Nature and Architecture – The two things I’ve lately traveled for. But, sometimes, I also like to indulge myself into colorful crowd especially at fairs and festivals. When I moved to Delhi about 3 years back, I was constantly looking for events hosted in the capital that don’t just revolve around food and/or music. ‘Comic Con’, ‘International Book Fair’ and ‘International Trade Fair’ have been some of the favorites along with the lesser known ‘Surajkund International Crafts Fair’.
For someone who was bound by a desk job for 5 years, I became as lazy as I could be. Lack of time for working on a healthy body may have been an excuse but truth be told, I was never too active even before the 12 hour work shift days began. The Himalayas always had my love. But the following three things made me sign up for one of the (so-called) beginners’ and most beautiful treks in India: Regular ‘Valley of flowers’ posts on Facebook by the travel pages I had ‘liked’. Its accessibility after 2 years of Uttarakhand
Udaipur – A city well-connected with Delhi as well as most cities in Rajasthan. Havelis, palaces and delicious food makes this place one of the favorites for travelers – both Indian and foreign; young and old; solo, couples, families and groups. Usually crowded, I would suggest going on a weekday to make the most of it, and walking around a lot – in the narrow lanes, packed streets, colorful markets.
Durga puja and Dussehra have come and gone, but somehow you remained stuck to your desk throughout? Your boss didn’t approve your leave as you already have another one coming at the time of Diwali? That happened with me continuously for last 5 years! Or are you someone who has always treated Durga Puja and Dussehra like just another holiday because the Pandals are too crowded, the air a bit too polluted and anyway, you aren’t religious enough to go sweat it out there?
After all the posts and stories I had read on Social media about more and more women travelling alone these days, I was not really prepared for the reactions that I got. One of the most surprising comments came from a guest house owner in a tiny town of Maharashtra. In his words, “It’s okay for foreigner females travelling alone in India. We have all seen that. But now when I am seeing an Indian doing it, it’s strange. You are brave.” He had a genuine smile on his face and even innocence in his thought but it was disturbing for
Warning: Angry Post. Background: In April 2015, MakeMyTrip.com ran a travel contest called ‘#DiscoverTurkey’ in a question-answer game format and in May 2015, three winners were declared, including me. http://www.discoverturkey.in/ In case they have disabled the link, here’s a screenshot. I received an e-mail on 13th May saying this: “You’ve won an international trip courtesy MakeMyTrip. This mail is just to ensure that you know you’re an officially declared winner. Someone from our team will be in touch with you shortly with your trip details.”
I don’t like novels that are ‘one time reads’, movies that are ‘one time watch’ and places that are ‘one time visits’. I love when one time is just not enough. I want books that can be read until the pages are tattered, scenes that can be watched until you can recite all dialog, and cities that can be visited until you can call it your home. So, when I was sitting at my balcony in Malvan, feeling lonely and a bit homesick, I realized I am just 150 kilometers away from what’s known to be the ‘Beach capital’ of
A city where I experienced all four seasons in one day, every day. The mornings were sunny, afternoons rainy, evenings foggy and nights cold. The order may have differed but it happened on all 3 days of my stay in Darjeeling. A city where the main gate of a few homes opens on a railway track. Something that caught my attention every time I saw one such home. A city where cars and trains run side by side, on the same road. Where some people still prefer walking instead of driving or taking a bus, train or taxi.
While I am writing this, I can’t even recall all that has gone through my mind in past 30 days, in a positive way of course! Here are top five emotions I’ve felt after bidding goodbye to the routine life and entering a new phase of uncertainty:
An ancient charm, a sense of belonging, a place that makes my curious instincts alive by presenting numerous questions and eventually answering those itself. It can be a monument, an old village, a barren land, ruins of a king’s fort or just another building at the same place where my grandfather saw it as a boy. It can be the way people dress up or talk. In fact, it can easily be a way of life. Heritage to me is all of that and everything else that is preserved over the years and deserves to be protected for the times to