Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Freetravellers .. An Intersection of Lives

 “Aaahh I loved the tiny earthen pots filled with soft melting curd ...sometimes flavored with other times with Saffron..”

   Incognita photographed by Karan, enjoying a singara - you can see earthen pots of Mishti Doi in the glass case

These words from Sridevi Datta reminded me all over again of silken silt from the bed of the Ganges,

                           Karan Vohra standing on the banks of the Hooghly.You can see the silt uncovered near the steps.

 sand from the shores of the Bay of Bengal 

   Bay of Bengal - sands at Chilka Sea Mouth

and all things sacred. 

                                                 Durga Puja clay image in the making - clicked by Kim Raikes at Kalighat
They reminded me that it was time to continue on the journey with our fellow travellers! And this post wrote itself.

Yes – Karan, Kim and Incognita have been missing from view. Each of us was on our own Imramma. But the first tinge of autumn gold in the sun’s rays, the first hint of chill in the air, the gentle turn of the wind,  have once more drifted our coracles  (a word that came to mind subconsciously because of this connection (our namesake and a sacred historical place like the one in Orissa that inspired our name) - towards Chakratirtha.

New energies have entered from new events and surprise  people we’ve come across. Indra’s net is indeed electrified!

   Cris-crossing strings of colored bulbs to celebrate Diwali

In the course of these meanderings we ran into the magazine "Consolidation," which Kim and Incognita had co-edited back in 2008. And it was déjà vu! The story of Consolidation matched word for word that of CTT which tells you that we are part of the eternal swirling tirtha, the inevitable spiral. The moment Sridevi mentioned the earthen pots, we decided to adapt a piece of writing from the magazine – “The Little Clay Cup” -  to tell our story here.
Read on.

Like a river carving its own course.

                       Mary Raikes at Diamond Harbor near Kolkata - see the river winding away!

 Turning up out of nowhere, disappearing and reappearing like the ancient, mystical River Sarasvati of Indian mythology whose lost course has been rediscovered by archaeologists. Our Triple Spiral is always there - in the mind, the heart, the imagination and we hope now in “person.” These have been months of recovery from old hurts and emergence from fresh ones followed by action, discovery, growth and fresh thinking.

Through Incognita’s chance connection with Kim in 2007 was born the idea of interfacing with a larger world through a coalescence rather than through separate gateways. Back in 2008,  Kim's footprints were left on the sands of time - and the sands of timeless India - while timeless India left her imprint on Kim’s mind and heart. As the most fitting symbol of this meeting she carried back with her a little piece of earth in the shape of a tiny clay cup from which she drank. 
                                Clay cup in Kim Raike's palm

One out of the hundreds of thousands that are drunk from over the length and breadth of India by all regardless of station in life, and returned to the ground to crumble and integrate with the soil: the "chosen one," picked as if at random from its countless anonymous brethren, to travel across the ocean and become an ambassador for this ancient civilization and for CTT's philosophy of travel.

While this little mascot  accompanied several other representatives of India in Kim's baggage, a collection of exquisitely colored little yaatris (yaatri is traveller in Sanskrit) who are usually happier sailing and have sailed countless miles across oceans, were airlifted to take up residence in my home. They have been whispering the secrets of their voyages to me over the years. Yes, they are a collection of sea glass pieces from the beaches of Maine where Kim lives.

Both the clay cup and the glass pieces reached destinations they didn’t expect to. And this was only the start of several such journeys and chance meetings. 2011 brought dear Karan into our lives through his wonderful blog. 2012 was a year of meetings again – first between Kim and Karan and then Karan and Incognita.  We are now waiting for the magical coming together of three in one physical place.

 This puts in me in mind all over again of the words in our former magazine team-mate freetraveller's signature:
“Travellers are those who find what they were not looking for...”. 
 They represent the unforseen discovery, the unexpectedgift, the unusual in every good sense. They also represent the transcending of time and space barriers, the universal human spirit and creative energy. They have dropped anchor in unexpected places, hopefully found homes.  It is akin to the spirit of Imramma that the ancient Celts have inspired us with.

We leave you for now with a quote from Karan from our last post on this blog.

"I see a journey unfolding filled with the direction of a lighthouse, the sweetness of mishti and the optimism of the sun. I also see splashes of colour on different canvases singing a story like no other. I see a dish of words* that offers us obstacles and successes in equal measure. I see courage and beauty in Durga. In short I see the lives of three people intersecting rather than one."

Here then are the three people, a bridge across the Ganga,  feet crossing thresholds!

The Four-F Festival tranformed itself into the free travels of the Triple Spiral’s members.  We are at the magical intersection again and we will come back to you with the  "Dial-M for Mishti" post and much more, as we enter the Devi Paksha in a couple of days.  

*we will tell you about that special dish in the coming days*


  1. Our journeys are beautifully diverse and different but they meet at one point, the word coalescence comes to mind. Beautifully written by Incognita. Words are alas! codes, obstacle sounds like such a small, ordinary word, but this code of a word simulates one to somersault through one's memory, similarly triumphs takes us to that happy place where mishti appears on but a click of fingers :)

    1. Karan - we have Sue Forman to thank for that word "coalescence"
      We have you to thank for several of those codes as well as your unusual and revealing use of words.
      And now click-lick-enjoy!

  2. The early Celts believed that our outer journeys are simply visual expressions of what is already mapped out inside us. In a way we live out our inner visions. Maybe that's why going forth always feels like coming home. :-)

    1. Oh this is amazing! It's the kind of wisdom that my mother would sometimes let drop. If you see the way a spiral goes forth, it is indeed always coming home again and again!

  3. Agree with Karan out here ..words are but codes enclosed within their fragile walls , yet sometimes when we push aside our inhibitions and step inside them , they reveal their energy to us ...sometimes in silence and sometimes in echoes and sometimes in qiet footsteps . Loved the tale of clay cup and the colorful glass pieces .

    All of you look so beautiful and so very vital <3

    1. "Fragile walls" - the walls admit us easily than we expect. We just need to get over those hesitations. Thank you for expressing it so beautifully. I love the image of those codes enclosed and waiting for be discovered and interpreted!
      Thank you so much for you words of encouragement and the feelings about the three of us <3

  4. I meant quiet :D

  5. Replies
    1. Piyali we love having you here! Take a look at our other posts. We have lots happening on the page too.

  6. It never fails to amaze me how these posts from different times and places are like a network of rivers. Our boats meet and part and meet up again on different shores, sometimes the same ones. The rivers cross one another and wind away and curve back to cross again magically at different points. Kim Raikes I have been thinking increasingly of your Paper "Crossing Points" and seeing those mandalas as maps of waterways.