I was just thinking about the books I’ve read recently – Bill Bryson’s account of his thrilling hike in the Appalachian ranges (A Walk Through The Woods), William Dalrymple’s amazing journey along the ancient Silk Route (From The Holy Mountain), and just yesterday, Shankar Roy’s adventures in Africa, amidst ferocious lions (Chander Pahar)
It’s official – I’ve been bitten by the travel bug. I’m yearning to pack my bags and go somewhere.
True, I just came back from a short trip to Bangalore, but that doesn’t count, because it’s not somewhere new. I’ve been there so much, that inspite of being geographically retarded; I can claim to actually know a lottt of places in that city. I want to go somewhere I don’t know – at all. Like that time I went to Pune – a whole new city, hitherto unknown territory. But that was a whole year ago. Im getting anxious to go travelling again.
I think my travel-fascination has its roots in my childhood. Dad has a transferable job at the bank, and we packed up and moved to a whole new place every three years! It was absolutely delightful. And while we were there, we would see all the places nearby. A vacation every summer. I’ve been almost all over India, and have had a blast everywhere!
True, my vacation stories aren’t as exciting as the ones I’ve read. I go to normal, super-civilized places, as opposed to exotic wilderness, teeming with wild beasts. I stay at comfortable hotels, armed with nothing but books and music. Food’s always served in beautiful platters, rather than hunted and roasted in the middle of a forest. However, I have enjoyed my travels and holidays as thoroughly as those guys did. I did have some accidents too, but they were all due to my clumsiness. I got lost for about 2 hours, almost-drowned in a river, was violently sick in a train, and broke my glasses countless times. A lot of my belongings are now lying at various tourist spots across India - a watch in a valley in Kulu, shoes in the middle of a sea, an ipod at a waterfall in Jharkhand, and a super loved audio cassette in a taxi at Darjeeling; to name a few. I’ve felt myself being roasted in a desert in Rajasthan, I’ve rolled about in the snow at Rohtang pass, drenched in torrential rains at Ranchi, seen mountain peaks and valleys.
And met some really wonderful people. So wonderful that they deserve a new paragraph. There have been so many, that it’s difficult to remember them all, without consulting my diary. Most notable of them is a very peaceful looking monk I met (read -looked at from a distance) at a monastery, who I was convinced was God himself. Then there was this girl I met on a train journey who was my best friend for two whole days, a tourist guide in Jharkhand I was in love with for a week, a super-funny set of twins I met while on a tour of south India, a German lady who was in India for some social-work. Not to sound cheesy or something, but their memories are all like different shades of colors on my mind’s canvas. All those conversations somehow chiseled a part of who I am.
Now there’s one place I’ve been dying to go to, for over a decade now. Andamans. Yes, people have said that there’s nothing much there, but this trip comes with a cruise in a ship. Tra-la-la!!! I’ve been wanting to be in a ship ever since I was a child. We (me n my family)had it all planned 7 years ago, but sumthing happened and we didn’t. And somehow every single year, it gets postponed. I just heard my dad n brother talking about it yesterday, so people pray for me.. at least in 2012…..
This blog post is dedicated to my good friend Ezra Raj. Ez, this long enough? :)