Monday, 31 December 2012

The world spins madly on...

:) I've been thinking this for a while, but I figured it's one of those end-of-year sort of things. This has been a year of going back. To places mostly. Places I hadn't been to in a while. The while being anything from a year to half a dozen!

I find, that sort of thing does more than just bring back memories. It also gives one pause. Visions of what was and is, side by side. I guess that's the downside of reflecting on things, possibly a bit too much? Oh well, at least some of the time, you get the chance to go do things you missed that last time.

Take Ushaka Marine World for instance. Somehow, I'd never made the walk up the beach from where we were staying back in '08. This time, however, we spent a rather splendid Christmas Day afternoon exploring parts of what turned out to be a fairly crazy maze! The dolphins were definitely the best part!

When it comes to boats though, it's been a bit too much moving, too many all-too-brief acquaintances. And way too much time in dock :(. But I suppose that's what set me on the re-visiting frenzy. One thing leads to another, one might say :). Who knows what's next?

And on that note, here's wishing for all those things I don't even know I'm looking for. More last minute plans, maybe lighting up new bits of the map this time. In short, the sort of things that go into the makings of a good year. :)

Currently: waiting for a plan to come together... again
Listening to: The Weepies - World spins madly on

Friday, 21 December 2012


As far as unexpected things go, I imagine showing up at Pier 107 for lunch ranks pretty high. Assuming one isn't from Durban. Showing up after a gap of four years and knowing exactly what you're going to have, well, that's just plain showing off I guess :).

After the crazy break I'd had, a peaceful interlude before what promises to be an even crazier trip was much appreciated, and in fact, much needed! So I was thankful for the half day we got in a beach-front hotel upon arriving in Durban.

I was toying with the idea of a quick swim before thinking better of it and settling for a lazy amble up and down the beach, complete with a chocolate covered ice-cream cone, a quick dash into the roaring water and a rather fun ride.

Since then it's been back to work. On yet another new boat. At least this one's kinda new for real. At only a bit over two years old, it's the newest one I've been on yet! Unfortunately, landing up on a boat for the first time while it;s in dry-dock isn't the best way to gather a proper first impression...

Still, there's time enough to make a proper acquaintance. Or so one hopes. I guess after spending less than six months on successive boats, taking such things for granted would qualify as premature :). But, seeing how the world didn't end, anything is possible ;).

Currently: can't wait to get back afloat
Listening to: Rihanna - Half of me

Monday, 17 December 2012

Another day another sunset

So that's it then. Curtains on what has been, in retrospect, a pretty hectic break. I seem to have left the endless roads a long way in the past. Wouldn't mind hopping behind the wheel again. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen any time soon.

Next stop Durban. It's been almost exactly four years, so I'm a little curious to see what's changed with the passage of time. To be honest there's a somewhat more personal aspect to my curiosity, although admittedly that has nothing to do with the city.

Durban had marked an end of a period of relative peace and quiet that I'd unfortunately mistaken for boredom. The years since then have been, well... I'm a big believer in symmetry, mostly when it means there's a chance that things might calm down a bit :). Then again, you never know who might be listening, so I'll just keep my wishing to myself, my eyes open and my ears peeled :P.

Had been planning on watching Life of Pi for a while. Took someone's suggestion and actually went for a 3D IMAX screening. I must say, I was impressed :). The movie wasn't half bad either. But even though it's been years since I'd read the book, I had this distinct feeling that there was more look and less feel to this rendering.

Right, packing's done, but with several hours to go before I need to leave, there's enough time for one last sunset on the old lake side.

Currently: tying up the loose ends
Listening to: Taylor Swift - 22

Thursday, 13 December 2012

For better or for worse...

This has been one hell of a break :). And there's still one weekend to go. I've missed meeting a lot of people. I will miss some more before it's all done. But there are more I've met. After years, in some cases. To top it all off, I've managed a little bit of closure. 

Despite everything, something I planned for a full year in advance, actually worked out. Well, I suppose planned is a rather strong word :). Hoped for is probably more accurate. Either way, in some vague and possibly irrational way, it seems that all the choices weren't upside down, that there's still some sense to things.

The wedding of the year, no doubt! And what an occasion it turned out to be :). Excitement, suspense, even a touch of intrigue (for all the wrong reasons, actually, but hey, it all turned out okay, so :P). Then there was the first bit of choreography I've been a part of in the best part of eight years. I'd almost forgotten how much fun that was. Or how nervous it's always made me, going up on stage :).

Some images are just to stay forever. And others remind you of things you will never forget. I guess there is really something to the whole everafter thing :). That's the thing with weddings, the eternal hope of a beginning. The end of one era and the beginning of another.

But one must not forget the rides on the twisting tarmac. Under the burning midday sun, or through trailing night lights. Or the cold blue pool. Or all the bits that blurred into a happy haze :D.
So that was one part of it. Then there was the visa that has been a constant thorn in the side. Like one of those things you keep throwing away, but it keeps coming back, and every time, with a little more garbage in tow. Till finally, someone tells you that the visa you've been obsessing about for the last three weeks is one you don't need! Only, now you need to rescue your passport.

Like I said, break's not over yet.

Currently: making sense of nothing
Listening to: Taylor Swift - I knew you were trouble

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Flights of fantasy

Fingertips riding the wind. Faint currents of a wind that's not really there. It's floating them up, then again swooping them down.

Snatches of different moments, frozen in time, and then dissolving. Sometimes into another moment, sometimes into the darkness of the surrounding night. It's funny how one thing can remind you of another, seemingly completely unrelated. Except for some minor accidental likeness.

Riding in a cab late at night on the streets of Bombay again. I guess it's a cliché, but the more things change, the more they stay the same. Some memories are here to last.

Currently: wondering
Listening to: Rihanna - Right now (ft. David Guetta)

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Objects in the mirror...

It was a fitting end to the trip I suppose. We decided to test the limits of endurance a little and do the return trip to Boston all in one day. Would have been a piece of cake too, but we hadn't accounted for all the other people also driving back to the north-east after Thanksgiving weekend :(. Could have been worse, it only cost us a couple of hours, thanks to a few judicious detours.

All in all, my first Thanksgiving break went quite well, I think :). The volumes of food consumed continue to amaze me a week later! The weather, while I was in Asheville was quite ridiculously beautiful! And perfectly dry, unlike the rather dodgy weather we've had here in Boston these last couple of days.

Good weather for staying in, so for the most part we did. While we were at it, the cousin and I decided to watch Primer! And I'd thought Inception had a layered plot :). This film's been out for almost a decade and I'm surprised I'd never heard of it before! 

Well, actually, I guess I'm not. This isn't exactly your run of the mill Hollywood thriller. Made independently on a really low budget, this is probably the best told story I've seen, when it comes to sci-fi thrillers! Okay, so there's no way in hell anyone could possibly get the entire plot on watching it the first time :). Nonetheless, Primer is definitely worth a watch.

Right, so now it's time for me to start travelling solo again. My flight back to India is out of JFK this evening, but at least there should be a nice last drive in the Mustang to round things off before that. It's been a pretty intense couple of weeks, all things considered. And as if on cue, the details for my next trip (read next visa application) arrived a few days ago. The next couple of weeks should be interesting, in more ways than one :).

Currently: packing :(
Listening to: Thomas Newman - Shanghai drive

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

To say nothing of the dog

How does one go about describing such moments of thrill as are rarely experienced, but then extremely difficult to re-capture? Well, I suppose I could keep it simple: the plan worked! Boy, did it work :D. A car that doesn't like to stay hidden under the hood. A long ride on roads of such variety that would keep anyone entertained. Stunning views from sunrise to sunset. And a soundtrack to match.

I guess for a start, and for the first time, I was visiting my cousin and there were no delays! Picked up the car at JFK and off we went towards Boston. The next couple of days were mostly spent recovering from all the travelling and drama from the days before (which involved, amongst other things, someone almost losing my passport before I could get off the boat :S). We also managed to catch a screening of Skyfall. And fantastic as the movie was, I was still humming the tune of Adele's score the next morning as we merged into the thin stream of lights headed west out of Boston :).

In two days, we managed to cover ten states, over a thousand miles, and went from interstates to the back roads along those interstates. Quieter highways winding their way through sleepy towns. And finally, the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, snaking along their lofty paths, twisting and turning between the hill tops.

We managed two sunrises and a sunset on the road. I suppose the one to really remember would be the one in the mountains. It was one of those mornings. Dark, with a hint of glorious gold. A sea of low clouds parting strategically now and again to let through enough sunlight to dazzle briefly. There was almost this sense of the fantastic hanging between the heavens and the ranges upon ranges of hills disappearing into the horizon.

But I suppose the most exciting bit was finding the dog. This hound was sort of half-heartedly chasing cars along this stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway. To cut a rather long story short, it ended up taking a nice long ride in the car to nowhere in particular. The owner, when we finally managed to get in touch, seemed strangely nonchalant about the dog wandering miles away from home. Last we saw, Rocks, as we had temporarily dubbed him, was headed towards the local sheriff's office, courtesy some other good folks who agreed that the Parkway was no place for a dog to get accidentally run over.

By the time we were back on the interstate, even the wide roads couldn't keep the hills too far. We eventually arrived at Asheville not much worse for wear, but totally on a high. The stay has been entertaining as family visits tend to be when 9-year-olds are involved :). There's also of course all the fuss over the turkey.

I am rather looking forward to the rest of the week here. And the drive back :D.

Currently: anticipating food-coma
Listening to: Adele - Skyfall

Sunday, 11 November 2012


It's a bit like waking up in the middle of the night, all of a sudden, and not knowing where you are. The moments it takes to grasp your bearings can be entertaining enough. If you aren't the type to be caught in a blind panic right then, or waking up from one of those dreams where you are falling endlessly...

I tend to use the music to get directions right. But then again, with the variety of bed to desk geometries I've had in cabins by now, that's no longer much of a help. Someone once told me I have industrial deafness, or some such thing. Because I leave music playing when I sleep. I just do it to keep the creaking of the panels from driving me crazy :).

Anyway, so realizing where you are on the boat can be a bit like that. Like the waking up thing. Maybe like zooming out. Figuring out where you are if you were looking at the boat from the outside. Then as more of the surrounding scenery comes into view you realize that this isn't the middle of the ocean. There's a whole city through those metal walls.

But on some mornings, all there is, is the dense veil of fog that obliterates all the hills, most of the houses, and once again you are surrounded by nothingness.

Feeling: out of place
Listening to: David Guetta - Without you (feat. Usher)

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Snow creeping down mountain-sides

So I went ahead and made the plan. Now let's see how everything works out. It's a good plan, in that the details are entirely absent :D. Well, not entirely, but absent enough to let things happen. Or so one hopes.

But there's still a whole week till the break starts, and this trip seems to have been going on forever :-<. What is it with last trips on a boat? (I am beginning to sound like a broken record here, I know, but that's kinda the thing :(.)

So yeah, another boat. Apparently. As usual, my future is a bit like sailing in low visibility :). Can't ever see too far ahead. But you can be sure things are going to show up along the way. Mostly, quite suddenly. Oh well. Isn't always a bad thing. Only like... well, I was going to say a lot of the time, but that's just 'cos I'm tired and can't see an easy way out of this next week till crew change I guess :).

Bergen is back to doing what it does best, revelling in chilling rain that freezes the bone and transforms everything into something of a haze of wet numbness. I guess the days of sunshine weren't really going to last. I regret the fact that I didn't take any sunrise photos. There were a few good ones. But not in a while.

Right. Things to look forward to, yet another last minute trip, hopefully a nice car. Two weeks of fall coloured roads. Not all bad then. Too bad that's a whole six-and-a-half days away.

Currently: tired
Listening to: Sixpence None The Richer - A million parachutes