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From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 21, Dated May 29, 2010

The Morning After



imageThis is the point when you wonder why selfhood in modern life is tied irrevocably to work. This is the morning to sit down in the dark, still-curtained house for a pity party. The pleasant aches of sloth or long walks haven’t yet changed into that sharp pain in your mid-back yet. That’ll happen on Wednesday evening, when your cheerful holiday persona is a distant memory. All those resolutions — to learn spanish, to join yoga class, to not be pressured into yuppie fetishes like spanish and yoga — will fade by then. You’ll grit your teeth and say: “That was another country. Besides, the wench is dead.” By Wednesday, the carefree wench will be replaced by a humourless workhorse.

But that’s three days away. Right now the cool sheets on the unmade bed surrounded by suitcases are tempting. The clock can’t hector you into rising and you contemplate when and why work became inevitable.

Ask Tony Perrottet, author of Pagan Holiday, whether the ancients felt this way. Perrottet gleefully retraced the Roman tourists’ steps — one of the earliest civilisations to turn safe travel into leisure. Perrottet used a backpack of ancient texts and a second-century highway map on a 20 foot scroll and found some things don’t change in millennia — bad hotels, annoying guides and shockingly bad food. Also, post-holiday blues.

The other thing that hasn’t changed since the Romans is our desire for tacky souvenirs and holiday memories. Only now, every moment is recorded and painfully uploaded. sometimes it feels like only losing your camera will allow the sepia haze necessary for a ‘crazy time’ — recollections accompanied by headshakes and eyerolls. Only then will holidays settle into self-contradictory memory. Did we not visit the temple? Did we go in January? Was i that drunk at Tequila Joe’s?

You remember that holiday as one in which a friendship wilted. But in the picture you’re both smiling

But allow time to do its glorious damage. One day, in spite of incessant archiving, you’ll be startled by a photo in an untitled folder. You remember that holiday as a nightmare — in which a friendship wilted. But in the picture you’re leaning casually against each other, smiling. A picture falls out of a book — the first holiday your mother took after dad died. You remember how hard you tried to show her a good time without making it look like you were trying. A picture of a nowfavourite hotel you stumbled upon in a moment of penury and daring. Then the picture will again be an object of reverie. in this issue you’ll see some very famous faces in unfamiliar ways — ordinary, happy and on holiday. We are overexposed to photography but we promise — a picture can still break your heart a little.

it’s to that end — poignancy— that holidays are packaged today. Purveyors pile up activity, romance and history and promise it’ll all be ‘memorable’. Destinations are now status markers. Everyone knows that pesky girl who insists she was the only one in the group of ‘losers’ who ‘did’ Gangtok properly. All of which — besides the expense — can make holidays seem far too much like work. Thankfully, despite our avarice for uniqueness, in india where every 50 km offers a baffling new world, the possibilities of ‘undone’ destinations are endless. in this issue our writers share 20 secret and unlikely holiday destinations, from Cherrapunji to Beemapalli

is this the morning after your holiday? Or the week before? Or are you considering the grim outlook of a summer without a vacation? Allow us to tempt you. Welcome to TEhElkA’s summer special, which holds within it the two essentials of a holiday — memories and possibilities.

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 21, Dated May 29, 2010

The Morning After

The Fleshy Tones Of Real India
Amitava Kumar The author, most recently, of Evidence of Suspicion. Lives in upstate New York

Stone Chickens And Beach Resorts
Suresh Menon Bengaluru-based columnist, who often writes on cricket

Rafting Up The Valley Of God
Amrita Nandy-Joshi South Asian women’s rights activist. Moonlights as a freelance journalist and travel writer

How To Catch A Cloud
Deepanjana Pal Mumbai-based writer and author of The Painter: A Life of Ravi Varma

The One-Fourth Holy Land
Aruni Kashyap Assamese writer currently based in Delhi

The Torrential Luxury
Patrick Bryson Australian writer currently residing in Shillong, Meghalaya

An Aimless Gawker’s Paradise
Arul Mani Columnist and teacher at a Bengaluru college

Turban-Watching In Filmi Punjab
Annie Zaidi Journalist and author of Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales

The Motorcars Of the Gopis
Arundhati Ghosh Arts management professional based in Bengaluru

Land Of Thread And Mirrors
Benson Issac Teacher at St Joseph’s College, Bengaluru. Also Freelance researcher and trainer

Goa, Be Kind. Rewind
Frederick Noronha Goa-based journalist and author

The Sands Of Time
Ramu Ramanathan Mumbai-based playwrightdirector and editor of PT Notes, a monthly theatre newsletter produced by Prithvi Theatre

The Refuge Of Small Mercies
Neel Chaudhuri Delhi-based playwright and theatre director and artistic director of The Tadpole Repertory

Harem Pants And Psychedelic Trance
Deepika Arwind Writer and journalist based in Bengaluru

Holiday At The High Wavys
Bijoy Venugopal Bengaluru-based journalist and biographer for the rock band Thermal and a Quarter

Tuning In With The Folks
Mrinalini Harchandrai Writer based in Mumbai

The Treehouse Fellowship
Mridula Koshy Delhi-based writer and author of a collection of short stories called If It Is Sweet

Romeo And Juliet In Freeze Mode
Amitabha Bagchi Professor at IIT Delhi and author of the novel Above Average

  Relax, It’s Just A Vacation
SANTOSH DESAI CEO, Future Brands, and author of Mother Pious Lady —Making Sense of Everyday India

  Candid Photographs

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