will have stories of Rajas who lived there. We stayed in one such palace. And a shivling at every 100 meter will constantly remind you that it is Shiva’s city. Locals will tell you that Shiva is around, one amongst the many sadhus living in the city. I don’t believe in Gods, but I want to believe that a personality like Shiva is in the vicinity. And that I can strike a conversation with him any day.


See pictures of the trip here
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Break a leg and other happenings at Bat Travels

Break a leg and other happenings at Bat Travels


Well, I actually broke a leg. And then we had a great show. So there, the headline has been explained. What follows is the drama around it and lots of detail.

In my line of vision is the right foot shoe lying alone where it has been discarded when I walked in in my house from my tour. It is covered in dust, and is looking miserably alone. So it the right foot chappal lying at my bedside. But two right-foot footwear don’t make a pair. So they are sulking, missing their better halves who are probably cozying up in the shoe case, as I type. Remember, they are leftist? Radicals!

If you are looking for drama around the fracture, there is none. Just old age, I guess. Which in itself is very dramatic. I say old age not because am old. I meant it in the way that am getting old. My birthday is around the corner, you see.

While we are on birthdays, Divya celebrated hers on our trip. She got a great band to perform, picked up an awesome venue, packaged it like a tour and managed to sell it. Initially when no-one was picking our trip we thought people can see through it. But as the days came closer, people just joined in. It could be because of the long weekend. And most people are normal, in the sense that when they don’t have a plan they leave the panicking to the last moment. So limping on one foot and one walking stick, I showed my happiness at the turn out.

If you talk to the people who joined our tour, they will tell you how good the music was. (By the way, Kanishk Seth and his band performed for us.) They will also tell you about the riverside venue and how they could hear the gurgling water all night long as they slept in tents floating over the river. I will tell you where I slept. In a tent pitched on the ground. I was not taking any risk. For I can’t swim. And these days, I can’t even walk.

The greatest gain from this fracture has been the walking stick. Now I don’t have to walk up to the switchboards. Standing 3 feet away I can switch off the fan. Sitting on the bed I can pull the bottle of water closer. The newspaper that I had thought I had done reading and had tossed on the floor can now be nudged back lovingly. Dogs now look at me with new-found respect. Cats, well cats never really looked at me. They still don’t. What should I do to make you look at me? Break another leg?

In case any of you know of cool activities that can be done on one leg, do leave behind a comment. I don’t promise I will try it. But I will definitely give it a thought. Please refrain from suggesting the adventurous activity ‘bathing’. Have already done that stuff. Woohoo!

Picture credit: Karthik Shriram. (follow him on Instagram @karthik_shriram)
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First timers

A selfie clicked in the bus on-route to Kamshet

The first trip is done and what a trip it was. When I was leaving for the trip from my house early in the morning on December 2nd, I took a moment to check what I was feeling. As I was stuffing my phone charger in my red bag, I asked myself, what am I feeling? Am I excited, as I usually am when I am leaving for a holiday? I wasn’t. I was anxious. I was worried. I was worked up. I was definitely not looking for adventures. I wished for everything to go smoothly. At that moment, I took a deep breath and told myself, that I should be excited and happy, like I am when am leaving for a trip. But deciding to feel a certain way is not really a guarantee of feeling that way, is it? Ask the ones with a freshly broken heart. So with an anxious heart I went down with the lift.

When we were all in the bus on our way to Kamshet, just an hour into trip, I looked at Divya. She was sitting in one the front seats. I was in the last row. We looked at each other and smiled, our smiles saying, dude this is really happening. Just a few hours into the trip, I was laughing, cracking jokes and sharing high-fives. It was like a roaring party.

The trek through the jungle was treacherous in bits, but in stretches it was so quiet and peaceful that my travel pal Tony started humming to himself. And while paragliding, Rahul refused to land. Well, actually he was so light-weight that every time his pilot tried landing, the wind would take him off again. Chetna convinced her pilot to make her spin in the sky. Shubham had to convince the pilot to take him on a flight. Tilak loved his flight so much that he wants to learn paragliding. Biswajit refused to paraglide, his fear of height taking over. Sharad was jokingly advised to slip in some stones in his pockets to add some weight, so that he doesn’t meet Rahul’s fate. Kenny tried his best to capture everyone’s take-off and landing on his camera.

When we came back to our hotel, BeenaG wanted to spend the night in the hammock under a tree. Half way through the night she decided otherwise and slipped into my tent. Siddhesh probably slept for just a few hours, his insomnia kicking in. I was up because Biswajit was snoring in the tent next to mine. Rumour has it that Anand was snoring too, but I have no proof to that. Shiv slept through all of this, and some say he was snoring the loudest. The next morning we had a stone throwing competition at the lakeside. Rahul won it, his throw landing the farthest in the lake.

By the way, I would have never known had my travel pal not pointed out that I have a blind-friendly laughter. Those who know me, know what he meant. Yeah, the joke was on me.


To have a look at our pictures from the Kamshet trip go here

And to read the reviews of the trip go here