Two Trails, Two Tales
It’s been a long time since I actually wrote a proper blog entry with all my focus, considering how engaged this semester is keeping me with assignments and other college work. On Diwali day, I uploaded a picture and made it a photo-blog and all of it, just for the sake of getting a new entry uploaded here. I had no idea that two days from then, I would have followed two different trails and would have two amazing tales to tell.
|Welcome to Yamuna Expressway!|
Post-Diwali day, as per my Uncle’s plans, we had to set out on the newly opened Yamuna Expressway in our new Ertiga for Brindavan for a day trip. As has always happened with his plans, instead of 6 in the morning, we left at 10.30. So no more traffic-less roads and getting out of Delhi via Noida and Greater Noida and to the Yamuna Expressway took us over one and a half hours. And then, the amazing journey began. Eventfully, we never reached Brindavan.
Yeah, you read it right. The journey was meant to experience the new Expressway and visit the Brindavan temples. The first objective was certainly attained but the second remained undecided till the moment we reached the cut to Mathura. With a huge fight going in the back seats between my cousins, we kept on moving straight and my sister’s desire to see the Taj Mahal was fulfilled. For me, it was twice at the Taj in less than two months! And this was the first time that I used my camera to click a picture of the Taj; last time I never got the opportunity to get behind the camera! :D
|Waah Taj! Twice in less than two months!|
|Taj Mahal- Yup, in a pinch!|
Well, before leaving on this trip, I had a treaty with my Uncle. I should get to drive for 10 kilometres on the expressway. I was certain that the treaty was going to be broken and I wouldn’t get a chance to drive the new car. And yes, the treaty was indeed broken! I did get to drive the car but I exceeded my distance by over 5 kilometres. When you are in power and zooming past at nearly 120 kmph for the first time ever, it’s difficult to let go of the steering wheel! Haha…:D
|Yamuna Expressway- Behind the steering. Speed soaring somewhere above 120 kmph- my fastest ever!|
The entire expressway stretch took us less than one and a half hours to cover. And the return journey was even more beautiful with the night setting in and the lanes of the road being divided with the reflectors. Properly designed Diwali lights it seemed! :)
The next day, we had tickets booked for Zangoora, India’s first theatrical performance styled on the lines of Broadway, at the Kingdom of Dreams, Gurgaon. Right from the time it started two years ago, I had kept myself updated with all the latest developments taking place there and a long eager wait to see the place turned true finally.
|The bell strikes. It's time to be at the Kingdom of Dreams, finally!|
|My first panoramic shot of the Kingdom of Dreams|
|Kingdom of Dreams- My entry ticket to Zangoora at Nautanki Mahal|
When you have read so much about something and seem to know almost everything about it, you tend to have huge expectations from it. And when you have huge expectations from something, the real thing usually disappoints you. With Kingdom of Dreams, this logic (is it one?) didn’t work. The place stood way beyond my expectations and I loved every bit of it!
|Kingdom of Dreams- Here I am, following the Buddha, reaching enlightenment!|
SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t been to Kingdom of Dreams and want things to be a surprise for you when you visit it, do not worry. There aren't any spoilers ahead. The photographs might be too revealing at times. You have been warned! ;)
|The Nautanki Mahal when I entered for Zangoora|
A slight delay and I missed about 5 minutes of the beginning of the Zangoora show. I had made sure that I wouldn’t see any YouTube video or read about the plot and technicalities involved in the show so as to keep everything for a surprise. Today it wasn't Hussain performing but there was Gauahar Khan. And anyways, from such a distance, with everything so big, human face is quite small to recognize!
My sister told me, “Isn’t it amazing how smoothly the stage transitions take place when the audience is led to concentrate at just one point on the stage?” I smiled and replied, “I don’t think any BJ(MC) student, or for that matter any film-making aspirant, would concentrate on what is being shown to them and instead he/she would be more interested in seeing what’s going on in that no-spotlight dark area.” And that’s what I was trying to do! What followed in those 2 and half hours was sheer amazement and by the end of all of it I had one big desire- To get behind the scenes and see how everything works backstage.
I have seen many theatre performances in the past couple of years at Mandi House and surely none have had even the slightest of caliber to touch the scale at which Zangoora is performed. When you are the reason behind the success of something big, it surely is a huge source of happiness. At the end of the show, that’s what I was thinking looking at the entire cast on stage. How proud the director would be feeling right now!
We moved from the Nautanki Mahal to Culture Gully. This was the part I was looking forward to even more than Zangoora, having seen and read so much about it. I had just one objective in mind- I am not going to miss seeing even a single thing here! I was soon away from my family and moving all around the place and clicking as many photos as possible. And I must say this is one amazing place for innumerable photo-ops. Hats off to the set-designer!
|Culture Gully- Standing on the bridge in front of Mumbai|
|Culture Gully- Panoramic view from the bridge- Entry side|
|Culture Gully- Panoramic view from the bridge- Back end|
|Culture Gully- My sister and I with the Kathakali mascot in front of the Mumbai local|
|Culture Gully- In deep thoughts for the photo at the Chennai restaurant|
|Culture Gully- Punjab-da-truck|
|Culture Gully- Inside one of Mumbai's double decker bus|
|Culture Gully- Mumbai local|
|Culture Gully- The Odisha section was disapointing with just the Konark Chakra and leading the stairs to the first floor|
It’s just impossible to capture the beauty of the place even in the best possible DSLRs! You need to see it first-hand to understand the true brilliance and the sheer magnificence of the place. I don’t think I would ever miss a chance to visit the place if I get one. Jhumroo is still left to be seen. The place stands true to its tagline- A spectacle so grand it can fit only in your dreams.
I later asked my grandmother what she thought about all of it. What she said about Zangoora was what surprised me the most.
She said, “It was like Harry Potter! Everyone was flying around!”
What about Ramayan and Ravan’s Pushpak Vimaan?
Her immediate reply, “Your generation knows more about Harry Potter than Ramayan! Haha…”
I agreed and smiled. :)
|Kingdom of Dreams- At the entrance to the Culture Gully- My digi-cam is far too inexperienced to capture the beauty of the place|
|Kingdom of Dreams- In front of the illuminated Nautanki Mahal|
|Kingdom of Dreams- The surprise Dandiya performance in front of the Nautanki Mahal|
|Kingdom of Dreams- The live classical music performers were kind enough to hand me the drumstick and get a picture clicked|
|The Kingdom of Dreams!|
Do leave your comments and share with me your experiences of any of the two trails or one that you would like to be part of in the near future. I hope you have enjoyed reading this post. Take care!