38th Parallel

Father! I Killed them all.
It was the metal bullet; they fell like leaves of an eucalyptus tree
Tell me if this is a treason?
Only if I knew they were mothers, they had husbands and she had a son

Father! I Killed them all.
with a gun and a grenade, they fell like a Wooden doll.

Why are they enemies?
On a Maru they all lay dead, they had a Hanok too, just like ours
In her house, I found a partially consumed bibimbap
Encapsulated within a layer of blood, probably from my never ending bullet trap

Father! I Killed them all.
with a gun and a grenade, they fell like a Wooden doll.

I want to fight them, like you did against the men from the East
I do not understand why we need freedom from our own people
They speak my language and sing my song
Like our city Busan, isn’t that similar to where they are from?

Father! I Killed them all.
with a gun and a grenade, they fell like a Wooden doll.

When I threw the metal ball
I was awe-struck on the magnitude of honor I had achieved
a mother broke into pieces while holding her son in her arm
while his father lay dead with my bullet on his rice farm

Father! I Killed them all.
with a gun and a grenade, they fell like a Wooden doll.

Am’I to burn to hell
Am’I to play the winning drum
Those eyes are haunting me, they remind me of jamaeui
I think it’s time, the water drops from the leafy dewy

I’m not as brave as you nor am’I strong
Before I give up, please pray for me, so God accepts my song

Father! I Killed them all.
with a gun and a grenade, they fell like a Wooden doll.

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Korea: You held me spellbound – The Green Light Girl

South Korea (henceforth referred as Unified, Korea – This is not a propaganda story or is it?)

Korea sure does know how to keep a traveler spellbound.

To a tourist Korea is just like any other developed country with skyscrapers, shopping orchards, induced alcohol hangouts and dazzling street lights; To a traveler, Korea is more than that. The people, culture, history, traditions, mindsets, stereotypes will enchant a travel’s soul to every threshold.

Since I’m back, I have started giving monologues that have even lasted hours simply praising the enchanted land(s) of Korea. I have even dispensed them as  mono’chats’ to my Tinder matches. Yes, Korea is that ‘awe-inspiring’. It would be only apt if I share these memories, moments as stories or travel logs.

I shall dispense my first story now: The Green Light Girl

Clubbing scene in Korea is underrated, people there sure know how to party. Whether it be the classy streets of Itaewon or the ‘young’ back allies of Hongdae, they are killer cool everywhere. A group of few, all backpackers, seated at the common room of a hostel (Kimchee Sinchon 1) were relishing the warmth of an antic heater which had a visual portrait of burning logs. None of us realized it was the 1st Friday of the year until someone quizzed, “What’s the day today, my flights on Sunday?”, I think it was the French American guy (I forget his name) who was traveling to Japan next.

Suddenly, a storm of conversations erupted and within seconds we realized, “We gotta club tonight”. As a backpacker, you don’t really feel the need to dress up for any occasion but Korea is different, you need to look sharp, we needed to be sharp. It took us almost an hour and we were ready to drag ourselves to a Korean Club called ‘Mama’.

Now let’s not judge the book by it’s cover, though the contents were quite illustrious, let me finish narrating this unique experience.

There’s a lot that happened within minutes of us being at the club but let’s focus on this girl with a green light. It only took me a few shots of Soju and a couple of beers to start pole dancing, specially at Club Mama where it’s a desired skill.(Read as “Assumed desired skill”) plus with my bollywood skills, it didn’t take me long to have ‘followers’.

Dancing is a funny art, you just know you want to dance with someone when you see them doing a step that you almost were about to do and then either they follow you or you follow them. You dance with a unified rhythm. It wasn’t any different in our case, we started dancing together, in symmetry and suddenly we made our moves viral to an entire crowd standing near the elevated pole dance area.

After almost an hour of showing off our moves, we took a break from floor and reached out to our drinks. I had to follow her, I had to know her name before I never saw her again.

“Hey, what’s your name?”

She said something in Korean which I obviously didn’t really understand, after a minute of her looking around for something, she took out this green light from her pocket, it was one of those clubbing accessories you wear on your fingers while you rave. She displayed it like jewel and said, “Green…Green”, pointed at herself and then at the light, “Green”. I still do not precisely know what she meant by that but I assume either her name was green or her name meant something closely related to green.

Before I could ask anything else, she said “No English” with crossing her hands like a multiplication cross over her chest. “No English…No English”, and then she walked away with a polite smile which could mean almost anything in the world. At first I wasn’t really sure what had just happened, had I offended the girl or had I scared her, it was only after my conversation with my Brazilian backpacker that enlightened me that Korean girls who want to meet foreigners but cannot speak English are really shy and are embarrassed of themselves.

I took another 5000 WON beer from the bar and started enjoying the music again. You know sometimes, we need to stop thinking, to start living.

It was almost 4:00AM and we were almost set to go back to our hostel, suddenly a hand came across my shoulder, it was her, Green; without any words in any language and without any surprise looks we both submersed ourselves to the music.

It is the most predictable story hence forth, we danced till the gang was set to leave, she gave me the green light as a partying gift and I received it with bowing my head down indicating a big thank you. We hadn’t spoken a single word in our second interaction, she walked with me towards the lookers; where she hugged me a goodbye hug and asked where I was from, I said, “India”.

She crossed her hand again, with a multiplication sign on her chest, “No English…” after a pause, she surprised me with a “Namaste” in a very very Korean accent and it sounded like “Namasteooo”

The “Namasteoooo” might just have been the alcohol but the Green was very real.

It’s with me right now and it will always be.
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The Most Common Urban Story

It is one of the most common stories in the urban world, you travel; explore continents, countries, trails, country roads, deltas, quays, woods, borders and downtowns only to realize how different you are from others. Some of us are left with cultural signatures on our identity and the rest are simply happy to complete yet another destination on their list while they cherish their return home.

To some of us these journeys are the ‘Roads less travelled’ but with travel becoming more ‘touristic’, only some realize the true meaning of the ‘Road less Travelled’ and I might be simply over complicating the subject but till a year ago, the road less travelled to me was simply visiting a touristic city or backpack across the country or live/work in a foreign land or go to an exotic destination which most people won’t visit, but as 2015 dawns on me, my definition is changing.

And I don’t think I would really know the ‘Road less Travelled’ till I actually experience one. Not that all my 38 travels to 26 counties have not been unique, each of them were a rare experience and I will cherish them for life but I still don’t think I have my ‘Road less Travelled’ yet.

I hope you find your Road less travelled really soon.

I gotta feeling, i’ll find it soon.

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Dhoom Machale 2015 – Transcendence

This is not a random bollywood-inspired thought nor this is a stupid attempt to promote Abhishek Bachchan. Think of a framework that fosters non-stop motivation for the year ahead; beyond resolutions, beyond themes but a BHAG that breaks any critical or tipping points of any socio-economic expectations.

The innocent thought of doing the impossible; the idea of an idiotic heart taking the front seat while steering your choices to the extreme level of awesomeness – Dhoom.

As I prepare myself to endure the unpredictability and Everest like challenges of 2015, I am committing myself to a new Ninja way; endurance and fortitude were always there, and they will still be the very essence of my existence but this 2015 will require a transcendental action or a set of actions – Machale 

What are these actions?

I have my 30 before 30 ready – Essentially 30 things I want to do before I’m 30 | 2015 will be an amazing launchpad to the 2nd quarter of this quaint life.

But I wish that it won’t be just a checklist, I really hope it’s the everyday Dhoom that will make a difference.It’s an attempt to attain transcendence.

It’s 9:01PM in Singapore and 9:31PM in South Korea, that means you (and I) have less than 3 hours to plan your (our) Dhoom year. So what will it be? 

For now, take that shot of your favorite poison, raise your hands up in the year, hold the girl/boy on your right and forget everything else that matters to you in this world only to remember, It’s time for you to inspire yourself.

Steal every moment from now to 00:01 – 01.01.2015. 

Aaj tu sab kuchh bula ke jhoom
Dhoom Macha le…

PS: Now that I think of it, this is a bollywood inspired blog post. Bollywood is awesome!

Why Khalbali? Why blog?

As Catherine Lim once said,

” Literature is like creating a garland of cards, cards that represent moments from everyday life”

And that’s all I’m trying to achieve here, I have no interest in becoming a professional blogger. Writing is my hobby and this blog is my friend to whom I write my short stories and enchanting moments whenever applicable. Yes, some of my posts are alcohol induced, the surprising part is my grammar is better when I’m under it’s influence.

This is one of scheduled posts, I have started a new practice, “predictive blogging”. Essentially, I jot down alphabets when I have nothing else to do.

Like right now, I’m sitting next to a Korean couple playing baseball on their cool Samsung phone.

Card:
Had some weird Vietnamese wine after dinner, wish they had scotch, burbon or whiskey.

Now Why Khalbali?
(I have been quizzed about that)

Well, almost a year and half ago, few of us were drinking in Little India. For some odd reason we discussed the song “Khalbali” and for some odd reason Sebastian fell in love with that Song. He can even sing the entire chorus. Now im meeting him in Korea but this is not the reason why this trip is called, Khalbali in Korea.

It’s the entire notion of how I want to spend my year 2015.

And I will share that in a seperate post, it will be tagged “Dhoom”. Wait for it.

In the multiples of 9 – Khalbali in K #3

I have a feeling that the Asian Gods are crazy about the table of number 9. Specially, tonight!

Why would I say so?  Just look at how they are playing Dj with thermostat of the earth.

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That’s Singapore at 8PM, that’s roughly when my flight takes of.

Now have a look at Seoul, Korea.

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That’s an insane drop of 36C.  I also have a layover in between and that city is 36 C itself. The odds of Number 9.

Talking about 9, my seat number is 18 (1 + 8 = 9). Today’s date is 26 + 12 + 2014 = 2052 = 9 ( 2 + 5 + 2). It will take me 9hrs to reach Seoul.

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Now that’s a little scary. I started this post with an intent of sharing the temperature difference but now im zoned 9.