Going Kutch-Visit to the Great Rann of Kutch

It was a magical surreal moment when I saw the vast expanse of white salty marshland .I had read about the place  being the largest   salt desert stretching across 7,505.22 square kilometres.One has to see this place to believe that.We  reached there by 4.30 PM and left after witnessing the beautiful sunset. Also walked on the crunchy salt barefoot and took a camel ride.None of us wanted to leave .

The best time to visit is from October till March.The Rann Utsav is  an annual cultural festival and is held in December.I can only visualise the ethereal  beauty of  this place on a full moon night.And I will be coming back some day soon to witness that.

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Going Kutch-village tour

DSC07469We could hardly wait  for the next day and after  the breakfast set out to explore the nearby village.Each village has their own unique style of embroidery,They have a closeknit joint family system and women are given lot of respect. Women are dressed in traditional colourful clothes embellished with mirrors and intricate embroidery.They have that grace and dignity which is very appealing.We were warmly welcomed inside their humble homes.The houses are  also  beautifully decorated.Lot of colours and lot of warmth-that is how I want to remember  them.
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Going Kutch- part 1

A two day trip to Kutch was a dream coming true.It conjures  up images of stunning landscapes ,vibrant colours  ,  master craftsmen. and women  in heavily embroidered  clothes.Then there were movies like Mirch Masala,Refugee  and Lagaan  which  captured this land in all its glory.It is also the largest district  of India and has 969 villages.

After  an overnight stay in Ahmedabad,our group of five  set out for Hodka village  .It is about 400 km from Ahmedabad .Our stay was at Rann Visamo village stay.We were the only occupants and it was an unforgettable experience. There are ten mud cottages known as Bhunga and the interior is tastefully done up with  mirrors.This kind of mud and mirror decorative work is known as Lipan kam and is a traditional mural art.The rooms are spacious.There is an open dining room which is also decorated with colourful panels.We were served simple vegetarian food.We sat up till late looking at the stars and soaking in the ambience.DSC07451P3230073P3230076image (11)image (10)
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My movie yatra

Many have asked me when did I get addicted to movies.I  do not have to think  long or hard as the answer I give always  is -as long as I remember.My mother and her aunt were known for their weakness for the celluloid and our childhood  days were filled with many cinema outings.There were some  days when we managed to see two movies in different theatres .Those were the premultiplex days .We  used to wait for the new releases  and the D day would  see us marching into the theatre  in our fanciest clothes.Grandparents,parents,siblings,cousins,  assorted relatives and our pet dog Tomy  made up the contingent.Tomy was granted entry as the manager of the village talkies was known to my grandfather and he would sleep throughout at our feet without a whimper.Post movie sets in the postmortem and each  one would   dissect the movies.Actors,direction,music,costumes,location,cinematography  and the most vital aspect- the story would be discussed at length.Movie stars were revered demigods.We would devour the movie magazines to learn about their life and new releases.I was introduced to  gems of regional language movies thanks to Doordarshan and discovered  many new directors.

Medical college years did nothing to dampen my interest.I found a few  kindred spirits  and merrily bunked classes to see the latest releases.All genres were explored.Also had the fortune to attend a few film festivals. I used to look forward to the Oscar awards and would see the live telecast sitting up late at night.Somehow Oscars don’t fascinate me anymore.

I am lucky that I have some good friends who are also into movies.We discuss all aspects of movies,exchange disks and enhance our knowledge.Residing in a land of more than 200 nationalities I  get to learn more about  foreign language films.   A korean couple was  delighted to know that I have seen all the movies of Kim Ki duk,Bong Joon-ho and Park Chan wook.

I am no longer interested in the actors.Directors and story writers have replaced them  .Nuri Bilge Ceylan,Hirokazu Koreeda,Wong kar wai ,Asghar Farhidi,Avinash Arun,Paresh Mokashi, Kaushik Ganguly and Srijit Mukherji are my new  heroes.

Are you a movie buff? How has been your journey?

Rectify-have you seen it?

I  belong to that   rare species who have not seen a  single episode of Friends.Yes,I have watched bits of it   and have always been amazed by its popularity.The last series I had watched religiously was  the X Files long back. Someone recommended this Sundance  original series   and I thought of checking it out.Yes,I saw all the  three seasons and eagerly waiting to see the next.

It is about a person who has been in the death row  for 19 years  for a gruesome murder and has been  released   following DNA evidence. We get to see his struggles to adjust to his newfound freedom,his family and the society. The story is  narrated  beautifully.Each character is given adequate time to develop and  they connect to you  and one can’t wait to know what happens next.I didn’t want the series to end  and feel a sense of loss now that it is over.Each episode  is like reading a poetry.The dialogues sparkle  and there are long periods of brooding silence .The actors live their chosen roles and  I am not able to choose a favourite as all are excellent.The complex relationships    tend to test you.Kudos to the entire team for bringing out such a stunning,mesmerising  and thought provoking drama.2183404

Stressbusters and mood elevators

I have found a way to bounce back whenever I feel out of sorts and it has always helped me. What I do is  very simple-think of  a place  I have always wanted to visit  ,read about it and see the images .This is a sure way to get the endorphins rolling and  I am  back to normal in no time.

Yesterday I  was going through  my Ladakh pictures  and made a promise to myself that I would go there again.

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Juley juley Ladakh

Ladakh is fast becoming the most favoured  destination for Indians.I was happy to see  “desis” of all age groups when I went there in August 2014.  This was on top of my wish list for a long time .Whenever I read a Leh travelogue I would tell myself that I am going there at the first  opportunity.Well ,finally I found myself in this magical land and  it was a dream coming true after months of  frenetic planning and unanticipated delays.

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How can one process so many  emotions ?Can anyone do justice to its beauty?We can take  zillion  pictures but can we capture  all the moments?You have to be there to experience the magic .I wish this land retains its purity and charm  and that  one never gets to see a KFC or Pizza hut  there.

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.You may go there with   minimum expectations  but I assure you that you will return   a different person.I have read that many  got the wander bug after being there once.As for me,I want to go back and explore more .Are you a wanderer? Do you have a dream destination?

Yeah dil maange more

Last week I saw a marathi movie  Killa  and since then I have been thinking why don’t we have more of such movies. It won the award for the best marathi film  in 2014 and also some international awards.A simple tale of a child having to adjust to a new place,a new school  and classmates is  narrated  with  touching sincerity and insight.It took me back to my school days and the simple pleasures of  village life.The child actors are brilliant.How effortlessly they bring about  the pain, fear,insecurity,jealousy and above all the joy of being a child.I do not understand the language  and may have missed  subtle nuances despite the subtitles.Still it   was a deeply touching movie.I can’t help but marvel at the resilience of children.This is a must see for  children and grown ups- a sure way to revisit that magic phase of your life “childhood”.

Wish  we get to see more  of such gems.

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