I had to reach home early as promised to my wife and as the clock struck 6 I dashed out of the office rushed to the basement to get on my motorcycle for a quick ride back home. Guests had already arrived at the house and I had been warned to reach as soon as possible. As I exited the main gate I was frozen cold with the sight that was in front of me. A huge procession of people across Park Street some dancing to the tune of a makeshift DJ atop a truck while some just dragged on. I got off my motorcycle only to realize that the procession was starching beyond my visual range in both the directions.
What I failed to understand as to what the people were celebrating since there were neither any gods neither any political flags. Upon asking one of the participants I was told that they were celebrating Bhim Jayanti which was actually the birthday of Dr. B R Ambedkar. The section of the procession which was passing in front of me constituted people from the cobbler community. From them, Dr. Ambedkar was like a messiah thus all the festivities.
The concept of a community-specific celebration or a place of worship is not that a new concept and this I got to know during my trip to Rome. My daughter was very much tired after walking for quite some time and she requested to rest somewhere. I found this quite place behind Capitoline Museums overlooking Roman Forum. It seems not many people come to this side and tourists after visiting Capitoline Museums either go towards the Colosseum or enter Roman Forum directly.
I was around six or seven do not remember the age but what I do remember was my birthday celebration that year. Many of my cousins had come and it was a gift galore. I was not much of a reader of books instead loved people reading my books and that particular year one of my grandfather (uncle to my father) who was a teacher gifted me a small hardbound book. I still remember the book cover it was light blue in color with a photograph of a puppet wearing a red outfit and what stood out was that the puppet had a long nose. It was Pinocchio that was gifted to me that year and it was my grandmother who read out the story to me.
Being the naughty child that I was my grandmother reminded me that I would have a similar fate if I kept lying about my various mischievous activities. I kept skipping through the pages to read the paragraph where Pinocchio’s nose starts growing longer as he keeps lying.
A lot can happen within a year, nearly a year back I was in Italy soaking in the summer sun with beautiful blue skies and plumes of fluffy white clouds. Who knew that after a year I would be sitting on a lonely Saturday afternoon and writing this blog remembering the time of my life.
It all had happened in just three weeks from committing to go to Italy with family to get my daughter’s passport done and finally applying for Schengen Visa. It was not a FAM or sponsored trip thus I had to squeeze every bit out of it somehow hoping that this trip of a lifetime will reap benefits later. As far as benefits are concerned nothing much happened no invitation from tourism boards no invited trips but what I had gained from that trip was to never stop believing that the impossible can become possible just be sheer willpower. Till date, I do not know how I managed to fund this trip and the repercussion of that trip can still be felt today so much so that I had to cut down on my travel plans for least another year.
The year was 1998 and Internet in India was at its bare minimum. My sister was traveling around Europe on a special educational tour and all the information that I could get were on text emails once a week. I had waited eagerly for her return and then the wait for the numerous negatives to get developed and then printed. She had meticulously cataloged various locations depending on their location and the one that fascinated me most was Italy. “This is the Colosseum of Rome” she exclaimed as she flicked through the album. I was completely mesmerized and wished that one day I could see the grand Colosseum myself standing right in front of it.
I am addicted to cemeteries and even if I am traveling abroad I make sure to visit one. On my last Italy tour, I purposely left a day for myself where I would visit a local cemetery. I somehow feel that a cemetery has lots of stories hidden in it waiting to be told. With so many people being buried out there I am sure there would be someone very significant.
It was the last day of the trip along with my wife and daughter, we had a wonderful trip traveling all around Italy and on the final day, it was a complete “Me” day. Both my wife as well as my daughter are aware of my love for heritage thus when I told them that I would be visiting a cemetery on the last day they were not much surprised. They were sure that there will be a final twist which they have all become accustomed to.
My only regret would be that wish I had written this blog before my visit to Vatican Museum. There is a lot to see at Vatican Museum but most of the information’s are scattered so what I have basically done is to consolidate all the information from the various official information site and combined them with my own personal experience in visiting this place. I missed clicking some important photographs since I did not have the right set of information with my on some saving grace I do have them on action camera video which I can always refer to.
A country within a country that is what people refer to Vatican as. Nestled right in the middle of Rome the capital city of Italy this micronation is the mecca of Roman Catholics. This is the country where the Pope is the head of the state and also the head of the Roman Catholic order. A trip to Rome would be honestly incomplete without an itinerary that does not include Vatican. Being a micronation has its advantages since this place is tiny you can easily cover all the important tourist attraction in a day. But to do this you must start early as this place can really get crowded, even during off season the queue can be a mile long thus the key to complete this would be to start as early as possible.