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Tuesday, May 20

Expect the unexpected.

Sometimes unexpected things do happen. The time when they do, they create small butterfly like tingles go up your spine. I am talking about one of the simple joys of life like; Surprise - unexpected and shocking, exhilarating and unwanted. Complete satisfaction.

This time when I went to Srisailam, I decided that no matter what I would enjoy each moment of it. So when the surprise of funding the whole trip came upon my shoulders, I not only happily agreed to sponsor this trip as was expected from me, but also let things go the way they had to. The drive was as usual, one of the best. The snaking long roads, and the fields on either side. There is something about long drives, and being on the move that rejuvenates me and my mind.

I was a bit surprised to see the extent of expansion happening to Hyderabad due to the new Shamshabad, International airport and the ringroad that connects the airport to the city.

The old city no longer has limited expansion. Thanks to the awesome fore planning, the expansion will slowly spread to places much beyond the overly populated areas like Pathergatti, Charminar, Shalibanda, and Barkas. I remember sometime ago, I had thought that Hyderabad’s answer to expansion was - vertical expansion. A floor on top of the other, rather than horizontal where a house is build beside the other. Suddenly there was no space left for horizontal expansion!

And yet, I am not sure whether to be happy for this change or to be sad. A few minutes ride on the Shamshabad airport’s ring road from Charminar makes you see the awesome landmarks that once made the Deccan Platue ‘a natural rock garden’.

Millions and centuries old rocks and their delicately balanced formations stand silently, reminding you of the amazing grace and imagination of Mother Nature. When I was a child these formations gave my mind enough space to explore my imagination.

Sometimes it was a dog with a bone, or sometimes a man with skewed expressions or even giant tortoise.

Now, I see them as the age old sentries of Hyderabad that now adorn the landscape. The unmistakable land plotting makes them vulnerable and these gentle giants seem to quietly avenge a war themselves.

I know that feigning ignorance is a way. But I hope that each of us remember the time when as child, how these rocks created a real world of Flintstones and fairyland for us. Help conserve these natural inspirations for the expanded imaginations of our children and the generations yet to come.

Coming back to the surprise, on our way there is a pit stop we make at a country dhaba which is singlehandedly owned by a lady. The specialty is the mouth watering country chicken she makes for lunch. Apart from this the highlight of the pit stop was finding my ‘old man’. I am referring to the time I had shot a snap which I fondly call ‘the oldman and the older banyan’

The Old man and the banyan - two years ago.

And the surprise was to have found him right there - Under the banyan. However, this time he comfortably sat on a plastic neelkamal chair unlike the last time when he had taken the support of the huge stump of the tree and smoked a bidi, unmindful of the several fascinating looks that I and my Camera had bestowed upon him.

This time, surely time and tide had made him more alert unlike the aloof and unmindful man he had been then. This time he was walking with support of his stick and asking for alms making the most of the several tourists who happened to stop at the same point.

I remember distinctly how he had left a mark on me when I had seen him two years ago. It was his slow, lazy attitude, his oblivious approach towards us, the speeding cars, and the many others who awaited their platter of food.

This time too he undoubtedly left a mark on me.

Finding his unwavering gaze again and to happen to witness his slow transition as a man was more than what I had expected to see when our car had halted at the lady’s dhaba this time. The recognition was a surprise in itself. A much better surprise was the evolution.

Found the man there, right under the banyan this time.

Everyone needs a change and everyone eventually changes. Some do with time while some do fighting both – change and time. But change does occur. Whether you like it or you don’t. Change is the answer to living. Change is the next thing to life.

Oh! By the way, I shot some pictures again with the banyan in the background, this time it’s of a woman. :)

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