Thursday, January 10, 2013

To the Golden Land of Thar

Note: Did a shorter version of this as a travelogue for my college magazine's upcoming edition.

Two days back I returned from my 'educational' college trip to Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. Considering how long we all had waited for this trip, the destination and the time spent together were both of utmost importance for all of us.

Location: Mahadev Resorts, Sam Sand Dunes, Jaisalmer

The 'Call for Entry' Ad for First Frame 2013. For details please visit: http://first-frame.blogspot.com
Till a day before leaving for the trip, my sole concentration was on getting all work completed for the international students' film festival 'First Frame 2013' that my college is organising in April. We had to put up the blog, get the content ready, release the initial 'Call for Entry' poster, look up the entire festival history, prepare the initial showreel and start promotional activity on facebook and twitter so as to meet all the set deadlines. Almost everyday since my exams ended, I used to spend hours in college, getting things approved and discussing the whole thing. No doubt, when one of my faculty asked me how excited I was for the trip, I replied, "Maam, for a change, the trip has taken a backseat on my mind and it's just First Frame that I can concentrate on right now". And so it was, till a few hours before the trip began from Old Delhi Railway Station on 3rd January.

You are wearing at least 5 layers of thick sweatshirts, pullovers and jackets while you board the train, and by the end of the 10-hour overnight journey you just have a t-shirt on. That’s when you know that it’s time to take a break from the shivering Delhi and be welcomed by the warm and pleasing air of the Royal Rajasthan.


A fog affected train led to our contingent of 120 students and faculty members for a delayed arrival at Jodhpur. But nothing could dampen the high spirits that we, the travellers, had. The long awaited college trip had just begun.

Taking our head out of the window and enjoying the no-tree and only-sand-and-cool-air on the way to Thar
Our itinerary for the day included visiting the Umaid Bhawan Palace, one of the largest inhabited palaces in the world, and the Mehrangarh Fort that overlooked the entire Jodhpur city. The DSLRs and digi-cams clicked unstopped aiming to capture the beauty of the entire city and engrave it into our memories forever. Some mouth-watering jalebis, masala kachoris and mirchi pakodas brought an end to the beginning of a wonderful trip.

Location: Mahadev Palace Hotel, Jaisalmer
The next morning had all of us waking up and getting ready for an early departure from the ‘Blue City’ to Jaisalmer, the ‘Golden City’ and the heart of the great Indian Thar Desert. The highway our bus cruised on cut through the acres of barren land and the landscape did not change for hundreds of kilometres at a stretch. As games of truth and dare, singing, dancing and merry-making made the long bus journey seem too short, each of our moves was updated on facebook and never ending check-ins took place on foursquare.

On arrival at Jaisalmer, we made our way to Sam Sand Dunes, 40 kilometres away from the town, for the camel safari. Hundreds of camels carried us and the hordes of other tourists and we had our first ever glimpse of the never ending sands of the desert. The sea of fine sand had all of us returning to being kids as we raced and played while giving no rest to the cameras.

Sam Sand Dunes, Jaisalmer
The tunes of the eternal ‘Welcome to Rajasthan’ theme Padharo maare desh, played as we made our way to the abode for the night at the campsite at Sam Dunes. Rajasthani dance around the bonfire, a puppet show and shayari session by the local folk culminated with a jam session around the fire. A sumptuous dinner of the best from the Rajasthani kitchen had all of us craving for more. The day was well spent.

It was time now to move back for sightseeing at Jaisalmer. Walking through the narrow streets of Jaisalmer, towered at places with the grand havelis, we reached the Golden Fort, the abode of the maharajas of yesteryear Jaisalmer. The view of the entire town from the top of the fort had us enchanted. The fort towered atop a hill, with the golden-yellow colour of the buildings spread in one direction, the desert on the other side with the huge windmills dotting the background. It was a sight to behold. The DJ set in the hotel premises welcomed us as we returned for dinner.
Location: Haveli No. 5, Patwa Havelis, Jaisalmer. This is the one where scenes for Bhool Bhoolaiya were shot

Location: Gadisar Lake, Jaisalmer
The next day, our last day on this trip, we moved back to Jodhpur so as to catch the train back to Delhi in the evening. We had one last taste of the wonderful cuisines of Rajasthan as we shopped for souvenirs to take back home.
The long travel time in the bus seemed too short with the singing, dancing and merry-making
As the train chugged on towards Delhi, long conversations, games of UNO, singing and dancing throughout the night had the atmosphere completely charged up. We were not going to sleep and waste precious time together. For a change, none of us had any idea of what was happening in the world out there; what mattered was the fact that these were going to be the last few hours that all of us would be spending together having fun, probably the last best memories of our college life.

The last two days have been spent by most of us doing what we, the soon-to-be-journos, love to do- sleeping. The only other significant activity that we have been involved in is probably opening our facebook profiles, uploading pictures from the trip, changing our display and cover pictures, tagging friends and looking for friends' album of the trip and using many different smileys to convey our moods of joy and 'we are going to miss these days' feelings...



As for me, for the first time since I left DPS VK Hostel, I have felt so closely attached to a set of people who have not only deeply influenced me and my lifestyle over the past year but have also become the reason for many initiatives that have kept me too busy working with them over the past months. First Frame is going to be our last project together and surely the biggest one till date. I might become too irregular in my blog entries in the coming weeks considering the volume of work involved and an inability to take exclusive time out for this, but there is this one thing which I am certain of- These friends of mine who I have loved to term as 'colleagues' or simply 'work buddies', I am going to love 'working' with them no matter what and staying away from them (as has been evident over the past 48 hours) is not going to be easy nor acceptable.

And if any of these 'friends' are reading this entry (which would have happened only after constant pleading from me) then there is just one thing I would like to tell you- Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for adding 'fun' to my boring workaholic life. I love you people :)

PS: I might not actually be very irregular with my blog entries considering that I am a smartphone user now and I can type in entries on my phone while travelling in the metro exactly the way I am doing right now. Technology has its own benefits ;)

10 comments :

  1. good good... happy sixth semester to all of us :P

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  2. best friends forever.....nd dude u hav a magic in ur writing :)

    p.s - i lov u too...

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    1. I was frankly not expecting to see your comment here...
      Glad you liked the entry..
      Yup...BFFs...Love you Ankit...:)

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  3. Antarik watever u write, its rly straightforward bt one gets so engrossed nd enters a magical world !! After reading this blog i beleive who ever missed the trip has visited jodhpur nd jaisalmer jst by ur words :-)
    We all love u !!

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    Replies
    1. That's a huge compliment...Thank you so much for the read, the comment n the compliment Snigdha :)

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  4. I like the descriptive style of your writing. Keep it up :) Love reading your stuff.

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  5. I am gonna miss the time spent with you'll in Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. I honestly, did not think that this trip would be this great. But, as it is said that always the unexpected happens. I am glad I have got friends like you. :D

    I love you too :*

    P.S - Antarik, you are an amazing writer. God Bless. :)

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    Replies
    1. Things that we expect the least surprise us the most by happening the way we never expected them to. The trip was amazing and surely will be missed by all of us in the days and years to come...
      Thank you so much Megha..love you too dear :)

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