My version of “The Talihina Sky”

And, the moon never looked so beautiful, like it did that night. It brightly shone on everything that fell on its path. The road ahead looked like a stream of milk, in the moonlight. Bob Dylan never sounded as perfect as he did in this rendition of “Tambourine man” that night in our car. I don’t know if this was all real, or, it is just how things appear when one is intoxicated in the excitement of new love. Personally, I think it was both.

We marveled at the beauty of the night and drove through the beautiful countryside, looking forward to our first destination as a couple, Talihina, OK. The drive from Dallas, Texas was very eventful and I felt like the protagonist in an unusual love story. My new boyfriend, even with the cautiousness that accompanies a newly courting lover, pushed a little too enthusiastically on the gas, ensuring us a pullover by a police car. A few tense moments later, we were on our way ahead after a friendly warning and a statement that massaged our anyway fat travel ego, “Just checking on you guys, because we hardly ever see people from India in this part of the country”.

“Kiamichi Inn” was the highest rated hotel in the small sleepy town and it was the perfect place to rest our tired selves that night. We then walked up to the “Alley bar and grill” via a really dark alley, right out from an American horror movie. It was a shady bar, yet it oozed comfort; pornographic literature and pictures dotted the rundown walls, yet it felt surprisingly safe. Gulping down a few beers, we resigned for the night.

Next day was assigned to a drive on the Talimena Scenic Drive, driving up to the Cedar Lake Recreational Area, where we quickly started on an easy and short hike, around the Cedar Lake. I had once read somewhere that the best way to know if you want to be with someone the rest of your life is to go on a trek with them. Though it was hardly a trek worth mentioning, it still was a measure I was testing and was tested against, and at the end of the trek, I still felt the same love and admiration for Jay as I began with. This was validated again on the toughest trek we ever took a year later, the Inca Trail, to Machhu Pichhu. Well, that’s another trip and you can learn more about it on the husband’s blog.

We drove back from the Cedar Lake area taking pictures and stopping over at “viewpoints” that dotted the scenic drive. That night, we chose to dine at a wonderful restaurant with a unique name, “Pam’s Hateful Hussy”. It definitely was one of the best American meals we ever had (and yes, this includes most of them pretentious NYC restaurants). Later, we drove to one of the most beautiful viewpoints on the scenic drive, panoramic vista point. It was a dark night and with no streetlights, only moonlight and the car’s headlights showed us the way. As we stood up the viewpoint, the city and civilization seemed so far away and forgotten, with only the small blinking town lights reminding us of the life we came from and the life we will eventually have to go back to.

Next morning had us set, our standard for measuring any small town breakfasts in the US. Pam’s Hateful Hussy welcomed us again, with an exceptional breakfast. As the marshmallows melted into my hot chocolate, I could feel my heart fill with warmth and happiness. A hearty breakfast later, we started back towards Dallas, looking forward to the many journeys ahead. But this one, a weekend trip to an unknown small American town, will forever be etched in my memory as the one that started them all.
Oh, and check out the song “Talihina sky” by Kings of Leon, which I discovered unknowingly, after the trip.

The Travel High

1. The planning ritual – back and forth emails with ideas with my favorite travel companion, the one I am married to. We transform into little kids planning a sleepover. And, for those few (in most cases many) days, we are the happiest kids on earth. The world feels like our oyster and we let our dreams weave our itinerary

2. The excitement – every time I plan to travel, even if it is just a few hours travel, my stomach inexplicably ties up in knots, the night before, for the fear of weather keeping us on the ground or mechanical failures with the craft. I do not sleep the whole night, tossing and turning, checking weather on my phone and the “on-time” ratings of the airline. But, I love that feeling. It reminds me of how every trip is vital to my being and how bad I need them to live and be sane

3. The sight of people different than me – It’s almost liberating in a weird way to be a foreigner, to be an outsider wanting to gain acceptance and trying to breathe in the new place and to feel belonged where language, color and passport dictate that I am not

4. Be a local – one of my favorite things to do in a new country is act like a local. Eat their food, travel the way they do, even do groceries to feel like I have always been there. That’s the closest second to actually living in all these countries for a couple of years. Sigh!

5. The city walk – whether it was walking the narrow uneven streets of Cusco, or, walking the dark night at Red Lodge, a town remembers our footsteps so much better than the rubber from the tires of our taxis

6. The food – anyone who knows me knows that I love food. I believe food is a great unifier. And, as long as I shall live, I will try to expand the horizons of my taste buds. Every country that I am in, I strive to eat as much local food as I can and learn something from there. It’s fun reminiscing and evoking nostalgia into the husband and I, when we recreate a meal from a land beyond. Not too long back, we recreated Gallo Pinto, a rice dish we loved from our travels to Costa Rica and Nicaragua and memories crept in as quickly as the waft of the rice and beans concoction hit our nostrils

7. The smells – travel touches all my senses. It exposes all my senses to alter in ways I never think it could. Every time I travel to a new place, my olfactory senses are widened and their horizons opened a little more. Whether it is the heavenly smells emanating from the freshly baked Roosterkohek in a small South African town or the fishy smell at the little town of Portland in Maine. As I travel, more and more smells become palatable to me. It could sound trivial, but I grow as a person every single time

Of love and some such

Mumbai – Brussels: After a brief spell of showers from my eyes and anxious goodbyes at the Mumbai airport, I left alone. I felt alone.

Over the background of all travel formalities, I didn’t miss a single over from the fabulous Indian World-cup win. I couldn’t. Whether at immigration, or, security check, fellow travellers on their radio stuck to the ears, made sure you got a ball-by-ball account of the match. I was thankful. That night, The Mumbai International airport, housed thousands of Indians, from various walks of life, various professions, all leaving for a foreign land, but with a singular prayer in their heads. Make India win this one. The love for our country. And, cricket.

On the plane, next to me was this middle aged man, furiously writing into his little diary. Probably a travelogue…. Definitely a travelogue (I am proud of my sneaky ways ;)) . Mental note: interesting man, I should speak with him. We did strike up a conversation. He was a Belgian and was returning back from Indonesia. He traveled half the globe he said, to meet his love. He announced, going red in the face, “the distances you travel for love . I know exactly what he meant. Been there, done that… will do it again, if inspired enough. Well, my personal utopia is colored with love shades. All over.

Another chance!!

And, the nomad moves. Yet again! The higher forces are doing a good job with making me keep up my reputation of relocating every three years. The clock had just struck on the completion of my 3rd year in Mumbai and lo! I found myself making plans to be in the USA for 2 years. I had, most vehemently, at all occasions looked down upon moving to a different country, for any purpose other than travelling. But the lure of this opportunity was like quicksand. I was taken in, in no time.

The lure to live in a completely different country, all by myself; the lure to be able to live on another continent and being able to map it completely, the travel freak that I consider myself to be; and yeah, the lure to be in a completely different work environment and surviving it. Brilliantly! Or maybe, it just provided me with an opportunity, to run away from the uneventful drag life had become.

Every once in a while, you get hit by this supposition that you’ve made zilch out of your life. And, that every moment just passes by you, without you ever being able to live it, the way you want it…the way it matters. That’s when, a relocation helps. Its like a make-believe re-birth, which offers you this glorious prospect to alter what you can, to make amends and make every moment matter the way you want.

I am giving myself…. Another Chance!!!


Have to accept, it is not a recent write. But, explains my mind state just well… dedicated to all those times you know you are the only one who has captivated yourself… You’re your own slave!!!


That night

She shattered all her confines

The ones that bound her with pride and humility

She stepped out

From the pre fabricated image defined

From the phony illustrations in the mind

From the wisdom from ages behind

She stepped out

A cigarette between her fingers

the smoke making love to the mist outside

Her anatomy revealed to her

By the tequila gulped inside

Her red flimsy tight dress

Rubbed every inch of her body as she swayed

The slutty mascara, the dark red rouge

The blood red lipstick, completed the look

She walked those red high heels

The ones she bought as a rebellion

against something she never could say what

but which now just glared from the shoe stand

in the shoddy little dance bar

She felt every eye roving up on her

She made mad love to the beats of the music

Strained every part and sinew of her physique

For once she wanted to be free

Free like an animal

She felt like one inside

But weren’t we supposed to be an animal alright?

She was her best all these years

With pleated skirts and her hair held down

She followed all protocol of womanly demeanour

A faultless prototype of our times’ order

Then, she awoke from her stupid stupor

To come back to the world around her

She thought about the unattainable dream long and hard

And went on writing a poem and just be a bard

Oh, and the red high heeled sandals still stared back at her

“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”