A photograph of my cousin after a game of cricket. The setting sun gave perfect light creating a silhouette effect. Tulsipur

Vacation Diary: Experiencing Life

Vacations are always waited and celebrated, and more waiting and celebrating happens when they are vacations of college. No pressure of pending assignments, no stress of holiday home-works. Pure, undiluted fun. An opportunity to follow your passion, to be your own self. To find your true self.

Vacations are meant to get away from home, to get away from all your daily life routines and schedules, to experience life on the other side. I too recently went for one, incorporating all the above listed characteristics of a vacation, except for one. I went ‘home.

My life is city based. But the life of my parents has foundations in the heartlands of India, the villages.

Tulsipur, Distt Balrampur, a place not very much evident on the map of India, yet of great prominence in the life I am living. I am a city bred boy, but if Delhi is bread, then Tulsipur is butter. It would be all plain, tasteless without it.

This vacation started from Lucknow. There I saw Mayawati’s great stone parks. ‘Great’ not in terms of defining the quality or experience, but how politics empowers you to overpower the one who brought you to power. It’s all confusing mess, and that’s what the govt of ‘Sushri Behenji Kumari Mayawati Ji’ has done. It’s all gloss and floss of solid stones with weak and hollow developments. All the ad hoarding are covered with the face of Mayawati and listed along are the ‘claimed’ achievements, done by her.

Ambedkar Smark, Lucknow

Every nook and corner booked with blue coloured posters, giant hoardings with small font sized lists of the progress of the state. But as with every big claim, experience tells you more. Experience UP, then play true/false with any of the hoardings’ claims. You know what to expect.

Well, moving on, it was a nice two day stay at my maternal uncle and aunt’s home. A great house they have made, with God’s grace. Great food, great hospitality and very humble people. Love staying there. It’s another home for me.

Moving from there the stop was Dadi’s, my maternal grandmother, place. A village near Tulsipur. Mountain view, great pleasant weather most of the time, chilled water from handpump.

The thing at grandparent’s house is that you get overflowing care, love and ‘Desi ghee’ in your dishes. And there’s no match for these anywhere else. Not for me, at least.

Went to see Chittaurgarh Dam and the serenity of the place captivated me. A beautiful sight of land meeting water meeting mountains meeting sky,and all of these meeting the eyes and soothing the senses. Many more beautiful views held me there. The Indo-Nepal Himalayan range is close by and it was most of the time pleasantly grey. The clouds gave extraordinary shapes in the skies, looking like giant popcorn stuck together. The orange of the setting sun adding ‘masala’ to it.

A photograph of my cousin after a game of cricket. The setting sun gave perfect light creating a silhouette effect. Tulsipur

Village people are human beings in the genuine form, so untouched from the impurity of city life, unmixed with ‘preservatives’. It’s all pure and organic there.

After coming back to Delhi, the action shifted to Pune. And from there, to Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani and Mumbai. It was just a different, exciting experience. The flight over monsoon clouds was amazing with breath-taking views, beautiful cloud formation below us. Pune took away more breath. Mahabaleshwar and Monsoon complement each other to perfection. Panchgani again took my breath away and I kept losing them at every sight. Yes, by the end of the trip I was on life support. Well, that was definitely a PJ.

Mahabaleshwar and the beautiful view points, waterfalls, drizzles were worth to live a thousand times. Panchgani is such a paradise, that you begin to feel this might be the place for you in the Afterlife.

A drive on Mumbai-Pune Expressway is always a pleasure, and more so when monsoon covers you. Monsoon in Mumbai is enjoyable and the usual destinations of The Gateway of India, Taj Palace Hotel, Haji Ali, Ranibaugh Park, Chowpatti and the newly constructed Sea-Link are hounded by tourists. We too did, and enjoyed.

I went for an IMAX movie too. One screen was 6-storeys tall. We seated ourselves on the top, seventh floor and enjoyed ‘Kung Fu Panda 2, 3D’ on the giant screen. It was different, mind-blowing and as the Kung Fu Panda says: Awesome! It’s rare that some movies become more about the experience, a great, one-of-its-kind experience. This surely was one.

Just wonderful sight. On the visit to Chittaurgarh Dam. Near Tulsipur

With so much fond memories, quite literally as I clicked more than 1600 pictures in week, I came back to Delhi. The pain in heart, when back from an enjoyable vacation is directly proportional to the enjoyment, to the happiness the vacation brings. And I felt a deep, drenching pain.

Delhi is probably one of the few natural ovens existing on earth after Volcanic areas, and the heat is comparable. I landed up here and the air caught me, and brought me down. I fell ill for a week and lost all the weight I gained on my trip. 3 kilos in a week. Impressive.

After getting well and fine, I began scouting for internship opportunities. Both paid and unpaid, but it goes without saying that the preference was former. Finally I landed up an interview at India Today. It was for the digital department, collecting information from different sources and then putting up news on the web was the kind of work there. The editor took my interview, and he was an editor in all his spirit. I didn’t think I would make it. But yes, I did and joined the newsroom. The atmosphere of a newsroom is so great to feel, work and takes time to sink in.

My results too came in with the end of the vacations and knowing that it’s an all-clear result was a very good feeling, raised to another level with the knowledge that I have topped among the Boys. Although the ranking is in the top ten, it’s an uplifting achievement to excel in first year. I deeply thank everyone responsible for this.

My vacations gave me very much to cherish. They brought me times both good and bad, helped me enjoy, learn and grow and know myself.

Vacation Pictures

About Aaqib Khan

Aaqib Khan (2015) is a student of Convergent Journalism in the AJK-Mass Communication Research Centre. He can be reached via email at: aaqibkhan[at]jamiajournal.com

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