Get your bearings right

Support comes in all shapes and sizes.  Photo Credit: Rumela Basu

Support comes in all shapes and sizes.
Photo Credit: Rumela Basu

It was in the Kervan Palace Turkish Restaurant in downtown Glasgow that I realized how lost a man (or woman) could get. I realized just how easy it was for people to get so enveloped in their ‘issues’ that they tended to neglect the world around them. They did not see that the elements of the universe just kept going on and on and on despite their woes.

Damn the universe!

Can you not see that a man is suffering? Can you not see that losing his girlfriend to his best pal and missing the bus to his new job interview because he was finding out about the loss is an unfair move? Can you not see that denying her access to the internet minutes before she hands in her final assessment could be regarded as plain cruel?

Anyway, that is just to let you know that you can be unfair. Back to my epiphany.

I realized in that restaurant (and in the car as we struggled along the M8 into the city earlier) that i, and human race, waste a whole lot of time being pushed around by things we cannot control. We get flustered. We lose hair. We palpitate. We don’t even eat sometimes.

Know the destination. Plan to get there. The rest will fall in place. Photo Credit: Rumela Basu

Know the destination. Plan to get there. The rest will fall in place. Photo Credit: Rumela Basu

It gets so bad that we do not eat!

The road trip into the heart and the highlands of Scotland taught me something. There are things you cannot do ANYTHING about!

Eight people drove for 48 hours in 72 hours in two cars with one thing in mind; EXPLORE SCOTLAND. Over 3,200 miles of road was covered. In three days those eight people got only 12 hours of sleep. They spent over 570 pounds on fuel and realized just how bland the meals served in 10 different rest stops along the way could get.

The eight people journeyed from Cardiff to Edinburgh to Inverness. They got lost in their quest along the Loch Ness trail and ‘pretended’ to see the monster. They grudgingly and eventually settled for some good food and free wifi in a restaurant in Portree and walked quite a few miles to discover the breathtaking Fairy Pools near Carbost, a village on the south shore of Loch Harport on the Isle of Skye. Those same eight people travelled long nights and sung songs in Hindi and ‘Twi’ (Ghanaian language) as they sought refuge in Loch Lomond.

Those eight people ended up, however, with one thing. MEMORIES. Memories that will last a lifetime.

Those eight people chose to enjoy themselves silly. They chose to bond with each other. They chose to do the ‘Macarena’ in the backseat of a vehicle guided by the power (or lack thereof) of Google Maps. They chose to tell each other the stories of their families and friends in countries so identical they could be siblings. They chose to smile through the pain of not peeing for hours because the drivers of the cars they sat in needed ‘spotters’ of speed cameras.

The point here is this. In life, there is only so much you can do about the things that happen around you. There is no point getting messed up about those things you can do nothing about. You cannot control the steering wheel of the car approaching in the other lane at breakneck speed. You cannot control the algorithms that feed your phone with GPS coordinates and leave you miles from your destination. You just cannot.

What you can change is your attitude to these things.

Plan what you can. The rest is out of your hands. Stop stressing!  Photo Credit: Rumela Basu

Plan what you can. The rest is out of your hands. Stop stressing!

Like the eight road trip junkies, you can allow the beauty of the Fairy Pools to dazzle you and inspire you to write poems. You can allow the snow-capped mountains on the Isle of Skye to amaze you and get you screaming like a 5-year old. You can drive an automatic car for the first time in your life in a foreign country. You can fall on your bum and laugh out loud about it as tens of strangers walk past. You can even learn to say “I love you” in Bengali (Ami tomaye bhalobashi).

Get focused. You know what you can control.

Get your bearings right!

Things you don’t get right

Colour in the Mountains

In life there are things you will are most likely never going to get right.
You will try so hard and yet end up failing at them.
It might seem pointless to keep trying, but then, that is why we were not made perfect.
There are things you will not get right, the worst you can do is to stop trying.

 

This is Divinity

The road for Fairy PoolsThis is divinity

There is green and blue and turquoise and brown and black and floating branches

There is marble and stone and rock and hard objects I simply do not know about.

There is water, lots of water.

Ripples from unknown sources beyond the bend.

There is crashing sound, waterfall-sound, flowing sound, bubbling sound, amazing sound.

I could sit here forever.

The water is clear as day, pure as light; rich and tranquil.

This place calls to me. Invites me in. Wants me in.

The hairs on my neck are standing yet the warmth of my spirit glows.

I am alive.

This is divinity.

No explosion could have caused to into existence. No molecular construction could have reasoned the intricacies of this ground.

No. None.

I stand atop a hill looking up a mountain.

I sit in a place where men have made war and women made life.

I sit in a place where God’s hand has touched the earth.

This is divinity.

 

Hello Inverness

The sights of Inverness

After over 1000 miles of nestling in the backseat of a silver Vauxhall Vectra and a blue Mazda3 Takara. After over 10 hours of driving, close calls and rediscovering friendships. Finally, Inverness, we meet. 

The guidebook next to me describes you as a city in the Scottish Highlands and one of Europe’s fastest growing cities. I am reading about your traditional beach resort of Nairn and the mystery of Loch Ness and even Charlie Chaplin’s supposed Scottish hideaway! Yet, as i walk along Young Street and hear River Ness flowing freely underneath, I am convinced there is more that meets the eye than the words in a guide book.

I am here with seven friends. We initially got lost trying to find Winston Guest House because you had not informed us about the road construction works and subsequent closures. However, driving on your roads is delightful experience I must say. The only downside is the drunk young men who speed past people like us screaming strange obscenities. 

Take a walk on the wild side

Take a walk on the wild side

My friends, in case you were wondering are Neeraj Krishnan. He is like the dad around here. You should see him when he is in his element. He has a good heart and a humble spirit though. You will like him. There is Aparna Rajagopal. She does not speak much, but her silence can sometimes speak more than a pack of wolves. 

Chakshu Rani and Nidhi Kajie are a couple. I know my supposed ‘snoring’ might wake them up in some 20 minutes, but then are the cutest bunch you will get to know. They are perfect for each other. You should have seen them earlier today when Chakshu was driving along the A70. Her long stares were met, though briefly, by his quick glances. CUTE!

Then there is the ‘terror’ of the group Anugrahe Hadke and her Housemate Samruddhi Pisal. There is a third musketeer called Aabha Koley but she couldn’t come. Anu (that’s the way we choose to call her) has an arsenal of cuteness, a big laugh and great sense of humour. She constantly ‘terrorised’ Neeraj through the journey with one liners and stories and was a disc jockey at a point. We are grateful for the like of Samruddhi though. A calming presence. It was weird how at almost every service stop, she switched cars. Guess she was spreading her love for all around. 

Now back to you, Inverness. 

The Inverness Castle

The Inverness Castle

Your restaurants along Bridge Street look inviting from the outside, but i am yet to taste any of their cooking. I am used to being spoilt by the cuisine from Cardiff so you will have to work harder. I am only going to let this McDonald’s burger and its accompaniments issue slide because it’s our first meeting. 

If there was another way to put what i am going to say next, i would have done so. The Inverness Castle looks magical under the light of the full moon. Despite the chill of the night, my gaze never wavered from its magic even when the giggles of some of the ‘town girls’ drifted past.

In a few hours, i will be expected to rise again for a proper tour of your true character and hopefully it will be different from what these sheets of paper are telling me. 

I have to be frank with you though, you are located in a land that is flowing with sights that turn heads. At every corner, grown folk like us studying for postgraduate degrees kept turning in our seats and ‘oohing’ and ‘aahhhing’ all over. Look, you have to understand something; you just simply can’t have that many snow-capped mountains, rivers with wildlife drinking from it, landscapes that literally come alive as the sun goes down and expect us to do nothing but just stare at them. 

We took pictures. There is said it. We took lots of pictures. Deal with it.

We are glad to be here, though. We love it here. 

PS: There is a girl, lady, woman, individual here as well. She is one of us but i wanted to save her for last. She is the most excited of the bunch. She actually got me to go out after 12 just to take pictures. Can you believe? This happened while everyone was getting into bed! Who does that? Then again, i have to admit. I will not have been on this trip if it was not for her. You will like to meet her. She is in the one with the broadest smile who thinks the moon should be in her pocket for safekeeping! Rumela Basu.