Saturday, June 1, 2013

Manali - Leh by Bicycle: Outlook Traveller June 2013

Words can't explain how lonely it is when the rain is chucking down and you have no energy and the wind is cutting and you're all alone on the highway 5000 m above sea level and the road winds inexorably uphill. You're cold and you're hungry and you want to die. But you don't.

Outlook Traveller just published a piece by me in their Trips of a Lifetime edition for 2013. The piece is absolutely gorgeous to look at in print - six pages of lovely pictures.

The trip took place in August 2012 and changed what I thought I was capable of.

That's me and Rohun Rege, as high as wheels can take you, delirious with joy and oxygen deprivation.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Cymbal #46:: To the Garden Gate

The unequivocal nature of a pointed gun.

‘You had better go now’

He felt his toes in his boots, his knees, his hips, all in a line  - all median, all intermediate - straighten.
‘Very well'. He turned, buttoning his coat, all but the buttons at the bottom, so as not to impede his stride.

He turned and walked, conscious of the barrel pointed at him, leveled at the woolen centre of his back, where the S-shaped curve of his spine was neither curving down, nor curving up. He was also conscious of the crunch of the gravel under his feet, and he thought about the spaces in between the gravel. If it were all lined up so its sides matched and pressed, would there be much space saved? Could there be beneath his feet, ever, a flat carpet of stone? Or would the oxygen seep in, disorganize the blocks, separate all the factions?

And no less conscious was he of the silk of her skirts, the skirts that he was leaving behind forever. Alas, the poor lover, he who had tasted of the fruit, and never would again, who would never revisit that pneumatic delight. He smelt the rich smell of her, like wine in the summer.

At the gate, he lofted the latch, watched the iron scrape against iron in its frame. He thought about their marriage, thought about their children in their nursery, the priest at the sacrament, the flowers as he walked her down the aisle. He thought about the priest and the sightless choir of stone angels. He thought about the freight of their commitment to each other, all of the people who knew of the wedding, all of the guests, all the paper of the invitations, piled up.

He heard the soft rasp of the gun cocking.

He felt his coat crease, felt his human soul bend, as he stepped out of the gate.