Bright Lights – story

I take the 8:43 bus to work every morning. It’s the same bus each day, the same driver, same people, I even take the same seat. The people who wait for the bus at my stop, are the same as well. Once I’m on the bus, I quietly observe as the monotony unfolds. There’s an old man who greets me every morning, a kid who gets on at my stop and hopes that his friend gets in at the next stop, the kid’s friend who’s always running late and is seen sprinting across the road towards the bus, every single day! A pretty girl who sits across me and never once moves her gaze away from the phone, and an old lady who wouldn’t sit next to me even if the bus is full. These people right here, are my daily companions on the bus journey to work; well on the first part of my journey actually. Then the bus stops, and I’ve to run two hundred meters in 3 minutes if I want to catch the connecting bus, and hope not to die of a heart attack doing this. The next bus is pretty dull, it fills up quickly and once it does, every human on the bus looks down at the bright lights in their palms, and never once looks up. But yesterday, everything changed! There was a girl, looked around 25, she was tall and had a slender form, she wore black jeans and a blue sweater, her glasses made her look like an owl. She held a black handbag, her hair was brown and was tied up like a fountain. She didn’t have earphones plugged into her ears, didn’t look once at her phone. I thought she didn’t even have a phone. She just stared at the different faces consumed by bright lights. As my stop arrived, I thought to myself ‘what a beautiful day it has been’ and prepared to get off, and something unexpected happened. The pretty girl reached into her coat pocket and pulled out one of the bright light devices, plugged in her earphones, and in an instant she too was gone. I didn’t even know her name, yet I felt sad as I got off the bus; plugged in my earphones and started walking, looking at the bright lights in my palm.

More from Versailles, France.

My friend admiring a statue near Chateau du Versailles, France.

Lake near the Chateau du Versailles.

A walk in the garden, Versailles.

Portraits on the wall.

Versailles garden.

French countryside

I live in Chasseneuil du Poitou. I don’t have to go around looking for villages, because I live in one! My friend Jayanth and I hike around the place a lot. Sometimes we end up going on really long hikes, and since the region we live in, is small, we’ve hiked out of the chasseneuil region in almost all directions. One evening (like many other evenings) Jayanth and I decided to go for a small jog. We were about to enter the elevator when I stopped him and went back to the apartment, to get my camera and tripod. Then we grabbed some snacks, shoved them into our bags and were off. We knew it in our heads that we were going on a really long hike!

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The road towards Martigny. The board indicating that we are leaving Chasseneuil.

There’s a tree all by itself in the middle of farmlands. I call it the lonely tree. Its on my jogging route, and sometimes when I’m lazy to get up in the morning, the thought of this tree inspires me to run. I really like this tree a lot!

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My friend and I headed towards the lonely tree

This time we were headed towards the lonely tree which is 2 kms from our place. Both of us started walking with lollipops (chupa chups – a type of candy) in our mouth. We walked past the tree and then realised that we should have taken a picture. Walked back, set the tripod and *click*. We were on our way once again, on the path between farmlands which looked like a desert. We reached another lonely tree, which we named “Mystery mara” (mystery tree), because there can’t be two trees with the same name right? On one of our previous hikes, we saw a small forest (not really a forest, more like a plantation) in the middle of nowhere, and hiked towards it.

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The forbidden forest (Picture by Jayanth)

This place looks exactly like the old forest in Lord of the rings, so we decided to call it “the forbidden forest”. We walked for about 5 kms and found vast cornfields equipped with giant sprinklers. We spent some time running through the water blanket made by the sprinkler, and made a few videos of our stupid actions.

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Chasseneuil du poitou is engulfed by vast farmlands in all directions. It really is a beautiful place.

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The lonely tower – reminds me of the tower from the movie “Lord of the rings – the two towers”

We were 8 kms from home when it was starting to get dark. It was almost 9 pm but there was still plenty of light (We have longer days now). We decided to sit down and eat the snacks we had shoved into our bags. One biscuit after another, we finished the whole pack. Some water to drown it and we were heading back home.

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Snack time, at the farthest point of our hike

We had to walk all the way back, through the desolate farmlands. And nowhere did we spot a single human. The thought of such empty places coupled with the eeriness of the night was scary as well as exciting. We had interesting conversations about random subjects to avoid getting freaked out about fictitious supernatural elements. When it got really dark, we clicked some more pictures, tried out light painting in front of the camera, but never stopped to rest.

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M for Mayur, and J for Jayanth

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Experiments with light

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The two brothers

When we reached the lonely tree, we didn’t speak until we had passed the tree. The sound of crickets, whistling winds, and cloudy skies, it was the perfect setting for a scary atmosphere. Once we passed the tree, we were brave and courageous once again. We talked about horror movies, scary ghosts, and were not afraid at all! We could also see the road ahead, and had gotten brave all of a sudden. The last 2 kms was filled with brave talk about ghosts. My friend even quoted a weird theory from the television series, “Supernatural”. Something about urinating, to ward off spirits (:D)

When we reached the apartment it was almost 12 am, we had food waiting for us (prepared by our friends), which we devoured quietly. When I finally went to bed, I just had one thought on my mind, “Where do we hike next?”.

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The lonely tree, at night

Paris – The City of Light

My friends and I had been to Amsterdam to welcome 2016, and on our way back to Poitiers, France, we had a few hours to kill. We had reached Paris on 3 January 2016, early in the morning. The bus to Poitiers was at 15:00. Since we had a lot of time, we decided to head to the “Louvre”. It was still very dark when we arrived at the gigantic walls surrounding the Louvre Pyramid. We couldn’t figure out where the entrance was and there was not a soul to be seen. After a lot of walking around, we found our way inside. I must say we were extremely lucky to have arrived at the Louvre Palace in the morning. There were hardly any people around, and I never did spot any homo sapiens “selfying” with their phones! The dim lighting of the palace complimented by the dark sky was a visual treat indeed. Due to the limited time, we couldn’t venture into the museum. But I was really glad to just witness the beauty of its surroundings. We walked around the palace enjoying the changing colours of the sky, after which we took the metro and arrived at the Eiffel Tower. Seeing the Eiffel tower was an achievement for us, not because its a World Wonder, but because it had been 4 months since we arrived in France, and had never been to the Eiffel Tower. The view of the city from the top of the tower is stunning. One look from here is ample for anyone to fall in love with the architecture of this city (Paris is divided into 20 Arrondissements). 

Here are some pictures of these beautiful places,

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The Palais-Royal, home of the Conseil d’État

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The bridge, Pont des arts

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The Seine river as seen from the Pont des arts

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The Seine river

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The gateway to the Louvre Pyramid

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The Louvre Pyramid (Mona Lisa is in there somewhere)

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The Pont des arts leading to the Mazarine Library

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The Cour Carrée (Square Courtyard completed under Napoleon I) seen from the Mazarine library.

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Posters promoting Australian tourism, in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower.

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View of the city from the top of the Eiffel Tower.

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Chaillot’s Palace seen from the Eiffel tower.

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La Grande Roue de Paris (The big wheel of Paris) seen from the Eiffel Tower.

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The “Champ de Mars” seen from the Eiffel tower.

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The World famous “Tour Eiffel” (Eiffel Tower)

Manali Winter Trek – First adventure of 2015

My brother, few of his classmates, and I decided to welcome this year with a trip to Manali and experience the cold winters of North India. The trek was organised by Youth Hostels Association of India (YHAI) and lasted 4 days (Jan 4 – 8). This was a mellow trek and the sights were incredible. There were snow covered mountains in all directions (Foothills of Himalayas) , the days were pleasant and the nights, freezing! Let me tell you more about it through my pictures.

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The Red Fort in Old Delhi

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The Indian flag flying high in Central Park, Delhi.

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Delhi covered in fog at 9 am

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The International Youth hostel at Manali

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View around the hostel at Manali

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One house stands alone amidst leafless trees

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Had we been here a week early, the entire region would have been filled with snow.

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The days were pleasant despite the harsh sun.

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Looks like a wasted garden, but I’m sure they’ll be colourful once again soon.

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I wish to trek there some day in the near future

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The tree that lived alone.

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The Dogs here are extremely friendly. They jog along by your side throughout the trek, and expect nothing in return.

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My brother and his friends contemplating about snow balls.

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My brother, his friends and I (Family Portrait).

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Trees awaiting change.

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The descent (Photo – Kaushik)

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The long and winding road (Photo – Kaushik)

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Hachiko keeping me company (Photo – Kaushik)

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Smiles and frowns (Photo – Kaushik)

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Serious snow balling happened here. (photo – Kaushik)

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Guardian of the mountains

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Buddhist prayer flags

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Sunset in Manali

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Huge statue of Lord Shiva at the Gurudwara in Manikaran. The fumes in the image is from the hot water spring below the statue. The water is so hot that rice and channa are cooked here.

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Enroute Dharamsala

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View from one of the hotels in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala.

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View from the museum window at Dharamsala

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The cemetery at the Church of St John in the Wilderness, McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala.

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Somewhere in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala

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Back to International Youth Hostel, Delhi, and then to Bangalore.

Rocky the German Shepherd

My brother and I took Rocky to Cubbon Park today after a long time. The dude ran and ran and ran, then peed all over the place marking his territory, finally sat down for a while. 

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His majesty, Rocky !

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Rocky looking to the Right

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Rocky looking to the left

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Some guys with a GoPro wanted a video from Rocky’s perspective, and there he is, running around with a GoPro strapped to his back.