nadia masood

On Our Way Home

nadia masood
Breathing in some fresh air.

I absolutely loved the journey back to Hyderabad!  During our stay in Mumbai, something unfortunate happened.  It had been one of those moments in life when you feel totally helpless and lost.   So this train journey – a total of 18 hours – gave us time to think and be grateful for a lot of other things in our lives.  Sometimes you just need some quiet, peaceful time to recompose yourself, away from people who blurt out “everything will be okay” even before you finish your sentence.

nadia masood
A major stop connecting Mumbai and Pune

I began learning how to read and write Hindi a year ago – on my own, since Masood thought there wasn’t any need to – but got busy with a 1001 other things.  I began to recognize the alphabets and slowly, very slowly, I even began to combine letters and read simple words.  Like on the board above that reads ‘Lonavla’, I could only read the lona and la part in Hindi.

nadia masood
Yummy Chikkis!

Lonavla is famous for its chikkis,  sweets made from groundnuts and jaggery.  But you get other flavors as well:  sesame seeds, coconut, pistachios, and almonds.  We bought a couple of boxes, which weren’t as full as they appear to be.  *sigh* Well at least, they taste good.

nadia masood
A random pick up truck.

Somewhere during this journey, though I’m not sure where exactly, we were instructed by some policemen (yes, there are policemen for each trip) to close our windows.  It was around 9:30 pm, and I was enjoying the cool breeze while reading a book.  I think Masood was updating his Facebook status then.  We complied.  They even came back to check.

A few hours later, when the lights were dimmed and everyone went to sleep, I heard a loud sound.  It was as if something fell, or hit something.  I went back to sleep, only to be awaken by the same sound few minutes later.  I went back to sleep;  I can’t be bothered by anything when I’m exhausted and sleepy.

When we woke up around dawn,  Masood explained to me what actually happened the previous night.

nadia masood
A lonely buffalo.

Along the way – between Mumbai and Hyderabad – there’s this place notorious for robbers.  The reason why the policemen ordered for the windows to be closed was because these robbers usually threw stones at trains.  And that was the sound that woke me up from my sleep:  stones were being thrown at us!

“But what good will throwing stones like that do for them?”  I asked Masood.  He explained that they mean to create fear or panic.  Because apparently some ignorant passenger, like myself, is likely to think that something has happened and pull the emergency stop.  This will stop the train, giving these robbers the opportunity to implement their evil plan.

nadia masood
The hills are alive …

One evening in Mumbai, Masood went to a nearby bakery in search for some pineapple pie to satisfy by cravings.  They didn’t have one, so Masood asked for apple pie (which he knew was my next favorite).  The bakery waala told him that they used to bake apple pies but that they didn’t sell well, so they stopped making them.  “By the way,” he asked Masood, “where did you hear about apple pies?”  And while Masood was still trying to process the question in his mind, the bakery waala added, “Did you read about it in some paper or magazine?”

“No, we buy it regularly in Dubai.  In fact, my wife bakes them as well.”

“So why are you looking for the same stuff you eat in Dubai?  Try these local stuff.  Have some pav bhaji or bhel puri!

He has a point, but I was still craving for my pineapple pie.

nadia masood
Farms

This freshly cultivated field in the picture above reminded me of Facebook’s FarmVille, to which I had been obsessed for a whole month.  But more than that, I tried to visualize what must have happened in Kurnool, Masood’s birth place, where thousands of people and animals were displaced by a devastating flood during the first week of October.  Most of the people there are into farming, so I cannot even begin to imagine their loss.

nadia masood
Discipline

Each city of India is a different experience for me.  It’s easier to see what’s bad or wrong in each one of them, but I choose to see the beauty instead.   I could have posted pictures of the slums or the garbage dumped at the road side, but what good will that do?  Why not go out there and enjoy the better things instead?

nadia masood
Sunset

Sometimes, it saddens me to think that I’ve seen more of India than Pakistan.  I want to visit Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Islamabad, Quetta, Rawalpindi, Muree, Kashmir, Sargodha, Gujrat, Larkana, and Faisalabad.  I want to see them all.  If only our immigration officers didn’t give Masood such a hard time.   If only they didn’t openly ask him for a bribe each time he visited.

InshaAllah, someday.

14 comments

  1. The robbers throwing stones is scary!

    Beautiful photos as usual, the last one especially looks like an adventure that never wants to end.

    ‘liya, it wasn’t scary while it was happening, probably because I didn’t know what exactly was happening, lol. I am told traveling by bus is even scarier :S

    The last picture is also my favorite, though I have manipulated it quite a bit 🙂

  2. Love your thoughts: “It’s easier to see what’s bad or wrong in each one of them, but I choose to see the beauty instead”.

    No one in this world can assuage the pain but the person himself/herself; those close to us are there just to make us to realize that they are with us, though they can’t feel the intensity of our pain. May Allah bless us both with patience and strength to face the hardest situations..Aameen. I believe there is something good hidden behind everything and InshaAllah we will know what is it very soon 🙂

    Ameen! I know I’m so difficult sometimes. Okay, well, most of the time. And I’m trying to work on that, so thank you for being so patient and understanding. As long as we both are on the same side, we’ll breeze through each and every trial, inshaAllah.

  3. I looooooooooooooooooove train track shots!!

    Are you HOME YEEEEEEEEEET!?!

    Hey, Sis! I love train track shots too. Aren’t we lucky to NOT have those film cameras anymore? Imagine being restricted to 36 shots, lol.

    Yes, we’re back home 🙂

  4. Nadia I love your pictures and the description which you have written. I wish one day I will be able to visit India from where my forefathers belong and see haveli of my family.

    Javeria! It’s such a pleasant surprise! WELCOME!!!

    I’m glad you liked the pictures, thank you so much. InshaAllah, you will be able to visit your family’s haveli someday. Maybe we can visit together 🙂

  5. I’ ve read all the posts about the holiday: your journey has really been an adventure! I’ d loved to be in your place, and visit such amazing places, but, since that is not (yet) possible for me, I have to thank you for your stories, your descriptions,your thoughts, your positive hints, your points of view and your always wonderful photos!!! I enjoy so much reading your blog, and I’ m learning a lot.
    I’m so happy for you, and I wish you’ ll be able to travel to all the places you desire, without having “bureaucratic” troubles…
    Thank you, Nadia!
    CIAO!

    Hi, Francesca! I am glad you are enjoying the posts. Readers like you inspire me to write more. Thank YOU so much! And yes, India is an adventure. A beautiful, fun adventure. The moment you return home, you start making plans about which city to visit next!

    Traveling without the “bureaucratic” troubles would be something I’d be forever grateful about 🙂

  6. Wow.. I didn’t know there were train robbers in India in this day and age! Sounds like a bad Shatrughan Sinha movie.

    Is your husband Indian? Is that why the Pakistani officials give him a tough time? That’s so sad. We have a friend here who’s born Canadian whose dad was born in Pakistan. She married a Canadian guy whose dad was Indian. Now both these second generation Indian Pakistani couple have to jump through hoops to visit each others’ ancestral lands!

    I didn’t know either! But sadly, train robbers still exist outside the ‘reel’ life.

    Yes, Masood is an Indian citizen. When his father (from Karachi) passed away, Masood’s mom (from Hyderabad) packed her bags and left for India with her two sons. Hence, most (if not all) Pakistani immigration officers take great delight in giving him a hard time whenever he visits his relatives in Karachi.

    I can imagine your friends’ plight 🙁 That’s another reason why I’m keeping a Filipino passport. It’s easier to travel to Pakistan and India.

  7. I love your perspective Nadia … And I couldn’t have agreed more on this “Sometimes you just need some quiet, peaceful time to recompose yourself, away from people who blurt out “everything will be okay” even before you finish your sentence.” 🙂 … and that’s just what I need right now …

    Masha Allah beautiful pics ….. Oh! my Mum loves those chikkis too, she’ll be so tempted … We used to buy those on the train too …. I love the coconut ones more 😉

    Loved your post very much … thnx a lot for sharing … sometimes it really helps to read such posts 😀

    I’m glad you liked the post and pictures. Thank you so much! Your city is beautiful and we’ve enjoyed every single day we were there.

    Oh, the chikkis are delightfully yummy! I think I like the sesame seeds waala more 🙂

    Hope things are getting better for you, Sis ((hugs))

  8. Glad to read about your trip going so well – and now you have a filmy story of train robbers to share!

    Sad to hear about the Pakistani officials. 50 years have gone and yet these two children of midnight still fight. I recently watched Main Hoon Na and lot of the dialogues make sense.

    This time, they themselves choose the enmity. They have learnt to hate since childhood but make a conscious decision to continue the hatred. The only way to solve this is true democracy and education in both the countries.

    lol @ filmy story to share!

    Yes, it’s terribly sad indeed. We are brought up and taught to “hate”. It’s getting so tiring already.

  9. Assalamalikum Nadia,

    Lovely pics I wanna visit lonavala and khandala too :~ inshallah khayr

    Thats a scary bit about the robbers.I have never travelled by train cos I read all scary stories about Indian trains and the lack of security.

    Its great you’re back in Dubai. Hows the weather turning out now ? My mom tells me it still hasn’t gotten any better now.

    Walaikum Assalam, Nizsha. The scary stories are there, but I noticed that security is good. And when you are in India, you MUST experience the train ride, much better if it’s across different states. I am so impressed because they are always on time!

    Weather has changed slightly here; it’s warm during the day (as opposed to hot) and evenings are pleasant 🙂

  10. Woah, that was a scary+ fun ride! 🙂

    “So why are you looking for the same stuff you eat in Dubai? Try these local stuff. Have some pav bhaji or bhel puri!” That’s familiar 😉 But when one gets a craving, it has to be satisfied! Though I AM surprised a city as big as Mumbai doesn’t know what apple pie is. Should’ve tried a posher bakery! Hehehe!

    I agree: cravings should be taken very seriously! Oh, the bakery waala knew what an apple pie was; he was merely wondering how Masood knew about it 😉

  11. Yeah you have to watch out for robbers on trains and even highways there – its not unknown for those with guns to start firing at your vehicle. Scary.

    Oh, highways are even scarier! I’ve heard some personal accounts :S

  12. I have been on the Hyderabad – Mumbai route many a times and through a similar experience…..some areas of Andhra Pradesh – where Hyderabad is have this Naxalite problem where villagers have taken to arms against the government……I know its scary to go through such an experience – but the other side of the story is that this is the region which sees hundreds of farmer suicides every year….poverty and a lack of opportunities leads to this…which is sad.
    Nice post with great snaps though ….. 🙂

    Farmer suicides are terrible 🙁 And this Naxalite problem: why take the anger out on travelers?

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