Millennium Post

Travel to fall in love with yourself, again!

Despite all the advances in technology and first-class travelling services in India, until today, the actual physical act of travel remains arduous and back-breaking and also among the most unnatural experiences that we all subject ourselves to.

To catch a morning flight or a train, we rob ourselves of sleep and get too paranoid at times to land ourselves amid people who look nothing like us and speak languages we do not even understand.
We even subject ourselves to tastes that are miles away from what is familiar, taking upon us the great strain of travelling for hours in cramped, crouched seats, accompanied with obnoxious, smelly and rude people for long stretches of time. Not to forget, a weeping child can actually make your journey quite memorable. But still we travel and look forward to it.

Very recently, a photographer friend of mine travelled to Kerala to cover Onam festival. This poor sandesh-loving Bengali savouring a full-course meal everyday in the confines of his comforting house, landed in a totally detached, demoralising land where people do not understand his mother tongue, neither do they understand our Rashtra bhasha Hindi, nor even English (exceptions prevail).
Communicating became a huge task at the grassroot level where he was photographing with the Dravidian ethnic race in the middle of the festivities.

This poor guy got stuck between the gushing sea waves, eye-catching sunsets and the impeccable Kathakalis and Mohiniyattams, the colourful Pulikali (tiger dance) and the traditional Vallam Kali (boat race in Kerala), coupled with the God’s own country’s rich and lip-smacking cuisine.

So, what automatically leads us to is the fact that why do we allow all this to happen to us? A few probable answers could be firstly, it can make us fall in love with ourselves once again.

Secondly, travelling can be entertaining and adventurous. We are always ready to take that extra pain to be ourselves and breathe in the fresh air, driving down the beautiful mountains.
Another reason could be the pleasure to be home with our friends and family and celebrate the feeling of togetherness. It can be a precious gift of imagination to the weary mind.

But if you are a true traveler, you are bound to enjoy this to the hilt. Also recalibrating the soul proves to be a healthy exercise sometimes.

In India, there are several challenges when one is travelling. According to many, India is not a safe country. True, not all stations, bus stands and streets are safe, especially for women. And there have been in-depth researches which highlight the national Capital topping the crime chart.

Assurances from the police and a new anti-rape law have done little to make the streets of New Delhi safer for women, especially for those using public transport or travelling alone. Hitch-hiking is a strictno-no and definitely not the best way to make new friends!

Another salient feature of this country is that a train, which in all probabilities arrives late and departs even later, all of a sudden decides to switch platforms and suddenly you’re stuck in the middle with your luggage and stuff trying to look for the famous red-shirt clad coolie who can transport all that you have to that particular platform from where you train has decided to depart with much ease.

But definitely, not without a price. Your taxi driver who promises you a shortcut to reduce your journey, can only land you up at a dead-end.

Living in a country like India, these occurrences are not rare and unexpected. But they are enough to shock an unpretentious traveler who is out there to travel and enjoy. But in hindsight, getting lost may not always be a nightmare; it could just prove to be a fulfilling adventure.

With the advent of the festive season within a week, Indians all over the country are busy booking tickets and planning holidays. So, take a deep breath, feel the sudden splash of cool breeze on your face, climb tall mountains and get ready to take the plunge.  And, do remember Hilaire Belloc’s precious words: ‘We wander for distraction but we travel for fulfillment.’ So, let the journey begin!
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