Drowning In Memories .

Painting by Raja Ravi Varma (19th Century)

Painting by Raja Ravi Varma (19th Century)

Abandoning everything,
I spend my days in contemplation.
The leaves that had fallen
have grown back again.
Back and forth,
the seasons have changed.

They watch me awestruck.
Every human and every being,
Even the trees and the ever flowing streams.
Not knowing how to bring me back.

I might already have lost my life,
loving you with such utter devotion.
It seems like ages,
since I’ve been waiting .
Lost, completely lost in your thoughts.

This couldn’t be just one lifetime.
I might already have lost a hundred lives.
And yet, I breathe,
only to drown myself
all over again,
in the memories of your love.

Advertisements

Italy – Part Two – Venice

11060259_991510077528560_1331750369421368000_n

”I’m in Venice right now, sitting by the water in the sun, And oh Lord, could there be a more magical sight? This is absolutely one of the best places I’ve been to in my life.” , Reads my journal, dated 3rd March 2015.

Our train journey from Rome to Venice was quite an adventure in itself. Apparently, the train fares for Rome to Venice are quite expensive, given that Rome is in the South and Venice in the North. But to save as much as we could, we decided to take the early morning train which had a change in between, and hence costed us less. But not knowing Italian and hence not being able to read the ticket properly, we ended up boarding the wrong train , which was to Venice, but apparently  was a costlier one. So we had to pay a fine which costed us more than what we were trying to save. So with sad and irritated faces, we reached Venice that noon. But as we started walking into the city, the unfortunate event was forgotten and Venice got to us!

We started by figuring out the way to the hostel. I’d always prefer walking to the place so we could make the most of the city on foot and also try to memorize the way on foot, which isn’t such a bad thing to do!

The hostel was pretty cool. Its called the Venice Fish. When I had booked it, I kept wondering why it was called that. But it was only when I checked in and saw the map of Venice on the wall there, I figured out that Venice was infact in the shape of a fish!
This hostel was an abandoned palace turned into a living space. The guy who worked there was an Italian-American and quite a great person to talk to. He showed us around and then we went on our way around Venice, just walking into random streets and admiring the beauty of it

The entrance to the hostel.

The entrance to the hostel.

.

There are so many narrow streets with a very different kind of aura to it. Venice was love at first sight for me. It was nothing like any other city I had been to in Europe. But I was having a hard time figuring out what that difference was. And to figure out how, I had to explore it. Every street, every corner. We walked and walked. Sometimes ending up in a church, sometimes in a small garden, sometimes by a lonely corner on one of the million streets, sometimes in a bakery, sometimes on a bridge and more often than not in shops that sold masquerades. Yes, Venice is filled with shops like these. From masks that cost 500 euros to the cheapest ones that cost two euros. And ball gowns and handmade dolls which are again dressed up for masquerade balls.

A Masquerade store.

A Masquerade store.

11073282_991510157528552_5064188065054935356_n 11058389_991510047528563_6368381561942758230_n 11038919_991509910861910_7264125222608475458_n

A Gondola. Photograph by Melissa.

A Gondola.
Photograph by Melissa.

Every street seems like it’ll lead you to something you’d have never seen before. As if you’ll just turn around and you’ll end up in a different century. You sit by the corner of a street, and you’ll see a boat coming around. A man steps out of it, parks the boat and unlocks the door to his house. A building with a parking lot for boats next to it. Every ten steps you take, and voila, there’s a pretty little bridge.

1456634_991509240861977_6180588216405427405_n

Me and Priyanka on a random little bridge.

Me and Priyanka on a random little bridge.

As you keep walking around Venice, you’ll wonder if you’ve seen this part of the city before. Its all kind of similar, and yet so distinct. Every bridge, every street. I couldn’t seem to get enough of it, and we were losing track of time. But soon the sun was about to set, and we had to rush back to the hostel for dinner. These guys there, they arrange for a meal for everyone at a very affordable price. Lots of pasta, lasagna, and Italian wine fresh from the vineyard. As much as you’d want! Ofcourse, I wouldn’t miss that for anything!
After a lovely dinner, the guy at the hostel invited all of us to a pub , and that was one of the craziest pubs ever! There was a live band performing and the place was so full . It seemed like all of Venice had come to that pub that night! It was absolutely out of this world. The feel of the place, the energy, and how it was packed like crazy! And everyone dancing like no tomorrow! You absolutely couldn’t help but dance. The music was that incredible! Even Melissa, my housemate, who doesn’t like dancing at all, was dancing to it! And I, ofcourse, who loves dancing, couldn’t help but reach the heights of madness 😀

After we were tired enough, we headed to another bar, this one exactly the opposite. Less crowded and peaceful. Right by the river, next to a bridge, the night getting colder, and a group of strangers with drinks in their hands, chose to stand outside under the pretty clouded sky, and talk about their countries and lives. Random introductions were made, email ids shared, and cheers! I couldn’t believe I was in Venice, living that moment. It had always been hyped as a ‘honeymoon’ destination back home. But I felt like this was the way to live it. With a group of strangers. Young, wild and free. People who were meant to cross paths in life, in this magical city, on a cold night. Life was definitely at its best then, on that particular night.

The next day we started early, even though we had a late night. We had to make the most of the time we had, now that we were spending approximately not more than two days in each city, unlike Rome. So we started off by visiting Place Saint Marco, which is one of the most beautiful squares in the world. And luckily, it was a very sunny day , unlike the previous one. So we could make the most of it .
I chose to skip away again and spend alone time by the river, writing as usual.

Quoting from my journal :

Venice, 3rd March 2015

”I’m in Venice right now, sitting by the water in the sun, And oh Lord, could there be a more magical sight? This is absolutely one of the best places I’ve been to in my life.
The water looks beautiful. The colour is a mix of green and blue, and the sun is sparkling in it. Its as if the stars have down in the day time. And there are so many birds here, and funnily enough, they are not scared at all! They come flying right in your face. Haha!
Well, its just so beautiful out here by the river!”

By the coast , when I was writing.

By the coast , when I was writing.

Me and a girl I met at the Hostel.

Me and a girl I met at the Hostel.

A cafe in Venice.

A cafe in Venice.

1509881_991510334195201_2329591027309651404_n

And again, we walked by the sunny coast, into the pretty streets and shopped for souvenirs. Lost on the way sometimes, but reached back the hostel well in time for dinner.
There were less people in the hostel that night, but it was still memorable. Some of the guys were playing the guitar in the tiny balcony, and we joined in to sing. Did I mention – The hostel balcony looked up a tiny stream and the bridge to the hostel was so pretty that it was kind of tourist attraction in itself. and to top it all, a bunch of crazy young people singing out there, we did become a tourist attraction too, for people stood down there listening to us and clicking photos! And in that moment, as I realized I’d be leaving for Verona tomorrow, it struck me why I was so in love with Venice.

Photograph by Melissa.

Photograph by Melissa.

I had fallen in love with Venice because it seemed so untouched by the 21st century. In every other city, you’d find cars and trucks and bikes blocking your way wherever you’d go. But here, there’s a minimum amount of technology on the streets. You’ll find boats for travelling. You walk in the streets, and you ‘d only come across birds and people. You enter a masquerade store, and you’d feel like you’ve come shopping in a Shakespeare’s play. You sit by the streams, and poetry would come to you, for your mind would be at peace.
When the sun sets, the streets are quiet , and yet the people are making merry in their own little corners. As if in another century, untouched by the hustle bustle of the new age life, making music in a balcony, and singing Riptide.

10422112_991510247528543_1524871754451939199_n

PS. All photos taken by me, unless stated otherwise.

Dreams of a Lost Lover .

Painting by Raja Ravi Varma (19th Century)

Painting by Raja Ravi Varma (19th Century)

In that faraway land of dreams,
where we spent lifetimes together,
I saw you again last night.
After God knows how long a separation,
only this time to be your bride.

I knew it wasn’t in this century
for I could hear no horns
and feel no comforts of luxury.
Only the laughter of our families,
who were going to become one like us.

And the tender touch of the evening wind,
which I was sure had surrounded you too,
in the awe of your presence.

There was no loud music blaring,
only the women singing and making
melodies, with everything at hand.

I passed them by with a lamp in my hand,
but a veil over my face.
I could wait no longer to be near you.
So as you had had it whispered,
I came running through those dusky streets,
bare feet, and breathing heavy.

The temple of Mahakal
where you had asked me to meet you ,
was where I prayed day and night.
wishing for none other than you.

And then , when I saw that look
in your eyes, standing in front
of the Shivalingam,
I instantly became one with you,
and my Mahadev, who brought you to me.

Italy – Part One – Rome

Italian and European Union flags. Clicked while exploring the streets.

Italian and European Union flags. Clicked while exploring the streets.

I must have been 19 when I saw the movie ‘Letters to Juliet’ , and since then , I wanted to visit Verona! The way this town has been shown in that movie, I wonder how anyone would have not wanted to visit Verona. Or anywhere in Italy for that matter! And thats exactly how I decided on Italy when I had a two week long winter break in February 2015 while in France for a teaching assistant programme. I was with my British housemate, who was equally keen on Italy.

We found cheap flights for Italy (lucky us!) and thats how we fixed the deal, not knowing where exactly we would be going apart from Rome (thats where our flight was to) and Bergamo (thats where our flight was for going back to Paris) . I knew I HAD to visit Verona if I was in Italy – Thanks to the movie Letters to Juliet. And then, if you’re in Italy, why wouldn’t you go to Venice?  So thats how we decided on it. Rome-Venice-Verona-Bergamo. Four Italian cities in 11 days. One big adventure.

Not knowing Italian was a huge drawback. But I was up for anything. That came as quite a shock to me, because I wouldn’t have expected myself to get into something like this a few years ago. But I knew one thing – I love travelling. So of course, I had to be courageous enough. Maybe thats what gave me the confidence from within.
And this trip was supposed to be my first real adventure (among many others to come, I hope!). I was living in France since a few months already, so I see it more like home, than a travelling trip. But this was supposed to be it! From booking flights to booking hostels and to actually surviving in a country where you don’t know the language.

We had our flight around 8 pm from Paris to Rome, and we reached Rome quite late at night. Thankfully, we had booked a bnb close to the airport and we were also getting a pick up from the airport. (Safest bet when you’re reaching a foreign city late at night) .
It was a huge relief to finally be dropped off safely and reach the bnb room, which was oh so perfect! And then, the next day the real adventure had to start off. Now, not having an internet connection on your phone in a foreign country and hence not having google maps is quite a shitty situation. I know we could have got an Italian number and an internet pack, but who would want to experiment with the language and spend extra money? So ofcourse we decided against it. Moreover, why not try and survive without google maps, like technology deprived human beings from a different era? I was totally up for doing that! And hence , this was the first problem we faced : Third world problems – How to read a map?!
Surprisingly, even though I’d never done that before, I turned out to be quite good at it. (I’d say I must have been a real traveler in my previous lifetime) .. So I was the official map reader for the trip and we started off by walking around, trying to reach the famous monuments on foot.
It all seemed walk-able. So we started off by exploring one part at a time.

My housemate Melissa, in our bnb.

My housemate Melissa, in our bnb.

Day One, we visited a few churches, a garden and walked around random streets. I was completely in love with Italian architecture and garden on the very first day itself. The gardens seemed to be from a different era altogether, specially with those small fountains. Every time I drank from a fountain, I wanted to have been wearing a plain white gown and have my hair done in the old school style with flowers and stuff. (Yes, I’m that much of a romantic, always imagining myself in these historical settings! Hehe .. )

Me, drinking from a fountain in a garden.

Me, drinking from a fountain in a garden.

A Roman Church.

A Roman Church.

Roman architecture .

Roman architecture .

View from the top of somewhere I don't exactly remember the name of.

View from the top of somewhere I don’t exactly remember the name of.

Birds in Rome don't give a shit as to what you're doing. They just pose. Like seriously.

Birds in Rome don’t give a shit as to what you’re doing. They just pose. Like seriously.

Just some Roman steps.

Just some Roman steps.

Roman architecture.

Roman architecture.

Breakfast.

Breakfast.

Rome, classy Rome!

Rome, classy Rome!

Just a another street.

Just a another street.

A garden.

A garden.

It was a nice day, but it ended quite badly because we got on the totally wrong bus and then lost our way back to the bnb. It took us time to figure out the way, but we totally made it, and then treated ourselves to some great Italian Pizza! 😉

First bite of Italian pizza.

First bite of Italian pizza.

Day Two, we started a bit late, but managed to see some amazing things. Rather, I should say, we were at the right place at the right time. We went to an amazing garden. Gardens are always amazing though. But its a different kind of feel everytime. So we walked around these amazing locations, and I wrote a lot of poetry on the way, also writing about how I was feeling exactly at that place.

Me, writing in a garden.

Me, writing in a garden.

I absolutely love gardens and trees!

I absolutely love gardens and trees!

Me, somewhere near Piazza di Spagna.

Me, somewhere near Piazza di Spagna.

The best part about day number two was the sunset. Apparently, we didnt even know that the place we were at was famous for sunset viewing. We were just starting to walk back to the metro station. when we found groups of people nearby, and there was in making, the most beautiful sunset I had ever seen in my life. It would be hard to explain how exactly amazing it was. The feel of that place . . All the happy faces .. The beautiful colours in the sky, as if God himself was sitting up there with a palette, painting the sky, along with the faces of his own children. And then there was an old man right there, playing his piano for everyone, which was kind of very ‘filmy’. It actually feels like being in a movie sometimes – all these European towns – with this amazing music playing in the background.

The enchanting sunset, without filters. And you'd notice the man playing the piano on the left.

The enchanting sunset, without filters. And you’d notice the man playing the piano on the left.

No filters. Sunset.

No filters. Sunset.

And with that, we went back to our bnb, quite content with the day, and excited for the next, for we were to shift to a hostel, right in the center of Rome, close to the Colosseum. And also because one of my Indian friends was going to join us on this trip hereonwards.

Day Three – I was quite excited about the dorm we had booked for the next three days in Rome. This was going to be my first dorm experience. After watching the Bollywood hit ‘Queen’ , anyone would be! Haha 😀
Now this was one heck of a place. I had never experienced a hostel before, so this was quite a good first experience, though there were better ones in store. The owners of this hostel were very kind and welcoming, which made it quite relaxing. They offered some fantastic Italian wine as a welcome drink, and showed us to our dorm.

Dorm room.

Dorm room.

Next, we ventured out again into the city. The mission of the day was to have dinner in a chic Italian restaurant, in that great weather. The weather in Rome came as such a relief because I was literally dying in the cold of Northern France. But here in Rome, the sun was shining, and the evenings were warm too. .. So in search of our ‘chic’ Italian restaurant, we went around walking near the river that passes through the city, and the narrow lanes again, were the restaurants were. We found quite a nice place to have an early dinner at, and the evening passed away with lots of laughter, some great Italian white wine, and pizzas and pastas! Ah the good life!

The original Italian Gelato - Ice cream!

The original Italian Gelato – Ice cream!

Loved this little window-balcony.

Loved this little window-balcony.

The River.

The River.

River Tiber in Rome.

River Tiber in Rome.

Day Four – was all touristy and historical. We started the day with the Colosseum, which is the most famous monument in Rome. It ofcourse amazed me, to see all those ruins, being such a history enthusiast. But I’m sure it isn’t something that would amaze everyone. Given that its just ruins and half a part of the Colosseum was bombed, which gives it a unique look from the outside. But it sure wasn’t worth the expensive ticket we bought for entering it. Except for the exposition of roman ruins which was interesting. Apart from that, the inside of the Colosseum saw nothing but tourists taking n number of ‘selfies’ with their selfie sticks, which is quite a trend everywhere these days.

Inside the Colosseum.

Inside the Colosseum.

The Colosseum bathing in the sun.

The Colosseum bathing in the sun.

Taken from the Colosseum.

Outside view from inside the Colosseum.

Roman Ruins.

Roman Ruins.

Next, we went to the Vatican City, which is in the other part of the town, across the river. It was an architectural masterpiece. All the detailed things, and the huge statues and pillars .. Absolutely amazing. Even though I didn’t go inside the famous church – which seems so famous that there was a never ending queue to go inside. But I spent some really good ‘me’ time, sitting right in the middle under the bright warm sun, reading and writing and listening to music.

Vatican City.

Vatican City.

Vatican City. From where I was sitting, sunbathing and enjoying my alone time.

Vatican City. From where I was sitting, sunbathing and enjoying my alone time.

Next, we went to the place where I’m always up for going, no matter how expensive! A Castle! And oh, it was just as beautiful as you’d imagine a Roman Castle to be!
There is something absolutely amazing about castles. Personally, whenever I visit a fort or something, my mind starts envisioning how it must have been like when it was actually a functioning place. Something so grand and mighty. This was Castle St. Angelo. And its location was so perfect. Even if you don’t like going inside castles, you sure would want to go up there for the view that it provides. There’s a river and bridge right in front of the castle, and when seen from inside the castle top, it looks absolutely amazing. Specially around sunset. I’ve been quite lucky to see Roman sunsets from the best of locations, and that too, by chance! And that, was the end to another beautiful day out there in Rome.

View from inside the Castle St. Angelo.

View from inside the Castle St. Angelo.

View from the top of Castle St. Angelo.

View from the top of Castle St. Angelo.

Me (left), with a friend, looking out from Castle St. Angelo.

Me (left), with a friend, looking out from Castle St. Angelo.

Me, gazing at the Castle St. Angelo.

Me, gazing at the Castle St. Angelo.

Day Five – This was our last day in Rome. We’d had quite a chill time in Rome since we had so many days there. We managed to see a lot of things, and explore the city on foot. So we mostly spent our last day here relaxing and sunbathing in gardens, and the Spanish Steps, where there were a million other people!

Breathtaking skies.

Breathtaking skies.

La vie en Rose!

La vie en Rose!

Lying down on the grass. Favorite kinda thing!

Lying down on the grass. Favorite kinda thing!

Lunching in chic restaurants. I absolutely love the seating outside in European restaurants.

Lunching in chic restaurants. I absolutely love the seating outside in European restaurants.

Piazza di Spagna - Spanish steps. No idea why they're called that!

Piazza di Spagna – Spanish steps. No idea why they’re called that!

People chilling in the sun at the Spanish steps.

People chilling in the sun at the Spanish steps.

We really had a good time in the hostel as well. The hosts were extremely kind, and they offered free pizzas to everyone that night. Huge boxes of huge Italian pizzas and a room full of people from all over the world. It has been great meeting people from so many different backgrounds, and sharing stories about life and stuff. And thats how I spent my last night in Rome, talking to a complete stranger about life, and setting my alarm for the early morning train to Venice the next day.

PS. All photos taken by me using iPhone 4, and edited using VSCO.

Where She Belongs .

Painting by Raja Ravi Varma (19th Century)

Painting by Raja Ravi Varma (19th Century)

Her eyes sparkled like stars,
with hopes and dreams
of another life.
She didn’t belong
to the world she lived in.
No, she didn’t.

Every night,
she let herself sway away
with the cool breezes,
under the moonlit sky.
Surrounded by the hustle bustle
of the new age life.
She knew, she didn’t belong
to the world she lived in.

So she let herself
escape in her mind.
A white cloth wrapped
around her body,
the ghungroo bells ringing,
dancing her way into the world
where she did belong.

To her beloved,
and on her lips,
a sweet song.

Through Unspoken Words .

Painting by Raja Ravi Varma (19th Century)

Painting by Raja Ravi Varma (19th Century)

They had met only in dreams.
Dreams of a distant time,
when machines hadn’t yet
taken over life .
And much was said,
through unspoken words.

Their eyes did the talking,
as they stood in a crowd.
The temple bells ringing,
declaring their rise in love.
And much was said,
through unspoken words.

The letters that she handed him,
smelt sweet like her body.
And the winds that played with her sari,
ignited a smile on his face,
which then took her breath away.
And much was said,
through unspoken words.